Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Two More Years

If the 2006 elections were a rebuke against an unpopular George Bush, I believe that in much the same way the 2008 elections will be his ultimate repudiation. Democrats would do well to remember that President Bush is deeply unpopular and the wave of disatisfaction which carried them to victory last November has yet to crash into shore. George Bush has rededicated himself to defying the better counsel of nearly everyone from lifetime foreign policy and military men to the wishes of typical American working class voters, as consistently shown by polls. Some Dems may believe that they need to temper their message to "lock in" the votes of those who may have switched affilations, but this is misguided thinking. Instead of looking to emasculate their message for a few swing voters, they should consider all the evidence that shows the youth vote to be more Democratic than its been in a while. It would be unwise to disappoint those new voters.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The National Review's Mission Statement

"This then is one choice before you, before us. We may join with that Power. It would be wise, Gandalf. There is hope that way. Its victory is at hand; and there will be rich reward for those that aided it. As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise, such as you and I, may with patience come to direct its courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped by our weak and idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any real change in our designs, only in our means."

- Saruman the White, channelling present neo-consevative conventional wisdom.

It's no wonder Tolkien's elves grieved so unceasingly. They must have grown tired of hearing the same self-serving nonsense over and over and over again, age after age after age.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Celine Dion

The recent Celine Dion/Anastasia "cover" of AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long in Las Vegas (where else?) is getting a surprising amount of attention. Don't get me wrong here, it's real bad - especially the very beginning where Celine plays air guitar on what I can only imagine to be an apparition of Derek Smalls many-necked bass. But the fact remains that however badly the aforementioned duo butchers the spirit of the song, I am obliged to admit that they are both capable singers. In addition, even intentions as misguided as these cannot hope to sully the innate rock and roll awesomeness of the song itself. In other words, they might have tried their best to ruin it, but in that endeavor they had as much hope for success as a tag-team raid of Constantinople. So good for a laugh at Celine's expense I guess, but worthy of so much remark? I'm not so sure about that.

Nevertheless, Celine Dion is indeed one of the most frightening beings in the cosmos, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the video below.

Let's just say that if I was a member of this unfortunate family, the next thing you would have seen was a cloud of dust and a hole in the wall roughly shaped like my silhouette.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Iraqi New Deal

Is George Bush the President of the USA or is he President of Iraq? The Iraqi New Deal??? Please. How come all these so-called conservatives turn into big-government liberals the very instant the subject of Iraq comes up. "Let's quick voice vote this $10 billion Iraqi public works build-a-thon, but $3 billion for new levees in New Orleans? I don't know, guys, isn't that a lot of money? How can the people of New Orleans learn to be responsible if we build their levees for them?"

Why does the GOP hate America?

Funny Ladies

Remember that ridiculous Chris Hitchens column a while back where he said that women aren't funny? ("not until right now, Horatio, thanks")

Anyway, he must not read Go Fug Yourself very often. It's one of the most consistently hilarious reads on the web. Written by two women, of course. Must be a fluke, eh Hitch?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Virgil Goode

When I read the following quote from Virgil Goode,

"I am for restricting immigration so that we don't have a majority of Muslims elected to the House of Representatives."

I wonder which would be worse for him, or rather, which "nightmare scenario" would he be more prepared to tolerate: a) the USA under a totalitarian Christian dictator or b) the current system of government with a 100% Muslim House, Senate, Presidency, and Supreme Court.

I'd have to wait for Virgil to give me his answer on this one, because I'm honestly not sure which one he'd pick.

P.S. For the record, I myself do not consider option 'b' to be a "nightmare scenario."

Fit To Print

Am I the only person in the world who doesn't care in the slightest about what happens in that stupid Duke rape case? I must be in the extreme minority here seeing as it is front page news for nearly every media outlet in America. I can't really blame the newspapers. They're just giving the people want they want, I suppose, just trying to make a buck. It's the interest that really baffles me. If lurid detail is what you're after, just go to the local Walgreens and buy a 99 cent harlequin novel.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Plymouth, Indiana

To the left is picture of beautiful downtown Plymouth, Indiana. One of my very few readers (after I alienated just about everyone with an unexplained - to this day - 7 month hiatus) hails from this splendid burg in the north of the Hoosier State. I learned from wikipedia (which was also so kind as to provide the photo) that Scott Skiles, present head coach of the Chicago Bulls, led his Plymouth H.S. basketball team to the 1982 state title with a thrilling one point overtime victory. Go Plymouth!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Party Poker

I just tried to access my Party Poker account to play a little hold 'em before bed. I was hoping to get in a no-limit tournament and have some fun. Instead, I am greeted with a message that informs me U.S. accounts may no longer place wagers on the website. I heard about this crap piece of legislation a few months back but for some reason I was still shocked when it became obvious (after lots of clicking) that I cannot play poker online anymore. Thanks GOP!

No Goal

A rare moment of truth from President George Bush:

As he searches for a new strategy for Iraq, Bush has now adopted the formula advanced by his top military adviser to describe the situation. "We're not winning, we're not losing," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post.
This is the first thing Bush has said in a long time that I have agreed with. The terms "winning" and "losing" only have meaning in the context of either meeting or not meeting stated military objectives. Since we have no military goals in Iraq, then it is correct to say that we are neither reaching nor failing to reach those goals.

Figuring Things Out Is Cool

My favorite line in an otherwise mildly interesting article about how mental exercises benefit the brain:

Researchers noted that mental skills can sometimes compensate for physical disabilities: Knowing how to figure out directions and find a new route on a map, for example, could allow someone to retain mobility even after their night vision deteriorates to the point where driving on certain roads becomes difficult.
I just love it. In other news, it has been theorized that the mental skills of humans allowed them to "outwit" such brawny creatures as sabertooth tigers, wooly mammoths, and grizzly bears.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Head On

George Bush Presents: Popular Ideas

This is just a genius post by Upyernoz.

thirty-seven percent of americans believe the u.s. government has been secretly contacted by aliens

sixteen percent of americans believe that the u.s. government planted explosives that brought down the world trade center.

twelve percent of americans think the u.s. should have a british-style royal family.

eleven percent of americans in 2003 would like to have "dr. quinn, medicine woman" as their personal physician

ten percent of americans would eat a rat or insect if it meant they could be on tv.

and eleven percent of americans support sending more troops to iraq.
(emphasis mine)

Sort of puts it in perspective. I wonder if George Bush voted for Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, too.

Cash Crop

Marijuana is the number one cash crop in the state of California. The report was put together by a medical marijuana advocacy group, so pass the salt. But even if marijuana is not actually number one, I doubt that the study is so biased that it takes a nowhere crop and just sticks it at the top. In other words, marijuana is towards the top of the list in a state that produces a lot of agricultural goods. One thing I question, though, is this sentiment, which I do attribute to a bit of an agenda:

"Agriculturally, it's worth the same as alfalfa, which is six cents a pound right now, which would make the total crop, if it wasn't illegal, about 1.3 million as opposed to 35 billion."
Perhaps the fact that's it's illegal is inflating the cost, but an increase by a factor of 27,000 seems a bit high. That's gotta be a typo. They must have meant 1.3 billion. Even then, I'm skeptical. I'd imagine that cannabis would be a tad more lucrative than alfafa. Cannabis is, after all, a remarkably useful plant. I think that many medical marijuana advocates purposely play down the recreational side to the substance to avoid scaring off would-be supporters. Which is understandable, I suppose, but nevertheless strange, since no one ever feels the need to play down the recreational side (hey, wait, that's the only side there is!) of alcohol.

On that note, I was encouraged to see this particular phraseology in the piece:
Anti-prohibition advocates say classifying marijuana as illegal is the problem.

Glad to see they're calling a spade a spade.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I E Don't you miss this opportunity!!!

I hope this wasn't someone's idea of a joke, although I seriously doubt an editor could be so dense as to let it slip by him or her. Here's the choice cut.

Civil war or not, Iraq has an economy, and—mother of all surprises—it's doing remarkably well. Real estate is booming.
Let me see if I've got this here. You're saying that in spite of the exploding real estate, real estate is exploding?

12-sided salute to Attaturk for the link.

Petty Dislikes

I don't know about any of you guys, but I absolutely HATE IT when my waiter at whatever restaurant starts me off with a "so, is this your first time to Buffalo Wild Wings??" "Have you ever been to The Olive Garden before??" I almost always answer, "yes, I come here once a month," even if it is my actual first time, which it usually is, since having had this question put to me means I will be ruling out a return. Maybe this petty dislike is just an offshoot of my general loathing of chain restaurants (for the most part, they are indistinguishable from fast food). The notion that I will require, beyond what can be gleaned from the menu in under 4 seconds, special knowledge to order the "bottomless pasta" is honestly too much for me to bear.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


1776: Give me liberty or give me death!

2006: Liberty? Just please oh please don't kill me!!!


Saturday, December 16, 2006


Kudos to Jeb Bush for halting executions in Florida after the botched lethal injection last week. I'm no fan of Jeb, but this seems like a much better response then his brother George's shoulder shrugging in Texas. Why were we saddled with George again?? No wonder Poppy broke down.

P.S. a "moratorium" on the death penalty is kind of ironic, eh?

You just can't reason with a genocidal maniac

Amazing as it seems, there are still those who think that MORE WAR in MORE PLACES will solve our problems in Iraq and with the issue of global terrorism. Glenn Greenwald links to some real nutcases who believe that acting "tougher" and bombing more places is the answer. It's hard to determine exactly what their thought process must be to come to such a conclusion, but I'll give it a shot.

First, I myself believe, and I'm sure the wingers would agree, that invading Iraq with an army of 1 million soldiers would have produced a different result than the one we see today. I'm not sure it would have been necessarily more successful, but I can't help but think that security, at least in the early stages, would have been substantially better. Perhaps if the urban environment was less of a free-for-all in the days after Saddam's fall, more Iraqis would have dared to risk their safety on a gamble that the Americans were serious about rebuilding their country. We knew this already of course, because the generals had told us. The only problem with this line of reasoning is that putting together a million soldier army was simply impossible. We may as well conjecture what an invasion of space alien soldiers would have been like.

I'm sure a lot of the wingers look to WWII as the golden age of our military and proof that we can fight all these wars at the same time and win them all. Some profound luck on our side notwithstanding (Battle of Midway, Hitlers decision to invade Russia thus starting a land war in Asia), this is true. We are the strongest nation in the world and can do far more militarily than any other nation. There are reasons, however, that a comparison of now and then cannot honestly be made. In 1942, this country mobilized for war in a way the world had never seen. Even the German war machine was no match for us once we got it going. The entire military and economic might of our great nation backed the war effort. The wingers then will say, "yes yes that's what I'm talking about! we need to mobilize!" Well, again going back to WWII, I'm reminded of a story about my grandfather. He wanted so badly to help the Allies smash Hitler's armies that he went and joined the CANADIAN Air Force because the US hadn't entered the war yet. People really did WANT to fight in WWII. Men enlisted by the hundreds and thousands.

So why not the same for Iraq? The wingers will say that media pessimism suppressed the patriotic urge to fight for "freedom," but anyone who can remember 2002 knows this is not true. This country was in an extended patriotic orgasm for God's sake. The president's approval numbers were through the roof. But when it came to war with Iraq, the public never bought it. From the get go the effort was doomed. Americans wanted to cheer their flag, but we just didn't think Iraq was worth risking our lives over. We were never going to able to mobilize for this thing. What's worse is that we were never even asked to. So now the fashion is to blame lack of success in Iraq on the American people for their insufficient will to fight. Maybe if Jonah Goldberg were saying this between security sorties in Fallujah I'd take him seriously. Jonah's famous excuse that he "has kids" doesn't fly. If it's important enough, everyone fights. Heck, Ted Williams fought in WWII. He's the best hitter in baseball history. Freaking Elvis fought!

The second, and probably more accurate, way to interpret the wingers thought process on more war is simply as an extermination fantasy. They don't want to fight, they don't want more troops. They just want more Muslims to die. This is the "more rubble, less trubble" camp, to quote a disgusting phrase I saw on Instapundit once. They'll talk and talk and talk about resolve and "kicking-ass" and toughness and moral clarity and all that noise, but what they really want in their heart of hearts is for all the scary terrorists to die. And since you don't know how to distinguish the scary terrorists from regular brown Muslim people, the best idea is to just kill them all. The discussion of how to reduce the causes of terror is totally uninteresting to them. The only thing they want to talk about is how to completely eliminate the populations from which the terrorists tend to spring.


Upyernoz has a great post linking to an LA Times oped piece. The basic thrust of it is that we have the moral obligation to grant asylum to those Iraqis who have risked their lives by daring to work with Americans. If you have been living under a rock for the past year, you may not know that Iraqis who are exposed as collaborators are routinely captured, tortured, and killed. These are patriots who take the fate of their country very seriously. We owe them safety at the very least. They have been doubly betrayed by George Bush, first because they're basically thrown to the wolves once their identity is uncovered and, secondly (and this is perhaps the more profound betrayal) because Bush has never been serious about the fate of Iraq.

If only to encourage more Iraqis to help us over there, it would be wise to have an asylum program in place. But since that would be a policy that would actually cohere to stated American goals for Iraq, it has next to zero chance of happening.

Friday, December 15, 2006


There's a post over at TPM about a recent immigration raid that nabbed about 1,300 Mexicans. For the most part, those apprehended in the raid will be deported. The sad part is that the vast majority of illegal immigrants want nothing more than to work hard, feed their children, and take care of their families - something that is clearly impossible for them in their home country. And if they were citizens, they'd be gladly paying their taxes, too. As it is, we'll just have to be content with them buying American products and paying rent to American landlords. That is, if we're not deporting them en masse.

But here's the really depressing part: no charges were filed against Swift, the American meatpacking company who had illegally hired them. Of course. It makes perfect sense.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I really don't know what to say. These are just sick, depraved, morally bankrupt people. They glibly flap their gums on TV and type their twisted columns and they joke about 30 mm shells piercing skulls and people's tongues being cut out of their mouths. Jonah Goldberg is rotten to his very core. What a repellent creature he is.

To hearken back to the days of pre-calculus, perhaps the Lowry Limit does not exist.

New Original Flavor!!!

Once again, the same old nonsense is given an extreme semantic make-over, and, no doubt filled with glee at the opportunity to print another meaningless article on Iraq, the Pinochet Post prints it. Stupidity ensues.

The nation's top uniformed leaders are recommending that the United States change its main military mission in Iraq from combating insurgents to supporting Iraqi troops and hunting terrorists, said sources familiar with the White House's ongoing Iraq policy review.
Huh? Exactly what is the difference between "combating insurgents" and "hunting terrorists?" Haven't they been "terrorists" the whole time? Isn't that who we're fighting over there so as not to fight them here? The worst part is that unless the preceeding was a quote, print-bloggers Robin Wright and Ann Scott Tyson are purposely and directly engaging in the kind of obfuscation that serves this sputtering war policy so well.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney met with the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff yesterday at the Pentagon for more than an hour, and the president engaged his top military advisers on different options.
Well, certainly glad to hear that the boys might have worked through lunch on this one.

Sources said that Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is reviewing a plan to redefine the American military mission there: U.S. troops would be pulled out of Iraqi cities and consolidated at a handful of U.S. bases while day-to-day combat duty would be turned over to the Iraqi army. Casey is still considering whether to request more troops, possibly as part of an expanded training mission to help strengthen the Iraqi army.
Two things: a) how is "strengthening" (with weights?) the Iraqi army, "turning over" combat duty to the Iraqis, "expanding" the training mission in any way a REDEFINITION of our current aims? Haven't we been talking about "standing down as they stand up" for three years now?, b) the people shooting at Americans are doing so because they want to shoot Americans. Replacing them with Iraqis would probably mean they would stop shooting. Which means this is probably a good idea, but not for the reasons Gen. Casey thinks.

Lowry Limit

Over the course of the last half-decade (my God has it been that long?), I have been amazed at the willingness of certain conservative commentators to systematically abandon their principles as they are forced to make one exception after another for the shocking behavior of the Bush presidency. And that got me to wondering: what would be the one thing that Bush could do that would cause even his most unquestioning supporters to drop away? Having the military seize control of the Treasury? Burning down the Capitol? Perhaps placing the heads of suspected terrorists on stakes surrounding the White House? Honestly, there have been so many times where I was sure that This Was It, this was the moment where even the Rich Lowry's and Hugh Hewitt's of the world would take a step back and say, "hold on now. I don't care how good your intentions are, this is America and you just can't do that here." But after all that's happened, after all the fundamentally un-American things Bush has done and encouraged, most of Bush's public supporters still are solidly in his camp. So I ask (rhetorically of course), what is the limit, the Lowry Limit if you will, the thing that will finally be too much?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Michigan got the shaft

After Michigan's 3-point loss to Ohio State in Columbus last month, my take was "Well, the Wolverines had their chance. Someone else should get a shot at the title." So what do I think of that thought process today? Total BS. For two reasons. First, and I'm surprised I didn't think of it at the time, if Michigan had won, were we really going to deny the Buckeyes an opportunity to win the title? Hell, no. They were so CLEARLY the class of college football, it would have been insane to leave them out. So, if Michigan wins in Columbus, the National Championship Game would have been UM vs. OSU. No question. So why expect a different result if OSU wins? And given that OSU's victory was by only 3 at home (which is really just the homefield talking) didn't both these teams prove themselves to be pretty evenly matched? When the Wolverines utterly DESTROY the USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl (in yet another away-game bowl-game for the Big Ten), you'll see what I mean. They'll be playing for one reason alone, to prove that they should have been playing for the title. Secondly, Bruce Hooley at makes a good point about Florida's supposed right to play for the title. When the Gators won their only National Title back in 1996, their own title game was, you guessed it, a rematch. They got to play the FSU Seminoles in the final game of the year, a team that had beat them earlier that season. So screw the Gators and their precious shot at the championship. The best two teams are the ones that get to play for all the marbles. That a club that Florida just isn't in.

Locked Up

The woman who stabbed her two kids (ages 3 and 9) over 200 times each, was recently found to be insane. I've posted about this before, but my two reactions to this kind of thing are as follows: a) well duh!, and b) who cares? Hopefully, this psycho will be under lock and key for the rest of her natural life. What does it matter to me whether she's wearing stripes or a straitjacket? If she needs help while locked up, then help her, but this is a pretty minor detail in the grand scheme. The main point is to prevent her misfiring cortex from ever again telling her arm to stab a child 200 times. I'd say the set of people most likely to do such a thing includes the subset of people who've already done it!!!


I just got Haloscan working on the new Blogger template. I am quite proud of myself to say the least. Major credit goes to Logical Philosopher for the help.

Deficit Spending

I agree with the basic premise here, that the conservatives of today have, far more than their predecessors, made common cause with the Moral Socialists. But is this really the reason why polling shows that the public trusts Democrats more on "federal spending and the deficit?"

In a Newsweek poll just before the election, 47 percent of respondents said they trusted the Democrats more on "federal spending and the deficit," compared to just 31 percent who trusted the Republicans. That's not Ronald Reagan's Republican Party"
As you can see for yourself, Andrew Sullivan links to a guy who declares today's GOP not to be "Ronald Reagan's Republican Party." Are you quite sure? Ronald Reagan's great domestic legacy, and really the only material thing that Republicans have contributed to the political sphere over the last century, is deficit spending. Are we supposed to be surprised that the Bush Administration has continued this dubious Republican tradition?

Mary Cheney

First of all, congrats to Mary Cheney and her partner. I know what its like to be expecting a child and it is indeed a special time. But, not missing their chance to rain on a parade, a number of conservative columnists and commentators have complained that Cheney's baby will somehow be deprived of its childhood. I have also heard that her pregnancy is a "selfish" act. All I can say to that is anyone who could entertain such a notion has no idea what pregnancy is about. Carrying a child to term is undeniably a self-LESS act. A woman is essentially sharing her lifeforce with another living being. As I finish up yet another book about WWI, let's just say that this is not exactly the M.O. of the world at large.

I think at the heart of all this hand wringing is a sense of helplessness on the part of the Moral Socialists. Since the Moral Socialists thrive on vagaries and nearly always stumble when they wade into the reeds and cattails of their own proposed policies. They feel empowered to oppose gay adoption at every turn because it can be simplified into an abstract evil, but when a lesbian couple actually conceives a child, obviously its a little tougher poitically to advocate removing said child from the custody of its biological mother.

Still, on the adoption issue, I like what Dan Savage has to say. Basically, it's OK if you're going to try to argue that a child adopted by a gay couple is worse off than one adopted by a hetero couple. I don't agree with that statement, but I'm not going to spend my time proving something that would take years and years of study to prove. There probably are studies like that going on right now. And even when the results come out and show me to be correct, let me predict that the gay-haters won't exactly be conviced. The real question to ask is this: since there are more kids than parents willing to adopt them, is it preferable for a child to go unadopted than to be raised in a single-sex household?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Taking Sides

I just want to get this out there for the public record: if it's true that Dick Cheney is looking to pick a side in the civil war in Iraq, if it actually happens that US troops are ordered to align themselves with Shia forces and antagonize the Sunni, then that decision will eclipse even the original decision to invade Iraq in the breadth of its idiocy. It may even end up the single dumbest thing this country will ever do.

David Frum, Canadian

Earth to David Frum: Princess Diana is (was) NOT AN AMERICAN CITIZEN. Just to clarify, FISA laws only pertain to AMERICAN CITIZENS. If you are not an AMERICAN CITIZEN, then the American government can tap your phone all day long. Perhaps they shouldn't, but no law's being broken if they do. Again, spying on AMERICAN CITIZENS is very different from spying on NON-AMERICAN CITIZENS because doing the former is illegal and doing the latter is not governed by any existing US laws. Please no more "breaking" stories about how Jimmy Carter bugged the Shah of Iran's brick-phone, or how JFK bugged Khruschev's proto-pager. Why not? Because those stories are irrelevant because neither guy was an AMERICAN CITIZEN. Geez.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Public opinion

I'd love it if just one Democrat got on the TEE-VEE and declared in one of those split-screen debates that the other dude was an extremist for wanting to continue military engagement in Iraq. There is only one takeaway from this latest CBS poll. That the mainstream position is to bring the troops home immediately. This has actually been the case for a while now, but at this point you'd have to be seriously dense not to notice. The CW that only the Dirty F-ing Hippies, to use Atrios' phraseology, support immediate withdrawal from Iraq needs to be clubbed like a baby seal.


Interesting note: the word "pundit" comes from the Hindi word "pandit," which means "person esteemed for his or her wisdom and learning." I will now stop referring to these screen-tested bozos as pundits.

Not a pundit.


If the Democrats are going to seize the moral high ground on the corruption issue, they absolutely must go hard after this guy. To be honest, I'm glad he won, if for no other reason than now the Democrats have bipartisan cover if they decide to blitz Congress with a wave of corruption hearings. And I'm sure there are Democrats other than Jefferson that deserve to be pilloried, but none have been placed on the tee quite like the Member from Louisiana's 2nd congressional district.

Let down

The pundit class, claiming that the great mass of unwashed has in some way let its government down, keeps verbally shivving the American public for their lack of support for war. Leaving aside the more general question of whether it is even possible for a populace to let down its government, how could this be true? I wonder how it could be that I myself, now standing in as representative for the public, was the great obstacle between my (MY!) government and glorious victory in Iraq if I was NOT EVEN ASKED to support the war effort in any material way. I'm not talking about wilfully believing the propaganda and clapping loudly for my heroes and other such poppycock that these TV warriors think is important. I mean real, actual support like paying higher taxes, working longer hours, going without certain products, in other words, MOBILIZING FOR WAR. No one ever asked me to do this. No one, I don't believe, even suggested it. And if no one ever asked me to change my lifestyle in order to support a war effort, how on earth could I have ever let anyone down??? But instead of tax increases, we got tax cuts. Instead of rationing goods, we got orders to go shopping. We weren't being asked to support the war, WE WERE BEING ASKED TO IGNORE IT.

My answer would still have been no, by the way.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Going with my gut here, but I think Jared might be gaining some of the weight back. I just saw a commercial where it was he and Michael Strahan yukking it up about some crazy choice of toppings and I thought I detected a nascent (or resurrected?) double-chin.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


The soldier who blew the whistle on government approved torture at Abu Ghraib is reaping what is so often the reward for courage: the contempt of his peers.

Says Engelbach, "I agree that his actions…were no good and borderline traitor." He understands Darby was reporting a crime. "But do you put the enemy above your buddies? I wouldn’t."
I just can't get my head around the thought process of people who think that talking about or admitting a crime is worse than the crime itself. If you are a soldier, your duty is to defend America, not your buddies.

Blogger Beta

I switched. Not sure how much I like it. A bit easier on the eyes I think. The old font was too small and looking into a dark blue background gave me a headache after a while.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Terror = Hate crime

I've always been a little wary of how the word "terrorist" is used in common language these days. It mainly acts as an emotional trigger which, in many people, effectively switches off any normal expectation of due process. The case of Jose Padilla offers a pretty clear example. Once he was branded a terrorist, he was, in the minds of many Americans, properly relegated to an alternate system of justice. The idea seems to be: "Terrorists are evil enemies who do not deserve to participate in our legal system." The point is not that acts of terror aren't evil and destructive acts (they are), just that the climate is such today that when we say the word "terrorist" there is a fundamental shift in what many people regard to be the correct way to deal with the perpetrator. A jury trial is "too good" for such people. Send them to GITMO and beat the bejesus out of them.

This is odd to me, since I don't think many people have any complaint with how Timothy McVeigh was dealt with. Sure maybe you'd rather not the state have executed him, but the fairly unremarkable way in which his case proceeded through the legal system seemed to bother no one.

I'm interested to see how justice is done in the recent attempted mall bombing in Rockford, IL (hometown of Cheap Trick, by the way). The dude who's allegedly behind the plot has an Arabic sounding name, and was quoted in the article linked to above saying words like "jihad," "Allah," blah blah blah. So now he's not just any guy who wants to blow up a mall, he's a terrorist who wants to blow up the mall. He's gone from a common criminal to a guy we should send to Syria to be tortured for the inside dope on al Qaida.

Sometimes I wonder what the point of this distinction is. It this an important point to make? That he is acting for "religious" reasons? To me, the terrorist connection just means that this particular attempt at violence is in fact a hate crime. I've heard conservatives say that the reason they don't like the notion of the hate crime is because is has to do with intent. "We already have laws against murder," they say, "we don't need to legislate someone's thought process." I'd say that it has more to do with a latent hostility towards the typical recipients of hate crimes, but, whatever, that's just an opinion. Anyway, if introducing the notion of the hate crime is so bad, if that would be tantamount to the "thought police," then why so important to label a particular crime an "act of terror" rather than just a regular ol' violent act? Seems to me the intent behind the crime is very important indeed.

No Point

Shorter Jonah Goldberg:

The fact that my point isn't valid isn't the point.

Liberals V. Libertarians [Jonah Goldberg]

At the end of the day, they can't get along because liberals won't find this funny.

Please: No emails from liberals saying "Hey! I thought it was funny!" I'm illustrating a point here.

Quick! Someone tell Kos that the dream is dead!

This blog is based on a true story.