Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dept of Not Holding my Breath

It would be great if the US press picked up on this story. But as the title to this post indicates, I am not holding out for that. Anywho, the Independent has some interesting nuggets from before the Iraq war and what was really going on.

1. The President didn't seem too concerned with WMD attacks on our soldiers (I wonder why?)
...The troops were well within range of any weapons of mass destruction, military analysts have pointed out.

US administration officials had already prepared public opinion for war by raising fears of Saddam Hussein's nuclear programme and his ability to create "mushroom clouds." But the transcript reveals the two leaders were more concerned about getting a fig leaf of international approval for the war, than any imminent threat from Saddam.

2. The President had no idea how much the war would cost
Mr Bush does admit that averting war would be "the best solution for us" and "would also save us $50bn," greatly underestimating the cost to the US treasury of nearly five years of warfare. But he also talks of how he planned to exact revenge on countries, that did not back the US in its drive to war.
3. Oh yeah- there was also this- as the title indicates
Saddam 'ready to walk away for $1bn'

Another America Hater

Fortunately, we have Rush Limbaugh to tell us all we need to know about this guy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Imagine other dimensions

I'm sure that you've seen the political compass which seeks to add another dimension to the standard right/left view of modern American politics. Expanding on this idea is an article which introduces the progressive vs. big business movement. At best I think this makes for an interesting read/thought experiment. The graphs are amateurish and I have neither the time nor expertise to delve into questions of the author's methodology. It is an imperfect view for sure, but it does attempt to provide answers to the questions about why there are so many people in the US with progressive views but we spend so much wasted time debating "riveting" topics like same sex marriage for instance. The assertion is that there is an as-yet unadressed cadre of voters (an estimated 45% of voters) who would like to prioritize education, the environment, fair business practices, women's rights, etc. who can't seem to find satisfaction with the status quo. It's an interesting view of modern politics which offers a bit of hope for the future. It rings true for me on quite a few levels.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bush's positive side

In a conversation I had with some Norwegian friends at a party, the subject of Bush came up. I'll spare you the details but the main punchline was when one of my friends said something to the effect that all that Norwegians see is what Bush does from an international perspective; surely he must be good at providing for people domestically, otherwise what would be the point of re-electing the guy and continuing to support him?

This was followed by enthusiastic blank stares and cricket chirping.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Different day, same...

Here is what I don't understand, if I am considered anti-war why aren't those that march to support the invasion of Iraq labeled pro-war? I have always found it so strange that the public discourse places the pro-war folks as resolutely pro-troop. If someone could explain this to me, I would be really grateful.

Romney is a Horse's Ass

As reported on NPR this morning, Mitt Romney blasted Hillary's new health care plan, even though it is very similar to his own plan he promoted while governor of Massachusetts.
"It's government insurance, not private insurance. It's European style socialized medicine," Romney said.
Are you kidding me? If Hillary is talking about European-style medicine, I say bring it on. Ever seen Sicko? Media Matters does a nice job skewering this here.

Hairdressers living the high life

I'm going to take a break from my all-pro Norwegian postings to complain a little bit. There is something about Norway that is very, very wrong. It has everything to do with the fact that haircuts cost anywhere from $30 to $120. That's for a normal guy's haircut. Women can pay up to double. To put this into perspective, the $30 version produces an asthetic somewhat akin to a naked Donald Rumsfeld covered in hobo sick, minus the artistic social commentary. The $120 version is fabulous, but it's $120. For a haircut.

This puts me in a bit of a tight spot. As anyone who knows me knows, I'm extremely vain about my hair. Compared to me Edwards is a freaking lightweight. So what to do? I guess if worse comes to worse I could give up my expensive apartment and live the hobo lifestyle with a perfectly coiffed hairdo doing my part for the artistic community by barfing on unpopular former heads of state. I expect the largest audience for my works to be hairstylists. My work won't come cheap, but don't worry about them. They've apparently got the money!

In the purpose of ending on an up note, here are two positive things about Norway:
1) A viable multi-party political system.
2) Actual collectivist social attitudes. Real ones.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Been a while

I haven't posted anything for quite some time, mostly for the reason that things have been really busy. Partially, however, I stopped writing out of absolute frustration. I have been enormously frustrated by the following:
  • The media- case in point, in looking at the news this evening MSNBC and AP have reported that Bush is reducing the number of troops in Iraq. He isn't. He is just putting them at pre-surge levels. Also, he has just acknowledged that our troops will be there forever. Yet, the media parrots the line that Bush is removing troops.
  • The White House- I shouldn't even have to explain this.
  • Congress- I understand that things cannot be changed overnight. But really, have some sort of damn backbone. The American people want a change, if the Republicans stand in your way, let the American people know.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Into Darfur

Give me your huddled masses yearning to be free

So I can enlist them to fight a losing war in a faraway land.

Listening to Moyers yesterday brought my attention to a piece of legislation regarding immigration. Apparently the US Army is getting so desperate for troops that the good folks at US immigration have found it in the goodness of their hearts to allow illegals to become permanent if...they join the Army! What a deal! Not believing Bill (sorry buddy) I went on the internets and found a copy of this proposed legislation. It's called the DREAM Act and sure enough, in section 5, paragraph whateverthehell (it's in the section about the conditions required to make residence permanent) is the following wording:
(ii) The alien has served in the uniformed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, has received an honorable discharge.

This comes right under the wording for the other possible option:
(i) The alien has acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or has completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States.

So there you have it. Either pay for college or go into the military. F'ing brilliant! These kinds of ideas make me cringe for the future of humanity.

On a side note, I'll give you Broca's phone number if you can make any sense of this sentence:
An alien may petition to remove the conditional basis to lawful resident status during the period beginning 180 days before and ending 2 years after either the date that is 6 years after the date of the granting of conditional permanent resident status or any other expiration date of the conditional permanent resident status as extended by the Secretary of Homeland Security in accordance with this Act.