Thursday, September 28, 2006

Who are we now?

I got this photo from AmericaBlog, and it is a fitting display of what the torture debate is about. Currently, I am suffering from bit of dissonance over all of this. I grew up with the notion that this country is noble, and while I have come to realize how that view is extremely naive, there is still part of me that wants that to believe it. I worry that when they record the history of our nation, this will be the point when it all fell apart, it is this point that we have stopped being a beacon.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Something interesting

I have written about how the Bush Administration has been able to evade responsibility for 9/11 (here) . This piece by Keith Olbermann does a good job of presenting some of the evidence, check it out.

Monday, September 25, 2006


File this under the "Wow, that's really shocking" category. Get this, Iraq is causing more terrorism, not causing less. Next they'll say that standing in the sun will give you a sunburn.

The war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists around the world whose numbers may be increasing faster than the United States and its allies can reduce the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded. -Washington Post

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Me of little faith

I would really like to believe that the Dems are going to take Congress this fall. However, I don't think that is going to happen. Why? The Democrats don't know shit about controlling the message. For the left in this country, the message is an annoyance. It gets in the way of truth. What they don't realize is that the message is truth.

The left would like to believe that offering a reasonable alternative is the answer. Their image of the voter, is the thoughtful person sitting by their window thinking deeply about the issues until they get it right.

Quite simply, it has never worked that way. The voter attaches themselves to archetypes and votes with the image. Karl Rove has used this truism to win three straight elections and the Dems are overmatched.

Case in point, the Republicans are selling this image of the President while the Democrats are left stammering. Instead, the Dems should have latched onto the criticisms of the right and exposed it to all Americans. Unfortunately, that is not happening. As such, I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to own my wife's uterus.

Stupid facts always get in the way of good journalism

Sweet fancy Moses. You would think it would be pretty damn easy for the AP to add context to the President Clinton/Chris Wallace interview. Unfortunately, that would be called journalism and it isn't the press' job to get at the truth.

Clinton accused host Chris Wallace of a "conservative hit job" and asked: "I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, 'Why didn't you do anything about the Cole?' I want to know how many people you asked, 'Why did you fire Dick Clarke?'"

Wallace said Sunday he was surprised by Clinton's "conspiratorial view" of "a very non-confrontational question, 'Did you do enough to connect the dots and go after Al Qaida?'"

"All I did was ask him a question, and I think it was a legitimate news question. I was surprised that he would conjure up that this was a hit job," Wallace said in a telephone interview.

You would think that a careful reporter would take the statement Clinton made:
I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, 'Why didn't you do anything about the Cole?' I want to know how many people you asked, 'Why did you fire Dick Clarke?
And say, "Hey, I wonder if that statement is true?" It is certainly verifiable, just go to your trusted Lexis Nexis (or whatever handy database you have available) and find out whether Chris Wallace & Company have ever asked that question.

And what to you know? That has already been done by the wonderful folks at Think Progress (here, here, & here) they found that, in fact, NO ONE on Fox News Sunday has asked those questions of administration officials. So, instead of being a chance to empirically show that Fox News is not "Fair & Balanced" the story that the AP is selling is that President Clinton is unhinged.

What can we do? Email the AP and let them know we aren't going to let them get away with shoddy reporting-

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It is about damn time

To those of you with a television, I am going to recommend you do something you have, hopefully, never done before. Turn on Fox News and watch Chris Wallace's interview of President Clinton. If you would rather not watch, you can get the transcript from Think Progress. Here is a little taste:

WALLACE: Do you think you did enough sir?

CLINTON: No, because I didn't get him (Osama Bin Laden).


CLINTON: But at least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didn't… I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke… So you did FOX'’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know.

This is EXACTLY what all good liberals and progressives should do when they go on Fox News. Call them on their bullshit out in the open and mock them. By being nice and polite we give this horrorshow of a 'news' network the appearance that it is a respected news source (I am looking at you Joe Lieberman). From personal experience, as this fine nation's Smart Ass Laureate, I can vouch for the power of mocking, there is no way you can effectively respond to someone that is mocking you. As an example, have you ever seen Steven Colbert or Jon Stewart taken off of their game when they are messing with someone? Never.

For too long, we have had Nice Sensible Democrats go on Fox News and this has made us look like a bunch of paste eating retards, it is about time a Real Democrat has gone to that journalistic wasteland and dished it out. I think this dynamic can be explained in one line from the best action movie ever made that featured only puppets.

UPDATE: Is Chris Wallace even-handed? Check out the evidence- here, here, here and here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Win a dream date with Bill O'Reilly

One of the things you learn when you study advertising and its effect on society is that you need to sell things with some zazz. And, I think the title to this post does so nicely. In a few short hours, the page views on this site will reach the millions.

But I digress...

You would think that Bill would have disappeared after the phone sex thing came out. Not for the fact that he had phone sex, but that he was so very, very bad at it:

So anyway I'd be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples really hard, kinda kissing your neck from behind... and then I would take the other hand with the falafel thing and I'd put it on your p***y but you'd have to do it really light, just kind of a tease business.
I mean come on, the man has the sexual charisma of a high school gym teacher. Nevertheless, like most conservatives he can do or say anything and remain in the public spotlight. Yet this week, he showed just how crazy he is. He falsely claimed on ABC that he was on an Al Qaeda hit-list:

"With the controversy comes death threats on a daily basis," O'Reilly said. "Not only from kooks. But the FBI came in and warned me and a few other people at Fox News that al Qaeda had us on a death list. ... That's a little disconcerting."
WOW. Bill O'Reilly is so nuts, that it would be an absolute joy to meet him. Not because I think I would like him, just because I could see if my following impressions of him are true:

  1. I bet he wears and ungodly amount of cologne, and not anything good. Probably Drakkar Noir
  2. I can guarantee he loves "REO Speedwagon"
  3. The man owns every Hustler magazine ever made and loves to show off his collection
  4. He would tell an endless number of stories about how he kicked Scott Baio's ass
  5. The man has horrible gas and blames it on everyone else
  6. I don't know how to find this out, but I think all of his underwear is tight and feline in nature.

A House Divided? The Psychology of Red and Blue America

From the American Psychologist [Conor & Newman]...

Recently it has become commonplace in America for commentators and the public to use the terms "red" and "blue" to refer to perceived cultural differences in America and American politics. Although a political divide may exist in America today, these particular terms are inaccurate and reductive. This article presents research from social psychology demonstrating that the increased use of these terms is likely to increase the conflict between political groups in America by making political conflict salient in nonpolitical contexts, reducing the ability of Americans to form multifaceted complex identities, pushing Americans to misperceive political in-groups and out-groups, and contributing to a "spiral of silence." An alternative model for discussing cultural differences is proposed.

Roosevelt for President

I thought this was an apt quote....

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I am supposed to be working- but motivation is in short supply (normally, I would be totally game to conduct a test of heterogeneity for a meta-analysis). Here is some unadulterated randomness:

  • I came across this article and at first I had no idea they were talking about. Pretty goddamn refreshing.
  • Disco- I'll miss Petey (even if he did bite me)
  • Who is CBS News' Senior Irony Correspondent?
  • Does anyone know whatever happened to Pork Rinds? Salty, crunchy and delicious.
  • There are two types of people in this world, those that like seeing a squirrel on water skis and those that like pretending that squirrels can take pictures. Pick a side people. I know which side I am on. (via Movering)
  • Give money to a great cause, probably one of the ballsiest (sp?) ways to raise money for a friend.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A night at the theater, Mars and other things

We saw a really interesting show last night as part of the Philly Fringe Festival. It was an adaptation of David Rees' great comic strip Get Your War On. If you get the opportunity to see it, I would highly recommend it. While not exactly a play, the show catalogs all the failures of the Bush administration over the last 6 years by using a system of overhead projectors, musical interludes and profanity laced tirades.

One of the themes that was continually covered in the show, was something that has completely escaped my memory. Does anyone else remember that this President suggested we spend a lot of money and go to Mars? Of all the mixed up crap that this President has done/proposed, I think this 'plan' best typifies the absolute vacuousness of the last 6 years.

In other news...what the hell is wrong with David Broder? In an online chat, he intimates that President Clinton should have resigned because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal BUT President Bush (or any other administration figure) shouldn't because of the overhyped invasion of Iraq. So, according to the Dean of Washington Pundits. Lying about some semen on a blue dress? A crime against the constitution. Lying to the American people about a military threat? Eh, not so bad. SHEESH

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Incompetence makes my brain hurt

In scanning the news today, I happened upon two items which leave one to assume that the Bush administration is beyond stupid. Stupid to the point that we may need to come up with a new word to adequately capture just how inept they are.

First there is this from the Washington Post:

After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What they needed to be was a member of the Republican Party.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade .
Then there is this from Talking Points Memo:

Some officials at the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department said they're concerned that the offices of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney may be receiving a stream of questionable information that originates with Iranian exiles, including a discredited arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar, who played a role in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.
One of the common threads running through the news when Bush was first "elected" was that the adults were back in charge. Now, I am not exactly sure what they mean by adults, but if they mean short-sighted ignorant corrupt craven political opportunists then indeed the adults are in charge.

Friday, September 15, 2006

For the love of disc

Great disc = Great school

Here's a new spin on university rankings: Apparently, the best schools are the ones with champion ultimate-frisbee teams.

That's because the quality of a school's ultimate-frisbee team may be an accurate predictor of its academic success, according to a report released this month by University of Washington psychiatrist Michael Norden.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

How much is a picture worth?

In this case...

Probably more than a thousand words

Monday, September 11, 2006

Trying to Remember

I was wondering what I was going to say today and I kept coming to post and decided against it. I guess I really just want to remember what this day means. I have no trouble remembering just what exactly transpired that day 5 years ago (I remember seeing the buildings smoke, calling my family, wondering what was coming next) but as far as what it means I am beyond confused.

I have spent most of my day angry. I am angry becuase when I watch the coverage or read about it, all I encounter is the President. For whatever godforsaken reason, he has taken today to remind us he is President and that the War in Iraq is worth it. I am angry because he has taken a day that is ours and made it his. It is supposed to be a day of solemn rememberance, instead we get a campaign. I thought the memories of those that died were sacred, apparently I was wrong.

I shouldn't be surprised. On the one year anniversary of the attacks I broke down and cried. The reason was that the President was using the memories of those that died as a justification for a war in Iraq. This administration has done more to abuse the memory of so many innocent people, that I wonder just how much farther they can go.

UPDATE: after writing this I saw another one of Keith Olbermann's commentaries, he perfectly captures what I am thinking. Please watch.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Now it is official...

From the Washington Monthly, we find out that the Bush administration was not planning to stay in Iraq for long. In fact, Rumsfeld had given an order that there was to be NO mention of post-war planning in Iraq. As it stands now, the three reasons for the US going to war in Iraq have been revealed to be fraudulent. Here is the list:

Weapons of Mass Destruction (see below)
Iraq and Al Qaeda or al-Zarqawi
Spreading Democracy throughout the Middle East

Don't believe me? Bush says it here in his press conference from last month:

THE PRESIDENT: I square it because, imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein who had the capacity to make a weapon of mass destruction, who was paying suiciders to kill innocent life, who would -- who had relations with Zarqawi. Imagine what the world would be like with him in power. The idea is to try to help change the Middle East.

Now, look, part of the reason we went into Iraq was -- the main reason we went into Iraq at the time was we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. It turns out he didn't, but he had the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction. But I also talked about the human suffering in Iraq, and I also talked the need to advance a freedom agenda. And so my question -- my answer to your question is, is that, imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens.

You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

To be honest with you, I don't think such deception merits impeachment. It is not like dragging us into a catastrophic situation in the Middle East at the enormous cost to taxpayers is that serious, I mean it's not as if he lied about receiving sexual favors from an intern...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

September is Presidential Failure Month

I have been reading the news regarding Katrina, 9/11, Iraq, the Housing Market & the US Economy and one of the things that I have noticed in the coverage is the way that the Bush Administration has evaded all responsibility. Maybe it is just me, but it seems that we as a nation have forgotten just how badly this administration has done. I would guess that the reason for this is the way the media has played this out.

Bush was lauded as a true hero following the attacks of 9/11, yet if anyone were to simply look at the historical record there is abundant evidence that his administration was asleep at the wheel.

For example:
Condi Rice explaining the Presidential Daily Briefing on August 6, 2001
Testimony regarding John Ashcroft's lack of interest in al-Qaeda
The infamous 'My Pet Goat' episode on 9/11

Forget the obfuscation from the Bush apologists, the failure for this incident rests on the shoulders of the administration. And, 4 years later we saw the destruction of a major American city. As much of a failure as 9/11 was, Katrina made that look quaint. Watching the events unfold over the internet, I was shocked that nothing was being done; and once again this was brought about through horrific negligence. Think Progress has a timeline of events and what strikes you upon reading it, is how those entrusted to protect us left the city to die and this negligence continues through today. While officials had informed President Bush that something had to be done, he acted as if he could not be bothered.

It is my hope that someday the historical record will reflect reality, that the talking heads from Fox News will be muted and the people of this country will ignore the spin. But I am not going to hold my breath.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Richard Clarke Blasts Key Scene In ABC’s 9/11 Docudrama


On September 10 and 11, ABC is planning to air a “docudrama” called Path to 9/11, billed by writer Cyrus Nowrasteh as “an objective telling of the events of 9/11.”

The first night of Path to 9/11 has a dramatic scene where former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger refuses to give the order to the CIA to take out bin Laden — even though CIA agents, along with the Northern Alliance, have his house surrounded. Rush Limbaugh, who refers to Nowrasteh as “a friend of mine,” reviews the action...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Iraqi Tribal Leaders Say Release Saddam

I caught this article in The Seattle Times from today, although it is from the Washington Post. They don't waste any time getting to the scary stuff.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A coalition of 300 Iraqi tribal leaders on Saturday demanded the release of Saddam Hussein so he could reclaim the presidency and also called for armed resistance against U.S.-led coalition forces.

The clan chieftains, who were mostly Sunni Arabs and included the head of the 1.5 million-member al-Obeidi tribe, said they planned to hold rallies in Sunni cities throughout the country to insist that Saddam be freed and that the charges against him and his co-defendants be dropped.

I have wondered if this would ever come to pass, that a push would be made by the Iraqi people to have Saddam return. It reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me about his travels in Chile, when he was speaking to an older woman about the reign of Pinochet. When he asked her how she liked the regime, she responded that he was a monster but at least the trains ran on time. I think we are seeing the same thing here; as horrible as Saddam was, at least the Iraqi people had some type of consistency.

Another detail in the article is that is worth noting is that the cheiftans are "mostly" Sunni. I would expect a lot of support from Sunni leaders, but the fact that there is are non-Sunnis calling for Saddam's return does not bode well.