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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Cheney Heads to the Hospital

posted by Jazz at 11/13/2004 01:54:00 PM

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CNN just announced that Vice President Dick Cheney is on his way to the hospital with "shortness of breath and chest pains." This is, of course, fueling speculation that it may be another cardiac episode. There is also information indicating that he has a cold, so it may be nothing.

Prior to the election, there was a lot of talk that Cheney wouldn't be sticking around for a second term, but having him leave before the election would look like a sign of weakness. I hope that everyone, regardless of partisan tilt, will join together in hoping that the Veep is ok. But this does lead me to wonder if Cheney's condition isn't the perfect reason for Bush to praise him highly, but regretfully accept his resignation and move somebody else into the Naval Observatory.

Nothing in the online news about this yet, but we'll keep you updated.

This Explains a Lot

posted by Jazz at 11/13/2004 01:31:00 PM

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We may have joked about it a lot, but God is, in fact, a Republican. Mr. Left has the details. I think you'll enjoy this one.

Porter Goss Will Root Out the Evil Men (in the CIA)

posted by Jazz at 11/13/2004 01:00:00 PM

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This won't come as much of a surprise to anyone, but unrest has been fomenting at the CIA for some time, and with the introduction of Porter Goss at the helm, his deputy chief has now resigned. As Centerfield points out, partisans will interpret this in two ways. Bush supporters will see this as a long overdue housecleaning of dissidents in the agency, and the president's opponents will view it as the purge of capable independent voices inside our spy shack. David Brooks was quick to jump on the bandwagon and in predictable form insinuates that the CIA has been waging their own war against Bush for some time.

The CIA needs to be independent of politics and partisan concerns. Is this even possible? I'm not sure, but in order to be effective in their oh so important role, and serve the national interest, they have to try. Porter Goss and his new chief of staff are obviously waging their own counterinsurgency at the agency. The people they are going to force out are very experienced, and I don't see how this can help the agency in the long run.

Dave Johnson expresses some disappointment that after Democrats approved Bush's choice of Goss they seem to be getting repaid with a backhanded slap. Mahablog sees the situation as heading to hell in a handbasket. Susan, at Suburban Guerrilla, thinks we'll see some more insider leaks out of this. I can't really get a feel for what Betsy Newmark thinks about this, but it appears on the surface that she thinks this is a good move for the agency.

UPDATE: I thought I had long since gotten over being shocked by anything I read at Power Line, but they weighed in on this subject with yet another anvil tossed over the transom. The lovely, sensitive boys at Power Line have long been angry at the CIA and their nasty habit of reporting information when they find it... well, at least when they report facts that don't shine a favorable light on Bush's policies. Apparently the current situation has spurred them to call for the complete abolishment of our main intelligence agency because they won't toe the line.

Of course, this is the same pair of guys who, upon hearing about the death of terrorist Arafat, weren't content with simply cheering his demise. They decided it would be only right to republish a picture of Arafat's widow making fun of her weight before they even finished shovelling dirt on her husband's coffin. Power Line: putting the "compassionate" back in "compassionate conservative" for America.

Stretch Across the Aisle

posted by Jazz at 11/13/2004 12:40:00 PM

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At both Left Right Debate, and on his own blog, Joe Territo has an interesting series of "middle ground" posts speculating on how Bush could spend some of that "political capital" he keeps talking about to bring the two sides closer together. His most recent one involves such a reach across the aisle.

If the President really wants to reach across the aisle in a dramatic way, he could also take under his wing freshman Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois darling of the Democratic National Convention. What better way to be a uniter than to draw the rising rookie into the center of power to provide a Democratic perspective in Republican policy making?

This is a lovely idea. I won't even rule it out entirely, but I think it would be so out of character for Bush that I would, almost literally, be eating my own hat if it happened. With that said, if Bush can summon up the intestinal fortitude to take a stand against the hard right wing and do something like this, he will earn a ton more respect and support from me.

Another question, of course, is how much impact somebody like Obama could have on the GOP administration and congress. If he's only there for window dressing, then it's more of an insult to him than a compliment. Obama would also have to take into consideration what sort of backlash he could face from the Democrats if he is seen as bending a knee to the GOP. As I said, it's a lovely piece of idealism, but the number of pitfalls involved make me doubtful of something like this really taking off.

Orange Alert

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/13/2004 09:36:00 AM

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Juan Cole brings us this story on our government protecting us from "terrorists".
It is a good thing that Bob Dylan has US citizenship, otherwise he might be in the same fix as Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf Islam). The mere singing of a 1963 song, "Masters of War," at a Colorado High School brought in the Secret Police.

Now we know why Usamah Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri haven't been caught. The US security services are busy sifting through old lyrics looking for the real terrorists.
The bad news for Dylan is
The (un-)"Patriot Act II" allows the government to strip people of their US citizenship.


Sticker Shock

posted by Jazz at 11/13/2004 07:45:00 AM

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How would you like to see your children come home from school toting science textbooks that had this sticker on them?



If you live in Georgia, you may have already seen them. Yes... that Georgia. The same one who's state Schools Superintendent, earlier this year, tried to get the word evolution removed entirely from all educational curriculums.

For more mind numbing radical Christian cleric highjinks in the land of Southern Belles and peaches, click the link above.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Scott Peterson: Another Guilty Man Railroaded?

posted by Jazz at 11/12/2004 04:14:00 PM

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I've been following the Scott Peterson trial pretty closely. I was one of the people who was deeply shocked by the OJ Simpson trial, and had I been blogging back in that day, you would have seen endless posts from me on the subject. My final analysis of OJ's trial? I think that the L.A.P.D. framed OJ. I also think that they framed a guilty man. I'm firmly of the opinion that OJ murdered those two people, but the prosecution and the police department, in an effort to "hedge their bets" on the case, phonied up some evidence to make it look better and they got caught. That cast doubt on the entire body of evidence and OJ walked.

What we saw today in the Peterson trial was, I believe, a backlash from the OJ trial and the effect was the exact opposite. I have no means of proving it, but I believe that Scott Peterson murdered his wife. Today he was found guilty. However, I can take no relief from this, because I think he was railroaded by the system. There was, as I read it, a clearly split jury. Ten people thought that Peterson was guilty and two did not. In the normal course of events, this would result in a hung jury and we would have to start over - hardly a desirably outcome, but it does happen in our system of justice. From all appearances, the court took the two people who were "causing trouble" by disagreeing with the majority, and removed them. They replaced them with alternate jurors who would bring in a guilty verdict, and they did so in a couple of hours, even though they were supposed to start over, debating all of the testimony with the two new jurors present.

This simply opens the door to a series of appeals by Peterson, and makes a mockery of the court system. There was obviously room to question the prosecution's case. There was a ton of speculation and circumstantial evidence, but never once did we see a single piece of hard forensic evidence that Scott Peterson killed his wife and their unborn son. No blood. No fibers. No hair except one strand on a wrench at the boat which could have been left there when his wife visited the site. Nothing.

There is nothing to celebrate here, in my opinion. Scott very likely killed his wife, but a jury could not be convinced of it. In our system, that means he either is acquitted and/or we start the trial over and try to make a better case. Cherrypicking jurors to get a conviction is a travesty of justice and does nothing to improve the reputation of a judicial system already under question.

The Moderate Voice has much more on this.

Fire Up the E-mails

posted by Jazz at 11/12/2004 03:45:00 PM

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Compliments of Atrios. Let's all give the good doctor a few moments of our time. All sarcasm aside, this is disgusting. You can call Dr. McIntyre at (334) 353-8473, or you can e-mail her at mmcintyre@medicaid.state.al.us

Revolting.

A spot of poetry- or a Piece of Hope. Your choice.

posted by georg at 11/12/2004 02:40:00 PM

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Dreams
-- Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.


H.L.Mencken on the future of Democracy

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/12/2004 01:57:00 PM

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I was just emailed this quote from H.L.Mencken, he was a real Nostradamus.
As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more
and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and
glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's
desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright
moron."
H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)


Do you feel used?

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/12/2004 01:32:00 PM

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Well maybe you are. Worm lures users into online booby trap
A computer worm that turns desktop PCs into malicious web servers has begun infecting computers around the world, experts warn.

The Bofra worm, which comes in two variations known as Bofra-A and Bofra-B, spreads by exploiting a software bug discovered in Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser on 2 November.

This bug affects the way Explorer interprets web page tags � the underlying code that defines parts of a web page - and can be used to run unauthorised code on machines using the Windows operating system.

Microsoft has not yet released a software fix for the problem, although computers running its latest software package - Service Pack 2, which includes various security enhancements - should be immune. Computers with firewalls installed and switched on may also prevent the worms from spreading by blocking their communications.
Still another good reason to go downlaod Firefox



Strangely Disturbing

posted by Jazz at 11/12/2004 11:27:00 AM

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I was chasing links off the Modulator today in search of cat blogging goodness, when I came across NYC Babylon. (A Diary of New York City Debauchery, Scandals and Ill-Advised Love Affairs)

I don't know who she is, and I'm not sure if I'm pleased or frightened... but I'm reading. (Warning to the regulars. Aside from having voted, this blog does not appear political in the least.)

So Much for Moral Values

posted by Jazz at 11/12/2004 08:00:00 AM

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One columnist, (I'm ashamed to admit I don't recall who) took at look at the polling data where "moral values" were determined to be the key factor in Bush's victory and had a skeptical response. He said, "The results were skewed because the question was posed poorly. When you ask bad questions, you get bad data."

That entire "value voter" thing never sat very well with me to start with. There are definitely trends in cultural values and beliefs that will vary between Democrats and Republicans, but I can't picture an electorate that votes on that basis as strongly as was suggested. I certainly believe that voters are more comfortable supporting a candidate who's values seem to mirror their own, but in the end they are still hiring a person for a job. And the criteria they will use during the "interview" are the issues of the day which they feel most directly affect them.

This election was a referendum on Iraq, the "war on terror" and the economy, jobs, etc. Today, Charles Krauthammer finally gives a lucid explanation of how the question was phrased and what was wrong with it.

The way the question was set up, moral values were sure to be ranked disproportionately high. Why? Because it was a multiple-choice question, and moral values cover a group of issues, while all the other choices were individual issues. Chop up the alternatives finely enough, and moral values are sure to get a bare plurality over the others.

Look at the choices:

? Education, 4 percent.

? Taxes, 5 percent.

? Health Care, 8 percent.

? Iraq, 15 percent.

? Terrorism, 19 percent.

? Economy and Jobs, 20 percent.

? Moral Values, 22 percent.

"Moral values" encompass abortion, gay marriage, Hollywood's influence, the general coarsening of the culture and, for some, the morality of preemptive war. The way to logically pit this class of issues against the others would be to pit it against other classes: "war issues" or "foreign policy issues" (Iraq plus terrorism) and "economic issues" (jobs, taxes, health care, etc).

If you pit group against group, the moral values class comes in dead last: war issues at 34 percent, economic issues variously described at 33 percent and moral values at 22 percent -- i.e., they are at least a third less salient than the others.


Betsy Newmark seems to agree with him. Prestopundit also logs in with his favorite money quotes from the article.

Friday Pet Blogging: Early Edition

posted by Jazz at 11/12/2004 06:05:00 AM

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How Stereotypical

Colin demonstrates that when you're 14 years old, it's never a bad time to scarf up a saucer of cream. (Click on image for full size picture.)

Be sure to check in at the Modulator today for a roundup of other cat pictures. Also, the ever present Carnival of Cats will have a collection on Sunday, this week located at Your Moosey Fate.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

More On Fall and other rants

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/11/2004 06:46:00 PM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

While Jazz was out raking leaves and eying that ancient red maple I have been cutting down dahlias. It was a good year for dahlias, beautiful flowers and foliage for several months some almost 6 feet tall. Now it's fall and we have had the first freeze. They are black not green and slimy not crisp. Some of the stocks are 2 inches in diameter. Tomorrow they come and pick up the yard debris so they had to be cleared today. At this time every year I say I'm going to have a yard that requires less maintenance next year. I usually forget by spring.


Now for a bit on Blogs. Jazz had a great post this morning, Beginner's Guide to Bashing. I read it carefully to see how much of the mindless bashing I was guilty of, not too much I think. One of the lefty blogs he mentioned was Daily Kos. Although I still list it on MEJ's links I must admit I rarely visit there anymore. The first lefty blog I go to is The Left Coaster. Although not free of bashing there is a lot less than you find other places and the posts are better thought out. Josh Marshall was wondering this morning that since we call Islamic Fundamentalist Clerics "Radical Islamic Clerics" why don't we call Fundamentalist Christian Clerics "Radical Christian Clerics". Good question, from now on it's Radical Christian Cleric Pat Robertson.

Reading is FUNdamental

posted by Jazz at 11/11/2004 06:11:00 PM

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It's good to see some of the better writers in the blogosphere turning their attention from 24/7 election coverage to some of the simple pleasures in life. Foremost amongst these is literature. Go pay heed to the wise words of Joe Territo.

Baghdad Still Burning

posted by Jazz at 11/11/2004 05:29:00 PM

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Riverbend has managed to fire off another post while she still had electricity in Baghdad today.

These last few days have been explosive- literally.

The sounds seem to be coming from everywhere. I've gotten tired of running upstairs and out on to the roof to find out where it's coming from. It feels like the first days of the war sometimes- planes, explosions, bullets, smoke... roads cut off.

We haven't attempted to leave the house but an uncle who was supposed to visit called to say he wouldn't be able to come because so many roads were blocked. Many people were told not to go to work and students stopped going to college yesterday. It's one of those weeks. Some areas in Baghdad seem to be cut off by armed gangs...

would love to say more but the generator is going to be turned off in a couple of minutes.

You can e-mail her at riverbend@velocall.com if you want to send her some good wishes.

Welcome to the Blogroll

posted by Jazz at 11/11/2004 05:11:00 PM

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I haven't updated the Blogroll in a while, (aside from some shuffling between categories) and it's probably high time I did. So, give a big Running Scared welcome to Brainwise at Prophet or Madman. I've been watching him for a while, and regular readers will remember him from our comments section. Go give him some love. He finds some interesting things to bloviate on, and I'll confess... I love the blog name.

Shameless Cross Posting

posted by Jazz at 11/11/2004 05:04:00 PM

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I'll succumb to the "double dipping syndrome" and tell you that I'm very angry at Autumn. I've given a brief summary of my feelings on the subject at Middle Earth Journal.

Centrist Party

posted by Jazz at 11/11/2004 01:55:00 PM

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Centerfield has issued a call for the formation of a moderate, centrist political party and/or PAC. There was a previous examination of such a party request posted there yesterday. This is exactly the type of concept that I've been waiting for. You could call it the Centrist Party, or the Bull Moose Party... hell, you could call it the Martha Stewart Party and I'd still join.

Remember... 45% of the voters this year identified themselves as moderates, as opposed to liberals or conservatives. And I can tell you, as one moderate voice, that I'm pretty sick of the extremists on both sides and the mess they are making of this country. It's probably a pipe dream, but we need a moderate third party who could put up viable candidates at all levels of government and tell the RNC and the DNC to go stick it where the sun don't shine.

Stop by Centerfield and lend your support.

Beginner's Guide to Bashing

posted by Jazz at 11/11/2004 07:41:00 AM

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The blogosphere continues to grow, with hundreds or thousands of new blogs coming online every week. A good percentage of them seek to enter the realm of political blogging. It's a crowded field, and you missed the entire election cycle, but there's still plenty of good material to work with. One problem that a lot of you who are new to punditry are facing is that you have no experience in viciously attacking (or "bashing") people who's opinions differ from yours. Fear not - I'm here to help. Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, today I will provide you with some short, easy to follow quick reference tips for boisterously bashing your opponents. First we'll deal with those pantywaist lefties.
----------------------------
A GUIDE TO BASHING LIBERALS

1. Cultural Icons - You should know by heart and be able to both spell and pronounce the names of Che Guevara, Chairman Mao Tse Tung, Paul Begala and Al Franken. Always associate the liberal with these names, no matter how much of a stretch (or fantasy) the connection is. Extra style points are given if you can drag the names of other infamous figures into the attack and thereby associate them with the liberal.

Weak - "You probably have all the sayings of Chairman Mao memorized."
Better - "Do you ever go along with Castro when he visits Che Guevara's tomb? That Fidel's one heck of a great guy, isn't he?"

2. Use Our Military - No matter what the topic at hand may concern, be sure to work in a reference to "Our Troops" in every post. Never, under any circumstances, refer to them as "the troops." That's a sure sign of a weak, newbie basher and makes the soldiers seem more distant and abstract. "Our Troops" shows that you hold them close to your heart, as a part of your family, and that all liberals support terrorists and want Our Troops to fail and die.

Weak - "Traitors like you should learn to support the troops."
Better - "Why do you want the terrorists to win? Our troops are over there fighting for your freedom too, you know."

3. France - Never miss an opportunity to make analogies linking the liberal to the French. Remember, nobody likes the French. Their entire culture stinks, their men are ell effeminate, and they didn't support Our President's "Liberation of Iraq." Neither did the Germans, but don't make reference to them. Germans are seen as strong and brutish. The French are much better targets. Insinuate that the liberal is probably of French origin somewhere in their bloodline. Phrases like "cheese eating surrender monkey" should flow like water from your keyboard.

Weak - "You voted for Kerry? What are you... French?"
Better - "Why don't you and all of your pinky lifting, commie friends move back to France. I hear giving up is very popular over there."

4. Linguistic Images - The liberals will always complain about the war in Iraq. Remember, particularly when they bring up uncomfortable things like the lack of WMDs and that fact that Saddam had no ties to bin Laden, your main focus must be on "the spread of democracy and freedom" and the "Liberation of Iraq." Never, ever refer to the war as the "invasion" of Iraq, or the "occupation" of Iraq. You must only refer to it as the "Liberation" of Iraq. Point out how the weak spined liberal is an awful person for not wanting to liberate the poor Iraqis.

Weak - "If you can't see why we needed to invade Iraq, then you are hopeless and I give up on you."
Better - "The Liberation of Iraq is a vital part of the greater War on Terror. Why you can't see that is a mystery. What is this problem you have with freedom, anyway?"

5. Michael Moore - Liberals love to bring up Michael Moore and his film Fahrenheit 9/11. This is your golden target of opportunity. Remember, it wasn't just a film stating Moore's opinion. He intentionally made it as a terrorist training video. Michael Moore is not only unamerican, he actively supports terrorist organizations around the world, supports the murder of Americans, and has probably shot a number of American patriots himself. In posting, these items should always be posted in ALL CAPS AND BOLD WITH LOTS OF PROFANITY.

Weak - "You can stop talking about Moore's stupid movie right now. Terrorist use that for a training video, you know."
Better - "MICHAEL MOORE IS A LYING, TRAITOROUS PIECE OF SHIT. HE'S RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS OF MORE OF OUR TROOPS THAN BIN LADEN AND SADDAM COMBINED, AND IF YOU CAN'T ADMIT THAT, THEN YOU'RE A GOD DAMNED TRAITOR TOO!!!!"

Suggested Reading - Michelle Malkin, Ace of Spades, Power Line, Dean's World and Captain's Quarters.

That should get you started fairly effectively. Now, on to the other side of the coin. If you are a liberal and are having trouble bashing conservatives, the following tips should see you on your way nicely.
-----------------------------
A GUIDE TO BASHING CONSERVATIVES

1. Hitler - This is your starting point, and you should reinforce it at every opportunity. Conservatives all secretly admire Hitler, they just won't admit it. They want to turn America into a secret police state, and Bush is the man they've chosen to lead them to this nightmarish future. You'll want to have this graphic spread liberally around your blog. And remember... Bush isn't just similar to Hitler. Bush actually is Hitler! That's right. Did you ever wonder about that fact that Bush was born right around the era when Hitler supposedly died or disappeared? They took some of Hitler's blood and cloned Bush. Ever notice how little Bush resembles his dad or his brother Jeb? I'm sure you're getting the connection. Also, be sure to refer to conservatives as "brownshirts" at every opportunity.

Weak - "I suppose you won't be satisfied until Hitler... err, I mean Bush, has taken away every last civil liberty we have."
Better - "Why don't you and the rest of your queer killing, hate mongering brownshirt friends go back to your compound and torture some more black people, rather than wasting our time with more of your hot air?"

2. Fear Mongers - Always maintain a constant theme in your blogging that the chief reason Bush and Cheney won the 2004 election was because they intentionally kept everyone afraid. Remind the conservative that Bush was unable to ever make a campaign speech without a reference to 9/11 and the War on Terror. No matter what they say to you about the dangers of terrorism, remember to call them Fear Mongers and to accuse them of using "Scare Tactics."

Weak - "Take your fear mongering baloney and move on to a blog that cares."
Better - "What say you and your scare tactics go frighten some small children at a day care center? The adults around here prefer to live a life of hope."

3. Stupidity - All conservatives are dumber than a box of rocks with a hole in the bottom. You already knew that... they voted for Bush! Their stupidity really knows no bounds. They are in denial about everything, they only read the Washington Times and the New York Post, and they get all their television input from Faux. (Never refer to the network as "Fox", by the way. Always as "Faux." It even has a French touch to it, so it drives the conservatives insane.) Be sure to constantly cite studies which show that Bush supporting conservatives have a lower average IQ and are less informed about current events. It will also help to imply that they all have southern accents and drive pickup trucks with shotguns in the rear window, too.

Weak - "Yeah, it figures that you'd have voted for Bush. You even spelled Cheney's name wrong."
Better - "You know, I'm a firm believer that every vote should count and be counted, but people like you really do make me favor some sort of IQ test to get into the voting booth. Maybe the Brits were right... how can so many people be so DUMB!?"

4. Jesusland - Constantly remind your readers that conservatives not only want to do away with the separation of church and state, they want a Federally mandated religious policy for all of America. The conservatives want you to have the freedom to be a Christian, and that's all. There are plans in place already to move all atheists, agnostics, Muslims and Hindus in America to special "reeducation camps" during Bush's second term. These mouth breathing bible thumpers are already replacing the teaching of evolution with creationism in schools across the Midwest, and they won't be stopping there, I can assure you.

Weak - "We're discussing politics here. Why don't you save your preaching for the Sunday tent revival?"
Better - "Well, well... you Bushies certainly seem to have your bible belts cinched up nice and tight. Where are you off to today? Going to burn down some mosques perhaps?"

5. Homophobes and Bigots - As we all know, those are the two defining characteristics of all conservatives. Be sure to reinforce this in every post you make. If they make any reference to Barak Obama, ask them how the last Klan meeting went and if they've lynched any "darkies" lately. Should they so much as mention the move to ban gay marriage, start screaming HOMOPHOBE! in bold, capital letters. Conservatives hate anyone who isn't straight and Caucasian. Don't let them forget it for a moment.

Weak - "How is it that you don't think people practicing alternative lifestyles have the right to a normal family life?"
Better - "Oh, yes... I'm sure that you are just dripping with concern for 'the children.' Maybe you can let the kids watch next time you get together for a game of 'Smear the Queer' with your brownshirt friends."

Suggested Reading - Daily KOS, Atrios, TalkLeft, MyDD and Mr. Left.

-------------------------------
There you have it! Now you just need to print out the section of this guide applicable to your political leanings and tape it up by your computer station. In no time at all you'll be launching scathing attacks at the godless commie lovers or the repressive brain-dead rednecks, right up there with the best of them. So get out there and get going! Good luck, and good blogging.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Britney's Guide to Semiconductor Physics

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/10/2004 11:51:00 PM

NOTE: YOU ARE VIEWING AN ARCHIVED POST AT RUNNING SCARED'S OLD BLOG. PLEASE VISIT THE NEW BLOG HERE.

OK, I need to get a life. But if I had a life I never would have found Britney Spear's Guide to Semiconductor Physics.
It is a little known fact, that Ms Spears is an expert in semiconductor physics. Not content with just singing and acting, in the following pages, she will guide you in the fundamentals of the vital laser components that have made it possible to hear her super music in a digital format.



More on Mt. Rainier

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/10/2004 05:58:00 PM

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Since it's in my neighborhood I'll do a follow up on Jazz's post this morning on Mt Rainier.

Mt. Rainier is the largest of the Cascade volcanic peaks and is over 14,000 feet tall. It is covered with large ice fields and glaciers. It is also very close to the largest population center in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle and Tacoma area. Although it is an active volcano fire is not the threat, it's the ice.
Mudflows are the most constant source of danger to the river valleys and lowlands around Mount Rainier. The largest recorded mudflow from Mount Rainier, the Osceola mudflow, occurred about 5700 years ago when the northeastern section of Mount Rainier's summit broke free and began to slide down the mountainside. The resulting avalanche of rock and ice was quickly converted by frictional heat into a mass of mud with a volume of about 4 cubic kilometers. The mud traveled over 100 kilometers down the the White River valley to the shore of Puget Sound, into what is now the middle of the cities of Seattle and Tacoma. The Osceola mudflow covered about 500 square kilometers of land with a layer of mud ranging in thickness from a few meters on the coastal plains to as much as 100 meters along old river beds. While this particular event seems safely remote in time, Mount Rainier is known to have produced more than fifty major mudflows in the past 10,000 years. On average, a major mudflow travels down the White River valley every 600 years. The next major mudflow could occur without warning at any time.
More information on all of the Cascade volcanoes can be found at the Cascades Volcano Observatory


We're Safe at Last

posted by Jazz at 11/10/2004 01:30:00 PM

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John Ashcroft says so in his departure letter. Jeff, at Red Hair & Black Leather, is relieved that crime is finally at an end, but bemoans Murphy's law of poor timing. (Seriously, this talks about something pretty tragic, which I am not making light of. But I got a chuckle out of the post.)

Yikes!

posted by Jazz at 11/10/2004 01:15:00 PM

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While everyone is watching Mt. St. Helens, apparently they need to be keeping an eye on her sleeping sister, Mount Rainier.

SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- Mount Rainier shook with a 3.2-magnitude earthquake, but scientists said Tuesday the quake was not related to recent rumblings at Mount St. Helens, its sister volcano 50 miles to the south.

The quake was centered one mile below the surface of Rainier's crater, said Bill Steele of the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network at the University of Washington.

"Directly under the volcano, that's a significant size," Steele said. One other 3.2-magnitude quake has been recorded at the mountain in the past 30 years: on February 19, 2002.



Get our the black hoods and glowing hot irons

posted by Mu at 11/10/2004 01:06:00 PM

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According to this link from Druge we're getting a new Attorney Genral who's even scarier than John Ashroft. I can really see how the Justice Department will investigate further abuses in the name of the "War on Terror" from an independent point of view.

Inside of Iraq This Week

posted by Jazz at 11/10/2004 10:33:00 AM

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Riverbend, the owner of Baghdad Burning, lives in Baghdad and deals with the daily realities of life there. If you ever wonder about the picture of Iraq that gets painted by the Bush administration, particularly during this latest offensive this week, take a look. The entry today is enough to make you cry.

Allawi declared a "State of Emergency" a couple of days ago... A state of emergency *now* - because previous to this week, we Iraqis were living in an American made Utopia, as the world is well aware. So what does an "Emergency State" signify for Iraqis? Basically, it means we are now *officially* more prone to being detained, raided, and just generally abused by our new Iraqi forces and American ones. Today they declared a curfew on Baghdad after 10 p.m. but it hasn't really made an impact because people have stopped leaving their houses after dark anyway.

Dozens of civilians have died these last few days in Ramadi, Falloojeh, and Samarra. We are hearing about complete families being killed under the rain of bombs being dropped by American forces. The phone lines in those areas seem to be cut off. We've been trying to call some relatives in Ramadi for the last two days, but it's next to impossible. We keep getting that dreadful busy tone and there's just no real way of knowing what is going on in there. There is talk of the use of cluster bombs and other forbidden weaponry.

We're hearing various stories about the situation. The latest is that 36 American troops have been taken prisoner along with dozens of Iraqi troops. How do people feel about the Iraqi troops? There's a certain rage. It's difficult to sympathize with a fellow-countryman while he's killing one of his own. People generally call them "Dogs of Occupation" here because instead of guarding our borders or securing areas, they are used to secure American forces. They drive out in front of American cars in order to clear the roads and possibly detonate some of those road mines at a decent distance from the American tanks.

There are other Iraqi bloggers who are notably pro-American. I have to wonder how much of the population, if any, is truly represented by each of them? In any event, it's clear that it's not only the imported terrorists who oppose the US invasion. She goes on to quote Donald Rumsfeld and comment on some of his statements.

There are a couple of things I agree with. The first is the following:

"Over time you'll find that the process of tipping will take place, that more and more of the Iraqis will be angry about the fact that their innocent people are being killed..."


He's right. It is going to have a decisive affect on Iraqi opinion- but just not the way he thinks. There was a time when pro-occupation Iraqis were able to say, "Let's give them a chance..." That time is over. Whenever someone says that lately, at best, they get a lot of nasty looks... often it's worse. A fight breaks out and a lot of yelling ensues... how can one condone occupation? How can one condone genocide? What about the mass graves of Falloojeh? Leaving Islam aside, how does one agree to allow the murder of fellow-Iraqis by the strongest military in the world?

The second thing Rumsfeld said made me think he was reading my mind:

"Rule of Iraq assassins must end..." I couldn't agree more: Get out Americans.


Update: While Iraqi's don't seem thrilled, over at Power Line, Hindrocket is still dancing on their graves.

You Must Be Kidding

posted by Jazz at 11/10/2004 09:30:00 AM

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Go read Ron's Post at MEJ. Apparently there are suggestions afoot that Zell Miller (yes... that Zell Miller) might be a good replacement for Colin Powell as the Secretary of State.

I may be ill.

The Old Barber Shop

posted by Jazz at 11/10/2004 07:28:00 AM

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I've come to the conclusion that everyone is guilty of stereotyping, including yours truly. I came to this realization yesterday, when I had a busy schedule with a number of errands to run, including going to get my hair cut.

As a private contractor in technical writing and marketing, I've had to move around a lot over the course of my life. I've lived in a quite a few places, and in each new location I have a little ritual that I go through shortly after arriving - I look for my barber shop. I'll go out on a nice day and ride around, or if the weather is good, more likely walk. I generally don't bother consulting the yellow pages first... my barber shop will be within strolling distance of both my home and my office and I'll know it when I see it.

Usually I'll come across some candidates that won't pass muster. I'll see a place with a trendy name like "Shear Success" and move right on past. Anyone who tries to get clever like that with their business title isn't my barber. Anything with the words "unisex" or "salon" sends me scurrying away like a mouse seeing a cat coming by. If there are hair driers and women in curlers present, I won't set foot in the door. That's not a barber shop - it's a beauty parlor.

Eventually, though, I always manage to find it. It's always the same... big glass windows on the front, with a few old fashioned barber chairs and a couple of ancient gentlemen trimming the hair of their patrons. There is a red and white spinning barber pole outside, and the name of the establishment, painted on the window, ends in the words "Barber Shop." Above it is the name of the proprietor. Sometimes it's a first name, which will usually be along the lines of Joe, Paul or Salvatore. It's equally likely to be a surname and, if so, it almost always ends in a vowel.

Hence the stereotype... in my universe, there are some things that just have to be a certain way. Grass should be green and wavy; snow should be white and fluffy; water should be blue and sparkling; and barbers should be very old and very, very, very Italian. They should have big smiles and deep voices, preferably with the thick accent of first generation immigrants. They should use old fashioned clippers and a straight razor which they sharpen on a leather strop attached to the chair.

The price for a haircut is always low, too. The barbers don't care, because they know that nobody is going to give them that amount anyway. Everyone gives them more than the listed price. If you like the service you get, it would be an insult not to tip him. My barber charges seven dollars. A few people who are extremely short on cash or extremely frugal give him eight. I, along with almost everyone else who goes there, give him ten. He always thanks you expansively as if he never in a million years would have expected a tip. Some of those "Shear Success" unisex joints charge over forty bucks. Now that's a clip job.

Real barbers get to know you pretty quickly, too. By the time you've made a few visits, they've picked up on enough facts to make polite conversation while cutting. "So... howsa your wife doing, eh? Last time you saida she had the stomach bug, eh? How's she adoing now?"

"She's fine now, thanks."

"Attsa good! Attsa very good. So... you going up home fora da holiday, eh? Going to see Momma?"

"Oh, yes. I do every year."

"Attsa good! Attsa good boy. You gotta take care of da Momma."

As I approach the half century mark in my life, I would normally be either offended, put off, or at least a bit startled to hear anyone refer to me as "boy." Somehow, though, inside the barber shop, it seems not only natural, but welcome. It's as if this man has taken the temperature of my moral compass and found me acceptable. And somehow that means something to me.

Plus there is the fact that this guy was, as a young apprentice, cutting hair for World War Two veterans when they returned from Europe, shortly after he arrived in this country. I suppose that he's earned the right to call anybody "boy" that he damned well pleases. If these old style barber shops run by old Italian men ever fade from the American landscape, it's going to be a sad day indeed.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Only God Knows!!!!!!!

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/09/2004 06:39:00 PM

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Attorney General John Ashcroft has resigned. Ashcroft, a real rightwing Christian wingnut, spent more time prior to 911 trying to stop abortion, medical marijuana and Oregon's Dr assisted suicide than trying to protect the nation from terrorist attack. This will be a real litmus test to see how much hold the religious right has on the Bush administration. While Rudi Giuliani has been mentioned as a replacement I can't see Ralph Reed or Jerry Falwell tolerating that nomination.

The Barlow - Esmay War Debate

posted by Jazz at 11/09/2004 01:18:00 PM

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There is a fairly interesting bit of back-and-forth going on now concerning some post election ruminations on the war in Iraq, arguably the key referendum in the 2004 elections. It started with a long post from the left side by John Perry Barlow called, "Magnanimous Defeat." No matter which side you take, it's worth a look. I can't even begin to summarize the entire thing, but Barlow is essentially dealing with his anger, disappointment, and feelings of mourning over the elections, since he opposed Bush. He also gets into some decent armchair analysis of why Bush voters supported him, and the war.

That post was answered by a long and fairly effective essay from the right wing by Dean Esmay. He, of course, takes an opposite position on the specific question of the Iraq war. I'd like to address both of their entries because I take exception with parts of each and agree with other parts. (First, in fairness to Dean, I only refer to him as "right wing" in terms of his stance on the Iraq war, since he states that he is a "pot smoking", Grateful Dead listening, pro choice, pro gay rights guy. He just also happens to be a proud Bush supporter who favors invading sovereign nations. *nudge.*)

Before even getting to the specifics of the war question, I'd like to touch on something that both Barlow and Dean alluded to, either directly or indirectly, and that is the issue of the "which side is the majority" question. Barlow bemoans that, "I'm mourning a number of losses, one of which is the belief that "my side" is actually a clear majority that would reveal itself if we ever shuffled off our disdain for politics and voted in any force." ( Actually, we may be a majority - I don't trust these results - but even if we are, our margin is very slender"

Dean has also made some references in recent posts concerning the "majority" that put the supposed values based conservatives over the top of the liberals. The fact is, guys, neither of you need to worry because neither of you are a majority. You're not even a plurality, and have not been for decades. As I pointed out earlier, and as Bob Herbert so excellently described, we don't live in a conservative nation. We also don't live in a liberal nation. This year, 34% of the voters described themselves as "conservatives" and 21% called themselves "liberals." The true plurality of 45% said they were moderates. So stop panicking.

They both also deal with matters of perception by "the other side" over this question. Barlow paints a picture of conservative Bush supporters who constantly bash liberals for being anything from weak, to having questionable patriotism, to seeming "vaguely French." To quote him, "At the very least, I need to take the other side seriously. Dismissing them as a bunch of homophobic, racist, Bible-waving, know-nothing troglodytes, however true that may be of a few, only authorizes them to return the favor."

Dean counters that he and his Iraq war supporting friends are always saying, "Why are the anti-war people so vicious and nasty?" "Why are the anti-war people so irrational and hateful and smug?" "How do we get through to them? They just won't listen!" "Don't you get tired of being called a liar and a fascist? I sure do."

Guess what, guys? You're both right. That happens, and far worse than either of you describe, on both sides of the fence, 24/7. Neither side is remotely close to having clean hands on that score, and neither is better than the other. Take a look at my "must read" blogroll in the right column some time. You'll note that I read the far left and the far right daily. And I shall continue to do so, even though the resulting mental whiplash has pretty much ended my hopes of being a virtual, fantasy league baseball pitcher. I see the viciousness and bitter, petty acrimony coming from Atrios just as much as from Captain's Quarters. Daily KOS is no better than Power Line. It's mud slinging and insults about the relative intelligence and values of the other side on every channel all the time. Making an effort to tone down the rhetoric is commendable, but don't play the martyr as if either of you are on a "side" that somehow has the moral high ground in that argument.

Finally, on to the issue of the war itself. The positions of the two authors are crystal clear, but you have to dig a bit deeper to find their reasoning. Barlow opposes the war for most of the obvious reasons you'll typically see - the reasons we were given for going to war originally turned out to be invalid, and the subsequent reasons switched in by Bush's team don't pass muster for him.

Dean is clearly assertive as to his position. To quote, "I voted for Bush because the war in Iraq was exactly the right war, for exactly the right reasons, at exactly the right time." That's crystal clear, but while it's a good introduction, he doesn't give us much meat to flesh out the skeleton as to why it was right in all those respects. He does give us a couple of hints, though. First, he includes the phrase, "Bush who decided to take a big gamble and do the right thing for both America and Iraq and finally, finally, finally bring down the monster Saddam. Which should have been done a long damned time ago if we'd had any decency as a country."

Second, if you read Dean's piece, you'll see that he uses a linguistic trick that was trotted out by the Bush administration after it started becoming obvious that the original reasons for invading were falling apart, and never abandoned. He refused to refer to the action as "the invasion of Iraq" and will only refer to it as "the liberation of Iraq." It was one of Rove's most masterful selling points in the bait and switch game they played on us with this war.

I flatly refuse to refer to it as the "liberation" of anything. When you send your armies into a sovereign nation who hasn't attacked you, bomb their cities, defeat their army, and overthrow their government, it's an invasion. All the pretty words in the world aren't going to change that.

So what was the basis for Dean's support of the war? While we're not told specifically, there is room to guess. First of all, I don't for a moment believe that Dean falls into the category of that large number of Bush supporters who were unaware of the true facts about Iraq. Dean seems to read (and link to) a lot of material from sources on both sides of the aisle, so it wasn't that. That only leads me to believe that he feels that the war was valid based on the last version of the story brought to us by Bush and Cheney... that Saddam was a "bad man" who was oppressing and killing his people and the citizens needed to be rescued from him.

I prefer to look at the story from the beginning to get the full picture. Going all the way back to Bush's now infamous State of the Union address, and all through the appearances by him and his staff up until the invasion, we were given one continuous set of reasons why we had to invade Iraq. They were as follows:

First, Iraq was in possession of vast stockpiles of chemical, biological, and very possibly nuclear (remember "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"?) weapons. He was preparing to use those weapons against us and/or our allies. He was an immediate threat that had to be dealt with, and the sanctions, inspections, and isolation of his country were not working. We were in danger, and had to act fast.

Second, Iraq had close, intimate ties to bin Laden, and was probably involved in 9/11. (Even if Bush didn't say that directly, he hinted at it in many speeches and his underlings said it.) To this day, as in the report linked above, a large number of Bush supporters think Saddam had a direct hand in 9/11 and Bush/Cheney have done little to nothing to dispel that rumor.

Remember this, people. These were the ONLY reasons we were given at the time. These were the reasons given to Congress when they were asked to support this invasion. I'm not here to debate whether or not Bush "lied" about it, though the evidence certainly suggests that plenty of people told him it was bad intelligence and he chose to ignore it. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say that Bush honestly believed that the weapons were there, Iraq was in cahoots with bin Laden, and Saddam himself was scheduled to fly one of the planes into the World Trade Center but had to cancel at the last minute because he was busy finishing his latest romance novel.

The facts came out later. No WMD's. No capacity to build them, no attempts to build them for many years, and no ability to restart in any short time even if the sanctions were lifted. No ties to bin Laden's organization beyond something that even Cheney called "tenuous" at best. No involvement in the attacks on the United States on 9/11. Nothing.

That's when the bait and switch happened. Now we had to "liberate" the Iraqis because Saddam was a bad man. Now we had to establish a flowering new democracy there so freedom would march across the Middle East.

Horse hockey. Go back to what I said before about the reasons Congress was given to endorse the invasion. Now picture Bush going before Congress and giving this new set of reasons in 2002 and asking for that same power to invade. How many members of congress do you think would have endorsed Bush's war on Iraq if those were the given reasons? If you guessed "everyone who wasn't looking to commit political suicide" then you are correct. That vote wouldn't have passed in a million years.

I refute both of the main reasons given by Bush's Iraq apologists. There are many, many bad men in the world ruling countries brutally. Many people would probably like to get rid of those men. We can find them in North Korea and China just to name a couple. Is it our job to overthrow their governments? Not in my book. And it wasn't out job to free the Iraqi people unless they were taking a lot of bold, brave steps to free themselves first. Anyone feel like starting a war with China? I didn't think so.

Spread democracy? Please. Democracy is a fragile plant that only grows in the correct, fertile ground. That's generally a place where the people stand united behind one cause, there is a substantial middle class and a history of private industry and growth, and a national heritage of free, secular, independent thinking. Iraq fails all of these tests miserably. They are three people who were constantly at odds with each other. Hating Saddam was probably the only thing they had in common, and as soon as we are out of there, that place is going to break into a civil war. The only questions are how big it will be and who will take sides with who.

No, this war was a massive mistake from the beginning. Kerry wasn't right about much, but he certainly was when he said, "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time." Those 140,000 troops needed to be in Afghanistan, not Iraq. And you can keep screaming it until you are blue in the face, but Iraq was NOT part of any "war on terror" until we turned it into the mess it is now.

EDIT: In the interest of giving fair time to all sides, Dean Esmay responds:

I'm not going to try to answer all of this, except to answer this: "invading sovereign nations"

I am always utterly amused by this line. It's like, "Oh, it's okay to invade NATIONS, just not SOVEREIGN nations." What? There is only one kind of nation you can invade. They're all sovereign nations. Saying "sovereign nation" is one of those dramatic-sounding noises to somehow imply that you've violated something sacred and sacrosanct.

Truth of the matter is that our war on Saddam Hussein never ended. We declared a cease-fire in the early '90s and he violated that cease-fire agreement. What we did was fully justifiable and completely legal--and we didn't "lie" about jack shit so far as any honest, non-partisan analyst has ever been able to show. Indeed, so far as I'm concerned the word "lie" is a reliable marker for a partisan hack. If you can't make use of the word "wrong" instead of "lie" it says more about you than anyone else.

By the way, just to be very clear: if we had the resources and a justifiable raison-detre (which we clearly did in Iraq), I would absolutely love to liberate Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and North Korea from their own brutal tyrannical leaders. We don't have the resources and we don't have QUITE the justification we need. It wouldn't take much to justify it in my view, however.

Yes. I just said I'd be happy to go to war in every one of those countries. It won't happen, alas, as it's clear that the American public lacks the will. But hopefully it won't need it: we've scared the crap out of all those rogue regimes. Which was one of the more than a dozen reasons why going to Iraq was a splendid idea and a worthy endeavor.

Thanks, Dean. I notice you didn't include China on your list of targets. Interesting.

Just another rant

posted by georg at 11/09/2004 09:02:00 AM

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Someone poked me hard about why I was depressed about Bush staying in the White House and suggested I start blaming all the little things wrong on the fact that he was there. "Lose your car keys? Blame it on Bush!" Well sure, that would be good if I wanted to trivialize my feelings.

What I know is that I spent 3 of the last 4 years unemployed and now that I finally have a job, I'm making half of what I used to make. Only a 1/3 of the folks I know directly managed to maintain the same job they had for the entire 4 years. Most were laid off due to "budget cuts" or their job was moved overseas. About half of my unemployed friends have managed to find new jobs, but they are now making less than they were before.

I'm quite happy to blame that on Bush.

Our educational system is getting worse compared internationally. I do not think "no child left behind" will work- because it effectively ends up lowering our education down to the lowest common denominator, not raising it, because the funding to improve is simply not there.

I'm quite happy to blame that on Bush.

I am working now as a medical transcriptionist. I've been doing it only a few months, but if I had a dollar for every time I typed a report where a patient told the doc they could not afford their prescribed medication, I could probably vacation some place really nice for a really long time.

I'm quite happy to blame that on Bush.

And this whole blood for oil money thing in Iraq where there were no weapons of mass destruction and never were, and now we are losing weapons that are falling into the arms of folks willing to kill Americans in Iraq and in other places, and Osama bin Ladin is still out there... It frankly scares the shit out of me, because we are sowing seeds of hatred against us in the middle east and giving our enemies more reasons to hate our guts and plan more terrorist attacks.

I'm quite happy to blame that on Bush.

As far as the gay marriage issue is concerned, I believe that marriage is a sacrament and should be determined by the religion of those involved, and it's none of the state's business. There has to be a separation of Church and State on this issue and civil unions are the responsibility of the State. All of the legal language should be changed from "marriage" to "civil union" and I don't care if people want to have "civil unions" with people of the same sex or more than one person. I think someone having 2 mommies or daddies is better than only one, because being a single parent is damn hard work- and any single moms or dads out there have my deep respect.

For the mixing and confusion of Church and State, I'm quite happy to blame that on Bush.

Today From Tom Toles

posted by Jazz at 11/09/2004 08:37:00 AM

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Rather grim, but I found it amusing in a dark fashion. (Click on image for full size version at the Washington Post.)



Bob Herbert Catches Up

posted by Jazz at 11/09/2004 07:48:00 AM

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Today's op-ed by Bob Herbert essentially rehashes an entry I posted back on Oct. 22, detailing the findings of the University of Maryland study which showed that Bush supporters lacked a lot of critical information when deciding on which candidate they supported. The sections he highlights are certainly valid, mostly pertaining to the large percentages of Bush supporters who held completely false beliefs, denied by the President himself, about things such as the presence of WMDs in Iraq, Iraqi support for bin Laden, and world perceptions about the invasion. Bob's timing may be a bit off, though.

The election is over. Attempts to educate the Bush supporters failed, and they voted based on what they thought they knew. Nothing is going to change the past at this point, and pointing out such ignorance isn't going to do anything but anger the majority who are already mad as hornets. Bob's use of words like "cluelessness" and "brain on hold" won't produce any positive results. Nobody likes having their faults pointed out, and this is hardly the time to do it. History will be the final judge of Bush and of the wisdom of the invasion of Iraq, and I personally believe that the judgment will be harsh indeed. None of this, however, does anything to improve our country's prospects for the immediate future.

I think this is a time to stop casting stones and for moderates, on both the Republican and Democratic sides, to work on two fundamental concerns. First, how can we improve education on important news that directly affects political decisions in such a biased media environment. Second, and perhaps more importantly, how can these moderates reach across the aisle to work towards implementation of a moderate agenda and block radical movement to the right or left? It would not take very many Senators to work this magic, but they are obviously wary of the political price they would pay for "siding with the enemy."

I don't have the answers to these questions, but I do believe that the answers are out there. A good start would be a campaign to write to all of the moderate Senators and encourage them in this direction. I've already begun doing just that, starting with the Senators from Maine.

He's obviously upset Michele Catalano.

The article is reccomended reading from Joe Gandelman, though. (Along with a lot of other good reading in that one piece.)

Winner of the Funniest Post of the Day, though, is Michelle Malkin. While Herbert spends most of the article talking about the lack of information among Bush voters, she essentially proves his point by missing that entirely, and claiming that Herbert was talking about lack of voter turnout, and how she already disproved that claim. I take back everything I said about Malkin. She really IS a funny guy! (Goodfellows reference apologized for.)

Moderation in the Times

posted by Jazz at 11/09/2004 07:41:00 AM

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I'm not sure, but the editorial board of the New York Times may be secret readers of Running Scared or The Moderate Republican, or similar blogs. Today they bring us a wonderfully written editorial piece which sums up the exact same thing I've been writing here since the election. Democrats need to build a solid relationship with the dwindling number of conservative Republicans in the Senate.

Senate Democrats will have the obligation of nay-saying through the filibuster, but with 45 seats, the party is vulnerable to having a few conservatives picked off here and there to defeat that tactic. They will therefore have to seize the occasional chance for compromise as Senator Reid musters an opposition that includes their defeated standard-bearer, Senator John Kerry. Considering the rebuff from heartland voters, Senate Democrats like Dianne Feinstein of California find comfort in Senator Reid's roots, but not some of his positions, like his opposition to abortion. "I like the fact that he is a Westerner, frankly," Senator Feinstein said.

Mr. Reid has built credit as a negotiator with moderates across the aisle, who now return more endangered than ever. The Democrats should look for alliances with those Republicans, like Olympia Snowe of Maine and John McCain of Arizona, who were fighting for pay-as-you-go budgeting and rational intelligence reform before the election and may now be joined by a few more true conservatives who never liked Mr. Bush's fiscal recklessness but held their fire during the campaign.

Now if only they could start urging Olympia Snowe to begin the early work to take a run at the White House. She doesn't seem to be listening to me.

Moderation seems an endangered word amid Republicans' exultation, but it may be the most to be wished for as Senator Reid rallies Democrats from their Election Day drubbing.

Indeed.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Wingnuts in charge

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/08/2004 11:28:00 PM

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Josh Marshall brings us this example of the people who have the ear of George W. Bush, Dr. James Dobson on the George Stephanopoulos show on Sunday.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Dr. Dobson, you also have a problem with the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Patrick Leahy. I want to show something that was reported in "The Daily Oklahoman" during the campaign. In the "Daily Oklahoman," it quoted you saying, "Patrick Leahy is a God's people hater. I don't know if he hates God, but he hates God's people." Now, Dr. Dobson, that doesn't sound like a particularly Christian thing to say. Do you think you owe Senator Leahy an apology?
DR JAMES DOBSON: George, you think you ought to lecture me on what a Christian is all about? You know, I think -I think I'll stand by the things I have said. Patrick Leahy has been in opposition to most of the things that I believe. He is the one that took the reference to God out of the oath.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But Dr. Dobson, excuse me for a second. You use the word hate. You said that he's a "God's people hater." How do you back that up?

DR JAMES DOBSON: Well, there's been an awful lot of hate expressed in this election. And most of it has been aimed at those who hold to conservative Christian views. He is certainly not the only one to take a position like that. But
I think that that is -that's where he's coming from. He has certainly
opposed most of the things that conservative Christians stand for.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So no apology?

DR JAMES DOBSON: No apology.
Now if this doesn't scare the hell out of you go check out his organization, Focus on Family.


Stop Worrying About the Next Ice Age

posted by Jazz at 11/08/2004 03:07:00 PM

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Apparently, it's not coming. We were told back in August that the ACIA would be releasing their global warming and polar study this fall. Now it's out.

OSLO, Norway (Reuters) -- Global warming is heating the Arctic almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet in a thaw that threatens millions of livelihoods and could wipe out polar bears by 2100, an eight-nation report said on Monday.

The biggest survey to date of the Arctic climate, by 250 scientists, said the accelerating melt could be a foretaste of wider disruptions from a build-up of human emissions of heat-trapping gases in the earth's atmosphere.

The "Arctic climate is now warming rapidly and much larger changes are projected," according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), funded by the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

Arctic temperatures are rising at almost twice the global average and could leap 4-7 Celsius (7-13 Fahrenheit) by 2100, roughly twice the global average projected by U.N. reports. Siberia and Alaska have already warmed by 2-3 C since the 1950s.

Possible benefits like more productive fisheries, easier access to oil and gas deposits or trans-Arctic shipping routes would be outweighed by threats to indigenous peoples and the habitats of animals and plants.

Sea ice around the North Pole, for instance, could almost disappear in summer by the end of the century. The extent of the ice has already shrunk by 15-20 percent in the past 30 years.

"Polar bears are unlikely to survive as a species if there is an almost complete loss of summer sea-ice cover," the report said. On land, creatures like lemmings, caribou, reindeer and snowy owls are being squeezed north into a narrower range.


Let's all send a big shout of thanks out to our President who pulled us out of the Kyoto treaty because it "unfairly put a burden of cost on the United States not shared by third world nations."

Excuse me? We are the biggest, richest, most polluting industrial nation in the world. Am I the only person who thinks that just perhaps it's incumbent upon us to set and example and bear a burden of the cost? I know we're short on money, but that won't help us much if we have no habitable places left to spend it.

Armageddon (aka WWIII)

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/08/2004 11:18:00 AM

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Something significant happened today and although it's significant I'm not talking about the storming of Falluja. (here and here) I'm talking about this; Saudi religious scholars support holy war.
Prominent Saudi religious scholars urged Iraqis to support militants waging holy war against the U.S.-led coalition forces as American troops prepared Saturday for a major assault on the insurgent hotbed of Fallujah.
The 26 Saudi scholars and preachers said in an open letter to the Iraqi people that their appeal was prompted by "the extraordinary situation through which the Iraqis are passing which calls for unity and exchange of views." The letter was posted on the Internet.

"At no time in history has a whole people been violated ... by propaganda that's been proved false," Sheik Awad al-Qarni, one of the scholars, told Al-Arabiya TV.
It's officially a "Holy War".
....the scholars stressed that armed attacks by militant Iraqi groups on U.S. troops and their allies in Iraq represent "legitimate" resistance.
So who are a majority of the Iraqis going to listen to? You can bet it's not Dr. Allawi. It appears that Mr. Bush has gotten his us vs them Crusade and unleashed the demon of Jihad. Well, at least the "End of Time" folks must be happy.




Holding the uninformed in contempt

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/08/2004 09:52:00 AM

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Jazz has an excellent post below on Bob Herbert's op-ed today and as Jazz points out:
Attempts to educate the Bush supporters failed, and they voted based on what they thought they knew. Nothing is going to change the past at this point, and pointing out such ignorance isn't going to do anything but anger the majority who are already mad as hornets. Bob's use of words like "cluelessness" and "brain on hold" won't produce any positive results.
This ties in with the post I had here a few days ago, Angry White People which looks at the attitudes of the people in the South.
They have come to the conclusion that they are going to be screwed regardless of which party is in power, and they prefer to be screwed by a group that doesn't appear to hold them in contempt.
We will not find supporters among people we hold in contempt. There is a current of anti intellectualism in the United States that is fed by this contempt. We see the results not only at the polls but in the school curriculums as creationism is taught next to or instead of evolution. Many of us need a serious attitude calibration or the forces of darkness will prevail. I admit that I need this calibration as much as anyone. I have a very low tolerance for uninformed ignorance. When Spiro Agnew referred to "effete snobs" in the early 70's I'm sure he was talking about me. I'll look around, maybe there is a 12 step program for "effete snobs".
Note: when I refer to the "South" it is in a figurative sense, there is a lot of the "South" in the North and on the Coasts.

Josh Marshall on Hillary

posted by Jazz at 11/08/2004 08:36:00 AM

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I already posted a long piece yesterday on the possibility of a Hillary Clinton run for the Oval Office in 2008, and Ron has posted follow-ups here and on his site. One item which he linked to, however, was the long piece by Josh Marshall on the subject, and I think it deserves a closer look.

I freely admit that I'm a New York Republican who is opposing Hillary's position in our Senate seat or in the White House because I don't feel she is qualified and needs to be defeated. It is only fair, however, to hear from the other side of the aisle. Marshall is a fan of Hillary's, but offers some realistic perspective to the Democratic case against a Hillary presidential bid.

First, I don't like the idea of the presidency becoming the private preserve of a few chosen families. It's bad for democracy, even if a given individual might have much to recommend him or her as a candidate.

Since many are now talking up the possibility of Jeb Bush running for president in 2008, that opens up at least the theoretical possibility that one family could hold the White House for most of a 28 year period (1989-2017). Whether you're a Republican or Democrat, Bush-lover or Bush-hater, that can't be good for republican government in the United States.

(Much is made of the father-and-son presidencies of John (1797-1801) and John Quincy Adams (1825-29). Much less is made of the fact that they were, in effect, members of different political parties.)

As big a fan as I am of Bill Clinton, I'd be against another Clinton family presidency even if there weren't a Bush family. But given that we're now two President Bushes and counting, it makes it all the more important for Democrats to be clear on the principle at issue. A (Hillary) Clinton v. (Jeb) Bush grudge match in 2008 would be a sign of all sorts of sclerotic tendencies in American politics.

Now, to the second reason, the one I focused most on in that Jan. 2000 article in Slate. And that would be, 'Are you kidding?'

Let's be honest, Hillary Clinton is a deeply divisive figure. And if there's one thing Democrats have learned in this and the previous election it is the danger of going into a national election with a candidate who cannot even get a real hearing over a large swath of the country.



Demonizing the Demon

posted by Jazz at 11/08/2004 05:49:00 AM

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For some good coffee reading this morning, go read Demonizing the Demon over at Middle Earth Journal. Food for thought, I must say.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

More on Hillary

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/07/2004 11:11:00 AM

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Over at the Left Coaster they are discussing Hillary(read the comments). Those of you who are regular Running Scared readers might be surprised how little support for Hillary there is among Democrats. Last week Juan Cole suggested the Democrats need a southern "Bubba" to win the White House. While I don't really agree with that I do see Hillary as the "anti-bubba" and she would be pure poison to any attempt by the Democrats to retake the White House. It will be Rove and his friends at FAUX news who will try to keep this alive in an attempt to damage Hillary's senate race in 2006. Sleep well my friends, there will be no Hillary running for president. The Democrats don't want her.

Update
Long post on the subject from Josh Marshall here.

Hillary, Bright and Dark

posted by Jazz at 11/07/2004 09:27:00 AM

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Well, knock me over with a feather. This weekend, Josh Marshall said the following while endorsing the idea of Bill Clinton becoming chairman of the DNC.

"And I say that as someone who believes Hillary Clinton never should and probably (hopefully) never will run for president."

I had pretty much given up hope that I'd ever see a Democrat who wasn't leading the glee squad in cheering Hillary Clinton on. In the future, like it or not, you're going to be seeing some bloviating in this space about Hillary and it only seems fair to prepare the groundwork now. I will make no bones about this... I don't like Hillary, I don't like her holding a Senate seat from my home state of New York, and I certainly don't want her to be the President. Before you either write me off as hopeless, or agree with me, I'd like to take some time on this bright Sunday morning and dispel some of the myths about the so called "Hillary Haters."

Myth Number One: You're a typical male misogynist who can't stand a strong, independent, opinionated (Bitch!) woman in a position of power.

Nice try, but that dog won't hunt here. Back in the day, when I lived in New Jersey, I worked actively for the campaign of Christie Todd Whitman as Governor of the Garden State, and was among many pushing for her to run for the White House. This year, I am already participating in a letter writing campaign trying to encourage Olympia Snowe of Maine to form an exploratory and fund raising committee to look at a 2008 run for the West Wing. I may be a Republican, but I have always been a believer in the old saw that, "Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman." But here we are specifically talking about one woman - Hillary - and she is far from being "the best man for the job."

Myth Number Two: You're one of those Republican Clinton Haters who tried to get the President impeached and you're blaming Hillary for Bill's faults.

Bzzzt. Sorry. I didn't vote for Bill, but I was never violently against him and I thought that the impeachment fiasco was a national disgrace. Bill Clinton was a moderate Democrat who was able to forge alliances across the aisle. After eight years, he left the country at peace and with an unheard of budget surplus. Let's face it... the boy may have had the morals of a junkyard dog, but he did one hell of a good job as President and I give him full credit for it. That was a different, less divided time for our nation, and Bill has my full respect. That does not, however, translate into meaning that his wife is automatically similarly qualified.

Myth Number Three: You're a Republican. She's a Democrat. Duh. More partisan hackery. You would never vote for a Democrat.

Excuse me... have you ever read this blog before? I was manning the phones for Kerry and killing myself trying to get rid of Bush. In House, Senate, state and local elections, I have voted for a variety of Republican, Democratic, and even independent candidates. I'm not a party line kind of guy.

Ok. So why are you opposing the tidal wave of support for Hillary 08?

Thanks for asking. I live in Upstate New York, and this issue is of particular, personal interest to me. I've had a vested interest in it all along. I believe I can sum up my answers in a few bullet points.

No Resume. No Credentials: She didn't have them during her Senate campaign and she certainly doesn't have them now. Hillary's supporters tried to make a big deal out of her work in her own law firm years ago (questionable at best) but that doesn't qualify someone for high office by itself. Neither her education nor professional background paint the picture of a qualified candidate. Hillary Clinton's one and only "qualification" was that she was married to Bill. Excuse me, but if my sink is broken, I'll call a plumber. Not somebody who was married to a plumber.

Interference in the Government Process: This is one huge area that I'll never forgive either Ms. Clinton nor our government at the time for. Hillary's meddling in the legislative process concerning health care during that period was not only inappropriate, it was criminal. It is no more appropriate for a First Lady to get into the business of crafting legislation than it would be for Jenna Bush to do so. That lack of respect for the legal process immediately disqualifies her, not even taking into account the fact that her ideas turned out to be an unmitigated disaster.

She Derailed the Electoral Process in New York: When Hillary came marching into New York State prior to the 2000 election, (she's from Arkansas, not New York) there was no meaningful primary to even give the Democrats a choice in candidates. The DNC made their choice and coronated her as their candidate before she even arrived. We lost our strong, moderate Republican candidate opposing her to a serious medical problem (cancer treatment) and had to scramble to find a far less well known Republican to oppose her and she won. It was a travesty of an election.

She's Been a Do Nothing Senator Since Election: Aside from photo ops and fund raising activities to bulk up her war chest, she's done virtually nothing. She has attached her name to a lot of bills which other people did the ground work for, but in most cases it was window dressing. Her one initiative that we got to see up close and personal in the Upstate area was a complete joke. She tried to propose and drive through a brownlands initiative in New York similar to the one that revitalized the Baltimore waterfront area in the nineties. They were very different situations, unfortunately, and what worked in Baltimore was, for a number of reasons, a foolish endeavor across New York's non-metropolitan areas. A huge amount of time and money was wasted on yet another unproductive concept. All Hillary has really done is prop up her PR position and get ready to run for the White House.

She Will Divide the Nation Even Further: One thing is for sure: as much as Democrats love her, Republicans hate her even more. Earlier this year CNN conducted a poll asking for favorable or unfavorable reactions to a number of Democrats and Republicans among members of each party. Hillary was wildly popular among Democrats - far more so than even John Kerry or John Edwards. Perhaps more shocking was the reaction among Republicans. Even though John Kerry was the one running against and criticizing President Bush, Hillary was far and away the most hated Democrat on the list. She will only serve to drive an even deeper wedge in the electorate.

Personal Selfish Reason: She is a carpetbagger who came riding into New York and highjacked one of my two Senate seats. Yes... I will freely admit I have a personal grudge against her for that and I will not support her under any circumstances.

So there you have it. Feel free to disagree with me if you are a Hillary supporter, but don't paint me with some broad brush as to why you think I don't like her. I have my reasons, and I believe they are valid. I'll be working to boot her our of our Senate seat in 2006, and to stop her from being the President in 2008 unless the GOP puts up Tom DeLay or some similarly extreme theocon. And in that case, I assure you I will be voting for a third party candidate.

Lightening Strikes

posted by Jazz at 11/07/2004 09:20:00 AM

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I'm watching Meet the Press, and I think my ears have failed me. Karl Rove just said, (and I am not making this up) "The president and I believe in traditional Republican values. We believe in smaller government... personal liberties and freedoms for everyone... the powers of the individual states."

The folks at NBC should be looking to the skies for impending bolts of Holy Retribution and running for the hills.

Bush's Brain: The Early Years

posted by Jazz at 11/07/2004 06:04:00 AM

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One popular trend in cartoons recently has been the development of storylines which examine the lives of the various pixilated superheros when they were children. Examples can be found in Teen Titans, Super Friends, and at least three different shows about Batman when he was in high school. Of course you can't have a protagonist without his ying-yang equivalent antagonist, so we were also treated to the Joker, the Riddler, and the Penguin as mischievous youths. Perhaps the only one they left out was Karl Rove.

Dr. Brian Moench, a high school friend of Karl's and former Harvard medical instructor, sets matters to rights with this piece in the Salt Lake Tribune. He discusses Rove's life as a high school student, growing up as an outsider - a non-Mormon, bespectacled geek in a Utah school district. His recollections of Rove reveal a man of unique, single minded purpose, unwavering from adolescence to the present day.

Karl was the only 17-year-old I'd ever met whose dreams were limited to being a political operative, period. One mutual friend said, "Karl would stare at a sunset and see only the political implications of it." I never remember Karl talking about making the world a better place. His next milestone: At age 22 he conducted a conference for young Republicans on the art of dirty-tricks politics.

He then goes on to give a rather amusing description of how Rove and Bush found each other, and the odd metamorphosis which shaped the two apparent misfits into one unstoppable political machine.

When Rove decided to reach for the top he found the only presidential candidate who lacked everything he could provide. The symbiosis of Bush and Rove has steamrolled through the political landscape like the Terminator wearing an Alfred E. Newman mask and a cowboy hat.

On the outside there is Bush, with his "aw shucks" down-home-guy act who says he's on a mission from God. On the inside is Rove, the scorched-earth killing machine whose mission is to destroy every political opponent in its path.

On the outside is Bush, who seems to truly believe in Bible literalism and creationism and who admits to allowing his foreign policy to be shaped by an apocalyptic view of the imminent second coming of Jesus. On the inside is Rove, who thinks of the Second Coming as the re-elect-Jesus campaign.

I don't know if Rove's days of kingmaking are done, now that he's achieved the highest prize in the game. Perhaps it's like a gambling addiction and he won't be able to stop himself from picking up the next unlikely savior and molding him into a weapon of mass distortion. Oh, Batman... where are you when we truly need you?

Updates:
Political Wire points out that ABC News has named Rove their "Person of the Week."

From the other side of the aisle, Ed Driscoll thinks that the Salt Lake Tribune is suffering from "Bush Derangement Syndrome" and that Karl is just peachy.

Over at corrente, they are marveling at the fact that this story came out of a very red state.

Exodus Update

posted by Jazz at 11/07/2004 05:29:00 AM

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Contrary to some rumors, the first to flee the Bush administration is apparently Iraq war point man and deputy national security advisor Robert Blackwill.

One official said Blackwill had always intended to leave after the presidential election, and informed National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice of his plans a few weeks ago. He sent an e-mail to National Security Council co-workers Friday announcing his resignation.


This one is rather unexpected. I've yet to see a reason given as to Blackwill's motivation for moving on, but he had been mentioned several times this summer as likely to get Condi Rice's spot if she moves up to better quarters. More to come, no doubt.