Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
This is simply a myth that will not die. The Bush presidency is the most partisan in recent memory and their only concern is with how they will be perceived politically. One only needs to review how we got involved in Iraq to see just how far they will go. Absolutely pathetic.
Friday, December 29, 2006
I think we have turned the corner in creating a free and stable Iraq.
Just like we turned a corner when the statue fell.
Just like we turned a corner when we killed Saddam's sons.
Just like we turned a corner when we found Saddam.
Just like we turned a corner when we handed sovereignity to the Iraqis.
Just like we turned a corner when Iraq held its first elections.
Just like we turned a corner when Iraq held its second elections.
Just like we turned a corner when the constitution was ratified.
Just like we turned a corner when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed.
Just like we turned a corner when we handed over security to Iraqi forces...
Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).These people are unbelievable.
"In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology," stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "It is disconcerting that the official position of a 'national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’"
- If he is so concerned about Iran then why go to war to begin with? As Anonymous Liberal points out, Iran was essentially a winner once the first troop stepped foot in Iraq. As the new Iraqi government was bound to be friendly with Iran considering the number of Shi'ites in Iraq.
- He, apparently, is just itching for a fight with Iran. Why? Well, the reasons aren't exactly clear. If invading Iraq has cost us half a billion and thousands of lives- one would reasonably expect Iran to be that much tougher.
- As Sam Rosenfeld suggests, Lieberman thinks it appropriate to use comic book language to describe the conflict. Rather then trying to understand the complexity of the Middle East, he has a child's understanding of the conflict.
In Florida's 13th congressional district, the election between Democrat Christine Jennings and Republican Vern Buchanan was extremely close, with Buchanan earning 369 more votes. However, the actual results are uncertain because of serious problems with the voting equipment. In Sarasota county alone, there were 18.000 votes that were not counted (all on computer voting machines). Jennings' lawyers, the ACLU and People for the American Way each filed motions asking that the software, which runs the voting machines, be examined. Here is the judge's reply:
Judge William L. Gary called their request "nothing more than conjecture and not supported by credible evidence," and said that making the secret code available for scrutiny "would result in destroying or at least gutting the protections afforded those who own the trade secrets."If this ruling holds, we are all in a lot of trouble. Private corporations will effectively own our democracy.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
I love seeing live music and Philly grabs all of the big shows. Unfortunately, the shows I want to see have come on nights that I cannot see music. Hopefully that will change.
Bush opened the emotional curtain at a news conference last week. A reporter noted that Lyndon Johnson hadn't been able to sleep well during the Vietnam War and asked Bush if this was a "painful time" for him. He gave an unexpectedly personal answer: "Most painful aspect of my presidency has been knowing that good men and women have died in combat. I read about it every night. And my heart breaks for a mother or father or husband or wife or son and daughter. It just does. And so when you ask about pain, that's pain."On the bright side, the war is essentially an abstraction, with no real consequences. It is kinda like 'Deal or No Deal':
What makes reality TV gripping is that it's all happening live -- the contestants make their choices under pressure, win or lose. So too with Bush. He is making a vast wager -- of American lives, treasure and the nation's security -- that his judgments about Iraq were right. The Baker-Hamilton report gave him a chance to take some chips off the table, but Bush doesn't seem interested. He is still playing to win. The audience is shouting out advice, but the man under the spotlight knows he will have to make this decision alone.Let's see what is in the briefcases...
Ken Rudin: Given the fact that John Edwards from day 1 has been talking about the two Americas, the fact there's been a disparity among - with economics in this country.Why does the President represent one side of the debate? With overwhelming opposition from the American people to just about every policy, the President represents the fringe of debate. It would be nice if the news media started to understand that.
Heidi Collins: Ken, forgive me, do you want to position yourself as the opposition to Bush or do you want to be the person who says hey, this is all about bipartisan. Do you really want to be talking about two different Americas because of how close that sounds to, you know, two different worlds in Washington even? And getting things done.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
“Stability in Iraq ultimately depends on spreading the message of Jesus Christ, the message of peace on earth, good will towards men. Everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the Savior.”This quote came from Robin Hayes, a congressman on the Armed Services committee, in a speech to a local Rotary club.
I wish I could understand how their brains work.
Considering that Scarborough has been a long time supporter of the president, I view this as a hopeful sign that other conservatives will begin to see the light. This is not an issue that can be neatly delineated as a partisan one, all Americans need to see that Bush's failures as a leader will have profound consequences.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Band of Horses (Everything All the Time)- this is a band out of Seattle, which is in heavy play at KEXP. Oddly enough, I don't own this album but I have heard enough of it to realize what a great album it is.
Neko Case (Fox Confessor Brings the Flood)- an absolutely beautiful album. It has come to the point where she could pull a Yoko Ono and scream for 45 minutes and I would love it.
The Silver Jews (Tanglewood Numbers)- I would bet my right kidney that you can't find a better lyricist then David Berman.
Built to Spill (You in Reverse)- this was a wonderful album. I know this because my wife stole it and has kept it in her car for months.
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins (Rabbit Fur Coat)- similar to Neko Case, but different enough to make this an excellent album. She is Loretta Lynn and Neko Case is Patsy Cline. That is a good thing.
Songs that I wish I wrote or was allowed to sing on (links go to YouTube videos):
The Hold Steady- Chips Ahoy
Loose Fur- Hey Chicken
The Decemberists- Oh Valencia
After I worked out yesterday night at the Community Center, while I was drying my hair at the men's locker room, a guy passed by and told me: "it was nice in the beginning until you f...ed it up". I looked at him and then he said "I meant your hair" and he smiled. He is big, tall, white, with black short hair around 30-40 years old. He looked like a hitman to me. I have never seen him in the Community Center and he did not work out yesterday, only came by the locker room dressed in jeans and a sweater, not work-out clothes.This was a message posted by a student to the entire department. He has just completed his Ph.D. and has continually made accusations that members of the faculty were out to get him (with some meager evidence to support him).
If a professor wants to hire a hitman to beat me up or intimidate me now that I got my Ph.D., at least the Department will know where to start from,
Fortunately, I do not study there any more.
So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian, and even if he despised the behavior of his father (as Obama said on Oprah); is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?You see, Barak Obama's father (a father he did not know) was Kenyan and a Muslim. So of course, he must be a terrorist.
Considering how insulting her comment was, you would think that she would be shunned by the mainstream media, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Just like Dennis Prager and Glenn Beck, if you are a member of the right wing fringe you can say just about anything you want. There will always be a seat for these people on the cable news talk shows.
But god forbid someone mention that former RNC chair Ken Mehlman is gay...
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I know it seems far-fetched to bring up, but this is not a normal person in the White House. I would not be surprised if within a year we are militarily engaged in Iran. The president is becoming increasingly detached from reality and views himself as a monumental historical figure. Iran is just the place to cement, what he thinks, will be his grand legacy.
Congressman Virgil Goode is warning his constituents about the coming scourge of Muslims. His evidence? Newly elected representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) is a Muslim. Apparently Muslims hate our democratic ideals so much that they are participating in elections and getting elected.
Here is a segment of the letter:
I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.The sad thing is, this type of letter has been written to constituents for over 100 years. Just replace Muslim with Black, Catholic, Latino, Gay, Lesbian, etc. and you have the field manual for every right wing jackass in our nation's history.
The Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, “As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.
Why do they do this? Because it is all they have.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Take the latest news from Iraq, which states that violence in the country is at its highest point since Iraq regained sovereignty:
Attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops and Iraqi civilians jumped sharply in recent months to the highest level since Iraq regained its sovereignty in June 2004, the Pentagon told Congress on Monday in the latest indication of that country’s spiraling violence.
In a report issued the same day Robert Gates took over as defense secretary, the Pentagon said that from mid-August to mid-November, the weekly average number of attacks increased 22 percent from the previous three months.
Every step Bush has taken has been the wrong one. I think we would have a lot more success if instead of following him, we asked him what he thinks the right move would be and then do the exact opposite.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
This article was in the very same paper as the Clinton article mentioned below. The focus of the article is on Bush's stubbornness (or as they say- stalwartness). Here is a little taste:
The seemingly unshakeable confidence in the rightness of his positions has helped the current president weather political storms that might overwhelm others. For a man who presides over an unpopular war, just lost Congress and faces a final two years with constrained options, Bush gives little sign of self-pity. At holiday parties for friends and family in recent days, he has found himself bucking up others depressed by the turn in his political fortunes. "Don't worry, it's not as bad as it looks," he told one friend visiting the White House. "There's a lot we can get done."
The friend, who shared the private moments on the condition of anonymity, was struck by how upbeat Bush seemed. "But he's not a fool," the friend added. "He knows how bad all this is, trust me. There is some resignation that this is where he finds himself. I know he's got a lot of second thoughts about how he got there. Anybody would."
I really can't believe they are sticking to this script, with both of these men. Clinton's sexual foibles had no real consequences on the American people, yet he is seen as an unhinged fiend hell-bent on destroying the American way of life. But President Bush has us bogged down in Iraq for the foreseeable future, he has torn up the Bill of Rights, decimated our ability to lead on the global stage, mismanaged every aspect of the US economy and has, through negligence, helped to arm both North Korea and Iran. Why have all these things happened? Because the President will not change his mind on anything. His stubbornness is THE reason things are as bad as they are.
I can't, for the life of me, figure out why they even bothered with this. Their central tenet is that Bill is a liability because of his past, yet in this article they note that the former President is incredibly popular. The only population that cares about this crap is the press. They have completely manufactured this controversy and will make sure that it is all over the evening news and Sunday morning talk shows.
Here is the thing that the press must come to understand, the American people do not need endless examinations regarding the minor weaknesses of our leaders. Instead, we need substantive and thoughtful explorations of the major issues. If they just put half their energy into looking at these issues, there is no telling how much better off we would be.
Monday, December 11, 2006
A small spider bite turned out to be a big problem for Cindy Pettey. Pettey awoke when she was bitten on the stomach in the middle of the night a few weeks ago, but thought little else of it. Then she started running a fever, she felt achy and weak. The bite sore became larger.I fear for my friends in Oregon (where this attack occurred) but to be honest with you, it is every man for himself/herself. We are at code red here and unfortunately the Department of Homeland Security has neglected their duty. As such, I will step in to provide some advice.
Next thing Pettey knew, a doctor was telling her he believed she'd been bitten by a dangerous hobo spider.
Pettey had surgery that removed 10 pounds of skin and flesh, leaving her with an abdomen covered in stitches.
- Do not, I repeat, do not cool your fresh baked pies on your window sill.
- If you feel the need to hop a train, please consult a non-Hobo travel agent.
- If you come upon some folks standing around a trash can fire, ask them to sing. If they sound like Billy Joel you can approach them, they are doo-wop singers. If not, run like hell.
On a related note, I predict that in one year YouTube will be the ifilm of today. The switch to advertising on the sight and increasing commercial oversight will move traffic elsewhere.
Then there was this in the NY Daily News, which sought to find out how the President is coping with the recent criticisms of his Iraq strategy (via Atrios):
QUESTION: You’re just going to blow it off. A Republican senator is saying that president’s policy may be criminal and it’s immoral and you’re just saying…
SNOW: What would you like me to say? Should I…
QUESTION: Don’t you think you should answer for that? You’re saying — you said from this podium over and over that the strategy is victory, right?
SNOW: And it continues to be.
QUESTION: And you have a Republican senator saying there is no clear strategy, that you don’t have a strategy.SNOW: Well, let’s let Senator Smith hear what the president has to say. We understand that this is a time where politics are emotional in the wake of an election. And you know what? Senator Smith is entitled to his opinion.
While I would certainly agree that there are times to shun conventional wisdom, however, the President has crossed the line. He is absolutely delusional and a megalomaniac.
Yet Bush is described by another recent visitor as still resolutely defiant, convinced history will ultimately vindicate him.
"I'll be dead when they get it right," he said during an Oval Office meeting last week.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
WILLIAMS: Squishy, impatient, you know, they’ll be in the land of milk and honey? What do you imagine, an American administration is coming in, Republican or Democrat, after President Bush that’s just going to lay down and run away like scared little —
HUME: It will not be phrased that way. Listen, Juan, it’s very simple.WILLIAMS: This is really — sometimes i just want to scream. You guys have been going on since this thing began. I mean, you don’t give credit to people, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Barbara Lee, people who said from the start this is a mistake. You put them down. Now it’s everybody’s a surrender monkey or impatient or squeamish or weak. Why can’t you say, hey, there’s a real problem in Iraq?
When hearing things like this, I become completely disheartened that there will be a solution to the trouble in Iraq. These people that we have trusted to lead this country are about as distanced from reality than anyone you would find in a state mental hospital, which is the oddly ironic thing about so-called 'foreign policy realists'. They strive, continuously, to sound authoritative and steely eyed--in the moment, yet when you actually look at their comments over time it is readily apparent that they have absolutely no clue. For them, there is no Iraq, it is purely an abstraction that can be safely debated on a weekend talk show.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
I don't know what worries me most here. The fact that the President had a tantrum when he was called on something, or that he thinks the comparison between he and Truman is an apt one.
Instead, Bush began his talk by comparing himself to President Harry S Truman, who launched the Truman Doctrine to fight communism, got bogged down in the Korean War and left office unpopular.
Bush said that "in years to come they realized he was right and then his doctrine became the standard for America," recalled Senate Majority Whip-elect Richard Durbin, D-Ill. "He's trying to position himself in history and to justify those who continue to stand by him, saying sometimes if you're right you're unpopular, and be prepared for criticism."
Durbin said he challenged Bush's analogy, reminding him that Truman had the NATO alliance behind him and negotiated with his enemies at the United Nations. Durbin said that's what the Iraq Study Group is recommending that Bush do now — work more with allies and negotiate with adversaries on Iraq.
Bush, Durbin said, "reacted very strongly. He got very animated in his response" and emphasized that he is "the commander in chief."
Bill Clinton was a horrible man because he lied about Monica Lewinsky, the Washington Elite could not believe that the President would bring such dishonor to their quaint little village on the Potomac. Nevermind the fact that President Clinton was doing a remarkable job running our country, his transgressions against the Establishment (which weren't transgressions at all) were enough. He made the sleepy little town of DC look unseemly.
Contrast that to George W. Bush. He is a man of integrity who has maintained the right level of decorum in Washington, and really, who cares that his decisions as President have been atrocious. So what if he has the US bogged down in a war that we cannot win. So what if he let New Orleans die so that he could stay on vacation. So what if he has trashed the Constitution. The important thing is, he is being a good resident of DC.
The closest thing I can compare this sick little game to is a high school clique, for them, the clique comes first and everything else can be ignored.
Friday, December 08, 2006
In an emotional speech on the Senate floor Thursday night, Sen Gordon Smith, a moderate Republican from Oregon who has been a supporter of the war in Iraq, said the U.S. military's "tactics have failed" and he "cannot support that anymore."The sad part is, no matter how much the American people protest. The US will not leave Iraq in the immediate future. As Atrios has detailed, the President is wedded to Iraq and any pretense that he will listen to reason is misplaced. As this article from the U.S. News indicates:
Smith said he is at, "the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up the same bombs, day after day.
"That is absurd," he said. "It may even be criminal."
Smith said he has tried to quietly support President Bush during the course of the war -- and doesn't believe the president intentionally lied to get the U.S. into the war -- but now recognizes, "we have paid a price in blood and treasure that is beyond calculation" for a war waged due to bad intelligence.
Moved this week by the findings of the Iraq Study Group, Smith said he needed to "speak from my heart.
"I, for one, am tired of paying the price of 10 or more of our troops dying a day. So let's cut and run or cut and walk, but let us fight the way on terror more intelligently that we have because we have fought this war in a very lamentable way," he said.
No level of protestations, short of Laura Bush and Barney leaving the President, will get us out of Iraq in the short term. For Bush, he has simply replaced one addiction with another. He is an Iraqaholic.
Former White House advisers to George H.W. Bush are keenly disappointed and concerned about the current President Bush's initial reaction to the report by the Iraq Study Group.
They consider him rather dismissive of the group's conclusions, issued yesterday, which include the view that current Iraq policy is failing. The group recommends a variety of important changes, such as assigning U.S. troops to play more of an advisory and training role and less of a combat role. The ISG also recommends that the United States withdraw most of its combat brigades by early 2008 and that the administration increase diplomatic efforts, including starting talks with Iran and Syria and energetically working toward an Israeli-Palestinian solution.
Adding to the unease were President Bush's comments at his Thursday news conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which he avoided commenting on specifics in the ISG report.
"We have a classic case of circling the wagons," says a former adviser to Bush the elder. "If President Bush changes his policy in Iraq in a fundamental way, it undermines the whole premise of his presidency. I just don't believe he will ever do that."
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
This, however, is just the very mix of silence, collaboration, and complicity on the part of "respectable," "credible," "mainstream" analysts that produced the war in the first place. The more courageous and farsighted voices who got things right were treated as marginal at the time and, shockingly, are still treated as marginal -- excluded from all the coolest bipartisan commissions.I can't, for the life of me, understand why those who opposed the war at the outset have been shut out of the process for figuring out how to fix this infernal mess. If you want to be serious, you should try and get the advice of those people that had a serious understanding of the risks associated with going into Iraq. Until the press and the political establishment get this very simple point, we will continue to make horrid foreign policy mistakes.
Monday, December 04, 2006
John Spratt (D-SC)
"the outcome after the conflict is actually going to be the hardest part, and it is far less certain."Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Warned that Bush's postwar strategy must "take seriously" the possibility that a replacement regime "might be rejected by the Iraqi people, leading to civil unrest and even anarchy."David Obey (D-WI)
He spoke then about poor preparation for postwar Iraq, a concern he developed after listening to State Department officials.Instead, we get Joe Lieberman and John McCain gracing every Sunday morning talk show. How does that make any sense?