Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lies.

That last post was a lie. I am a liar.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Brace for re-entry

So, for the past few months I haven't been maintaing the blog and have been trying to avoid the internet in general as best I could. Now that summer is here and I am back home, I am going to get back to blogging. Most of my posts should be over on "tongue but no door", a group block that Anthony kindly invited me to join. This does not mean that the B of P is dead, I will still be updating this site too, possibly even cross posting from TBND.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Breaking Blog Silence

After viewing the "Fog of War" I predicted that Paul Wolfowitz would be the Robert McNamara of the Bush Administration. Bill Keller's favorable NY Timese Magazine profile of the Asst. Secretary of Defense makes Wolfowitz sound like a modern version of the Whiz Kids that managed the Vietnam War. Wolfowitz has now advanced one step further down the road to becoming Robert McNamara. President Bush has selected Paul Wolfwotiz to head up the World Bank (ABC News), a posistion that McNamara once occupied. It is only a matter of time before Wolfowitz is on film weepily recounting his awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Throwing Down

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has called Alan Greenspan out:
I'm not a big Greenspan fan -- Alan Greenspan fan. I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington. The fact of the matter is, he told us when we were in power and Clinton was president the biggest problem facing the American people was the deficit. And we did something about it. We, during the Clinton years, paid down the debt by about a half a trillion dollars.

Why doesn't he respond to the Republicans and tell them the big problem here is the debt that this administration is created? We had a $7 trillion surplus when Bush took office, now we have a $3 or $4 trillion deficit. That's, in fact, what Greenspan should be telling people.


In his youth Greenspan was an admirer of Ayn Rand and worked for an objectivist think tank. He has since devoted his career to advancing the objectivist agenda and has never missed an opportunity to hurt working Americans.* It is about time that someone called him out on this. Not surprisingly he is a loyal Republican, as indicated by his political donations. In addition to backing the first President Bush and Bob Dole (for senate), Greenspan has also given aid and comfort to Jesse Helms. You may remeber Helms as the most evil memeber of the US Senate untill his retirement in 2002. Helms was an unreconstructed segregationist and used race baiting advertisments to win his re-election campaign in 1992.

*Don't believe me? I have cartoons to back me up! They are available here and elsewhere.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Annoying People

"Jane Galt" identifies another irritating prostlyizer: the evangelical atheist. In a post yesterday, she wrote:

Anyone who's lived in a Blue State has probably encountered the problem of the Evangelical Atheist . . . the person who has discovered the Void and considers it their bounden duty to share their newfound joy with everyone around them, through force if necessary. Having lived in the born again Christian wing of my freshman dorm, I find that EA's, not fundamentalists, seem to be the undisputed champions of arrogant, intolerant, pig-headed religious boorishness. The fundamentalists who so earnestly tried to bring me into the fold were, after all, just trying to save me from an awful eternity in hell. The EA's are trying to save people from wasting two hours on Sunday morning. And no fundamentalist I've ever met has ever been so thoroughly oblivious to the possibility that they might be wrong.

The evangelical atheists truly are more annoying than evangelical Christians. The evangelical atheists do have one redeeming quality: they are relatively harmless. If they had their way than at worst we would have a pledge of allegiance that was shorter by a few words and a line no one ever reads removed from our currency. The same can not be said for the fundementalists, whose program is actually quite noxious, particulary with regards to non-symbolic issues like gay rights, foreign policy and book learnin'.

Low Pro

An excerpt from First Person, the "astonishingly frank self-portrait by Russia's President, Valdmir Putin", the produce of a series of interviews with the Philadelphia Inquirer:

There are reports that you took part in an operation called Lightbeam:
I don't know, exactly. I wasn't involved in it. I don't even know if it was executed or not...

Well, they wanted to portray you as a s super-spy. And you're denying everything. But then why did you get promoted?
For concrete results in my work-that's what it was called. Success was measured by the quantity of realized units of information. If you procuired information from the sources you had at your disposal, put it together, and sent it to the releveant offices, you would obtain the appropriate evaluations.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Wingnut Butter: X-tra Creamy

Via atrios:
Now we know where Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) thinks the weapons of mass destruction are buried: in Syria, which he said he’d like to nuke to smithereens.

Speaking at a veterans’ celebration at Suncreek United Methodist Church in Allen, Texas, on Feb. 19, Johnson told the crowd that he explained his theory to President Bush and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) on the porch of the White House one night.

Johnson said he told the president that night, “Syria is the problem. Syria is where those weapons of mass destruction are, in my view. You know, I can fly an F-15, put two nukes on ‘em and I’ll make one pass. We won’t have to worry about Syria anymore.”


Awhile back the Onion ran an article accussing Syria of harboring 15 million known arabs. It is very disturbing that we are getting to a point where that is no longer satire. Since this lunatic congressmen claims to have shared his depraved views with President Bush (in addition to advocating a crimes against humanity in a church), I wonder what our how our Commander-in-Chief responded. This kind of insanity needs to be dealt a crushing blow. Johnson ought to be censured by his colleagues and the President ought to vigorously denounce this man's remarks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Open Season

Now, I am against re-districting in theory, but I do like the sound of this:

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) has spoken with several Democratic governors in recent weeks about the possibility of revisiting their states' Congressional lines in response to the ongoing Republican-led redistricting in Georgia, according to informed party sources.

Faced with the prospect of Republicans redrawing Congressional lines in a third state since the initial 2001 round of redistricting ended, a faction of national Democrats is urging an aggressive strategy aimed at striking back at Republican House Members in states like New Mexico and Illinois.


Re-disticiting is another key reason why the Democrats must consolidate their power in the Blue states. Too many Democratic states, New York and California for example, have Republican governors. We need to destroy the Republican Party in these solidly Democratic states (just as the Democrats have been ruined in the South) and use them to gain control of the federal government. With new Democratic governors in these states we could probably cancel out any redistricting by the Republicans and maybe even make a net gain in the House of Representatives.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Wild Speculation

Another smashing victory in for nuclear non-proliferation:
Russian President Vladimir Putin, rejecting U.S. concerns that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, said Friday that Russia would continue to assist the Islamic Republic with nuclear and military projects....

Putin's comments, made less than a week before he and President Bush are due to meet in Bratislava, Slovakia, threaten to complicate Bush's efforts to get an international consensus on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program, a key goal of his European trip that begins Sunday...

In Washington, Bush and his senior aides offered a muted response to Putin's assertions.


Let's hope that our chips weren't cashed for the benefit of Bush's re-election when Putin quite bizzarley announced that he had warned the US about planned Iraqi terrorist attacks or when he declared that Bush's electoral defeat would be a victory for terrorism. Then again, maybe the White House isn't all that interested in halting Iran's weapons program through preventitive diplomatic action. After all, if they did that then they wouldn't get have Super War: Iran

An "E" For Effort

Powerline's John H. Hinderaker makes a sporting effort to mislead his readers about the nature of Bush's social security proposal in this post, but makes the fateful mistake of linking to an article from the Washington Post that contains actual facts. Hinderaker writes:

I'm one of the worst investors in the history of the world, and every decision I make about stocks turns out to be wrong. But, you know what? I still do far better saving for myself than I could ever do through Social Security. But that's OK, because the one fact that the Post somehow avoids mentioning is that the Bush administration's private account plan is entirely voluntary. That's right: If you're convinced that every investment you will ever make, no matter how conservative, will somehow turn out worse than burying cash in your back yard, not to worry: you can stay with the good old, impossibly lame, Social Security program forever.

This is a complete mischaracterization of the President's Social Security plan. Hinderaker makes it seem as if private accounts are a cost-free bonus that mean-spirited Democrats and America hating liberals are opposed to. What he completely ignores is the rather important point is that these private accounts are not cost free. Since these accounts would come from payroll taxes, they would weaken the entire social security system. Furthermore, to pay for the accounts the guaranteed benefits of the "good old, impossibly lame Social Security program" would be cut. As the Post notes:

Bush envisions the personal accounts generating enough profit from investments in stocks and bonds to offset future reductions in guaranteed benefits.

So, according to George W. Bush, the way to avoid having your living standards lowered by his plan is to invest in a personal account and hope that your investments work out. Yeah, that sounds pretty voluntary to me.

Not only does Hinderaker not bother with getting the facts of Bush's Social Security proposal right, but he also did not bother reading the article he linked to carefully. In an update to his original post he says:

Several readers have pointed out that, in its next to the last paragraph, the article does quote a White House official saying that "'no one is exposed to risk that does not want any risk' because the program is voluntary." But the rest of the article is premised on the idea that workers will be forced to assume risk...

Hopefully in the near future he will add another correction that recognizes the fact that Bush's program actually basically does force workers to assume more risk. If the Fearless Leader is willing to acknowledge this, why can't Hinderaker?

Latest and Greatest

The following are the results to a gallup poll that asked respodent who they thought was the greatest American president:

1) Ronald Reagan
2) Bill Clinton
3) Abraham Lincoln
4) Franklin D. Roosevelt
5) John F. Kennedy

Reagan's rise in the rankings is a recent development. In previous polls Ronald Reagan was consistently outpolled by Abraham Lincoln. There is more unsetteling news in this poll besides Ronald Reagan's rating as the greatest president. Reagan's ascendence shows just how effective the conservative campaign to promote Reagan has been. Reagan was not all that popular while he was President of the United States and in the first few years after his presidency he was less popular than when he was President. Though he was not ranked among the top ten, George W. Bush did beat Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Election Reform

Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and other Democrats have come out in favor in some major changes regarding elections in this country. In addition to creating a federal holiday for voting, the bill would:

_Require paper receipts for votes.

_Authorize $500 million to help states make the changes in voting systems and equipment.

_Allow ex-felons to vote. Currently an estimated 4.7 million Americans are barred from voting because of their criminal records.

_Require adoption of the changes in time for the 2006 election.


These measures would increase the number of people who could vote and would vote in future elections and make election results more accurate and trustworthy. In addition to this bill being good policy, it is also good politics. Elections reform is probably a winning issue and by putting forth a policy agenda during non-election years, the Democrats help to build public awareness of the party's identity and principles.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Slander!

Via atrios I have come to learn that Time Magazine's "blog of the year", Powerline has made a truly shocking discovery:

Jimmy Carter isn't just misguided or ill-informed. He's on the other side.

How did the star spangled-men of Powerline learn of the treasonous tendencies of America's most active ex-president? According to Powerline it was quite elementary, he failed to praise President Bush sufficiently for the elections in Iraq and expressing concern in September about the threat the security situation in Iraq posed to the elections. If mild skepticism is enough to make someone a fifth columnist, then the Powerline Patriots must be enraged by the President's well known hostility towards elections in Iraq and his entirely unnecessary delay of the Iraqi elections. Then again, Bush's attempt to thwart democracy from coming to Iraq was literally months ago and anyway, as Commander-In-Chief he has the constitutionally granted power to define reality.

Slander!

Via atrios I have come to learn that Time Magazine's "blog of the year", Powerline has made a truly shocking discovery:

Jimmy Carter isn't just misguided or ill-informed. He's on the other side.

How did the star spangled-men of Powerline learn of the treasonous tendencies of America's most active ex-president? According to Powerline it was quite elementary, he failed to praise President Bush sufficiently for the elections in Iraq and expressing concern in September about the threat the security situation in Iraq posed to the elections. If mild skepticism is enough to make someone a fifth columnist, then the Powerline Patriots must be enraged by the President's well known hostility towards elections in Iraq and his entirely unnecessary delay of the Iraqi elections. Then again Bush's attempt to thwart democracy from coming to Iraq was literally months ago and anyway, as Commander-In-Chief he has the constitutionally granted power to define reality.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Self Promotion

The radio show I share with my hallmate will premier this thursday at 3 AM. You can listen here.

So sin-surr

North Korea now claims that it is a nuclear power and has withdrawn from disarmarment negotitations. The Bush Administration has decided to continue with its policy of steely eyed moral clarity and diplomatic calamity and has refused to make any concessions to North Korea. Instead the White House believes that the DPRK can be pressured into agreeing to American demands for a return to six party talks by cracking down on illegal activities being carried out by the North Koreans. Tremendous casualties didn't break them during the Korean war and millions of famine deaths during the 1990's did nothing to dent the determination of North Korea's government, but maybe after hearing the President's strongly worded and idealistic inaguaral address the communists have gone soft. There is a chance that for some reason George W. Bush's potent combination of tough talk and dithering might not lead North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program. In that case, we can count on our foolproof national missile defense system to protect us.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Deanmania

Check out Dean Friedman's latest creation, a flash cartoon set to his new song four more years". It is like a bitterly partisan jib-jab.

The West Is Red

Poll: Tap wealthy on Social Security
Most Americans are willing to endorse painful steps to ensure Social Security's long-term solvency — steps that nick the rich, that is.

Two-thirds of those surveyed by USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup last weekend say it would be a "good idea" to limit retirement benefits for the wealthy and to subject all wages to payroll taxes. Now, annual earnings above $90,000 aren't taxed.


Class warfare: It works!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

NY To Join The League of Satan

Same-Sex Marriage Case Wins in New York City
Today, a New York trial judge handed down an unprecedented ruling that says the state must grant gay and lesbian couples the right to marriage. The court's decision, stemming from a case filed by Lambda Legal, a national LGBT civil rights organization, on behalf of five plaintiff couples, says that the state's constitution guarantees gay men and lesbians the same basic freedoms available to straight couples.
If these activists judges keep taking terms like "equality" so literally instead of realizing that they don't apply to unpopular minorities something will have to be done! More decisions in favor of gay marriage/civil unions at the local and state level will keep the issue alive and will likely put pressure on the Republican leadership to have another go at trying to pass the dreadful Federal Marriage Amendment. If they don't they risk alienating a significant portion of their base, but if they do they will have less political capital to expend on their favored projects. I am not sure that is a pickle they want to be in.

Anti-Western Leftism Conquers The Western World

Certain conservatives, like the infamous Instapundit have taken to claiming that there exists a faction within in the West that is opposed to Western values and cite Ted Kennedy's suggestion that the US prepare a timetable to leave Iraq and some loathsome professor as examples of this threat to our civilization. Matthew Yglesias offers an clever critique of this view that pretty much demolishes such claims.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

ITEM!

The White House Maybe Being Less Than Forthright In Its Dealings With the Press
The Boston Globe reports:
The Bush administration has provided White House media credentials to a man who has virtually no journalistic background, asks softball questions to the president and his spokesman in the midst of contentious news conferences, and routinely reprints long passages verbatim from official press releases as original news articles on his website.

Jeff Gannon calls himself the White House correspondent for TalonNews.com, a website that says it is "committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news coverage to our readers." It is operated by a Texas-based Republican Party delegate and political activist who also runs GOPUSA.com, a website that touts itself as "bringing the conservative message to America."

...Now, the question of how Gannon gets into White House press conferences is coming under intense scrutiny from critics who contend that Gannon is not a journalist but rather a White House tool to soften media coverage of Bush. The issue was raised by a media watchdog group and picked up by Internet bloggers, who linked Gannon's presence in White House briefings to recent controversies over whether the administration manipulates the flow of information to the public.


Creating a fake publication that is nothing but a front for a Republican PR operation? How underhanded! What is next? Bribing journalists with federal funds?

Monday, January 31, 2005

A Garden With A Fertile Plot & Party That Will Never Stop

From the Sunday Times:
Far across the frozen river two figures hurried from the North Korean shore, slip-sliding on the ice as they made a break for the Chinese riverbank to escape a regime that, by many accounts, is now entering its death throes.
The article goes on the speculate that Kim may have already been secretly deposed by a military clique and that there are many other signs that the government is losing control (including the possibility that the massive railyard blast that took place last year was actually an assassination attemot). Some hardliners will press for a regime change strategy to deal with the North Koreans based on these accounts. However, that is a risky move. It could be that Kim Jong-il or at least people not a whole different from Kim will continue to rule the DPRK. Therefore we should continue to try and negotiate in order to deal with North Korea's nuclear weapons program. If the rumors are true and the government is falling apart, it should make it so that the North Koreans are more open to a deal. If the rumors are fals or if the government is able to stay in control, then at least we have not alientated them by acting too aggressively and grad bargain will still be possible.

Maniacs

The following appeared as a post on National Review's weblog, The Corner, under the title "SUDETENLAND, U.S.A.":

Several papers reported on the Mexican foreign minister’s threat that if American courts don’t overturn Arizona’s Proposition 200 (which requires proof of citizenship to vote and proof of legal status to receive public benefits) Mexico may take the issue to an international human rights tribunal. This is one more example of the Mexican government’s long-term strategy of extending its reach into the United States, not so much to control territory as to share sovereignty, and assert a veto over any federal, state, or local government policy that in any way affects people of Mexican (or any Hispanic) ancestry...

How unfair! The US ever tried to infringe upon the sovereignty of Mexico. No, Neber. Have you ever seen a more revolting bunch of Nazis? After all, only Nazis would would dare do something so dastardly as pester the United States with their trifling concerns about the welfare of their insignifcant people. Don't they know that Mexicans don't have rights?

Light at the end of the tunnel?

The removal of the United Iraq Alliance's anti-occupation plank from its platform just before the election looked as if it would mean that American military could be in Iraq indefinetly. That may not be the case, though. Falah al-Naqib, the Iraqi interior minister and member of Prime Minister Illayd Allawi's party, has told British television that he expects US troops to be out in 18 months. Of course this is more of prediction than an actual time table for withdrawl, but it the Interior Minister's statement is important since it sets up a yardstick. Whether or not the target can be reached really depends on how quickly Iraqi forces can be trained and so far the news on that front is not very encouraging.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Tax-And-Spend

Fox Reports:
Lawmakers trying to plump up the bottom line are considering a "vanity tax" (search) on cosmetic surgery and Botox injections in Washington, Illinois and other states.
As a socialist out to destroy the American way of life I support any and all progressive tax hikes, particularly when the revenues will be used to support anti-poverty programs, as is the case in Washington. This story makes me wonder if selective luxury taxes targeted at the upper brackets might be more politically viable than income or property tax hikes. It might be more effective to target the emblems of wealth and status instead of targeting the wealthy directly. By going after such purchases cultural conservatives associate with Holywood liberals we could have an opportunity to broaden our coalition. What sort of red-blooded red stater wouldn't rally to cause of taxing specialtity coffee drinks, summer homes, limousines and fashionable, small, yippy dogs?

The Big Day

The elections in Iraq are set to take place on Sunday, which has technically already begun in Baghdad. Knight Ridder provides a simple guide to the elections, complete with with information on the the different slates vying for power.

Got 'em

The payola/propaganda scandal, which started with Amstrong Williams, has grown even larger. Now it is being reported that a syndicated columinist named Michael McManus was subcontracting for the Department of Health and Human Services and never disclosed his connection to the government. McManus helped the DHHS with a marriage initiative and promoted the intitiative he had worked on his columns.

The Democrats really ought to beat this story to death. The payola scandal represents an excellent opportunity to expose wrongdoing, tie the GOP to abuse of power government corruption, discredit the conservative punditry and shut down a patronage program for Republican hacks in the media. The "Stop Government Propaganda Act" is a good start, but we are very far from total saturation.

The Press should be making a much bigger deal out of this, too. The Administration is soiling their profession and yet there is a chance that the guilty parties will get away with it. Additionally, I thought it was the job of the media to protect the public from the excesses and crimes powerful instead of rewording politicians' press releases and writing about that squirrel that can water ski.

Another Gonzales?

George W. Bush's new nominee for the Dept. of Homeland Security has been found to have been consulted the CIA on interrogation techniques:


Michael Chertoff, who has been picked by President Bush to be the homeland security secretary, advised the Central Intelligence Agency on the legality of coercive interrogation methods on terror suspects under the federal anti-torture statute, current and former administration officials said this week...

Asked about the interaction between the C.I.A. and Mr. Chertoff, now a federal appeals court judge in Newark, Erin Healy, a White House spokeswoman, said, "Judge Chertoff did not approve interrogation techniques as head of the criminal division."...

One current and two former senior officials with firsthand knowledge of the interaction between the C.I.A. and the Justice Department said that while the criminal division did not explicitly approve any requests by the agency, it did discuss what conditions could protect agency personnel from prosecution....

...Mr. Chertoff opposed some aggressive procedures outright, the officials said. At one point, they said, he raised serious objections to methods that he concluded would clearly violate the torture law. While the details remain classified, one method that he opposed appeared to violate a ban in the law against using a "threat of imminent death."


The Senate better be aggressive in investigating exactly what Chertoff's currently secret recommendations are. If it turns out that he approved of methods that went too far, methods that any person with common sense would consider torture, then his nomination should be resisted with the same vigor that is being shown in resisting the nomination of Alberto Gonzales.

Monday, January 24, 2005

The F-Team

This isn't good:
The Pentagon has created a new spying agency that has already been operating secretly in Iraq and Afghanistan for two years.

The unit, called the Strategic Support Branch, has also been in operation in other places sources would not disclose, the Washington Post said, citing documents and interviews with participants...

The secret spying organization is designed to provide Rumsfeld with tools to conduct so-called human intelligence tasks, such as interrogation of prisoners and recruitment of foreign spies.

Recruited agents may include "notorious figures" whose association with the US government would be embarrassing if revealed, the Post said, citing a Pentagon memo.

I have the sinking feeling that this super secret spy agency (which seems to have had no oversight from anyone outside the administration) is responsible for a lot of electrode-on-genital action. An agency that is under the control of Donald Rumsfeld, uses "notorious figures" and operates (it would seem) without congressional oversight cannot be up to anything good. Given the record of Rumsfeld's other "secret" intellignce group, the Office of Special Plans, which basically manufactured intelligence on Saddam's WMD program, it is unlikely that the this other agency has accomplished anything useful.

Correction: I have misunderestimated this Strategic Support Branch. According to an article I read after writing this post, the agency helped capture Saddam Hussein, so in fact it has accomplished something. However, having such a unaccountable, secret agency remains a bad idea. I regret the error, which has revealed how lazy and prejudiced I am.

NY Post Post

In an editorial today (via Mattew Yglesias) the New York Post expressed its deeply held belief that ignorance is strength:

Talk about adding insult to injury: Doubleday Broadway — a New York-based imprint in Bertelsmann's Random House domain — plans to promote the works of the world's most evil twosome: Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.

No kidding: As soon as perhaps next year, a collection of the deadly duo's hate-filled writings, translated into English, will be turned into a book, tentatively called "Al Qaeda Reader," and bound for a bookstore near you...

Bertelsmann is serving al Qaeda's ends by publishing and promoting its rantings.


Sadly, the wingnut potential of this editorial was completely wasted. Here was a golden opportunity to demand that someone be sent to Guantanamo Bay for printing something the Post didn't like, since it is the logical extension of the first part of the editorial. but the cowards on the Post's editorial board decided to back down and takes a reasonable posistion:

Then why, if this is to be a public service, hasn't the company explicitly refused to take any profits from the book?

That's what Houghton Mifflin did in publishing Hitler's "Mein Kampf." Instead of pocketing profits, that company channels them to anti-hate groups.


All that huffing and puffing about aiding the enemy only to meekly suggest that Doubleday deny itself the profits from its book? Honestly, I expected more from the newspaper that brought us the "Axis of Weasel"

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Billionaires for Liberalism

From The Foward:
A handful of ultra-wealthy Jewish liberals are resolving to do battle with conservatives by providing a big infusion of cash to progressive think tanks and idea mills.

New York-based financier George Soros, Cleveland insurance king Peter Lewis and Oakland, Calif., banking magnates Herb and Marian Sandler made the pledge at a meeting in San Francisco last month.

The new pledge to support liberal causes represents a potentially important infusion into the coffers of the Democratic policy establishment, which generally has failed to keep pace with the massive investments that Republicans have made during the past quarter-century into their intellectual infrastructure, including two influential Washington-based conservative think tanks: the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute.

The question of how to spend the promised funds is likely to become a part of the wider fight within the party over whether to pursue more liberal or centrist policies.


The fact that wealthy liberals are interested in helping to build a center-left counter-establishment is very encouraging. Campaign contributions are not everything and the Forces of the Right enjoy a tremendous built in advantage from the existence of propaganda outlets likes like the NY Post, Fox News and Talk Radio and the nebulea of conservative think tanks. I just hope that the money in question will not be invested primarily in developing "new ideas", at least with regards to policy, because that is not what the Democrats need. In a general sense, we already have the right ideas (tolerance, economci justice and a foreign policy based on our values, interests and an understanding of the limits of our power) and money doesn't really need to be put down in order to make them better. The past 12 years have show very clearly that progressive program works and conservative one doesn't. The real issue is selling our ideas. The folks at the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute aren't paid to come up with creative policy solutions, they are paid to promote the policy posistions (taxs cuts good, poor people lazy, free markets magical, etc.) that the the Republican party has had for decades. Any successful liberal counterweight will have to be more hackish than academic. If the billionaire liberals mentioned in this article are feeling particularly generous, they ought to make substantial investments in new media ventures as well, a move which would greatly amplify their support in other areas.

The Blogs of War Don't Capitulate!

Attention blog readers: web renound warblogger Tim Blair has struck another decisive blow against islamofacism and the MSM (Mainstream Media, for those not in the know)! In his latest daring venture, the couragaeous Mr. Blair reads an article from that anti-American organ, the Washington Post, and gives an angry muslim man the fisking of a lifetime. I am sure that irrate Iraqi is bound to log onto the internet at any moment, read that devasting blog post and realize how foolish he is being. Exposing the objectively pro-Saddam slant of the Press and defeating the Iraqi Insurgency is all in a days work for the pajama clad heroes of the blogosphere.

A Chill In The Air

Looks like there are some real genuises at work over at News Corp:
Fox says it covered up the naked rear end of a cartoon character recently because of nervousness over what the Federal Communications Commission will find objectionable.

The latest example of TV network self-censorship because of FCC concerns came a few weeks ago during a rerun of a "Family Guy" cartoon. Fox electronically blurred a character's posterior, even though the image was seen five years ago when the episode originally aired.


That doesn't make any sense at all. Cartoon nudity has been common for many years and I doubt there is a single instance of a broadcaster being fined by the FCC because of it. Furthermore, it strikes me as rather odd that someone wouldn't take offense to the substance of "Family Guy" (a show which reguarly makes fun of assorted minority groups and cracks some of the most indecent jokes on television) and yet would be so bothered by the presence of Peter Griffin's cartoon ass that they would file a complaint with the Federal Government.

Full disclosure:I think "Family Guy" is great and cannot wait untill Cartoon Network starts making new episodes in May. I just hope they don't mess it hope.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Clever

Poll: Nation split on Bush as uniter or divider

"Time" Magazine Takes A Contrarian View

In "What The President Reads" from the Jan. 17th issue of Time, the newsweekly attempts to cover for the President's famous lack of curiosity. However, they blow their attemtp to puff Bush in the very first sentence: George Bush is famously anti-intellectual. But he seeks out authors who share his views and looks for reassurance. That last clause completely validates charges of anti-intellectualism. Even the most hyperbolic Bush basher is like to admit, however grudgingly, that George Bush is capable for reading and it is likely that he has at least read a few books (or at least the blurbs of a few dustjackets). This does not make him an intellectual or a person interetested in ideas. A serious person does not read just to confrim his prejudices. Reading books simply to reassure yourself of your rightness doesn't make you deep, it just makes you a wanker.

Update:Reading the newspaper only for the sports page and demanding that you are only told the good news about your war also means that you are a wanker, The Greatest of All Time, in fact.

Yet Another Update:< What has happened to Time? Time is suppose to be the top news magazine, but Newsweek and the New Yorker (which is a monthly and not really a news magazine) are scooping them around the clock. All they seem capable of is publishing mash notes for that Long Not-So-Tall Texan they seem to fancy.

ITEM: I Still Hate David Brooks

From dabrook's latest column:
The Social Security debate has exposed interesting differences within the Democratic Party between those who are inspired by Bill Clinton and those who are inspired by - wait for it - Newt Gingrich.

Oh, how clever! What an ironic twist! Now I understand where Mr. Brooks is paid the big bugs. That kind of material doesn't just write itself. Never mind that Brook's article is completely wrong headed. In the remainder of his essay David Brooks explains why vigorously opposing the President's plan to partially privatizing, bankrupt the federal government and ream future retirees would do little to help the Democrats politically. Brook's analysis pretty well sums up his world view. The notion that the Democrats might be remotely interested in social justice and want adopt Gingrich-esque tactics to defend it for that does not seem to enter Brook's head. Politics for Brooks is not so much about the implementing a good policies (or in this case, protecting good policies), because good policy is desireable in itself, but rather about gaining and holding power for its in own sake. And to rip off an device from Brooks (the silly analogy), I would like to note that Brooks is much different from New Gingrich, since Gingrich had (unsound) principles and a lot more like Bush's doughfaced political advisor, Karl Rove.

WWJD?

According to UPI that in addition to considering employing death squads, the US is has now embraced collective punishment as tool to enrage Arab public opinion further comabt the Iraqi insrugency. Remember that "moral clarity" business? Back before certain leaders in the government decided that torture was okay? Back Before we started harming people because they were very vaguely associated an other group of people we didn't like? Yeah, I missed the Clinton era, too.

Oh, the Hilarity

To quote a great former blogger, "well sirs, it is blogging time." I would like to take today's "blogging time" to promote McSweeney's. McSweeney's is an internet humor site that is home to "Unused Audio Commentary By Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky Recorded Summer 2002, For 'The Fellowship of The Ring'".

Rice Grilla

Rice grilled on Iraq, Mideast
">Rice grilled on Iraq, Mideast

Rice faced sometimes heated questioning from Democratic lawmakers who sought her positions on the war in Iraq.

A good start, but clearly the grilling is not intense enough. It is time the Dems turn up the heat. When Rice thinks she can make state my like "I do believe that he got good military advice, and I do believe that the plan and the forces that we went in with were appropriate to the task," without being laughed or shouted out of the place, then clearly she is being treated to kindly. The Opposistion needs to take some ice grilling tips from this man:


Undertoe

Every trime I try to quit blogging, they pull me back in. By "they" of course I mean you, "Bob", the psuedononymous commenter. It isn't like an egomaniac like myself can stay away from the is webloggery business for very long anyway.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Firsting

When they say, "America First"
They mean "Americans next"

Monday, January 03, 2005

In Westchester NY, of all places.

Everyone talks about swing states, but for the most part we ignored the “swing districts” in 2004. The presidential election was just too exciting for us to take our eyes off it.

I never thought that my absentee ballot would cast a vote in one of the closest and hardest fought elections of the year. I also never would have guessed that the election for state Senate would be the closest on my ballot. I remember going to Albany for a certain LWV essay contest and being told that sitting members of the state legislature are more likely to be indicted than defeated in an election. Despite gerrymandering up the wazoo, things just seemed to fall apart for republicans in the State Senate. They lost several seats, and possibly another if Stewart-Cousins can close the 58 vote gap in court. Spano, like certain other politicians, chose to challenge every likely democratic vote he could. It’s a sad state when vote fishing involves convincing judges, not the citizens themselves.

The nature of many of the challenged votes indicates that Spano is clearly not honestly concerned with fraud. He simply is on a search for technicalities that can disqualify his opponents votes. For example, the votes of poll workers who used absentee ballots even though they were not technically out of the county are being disputed (specifically democrats in Yonkers). Workers who are assigned to a polling place other than their own have followed this practice unchallenged for many years.

At least I know I voted for the better candidate. I just hope my ballot isn’t “lost” in the mail. Maybe there were too many ‘D’s in my party registration.

For the latest news:
http://www.dscc.net/show.php?page=news

Friday, December 24, 2004



Thursday, December 23, 2004

Poland Heading Off The Reservation

From the Wall St. Journal, via Brand DeLong:
Opinion polls show a big majority of Poles want their troops out of Iraq and also want Europe to have a common defense policy, something Washington views as a possible threat to the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization...

"America failed its exam as a superpower," says Lech Walesa, the former Solidarity trade-union leader who became Poland's first post-Communist president. "They are a military and economic superpower but not morally or politically anymore. This is a tragedy for us."...

"We shed our blood for them but they don't treat us well," says Mr. Walesa, who visited the U.S. this fall to meet officials and politicians.


President Bush may have ignored the desires of our Polish allies, but at least he didn't forget about them during the first presidential debate. Not getting a special televised shout-out from the Commander-In-Chief would have really upset them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Catching On?

Four months after George W. Bush made destroying "reforming" social security a top priority for his second term in office during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, the media is finally noticing a rather important bit of information that has long been overlooked: "Bush Short on Social Security Details". It would have been nice if they could have done that during the campaign, but they never bothered. Even now, as we draw ever closer to actually implementing (or derailing) social security privitization, I am worried that the fact there is no actual plan for privitization and other important facts (the absence of a social security crisis for example), will get overshadowed by the War On Chistmas and other matters not worth the attention of any thinking person. The media's track record is far from reassuring when it comes to things like this.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Shorter Donald Rumsfeld

Great men have been criticized in the past. I am being criticized now and therefore I must be great.

Message: Rumsfeld Cares

The President's defense of his Secretary of Defense (and by association, his own policies) has grown even more pathetic:
Accused of being insensitive to U.S. soldiers in Iraq and their families, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld received a fresh endorsement Monday from President Bush, who called him "a caring fellow."

"I have heard the anguish in his voice and seen his eyes when we talk about the danger in Iraq and the fact that youngsters are over there in harm's way," Bush said at a White House news conference....

"I know Secretary Rumsfeld's heart," Bush said. "I know how much he cares for the troops," adding that Rumsfeld and his wife visit hospitalized soldiers "all the time to provide comfort and solace."

He said beneath Rumsfeld's "rough and gruff, no-nonsense demeanor is a good human being who cares deeply about the military and deeply about the grief that war causes."


First we were told that Donald Rumsfeld was "the best secretary of defense the United States ever had", now he is just "caring fellow". This is a particularly unoriginal move by President Bush, who played the compassion card to defend himself when his own job was in trouble. If Rumsfeld is as caring as Bush says he is, perhaps he should leave the Defense Department and spend the rest of his days as a counselor to thousands left in grief by his war.


Note: My closing suggestion was shamelessly lifted from here.

Gambling on immigration

The reputable and always objective mooninite mouthpiece, the Washington Times, reports:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is staking out a position on illegal immigration that is more conservative than President Bush, a strategy that supporters and detractors alike see as a way for the New York Democrat to shake the "liberal" label and appeal to traditionally Republican states...
In an interview last month on Fox News, Mrs. Clinton said she does not "think that we have protected our borders or our ports or provided our first responders with the resources they need, so we can do more and we can do better."
    In an interview on WABC radio, she said: "I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants."
    "Clearly, we have to make some tough decisions as a country, and one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry-and-exit system so that if we're going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let's have a system that keeps track of them," she said.
    Unlike many pro-business Republicans, Mrs. Clinton also has castigated Americans for hiring illegal aliens.


Even though controlling illegal immigration might be a good policy if it is done in a way that is both humane and effective, it is probably not an issue the Democrats ride back into power on. Pushing to hard and too gracelessly on this front could helpthe Republicans consolidate their gains among hispanic voters. It also seems unlikely that Democrats with anti-immigrant views are actually going to win the votes of red state voters. The Republicans have built in advantage in this area and it is unlikely that the Democrats, especially a Democrat like Hillary Clinton, can take it away from them. Putting aside the some what disadvantages that Hillary suffers from, a North Easterner probably won't have the cultural credibility with red state voters to successfully use immigration reform as a wedge issue.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Nerd Power

Virtual gaming worlds overtake Namibia

"You may think that when you spend time in online game worlds such as Everquest or Star Wars Galaxies, you are just enjoying yourself.

But analysis of how long people spend in the games and what they do there has shown that game-playing has a significant economic value too.

According to the analysis this gaming activity has a gross economic impact equivalent to the GDP of the Southern African nation of Namibia."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3570224.stm

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Unilateral Disarmament

San Francisco Supervisors Propose Gun Ban
City residents will vote next year on a proposed weapons ban that would deny handguns to everyone except law enforcement officers, members of the military and security guards.

If passed next November, residents would have 90 days to give up firearms they keep in their homes or businesses. The proposal was immediately dismissed as illegal by a gun owners group.


If this ban passes it will only be a matter of time before the King of England walks into San Fransico and starts shoving its citizen around.

More Bollocks

Bernard Kerik's nomination for head of Homeland Security was withdrawn, at least officially, because Kerik hired an illegal immigrant to be a nanny. However, it could be that the nanny never existed in the first place and the real reaon the former NYPD commissioner's nomination was cancelled was because he was terrible, terrible choice thanks to an impressive combination of ethical lapses and incompetence. If that is the case, than the killing of Kerik's nomination is a real surprise, I thought immorality and incompetence were job requirements for officials in this Administration.

Noblesse Oblige

Jenna Bush plans to teach at school for low-income kids
President Bush's daughter Jenna will live in Washington and teach at a public school serving low-income children. Jenna Bush, 22, graduated last spring from the University of Texas with a degree in English.

I am sure Ms. Bush will make an excellent role model for underprivelleged youth.



Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Just "A Few Bad Apples"

Or systematic torture:

Newly released U.S. Navy documents portray a series of abuse cases stretching beyond Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison where photos surfaced this year of U.S. troops forcing prisoners - often naked - to pose in humiliating positions.

The files released Tuesday document a crush of abuse allegations, most from the early months of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, including U.S. Marines forcing Iraqi juveniles to kneel while troops discharge a weapon in a mock execution and the use of an electric shock on a prisoner.


Not only are these practices barbaric, but (as has been noted before) they are ineffective, too:

Early in the Bush administration's detention of foreign terrorism suspects, FBI agents told Pentagon officials that the military's harsh interrogation tactics in Cuba would produce "unreliable results," according to documents released Tuesday.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Never Mind The Bollocks

Bernard Kerik, who I discussed in a recent post, has withdrawn his nomination for the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to being very illiberal and not terribly qualified Kerik also hired an illegal immigrant and so like Linda Chavez before him is out of the running. If a man with as many problems as Kerik was the Administration's first choice I wonder what kind of character they will dredge up for that posistion now. I hear Zell Miller, who judging by his speech at the Republican Covention believes that running against George W. Bush is close to treason, is looking for work...

As an aside, I find it odd how worked up certain conservatives can get worked up over those Evil Illegal Immigrants, but don't really have anything to say about the inviduals and businesses that have a vested interest in illegal immigration since it provides them with cheap exploitable labor. You would think that tolerating massive lawbreaking so that you can take advantage of people with no legal rights and use the money you save to buy yourself something nice would be slightly worse than exposing yourself to tremendous risk in order to escape grinding poverty and build a new life in a new country. Yet for some reason that is not that is not the case. I am not talking about Kerik (or Chavez) here specifically, I have no idea how either of treated their illegal employees or what their intentions were. It is just strikes as very wrong that NewsMax would described Bernard Kerik as a "victim", while they probably view his nanny and people like her as some of the greatest villans of our age, on par with gay couples willing to give a home to orphans or Iraqi torture victims.

Edited for greater bitterness.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Science Rules!

Scientists have discovered how to harness brainwaves, through the use of electrode covered caps, allowing people to move a cursor on computer screen. How fuckin cool is that?! And whats more, they said that after a little practise they got good at it, so I think we can be fairly certain that they will be able to come up with some really cool systems using this technology. Imagine the new videogames we are going to have!

check the article out at news.nationalgeographic.com

Item: Evil Jews out to destroy Christianity

Blogstar Josh Micah Marshal has noted that William Donahue, President of the Catholic League For Religious And Civil Rights is gunning for the Jews:
Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. That's why they hate this movie. It's about Jesus Christ, and it's about truth. It's about the messiah. Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common.

I wonder if Donahue believes are the same Jews (or perhaps The Eternal Jew) responsible for the death of Christ. I am also curious as to whether or not self-made anti-semitism watch dog David Brooks will condemn William Donahue for his remarks. Since Donahue's organization has purchased ads on the op-ed page of the NY Times it seems that Brooks might have a special obligation to this. Or maybe he'll just direct us to someone who holds the same bigoted views as William Donahue, but expresses them in a more sublte, high brow fashion. It wouldn't be the first time he has done something like that.

Real Ultimate Authoritarianism

You learn a lot of things reading the paper. Today I learned about Bernard B. Kerik, the man George W. Bush wants to lead the Department of Homeland of Security. Mr. Kerik believes (or at least has said) that "Political criticism is our enemy's best friend", "Loyalty to his patrons" is one of his calling cards and keeps a picture of Oliver North (a man who defended his role in the Iran-Contra scandal on the grounds that there is a higher law that the constitution) in his office. Kerik also came up the hard way. It seems Mr. Kerik has a lot in common with Bush appointee for Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez, who also had humble beginnings and in his previous job as White House counsel wrote memos justifying torture. On the basis of this information, I'd like to say that I am glad that the government's main domestic security agencies are in the hands of such upright, unquestionably competent>men and that their selection is another brillian move by the our infinitely wise President.

Consumers Are Stupid

Consumers Cheer Up, Wholesale Prices Rise
The University of Michigan's December consumer survey rose to 95.7, its highest since August. Wall Street had forecast the index, a closely-watched measure of consumer sentiment, at 93.5 against 92.8 in November..."

Earlier the government reported that wholesale prices for November climbed unexpectedly in the wake of mounting energy costs, buttressing the Federal Reserve (news - web sites)'s case for higher interest rates to keep inflation at bay.


Our oil producing friends are not coming to the rescue either:

"OPEC agreed Friday to reduce output by one million barrels a day in hopes of staving off further price declines without triggering a new buying frenzy, delegates said."

Best of all the dollar is decline so oil (and other imports) will cost more and new cases of unemployment are surprisingly high! We truly are living in the best of all possible worlds.

Happy Happy Happy

Apparently the soldier that asked Rumsfeld why there was a shortage of up-armored humvees in Iraq had the question suggested to him by a reporter. As we know, reporters are all partisan Democrats that are hell bent of destroying the president. Also, for some reason combat hardened soldiers are easily bullied into saying things they don't mean by notebook wielding English majors. It follows then that the question was not meant to address an actual problem facing American forces in Iraq, but rather to embolden our enemies. We can safely conclude then that everything is going according to plan, the Pentagon has not made any serious mistakes and there is absolutely nothing wrong in the beautiful land of Iraq, a country that has a future so bright that its citizens must wear shades and which is so prosperous that these sunglasses were made by the hottest new designer and were imported directly from Milan.

T: For Time To Leave

This post by Spencer Ackerman suggests that the insurgency is wearing out its welcome thanks to its intimidation of local populations and holds out that the possibility that a bid to restore order by an elected government in Iraq could have popular support. If that is true we probably ought to leave Iraq soon, since the presence of American forces hasn't been able to stop the insurgency and maybe preventing effective counter-insurgency from taking place.

Party off

25 Bowling Green Students Seek Legal Action
Twenty-five college students cited under the city's new nuisance party law say it's unconstitutional.

The ordinance allows police to shut down a party and cite the hosts if illegal activity such as underage alcohol consumption or disorderly conduct is taking place.

But the lawyer for Student Legal Services at Bowling Green State University, who is representing the students, says the law is vague and arbitrary and violates students' rights of free assembly and due process.


As a self-hating student, I fully endorse anything that infringes on the rights of college students, particulary if these said college students are irritating decent, productive memebrs of society. As Deputy police Chief Gary Spencer said in the article:

"if people would obey the law, if they would pee indoors, if they would leave their neighbors alone, it wouldn't be an issue."

Amen.

Furthermore, all spring break hot spots should be razed. I know it will cause some damage to the local economy, so I think it is only fair that those that formerly worked in these hot spots be given copies of dorm keys so that might engage in some "instant socialism" at the expense of their former clients.

For Serious?

The Bush administration, saying that religion ``has played a defining role'' in the nation's history, urged the U.S. Supreme Court to permit Ten Commandments displays in courthouses.

The Justice Department today filed a brief supporting two Kentucky counties accused of violating the constitutional ban on government establishment of religion by posting framed copies of the Ten Commandments.

``Official acknowledgement and recognition of the Ten Commandments' influence on American legal history comport with the Establishment Clause,'' the administration argued in a brief filed with the court in Washington.

-Bloomberg

This whole "historical importance" of the Commandments is complete nonsense. The only influence the Commandments have had on the American legal system is a negative one, our system was consciously made to not be the theocratic model set by the commandments.

Honestly, I have trouble understanding people who feel the need to have the government recognize their faith. Not enforce it, those people I can understand, even though I think that they are barking loons and their aims are terrible. If you for some reason think that God has declared eating pork, worshipping another false God or certain sexual practices are verbotten, then it makes sense to want to prohibit them. But how can people be so pathetic that they find validation in the government acknowleding their faith? After careful consideration I have no choice but to pronounce these people to be losers of the most losing sort and I know something about losing and being a loser, I am a liberal and blogger, after all.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

ITEM!

TAPPED catches David Brooks promoting the work of a white supremacist. Perhaps next week Mr. Brooks will take a sober, serious look at the world situation and gravely conclude: "Civilization’s going to pieces...I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard?"

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

What does Donald Rumsfeld do?

Since Donald Rumsfeld is going to stay on for a second term as Secretary of Defense I think the media needs to start asking exactly what the public is paying Rumsfeld to do. Apparently Donald Rumsfeld doesn't believe that planning and running a war is not part of his job description:

[Rumsfeld] remained defiant in the face of critics who say the United States failed to send enough troops to Iraq initially to handle postwar security and, now, to combat the insurgents.

He contended that the decision on troop levels was largely "out of my control," since he was following the advice and requests of his regional commanders, first Gen. Tommy R. Franks and now Gen. John P. Abizaid and Gen. George W. Casey Jr.


And yet he has found that other tasks are not worth his attention either:

And now, apparently, Rumsfeld’s obsession with machines and their efficiency has translated into his using one to replace his own John Hancock on KIA (killed in action) letters to parents and spouses. Two Pentagon-based colonels, who’ve both insisted on anonymity to protect their careers, have indignantly reported that the SecDef has relinquished this sacred duty to a signature device rather than signing the sad documents himself.

Perhaps Donald Rumsfeld believes that his time is better spent playing computer solitaire or devising more one-liners to charm his personal fan club the press corps with.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Comments

When other bloggers complain about their comments section overflowing with spam, I am filled with feelings of jealousy. My blog has never been spammed, except for the one time that a certain Big Tom E flooded my comments with slanderous accussations. It is like almost like weblog isn't even worth advertising get-rich-quick schemes, e-z credit plans, dangerous medications and deviant pornography on.

Views In Brief

Shorter Michael Ruff:
I find it outrageous that in a "politically correct" America the government couldn't promote one set of religious beliefs over another.

A Diversion

US Senator John McCain warned that Congress may consider imposing drug tests on major league baseball players, as Washington tries to stem the damage from a raging doping scandal that has discredited professional sport.

"I will introduce legislation in January that requires some kind of regimen for testing of Major League baseball players. And I believe that we can pass it through the Congress of the United States," Senator John McCain told the "Fox News Sunday" television program.
-AFP

Normally I'd be inclined to criticize Senator McCain for his desire to waste congress' time with something so unimportant, but no longer. With the growth of the GOP's majority in congress and Bush's re-election it is clear that there is no chance of anything good (in terms of legislation) happening in the near future. I would much rather congress waste its time regulating America's past time than say, privatizing social security or trying to invade people's privacy.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Heal Thyself

UN Reform Sought to Tackle Global Threats
A panel created by Kofi Annan has come back with a report on reforming the United Nations. The panel's recommendations include authorizing the use of military force to prevent genocide and other atrocities, expanding the security council and recognizing the danger posed by nuclear proliferation and international terrorism, which sounds like a good start to me. I am not sure how likely it is that these reforms will be implemented. There are certain countries that have an interest in blocking any sort of reform that my infringe on the rights of sovereign nations in the name of human rights and they are likely to resist these changes. The United States for its part is unlikely to press for reform since this government does not have any interest in building working international institutions and because of its policies, we are moving towards the posistion of the Red Chinese when it comes to rights of national governments.

Think Nationally, Act Locally

Democrats Want DNC to Focus on Local Races
Congressional leaders and state party officials "are insisting that the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee... radically redirect the committee's resources toward congressional races and other local contests and away from the presidential enchilada," The Hill reports.

"In behind-the-scenes positioning, key congressional lawmakers are seeking to prevent the national party from lapsing into another four-year presidential gestation cycle."


Now there is an idea. Presidential elections, while very important, have been overvalued. Winning local races are critical to building up the strenght of our Party. It is after all the state legislatures that draw congressional districts. Seeing as how Delay has basically gotten away with his redistricting scheme in Texas without having to suffer any real consquences we probably ought to rip off this tactic so that Democratic states send larger Democratic delegations to Congress.

GWOT Update

When Bush said he was "truly not that concerned" with finding Osama Bin Laden (who is still alive and well, plotting terrorist attacks and cracking jokes at our expense) apparently he really meant it. It looks like for now the man who leads Al Qeada and is an inspiration to jihadists are aroudn the world will hae very little to worry about:

The Pakistani army announced Saturday that it would withdraw hundreds of troops from a tense tribal region near Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden and his top deputy were believed to be hiding.

Since the Bush Administration may have been pressuring Pakistan to capture Bin Laden and other High Value Targets before the Presidential election, I guess it isn't that much a surprise that they don't really care now that they can no longer be held accountable.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Republicans: More Devious Than I Ever Imagined

The Washington Post has the story:
Republican budget writers say they may have found a way to cut the federal deficit even if they borrow hundreds of billions more to overhaul the Social Security system: Don't count all that new borrowing.

As they lay the groundwork for what will probably be a controversial fight over Social Security, Republican lawmakers and the Bush administration are examining a number of accounting strategies that would allow the expensive transition to a partially privatized Social Security system without -- at least on paper -- expanding the country's record annual budget deficits. The strategies include, for example, moving the costs of Social Security reform "off-budget" so they are not counted against the government's yearly shortfall.


(link thanks to &etc.)

If this strategy works I think it will only be the beginning. If they can get away with borrowing without counting it as part of our debt, what won't/couldn't they do from disguising the consequences of their ill-concieved policies?

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Senate Democrats Reid Again

The Democrats might not have been able to stop the nomination of pro-torture Attorney General, but at least we have been able to secured a minor appointment to serve the parochial interests of our Senate Leader:

"In a deal to let 175 of President Bush's nominees take office, an adviser to new Democratic leader Harry M. Reid, the Senate's staunchest opponent of a nuclear waste dump in his home state of Nevada, will be named to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission," the Washington Post reports.

Roll Call calls it Reid's "first major political victory" as the new Democratic leader.


Expect a lot of depressing "major political victories" like this, at least untill 2006.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

More Things That Are Not True

Looks like the Christian Right will have another martyr persecuted by the unamerican atheist conspiracy that demands that students in public schools be taught "facts":

A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

"It's a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful," said Williams' attorney, Terry Thompson.


The Teacher in question is wrong about this "christian nation" business, so very very wrong. The historical record is quite clear on this point. To cite one rather obscure example, Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli, which has a treaty is the highest law of the land, which was signed by President John Adams (one of the more religious Founders) and ratified by the US Senate:

"the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion"

Even my younger brother's High School history textbook agrees that the Founders were not especially religious and were enthusiastic supporters of tolerance for all varities of religious belief and non-belief.

Recommendations

ITEM!
Anyone looking for another weblog to read would be well advised to look into Abu Ardvark's site.

ITEM?
Also, some gentlemen scholars from an Esteemed Mid-Western College (brows to the sky) and myself have taken to publishing pamphlets and distributing them on campus. For those unfortunates that sadly do not attend aforementioned Center of Learning there is now the Pamphleteers' Archive. I hope that youn find it to be most informative, since it much more likely that there is a problem with you, not the pamphlets.

Note: Gossip column style post inspired recent e-mails by "Thomas T." informing me of racist or otherwise outrageous statements made by long dead public officials and political figures.

Terror And Liberalism

The Harvard Gazette has an article on an interesting new study:

A John F. Kennedy School of Government researcher has cast doubt on the widely held belief that terrorism stems from poverty, finding instead that terrorist violence is related to a nation's level of political freedom.

Associate Professor of Public Policy Alberto Abadie examined data on terrorism and variables such as wealth, political freedom, geography, and ethnic fractionalization for nations that have been targets of terrorist attacks...

Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.

Like those with much political freedom, nations at the other extreme - with tightly controlled autocratic governments - also experienced low levels of terrorism.


I guess that terrorists do not hate freedom, just incompetent tyranny. Sadly, as Matthew Yglesias made clear in a recent article for the American Prospectfreedom is not on the march.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Things that are not true.

A Gallup poll has found:
Only about a third of Americans believe that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is a scientific theory that has been well supported by the evidence, while just as many say that it is just one of many theories and has not been supported by the evidence. The rest say they don't know enough to say. Forty-five percent of Americans also believe that God created human beings pretty much in their present form about 10,000 years ago. A third of Americans are biblical literalists who believe that the Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word.

Great, 45% of the country is behind the Pope on the evolution question. We are in so much trouble.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

All Your INFORMATION Is Belonging To Us

President Bush's second term hasn't officially begun and the new congress has not yet started and already the Republicans are very clearly drunk with power, high gravity power:

Congress passed legislation Saturday giving two committee chairman and their assistants access to income tax returns without regard to privacy protections, but not before red-faced Republicans said it was all a mistake and would be swiftly repealed.

The Senate unanimously adopted a resolution immediately after passing a 3,300-word spending bill containing the measure, saying the provision ``shall have no effect.'' House leaders promised to pass the resolution next Wednesday.


Oops! A little mistake! You know the sort of easy to make slip up that would make it so you could use the federal government to harass your political foes. Nothing to worry about, it is just the sort of thing that happens every day, or at least every day from now on.

DailyKos has more on the Provisionin question and its author Rep. Istook (R-OK).

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Reign of Prudishness

If the Republicans' desire to change America's tax laws to hurt groups likely to support to Democrats was not enough, they are out to establish their Republic of Virtue and are now gunning for our depraved culture, too:

US COMMUNICATION watchdog the FCC is apparently so pleased with its moral crusade following the Janet Jackson boob it now wants to purge what it calls immorality from the interweb and cable channels.

Apparently acting with support from both Republicans and Democrats, the FCC is poised to get even more aggressive about enforcing moral values throughout broadcasting. So far the FCC has been really good at purging swear words and sex from telly by chucking huge fines at the broadcasters. The net result of its actions have been that viewers have been switching to cable in droves.

Some analysts think that this is behind the FCC's move to expanding its jurisdiction to encompass the alternatives, cable TV, satellite TV and radio and the internet.


Just wonderful. I really, really hope the Democrats as a party don't try to go after the moral values crowd by signing off on this. It will be very difficult for the Democrats to out theocrat the fundementalists of today's Republican Party and it would send the wrong message for the Democrats too roll over so easily after the election. And of course trying to censor the sattelite and cable is a terrible idea. These mediums are not the same as broadcast, which comes into every home. If parents want to protect their impressionable darlings from four letter words and nipples of doom they can simply block these channels or not buy these services. Regulating children's exposure to objectionable material is the role of parents, not the government. Speaking of which, this issue provides an excellent opportunity for the Democrats to engange in anti-government populism, the merits of which explored in this post at NewDonkey.com.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Tax Code As A Political Weapon

As other bloggers have noted, the Republican Tax Reform plan will hurt the citizens of states that vote Democratic as most blue states have higher state and local taxes. The tax reform package being floated now would get rid of federal deductions for these tax cuts. Wealthy blue staters (who are more likely to be Republican) of course would escape the wrath of the Bush plan since the new exemptions for unearned income would favor them overwhelmingly.

Lieberman To Zell Out?

Joe Lieberman, infamous for his willingness to appease the GOP, may have checked to see which way the winds are blowing and found that is time to cast his lot with the gang of idealogues, boobs and crooks that are currently in power:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) "respects the presidency and likes being wooed," the Hartford Courant reports, so "he's not ruling out a Bush Cabinet appointment."

"There's no opening the door a crack in Washington; you're in the game or you're not. And while there's no firm - or even flimsy - signal from the Bush team with regard to Lieberman, there is talk among the connected class in Washington that he could be in the mix for several positions."


Despite Lieberman's relatively liberal voting record, I would not be all that surprised if he joined the Bush Administration. Senator Lieberman's willingness to associate with the erudite neoconservative mouth breathers of the Committee on the Present Danger suggests that he can swallow just about anything.

Above The Law

Whether it's flying to small towns to help Republicans raise money or engineering a redistricting plan giving his party control of the Texas congressional delegation, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay delivers for his members. Now the members have delivered for him.

House Republicans on Wednesday changed a party rule so DeLay, R-Texas, could remain as leader if indicted in a Texas campaign finance investigation that he calls political.

The old rule required GOP leaders and committee chairmen charged with a felony to relinquish their positions. The new language orders a case-by-case review, with the leaders retaining their posts until all House Republicans decide their fate.
-The AP

It makes sense that the GOP is protecting DeLay from a "political investigation", since they must have learned a lot about political investigations from their tax payer funded multi-year multi-million dollar quest to destroy a certain popular Democratic President. I wonder if they will change the rules again to let Rep. DeLay to serve from his cell if he gets convicted. It wouldn't be the first time the Republicans kept a criminal in power.

Bush Goes After Ordinary Americans

This may come as a shock to some readers, but President George W. Bush is out to raise your taxes and take away your health insurance so he can give tax breaks for big business and the superich:

The administration plans to push major amendments that would shield interest, dividends and capitals gains from taxation, expand tax breaks for business investment...

To pay for them, the administration is considering eliminating the deduction of state and local taxes on federal income tax returns and scrapping the business tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, the advisers said.

-The Washington Post

Take away deductions for providing health insurance? But scores of employers might take away their employees health benefits. And getting rid of deductions for regressivestate and local taxes? This is terrible. How could President Bush do such an awful thing? He's the kind of guy who you would have a beer with! You know, if he hadn't gone dry because he lacks self-control. Well, at least America is safe from the homosexualist agenda.

Monday, November 08, 2004

This guy actually took us seriously!

This was some guy named Pat's response to my immature rant about bush supporters being dumb:

Kerry failed! (1)Kerry failed because he was a hypocrite. Sneeringly said, "Bush wore his heart on his sleeve." Kerry in the last 4 weeks mentioned God as never before. He attended black churches every weekend - sometimes two in a day. Note phony tan, new $1,000 hairdo, camoflage utilities, carrying shotgun, and he suddenly learned to plaster a smile. When asked if got a duck(?) He said, "We got six". Again: Did YOU get one. "We got six." Don't want to offend PETA but NRA note my gun. (2)He was a liar. Only one of numerous examples: "I will Never forget; it was SEARED in my memory. I was going up the Cambodia River on Christmas Eve." Impossible there were concrete piers at the mouth and boats guarding it. Later, "Oh, uh, he was on a secret mission." His Commanding officer said. "Not true." He wrote his own reports for his 4 Purple Hearts, as evidently is allowed. "Reporting for duty" -my a-- (3)He voted against the 87 billion for troops needs. (4)He is an extreme liberal.

I dont know which is funnier; the fact that this guy actually took us seriously enough to post a comment like this, or his fourth point. Havent these people ever met an extreme liberal before?! Havent they heard of Nader?!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Typical Bush Supporter

Durpy derp, buhhh, Im a retard, and I vote, cause MTV said that if I didnt vote, p diddy would kill me. I voted for bush cuz hes got moral clarity buh. Plus, there was a cool looking picture of an eagle next to his name on the ballot! I wish I was an Eagle, so I could fly around and fight terrorists and heathens.

Four More Years


Monday, November 01, 2004

Voting

If you have any problems on election day call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Hopefully the next post I write will be a political obituary for one George W. Bush.

Wheeling & Dealing

From Editor and Publisher :
Discussions at the Cleveland Plain Dealer to resolve an impasse between the paper's editorial board and its publisher about who to endorse for president have ended with a Tuesday morning editorial announcing the paper would back neither Bush nor Kerry.

"We believe our readers are perfectly capable of making an informed, rational decision by their own lights," the editorial concludes, "and we strongly urge them to do so."

The paper's editorial board, as E&P first revealed, decided last week that it wanted to endorse Sen. John Kerry, but Publisher Alex Machaskee, who has final say, prefers President George W. Bush. The paper backed Bush in 2000.

Indeed, this morning's editorial confirms, "A majority of the editorial board favored Kerry, but after long and difficult deliberations, it was decided that the better path would be to sit this one out." It does not mention Machaskee's role in this.


Just imagine the howls this would have generated if it had been a Democratic publisher trying to make his newspaper bend to his will. The Plain Dealer example is a clear case of the kind of structural bias in the media that liberals have been warning about. Even though reporters are overwhelmingly Democrats (though not "liberals", they are more economically conservative than the rest of the country and more liberal on cultural issues, or so it is said) this does not matter that much when their owners (and advertisers) do not see things the same way.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Friendly Advice

The Rude Pundit's depraved and hilarious "Requiem for Rehnquist" is worth a look.

Failure is Success

According to the Republican leadership:
With his typical flair for drama, Osama Bin Laden inserted himself directly into the presidential election yesterday, and both parties believed it would boost President Bush's reelection hopes...

A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.

-NY Daily News

It would be rude if the ghoul quoted by the News not write Bin Laden. It is more than a little distrubing that the creeps trying to re-elect the President think of the threat of mass-casualty terrorism as a political asset.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Surprise Endorsements

Christopher Hitchens and The Economist have joined the ranks of the Kerry Haters for Kerry.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Hilarity Ensues

Food fight in Taiwan's legislature
They've fought with fists. They've thrown paper at each other. And on Tuesday, Taiwan's rowdy lawmakers had an old-fashioned food fight.

Legislators began chucking white cardboard takeout lunch boxes full of rice, meat, hard-boiled eggs and vegetables at each other during a heated debate over whether Taiwan should spend billions on weapons sold by the United States.

It was difficult to figure out who started the battle. Local TV showed the legislators yelling at each other as they sat at long tables in a committee room during a lunch meeting.


After the food fight had settled down Pan-Blue officials vowed to form an unaccountable, unconstitutional investigative committee to get to the bottom of things and punish their political opponents.

Book Learning

Politicalwire reports:
In their latest strategy memo, James Carville and Stan Greenberg say "the big story in this election is the Education Gap, which is greatly impacting who are the targets in the coming week, and will impact and be the story of the election afterwards...the Education Gap has expanded significantly, and is now slightly larger than the division along gender lines."

"In 2000, there was only a 2-point education gap, with Gore and Bush running dead even among college graduates and Bush winning by just 2 points among the non-college educated voters. The result was a 2-point education gap. But not so in 2004. Today, there is now a 12-point education gap. Kerry is winning college educated voters by 10 points but losing the non-college graduates by 2 points.


I guess David Horowitz was right all along about Colleges and Universities (especially mine) being breeding grounds for anti-Americanism.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Nerdular Nerdence

Amygdala pointed the way to this story from Wired:

In this era of high-tech memory management, next in line to get that memory upgrade isn't your computer, it's you.

Professor Theodore W. Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California, is creating a silicon chip implant that mimics the hippocampus, an area of the brain known for creating memories. If successful, the artificial brain prosthesis could replace its biological counterpart, enabling people who suffer from memory disorders to regain the ability to store new memories.


Pretty exciting, even though the experts say that it would take decades to make microchips that could work on humans. It is likely that I'll still be around to enjoy the benefits/horrors of computer enchanced brains.

Go to the video tape

Triumph the Insult Comic takes on the flacks (video here). It is almost as good as John Stewart's Crossfire appearance.

Incompetence Kills

Huge Cache of Explosives Vanished From Site in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 24 - The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives - used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons - are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations.

The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday. United Nations weapons inspectors had monitored the explosives for many years, but White House and Pentagon officials acknowledge that the explosives vanished sometime after the American-led invasion last year...

American weapons experts say their immediate concern is that the explosives could be used in major bombing attacks against American or Iraqi forces: the explosives, mainly HMX and RDX, could produce bombs strong enough to shatter airplanes or tear apart buildings...

The International Atomic Energy Agency publicly warned about the danger of these explosives before the war, and after the invasion it specifically told United States officials about the need to keep the explosives secured, European diplomats said in interviews last week. Administration officials say they cannot explain why the explosives were not safeguarded, beyond the fact that the occupation force was overwhelmed by the amount of munitions they found throughout the country.


What's wrong with the administration? This was a very foreseeable danger, it is almost as bad as their failure to assassinate the Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab Zarqawi when they had the chance. If they had any plan at all for the managing Iraq after ousting Saddam this sort of thing wouldn't have happened, but of course there was no planning. Absolutely none. The annecdote from Knight Ridder's report on America's plans for rebuilding Iraq, Post-war planning non-existent", says it all:

WASHINGTON - In March 2003, days before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, American war planners and intelligence officials met at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina to review the Bush administration's plans to oust Saddam Hussein and implant democracy in Iraq.

Near the end of his presentation, an Army lieutenant colonel who was giving a briefing showed a slide describing the Pentagon's plans for rebuilding Iraq after the war, known in the planners' parlance as Phase 4-C. He was uncomfortable with his material - and for good reason.

The slide said: "To Be Provided."