Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
[Home] [Former Republican] [About the Authors] [RSS Feed] [Pointless Vanity]

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

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Rummy to stay, what can I say?

posted by Ron Beasley at 12/04/2004 04:43:00 PM

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

Well if truth be told, I'm speechless. Fortunately Steve Soto:
It looks like the only holdover in the entire cabinet will be the one man who insulted allies, condoned war crimes, and embarked on a war with too few troops and logistical support to win the peace.

So no moderates will be in the room when Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Rice, Wolfowitz, and Hadley plan their next adventure. And this also means that Douglas Feith and Stephen Cambone will stick around also.

A room full of imperialists and neocons, and not one diplomatic or multilateral thought amongst them.
and Bull Moose:
Despite the mass exodus, the incompetent one remains -Rummy. All that happened on his watch was an abysmal post-war plan and a prison scandal. This confirms that the only ones held accountable in this Administration are welfare mothers and struggling third grade students. For them, standards and accountability apply. For Rumsfeld, he is just passed along to the next grade (or term) regardless of his performance.
are not speechless so I'll let them do the talking for me.



Pointless vanity raises its ugly head

posted by Jazz at 12/04/2004 01:55:00 PM

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

Speaking of ugly heads, mine was apparently captured when Georg's artistic streak got the better of her and she went on a bit of a shutterbug binge. The following shots are amazing in that, given the subject matter, they managed to not break the camera. All were taken just prior to the monthly rally for the NSCNDNTSAHPM (Northeast Schadenfreude Coallition of Nihilistic Defeatist Non-Troop Supporting America Hating Peacenik Moonbats.)

(Click on images for full size picture.)










My apologies in advance to anyone with damaged monitors or sudden blindness.

Edit: Ron from MEJ decided to have some fun with Photoshop and submitted this:



When Global Warming Makes it Cold

posted by Ron Beasley at 12/04/2004 11:45:00 AM

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

I try to avoid cross posting but this is a subject that is as important as any and dear to my heart. I have a post over at MEJ on the dangers of Rapid Climate Change. I would suggest that you check out the the links on the DOD report and the technical paper from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The time for denial has passed.

Online Shopping Idiots and New e-mail

posted by Jazz at 12/04/2004 10:41:00 AM

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

First off, for blog related mail, I'm done "beta testing" my gmail account and will be using it for most personal mail and blog related items. If you don't have gmail, I highly recommend it. I'll now be reachable at jazzshaw funnyatsign gmail.com (You'll have a much better chance of not getting lost in spam if you use that one.)

Second, at the prompting of a couple of friends, I was looking at my Amazon.com wishlist. (I've been shopping via Amazon for years and still really love them.) My only problem was, you see, I'm an idiot. (Duh.) I was under the impression that if you let other people search for you with those wishlists, then any potential buyer got your home address, phone number, credit card number, blood type, and a blood/sperm sample mailed to them on request.

Obviously, in retrospect, Amazon wouldn't stay in business long if they did that. I was doing a test run shopping for somebody else and was pleased to note that, if you choose to send the gift right to their house, it only shows their name and home city, with a note that other information is protected for privacy reasons.

Do I feel more stupid than usual, or what?

Woo Hoo!

posted by Jazz at 12/04/2004 09:30:00 AM

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

This is almost better than being nominated for MVP. Running Scared will be hosting the Carnival of Cats on Feb. 6. Save up your best cat pictures for then, please, so we make a good showing.

Happy Dance!

More on the 2004 Weblog Awards

posted by Jazz at 12/04/2004 08:09:00 AM

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

Some more thoughts follow on what's right and wrong with the awards, but first a couple more recommendations and observations.

First, of course, I'll continue my pitch to get you to support the candidacy of Joe Gandelman and The Moderate Voice in the "Best of the Top 2500 - 3500" category. This is probably the brightest spot in a generally dismal field of choices. (Joe is in first place as of this morning, by the way. Keep up the good work.)

Since the vast majority of candidates are pro-Bush, right wing blogs, you may not feel inclined to support a lot of them if you are a left winger, but there are still some other good ones. I would urge you to consider voting for Betsy Newmark in the "Best 250 - 500" category. Even if you don't much care for the right wing, Betsy is one of the least shrill and most reasonable voices from that side that I've found. Plus, she's a teacher. And while I'll admit to recoiling a bit from the idea of our nation's youth being instructed by somebody who thinks Bush is capable, you still have to give credit to anyone who takes on that job. Besides, it's good to know what the other side is up to. (Insert wry chuckle here) Betsy is also holding on to a slim lead at the moment. Give her some love, people.

Josh Marshall and Atrios are both up for "Best Overall Blog" and while they likely don't stand a chance in the heated rush of right wing voters, they could certainly use some support.

Jeff Jarvis is up for "Best Media Blog" and, while there were glaring omissions in the nominations for this category, he's very deserving, IMHO.

With all of that said, the choices are very disappointing. And I'm not just talking about the fact that we weren't nominated for best group blog. (An evil, conspiratorial oversight which I am confident will be the subject of a scathing New York Times editorial any day now.) I predicted when the nominations began that the choices were going to be heavily weighted to the right wingers, since Wizbang is a Bushie and most of the people visiting and nominating would be of a similar mind. The results, however, were not just weighted. They had a freaking aircraft carrier anchor tossed over the starboard (right) side.

There were glaring omissions in so many categories. Best New Blog, for example; where was James Wolcott? The Moderate Voice? Best Humor Blog. Again, no Wolcott, and ... NO TBOGG? Excuse me. Scrappleface is a fine blog, don't get me wrong. But a humor blog competition without Tbogg is a joke, plain and simple. The omission of Dave Barry was even worse. And for Best Media Blog (linked above) and Best Essayist, yet again, no Wolcott. (Are you seeing a pattern here?) And how about Joe Territo and Eric Zorn? Ah well, I suppose we should count ourselves lucky that Buzz Machine made it in.

All in all, rather sad. But it's still a fun exercise and you centrists and left wingers should join in the fun and make your voices heard to whatever extent possible.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Thanks, Tommy

posted by Mike at 12/03/2004 10:22:00 PM

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

Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson said today as he resigned from Bush's cabinet, "For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do. We are importing a lot of food from the Middle East, and it would be easy to tamper with that."

Um, thanks, Tommy. Appreciate you giving the entire world the heads-up on that one.

*tap tap tap* Is this thing on? Sib-eh-lants, sib-eh-lants ...

posted by Mike at 12/03/2004 01:54:00 PM

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

Well, it has been a few days since Jazz introduced me as a new guest blogger, and yet I haven't written anything. I suppose this is because I'm actually, well, intimidated by the level of commentary on this blog, and its audience. I read a lot of political commentary every day, and before, I had my little unknown drop in the bucket and del.icio.us linklog, which I could pretend (and be fairly sure that) no one read. But this thing has a concrete, defined audience, and if I write something here, it's going to be heard, and judged. That's actually a little bit intimidating, especially when I'm in fairly august company. (I've really been impressed by Tami, Ron, Jazz, and the others. Especially Jazz. Who knew he had it in him?)

At the moment, I don't have any majorly cohesive theme I'd like to bring to people's attention, because I'd rather not just parrot what is already going around the blogosphere. I suppose that harkens back to Usenet conventions, where a "me too" post was looked down upon as a waste of space.

One thing that has been on my mind recently, though, is a little known director named Errol Morris ... and how, if the Kerry campaign had actually listened, he could have helped win an election and swing a nation's course.

Do you remember the Apple commercials, where you'd hear this cute little jazzy music and you'd see someone talking right into the camera about why they wanted to join the Cult of Mac? That's Errol Morris, and Errol got the Kerry bug and filmed a number of campaign commercials using the same technique. (Minus the slowed-down plunky carousel music.)

Listen to a Marine tell America, "We will do whatever it takes to protect this country because we love it so much. But with that comes the obligation to the government of 'don't abuse it'. Don't make what we do a waste." Listen to a soccer mom prototype explain, "When I go anywhere and I see a package sitting on the ground or something, now I'm worried. Why? Because George Bush has really ticked everyone off." Listen to a Southern evangelist say, observing Bush, "I just don't see much evidence of a life devoted to Christ. I don't see truthfulness. I don't see compassion. I don't see a desire to take responsibility." Listen to a lifetime Republican say, "A friend and I were joking about making bumper stickers that said, 'I can't believe I miss Clinton.'"

And that's not even mentioning former U.S. Marine Kim Mecklenburg - by far my favorite among the "Kerry Switchers" - who, in one of her two spots, looked right at the camera and said, "I don't know a single soldier that has served in combat that would recklessly create another war."

These are powerful commercials of plain Americans talking to plain Americans that, in my opinion, could have helped swung the election. They are incredibly powerful. And let's not discount the simplicity: the average schmoe in Podunk is not going to be wondering whether Kerry is supposed to be the wolf, the cougar, the ostrich, the eagle, the three-toed sloth, or that cute little green-gray fungus on the side of the tree there. Most wonderfully, they were entirely devoid of the usual political doubletalk, and the simplicity would have gone a ways towards dissolving the negative effect of Kerry's supposed elitism. Yet Kerry's strategist, Bob Shrum, "passed on the ads without even looking at them." AGGGH! WHY?!?!

Because of this, MoveOn.Org only managed to air them three times (on Fox, of all places), and once in Ohio. The campaign that could have been ... the election that could have been ... the Presidency that could have been. *sigh*

Kerry evidently thinks he's welcome back for a 2008 run. After the way he munged up his campaign this time around, I have only one thing to say to the esteemed Senator.

"I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough water! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

And on those words of wisdom, I bid y'all adieu.

P.S. Speaking of advertisements, never let it be said that Clear Channel doesn't like rubbing it in.

Friday Political Pet Humor

posted by Jazz at 12/03/2004 01:53:00 PM

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

Nothing much to add except that I was laughing out loud. Go check out this cartoon from Brilliant at Breakfast describing all the reasons that dogs are republicans and cats are democrats.

The American Taliban strike again!

posted by Ron Beasley at 12/03/2004 11:01:00 AM

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

How absurd can it get? Joe Gandelman brings us this example.
US distributors of the film Merchant of Venice, which premiered in London this week, have asked the director to cut out a background fresco by a Venetian old master so it is fit for American television viewers.

Like Joe, I'm really glad that someone is there protecting me against 16th century pornographers. I wouldn't want my kids seeing a naked Cupid, it might make it impossible for them to pay attention to the erectile dysfunction commercials.


Reminder: Help Out The Moderate Voice

posted by Jazz at 12/03/2004 10:36:00 AM

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

One of my most often checked resources, Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice, is in the running for a 2004 Weblog Award in the Best 2500-3500 category. And he's currently in the lead! Give Joe some love and bookmark this spot for the month of December. You can vote once per day. If you don't want to bother voting in all of the polls, that bookmark will just pull up the one category that TMV is in.

Joe types his fingers raw putting out a ton of relevant, centrist content every day. Throw the guy a vote or two, eh?

Social Security Facts and Myths

posted by Jazz at 12/03/2004 09:31:00 AM

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

Last night, Ron posted some eye opening, startling information about Social Security. It turns out that cooler heads looking at hard data are saying that the system isn't about to go over a cliff, as the Bush administration has been telling us all along. I'll confess that I certainly bought into that and thought that it was. This is definitely worth a read, because it's going to be a huge issue in the coming session of Congress.

As I said in Ron's comment section, this is a flag that Democrats and moderate Republicans need to be running up the old flagpole and waving immediately. The study quoted in the article indicates that some minor "tuneups" may need to be done to ensure that benefits can be maintained with no cuts past 1042, but that the system is definitely solvent until then. We need to be pointing this out, but also showing a real, solid, viable plan as to how those "tuneups" will be accomplished.

More poetry

posted by georg at 12/03/2004 08:58:00 AM

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

Objects are important.
Whatever happened to the golden ball after
the princess met her frog prince?
Was it stored on a pillow in the armory?
Or hidden in an attic by dust?
Or was each succeeding princess encouraged
to play by the lake with the ball?

(and yes, it's one of my own, written when I was ~20)

Zoooooom Quilt!

posted by Jazz at 12/03/2004 07:44:00 AM

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

If you have some time to burn on this lovely Friday, take a peek at the "Zoom Quilt." But before you go, a couple of notes:

Be sure to click the "Click Here to Start" line at the bottom of the annoying white box to make it go away so you can see the full quilt.

This is an insanely detailed and intricate graphics excursion. Don't rush it. Pause as the scenes change and check out the windows, stairs, etc. There are many little figures hiding all over the place.

This must have taken somebody forever to put together, but it's a mind blower. Hat Tip to the Modulator for pointing me to this.

My weekend surprise

posted by Jazz at 12/03/2004 07:23:00 AM

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

One of the nice things about following the Carnival of Cats around is that every week it seems to land on a new and interesting blog. Some are not devoted to content that will keep me coming back, but often I find one that I wind up bookmarking and/or blogrolling. This week was a real treat, as it led me to The People's Republic of Seabrook. I'd seen the name linked in other places, of course, but had never taken the time to check it out. This is a really well laid out blog, though pretty squarely on the left side, with some great content. Seems to be frequently updated, also.

There is one recent post there which speaks to the complete load of horse hockey we have been fed concerning the Iraq invasion. You should take a look at "The Wrong War for the Wrong Reasons." I see that I'm not alone in being somebody who at one point reluctantly supported our efforts in Iraq, but now understands that it is a wasted venture which we need to rid ourselves of immediately.

Time for a reality check here, y?all. Terrorism in Iraq was NOT an issue until AFTER we invaded. There has never been ANY evidence connecting Saddam Hussein to 9.11. In effect, George W. Bush created the threat that American soldiers are now fighting and dying against. This is a war to protect our freedoms? How can any informed, intelligent American who has been paying attention come to this conclusion- in spite of the facts available? When are we going to admit that almost 1300 young Americans have died for NOTHING? The lives of our sons and daughters have been wasted to prop up the corrupt policy of an evil, venal President. Could the reality be any clearer? Of course, if you repeat something often enough, it eventually becomes the truth, right? Josef Goebbels clearly knew of which he spoke.

Some great graphics are included, and it closes with a rather piercing comment.

Perhaps when the history books are written, Americans will begin to realize how much and how often we were lied to. Uh, wait?Americans don?t actually read history books. After all, history is just one damn thing after another, right? In the meantime, congratulations, America?we have EXACTLY the quality of leadership we deserve. It?s just too bad it?s killing so many of our sons and daughters.

I invite you to read the entire entry and browse the site a bit. Well worth the time, in my opinion.

Friday Pet Bogging, Yet Again

posted by Jazz at 12/03/2004 06:50:00 AM

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

Edit: The Friday Ark is now up at Modulator. I'll post a link when it shows up. While this week I won't be included (dog picture incoming) the Carnival of Cats will be at The People's Republic of Seabrook. On with the photography.

Our dog Kenya has never shown much interest in burying things. Nor does she ever seem to successfully dig anything up. Likewise, she's never shown any real inclination to tunnel out of her fenced in yard to escape. This makes it somewhat of a mystery why she is constantly digging, to no apparent purpose, and coming in the house with her nose covered in mud. (Click on image for full size picture.)



Thursday, December 02, 2004

George Will takes on the Senate Republicans

posted by Ron Beasley at 12/02/2004 05:45:00 PM

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

The Left Coaster has a post on George Will's change of heart when it comes to changing Senate rules to make filibusters of judicial nominees impossible.
Evincing what historian Richard Hofstadter called "the ruthlessness of the pure in heart," Republicans might change Senate rules to make filibusters of judicial nominees impossible. Some Republican senators' hearts are about as pure as the driven slush after the treatment they dished out to some of President Clinton's judicial nominees.
So how does Will think conservatives should stand on this issue?
The filibuster is an important defense of minority rights enabling democratic government to measure and respect not merely numbers but also intensity in public controversies. Filibusters enable intense minorities to slow the governmental juggernaut. Conservatives, who do not think government is sufficiently inhibited, should cherish this blocking mechanism.


That Girl

posted by Jazz at 12/02/2004 11:58:00 AM

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

In case you haven't been watching "The Rebel Billionaire" on Fox, (and judging by the way the ratings have been tanking, most of you haven't) the show has gotten rather weird, and possbily even abusive of the guests. This week's episode was probably the pinnacle of weirdness thus far, and brought questions to mind about the ethics involved and the impact such shows have on the contestants' real lives. One young woman was put in a pretty messed up situation because of it.

If you're not familiar with the format, it's a reality show similar to "The Apprentice." The key difference is in the types of "challenges" that losing contestants have to face. Richard Branson, the host and "rebel billionaire" is a thrill seeker who has tried to circumnavigate the globe in hot air balloons, gone skydiving, riding the rapids, etc. etc. He is also the BMIC at Virgin Enterprises, the parent company of Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, and others. The contestants are competing to take over his job at Virgin and run the company... ostensibly a huge business opportunity that will pay off in very good cash as well as possibly even more valuable business contacts and networking.

These contestants are not the sort that you find on Survivor and The Amazing Race. No wannabe models and bartenders looking for their fifteen minutes of fame. Every one of these people is an entrepreneur of some sort in the business world, looking for a fast track up the ladder. Each week, in keeping with the show's theme, the contestants are split into two teams and are presented with a business related challenge. The losing team ends up with two of their members doing some stunt to try to stay in the game. Up until now they have been hair raising extreme events such as walking a tightrope between two hot air balloons thousands of feet in the sky, or riding on the top wing of stunt biplanes upside down.

This week, however, the teams had to sponsor an Indie rock band in England to try to get them a shot at a record contract with Virgin and a chance to be the opening act at the Virgin sponsored "V Festival" of such bands. The leader of the losing team is named Jessica, a beautiful young blonde haired woman who, at 27 years of age, already had an advanced college degree and was the owner and CEO of her own small telecommunications company. The challenge that she and another male contestant were given, however, was far from the extreme adventure challenges that previous losers had to face. The young man had to go up in front of this massive crowd of young punk and alternative rock fans and sing an a capella version of Britney Spears "Ooops I did it again." As you can imagine, that didn't go over well, and he was boo'd and people threw things at him on the stage.

Jessica's "penalty" was even lower. She was told she would have to "streak" the concert - in other words she had to appear stark naked on the stage and give a plug for the band her team had supported. Beyond that, she was really tricked in a way. Branson told her that she would be wearing "body paint" for her nude appearance. She naturally assumed that her entire body would be painted, similar to what some partiers do at Mardi Gras. Instead, a woman showed up and painted the name of her band, "RED" on top of her chest and the word "VIRGIN" on her butt in red paint. That was all. (And while Virgin is the name of Branson's company, the alternate, puerile slant on it was obvious.) Then, to add insult to injury, after she went through with her fully nude appearance (and carrying it off with a hell of a positive attitude, I thought) Branson turned around and immediately eliminated her from the game. He didn't even give much of a reason for electing to keep her male opponent over her beyond a "feeling" that she "wasn't ready" to take on an executive role. He even said he thought the two of them had come in dead even in the competition.

For a person hoping to make it as a large scale success in the business world, this is hardly something you want following you around. They blurred out her torso on the TV show, but of course many of the young fans there had digital cameras and recorded the moment, releasing it onto the internet immediately. In case you think that it was some obscured "fun" bit of nudity, it was full frontal and back.

WARNING: Links to photos are NOT WORK SAFE and not for minors or anyone offended by nudity.

Photo One

Photo Two

Photo Three

Photo Four

Original sources of photos, in order:
Source for one and two: efestivals
Source three: Virtual Festivals
Source four: Streakers

Instead of being referred to as a business woman, or even a contestant on a reality show, Jessica quickly became known on multiple web sites as, "that chick who stripped at the V Fest." Branson makes a big deal of talking about how the contestants he eliminates are great business people and how they surely have a big future ahead of them in the business world. In Jessica's case, he may well have just torpedoed her. Yes, I agree that Jessica knew full well what she was doing and made the choice for herself. But the prize for this is so huge, and she had to decide on the spot, that she probably jumped into an error of judgment out of desperation to stay in the game. It strikes me that this was far more of a puerile attempt to grab ratings than any legitimate challenge in keeping with the show's theme. Don't get me wrong... I love an attractive naked female as much as the next guy, but I get the feeling that these contestants didn't sign on for something like this.


Brokaw is gone. so what!!!!!!

posted by Ron Beasley at 12/02/2004 11:21:00 AM

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

Tom Shales discusses Tom Brokaw's departure today and completely misses the point. He does get one thing right.
With Dan Rather, anchor of "The CBS Evening News," set to follow Brokaw out the door next spring, abdicating a job he once said was the most important at any network, the whole idea of the anchor as a network's top gun and flag-bearer is looking shaky and frail, and perhaps irrelevant. Jennings will be the only veteran in an anchor chair after Rather leaves, and instead of the earth shuddering at that prospect, there's a disheartening aura of "so what?"
The real point is that the era of the real TV anchor like Walter Cronkite ended years ago. Tom Brokaw didn't work for NBC he worked for General Electric, a company had everything to gain, in the short term at least, by insuring that the Imperial feudalists of the Bush administration remained in power. So in order to keep is seven million dollar a year job Brokaw had to become a reader of party propaganda for what amounts to the American version of Pravda.

Why I'm against the death penalty

posted by georg at 12/02/2004 09:45:00 AM

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

I have three reasons why I am against the death penalty.

Now, I understand that there are 2 reasons that I can think of to be in favor of it- economics, first of all. The cost of housing, feeding, and care of one not fit for society is expensive. #2 Killing the bastard makes sure he can never do anything like that again. The commonly mentioned third reason: I frankly do not believe that the death penalty is a deterrent for any crime. I don't think anyone who would consider anything that would merit such a penalty is going to stop and think- "Wait, I can't do this, they may kill me for it."

My reasons:

1. Anyone pulling that switch, inserting the needle, etc, becomes a murderer. Taking a life is not supposed to be easy or morally correct in my view. I simply cannot morally justify it in my mind.
2. There is the chance of punishing the wrong guy. DNA testimony is doing amazing things in exonerating folks who have been punished for something they didn't do. I can but hope as science progresses we can do more to catch and prevent criminals too.

3. I believe that even the most hardened criminal can change. Even if they can never re-enter society, they can certainly learn to make something of what they have left to make the world better. No, it probably doesn't make up for the damage they have done. But, I am the eternal optimist. I do have hope.

Thought for the day

posted by Jazz at 12/02/2004 08:40:00 AM

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

When I ran across this one, it seemed to me that just about everyone could profit from this tidbit of advice.

The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous.

-- Margaret Fontey

A fair trial followed by a first class hangin'

posted by Jazz at 12/02/2004 07:21:00 AM

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

DISCLAIMER: This blog entry deals with the extremely unpleasant and upsetting subject of child abuse. If you are easily disturbed, you may want to scroll down to the next post.

This is going to wind up being a question about the death penalty, but it takes a few minutes, so bear with me. Recently, police arrested a man, Thomas Redeker, who lives less than an hour away from me. Initially it looked like his primary offense was possession of disgusting child pornography material. That's bad enough, but then it turned out that he was actually starring in some of the videos. We're talking some severely sick stuff... torture, rape, I won't go into any details, but it all involved children. Then, in what became a bonus for the police, it came to light that this sick pervert had a "co-star" in these films, who the perpetrator gave up to the cops in some sort of plea deal.

The other twisted deviate in question turned out to be a Wisconsin native named John Perry. Upon searching his house, police found lots more videos, and were able to determine that Perry was not only involved in this particular string of odious behavior, but was also the same person who police had dubbed the "Mall Rapist" during the nineties. It seems that this fine upstanding citizen had abducted, tortured and raped a number of women who worked in a shopping mall over the last decade, but had always evaded capture. Apparently, not satisfied with abusing adult women, he later moved on to child molestation, performing the same sick acts with children whom he and Redeker abducted.

Thus far Perry has been sentenced to 180 years in prison for other crimes. (That was before the child torture tapes turned up.) He's never going to breath free air again. So what difference does it make to him if a judge tacks another five hundred years onto his sentence?

This brings me to my question. I know that many of my more liberal readers, and some of my guest bloggers as well, are opposed to the death penalty. Please tell me exactly why we can't strap this monster down on a table and pump him full of Drain-O. If your answer is based on religion and the conviction that it is always wrong to take another human life, then fine. Don't bother to answer because I already understand and respect your opinion, even if I don't agree with it. But if you are a person who admits that in some cases the death penalty can be justified - say for mass murderers - what is the issue with putting this guy in a hole in the ground?

This isn't one of those cases where we're not sure who the perpetrator is. There isn't going to be some DNA evidence surfacing ten years from now showing that somebody else committed the crimes. We have the bastard on video tape and a confession to boot. He systematically raped and tortured a series of women and children over a period of fifteen years. If we can't lynch this freak, then who will we ever prosecute that could be more deserving?

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Movietimes

posted by Mu at 12/01/2004 11:48:00 AM

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

Remember the cute litte stomping guy in Robocop? And his big brothers in Terminator? Looks like the US Army is ready to eliminate that unreliable human element (a la Wargames), and finally give their little robots some real toys .
From now on your safety on the battlefield is no longer dependent on those crackpot humans (I mean, we've all seen Full Metal Jacket). No, it's all remote controlled, hopefully via a secure channel to avoid enemy interference (like in Dr. Strangelove). And they can't be running on a secure Microsoft software, can they?

Federalism

posted by Jazz at 12/01/2004 10:28:00 AM

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

True federalism, and the constitutionally mandated respect for individual states' rights and powers is an issue that has long been near and dear to traditional Republicans' hearts. (Not that you could tell from the current crop of loons running the party.) Betsy Newmark, a history and civics professor, has an interesting piece today on just this subject, with links to and excerpts from a related entry from Jonah Goldberg.

Her piece delves more into the merits of a federalist system in general, (which I agree with) and why it is the "best hope" for the countries we've been conquoring recently. (Which I can't agree with.)

One of the really interesting points in studying the true federalist system is the exact powers that our federal government has. If it's been a while since you dusted it off, you may be shocked to see what our country's constitution has to say on the subject. Take a look at Article One, Section Eight some time. It spells out exactly what powers are granted to the federal government, including the specific areas where Congress is allowed to create legislation. There aren't nearly as many as you might think. All of the rest of the body of law is supposed to be left to the individual states to decide for themselves. In fact, I've read some legal opinions over the years stating that as much as three quarters of all Federal laws are technically unconstitutional because they are areas where the Congress has no power to create legislation.

Over the years, the Federal government has cheerfully ignored these inconvenient facts, and has been supported in doing so by the high courts. Did you know that, at one point, the Supreme Court had to define murder as falling under the auspices of "interstate commerce" in order to twist the constitution badly enough to allow our country to have Federal murder laws? When Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, the Senate had to attach a report to it which read (and I couldn't make this up if I tried) "Gender based crimes and fear of gender based crimes...reduces employment opportunities and consumer spending affecting interstate commerce."

A portion of that act was later struck down by the same Supreme Court, when challenged. Part of the majority decision read, "Every law enacted by Congress must be based on one or more of its powers enumerated in the Constitution," Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote, emphasizing that "gender-motivated crimes of violence are not, in any sense of the phrase, economic activity."

You can find many more examples of the ridiculous lengths the government has had to go to in order to justify expanding their legislative powers into areas which were intended to be reserved for the states. Just do a Google search and you can provide yourself with endless hours of entertainment.

Tolerance is too controversial

posted by Ron Beasley at 12/01/2004 09:35:00 AM

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

From Josh Marshall
The United Church of Christ was planning on running an ad in December where they stressed that they welcome everyone regardless of race or sexual orientation. It seems that being inclusive is too controversial and CBS and NBC will not run the ads. (you can view the ad here)The CBS explanation:
"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."
Josh points out how absurd this is after the last political campaign.
If this is really the case, we seem now to be in a country where political campaigns can be waged with flurries of ads replete with demonstrable falsehoods. And yet clear and tame political speech aimed at a pressing national debate isn't acceptable.

CBS's explanation seems to rest on the preposterous argument that because the ad addresses a major public debate that makes it "unacceptable".

Or is it just that discussing homosexuality is "unacceptable"?
If you ever wondered what is would be like to live in a right wing theocracy you don't have to go to Iran, just look around.

Note
I see this story is all over the blogosphere this morning, everywhere but MEJ that is since I can't seem to post there. This may be one of those times when blogs can have an impact.


More on the civil war

posted by Jazz at 12/01/2004 08:51:00 AM

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

This morning, Matthew Yglesias has an article in American Prospect titled "Of Mosul and Men" which deals with the deteriorating state of civil war in Iraq. As we have been saying here for some time, there is no sense in worrying about a future civil war in that shattered country. It has already begun. The only confusing part is that we are fighting the war for the Shiites (and to a limited extent, the Kurds) against the Sunni so they don't have to do it themselves. Once we leave, and it needs to be soon, they will have to fight them for themselves. Matthew seems to agree.

For months now, skeptics of George W. Bush?s Iraq policy have been warning that the present path could lead to bloody civil war. More recently, proponents of a continued U.S. military presence have been warning that bloody civil war would be the result of a withdrawal. Both sides can, perhaps, stop warning -- the civil war has already begun. Recent events in Mosul, a multi-ethnic city in northern Iraq that is the country's third-largest after Baghdad and Basra, lack the clear-cut structure of a Fort Sumter but otherwise bear all the markings of ethnic and sectarian warfare.

He also goes on to confirm something which I have suspected and discussed here - specifically that these long awaited "democratic elections" will be, under even the best imaginable scenarios, little more than a dog and pony show to give some credibility to the arising Shiite dominated government. This is an outcome that neither Sunnis nor Kurds are going to be enthused over.

Thus, contrary to the Bush administration's hopes, elections themselves will not solve Iraq's problems. The trouble is not merely that some factions within Iraq are opposed to the very idea of democracy (though no doubt some are), but that what's at stake in these sorts of disputes is the very nature of the political community to be governed democratically. A community that might be quite happy to govern itself democratically still has no reason to support a conception of majoritarian democracy that will guarantee its own subordination to a larger community to which it happens to have been yoked by the mapmakers of the British Empire.

(Emphasis mine) Well stated. In Matthew's own blog, he expands on this a bit.

The fact that the ostensibly pro-American Kurds are, as highlighted by Juan Cole, actually deeply opposed to what America is trying to do in Iraq and increasingly angry at a Bush administration it believes to have sold them out is one of the great undernotived ill-tidings for this venture. So far, the very lack of success we've had at creating a stable situation and a functioning government has prevented the Kurdish issue from ripening, but now the scope of the violence seems to be forcing the question to some extent. It's obvious, moreover, that the Bush administration does not have a plan for coping with this and never did. They were happy to use Kurdish suffering in the 1980s as a propaganda point for their war, and now are happy to use Kurdish troops to put an Iraqi face on military operations (purely for domestic consumption, you can't trick Arab Iraqis like that), but they haven't thought this through. As ever, hope was the plan.

The Kurds are, simultaneously, America's best friends and worst approaching nightmare in Iraq. You may recall this lengthy post from one of the Peshmerga Women which we previously discussed. It provides an excellent view into what appears to be typical Kurdish thinking in the current state of development. The Kurds, quite obviously, wanted Saddam gone, but were unable to oust the tyrant themselves. They were more than happy to let America do it for them, and even offer assistance. However, their long term goal (and short term, it now seems) is still the establishment of an independent Kurdistan, free from Iraq. They appear to have some well thought out plans on how to accomplish this, too, including practical realizations of what they can and can not realistically achieve.

The Kurds can gain tremendous economic and political capital simply by convincing a large amount of the Kurdish diaspora to return home. They know full well that trying to annex any land in Turkey, even though the population is primarily Kurdish, will result in a military attack by Turkey which they can not withstand. But they also understand that, by settling for the Kurdish lands in Iraq only, the Turks will be loathe to cross the border militarily, particularly while the U.S. has 140,000 pairs of our boots on the ground nearby.

Without any formal declaration of secession, the Kurds can readily establish an independent nation in practice, if not in name, almost immediately. And as their independence from the rest of Iraq becomes more defined, and their economic relations with other countries begins to bear fruit, it will become more and more practical to just let them go. Any Bush policies that stand in the way of that are only going to alienate them all the faster.

The civil war is now, and it was always inevitable. It's high time to get out, let them fight it, and allow the country to evolve as it eventually will in natural course. We can always join in with the EU to provide financial and humanitarian aide to the winners and losers after it's over.

Strangely, Gregory Djerejian tears into Matthew's analysis with vigor. I don't agree with him, but you may want to look over his article to get both sides.

Where to now, Dr. Mengele?

posted by Mu at 12/01/2004 08:45:00 AM

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

After the report on Drudge about euthanasia of children in the Netherland and the video of Israelis making a Palestinian musician fiddle at a checkpoint "to prove he can play", I thought we had seen enough examples of "history is going to repeat itself when people are not learning from it". But this story on the BBC tops them all. Don't interfere with your local child protective services and their drug testing on children. You might find yourself in a really rough spot.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Tom Brocaw is an idiot

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/30/2004 06:38:00 PM

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

Tom Brocaw is an idiot because he said this.
Outgoing NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw was asked on MSNBC's HARDBALL Monday if the Bush White House has been tough with the press corps, citing as an example of Dick Cheney stipulating no NEW YORK TIMES reporters on his trips.

Brokaw said, "I think they have been too tough.

"The idea that this White House has not given Tom Friedman a long, in-depth interview is astonishing to me. I have had a very good relationship with them, I have gotten to interview the President a lot. I have had access on the phone and other areas and I have been very vigorous in my discussions with them. But no reporter that I know covering national politics and the international policies that are of such great concern today know as much about them as Tom Friedman does and they have completely shut out the NEW YORK TIMES."
Excuse me, "But no reporter that I know covering national politics and the international policies that are of such great concern today know as much about them as Tom Friedman does and they have completely shut out the NEW YORK TIMES", are there two Tom Friedmans or have I missed something.

Oy

posted by Jazz at 11/30/2004 01:56:00 PM

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

Oy. 135 for November (tied for most since start of war) and 1,254 total. And apparently Iraq's security forces, who are supposed to be taking over from us, are foundering under rebel assaults.

This does not, however, seem to phase the ever optimistic parrots of the Bush administration, as this My Little Pony editorial from John Podhoretz of the New York Post - Bush cheerleading squad demonstrates.

Back in the blogosphere, we find Betsy Newmark remarking, "[L]iberals don't seem to be celebrating the trends towards democracy in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Iraq."

Looking at the figures above, frankly I see damned scarce reason for anyone to be celebrating about the current reality of the situation on the ground in Iraq unless you are in the body bag, flag, or coffin business. Afghanistan had an election, yes. And good for them. But the country is still horribly broken, with drug money fueled warlords controlling all but a handful of urban areas where UN troops hold on. The Ukraine? Are we invading the Ukraine next? Things may turn out well there, or the leadership may stomp on Democracy entirely. I don't know, and frankly I don't care at this point, as long as somebody can convince Cheney not to pull Bush's strings and have him launch an invasion there too.

Repeating November's theme: The hell with Iraq. We need to get the fuck out and we need to do so NOW.

New Right Wing Blogroll Entry

posted by Jazz at 11/30/2004 01:17:00 PM

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

Having recently dumped one hard right wing blogger from the blogroll, I feel compelled to replace them. Please welcome Betsy Newmark to the blogroll. One of the more reasonable and level headed right wingers. I wind up reading her every day, so we may as well have her in the "must read daily" section.

Cheers.

Doing my part

posted by The One True Tami at 11/30/2004 01:06:00 PM

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

...to fill up Jazz's blog space. It comes to my attention that I'm not taking up enough space in Jazz's blog. OK, it came to my attention by Jazz saying so. Not very subtle. You want more stuff, Jazz? OK, but remember, you asked for it.

Why Banning Gun Ownership Would Be Anti-liberal

Over at Poetic Leanings, I was reading an entry about the second amendment, and I can't say that he's making a bad point, he's not. There are indeed gun-crazed morons hanging around,and terrorist who mean us harm, and they're a problem. And yes, having controls on the purchase of weapons is a good thing, but - but - every non-felon-citizen in this country should have the right to own one.

The second amendment specifically says:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the
right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Do you know why the people have the right to keep and bear arms? It was so that they could overthrow the government, if it got out of hand. Isn't that funny? People who designed the new government decided to tack on an amendment meant to handle the situation should that government ever go too far. In case we were suddenly restricted in our freedoms, if we found ourselves oppressed by something that we had gotten ourselves into, we're supposed to be able to get ourselves out of it, and we're supposed to be able to get ourselves out of it by force. They were revolutionaries, they staged a revolution. They lived under the thumb of a government that didn't allow them to do this kind of stuff, so they committed treason. We think of the founding fathers as all quaint and benevolent, but face it, there was an awful lot of shooting that had to go on in order for the USA to break away from Mother England.

So how does this add up to banning gun ownership as anti-liberal? Simple. Being able to influence the way our government works is our right as Americans. We vote, and we send representatives to make our laws, ostensibly in our name, based on what we, the people, actually want. We can call our Congressman and say "You're right, there ought to be a law!". And, we can make mistakes in the selection of our representatives as well. In the event that we, as a nation, somehow accidentally elect an entire governmental body of people who don't want to work for the greater good, well, we need to be able to stop them, if necessary, by force. By definition, a liberal is a person who favors the protection of civil liberties. Being able to own a gun is one of the liberties I feel it's my duty to protect.

The Thoughts of a "Real" Conservative

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/30/2004 11:45:00 AM

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

Paul Craig Roberts is a conservative. He was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. I have covered a couple of his commentaries over at MEJ recently and I think what he has to say is insightful and important. The two articles are:
The left has been comparing the administration of George W. Bush to Hitler and the Nazis for some time but now in Whatever Happened to Conservatives? a conservative makes the analogy.
Today it is liberals, not conservatives, who endeavor to defend civil liberties from the state. Conservatives have been won around to the old liberal view that as long as government power is in their hands, there is no reason to fear it or to limit it. Thus, the Patriot Act, which permits government to suspend a person's civil liberty by calling him a terrorist with or without proof.
Thus, preemptive war, which permits the President to invade other countries based on unverified assertions.

There is nothing conservative about these positions. To label them conservative is to make the same error as labeling the 1930s German Brownshirts conservative.

American liberals called the Brownshirts "conservative," because the Brownshirts were obviously not liberal. They were ignorant, violent, delusional, and they worshipped a man of no known distinction. Brownshirts' delusions were protected by an emotional force field. Adulation of power and force prevented Brownshirts from recognizing implications for their country of their reckless doctrines.

Like Brownshirts, the new conservatives take personally any criticism of their leader and his policies. To be a critic is to be an enemy. I went overnight from being an object of conservative adulation to one of derision when I wrote that the US invasion of Iraq was a "strategic blunder."
I suggest you go to the above links and read both articles. What Paul Craig Roberts has to say rings true and describes the threat of the Bush theocons much better than anyone on the left has been able to do.

Fear and Loathing in Gotham

posted by Jazz at 11/30/2004 10:58:00 AM

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

I've either got to stop reading NYC Babylon, or just break down and buy the t-shirt. Today, while catching up on my blogroll reading after the holidays, I wasn't so much frightened by her post so much as by the person she linked to. Gotham Image is a newer blog, I gather, and a friend of Babylon's, but also a .... stalker? No wait, she's stalking him. No... hang on. He's stalking her. Ok. It seems that they are both stalking each other. That may not be against the law, but it should sure as hell qualify you for some serious medication without all the hassle of a doctor's appointment. The gentleman in question (why am I so quick to assume it's a "he"?) is certainly an intriguing writer with a flair for turning a pithy phrase. He has this to offer on catblogging, of which I am also guilty.

Now, nothing will stop us: Pope and Czar, Bush and Blair, French Radicals and German spies, all rendered helpless.

Chalabi and/or Richard Perle are the only ones who could stop her and they are busy.

As I rise in the blogosphere, look for K to play Greece to my Rome.

She has been known to 'stalk' me, from time to time, at Pete's Place Restaurant near Gramercy Park, and I am helpless, for I lack both puissance and a pussycat.

I will remain a quiet pupil, in debt to her wisdom and inspired by her example.

When the Revolution comes, and it will, and the Catbloggers prevail, K will treat me better than the Bolsheviks treated the Romanovs.

You know, when the election was still in full swing, I didn't have time to get drawn into this sort of psychic morass. I almost miss those times now.

.... almost.

New Doom (but not for me)

posted by Mu at 11/30/2004 10:00:00 AM

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

Looks like the social engineers are still at work. The first big cellphone virus is here. This has only two redeeming features: I don't maintain cellphones, and some people here might actually get work done.

Cowboys and Indians, turkey and slaughter

posted by Jazz at 11/30/2004 09:49:00 AM

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

Today, Prophet or Madman reminds us that not everyone was celebrating on Thanksgiving. He is referring to the United American Indians of New England who, among other Native American tribes, observe a national day of mourning on Thanksgiving. They have a variety of political agendas, some of which I agree with, others I do not, but their particular objections are to the celebration of Thanksgiving which, they contend, is honoring a myth.

What is the basis of their dispute? They are referring to the records concerning relations between some of the earliest settlers near Plymouth and the local Indians. (The Wampanoag held those lands, some of whom were later identified as the Pequot.) Common history records talk of a great plague that wiped out many of the Indians in that area, which is certainly true. French fur traders had been through the area before that time, starting a series of disease problems and scattered battles with both these tribes, and the Iroquoi and Mohawks to the West. However, the lands were still far from empty. One journal, recorded by one of the pilgrims, recounted the stories of how, shortly after the pilgrims' arrival, the Indians' graves were defiled, their winter stores of food stolen, several of the Indians killed "as a warning", and a number of others sold off as slaves for 220 shillings each and shipped to the islands.

Skirmishes continued between the new arrivals and the local tribes over the next decades. The status of the Indians in the first fifty years, from the 1530's to the 1580's, became that of virtual slaves. (For the ones "fortunate" enough not to either be killed by smallpox or murdered by suspicious pilgrims.) This culminated in the Pequot Massacre of 1637, long in planning by the English back across the ocean, at which time the tribe was, in effect, wiped out completely. During that period there were also bands of settlers who, pushing further West, ran into the Mohawks and Iroquoi who, having already had some pretty bad experiences with the French, were less than pleased to see them. This led to additional engagements where the technologically outmatched natives were killed or driven from their lands.

As Wamsutta James pointed out in a speech prepared for a 1970 Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth, (which he was not allowed to deliver) "We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people."

Thanksgiving is still a day for us to join with our families and give thanks for all the blessings we receive. But it also is a good day to reflect on those that went before us, and how we are far from perfect. Hopefully we will continue to learn from the past and treat others better in the future.

Riverbend is back at last

posted by Jazz at 11/30/2004 08:23:00 AM

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

Note: For a reality check, we should really start calling these updates, "Carnival of the Not Feeling So Terribly Liberated at the Moment, Thank You."

Apparently Riverbend, from Baghdad Burning, has been off the air for a week because they have had no phone service. She's back today with an update from the largest city in occupied Iraq. While I don't believe (or certainly don't want to believe) some of these stories, I think that her perceptions are an excellent example of what happens in a society where you cut off the free press and most normal avenues of communications. Rumors abound in a vacuum of solid, reliable news sources. The latest one is that we (the attacking US forces) used chemical weapons against the people of Fallujah.

The situation in Falloojeh is worse than anyone can possibly describe. It has turned into one of those cities you see in your darkest nightmares- broken streets strewn with corpses, crumbling houses and fallen mosques... The worst part is that for the last couple of weeks we've been hearing about the use of chemical weapons inside Falloojeh by the Americans. Today we heard that the delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Health isn't being allowed into the city, for some reason.

I don't know about the chemical weapons. It's not that I think the American military is above the use of chemical weapons, it's just that I keep wondering if they'd be crazy enough to do it. I keep having flashbacks of that video they showed on tv, the mosque and all the corpses. There was one brief video that showed the same mosque a day before, strewn with many of the same bodies- but some of them were alive. In that video, there's this old man leaning against the wall and there was blood running out of his eyes- almost like he was crying tears of blood. What 'conventional' weaponry makes the eyes bleed? They say that a morgue in Baghdad has received the corpses of citizens in Falloojeh who have died under seemingly mysterious conditions.

Things apparently are still dicey in Baghdad as well, which has done some damage to Riverbend's home but, on the bright side, has made the local window repair man quite wealthy!

We spent the last week fixing up the house. Around 10 days ago, there were a series of very large explosions in our area and the third or fourth one took out three of the windows on one side of the house. Riverbend and family spent two days gathering shattered glass and sticking sheets of plastic over the gaping squares that were once windows. We sent E. for the window guy but he was booked for three days. Our window man has become a virtual millionaire with an average of about 20 windows to replace daily.

Hang in there, Riverbend. It's got to be over sooner or later. As a wise man once said, "The occupiers always go home, sooner or later."



The Next Guest Blogger

posted by Jazz at 11/30/2004 07:33:00 AM

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

Yes, it's that time again. If you look over in the right hand column, you'll see that a new name has been added to the roll of Running Scared guest bloggers. While I'm quite happy with the creative work presented by Mu, Georg, Ron and Tami, the fact is that they are simply not producing enough content for me to achieve my life long dream of being able to do absolutely nothing and still claim credit for all their hard work. So, I have resigned myself to bring yet another slave ... errr, author onboard.

Let's all give a big welcome to Windy City Mike. I've known Mike for a number of years, dating back to an era when I had more free time to watch television, and Mike and I were both aficionados of the show, "Ally McBeal." (Lordy, that seems like a long time ago now.) Mike lives out in Chicago and works in the legal field, so over the years I've picked his brains for free legal advice. I figure, if nothing else, he can be used to counter opinions from the radicals at Power Line on occasion. Be sure to visit Mike's home blog, "Musings of a Chicagoan" on occasion.

Good luck, Mike.

Uranium Dreams

posted by Jazz at 11/30/2004 07:11:00 AM

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

Hat tip to Centerfield for this heartwarming (and other bodily organs) tale of a young man of keen intellect, a potential Eagle scout, and his quest for a cheap source of radioactive materials his garage.

He was determined to irradiate anything he could, and decided to build a neutron "gun." To obtain radioactive materials, David used a number of cover stories and concocted a new identity.

He wrote to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), claiming to be a physics instructor at Chippewa Valley High School. The agency's director of isotope production and distribution, Donald Erb, offered him tips on isolating and obtaining radioactive elements, and explained the characteristics of some isotopes, which, when bombarded with neutrons, can sustain a chain reaction.

David learned that a tiny amount of the radioactive isotope americium-241 could be found in smoke detectors. he contacted smoke-detector companies and claimed that he needed a large number for a school project. One company sold him about a hundred broken detectors for a dollar apiece.

Not sure where the americium was located, he wrote to an electronics firm in Illinois. A customer-service representative wrote back to say she'd be happy to help out with "your report." Thanks to her help, David extracted the material. He put the americium inside a hollow block of lead with a tiny hole pricked in one side so that alpha rays would stream out. In front of the block he placed a sheet of aluminum, its atoms absorb alpha rays and kick out neutrons. His neutron gun was ready.

The mantle in gas lanterns, the small cloth pouch over the flame, is coated with a compound containing thorium-232. When bombarded with neutrons it produces uranium-233, which is fissionable. David bought thousands of lantern mantles from surplus stores and blowtorched them into a pile of ash.

To isolate the thorium from the ash, he purchased $1000 worth of lithium batteries and cut them in half with wire cutters. He placed the lithium and thorium ash together in a ball of aluminum foil and heated the ball with a Bunsen burner. This purified the thorium to at least 9000 times the level found in nature, and up to 170 times the level that requires NRC licensing. But David's americium gun wasn't strong enough to transform thorium into uranium.

Wanting radium for a new gun, David began visiting junkyards and antique stores in search of radium-coated clocks. He'd chip paint from them and collect it.

It was slow going until one day, while driving through Clinton Township, he says he came across an old table clock in an antique shop. In the hack of the clock he discovered a vial of radium paint. He bought the clock for $10.

I don't know about you, but with fine young people like this leading our nation's youth on the path to the future, I feel safer already. Read the whole story... it's a hoot.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Bush's new pick for the cabinet

posted by Jazz at 11/29/2004 03:11:00 PM

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

Let's all welcome Carlos Gutierrez to the cabinet! As the new commerce secretary, he should fit right in with the Bush philosophy of economics and job creation in America. From an earlier Kellogg's memo.

Gutierrez has now been the CEO of Kellogg Co. for two years. When he took over the struggling company in 1998 he faced the problem that Kellogg sells something that doesn?t easily fit into America?s eat-on-the-run lifestyle. After taking over he did something none of the previous CEO?s had the courage to do: he closed down the original 93-year-old Corn Flakes plant, putting more than 500 people out of work.

Yay!

Also, in what seems to be an extremely odd pair of related stories, Carlos got into some sort of protracted fight with a golf club manufacturing company, claiming that they couldn't market a brand of golf club with the name TOUCAN GOLD on them, and a picture of an actual Toucan. Their reason? They claimed that because they had the rights to the cartoon character Toucan Sam, the mascot for Fruit Loops, nobody else could use a picture of a Toucan.

From that same link, a rather ... odd story on flaming toasters. Ummm... ok.

In a startling revelation, Chairman and CEO Carlos Gutierrez told reporters the Battle Creek, Michigan-based group was "sorry" to have misled American consumers and offered compensation to two families whose homes burned after Pop-Tarts in their toasters caught fire. The two families had threatened to sue Kellogg for selling them a defective product. Kellogg had previously promised a "vigorous defense," and lawyers said they'd show the families had just bought "cheap shit toasters." But Gutierrez backed off from that stance at his press conference.

Edit: The Left Coaster has some nicer things to say about Carlos.

Stop getting my hopes up

posted by Jazz at 11/29/2004 02:59:00 PM

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

Winter storm buries central states.

Sure. Where were you on November 2nd? Oh, hell. Somebody would have just dug them up again anyway.

I'd put in a humor disclaimer, but I'm just not in the mood.

It's time for Blair to pay the piper

posted by Jazz at 11/29/2004 01:14:00 PM

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

In all the talk that has gone on about President Bush's disastrous decision to drag us into the downward spiraling sinkhole of Iraq, far less attention in our country has been paid to his chief (and only real) partner in this mess - England's Prime Minister Tony Blair. This is not to say that he and his staff haven't received plenty of attention in their home country. I don't recall seeing opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq in England ever fall below 70%, and only a couple of weeks ago a father of two dead Black Watch soldiers was threatening to kill Geoff Hoon. If you don't recognize the name, Hoon is Donald Rumsfeld's counterpart across the pond - Blair's secretary of defense.

But I think Blair's partnership in this horrid mistake deserves a closer look. On the one hand, you can almost forgive him his decisions - at least a bit more so than Bush. It was, after all, Blair's own intelligence agency which came up with the infamous Niger - Iraq uranium connection, long since shown to be a forgery, on which the justification for war was largely based. There was also a huge amount of pressure on him to cave in to Washington and say whatever Bush told him to. There are tremendous benefits to be had from being seen as a "friend" to George W. Bush (or whoever is in power in Washington) and our president has clearly demonstrated the childish fits of pique that he can unleash on leaders of other nations who take a stand on moral grounds against his demands.

The first duty of any leader, however, is to the citizens of his or her country. True, when you choose a leader, you don't expect them to stand beholden to the whims of every poll that is released, and you know that the person you choose will make their own decisions. But those decisions should, in large part, reflect the desires, values, and hopes of the nation. The British people, in a massive majority, wisely knew that the entire Iraq situation was a fiasco in the making and spoke against it in a very loud voice. Blair has been forced into bed with his former political opponents simply to keep a bare minimum of support among politicians for this disaster.

Bush and Blair have a few more things in common these days. Both of them have their agents out in the field spinning revisionist history about the reasons we initially invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq. It won't take you very long, flipping through the right wing war hawk blogs, to find their hosts spinning these fantasies for their eager, Bush supporting readers to gobble up.

As far back as June, 2003, only a few months after the invasion began, people such as Ivo Daalder, Senior Fellow of Foreign Policy Studies for the Brookings Institute, were saying,

But if anyone is revising history, it is the US president. Iraq's WMD programme was the test case for Mr Bush's doctrine of pre-emption. The Iraqi threat was "grave and growing", Mr Bush declared. "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraqi regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," he warned on the eve of war.

Yet rather than asking why US intelligence was wrong, Mr Bush now claims that the war was about freeing the Iraqi people. No doubt Iraqis are better off without Mr Hussein. But even a staunch supporter of the Iraq war such as Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defence secretary, has agreed that Mr Hussein's misrule "by itself [was] not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk".

(Emphasis mine) This is exactly the point. Blair is now dancing the same dance in England, spouting off about how Iraqis needed to be freed, etc. etc. etc. All worthy goals, of course, but not sufficient reason to invade another country, and the British people aren't buying it for a minute. Neither should you.

The process and schedule of open elections is a bit different in England than here in the US. It's not actually on a fixed date in a given cycle, but can happen at different times, and their are differneces in how the votes are tallied in relation to deciding the winner. No matter how many delays are pushed for, however, Tony Blair is coming up on an election in the near future. Unlike the massive number of Americans who bought into the Bush koolaide, let's hope that the Brits, with their own voices and through their elected representatives, show a bit more sanity and common sense and send him packing. If only for the Iraq disaster, Tony Blair has let down the people of England and no longer deserves their support. They deserve a leader with real bravery, and that includes the bravery to stand up to Bush and do what's right.



Marijuana and States Rights

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/29/2004 11:51:00 AM

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

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on a Medical Marijuana case from California that may have implications beyond legal pot. A New York Times commentary also deals with this issue. The issue is how much power does the Congress have to over ride state law.
The central issue is whether Congress had the constitutional power to criminalize the women's activities. When it passed the Controlled Substances Act, Congress relied on the commerce clause of the Constitution, which authorizes it "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states." In recent years, the Supreme Court has taken a narrow view of what that authorizes Congress to do. It has ruled, in 5-to-4 decisions, that Congress did not have the power to pass the Gun-Free School Zones Act or a key part of the Violence Against Women Act.
As a progressive I have supported many of applications of the "commerce clause" by congress in the last 30 years but at the same time I have to question it's legitimacy. The California Medical Marijuana case is a case in point:
The marijuana in this case was far removed from interstate commerce, since it was raised in California for use within the state and was not sold commercially. The Justice Department has argued that allowing Californians to use medical marijuana "seriously undermines Congress's comprehensive scheme for the regulation of dangerous drugs." But when an individual treats herself with marijuana, under the sanction of state law and with a doctor's guidance, the impact on trafficking in dangerous drugs is close to nonexistent.
This ruling by the Supreme Court will have implications beyond the case itself as it could determine how much power the Congress has. Progressives have supported the broad use of the "commerce clause" in the past but considering the current climate in Washington we blue staters should probably have mixed feelings.

Monday Morning Blues

posted by Mu at 11/29/2004 10:57:00 AM

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

While my fellow bloggers get to enjoy surfing the newest politcal headlines, I spend my Mondays surfing security websites for the newest potential disasters . One of the curses of my job is maintaining a company net. So I run into this description of the weekest link in todays computing environment - the user. And realized that it exactly describes my typical problems, people with no clue and people trusting "trusted sources". My last two incidents were someone brining a floppy from home (his floppy drive promptly "malfunctioned", and I never remember to order him a new one); and someone opening a ".jpg" with "babypics", supposedly from a friend. You can switch everyone to Mozilla, and make IE disappear from their desktop. You can check the expiration dates of their automated virus updates on a weekly basis. But you cannot force them to use common sence.

The Saddam Berlin Wall

posted by Jazz at 11/29/2004 09:00:00 AM

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

This morning, recovering slowly from the flu, I was going to belatedly post an analysis of a piece in yesterdays nyt by Thomas Friedman. (I know it's pronounced "Freed - Man" but sometimes I wonder if it shouldn't be taken as "Fried Man", as in fried eggs.) While he often wanders around the cultural landscape in a daze, Friedman makes some really good points on the difference between the fall of Saddam and the fall of the Berlin wall, along with some other thought provoking corollaries.

Fortunately for me, I no longer have to do it, since Ron at MEJ has already dissected it and pulled out the bits I found relevant anyway. Take a look.

A Heartwarming Holiday Tale

posted by Jazz at 11/29/2004 07:31:00 AM

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

Down in Newark, New Jersey, which Howard Stern once described as, "The Carjacking Capitol of the World" we find a story of a father, a daughter, and important life lessons.

Daughter turns in dad who called police on her

NEWARK, New Jersey (AP) -- A father's attempt to teach his daughter a lesson about drinking backfired when the teen led police to a stash of drugs and weapons inside their home.

Kevin Winston, 46, called police at 2:45 a.m. Friday after his 16-year-old daughter came home drunk and unruly. When police arrived, however, the girl told them she feared for her safety because her father stored drugs and weapons in the home.

The girl led officers to a crawl space above the ceiling where they found four semiautomatic guns and more than 600 vials of cocaine.

Winston was charged with numerous weapons and drug charges. His five daughters were placed in the custody of a relative.

"He called us on her and ended up getting locked up himself," said Newark Police Director Anthony Ambrose.

If your daughter is out running around drunk in Newark until two in the morning, and you have multiple assault weapons and a stockpile of cocaine in your ceiling, it just might be time to consider that parenting simply isn't your cup of tea. The sad part is that no mention is made of where the mother is, if she is even alive, and what will happen to the kids in the long run.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

More on Charles Krauthammer's Iraq

posted by Ron Beasley at 11/28/2004 01:41:00 PM

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

Jazz took on Charles Krauthammer's vision if Iraq yesterday, today it's Juan Cole's turn.

Charles Krauthammer, after 18 months of blithe optimism on Iraq, has now suddenly decided that the country is embroiled in a Civil War and that the forthcoming elections will resemble those of 1864 in the United States, when the Confederate states did not vote for Lincoln.

As usual, Krauthammer is wrong. Historical analogies are always tricky, but this one is simply inaccurate. The problem is that Iraqis are not electing a president, even a war president. They are in effect electing a constitutional assembly. The main business of the new parliament is to craft a permanent constitution.

So, the analogy would be to 1789. What would the new American Republic's chances have been if the Southern states had not been able to send delegates to the constitutional convention, and so had been excluded from having an input into it? All sorts of compromises had to be hammered out in 1789, concerning southern slavery and how to count a slave for census purposes, etc. If the South hadn't been able to show up, the northern states would simply have ignored those issues, and the secession of those states might have come 70 years early. Would the North have been able to resist it so successfully at that point?

Likewise, Sunni Arabs have a big stake in the permanent constitution. Will it give Kirkuk and its oil to the Kurds, depriving Arabs of any share in those revenues? Will it ensconce Shiite law as the law of the land? Will it keep a unicameral parliament, in which Shiites would have a permanent majority, or will it create an upper chamber where Sunnis might be better represented, on the model of the US senate? If all those issues go against the Sunnis because they aren't there to argue their positions, it would set Iraq up for guerrilla war into the foreseeable future.
Dr Cole's reference to 1789 come at a good time for me. I must admit that even though I am a 58 year old college graduate my knowledge of US history was nearly zip. With all of the arguments about what the founding fathers intended I decided it was time to remedy that sorry state of affairs. I have been reading John Ferling's A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic. It covers the period from 1750 to 1800 in great detail, 500 pages worth of detail. It is truly amazing how close the United States came to not being. The divisions between the North and the South were sharp from the very beginning. I have just finished the lengthy section on the constitutional convention of 1789 and the ratification of the constitution by the states following the convention. Dr Cole is correct, if the South had not participated in the convention there would be no United States of America today. Any Iraqi constitution constructed without Sunni and Kurdish participation can only result in deep divisions and civil war.

PS
Get well soon Jazz.

That's About It

posted by Jazz at 11/28/2004 01:10:00 PM

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

... for today, anyway. Sorry, but I am, at this moment, experiencing all of the too typical symptoms of coming down with either the flu or some other nasty bug. I'm going to try to proactively beat it by taking a ton of vitamin C, drinking massive amounts of liquids, some asperin, and just lying down and overdosing on clear fluids. I suspect that either my Thanksgiving trip to see my Mom and in-laws, or my recent trip to my ill friends house (both of which involved people who are regularly exposed to small children) has exposed me to something nasty. I hate being sick with this type of thing, and I'm rather upset. Talk to you soon. Hopefully the guest bloggers can put up something interesting, or you can spend some time browsing through my blogrolls.

The 2004 Weblog Awards

posted by Jazz at 11/28/2004 10:51:00 AM

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

These really should be called "The Bloggies" or something. Anyway, I'm not saying you should nominate me, but what the hell... take the time to go nominate somebody at least. Nominations close tonight. Sorry I'm getting to this so late.

Keep in mind that this is being run by conservatives, so be prepared to see some categories taken by absurd choices like Michelle Malkin or somebody equally unskilled and reprehensible, over the likes of the eminently qualified James Wolcott, but hey... you can't win if you don't play.

Radical Clerics on Meet the Press

posted by Jazz at 11/28/2004 09:18:00 AM

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

The second segment of Meet the Press this morning had Radical Christian Clerics Jerry Falwell, Al Sharpton, Jim Wallis and Richard Land discussing religion, politics and moral values. With this eclectic mix of left and right wingers, I was waiting to see how long it would take until a bloody jihad broke out right on the set. It took about ten minutes, and while we weren't treated to splatters of blood across the camera lens, it was certainly the verbal equivalent. I've never seen Tim lose control of a discussion panel that badly.

He started out well, trying to get the panel to talk about the separation of church and state and the role of religion in politics. All four of them dodged the question completely, as you would expect, and immediately began arguing about "whose side God is on." Sharpton shockingly made some sense, saying "We're all arguing about whether or not God is on our side. The question should be if we are on God's side. "

Wallis offered the following attempt at rationalization: "Separation of church and state doesn't mean the separation of values and state."

Sharpton responded, "We need to stop focusing on the 'sex issues' and take the values debate to a wider field, including poverty and social justice." I have to admit, it was the most lucid I've ever seen Sharpton in any public appearance.

That brought the show to the point where it began to fall apart. Tim tried asking them about whether or not President Bush would appoint only Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, or whether he might appoint one whose position on abortion was unclear. From that point, it took about thirty seconds for the panel to break down into mayhem, and a full blown war over abortion was underway.

Falwell was very clear on the relationship between the abortion debate and elections. "I wouldn't vote for my own mother if she was pro-choice." After asking Land if he had voted for Kerry, (he had) he asked him, "Aren't you an ordained minister? How could you have voted for John Kerry?"

Land was the only one making any sense, arguing that they should be combining their efforts to make abortions more rare by reducing unplanned pregnancies.

Tim valiantly tried to turn the conversation away from that debate, asking them why the racy show "Desperate Housewives" was so popular in the Bible Belt. Falwell first said that the "real Christians" weren't watching it. Tim then asked him about that fact that the creator of the show is a conservative gay republican. Falwell, in one simple statement, summed up very nicely what I think the chief effect of the extreme right wing has had on the GOP. "If he's a gay Republican, he should join the Democratic party."

Thanks for joining us, Jerry. You're one hell of an American.

*sigh*