Wednesday, July 18, 2007

As far as comparisons go...

Via Althouse, a comparison in the Washington Post of Rudy Giuliani (the candidate I am leaning towards backing) to Richard M. Nixon.

We, as a nation, are making progress when the leading Republican is compared to Nixon rather than to Hitler.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What to do when a thread hijack is actually more interesting than the post?

Althouse is musing about someone musing about her musings about Bill Richardson and the Democratic debate.

The first reply in the comments is by someone, clearly from the left, who wants to drive home this morning's story about President Bush's AIDS Czar resigning, with it being pretty clear that this (married) "abstinence is the best approach to preventing AIDS" advocate has been dipping his wick with some hookers.

I reflexively hate thread hijackers. If you have an agenda you want to push, get your own damn blog. If you have worthwhile opinions frequently enough (unlike me), then you will get plenty of traffic pushing your agenda. If you don't, then that is a significant hint that by pushing your agenda on other people's blogs, you are being an ass.

The problem is that the topic raised in that particular thread-hijack is considerably more interesting than the original post.

The commenter, 'hellokitty', writes "This is a very delicious story. He was all for faith and fidelity and promoting Abstinence but only for others not himself... This has got to be the most hypocrital [sic], corrupt bunch of losers that have ever entered public life."

So many thoughts come to mind.

There is really something disgusting about the type of person who delights in the failings of others. A man cheated on his wife. He has subjected his family to betrayal and humiliation, all for some cheap thrills. This is not delicious. It is tragic.

Hellokitty is obviously scornful of the man's behavior. I am, as well. But I suspect that we are scornful for very different reasons. Hellokitty is primarily scornful because of a dislike for what the man was touting politically. My scorn is because he hurt his family, and himself, over something stupid. While I am completely on board with the idea that this guy brought it on himself and now will reap what he has sown, I do not find it delicious at all that his family will be hurt.

Delicious? People like Hellokitty have screwed up priorities, and badly lack the very compassion that they believe is the centerpiece of their political worldview. Tobias' "hypocrisy is outrageous," indeed. But so is Hellokitty's.

So what is the answer here? Is the answer to adopt a more liberal worldview, where there is less hypocrisy because we lower moral standards to where everyone meets them without much effort, or do we adopt a more conservative one, where there is more hypocrisy because people are people and will have moral failings and not live up to the standards they tout?

I guess I am somewhere in between. I think that it is good for a society to protect community values. I like that people restrain themselves from using vulgar language in public, and I don't like it when they don't. I like that drug use and selling is not rampant in the streets where my kids go and play. I am thankful that we discourage prostitution, because I think it is best that we discourage girls from going down that route.

At the same time, I swear like a sailor at times. I have enjoyed a spliff or two in my days. I might again, or I might not. A long time ago, I used a call girl. Some of this can be attributed to my wild youth, with me growing up. Then again, back in the day I held most of the same beliefs I hold now.

That makes me a hypocrite. Beat me over the head with the word if you will. I think that most people are hypocrites. Some are significantly worse in this regard than others, but it is a trait that is common to most people, and I am not sure there is a significant correlation between a complete lack of hypocrisy and being an admirable person overall, despite the fact that I agree with the sentiment that hypocrisy is something that should be minimized.

We should, as a public, come down on those who are politicians who are hypocrites. We should hold our politicians to the same standards that they are advocating we hold as a society-- just as we should try to live to the standards of the society in which we live. We should remember that there is going to be hypocrisy.
As for if the Bush administration has been the 'most corrupt,' well, the Clinton administration was no walk in the park, either. In fact, overall I would say it was much worse. The Reagan administration was not too bad on the corruption front, but to my memory the least corrupt one of the past several decades was the Carter administration.

Pity that that one happened to be the most incompetent.

What do we do about corruption? Would we ever handle it by suggesting that we do away with the rules against corruption, since so many fail to follow them? I sure hope not. We should deal with the fact that we have corruption, and handle the corrupt when we find them.

We have a choice to make, though. Do we do away with hypocrisy by removing the standards to which people fail to adhere, or do we deal with the fact that people are hypocrites?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

So Iran Has Taken Some Brits Hostage

What do we do?

What should the United Kingdom do in response? What should we do as their ally? What should we be advocating to Blair?

Right now, we have both parties in power. Both have a voice. Where is the discussion on this? Where is the debate?

We voted to have a divided government. We hoped this would lead to a constructive debate. Instead, what we have gotten is that the Democrats are waiting for Bush to take a stand, so that they can criticize it as being wrong. Meanwhile, Bush is not really taking too much of a public stance, probably because he is gun shy from being the Democrats' punching bag.

The result is that we, as a country, and our allies have once again become Iran's punching bag.

So what's the gameplan, folks? How do we stand up to Iran? If the problem with the war in Iraq was that the WMDs did not exist (at least to the extent we were led to believe), what about in
Iran where these weapons programs clearly do exist? What do we do with a country that is actively working towards killing our troops and to the extinction of one of our allies?

How do we prevent them from imposing their will on Iraq when we leave? If we leave, will that cause them to stop their provocations against the West, or will it encourage them?

How about putting aside the partisanship and actually handling things?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

You Don't Say!

"A snug fit is better for a man."

Friday, March 9, 2007

Just What The Country Needs... Alan Keyes!?

Right Truth writes,

Rumors are flying that Alan Keyes and Fred Thompson might enter the 2008 race for President of the United States. I think the race to the White House would be ever so much more exciting if either one of these men joined the debate. If both of them step up, it would be wonderful.
I cannot help but notice that the subheading on that blog reads, "I am the voice of the resistance!" Queue up Arthur speaking to the Black Knight...

"You're a looney!"

Alan Keyes is a charlatan. He is a perpetual candidate, who seemingly makes a tidy living off of that. He surrounds himself with people who similarly make a nice career off of the campaign donations he accrues. The campaign donations themselves end up doing nothing to help him be elected. He has lost, decisively, every election he has be involved in. He has absolutely no class-- Wikipedia states:
After the election, Keyes failed to congratulate Obama, as is election custom. Keyes explained that his refusal to congratulate Obama was "not anything personal," but was meant to make a statement against "extend[ing] false congratulations to the triumph of what we have declared to be across the line." He said that Obama's position on moral issues regarding life and the family had crossed that line. "I'm supposed to make a call that represents the congratulations toward the triumph of that which I believe ultimately stands for ... a culture evil enough to destroy the very soul and heart of my country? I can't do this. And I will not make a false gesture,"
This is a man who threw his own daughter out of his house because of her sexual orientation. Regardless of your view on gay advocacy, this was his flipping daughter!

It is appalling and frightening that there are conservatives who still, to this day, pine for Alan Keyes. And then they wonder why they have difficulty reaching centrists.

Monday, February 26, 2007

We can be Heroes, Just for one day

Tonight, Heroes runs an episode called "Company Man." As it happens, Global TV up in Canuckland ran the episode last night, so already there is some buzz about it. Thankfully, I got away from the discussion forum over at TelevisionWithoutPity without being spoiled, other than a comment from one person that this episode is to Heroes what "Three Stories" was to House.

If you know that show, then you know that's some high praise.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Kevin Drum fears for our very existence.

Still, it's faintly unnerving to see just how far ahead of the field Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are right now.

That would be a hell of a campaign, wouldn't it? Two New Yorkers, playing out the unfinished grudge match of their 2000 Senate race. A mayor vs. a senator. The first major party female candidate in history. And just possibly the two toughest, most polarizing, most single-mindedly ambitious politicians on the national stage today. I hope we all survive.

I have no problem with half of his assertion. Hillary is polarizing. Partly that is of no fault of her own, but stems from her involvement in her husband's administration.

But Rudy is one of the most polarizing? How exactly? This is a moderate-to-liberal Republican. I suspect the only reason that liberals find him to be polarizing is because he succeeded as a Republican in the most liberal city outside of San Francisco and Washington D.C.

This is a man who has a three to one difference between his favorable and unfavorable opinion ratings in public opinion polls. Polarizing to an underwhelming minority of voters, I'd say.

I know, I know. They will come back and scream Amadou Diallo and make hay over his approach to law and order. I think this is a mistake both on the idea and in impact. Probably no other Republican candidate would work more with Democrats (if they are willing) and would meet them half way more often than Giuliani. Further, do the Democrats really want to try to make the case that his proven, successful, tough-on-crime approach is what makes him polarizing? Do liberals have a compulsion for trying to prove true every stereotype about them that the right has claimed for the past several decades, so that they must eagerly and aggressively promote a soft-on-criminals mentality?

This is what it would have been like if Republicans had lamented Joe Lieberman's 2004 Presidential bid by saying he is one of the most polarizing candidates in the nation. The only ones who are driven batty by Lieberman, or by Giuliani, are strident liberals.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Surge working?

Patrick Ruffini thinks it is.

All I know is that, in February so far, only three days have gone without any deaths of U.S. soldiers. And most days this month have had 4 or more soldiers killed.

I know there can be progress even with casualties. But until our men and women are not being killed on a day-to-day basis, I won't consider our efforts as 'working.'

Unsatisfied "Christian Right"

I have nothing against most people who would fall into the designation of "Christian Right" who I have ever met or had dealings with. By and large, they tend to be normal people. Naturally, they tend to be more religious than most, but they also tend to be kind, generous, and polite, if sometimes a bit stiff.

On the other hand, I find most of this group, namely Rev. Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich, and Grover Norquist to be people I could simply do without. I find them insufferable, and I think that our nation's politics would be considerably healthier without their influence.

With that in mind, I find the fact that they are uncomfortable with the current crop of 2008 GOP Presidential contenders to be a very encouraging thing.

A group of influential Christian conservatives and their allies emerged from a private meeting at a Florida resort this month dissatisfied with the Republican presidential field and uncertain where to turn...

But in a stark shift from the group’s influence under President Bush, the group risks relegation to the margins. Many of the conservatives who attended the event, held at the beginning of the month at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla., said they were dismayed at the absence of a champion to carry their banner in the next election.

Many conservatives have already declared their hostility to Senator John McCain of Arizona, who once denounced Christian conservative leaders as “agents of intolerance,” and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, a liberal on abortion and gay rights issues who has been married three times.

But many were also deeply suspicious of former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts; the council has been distributing to its members a dossier prepared by a Massachusetts conservative group about liberal elements of his record on abortion, stem cell research, gay rights and gun control. Mr. Romney says he has become more conservative.

The fact that they are unhappy with Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney is an encouraging sign for each of those candidates.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Now Why Didn't I Think of That?

Professor Bainbridge has the solution to the polarization of Congress.
The national disgrace of gerrymandering has created a system in which the vast majority of House seats are safe for one of the two parties. As a result, the real action is in the primaries, which tend to be dominated by activists. As a result, we see the polarization of Congress, as GOP candidates tend hard right to win their primaries and vice-versa for the Democrats. Now the netroots plan to exacerbate the problem.

The solution seems obvious. A national system of nonpartisan redistricting designed to maximize the number of truly competitive seats. In such a system, candidates would succeed by appealing to the center rather than the extremes, which in turn would reduce the destructive influence of the rabid partisans on both sides of the net.

A national system of nonpartisan redistricting! Of course! Why didn't I think of that? It does seem obvious!

At least, as obvious as solving the problem of wars by making a weapon that destroys all other weapons, or of solving hunger by growing trees that produce unlimited fruit. Obvious, but completely existing in fantasyland.

There cannot be a nonpartisan system for redistricting, since any system will involve (to one extent or another) people. People are partisan (some more than others). The 'obvious' answer to that is to ensure that only non-partisan people (or at least, the least partisan people) end up appointed to or elected to be the ones with most influence or oversight of the 'nonpartisan' system. But then the people who would do the appointing or the electing will still be partisan, and will still use whatever means available, including this 'nonpartisan' system, for their own partisan advantage.

A nonpartisan anything never exists. The only thing that does is the claim of nonpartisanship, used to give cover to partisanship.

You know what would be cool, though? A device that would turn coldness into heat, or heat into coldness. It would solve global warming all by itself, and would also protect against global cooling. Isn't it obvious that this is exactly what we need?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

This is a bigot

No more, nor no less than Andrea Marcotte. But Tim Hardaway hates gay people and can't stand to be around gay people. No different than Marcotte and her aversion to religious people.

Both suck eggs.

UPDATE: My spouse saw this story and immediately said, "I bet he was molested at some point. The only people I have ever seen say things like that have been." That would be the only way that I could find any reason to have compassion for Hardaway over his remarks. I would still think they indicate a mental problem on his part, but I would at least understand his illness.

For the few Marcotte apologists left-- you know who you are. You are the ones who say that you are personally atheist or agnostic, but see a difference between mocking religion and being a bigot.

Explain the difference between calling someone a "raghead" and calling someone a "godbag."

You have seen both. One you would immediately recognize as bigoted. The other, you did not even notice, because your own beliefs are oh-so-close.

Comfortable? I doubt it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Amanda Marcotte Resigned

Joe Gandelman thinks that she could not have caused Edwards too many problems, even if she stayed on.
It’s highly unlikely Edwards’ campaign would have significantly suffered if she had not quit. The main reason: the people going after her for her previous writings are not people who would likely vote for Edwards anyway. And voters who would vote against a candidate because someone doing blog outreach and coordination had written some things they hated were probably “squishy” voters who could not be counted on.
A few things come to mind. First, I have seen a tremendous number of bloggers acting like her fall (of which this is now the second iteration) is a bad thing for bloggers, because it will mean that bloggers might have to be accountable for the things they write or have written. Given that bloggers, in general, take pride in holding others accountable, this strikes me as wanting to have the best of both worlds. Accountability is good, not bad.

Second, we are not talking about just some slightly over the line writings here. We are talking about things written that were so far over the line that it revealed a completely rotten core. Hers are the writings of an unstable, hate-filled person-- and she was chosen by a Presidential candidate specifically for the appeal of her poisonous scribing. I think it says something very disturbing about human nature that she has had so many bloggers suggest that it would be a bad thing for bloggers if Edwards canned her. Talking about God filling Mary with his hot, sticky Holy Spirit is something that should cause immediate revulsion from any American regardless of ideology; it is a matter of decorum and of proper treatment of others. For Marcotte, it is a key aspect of her popularity. But many, too many, bloggers went right past that with only token concern (if that) and went right to the impact on bloggers! What this shows is that any group will tend to be overly forgiving or blind to the failings of one of their own. And if bloggers will excuse the inexcusable from other bloggers because it would be bad for bloggers if they take a fall, it is easy to see how partisans outside of the blogosphere will tend to excuse the inexcusable from their fellow soul mates.

The third thing that comes to mind is that I certainly hope that Edwards takes a hit in the polls for his choice of hire, his flip-flop fire-rehire mush from last week, and giving her the easy way out of a resignation now rather than a firing. It showed poor judgment on his part, and suggested that, perhaps, he did not see anything all that wrong with what she wrote. This gets to my biggest concern, though. Maybe hate has become mainstream and shared by so many that it is a feature, not a bug. God help us all if that is the case.

ADDED: Althouse strikes a chord I am seeing too often.
I favor independent blogging, and I like to see things get interesting. Interesting... hot... sticky... whatever! Just not boring.
Maybe we should lament the reaction to Michael Richards' on-stage rant. We should favor independent comedy, and should like to see things get interesting. Interesting... slurs... whatever! Just not boring. Anything but that. And what, may I ask, is interesting about public displays of offensiveness, vulgarity, and hate?

And another added thought--I am sure a Duke-like blogger is interesting to certain racists and bigots. What does it say about someone who finds the writings of an anti-Catholic bigot to be interesting? Make no mistake, that is what Marcotte is. If one is an atheist or an agnostic does not make one a bigot. But if one finds the hateful writings of Marcotte to be interesting, then one might be a lot closer to, or over, that line than one realizes.

For comparison, Dale Franks gets it right.
Ms. Marcotte want two contradictory things. She wishes to create a public persona that spouts the most outlandish views, in the most incendiary fashion possible, then she wishes the rest of the world to ignore the public persona she created when it suits her...
Ms. Marcotte doesn't want freedom of speech. She wants freedom from criticism. I'm sure that would be a cool thing to have, but, unfortunately, freedom of speech makes that...well...impossible to obtain...
And on Danny Glover's blog, Michael Bérubé waxes sarcastically.
It's time for a full-scale purge of atheists in politics. Only then can we restore civility to public discourse. With Rush Limbaugh's help, God willing.
I find it interesting that you would try to expand the issue here from one pathetically bigoted atheist to all atheists. However, I am not sure that is wise on his part. I never really considered this to be a matter of atheists. However, if, as suggested by his snark, all atheists are like Marcotte, then frankly maybe we do need a purge of all atheists from politics.

However, I suspect that not all atheists are like Marcotte, or like Mike. As such, I do not want to purge them from politics. I am, however, open to being convinced. Not by non-atheists, but by atheists. They can make the case by emulating Marcotte.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

A Matter of Survival

I have concluded that Rudy Giuliani has to win the Republican nomination, or that party is destined to spend decades in the minority.

If one looks back over the past several elections, one sees that the country has been divided pretty evenly. For a while Republicans were winning the close ones, and then all at once the Democrats won every single close one in 2006.

The fact is that both parties have to maintain every portion of their voting coalition in order to retain the balance. For a while, thanks to Ralph Nader, it looked as if the Democrats would be the party that struggled in this effort. Now, though, the Republicans are the more vulnerable.

Let's say that you are a centrist. A moderate. You are open to the Republican message, and may even feel that you are center-right as opposed to center-left. Would you be part of a coalition that never, under any circumstances, would let someone from your corner of the ideologic spectrum lead?

The fact of the matter is that Rudy Giuliani is, perhaps, the most formidable center-right (or, if you must, liberal Republican) candidate of the last half-century or so. He is accomplished and popular. Sure, he has flaws, but every man and woman has flaws; if some of the 'problems' Rudy has were disqualifying in the eyes of the public, then neither Clinton would have had any success at all. If the GOP will not have Giuliani, then moderate Republicans will have no choice but to realize that the party will NEVER accept one of their own as the standard bearer. That is the time they will realize they no longer have a party.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Big Mo

Hamsun56 comments, over at Althouse, about Hillary's announcement that she is (surprise, surprise!) running for President:
This stops, at least temporarily, the momentum he [Obama] was building.
It does?

I Like This Idea

Via Instapundit and Bill Hobbs, I came across this ElephantBiz post that has a thought I find very appealing-- a Presidential run by Fred Thompson.
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, a lawyer and actor who currently plays District Attorney Arthur Branch on Law & Order, is now doing radio commentary on the Paul Harvey show...
Might Thompson be prepping for a presidential run? He says he isn't running, but perhaps he is, unconventionally, courting Republican conservatives in case that when the field clears later this year it becomes obvious that, of the three likely to still be in the race, neither Arizona Sen. John McCain nor former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has a chance at the conservative vote, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's support among social conservatives is brittle and based less on Romney than on their distaste for the other two. In that scenario, a late entry by Thompson could rapidly erode Romney's support and likely take down McCain as well as Thompson does well with moderates and independents.
He quotes from a recent commentary by Thompson, that hits a chord that resonates with my view on the situation in Iraq:
Is it really in our country’s best interest to signal to the enemy that they probably only have to wait us out a little longer because congressional determination to defeat them is crumbling? Doesn’t such a resolution further diminish our chances for success at the very time our soldiers are preparing to go into battle?
Yes, it does, and not just for the coming battles in this war, but it further diminishes our chances for success for any future wars in which we end up engaged. I believe this is one goal of the most ardent anti-war advocates; they are more than comfortable with the idea of contributing to our defeat if it causes us to avoid war at all costs in the future. To be honest, part of me understands that view. War should be avoided-- but not at all costs. Rather, it should be avoided as much as is practical. All costs includes costs that are too great to bear. It was too high a cost to allow Saddam to continue to defy the U.N. resolutions. Maybe he did not have WMD (and maybe he did and they ended up in Syria or elsewhere), but he was required to prove to the U.N. that he had destroyed what he had previously had and he refused to do this. It was too high a cost to bear to hope for the best. Now, he is gone. It is too high a cost to bear to hope that all turns out for the best if we leave Iraq for the Sunnis and Shi'ites to battle over, with Al-Qaeda and Iran meddling and gaining traction as well. We have to win, and steps that make it harder for us to win are a tremendous mistake.

Aren't Leftists Fun?

Hugo Chavez has had his cronies in the Venezuela National Assembly grant him the power to bypass them and rule by decree for 18 months.

Anyone want to bet if one of his decrees will be to extend the 18 months?

The American left loves to point fingers at the right and tell all of us moderates that the danger to the American way of life comes from those fanatics. Yet, time and again, ruthless thugs come to power in other countries riding a wave of leftist populism.

I am not asking the American left to change their views. I am asking them to be just as vigilant about the totalitarians on their side as they fancy themselves as being with totalitarians on the right.

Added- Joe Gandelman snarks, "It’s sort of like watching the old TV show “Bewitched,” as another actor assumed the part of Darrin," as Chavez slips into Castro's role on the world stage. It is a good line, but the implications are more dire than the replacement of one Dick with another. But the real value in Joe's post is the excerpt he posts from Edward Ellis, writing in the Buffalo News:
It is obvious to anyone watching closely that Chavez is not a dictator. He is, however, bombastic and his recent announcement that the government plans to nationalize private companies must be understood within this context. Despite the bluster, history and common sense show there will be no expropriation of private companies in Venezuela without fair remuneration.
With words like these, it is any wonder why so many of us have grown to literally fear the blinders that the left puts on when convenient?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Most Unfortunate Book Title Of The Year

Via Memeorandum, I saw this Newsmax piece on Dinesh D'Souza's new tome, "The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11."

Holy flip. Lest we think that the title is just some misguided hyperbole, D'Souza makes sure we do not:
"In this book I make a claim that will seem startling at the outset. The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11."
In a nutshell, we do things culturally that offend Muslims, and this is why they (at least the radical ones who lead many terrorist groups and many middle eastern countries) want to kill us. They fear our influence on their culture.

Except we have been having problems with Islam's militance for a long, long time.

But even if it was true, so the heck what? It would be something we should thank the "cultural left" about-- showing the nature of those who would kill us to keep us from upsetting their sensibilities.

Don't get me wrong. There is plenty in our culture which disgusts me, and I firmly believe we should work on some of our excesses. But blaming the cultural left for 9/11 shows a clear misunderstanding of who the enemy is, and comes from the mindset of a coward-- if we only submit to their norms, maybe they'll show mercy on us infidels.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Paul at Powerline writes,
By running for president Obama will show plenty of audacity and hope. A serious country would not take his candidacy seriously. This country will.
In other words, this country is not a serious country. At least, not as serious as Paul Mirengoff.

I have to tell ya-- that is just a recipe for getting people to tell ya to pound sand. One can think that attributes other than experience are qualifying, and even necessary. One can think that a candidate offers so much in other areas that are needed at this time. And if one does not take seriously voters who do not share their own opinions on how to judge candidate qualifications, one is not likely to be persuasive to voters.

I Agree With What He Said, But Not What He Means

First the quote, then the context. Sut Jhally:
"Fear has been used to paralyze people's intellects," said Jhally. "If they can scare people, almost anything becomes possible. When people are afraid their brains shut off and it makes you confused and want easy solutions."
Here is the context. Sut Jhally is speaking about 24, a show that he dislikes terribly.
As ABC phrases it, he "believes Hollywood's fascination with terrorism can have serious political consequences."
Sut Jhally, co-producer and co-director of the film "Hijacking Catastrophe," says the dramatic action in the show creates a dangerous climate in which the public loses some of its perspective on what's real and what's not. Of course that may be a minority opinion given the show's enormous popularity.
Oddly, Sut did not really have much to say about films like "The Day After Tomorrow."

I do agree with the first quote I gave here, though. I do think that fear has been used to paralyze people's intellects, and that when one is afraid, one does tend to not think clearly and tends to look for easy solutions. That is exactly on what terrorists count.

This is why despite agreeing with the words, I disagree completely with Jhally's meaning. He thinks the problem is shows depicting terrorism. I think the problem is with terrorism. I agree that fear is a paralyzing influence. I think that shows that get us talking about the issues are very much a constructive influence. They get us to think about things in the abstract, before we are put in a position of real terror where our ability to think is compromised. "The Day After Tomorrow" is a positive influence because it gets people to think about the issues and start the debates we need to have. "24" is the same way.

By the way, I wonder why ABC did not give the full title to Jhally's movie. It is not just "Hijacking Catastrophe." It is "Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire." That extra bit of information certainly would be useful to readers in evaluating from where Mr. Jhally is coming, don't you think? Regardless, Mr. Jhally does not seem to be shy about using scare tactics to get people to fear the big, bad Bush administration.

Find the problem

What is the real problem here?

Here is what the Detroit Free Press reports:

The ruling grows out of a case in which a Charlevoix man accused of trading Oxycontin pills for the sexual favors of a cocktail waitress was charged under an obscure provision of Michigan's criminal law. The provision decrees that a person is guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct whenever "sexual penetration occurs under circumstances involving the commission of any other felony."
Fair enough. The law seems to be aimed at making it that rape is bad, but rape during the commission of another felony is worse. I am guessing the intent is to make it that the penalty for, as an example, rape during a robbery to be greater than the penalties for a rape and a robbery added together. Personally, I think the better answer is to get judges who consistently impose lenient sentences off the bench, but I can understand the impetus for the law.

In this case, the felony was the sale of drugs. There was no rape, however. The drugs were being exchanged for sex. I doubt that this was the intent of the law, but it does fit in the language of the law. The court correctly, according to my read of the law, decided that the charges were valid. The court questioned, as I did above, if this was the intent of the law, with Judge William Murphy writing "We cannot help but question whether the Legislature actually intended the result we reach here today, but we are curtailed by the language of the statute from reaching any other conclusion."

Fair enough. The legislature, if it is so inclined, can revisit the law and modify it if it deems the language to be overly broad.

However, Judge Murphy goes much further, and engages in what sounds like some serious hyperbole.
"Technically," he added, "any time a person engages in sexual penetration in an adulterous relationship, he or she is guilty of CSC I," the most serious sexual assault charge in Michigan's criminal code.
Huh? Why is this?
The judges said they recognized their ruling could have sweeping consequences, "considering the voluminous number of felonious acts that can be found in the penal code." Among the many crimes Michigan still recognizes as felonies, they noted pointedly, is adultery -- although the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan notes that no one has been convicted of that offense since 1971.
See the problem?

This is not a problem with the new law. This is not a problem with an overzealous prosecutor taking the drug war too far. This is a problem with a puritan and antiquated law remaining on the books. The solution is simple-- get the law that makes adultery a felony repealed. End of problem.


Valencia, California gets nuked? Not so much.

Jack wastes Curtis? Damn!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tenor matters

Althouse is thinking about Obama and Al Sharpton.
But back to the meat of this post. Sharpton -- and others -- must be profoundly jealous and resentful -- and with good reason. In a political culture in which the media have long consulted them and preserved a place for them in the debate, now it seems that Obama will be given that place, and Obama is likely to say things that are far more mellow and conciliatory to the majority of Americans. They have to be asking -- and we should ask too -- whether that is why Americans like Obama so much.
I can only speak for myself, but when I survey the Democrat candidates for 2008, Obama appeals to me the most. I know with a Democrat, I am going to get something ranging from moderately liberal to significantly liberal. We just are not going to get a leftist (and if we did, it would be a one-termer who would sink the party for a long, long time).

When it comes to choosing between them, I know that any will yank us out of Iraq if things are still going poorly, and any will finish the job if things are going well. Domestically, we will just get variations on the same old Democratic themes we have been hearing for decades.

Therefore, the only differentiator between them to me is the way they conduct themselves. Integrity, and demeanor. Barring any scandals, the former will be a wash. That just leaves demeanor. I am sick and tired of the rank partisanship. I am not so naive to believe that Senator Obama is truly a post-partisan candidate. However, I do believe he represents a significant rollback in the rancor embraced by much of the Democratic party.

I have not yet decided upon my preferred candidate on the Republican side, and my choice on the Democratic side may change. But right now, I have penciled in Obama.

Yeah, That's Really Moderate

Joe Gandelman, the so-called "Moderate Voice," is likening Tucker Carlson to a horse's ass.


Because some idjit working in a movie rental store decided it would be just fun as all hell to post that a certain customer, who happens to be a conservative pundit on TV with a poor sense of fashion and two left feet, had just opened an account at his store, and he just might post what the dude was renting.

Gandelman decided that the person in the wrong here is Tucker Carlson, not the idjit rental counter worker. He even added the idjit to his blogroll.

Sorry, Joe. The guy deserved to get fired. He had no right to violate the confidentiality of the store's customers (which he did by mentioning that Carlson had even opened an account there). He had no right to, even in jest, threaten to expose what Carlson had been renting. Believe it or not, even wingnuts should be able to live their lives without moonbats salivating over the opportunity to embarrass them at every opportunity, and without faux-centrists piling on.

Nice self-portrait photo in the post, though, Joe.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Currently (Retro) Jamming To...

"Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang.

Update- Still going. It is not exactly a short song.

True Belief

Althouse says of politicians who are opposed to the new Iraq strategy, "I'd guess they were thinking this new approach doesn't deserve a chance, because it's not going to work."

The antiwar base of the Democrats reasserted itself over the past several years, reminding their like-minded politicos that there is no song that goes "All we are saying, is give war a chance."

Look, what happens when one starts from an endpoint (oppose Bush) is that one looks continually for arguments to make the case, and minimizes arguments in the other direction. Even if one started from the cynical, political position of reflexive opposition, eventually one is persuaded to really believe by one's own one-sided arguments.

I believe that many opponents of the war now truly believe that we cannot win, at least if President Bush is President. I believe that the process of how many, if not most, of them came to this view is how I described above.

"I can contradict myself in one paragraph, Bob!"

Matt Stoller, Make That Contradiction!
I'm as outraged as anyone at Harry Reid's apparent move to protect secret earmarks. I have a call into his office, and I'm told that there were some negotiations going on that suggest that Reid's work isn't as bad as it's being reported. I tend to trust Josh Marshall on this, but my general reaction is less annoyance at this specific fight and more frustration at the avoidance of the real issue at hand by various parties involved in the ethics and corruption field.
'I am as outraged as anyone over Harry Reid's move on earmarks. Except I don't think earmarks are the problem.' He is outraged, but not over the same thing, except he wants his outrage to count as the same thing, so that he can start from a position of agreement, even though he does not agree.

Think I am being unfair? Two paragraphs later, he writes "These reforms do not and never have worked and I'm tired of liberal groups focusing on them as some sort of panacea." Funny, I do not recall Stoller ever saying he was tired of liberal groups focusing on ethics reforms when Republicans were in power. But that snide little swipe from humble old me aside, if we take Stoller's points quoted here together, we have that he is outraged as anyone at Reid's move to protect secret earmarks, even though he believes that reforms in this area do not and never have worked and he's sick and tired of liberals focusing on them.

I am being too harsh though. I actually agree with this:

Let's be honest - quasi-corrupt practices such as secret earmarks are not the result just of bad people in politics, they are the result of structural factors that encourage the legalized bribery of our governing class. If you restrict secret earmarks without changing any other incentives, you'll simply push the quasi-corruption into another legal vehicle designed to bilk the public and hide the costs.
I totally disagree with him over his answer, which is public financing of campaigns. Everything with these guys seems to have the same answer-- have the government run it, and have everyone in the world (except the poor) pay for it. Whenever there is a monopoly, as there would be in this case-- the monopoly being over the control of campaign cash, who gets it and what hoops they must jump through-- then the result is corruption and abuse. You can bet whichever party is in power would tailor the rules to benefit that party. Take it to the bank. Moving from one corrupt system to another corrupt system is not a good idea. At all.

Do you want reform? I have an idea-- vote out those who abuse the system. If those who abuse the system are not in your voting area, then do not support them with your words or your money. Do not support their party if the party supports them. Stoller wants to say that the problem is not Senator Byrd or Senator Stevens (well, knowing Stoller, he probably would prefer to say it is not Byrd but is Stevens), but a corrupt system that taints them all. But there is no perfect system. There is only the people being accountable.

If there was an opponent to challenge Sen. Byrd, would Stoller have suggested to vote for that opponent? Heck no, even if it was a relatively unknown Democrat, who somehow managed to get advertising. If that opponent was a Republican, Stoller would have reflexively opposed him. If it was a relatively unknown Democrat, Stoller would not have wanted to put the seat at risk, knowing that Byrd is an institution to himself. Even with public financing, that calculation would be unchanged. Incumbents could bribe their voters with earmarks, shamelessly naming buildings and roads so developed after themselves (drive through West Virginia some day). A publicly financed campaign system would entrench porkers even more, not less.

The answer is for people to hold the candidates and the parties accountable. We are accountable for the government we elect. If it sucks, then we have sucked in our job as voters. When voters start punishing Democrats for Senators acting like Byrd, Republicans for Senators like Stevens, Democrats for giving a home to Representatives like William Jefferson or District Attorneys like Mike Nifong, Republicans for Representatives like Duke Cunningham, etc., then the system will start being cleaner.

Hey, we got one! Maybe there is hope for us voters yet!

How long will it be...

...before the lion stops thinking "I WUV her!" and starts thinking "Tastes like chicken!" That's what I want to know.

Do it right

A Duke University professor, showing amazing timing along with, um, an unusual level of judgment, "resigned from her committee assignments, saying she was upset by the administration's decision to invite two lacrosse players accused of sexual assault back to campus."

Come on, gal! Buck up! If you are going to resign in protest, resign in protest! Don't just knock off some committees, where you probably hated the meetings anyway. If you are so troubled by the actions of the University, resign. I sincerely mean it when I say-- you don't belong there!

Update-- Either that professor is the dumbest professor in America, or the most racist. No wonder the AP did not mention her name, despite highlighting her (insert either "stupidity" or "abject hatred of white guys."

Root Cause

Dorothy Rabinowitz suggests this as a root cause of the Duke lacrosse scandal: "Mr. Nifong is no anomaly-- merely a product of the political times..."

Even if you do not agree with this specific point, I hope that you are becoming aware of the fact that the high level of partisanship of this era is not healthy. To which I ask-- is it worth it? Is it really worth the cost for you to hold on to your partisanship?

Even those of you who are stuck in the middle (with me), but are partisan about it?

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Love Myself For Hating You

Part Deux
Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer... wasted no time yesterday in dragging the debate over Iraq about as low as it can go - attacking Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for being a childless woman.

Good for them

By them, I mean Senators Tester and Webb, freshman Democrats, and DeMint, Republican. McQ has the details.
Now it is the Senate's turn. In the Senate, the rules won't allow one party to deny the other party debate or the ability to offer amendments. So not at all satisfied with the Democratic Senate version of the bill (Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 (S. 1) which had very weak earmark reform rules, Republican Senator Jim DeMint, a strong advocate of earmark reform, introduced an amendment (amendment 11) which essentially offered the Pelosi reforms from the House version of the bill...
UPDATE (4:29pm): It should be noted that Senate Democratic freshmen, Jim Webb and Jon Tester, voted with Republicans to not kill the proposal. Will Reid successfully whip them into changing their vote?
So why do I only give props to DeMint on the GOP side? Because they were in the majority for a long time and did not do this then. It is very easy to believe that the primary concern of most of the Republicans voting here was not reform, but to embarrass the Democrats politically. DeMint has been pushing stuff like this since his first day, so he gets called out. There may be a few others deserving of kudos, but for the most part they did nothing.

Update Sen. Obama was also on the correct side of this vote. Sen. Clinton was not.

Is this blaming the ICC for genocide?

Spencer Ackerman thinks so.
[Stephen] Rademaker, until recently an assistant secretary of state for destroying international institutions, blames the International Criminal Court for the genocide. Seriously!
Seriously? No way! Way? Let's look at the source.
If this is where we end up in Darfur -- or if the genocide continues unabated because peacekeepers cannot be deployed -- there will be three culprits to blame: the bloodthirsty regime in Khartoum, the oil-thirsty government in Beijing and the U.N. Security Council's shortsighted decision to bring in the ICC.
This looks to me to be far from blaming the ICC for genocide. Instead, the op-ed makes a strong case that the blame goes to, in order, Khartoum's regime for conducting the genocide, China for not wanting to lose a vital trading partner in Khartoum, and the Security Council for not realizing what China would do.

Oh, and the title of Ackerman's post? "When Genocidaires Talk, The Right Listens." Cute. Except for the fact that the article names President Bush for his part in bringing in the ICC.
The Bush administration supported bringing in the ICC, not least because the perpetrators of the Darfur genocide are so richly deserving of prosecution.
The difference here is between idealism and pragmatism in the conduct of foreign affairs. It used to be that this difference was a primary one between the left and right, with the idealists on the left and the realists on the right. The tables have turned, and now there are more idealists on the right and more realists on the left.

I love me some asparagus

I do not agree with a good portion of the war on drugs and support marijuana legalization. And I do love me some asparagus.
But arguing against the drug war because of its affect on the asparagus industry, as Jeralyn Merritt does, is really reaching.
Congress has decimated the U.S. asparagus industry by waiving tariffs for Peruvian asparagus. It's a backwards attempt to buffer coca eradication with crop substitution.

Turn It Around

Tim F., let's try this on for size.
Anyhow, just a random thought on a Thursday afternoon. I’m sure that Iran will prove perfectly pliable to American intimidation, especially if we throw in a bombing raid or two. If that doesn’t work, well, bygones.
'Anyhow, just a random thought on a Friday morning. I'm sure that America will prove perfectly pliable to Iranian intimidation, especially if we throw in a hostage situation at their embassy, and maybe some support for the people killing their soldiers just over our border. If that doesn't work, well, bygones.'

The Best And The Brightest

Shaun Mullen writes, "The day after the day after a terrifyingly myopic speech in which George Bush announced an escalation of the Iraq war in the face of calls from the best and brightest to do just the opposite, I feel despair."

Don't despair, Shaun. After all, you have the same views as the best and the brightest. Heck, you are one of the best and the brightest. You know you are. Give yourself a hug.

Just look for prior examples

Dale Franks asks, "How can Mr. Nifong believe any jury can be impaneled that will convict the defendants of anything at this point?"

A jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty. Incomprehensible outcomes occur.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dang, I Wish I Had Said That

Someone named Mindsteps asked,
Is there a way to support the president, yet not enable him?
Victoria correctly snarks,
Yes. Indifference.

Marriage will end poverty?

So says Representative Jack Kingston.
because the truth of the matter is, if people end poverty, many of them would marry and work 40 hours a week, they would be out of poverty.
Something tells me that it might be a little bit more complicated than that.

Don't get me wrong. Divorce and kids growing up without both parents certainly contribute to the problems of poverty.

But simply getting hitched is not going to do the trick.

Added thought--- Unless the couple gets some really kick-butt wedding presents from A-list people.

Songs for the Greenie Meanies

They could close their meetings with a rousing rendition of "Cruel to be Kind (In the Right Measure)."

Or maybe take a twist on Joan Jett; something along the lines of "I Love Myself For Hating You."

This guy is a head case

What the hell is wrong with Representative Steve Kagen?
Kagen then reportedly greeted the president's wife, Laura Bush, by intentionally using the first name of the president's mother, Barbara, instead.

"I did that because I learned on the campaign trail that the meanest thing you can say to another gentleman is, 'He's a fine fellow.' And then you refer to his spouse by a different name," Kagen is reported to have told a local peace activist group who visited his Appleton campaign office Dec. 19.

The White House denies this occurred. Either way, there is something seriously wrong with the guy. "heh heh, I was intentionally as mean as I possibly could be. heh heh. I dissed his wife. heh heh" Dude, if you did that, you are not speaking truth to power. You are being an ass. And if you didn't do it and just made it up, then that's just deranged.

The fun part is, you just know that the 'local peace activists' got off on hearing about someone reveling in being as mean as he possibly could be. What group was this? The "Peace Activists For a Meaner Tomorrow?"

"The Meanie-Greenies?"

Although, I wonder if he realizes that he just called President Bush a gentleman. The only problem, for it to be to "another gentleman", Kagen would have to be one himself. He is not. He is either a boor, or a lying boor wannabe.

I tell ya son

You're gonna drive me to drinking
If you don't stop driving that Hot Rod Lincoln


Derbyshire, who should be able to figure this out with his background in math, is struggling with a logic puzzle.
The central and most glaring contradiction is the implied threat to walk away... Yoked to the ringing declaration that, of course, we can't walk away. We seem to be saying to the Maliki govt.: "Hey, you guys better step up to your responsibilites, or else we're outa here." This, a few sentences after saying that we can't leave the place without a victory. So-o-o-o:

—-We can't leave Iraq without a victory.

—-Unless Maliki & Co. get their act together, we can't achieve victory.

—-If Maliki & Co. don't get their act together, we'll leave.

It's been a while since I studied classical logic, but it seems to me that this syllogism leaks like a sieve.

The rust is showing. "We can't leave Iraq without a victory." This is my view, and apparently the view of the Bush administration. So far, so good. "Unless Maliki & Co. get their act together, we can't achieve victory." That is an assertion by the Bush administration. It strikes me as true. "If Maliki & Co. don't get their act together, we'll leave." That also sounds correct in my view.

What Derbyshire is missing is a pretty obvious point. If "Maliki & Co. don't get their act together," then this latest effort by the Bush administration will fail (as asserted in the second point). The Bush administration will end, and will under such a scenario almost certainly be replaced by an administration that does not believe in the first point. People who, like me, believe we should try everything we can to win before deciding we have lost, will start to think that there is nothing we can do to win; there is some evidence that this is already happening.

In other words, the three points that Derbyshire believes are logically inconsistent are only so because they leave out an obvious point or two. Let me rectify this.

--- The Bush administration believes we can't leave without a victory.

--- Unless Maliki & Co. get their act together, we can't achieve victory.

--- If Maliki & Co. don't get their act together, the Bush administration will not be followed by one that shares the belief that we can't leave without a victory.

--- Therefore, if Maliki & Co. don't get their act together, we'll leave.

That was then...

Glenn and Helen talk to the latest politician shown to be a serial flip-flopper, Mitt Romney.

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that politicians change their views!

Could it be for political expedience? You betcha. Could it be that he simply changed his mind? You betcha.

We've spent how many months beating up Mr. Bush because he was too stubborn to admit mistakes (read: change his mind). I cannot get too worked up over a guy changing his positions over a few years on some issues.

Now, if I am a single-issue voter, flip-floppiness would concern me greatly, especially if my issue is one which has been flipped and flopped. Also, if a candidate seems to try to have it both ways on every single issue that comes down the pike (and I am looking at you, Senator Kerry), that would concern me greatly.

He asks, I answer

Cannonfire challenges, "Does anyone in the land of the free actually believe the issue in Iraq is democracy vs. terror, instead of Shi’ite against Sunni?"

The blogger who is enigmatic to the core's hand slowly raises. Nah, it raises with confidence.

Let's take any major division in the United States. Republicans vs. Democrats. Conservatives vs. Liberals. Yankees fans vs. Red Sox fans. Rosie vs. The Donald. We do not run around killing each other.

Meanwhile, the Shi'ites and Sunnis run around like they are the Bloods and the Crips. ("Warriors, come out to plaaaaaayyyyyy!") The issue in gang wars is not gang vs. gang. The issue is gang mentality and the refusal to live within the bounds of a lawful, civilized society. The problem is not Shi'ite against Sunni, but the fact that Shi'ites and Sunnis in Iraq are conducting their conflict in the court of violence, rather than through the peaceful mechanisms that we associate with Democracy. The issue really is the culture that accepts and fosters terror vs. the culture that does not. We do not have to find the happy medium between Shi'ites and Sunnis, if such a thing exists. We have to get them to stop killing each other, stop killing us, stop killing 'the infidels', stop wanting to exterminate the Jews, stop using the Kurds as their bitches.

So to speak.

You don't sleep with the enemy

Jeralyn Merritt says "Democrats are upset".

No! I would never have imagined such a thing! Democrats seem to be so easygoing!

Oh, wait. There's more. "Democrats are upset, among other things, at Bush's lack of consultation with them over the plan. By the time he met with them, the plan was a fait accompli."

Oh, wah. Seriously, all one has to do is peruse the blogs and forums that have, as their audience, the Democratic base voter. All of them treat Mr. Bush as the enemy, and have for as long as he has been on the scene.

Uh, oh. Here come the calls of "He started it!" "He did it first!" "Did you see what he did?" "Mom, he's touching me. He's looking at me! Daaaaad!!!"

Don't make me come back there. If I have to stop this blog...

Democrats have a vested interest in Mr. Bush failing. He would be the fool the left makes him out to be if he sat down with his political enemies to come up with a plan that would, among other things, save his political skin. Maybe that is it- they are upset that he did not act like the fool they think he is.

It would be very nice if Democrats and Republicans could sit down and work together on matters of national and international security, setting partisanship aside. Sounds like a plan to me. It would work! Why? "Because it has to!"

UPDATE: I found the sheets. Got my pillow. I am good to go for tonight.

Because It Has To

This exchange is noted in the New York Times.
He put it far more bluntly when leaders of Congress visited the White House earlier on Wednesday. “I said to Maliki this has to work or you’re out,” the president told the Congressional leaders, according to two officials who were in the room. Pressed on why he thought this strategy would succeed where previous efforts had failed, Mr. Bush shot back: “Because it has to.”

I think I will go to buy $1,000 worth of lottery tickets with the money that is earmarked for our bills. When my wife asks me why on earth I think that this will work when we haven't won jack-diddly in the lottery before, I'll shoot back: "Because it has to."

UPDATE: Does anyone know where we store the sheets? I'll probably need a set for the couch tonight.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It came from his wife

So can anyone explain to me the screwed up priorities that have Senators questioning a former Representative over his appearance in Borat?

Role Call

Althouse asks (nicely, I might add, with a please and everything except the 'with sugar on top'), "What will be role of bloggers in the 2008 presidential election?"

I'll spot her the missing "the" and give my answer.

The role of bloggers on the left will be to help Democrats launder campaign cash while pulling the party towards unelectable positions. The role of bloggers on the right will be to basically be impotent beyond helping divide the Republican base even further.

But, mainly, it will just be people expressing themselves. In and of itself, that is a good thing with value.

Proving himself unqualified

Chris Dodd joins George Pataki, Dennis Kucinich, and potentially John Kerry as being candidates
who should be disqualified merely on the basis that they are so oblivious to reality that they cannot see that their candidacy has no chance and will have no effect on anything.

The Speech

I might end up watching it, if I happen to not be the master of the remote control's domain at the time it starts.

But it will be a waste of time.

I do not recall our political scene ever being quite this rigid, with so few undecideds, so few willing to see what happens, so few giving the benefit of the doubt, so few willing to change their minds, so willing to consider what the other side is saying.

My mind is made up. Your mind is made up. As with Gregory House last night, nothing's changed.

Somewhere, there is someone who will find value in tonight's speech. There has to be someone, doesn't there? I bet his name is Herb.

He's kidding me, right?

Dick Morris does not think that 'righties' will vote for Rudy Guiliani. "Righties will vote for him only if they have lobotomies first. Remember how the New York City Council prohibited the Boy Scouts from meeting on city property because they wouldn't let in gay scoutmasters? Rudy let it happen."

If Dick Morris thinks there are 10 people in this country who would choose their vote in 2008, with the war on the table and with taxes on the table and with all that is going on in the world, over the fact that Rudy Guiliani did not get into a pissing match with the New York City Council over hosting Boy Scout meetings, then he is even crazier than I thought.

And if he happens to be correct, and I am just being naive about 'righties', then the crazy is on them. They would deserve to have their candidate lose.**

**Note that I am not saying that it is crazy for someone on the right to oppose Guiliani. However, if one bases his opposition on that, then one's priorities are seriously whacked.

While On Songs

Currently on the Zen Touch: "I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock And Roll)", version by The Knack.

Up next: "All Those Years Ago" by George Harrison.
Deep in the darkest night
I send out a prayer to you
Now in the world of light
Where the spirit free of the lies
And all else that we despised

I love that song

Sarah Wheaton of the New York Times writes a post titled "Looking Forward to 'The Way'".

They made up their minds
And they started packing
They left before the sun came up that day
An exit to eternal summer slacking
But where were they going without ever knowing the way?
Oh, hi, it's me, I'm back. The Central Scrutinizer. Wheaton continues, "The call for increasing troops marks the first time that Mr. Bush has acted counter to the advice of his top military brass."

She says that like it is a bad thing. It being the Times I am sure it is meant as if it is a bad thing. But here's my thing-- if the war effort to date has been a fluster cuck, and to date Mr. Bush has never acted counter to the advice of his top military brass, then Mr. Bush deciding to act counter to the advice of his top military brass sounds like one heck of an idea to me.
The children woke up
And they couldnt find em
They left before the sun came up that day
They just drove off
And left it all behind em
But where were they going without ever knowing the way?


Democrats Plan Symbolic Votes Against Iraq Plan.

I hope they do so with puppets.

Not quite

TMV's Michael van der Galien chides Sandy Berger, writing "And so, Sandy Berger has succeeded in making the entire Clinton administration look bad. Well done Sandy."

Sandy did make the entire Clinton administration look bad. However, his crime has bigger recriminations than just that.

He made the entire Clinton administration look bad, by making it look like there was something extremely detrimental that they were desperate to hide from us.

He made the entire Kerry campaign look bad, because Kerry was looking at him being a top-tier appointee, and was using him as as senior advisor.

He made the entire Bush administration look bad, by making it look like they were willing to overlook someone obstructing with the 9/11 commission's investigation, for God only knows what reason.

And he made us, fellow Americans, look bad. He showed that we still, to this day, put partisanship ahead of the truly important stuff, and that we lack the will to punish those who screw around with our national interests and security. This man should be in jail for the rest of our lives, and we look like fools for not caring that he won't only avoid such a penalty, but can actually get a security clearance in the future. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, without a doubt.

Surge. Escalation. The adjective does not matter.

McQ writes "the Democrats are right to characterize this more as an escalation than a surge."

Frankly, I don't give a damn what word is used to describe it. My support is not going to be decided on nomenclature.

I want a simple war policy for America, with two prongs.

I want us to go to war only as a nearly last resort. We do not have to try everything else first, but we have to try nearly everything else first.

I am satisfied that we, as a country, did this with Iraq. Sanctions were tried, for years, spanning administrations of both parties. We had worked through the United Nations. We tried a limited war in the First Gulf War. We tried talking tough. Spare me the "Bush lied" nonsense. He said nothing that had not been said by politicians from both sides of the aisle for well over a decade. My support is not going to be decided on partisan hackery. I supported our decision to go to war.

I want us to fail in war only as a last resort. We have to try our damnedest, once engaged in war, to win it. We can withdraw and lose the war, or we can win the war and withdraw. Both options involve withdrawing. The primary difference is winning and losing. Winning requires more effort, and more cost in concrete terms of dollars and lives directly harmed or lost. Losing, however, is not without costs, both in dollars and in lives directly harmed or lost. This is so obvious that I am alienated, immediately, by those who act as if there is no cost to losing.

I am greatly dissatisfied with the way the war effort has gone to date. I believe that mistakes have been made, and not corrected with sufficient speed or diligence. However, I do not think that we have tried everything, and as such I am not with those who want us to withdraw immediately. I am interested in seeing what General David Petraeus will do. I hope, for all of our sakes, that his plan will be effective.

From the agreement folder?

Derbyshire says that this letter is from his "agreement folder."

Basically, Katrina should be viewed as a Godsend. An excuse to save the few historic and chaming places in the city and bulldoze the rest.
A Godsend? People who had little lost everything. Lives were lost. The best that can be said is that there are some opportunities to fix some broken areas, and that hardly outweighs the tragedy wrought by Katrina.

I am not sure what kind of mind would look at Katrina as a Godsend. I am not sure what kind of mind would take such a note and file it in the agreement folder. I am sure that they are not of my kind of mind.

The biggest problem National Review has with Derbyshire is that the others do not take him on regarding his nonsense often enough. They probably get tired of doing so, but the silence at times is awfully easy to take as tolerance for intolerable perspectives.

She Stole My Mojo

Althouse, at the end.

Backwards, Mick

Kaus writes, "Supporters of welfare reform have seen caseloads drop dramatically and a employment rise, but we're still looking for unmistakable signs of a dramatic improvement in the culture of ghetto poverty, especially for black men."

This is backwards**. The standard for "welfare reform" should not be to solve poverty. Instead, it should be to save taxpayer money without harming efforts to alleviate poverty. Evidence of improvement in the culture of ghetto poverty would be welcomed gravy, but for welfare reform to have been a success, all it needs to do is save money without making things worse.

Making things better regarding poverty is the job of welfare, not of welfare reform. One of the reasons that welfare reform was supported by people like me is because there was little evidence that welfare itself was improving the culture of ghetto poverty.

'Opponents of welfare reform have seen caseloads drop dramatically and a rise in employment, but we are still looking for unmistakable signs of a dramatic degradation in the culture of ghetto poverty, especially for black men.' That puts the correct standards in place.

** In fact, Mick is not saying there has been no progress. He goes on to give evidence that there may be improvement in the culture of poverty. Keep in mind the adages of correlation and causation, however.

*** I like the way Mick uses these asterisk-laden post-scripts. Sincere form of flattery and all that.