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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Honest Colin 

At least one person in the administration is capable of admitting fault.

Not surprising, this bit. But at least there's a hint that Powell hasn't gotten so over his head he's believing his own hype (unlike the rest of the administration).


Friday, April 02, 2004

I Love the Onion 

Gotta love it.

Fuck-Buddy Becomes Fuck-Fiancé
MIAMI, FL—In spite of the explicitly casual nature of their relationship, fuck-buddies Nora Ingersoll and Keith Hetzel are engaged, friend Tom Stipps reported Tuesday. "Keith and Nora have been fooling around for years, but Keith said they were just friends," Stipps said. "I was shocked when Nora showed up wearing a ring." Later that day, the couple reportedly opened a fuck-joint-checking account.


UPDATE: Hahahaha! Holy shit! I hadn't even read this one when I made the post...I guess I could do this with every issue as it's consistently hilarious, but I promise to try and refrain.

Smoking Ban Collapses Fragile Prison Economy
SOLEDAD, CA—A pen-wide smoking ban instituted last week devastated the Salinas Valley State Prison's fragile economy, inmate #67545 said Monday. "There were occasional fluctuations or recalibrations, but a bar of soap used to equal three cigarettes; a Snickers, four; a Percocet, 15," said Kenneth Oglivy, a former WorldCom accountant serving 10 years for embezzlement. "After the ban, the value of a carton of Newports climbed to 50 times its 2003 value. Now that those cigarettes are gone, it's total chaos." Oglivy said Salinas Valley inmates will have to devise a new system of value based on some other commodity, such as assholes.


Hot damn if them motherfuckers ain't funnier'n a three-legged dawg!

State of the Union 

From Merrick, I get linked to this gem. It's a cut and paste fucking-with of the State of the Union address before last...

Way funnier than sad.

In fact...for the sadistic, I suggest a perusal of the entire Ebaum's World site. More toilet humor, violence, and general mayhem than you can shake a stick at. Good stuff all around.


Patriotism and Nationalism 

I wish more people knew the difference.

Light Blogging 

I'm beginning once again to feel like I'm staring down the barrel of a gun with finals approaching. I just got my memo assignment today and it looks pretty twisted. Expect less blogging from here until mid-May or so, peppered of course by the occasional spat of procrastination induced retardation.


Thursday, April 01, 2004

Canada to RIAA: Fuck You! 

Gotta love this.

If the U.S. would do something like this (never, ever going to happen) then we might actually force the music industry to reevaluate itself immediately, rather than postponing that inevitable reevaluation long enough to give rise to enormous costs of litigation and the incessant whining of people with more money than god because their money-fountain is drying up.


Energy Taskforce 

Finally, Cheney may have to turn over some documents from the "Energy Taskforce" that will actually mean something.

If these documents come out while this (in my opinion retarded) political firefight over gas prices is still underway, it could prove disasterous for the Oil Administration if there is even the slightest hint of impropriety. This would be compounded exponentially if the name "Ken Lay" comes up in those documents in a way that implicates him in any tomfoolery, or even simply exposes him as a heavy-hitter in the decisionmaking process.

I think the corporate scandal buggaboo is hiding just under the surface of the public consciousness right now and it'll just take a spark to reignite the public disgust and anger at the Lays of the world (whether or not he's really culpable). If that reignition occurs and is somehow connected to the Bush Administration (like through the documents alluded to above) there will be hell to pay from the public. If that occurs two things will happen. 1) Bush will NOT get re-elected, even if Kerry campaigns the rest of the year with a turban on and grows a mustache. 2) Judicial Watch will lose it's table at the RNC.


Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Pollack RETURNS!!! 

Holy SHIT BALLS!!!

NEAL POLLACK HAS RETURNED!!!

And the internet is once again a better place...


Contractors 

Today, several American citizens were killed in Iraq and their bodies were dragged through the streets and mutilated. The perpetrators then proceeded to dance in the streets under the hanging corpses. I'm absolutely disgusted and more than a little taken aback.

As to the victims of this brutality, why can't we just say "mercenaries" instead of "contractors". We do have a word for it.

But let's be honest. If we are going to engage in the semantic contontionism required to come up with "homicide bombers" then we should at least be honest enough to say "mercenary". I'm not even bashing the "homicide bomber" thing. It's true. They kill other people. I don't think "suicide bomber" necessarily needed correction as they also kill themselves. But, if we're going to go that far let's not call the people who work for "Blackwater Security Consulting" anything less specific than "mercenary".

The attacks today (and subsequent mutilations) were horrible, and the pictures are the most gruesome images I've seen come out of this conflict. They are really bad and don't look if you have a weak stomach, but if you, like me, feel the need to confront this type of thing, they are here and here.


Air America 

So I'm officially down with Air America. It's so nice to hear a progressive voice on the radio (even if it is just on the net here in Austin). The music in between bits is pretty fuckin' cool, too. Dope beats. Makes me wonder who they've got producing them...

Check it out. If you're a liberal, you'll dig it. If you're a conservative, it'll be good for that low blood pressure problem (that's why I watch Fox News).

They did rip into Nader pretty bad, too...

Political Compass 

Passed on to me by my friend Ann (the Yellow Peril) Hsu, this test is supposed to tell you where you sit on a political compass. It's okay as far as those tests go, but there are still some leading questions and problems...

For instance, take the two following questions (answers are strongly disagree, disagree, agree, and strongly agree):

A significant advantage of a one-party state is that it avoids all the arguments that delay progress in a democratic political system.

It's fine for society to be open about sex, but these days it's going too far.


For the first question, I agree, but don't agree that such a situation is a good thing...so how do I answer?

On the next, I think it's fine that we're open about sex (agree?) but don't think we've gone too far (disagree?) so what do I answer?

There are more examples in the test (and much more in most similar "tests"), that's just a sample.

My results:

Economic Left/Right: -8.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.49

I think that's about right except that the test focuses on responses to "multi-national corporations" in the economic part of the test, which skews me left on the "Economic Left/Right" scale as I think the free market is often okay, but that such large, bureaucratic corporations are a perversion of the truly "free market."

On the other scale, I'm glad I'm closer to the center with a lean toward libertarian. I think the social questions are much more accurate at representing the answers on the scale than the economic ones.

Go take it...it's kinda fun, relatively short, and less ridiculous than most tests of this kind (at least they don't identify you with a type of animal or a NASCAR driver or something).

UPDATE: I'm also right by where they put Nelson Mandela, which is cool with me...

Satire 

i keep saying it's getting harder and harder to satirize with this administration and the "Business Right" (as opposed to the "religious right") in general...

Josh Marshall brings up one such episode:

An emotional former President George H.W. Bush on Tuesday defended his son's Iraq war and lashed out at White House critics.

It is "deeply offensive and contemptible" to hear "elites and intellectuals on the campaign trail" dismiss progress in Iraq since last year's overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, the elder Bush said in a speech to the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association annual convention.


As Josh says..."defies parody."


Progressive Radio 

Air America starts today!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Soft Power 

My friend David sent me this article on "soft power" and it's import in the war on terror.

This is a well articulated writing that expounds upon my fears about sqaundering political capital worldwide through waging unpopular (and in my view, unnecessary) wars against states that may (or may not) sponsor terrorism.

I recognize that soft power has limits, and must be used in concert with hard power (or at least the believable threat thereof)...but read the article and it helps explain my issues with the current focus on military force as the primary (or only) means of fighting the threat that terrorism poses.

Truth Telling 

I've alluded to this before, but Kevin just up and says it.

I think the administration's focus on never being wrong no matter what is not the best reaction to the Clarke situation.

Again, this comes with the caveat that very few politicians are good in this category regardless of party or ideology. Like Kevin, I wonder if it makes me sound silly to assert boldly that politicians should be humble and honest...

Monday, March 29, 2004

Under God 

I was about to start a post on the "Under God" case now before the Supreme Court, and found that Brian Leiter was already all over it, with a lot of help from Douglas Laycock (coolest name for a law professor...ever) who wrote a brief in the case. I'm not about to try to do better than those two, so here it is.

The scary part is Leiter's conclusion:

...the only real question now is how much damage the Supreme Court will do to the separation of church and state in the course of finding some tortured rationale for allowing the federal government to require every schoolchild to affirm the supremacy of the deity in order to affirm his or her patriotism. If we're lucky, the damage will be minimal. If we're not lucky...

If only I could convince myself that he's wrong. Jesus Christ God Mary and The Holy Ghost on a Cross of Heavenly Salvation I wish we had true religious freedom in this country...you know...the kind that would allow you to choose NO RELIGION AT ALL.

Just to fend off the inevitable response. I'm not saying we should MANDATE no religion at all, just leave it open as a choice to our citizens. Allow me to pledge allegiance to my country without lying (i.e., acknoledging a "God" that I don't believe exists). That's all I ask.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

He actually read Clarke's book 

Kevin Drum actually read the book and has a great post on it.

Here's the part that gives me the heebeegeebees...

"The ingredients al Qaeda dreamed of for propagating its movement were a Christian government attacking a weaker Muslim region, allowing the new terrorist group to rally jihadists from many countries to come to the aid of the religious brethren. After the success of the jihad, the Muslim region would become a radical Islamic state, a breeding ground for more terrorists, a part of the eventual network of Islamic states that would make up the great new Caliphate, or Muslim empire."

From his point of view, then, Bush's post-9/11 obsession with attacking states was simply playing into al-Qaeda's hands. "It was as if Usama bin Laden, hidden in some high mountain redoubt, were engaging in long-range mind control of George Bush, chanting 'invade Iraq, you must invade Iraq.'"


It gives me the heebeegeebees because I've been trying to articulate this point for some time now, only without any support from insider views. I think this points to the greatest divide amongst the "pro-war" and "anti-war" crowd (where Iraq is concerned) after whittling both sides down to those who know something about the whole situation and are rather intelligent people. This is the crux of the debate. If you believe state sponsorship is essential to terrorism and that attacking states is the solution, then you will likely be pro-war. If you feel that effective terrorist organizations (in the sense that they are good at killing people and being terrorists) can exist without state sponsorship, you are likely to see the war as a mistake (especially in light of the lead-up, which was at best disingenuous on the part of the administration). Clarke's portrayal of bin Laden's goals is the ridiculous extreme of the "no state-sponsorship required" fears about what the war is likely to "accomplish". A more reasoned response is my belief that though Iraq was not a "terrorist state" or a front in the war on terror prior to the war, it threatens to become the former now and decidedly is the latter (now replete with American targets!).

My issue is that if you are really going to go after a "terrorist state", why Iraq and not Iran or Lybia? Even that argument fails on this tree-hugger. The threat, admittedly so on all sides, is a diffuse one. So why pretend like attacking a single state (or even a small handful of them) is going to significantly affect it? It doesn't make sense to me. Treat it as a war? Sure. Treat it as a conventional war (or use it to start one)? Waste of resources and likely counterproductive.

There is the argument that if Democracy takes root in Iraq that it will create a domino effect, leading to the democratization of the Middle East and goodies for everyone (they get freedom, votes, and a free market and we get no more bombs in the face). The concept is intellectually and emotionally seductive, but I find it about as convincing as Osama's wet dream of a Middle East entirely unified under a single monolithic theocratic empire. Neither extreme is likely to occur.

UPDATE: Consider this my promised continuation of that earlier Clarke post in which I promised a continuation (that I never delivered because I'm a lazy bastard).

Powell On Clarke 

Just an interesting tidbit. We all know how I feel about Powell (still holding on "slightly positive"), and I'm sure the last few (lengthy) posts have given away my (slightly shaded by partisanship) opinion of Clarke (also positive). So here we go with Powell on Clarke:

In a television interview, Powell said Clarke had "served his nation very, very well" and was "an expert in these matters," referring to counterterrorism.

While saying Clarke's book is "not the complete story," Powell said on the PBS program "NewsHour" that he was "not attributing any bad motives" to Clarke.

"I'm not aware of a campaign against Mr. Clarke, and I am not a member," he said. "The book is the book, and you can read it and make your own judgment as to whether it's accurate."


Here's the link. Via Digby.

Saying that he is unaware of a campaign against Mr. Clarke is a little hard to believe since I assume Powell does not live under a rock or in a sound-proof booth of some kind, but I'll let that slide.

The point is, when the one person in the administration that I would still trust to watch my books while I take a piss at the library refuses to join in the barrage of attacks against a guy that criticized the administration, it lends credit to the criticism in my eyes...

Partied Out 

Man...I am actually tired of partying right now. That's a first. Too bad I'm tired of studying, too. Maybe I'm just tired.

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