Friday, December 30, 2005


Linked just about everywhere by everybody is the story of Farris Hassan, the Florida Junior who got a little too wrapped up in his homework...

The Seattle Times links the story from AP: "You're where?"

You've read it by now. He went to Iraq without telling his parents or teachers... He told his buddies... He came back with a dandy Journalism project and a fresh appreciation of how good life in America is...

I'm having a lot of trouble getting warm and fuzzy about this...

Damnfool kid... Damnfool rich kid... Damnfool rich kid with, I'm betting, very detatched, "busy" parents. He was in Kuwait before they found out he'd gone... "Hello ma, guess where I am!"

WHY? Was he so sheltered as to be utterly lacking in common sense?


He wrote "Not enough are willing to... risk their lives for the cause of humanity. So I will. I want to experience during my Christmas the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience every day, so that I may better empathize with their distress."

"Empathize with their distress"... Just the thing for the self-absorbed. Somehow, I think "I feel your pain" will be a non-starter with the average Iraqi, who likely was born with more common sense than this kid's entire graduating class possesses.

It'll probably piss some people off, but somehow I'm reminded of John Walker Lindh.

Farris wrote "There is a struggle in Iraq between good and evil, between those striving for freedom and liberty and those striving for death and destruction..."

If you happen to believe perfect freedom and peace are found in Allah, you can say the same thing while lopping the heads off of infidels...

I'll bet Lindh and Hassan had backgrounds similar in crucial ways: Things like affluence and the level of parental involvement in their activities.

The main difference between them was the direction they were pointing when they went haring off.

Hey Yuppy Parents: Do you know where your unsupervised idealist is???


Danny Westneat over at The Seatle Times informs his readers the Times' most popular on-line story of the year was the report on the man who died after receiving "stud service"...

"Horse sex story was online hit"

There is an interesting story within the story...

Linked through Drudge, we have this from Editor and Publisher:

"Horse Sex Story Tops 'Seattle Times' Most Popular List for 2005 -- But Here's Why"

Editor and Publisher insists the reason for the outrageous popularity of the original story, as well as E&P's story on the story, was traffic received via Drudge...

Whoda thunk it... Drudge's readers are horse lovers... I mean fans...


Kudos to OrbusMax for linking this from the Wall Street Journal:

"Death of a Sawmill" by Jim Petersen:

I don't care what the people pushing to lock up these forests call themselves, they aren't environmentalists and this isn't ecologically sound management. Sound management doesn't ignore fire and bug damage or allow unthinned forests to degenerate into infernos waiting to happen.

The hell of it is, you don't get many win-wins in ecological management. This could be a win-win, if the earth worshippers could see past their faith to the untenable reality they are helping to create.

You often hear from the pave paradise lobby that "environmentalists" are anti-people. This is a potent evidence for their claim - something environmentalists need to keep in mind. Forests in the intermountain states have over the last few years been burning far faster than they can recover - and the people's lives are burning up with them. Ultimately this sort of policy will force the depopulation of the region by first destroying the economy and then the ecology.

And that will be a legacy nobody will want "credit" for...

Jim Petersen's website "Evergreen Magazine" can be found at

Thursday, December 29, 2005


From the UK Independent:

"Chicken dung used to feed fish may help spread bird flu"

The title says it all. The droppings go into the fishponds to feed phytoplankton the fish eat. Of course this means the fish are swimming in poop stew...

The fear is the very popular practice is creating a vast virus reservoir. It's only a theory so far, but the pattern of H5N1 spread more accurately tracks to the use of this practice than other suggested vectors, such as migratory birds. It holds true even in places far out of the epidemic's center, like Croatia and Romania.

So far the suggested connection is only being applied to birds, but people do eat these fish...

Tilapia, anyone?




VIA Huffington Post - where else -comes a story by Oliver Poole, a reporter in Baghdad:

"US military finds soldiers' blogs too close for comfort"

I was under the impression soldier bloggers provided some of the best "pro war" news out there. I have read a couple that went the other way, but I assumed they were the exception.

What are your impressions?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


VIA Orbusmax & The Seattle Times:

Stephen Ohlemacher of The Associated Press reports "Three growing entitlement programs consumed nearly half of all federal spending in 2004... Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than $1 trillion in the 2004 budget year... Overall federal spending was $2.2 trillion"...

Not exactly news, unless you've been stranded on a desert island... Or maybe You're Rip Van Winkle...

Imagine that. Rip fell asleep before the revolution and awoke to better times. If he fell asleep before the social revolution and woke up today, he would awaken in a land where the safety net's average cost per worker is about $7,000 a year.

That's $3.50 an hour of the $16 an hour Mr. Average makes just to cover the needs of the elderly and the medical needs of the poor.

That's only the Federal share...

And the number is growing...

Oh, I'm sure he would be impressed by all the benefits of the system and its attempts to provide at least something for almost everyone. The entitlement state was created to meet real needs. But seeing what footing the bill costs society on many levels might leave ol' Rip wondering if we're crossing a line where diminishing marginal utility dictates further increases of an input no longer produce meaningful increases of desired outputs.

Dream or nightmare? I suppose that depends on whether you are payor, payee, or the well-paid bureaucratic middleman...


Just to remind yourself there is a left-wing press...

and it's not the Mainstream Media...

Read Robert Scheer over at Huffington Post "Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax Set Free"

Just remember, hatemail goes there, not here...

As is the usual, Mr. Scheer has a couple of good points. But the points he - like so many of his intellectual peers on the left - makes are pretty much vacated through failure to apply a proper context.

We must always remember when we discuss the "rights" of the persons being considered, or the rights, for that matter, of their former leader, that they have rights not so much because of who they are as because of who we are.

I suspect Mr Scheer forgets that.

I have to agree objectively to just hold these people beyond the strictist need was uncalled for, although it isn't even certain thy were held beyond that need. But it has to be realized that is an American perspective.

If the shoe had been on the other foot??? If the shoe had been on the other foot, the foot would have been on someone's throat...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005



It looks like it's just about down to pistols at 40 paces... There's no middle left on ANWR. This was aptly demonstrated recently when Alaska's Ted Stevens tacked a drilling authorization rider on a defense spending bill, a rider which Washington's Maria Cantwell threw a fit over...

We're running out of good choices in the world of energy. I for one think the biggest reason is the US has never had a coherent energy policy. I also think we lack an energy policy because Americans are instinctively averse to something so encompassing. Energy policy touches everything. Where we need a well-mortared wall, we have a box of policy rocks, sometimes fitting, sometimes not.

Like drilling riders on defense bills...

Back when OPEC first started flexing the oil muscle, the CAFE standard - Corporate Average Fuel Economy - became part of the discussion. Always a somewhat counter-market influence, the standard is often portrayed as a poster clown of big government: A law that directs industry to produce goods people don't want. The brisk market in vehicles subject to a lesser standard or not subject to any standard was viewed as evidence of this damning flaw.

The popularity of those exceptions to the standard, coupled with the slow pace of improvements demanded by statute have together pretty much stagnated improvements in America's "total fleet economy."

The standard for automobiles has been static since 1990 at 27.5 mpg, while the light truck class - including many SUV's, was raised in 2003 from 20.7 mpg to a target of 22.2 mpg in 2007 - less than 1.5% per year.

SUV's leading the way, we've driven into the future, treating each new market shock, be it petty foreign tyrant or natural disaster, as just one more bump in the road...

To nowhere. To increasing dependence on any tyrant's goods, to an increasingly fevered effort to find and exploit any and every source. To a place where we may be forced to use the military to keep the pipe open... SUV's HO!

Will it become America's woe?

Possum's Energy Independence Act of 2006:

The US will:

Open ANWR to oil production. And the outer continental shelves. And the hitherto closed areas of the Gulf of Mexico. And every other viable source.

Any oil taken from a hitherto off-limits source will be subject to a 10% surcharge of the final price. All monies so derived will go to efforts ranging from research to industry-government cooperative pilot scale production facilities in any energy-related endeavor. We'll put money behind any idea with promise.

Raise CAFE standards, 25% in five years. That's right - 5% per year.

Eliminate all exceptions.

Extend and expand hybrid income tax purchase credits for at least the next ten years.

Any takers?

Monday, December 26, 2005


George Will opines on ANWR via Townhall

"Our fake drilling debate"

Dr. Will makes many of the same technical points usually made when discussing the issue, then goes on to characterize the matter as a battle in the never-ending war between "liberal" socialism and "conservative" capitalism...

If only ANWR were that simple. Just another cynical manipulation by "watermellons" who mean "control" when they say "protect"...

It's not. And the reasons why not are important to understanding where "we" really are in the great petroleum binge - and on environmentl issues in general.

It also teaches a few lessons in the manipulations of the side Dr.Will speaks for...

I should explain I don't have a strong opinion on this subject. I expect ANWR will be exploited at some time in the future - it is denialistic to insist otherwise - but I think the longer put off, the better. I also think it's denialistic to claim ANWR can be exploited without doing a lot of ecological damage.

Just as it's denialistic to suggest man can - or should - always avoid doing damage to the environment in the quest for that which makes us safe, comfortable, and affluent...

The real question is how much damage for the return?

North to Alaska... From the gold rush to the oil boom, it's been the stuff of dreams. Prudehoe Bay certainly fit the mold: It's the largest oil field yet discovered in North America, and very possibly the last truly huge single field that will ever be discovered in the world. Ten billion barrels of oil have been removed from the field, and there are at least three billion remaining that can be extracted easily.

All this from a single deposit 9,000 feet below ground and encompassing no more than 5,000 surface acres. There are nine other North Slope fields, but the largest is but a tithe of Prudehoe.

So what of ANWR?

By chance or design - or both - the great Alaskan black gold rush took out the motherlode first. ANWR's oil fields are like the "also rans" around Prudehoe, which is important to know if one is going to understand what is actually being proposed. There is no great "motherlode" in ANWR: There are instead dozens to hundreds of discrete, small fields.

So how does this fit into the "2,000 acre limit" Dr. Will and others discuss?

Imagine a net. Only the knots count as "used"...

Here's one man's attempt to explain it graphically:

It's old, and you may choose to question the source. But it's worth a look.

The plan is to spread that "2,000 acres" out over 1.5 million acres and employ horizontal drilling to exploit those small, scattered fields. Only permanent construction counts toward the total. Ice roads and helipads, pipelines, etc. don't count.

Well, so what? It's still a damned small footprint...

Well, maybe.

First of all, much of the rest will be traversed - much has been traversed - in the exploratory steps.

So what? For practical purposes, that's permanent. There probably isn't a single place on the planet with less regenerative capacity. The effects of everything done up there will linger for a very long time. Oil spills in the Prudehoe Bay area going back thirty years have been monitored, and the land where those spills occurred hasn't recovered.

But the caribou like the pipelines, right? What about those pictures of the herds cozying up to the pipelines? What about the population increases?

Well, not everyone agrees this is the case. For one thing, counts notwithstanding, studies have shown fertility is down. For another, studies have demonstrated that given the option of avoiding the development, the herds do avoid it. We naked apes like warm surroundings, but caribou are cold adapted. Worse, the blowflies that pester them - and nest in their nostrils - thrive in warm surrounds.

It's a bit of manipulation, in fact: Those photos of "happy" caribou resting along the pipeline are taken near crossings at natural bottlenecks. That's common sense, after all. Unless you feed them, show me a wild animal that seeks man out.

Furthermore, the herds may have grown, but there could be other explanations for the increase: It might be due to decreased predation - man is rough on predators - or it could be part of a larger cycle, for example. It might be due to a warming climate...

Some people think "Global Warming" is natural. If man isn't affecting the climate, is it certain man is affecting the caribou?

And who says more is better? How does [will?] an expanding population survive on a fixed food supply?

The point is, we don't know. So let's not pretend we do.

We do know, however, that the largest herd of caribou in the whole region calves in the northern coastal area of ANWR as a matter of choice, apparently because of the food supply.

Right in the middle of the proposed drilling...

Well, who needs caribou anyway? Who needs the whole damned North Slope ecosystem?

Here's a bit of heresy for the greenies: If we utterly ruin the North Slope, the world will keep turning. Ecologically, all places aren't equal. This isn't a lynchpin ecosystem like the Amazon rainforest. Man has in fact ruined far more ecologically vital places: The Persian Gulf was once an environmental powerhouse. Now it's mostly destroyed in an ecological sense. Yet "mother earth" has survived...

Just babbling? Just middle of the road meandering, waiting for the wheels to hit?

No, an explanation by example: Man's quest for more and better has never been a "win-win" viewed from the whole-Earth perspective. It's just been choices, and the bad, whatever that was, was accepted perforce whenever we took the good.

How much "bad" we are forced to accept tomorrow will have a lot to do with how carefully we choose the "good" today.

Prudehoe Bay is mostly gone; gone as is much of what was once the bounty of the Earth. Much of what is gone was squandered, sometimes leaving behind tattered ecosystems and nothing else...

Nothing, that is, except the lessons learned and the technologies created. Bounty for wisdom... Not a bad trade, if the wisdom is used to its potential.

ANWR could be a good opportunity to test that potential.

Win-win, anyone?

Sunday, December 25, 2005


VIA TomPaine: Robert Dreyfuss writes "The last hope for peace in Iraq was stomped to death this week."... in his piece "Iraq: Game Over"

Downright gloomy, he is... You've heard it all before...

It is worth noting however that there are a lot of people who see the Iraqi situation as one long slide off of a cliff. It is also worth noting who they are...
As to who's right, we'll just have to wait and see. This much is likely, I think: By Christmastime next year one side or the other in this argument is going to look really foolish...
Which is OK... Just so long as the final fool isn't Uncle Sam...

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Not in Russia, it seems...

Drudge is reporting

on the deployment of the Topol-M ICBM, a single warhead missile with a 6,000 mile range. Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, chief of the [Russian] Strategic Missile Forces, bragged the new missile "is capable of penetrating any missile defense system..."

The greatest flaw in the premise "give peace a chance" is that it can only work if everyone accepts the premise together. Apparently the Russians aren't quite to the Kumbaya stage yet...

Friday, December 23, 2005


Huffington Post is carrying this little blurb from Robert Novak under the title "Novak Says He Had Better Sources Than Bush On Iraqi WMD"…

We really need to organize and petition Congress to declare this guy our National Horse's Ass...

Where's David Goldstein when you need him?


Beware the military-industrial complex - especially if you are an ordinary soldier...

Slate's Fred Kaplan analyzes the spending priorities of our military establishment:

Kaplan takes issue with a system he thinks over gadgeted to the point the ordinary soldier's needs - and Americas ability to fight a protracted war - take a backseat to the shiny toy lobby...

I agree. And I think this is a lesson taught over and over but as of yet unlearned. It certainly isn't just a foible of the US military: Germany's failure in WWII to stop the fiddling and produce the goods of war was a significant contributor to their defeat.

Kaplan notes the Pentagon is planning on cutting the standing army by 32,000 troops while fully funding a long list of big ticket items including two new capital ships, a new stealth fighter program, and 42 FA-18's.

It's tommy this and tommy that... and in some ways the military bureaucratic mindest hasn't changed since Kipling wrote about the army that defended the flag on which the sun never set...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


FoxNews reports on a mugger who was killed by Bengal Tigers after he jumped into their enclosure while eluding capture:,2933,179408,00.html

Damn shame they didn't eat him... Maybe they were saving him for dessert?

Still, there is a Karmic beauty. A mugger is, after all, a low-tier predator. It's sublime an apex predator got him...


VIA Breitbart from AFP:

"South China metropolis on alert as toxic slick approaches"

This time its cadmium, presumably a plating salt: Best guess, either cadmium sulfate or cadmium chloride. Both are common, used in metal finishing, and water-soluble. At least, let's hope it's one of the simple salts. If so, the solution to pollution is dilution. The river will self-cleanse fairly quickly. Other less soluble compounds could be real trouble.

Any cadmium compound, like the metal, is highly toxic. The good news there is the stuff tends to cause massive vomiting and diarrhea, so it's hard to hold down enough to kill. You just wish you're dead..

Discouraging, it is... Even Ghenghis Kahn knew enough to put the latrines downstream of the cookhouse... The problem is, the ding-dong way they developed, everybody's "latrine" is upstream of someone else's kitchen.

This as the last big Chinese eco-mess finally makes it downstream to Russia. The chemical spill in the Songhua river, resulting from an accident November 13th at a petrochemical plant in Jilin, has reached the Amur river in Russia:

Six weeks, shutting down water system after water system as the plume wends its way to the sea.

At least that one cost some bureaucrats their jobs and maybe more: The issue isn't closed. As noted before, the history of environmental awareness is the history of the burned hand teaching best. Eventually public and economic pressure will force greater safeguards.

Just like it did here in the good ol' USA.


"Iraq is disintegrating," writes the UK Independent:

"Iraq's election result: a divided nation "

"...the country is dividing between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions.
Religious fundamentalists now have the upper hand."

So the question is, what will they do with it? In any case the die is cast. While history supports this particular "chicken little" analysis, what matters isn't yesterday but tomorrow.

As for myself, I'll hope for the best while expecting - and preparing for - the worst...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


FoxNews reports "Sunnis in Iraq Allege 'Falsification' of Election Results",2933,179249,00.html

I'd like to put this down to sore loser's syndrome, but then there was this from the 14th:

"Police Seize Forged Ballots Headed to Iraq From Iran"

An entire tanker truck of ballots... The report was denied by Iraqi government representatives, FWIW.

And everyone watching the situation will recall there have been many reports of what might be broadly termed "interference" in Iraqi affairs by Iran. There have been allegations the Iranian government has supplied - or at least allowed third parties to supply - money and weapons to insurgent groups, including sophisticated bombs and small missiles. Iran has almost certainly harbored known terrorists with Iraqi connections.

There are a lot of people in the US who think "we" need to mop the floor of the International stage with Iran.

Then there are those of us who, noting Iraq has been a far bigger challenge than envisioned, think tackling Iran the same way is a very poor idea...

When I read things like this, I can't help but wonder if the Iranians aren't on the pro-invasion side... They're certainly not doing my side any good...

Monday, December 19, 2005


FoxNews reports on the outcome of Bolivia's recent Presidential elections:,2933,179104,00.html

It looks like the Socialist candidate, Evo Morales, is winning handily.

He's promised to end the US-Bolivian joint coca eradication project. The one we have spent approximately one zillion dollars on...

This could be a forty penny spike in the coffin of the war on drugs - far from fatal but significant. And that would be a good thing. Never a good idea, the war on drugs has accomplished nothing except filling our jails and making mobsters rich. Time long since to abandon the puritanical experiment and send it the way of Prohibition.


VIA DRUDGE:'s National Post reports on an International maritime incident:

"U.S. sub may have toured Canadian Arctic zone"


Oh, that's right. There is no mighty Canadian navy patrolling the great white north. We're patrolling it for them... They're back-seat driving...

Sunday, December 18, 2005



One of the more foolish questions that has been asked during the current meltdown over warrantless eavesdropping is why, since a secret Court existed to issue the warrants, warrants weren't sought...

I think the answer is obvious: The Executive branch leaks like a 40-year old dinghy, and Congress is worse. The Administration knows it but can't control it. Even the "need to know" limitation couldn't keep the "secret" secret. More steps in the process amounted to nothing except more chances to leak.

Oh well. At least the civil libertarians should be reassured...

Saturday, December 17, 2005



The revelation that GWB authorized wiretaps without warrants of communications between persons in the US and persons in other Nations exploded like a bomb on citizens, Congress, and the media this past week.

Democrats and liberal Republicans reacted like disturbed hornets while the media displayed the aplomb of sharks in bloody water... One could fill a wheelbarrow with all that has been written on the topic in just a couple of days. On the basis of those views, one might assume the government is in crisis and the Constitution in jeopardy from an administration that really does think it is just "a goddamn piece of paper." [see "Liberal Press My Ass," this blog, 12/10/05]

I'd like to add a ha'penny's worth of common sense on behalf of GWB and the people he is charged with defending...

In most cases, if I want to travel to a foreign country, I must first obtain documentation vouching for my identity in order move between Nations. When I return home, I need that document to enter. And when I return home, I may be searched on entry.

If I want to buy and sell overseas, those transactions may be taxed, and those goods entering this Nation may be searched by agents of the Federal State.

If I post or receive a letter or a package, either within the US or from the US to another country, there are restrictions on the contents: I can't mail bombs, guns, ammunition, poisons, or illegal drugs. The contents of any suspicious object may be verified.

Why should electronic communication be treated differently than any other good, or the person who did the communicating? I can't receive a bomb from London without risk of capture. Why should I be able to receive a call from a confederate in London telling me the bomb is on its way?

When it comes to domestic surveillance, I would argue for the strictest interpretation of the protections of due process. Any bureaucrat who violates those protections should be fired and prosecuted. And if it's the President, he should be impeached and tried so fast he's out of office before it hits the news. But in the case of foreign communications, I think it is just plain wrongheaded to apply the same standards.

GWB and the spooks at NSA are right this time and the civil libertarians are wrong. "We" are preparing to built a 700 mile fence along our southern border to facilitate the policing of who comes and goes. Failing to police our electronic borders as necessary is just plain stupid.

Watch on, Mr. President.

Friday, December 16, 2005



YAHOO carries the story from AP:

"House Moves to Banish Illegal Immigration"

Passing legislation by a vote of 260 - 159, the House of Representatives took a first step toward the construction of about 700 miles of fence along the border beteen Mexico and the US.

Of course, it's important to remember this is only about one-third of the border's length.

It's about time... "We" should have done this a long time ago.

Now, the onus is on the Senate, and then the President.


VIA FoxNews:

"Senate Blocks Vote to Extend Patriot Act",2933,178898,00.html

It is, admittedly, one of those procedural votes that drive majority-rule purists crazy. The vote was 52 - 47 in favor of ending further discussion and bringing the matter to a vote, not good enough to overcome the inevitable filibuster.

The bill being considered was intended to be a compromise between competing versions of The Patriot Act reauthorization advanced by the House and Senate and had already passed the House.

Good news, I think. The Patriot act was the Legislative equivalent of a screaming tantrum. The fact it is being picked apart by both Houses suggests the tantrum may be subsiding.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I find it serendipitous these two issues came to a vote so close together. On one hand, we have an invasive, impractical measure of dubious constitutionality - The Patriot Act has not been well received by the courts - which is full of the potential for abuse. On the other hand, we have a basic measure designed to fulfill a basic requirement of this or any Nation: Control if its borders.

Common sense screams it is simpler to stop terrorist infiltration than find infiltrated terrorists - if we first have that border control. And that is just part of the benefits border control will provide.

Seeing who does and who does not support these measures - and hearing their rationales - will be interesting indeed.


NEWSMAX reports on comments attributed to Senator John Kerry:

Leading with "The Republican Party sees nothing funny about Sen. John F. Kerry's crack that President Bush should be impeached"...

The article goes on to paraphrase the intrepid Senator Foot-In-Mouth as saying to a group of 2004 campaign workers "If Democrats take back the House in 2006, there would be a "solid case" to bring articles of impeachment against Bush for "misleading" the country about prewar intelligence"...

Of course the RNC sees nothing funny about this... They have no sense of humor to see with...

But why, why, why, does Kerry keep saying stupid things? Is he just trying to collect material for a bloopers book?

At least I hope this was a stupid thing. If it was even 1% serious, that's 1% too much when dealing with a matter of this gravity. There are either grounds, or there aren't. The last thing this Nation needs is another politically motivated attempt to remove a President. It shouldn't matter which party controls the House.

And if it does, we're in a lot worse trouble than most of us think.


REUTERS reports today on a rally by people [?] who gathered to commemorate Howard Stern's last broadcast on the public airwaves:

Mr. Stern is moving to Sirius Satellite Radio, a private, subscriber-only broadcaster which is not regulated by the FCC. Stern will have two channels devoted to his "work."

I guess we'll call those the pervert channels... At least this is a market-related solution to the matter.

Speaking from an outdoor stage, Howie remarked ""We broke every rule known to radio and mankind and I'm proud of that. And I don't think this ride is over yet. Let the freedom bell be rung, and let it be rung by a stripper! We beat then at their own game, we figured out how to do it. Change the rules, break the chains, the last of a dying breed."

Radio strippers??? You would think being stuck at the age of 15 would get old...

Still, it occurs to me Howie may have done a great service to all by providing common ground for creationists and evolutionists. Being the "last of a dying breed" means he has been selected for extinction. Even the most ardent creationist will have to agree this is an excellent application of evolutionary principles.

Die, Howie, die! Hopefully we can have your body launched into the sun. We don't want it here...

Thursday, December 15, 2005


The very left-wing Congressman from Washington State's seventh congressional district blogs via Huffington Post on the "healthcare crisis," with a special emphasis on the impacts of recent actions by automakers:

If you can get by the rhetoric and the messenger, the message has merit.

Two claims in particular stand out:

"Companies like General Motors and Ford cite the cost of providing health care coverage as a major factor in their current financial crises. So, quietly, behind the scenes here on Capitol Hill, the domestic auto industry has begun talking to lawmakers about a bailout. They are looking for tens of billions of dollars next year..."

Well, its been done before, which almost certainly means it will be done again.

McDermott goes on to claim that US auto industry representatives have expressed strong support for Universal Healthcare - in Canada:

"I ask permission to enter into the record a letter that sets the record straight- and gives us a chance to finally confront America’s health care crisis. The letter was sent separately to the Canadian government by Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Daimler Chrysler and the union representing auto workers in late 2002. The so-called big three U.S. car companies put their full support behind publicly funded health care -- in Canada..."

Excerpts from the letter follow, ending with:

"“In addition to reinforcing the quality and accessibility of health care for Canadians, these measures would also help to ensure the long-run success of Canada’s auto industry.”"

During Slick Willie's first term, "Hillarycare" - an enormous, complicated plan to provide universal health care - crashed and burned. Even among Democrats, support was surprisingly thin. In the intervening decade, while other safety-net programs have been reformed with an eye toward limitation, programs providing medically related benefits have either been maintained or increased on State and Federal levels, most recently epitomized by the medicare prescription drug benefit championed by the "conservative" GWB...

Today, the government on one level or another is contributing to or fully providing for the healthcare of the elderly, the disabled, and many of the very poor.

And, of course, their own employees... And Congress...

Meanwhile, millions of workers have lost their insurance due to layoffs or "do or die" renegotiations of contracts - including those employed by major airlines and most recently Ford, GM, and their suppliers.

At the same time, Wal-Mart, the Nations largest private employer, has seen its compensation packages come under fire by activists who note that thousands of Wal-Mart employees make so little their dependents are eligible for govenment-sponsored healthcare.

Today, the best healthcare in the world is available here in the US - if you are filthy rich, a member of Congress, or one of a rapidly shrinking group of people covered by sweetheart union contracts in industries that are collapsing under the weight of those commitments.

If you are very poor, disabled, or over 65 the government will subsidize your care to a minimal but adequate level.

If you are in the middle, you are screwed. Most public sector employees and millions in the private sector can only afford the barest of coverage due to the rapidly escalating contribution requirements. Millions more have no employer-sponsored insurance at all.

The middle is growing.

True conservatism leavens a core belief in "least government best government" with a hard-nosed practicality. The practical costs - political, social, and financial - of the current non-system are escalating beyond any reasonable expectation of self-correction by market forces.

This is a time bomb. If the always disorganized Democratic party could get its act together, Republicans could find themselves facing the issue from hell on this - especially if GM and Ford really do ask for huge bailouts.

If the bailouts aren't forthcoming and the industry collapses, much of the economy could go with it.

If they do get them, but ordinary people continue to lose out, all the ugly charges which have been hurled at "the party of the rich" will be hurled again with renewed ferocity.

Republicans need to bite the bullet and take this issue away from the Democrats. While they still control Congress, and perhaps to insure future control, they need to craft and pass a "basic" universal healthcare package with strong private sector involvement.

It's going to happen eventually. If it happens during a period of Democratic control, two things are certain:

The plan will be neither basic nor private...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


The "wisdom" of the Seattle P-I

With more than a little air of sour grapes, the Seattle P-I Editorial Board has tendered their opinion of the Iraqi elections:

"Iraq Election: Blood and ink"

I'm no fan of this war or the current administration, but these guys need a reality check...

"That is, at least, if we can trust the Bush administration about its intentions in Iraq... Could the noble-sounding promise of establishing a democracy in Iraq turn out to be just as hollow -- merely the means to some other end, such as control over Iraq's oil reserves or permanent U.S. military bases there?"

Message to the ivory tower... We're not in charge over there. Really we never were. Sure, we ousted the old government and now we're keeping the peace - or trying to - but success or failure tomorrow is in the hands of the Iraqis. If they don't want their democracy to work, neither we nor anyone else can make it work for them.

We're not building a "puppet state."

Which is a good thing, since America has never been good at that sort of thing...

And those headstrong Iraqis would make damn poor puppets...


WFTV in Florida is reporting "5-Year-Old Says School Bus Driver Duct-Taped His Mouth"

Is this a bad thing? Are you sure? I'm not...

C'mon, admit it. You HAVE wanted to do this yourself...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


We have two numbers-heavy articles today, both from the UK:

First, Editor and Publisher recounts a sorry laundry list produced by the UK Independent "commemorating" the 1,000th day of the Iraqi war:

You've read it all before. Three numbers do seem to me to have special significance, all relating to cost:

15,955 American soldiers wounded in action; 2,339 allied troops killed - as we have been repeatedly reminded, over 2,000 of them American; 204 billion dollars spent.

Nearly seven to one, wounded to killed. It's a testimony to our technology and their ferocious ingenuity. Our technology has prevented this war from degenerating into a bloodbath.

And 87.2 million dollars spent for every man lost. While you can never equate men lost to money spent, it is important to realize most of the red "we" are bleeding is ink. It's going to take a long time to pay this bill.

For a more upbeat appraisal, there is this from the BBC:

"Survey finds optimism in new Iraq"

For the whole survey, and it's 2004 counterpart:

As always, I recommend skipping the fluffy article in favor of the actual surveys which are, IMO, excellent. At 27 pages each, they offer a wealth of data. The first three questions are repeats, giving a nice baseline.

The number of people saying their lives are very or quite good is about the same, but more choose "very good."

The number of people who say their lives are much better or somewhat better than a year ago is down, but a year ago the question was framed against the pre-invasion situation.

Unfortunately, the number of people who think things will be much or somewhat better in another year is down slightly.

Ominously, the number of people who believe the invasion was absolutely right or somewhat right is down slightly - 47.2% to 46.2% - but the number who think the invasion was absolutely or somewhat wrong is up significantly, from 39.1% to 50%. The change is in the undecided respondents. So I'm afraid that doesn't speak well of us.

Three really troubling items:

The number of people who believe Iraq needs a single, strong leader stands at 50%, up from 46.6%.

The number of people who have no confidence at all in the occupation forces stands at 54.6%, up from 42.8%

The 2005 survey only: Who in your opinion has contributed most in helping the reconstruction of post-war Iraq? NOBODY, 36.9%. The only other double digit response is "The Iraqis," 12.3%. "Americans" are credited by only 6.3% of the respondents. Maybe those favorable press campaigns are a good idea...

And a good note to end:

The number of people who believe Iraq will need that strong man in 5 years is down from 35.5% to 30.5%, and the number who think Iraq will need a democracy is up from 28% to 41.6%.

That's always been my greatest concern: We get rid of one bastard and they install another. On that one score alone, I think there is considerable cause for optimism. If, in another year, more than half of all Iraqis look forward to democracy, well, that will be an accomplishment indeed.


The Spokesman Review reports on legal action undertaken by an inmate in the custody of The Idaho Department of Correction:

"Idaho inmate says sobriety program violates rights"

Glen H. Farnworth was ordered to complete a therapeutic treatment program such as Alcoholics Anonymous in order to secure parole. The complaint alleges the prayer requirements of the program and it's companion programs violates the plaintiff's religious freedom.

O'Malley Keckler, representing the Department, disagrees: "None of our programs have religious overtones. Our goal in treatment is sobriety and one of the most successful programs in the world is the one provided by AA. The core of this 12-step program is recognizing there is a higher power other than ourselves and the offender can chose that higher power to be anyone or anything he wants."

Keckler goes on to say "No one in the prison system is required to pray. In fact, offenders could easily choose a lamp or other inanimate object as a higher power if they liked.

If you don't want chicken, call it ham and eat it anyway...

A perfect example of an arrogant, narrow attitude housed in a narrower mind. This fool has no idea how viscerally offensive she is.

A "higher power" is by definition deity, unless you are going to toss government into the pot as well. And you can't be required to pray to the government... Yet...

Some of us have no use for any "higher power" or similar fiction. And that's our right. This is a perfect example of why freedom of religion necessarily includes freedom FROM religion...


AFP is reporting via Breitbart

"The CIA appears to have abducted people in Europe and illegally transferred them to other countries, according to the results of a Council of Europe investigation."

If true, this is inexcusable. Worse, it is pure counterproductive stupidity. If it can be proven, I urge the affected parties to seek any and every legal and political remedy.

What, after all, would "we" say if a European government agency grabbed one of our people?


IF YOU'RE CONSERVATIVE, especially if you're a religious conservative...

And if you enjoy being antagonized to the point of popping a vein or two, don't miss RJ Eskow over at Huffington Post:

"Celebrity Executions From Jesus to Tookie"

The "religious left" at its best...

Just remember I didn't write it and neither accept nor reject the position... And keep the Tums handy...

Monday, December 12, 2005



The Seattle Times throws more gas on the election controversy fire

"Many ballots are redone before they're counted"

In a rare stooping to the level of the real world, the Times relates that on average, 8% of all ballots Statewide are duplicated by poll workers because the ballots are either incorrectly marked or mangled in the mail.

According to the Times, this has been an electoral chore for some time but has only recently come under scrutiny...

Predictably, the party hacks have made it a partisan issue. The State Republican party chair is against the policy; the State Democratic party chair is for it...

It's safe to assume this means both think Republicans make fewer mistakes than Democrats, although nobody is saying so...

The only thing that can be said for certain is most of the "bad" ballots arrive by mail.

This last election I complained the "convenience" of all-mail voting was anything but convenient, ecpecially in my county, which still uses punch cards - a practice I naively assumed was still common. Now I'm reading that although most counties use the theoretically more user-friendly "black the oval" system, huge numbers of ballots aren't marked legibly and have to be touched up to be tabulated by the optical readers.

And even if the ballots are correctly marked, the Post Office can be counted on to mangle thousands more. I suppose they lose their share, too...

Enough of this. Voting is a right but it is also a duty. Who benefits from the mail-in vote?

It's often argued it's cheaper to run a mail-in election. Ignoring the fact "we" spend an absurdly small amount on the actual elections in the first place, I find this contention hard to believe. It must be terribly expensive to employ teams of two each to tediously go over the 100,000 illegible ballots each general election produces so they can be tabulated.

The duplication process also gives the party watchdogs a whole school of red-herring to use to their advantage in close contests.

What's the cost in that?

It's argued that many people are unable to get to a polling place. We can't disenfranchize grandma, after all... But there are common-sense solutions to that, too. Dial-a-ride systems can fill this gap, and if the "problem" warranted it, mobile polls could be installed in vans.

If it were really an issue, 100% access for the disabled could be guaranteed. The amount spent would be paltry next to the amount spent for disabled access in other situations.

Here's what I think is really at issue: Normal, healthy, well-off people are just too damn lazy to get their asses to the polls and vote. Oh, it's crouched in more diplomatic terms: People are too busy, or out of town, or... fill in your own excuse. There's one for everyone...

In Iraq this last summer people dodged bombs and bullets to go to a poll, and a higher percentage of Iraqis voted than did Americans in 2004. There's a civics lesson here. The right and responsibility of voting has mutated here in America into an entitlement, and as with all entitlements it can only escalate.

Sure I'll vote... As long as I don't have to go someplace... I can't miss my favorite sit-com, after all. And I don't give a rip if it makes the process into a circus.

Make election days Holidays with MANDATORY business closures, and abolish the mail-in vote. If you're too [whatever] to go to the polls but otherwise able, too bad. You probably don't know what you're voting for, anyway.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Buried in a blog over at Huffington Post I found this little gem by Doug Thompson of Capitol Hill Blue:

"Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'"

Before Bush's Buddies start drawing their knives, I want to emphasize I'm not vouching for this. I have read the page before - Robert Novak occasionally quotes it - but I know absolutely nothing else.

I just have a few questions...

Quoting those nefarious "un-named sources," Thompson writes:

"Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act...GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives..."

Thompson then goes on to relate the following exchange:

"“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”"

Those questions:

Let's assume this report is crap. Why hasn't it been denounced? If the mainstream media has a secret "liberal agenda," why haven't they seized the opportunity to criticize this over the top accusation, thereby appearing to be "fair and balanced," to borrow a phrase...

And speaking of "fair and balanced," where is FowNews, Drudge, NewsMax, and the rest of GWB's cheerleading staff? This is perfect cannon fodder for the argument often made by neoconservatives that "the left" is out to get GWB...

If its crap, that is...

And if it is the truth, why hasn't the "liberal press" trumpeted it to the heavens? GWB swore an oath to protect and defend that "goddamned piece of paper." This could be construed as a damning lack of respect for the Constitution, the oath, and the office of President itself.

Why not make GWB eat his words?

When Howard Dean suggested during a radio interview recently that history was against us in Iraq, the statement was clipped and parsed by all comers and touted by right-wing commentators as evidence the Democratic Party is rife with treasonous defeatism. Even Dean's supporters in the "liberal" press gave life to the story by repeating and analyzing it.

So why the deafening silence from the mainstream media? Why isn't this blood in the water to the sharks of the "liberal" press?

Because the mainstream media isn't liberal. Sure, most of the people who work for the big news outlets vote Democratic. Yes, most reporters manage to get their two-cents worth of spin in on anything they report. And few of them are above rocking the boat, especially if it advances them personally.

But this sort of comment doesn't rock the boat - it torpedos it. And much though conservatives argue otherwise, the press doesn't want to "get" GWB. There is no election to win right now, and chasing this might lead places nobody wants to go.

It just might lead to the discovery that a lot of people agree the Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper. People in both parties.

And people in the press...

After all, if the people in flyover country learn this is a popular attitude, the game just might be over.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Joel Connelly over at the P-I reports Governor Gregoire is asking the tribal casinos in Washington State go smoke free...

She's troubled over the impacts of smoking on "the health of Native American women and youth,"...

So lets see... Washington voters pass a law which while stopping short of prohibiting smoking outright at the least marginalizes and seriously inconveniences users of a legal product.

The product is heavily taxed and the State reaps millions of dollars a year from it - not to mention the occasional multi-billion dollar settlement windfall...

Substantial numbers of smokers enjoy drinking and gambling as well. The only places they can now go to gather and legally do all three - short of the middle of a clearcut or cow pasture - is a tribal casino. But have no fear, there is now a tribal casino half an hour from even the remotest whistlestop...

So the newly afflicted smokers will likely respond by heading for the one remaining place they can enjoy themselves unmolested, and they're going to take their money with them!

And Governor Dreamland wants the casinos to "just say no"...

I dunno. The casino near my little town has a tribal cigarette factory adjacent to it...

And I have a question for our apallingly schizophrenic State government:

Since it is clear "the people" want the smokers - who apparently aren't "people" and have no rights - to get out of Dodge, when is the State government going to replace the cigarette tax with a tax on a trade "we" aren't trying to eradicate?

About the same time the casinos say no to more business, I think...


Savage Dan over at the Slog berates the religious right's assertion there is a "war on Christmas:"

"Merry Fucking Christmas"

Savage Dan brands the idea there is an oppressed christian majority fascism, likening it to the " aggrieved/oppressed majority stuff..." that was used by Hitler to "get World War II started."

He makes a special target out of Bill O'Reilly:

"It’s cute and funny now, and O’Reilly’s a blowhard and a gasbag, but it’s one small step down a road that's lead to gas chambers in the past. But, hey, let’s all salute Christmas—Merry Christmas, Bill! Stiff-armed salutes, of course, are preferred. Next year they may be mandatory."

Hyperbole, of course. But as with any "extravagant exaggeration," it begins with a kernel of truth. There is a minority among the majority who do buy into the "persecuted christian" shtick.

If you don't know any of them, I can introduce you to a few...

But really... gas chambers? It takes ten years in this country to execute axe-murderers... I think Savage Dan underestimates the bottomless depths of American tolerance.

When it serves you, you might call it "checks and balances." When it gets in your way you might call it "gridlock." The fact is America is a vast muddle in the middle that tolerates and at the same time dismisses extremists of all positions, and we have evolved a government that expresses this. It's maddening to people of principle, irrespective of what the principles are, but America does and will continue to accept the right of any looney idealist not wielding a gun or bomb to vent.

Any loon... You, me, Bill O'Reilly, or Savage Dan.

So merry fucking Christmas, Dan, from an Atheist who sings christmas carols...

Thursday, December 08, 2005


NewsMax, that is...

"Dean Claims Iraq War Gaffe Taken 'Out of Context'"

"Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said Thursday his assertion that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq was reported "a little out of context,""

That's the lead for this little jewel from slant, inc. reporting on an interview of Dean by CNN...

Seizing on an opportunity to get in a dig aimed at the President, Dean insisted ""They kind of cherry-picked that one the same way the president cherry-picked the intelligence going into Iraq.""

I think he's been studying George Carville...

Predictably, NewsMax then goes on to use the same out of context quote:

""The idea that we're going to win this war is an ideal that unfortunately is just plain wrong...""

What's just plain wrong is the quote...

As I related on this page in "Dean on Iraq: The Rest of the Story" 12-6-05, the more complete and therefore less biased quote is:

"I don't believe in making the same mistake twice, and America appears to have made the same mistake twice" ... [alluding to Vietnam] ... "I wished President Bush had paid more attention to the history of Iraq. The idea that we're going to win in Iraq is just plain wrong."

The entire original interview can be found here:

Make up your own mind.

So let's see... It isn't a claim, it's a fact, and it wasn't a gaffe - a social or diplomatic blunder - but promoting the clip-quote NewsMax chooses to promote probably qualifies as a blunder - it certainly won't advance their position...

Two truth points for Dean, zero for Carl Limbacher...

Limbacher must have one really long and one really short leg... It's the only way he could stay upright with that much of a slant under him...


In my 12-4-05 post "The Real Kool-Aid Kids" I disputed the interpretation NewsMax applied to a FoxNews poll which asked the arguably loaded question "Do you think the world would be better off or worse off if the U.S. military had not taken action in Iraq and Saddam Hussein were still in power?"

Four choices were offered: Better off, worse off, the same, and don't know. The numbers were 27%, 52%, 8% and 15%, respectively.

Now we have a new poll from CBS which is, BTW, receiving considerable press because GWB's approval ratings are up significantly:

Buried in this poll is the following question:

"Did [the] U.S. do the right thing going to war with Iraq?"

Given two choices - yes and no - the poll deadlocked at 48% each.

Interestingly, the party-line split NewsMax emphasized is seen in this poll as well, without the deliberately inflammatory strawman-making inclusion of Saddam Hussein in the question...

It's all in how you frame the question - or the answer. And that's what slanting is...



"Supreme Court: Social Security not off limits for old student loan debt"

The case involves a 67 year-old disabled man who has about $77,000 in defaulted student loans. The government defended its right to garnish 15% of the man's $874 monthly pension. The plaintiff alleged he required all of his stipend for basic necessities.

I'm hoping this case doesn't become the controlling legal authority.

A lot of questions come to mind. A few of them:

These debts are about 20 years old. How does it happen a man in his 40's goes to school and accumulates such a debt? Since it is within the purvue of the guarantor - the government - to forgive the debt, why wasn't it forgiven when the man is so impoverished?

And what did he receive as compensation for assuming the debt?

Education as a product is somewhat of a paradox. You can "buy" it, yet if you receive nothing, if you gain nothing, you can't return it or sue the education provider for providing a defective product. Indeed, it can be argued the failure of some is necessary to validate the success of others.

It's a pig in a poke; nevertheless, it is public policy to promote its sale.

And of course the sale and its promotion is in the interest of the "higher education industry."

A little math: 15% of the pension is $131, a sum certainly more significant to the plaintiff than the government. Without factoring the interest, which is unknown, if we assume the man lives another 20 years - very unlikely, and less likely with less money - he will "repay" about $31,000, less than half the debt.

Sure, it's a legal debt. I'm sure the Court ruled correctly within law. But here's what's wrong with this: There is no mercy. People make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes overwhelm the maker.

Our legal system is rife with situations where people are "let off." Plea bargains, probations, pardons, on and on. Yet when it comes to a bad debt at least partly due to the bad luck of bad health, an old man can't be forgiven something he cannot change. The government would rather impoverish a citizen than allow him this small margin of comfort.

This begs for Congressional action. And it's a pretty good argument for State-paid education through at least 4 years of college.



Neoconservative poster-girl Anne Coulter was forced by hecklers to cut short an address at the University of Connecticut:,0,2591762.story?&track=rss

One group chanted "you suck" while an unidentified person or persons played loud music. After waiting several minutes, Coulter lost her patience, saying "I love to engage in repartee with people that are a lot stupider than I am," she said. `We're having a question and answer right now with the little crybabies."

Pure Coulter... No class at all...

Back when the Dixie Chicks made rude comments about GWB, a lot of venues stopped playing their very popular music.

Neoconservatives voiced approval of what they styled a proper response from a free market.

Now, those same people aren't going to complain about Annie's cold-shoulder treatment at U of C, are they?

We'll see...

And Please...

Let's not try to make this a "free speech" issue. Ms. Coulter was paid $16,000 for this appearance out of student funds, which belonged to the hecklers as much as to the rest of the audience. For that much money, she ought to stand there and let the students hit her with pies...

Which has happened before...


George Will, commenting via TownHall 12-4-05

remarks on the futility and downright foolishness of windfall profits taxes such as the one Byron Dorgan, the Democratic Senator from North Dakota, recently proposed on oil. The column is, as is almost always the case with Dr. Will, a worthy, enlightening read.

Especially interesting is the not entirely topical lead... Quoting Edward Gibbon's 'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' the good doctor notes:

"A Locrian [a people of ancient Greece] who proposed any new law stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and if the law was rejected, the innovator was instantly strangled."

Damn. You really can learn from the past... We need an initiative immediately...

I bet Tim Eyman would "volunteer" to lead the campaign...


RJ Eskow over at Huffington Post blogs on pharmacists who are refusing to fill certain prescriptions because of ethical and/or religious objections:

The most common target of their ire is emergency contraception, often referred to as "the morning after pill."

So let's see...

Pharmacists have, at least in a practical sense, a monopoly - a monopoly granted by license. The license is granted by the government, which prevents people from otherwise accessing the products pharmacists dispense. The products are legal, and the rights to the products do not belong to the pharmacists, who are in any case merely following the legal directions of a physician. In many places and situations, a single pharmacist is the only choice a patient has.

They call themselves "fundamentalists," a politically correct way to say fanatic. Their goal is to impose their religious beliefs on others. Their tool is a power they wield in a fashion clearly not intended by those who granted them the power in the first place.

These people are just plain evil.

This merits "one strike and you're out." They should have their licenses revoked and they should be barred from ever practicing their profession again without hope of appeal.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


FoxNews reports this morning on developments in the trial of Saddam Hussein and seven co-defendents, adjourned today for two weeks:,2933,177923,00.html

The trial has been marked by the disruptive outbursts of the chief defendent... You'd think he never read Robert's Rules...

Mr Hussein has repeatedly blasted the Court as being "unjust," at one point telling the judge to go to hell. He refused yesterday to return to court, and in fact was a no-show for today's last pre-adjournment session.

You can hate this guy and wish him consigned to the deepest, darkest, hottest pit of hell, but you still have to admit he's got balls...


FoxNews reported yesterday of the acquittal Sami Al-Arian, the University of South Florida Professor charged as a terrorist in a case that was one of John Ashcroft's "great successes"...,2933,177870,00.html

Al-Arian was acquitted on 8 of 17 counts with deadlocks on the rest. His co-defendents were acquitted on all charges.

Acquitted despite the government's use of rules of investigation and evidence which would have been illegal without the constitutional travesty called the Patriot Act. Acquitted despite hundreds of hours of wiretaps. Acquitted despite the expenditure of thousands - millions? - of dollars by DOJ and the FBI.

Also acquitted, I think were the pre-Patriot Act rules. The Patriot Act is once more demonstrated to be nothing but a terroristic affront to America, an affront that accomplishes nothing while occasionally, randomly destroying people who, as in Al-Arian's case, are "guilty" of nothing more than holding political views the [current, changing every 4-8 years] administration finds objectionable.

Of course, Al-Arian is ruined - career destroyed, everything. Guilty of nothing but nevertheless reduced to nothing.

As far as I'm concerned, the US owes this man a living for the rest of his life.


I sometimes get accused of being a leftie liberal. As an aid to anyone so confused, I suggest this little gem via Huffington Post:

Now this is a leftie... A Bush-hater in spades.

It's the author's contention that the war's stated objectives were accomplished before the war began - the WMD's were gone and the Al-Qaeda connection never existed - and we're really fighting a "second war" composed of problems we created.

This is about as close to Saddam nostalgia I think I've found in print...

The hell of it is, if you ignore the "Bush is an idiot" and the concomittant "it's all his fault" refrains, some of the observations concerning the intramural relations of the Iraqi factions are accurate.

And this guy comes to exactly the same conclusion as the extreme right but for different reasons: We have to stay in Iraq. Not to fight terrorism, but to insure a fair power-sharing evolves. In the author's words:

"Withdrawal is not a plan. Staying is also not a plan. A strategy that entails us leaving whenever that strategy is accomplished is a plan... [no shit?] Victory is when the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds have achieved some meaningful balance of power without our presence."

In other words, when hell freezes over solid...

Politics is often defined in terms of a spectrum; left to right, etc. I think the line is a circle; I often find that the ends meet around the backside, opposite the center, so to speak. There dwell the fanatics.

And it is fascinating how often they collide at the same conclusion, coming from opposite directions.


The Seattle Times reports on a new analysis of the possible severity of a tsunami off the coast of Washington and Oregon

based partly on analysis of the Sumatran tsunami last December and partly on computer modeling by the University of Rhode Island.

While accepted analyses - analyses upon which evacuation plans are premised - predict waves no higher than 30 feet, the new computer models predict waves of 65 to 98 feet in places along the Washington and Oregon coasts.

Such a tsunami would not only overwhelm many of the evacuation "safe sites" but also would make it practically impossible for people to reach higher ground further inland in time. If a major quake along the Cascadia subduction zone triggers a tsunami, the coastal residents will have about a half of an hour to reach safety.

Just thinking out loud: If it isn't possible to evacuate, and assuming it is accepted the threat is real, why not build shelters?

As a technical challenge, this is small potatos. Ships like naval destroyers - big, but not huge - often endure waves that entirely overtop them. There have been cases where such vessels have been rolled completely over and survived with little damage. All that would be required would be a stout, watertight, and well-anchored structure equipped as any emergency shelter intended for limited duration occupancy. They would also be mighty handy in any earthquake, fire, or terrorist attack.

For that matter, decommisioned ships or subs could be adapted... Armaments optional...

Stop snickering. A lot of money was spent during the cold war on bomb shelters never needed. A lot of money was spent on the New Orleans dikes, and after the fact it's been seen not nearly enough was spent: The losses exceed the cost of even the most lavish proposals.

In this case, the "losses" could include thousands of citizens drowned. What's the cost of that?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005




WOIA SAN ANTONIO recaps an interview with Howard Dean, leading with the headline

"Dean: US Won't Win in Iraq"

The entire interview can be had here:

I would suggest the full interview to the article, which is as slanted as the headline. The lead line from the article sets the tone:

"the idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong..."

The full quote, as near as I can transcribe, was "I don't believe in making the same mistake twice, and America appears to have made the same mistake twice" ... [alluding to Vietnam] ... "I wished President Bush had paid more attention to the history of Iraq. The idea that we're going to win in Iraq is just plain wrong."

I mislike sticking up for someone who has demonstrated as little common sense as Dean, but clip-quoting to this extent deserves publicity.

And to those who are blowing "teguello" for the Democrats, I'd like to suggest this interview is a must-listen. His points are certainly arguable - I don't accept or reject any of them entirely - but the totality is effective. This isn't the old "screamer Dean." He's lucid, fluent, and affable.

If he can resist the temptation to run his mouth with his brain disconnected, he will prove to be a most formidable spokesman.


GOLDY over at highlights and discusses comments by Seattle's former police chief, Norm Stamper, published in The Seattle Times:

Stamper doesn't make any new arguments - neither does Goldy - and Stamper's position on the subject isn't exactly breaking news. But both are still worth a read.

One item that was news, at least to me, was the existence of the organization "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition"

I agree with Stamper's position, which is logical, practical, and adheres to the original values of the Republic.

I think it is fair to say the prohibitionists are losing ground, but still have a lot of ground to lose... I also think the fact the other position has prevailed for so long is a good demonstration that logical, practical, and original have little to do with popular sentiment or government throughout most of the US today.



VIA Breitbart from AP: "Group: Online Content Cannot Remain Free"

The European Publishers Council adds their two Franc's worth to the ongoing dispute between Google and the Agence France-Presse, which is suing on behalf of civilization as we know it to protect the writer's inalienable right to a piece of the action...

The lawsuit alleges that Google News service, which scans about 4500 news sites and creates a categorized links page of top stories, violates copywrite protections.

I lack the competence to evaluate the legal issue but I can appreciate the Karma... There is, after all, no such thing as a free lunch. Even if you are Google...

Sunday, December 04, 2005


A recent FoxNews Opinion Dynamics poll, published on the first of December, is interesting not because the always fluffy source had anything new to say but because of the things being made out of the data.

True to their modus operandi, the hatemongers over at NewsMax have dug through the three pages of the poll to find the most inflammatory statement contained therein and have used it as the basis for one of their short, invective-filled "articles:"

"Dems Back Saddam Hussein in New Poll"

They don't bother to link the whole poll, of course. After all, NewsMax does the thinking so its readers don't have to...

For people who think, the link is:

We'll have to ignore the biased nature of the questions themselves. This is, after all, the "fair and balanced" source...

The poll is well worth the time to read, bias or no. I'm sure GWB's people are reading this one and others. The line in question is in page three. For your convenience, here is the question and answer:

7. Do you think the world would be better off or worse off if the U.S. military had not taken action in Iraq and Saddam Hussein were still in power?

Better off Worse off (Same as) (Don’t know)

Overall: 27% 52% 8% 13%

Democrats: 41% 34% 8% 18%

Republicans: 10% 78% 6% 6%

Independents: 29% 7% 11% 13%

[apologies for the poor format]

NewsMax is fixated on that 41% number, it being the best available means to bash Democrats. There is another number here I find far more revealing:

Overall, only 52% believe the world is better off with Saddam Hussein removed from power.

George W Bush, being far more intelligent than Carl Limbacher, will find this number far more significant, I'm sure...

Two and a half years ago when the war began, somewhere around 80% of everyone supported Hussein's forced ouster. Today, after revelations, recriminations, and setbacks variously interpreted, almost half of the pro-war side has reconsidered whether the world is better off without the Baathist government in Iraq and only a bare majority still think America did the right thing for the world.

Only the Republican block remains largely unchanged.


Democrats and independents reviewed the facts as presented at the beginning of the war and made the thinking choice to support the government and the war.

As the facts presented have changed, those people have changed their minds. Thinking people do that.

The Republicans have for the most part kept their eyes shut, marching forward behind their leader. If there is a cliff ahead, they won't see it until they tumble over the lip.

Kool-Aid, anyone?



VIA HUFFINGTON POST [where else?] we are treated to the following solicitation:

"IRAQ: Strategic City Stabilization Initiative (SCSI)"

The Agency for International Development, Overseas Missions, Iraq (CPA) USAID-Baghdad is offering up to a billion dollars to any qualified source who can devise a plan to "design and implement a social and economic stabilization program impacting ten Strategic Cities, identified by the United States Government as critical to the defeat of the Insurgency in Iraq..."

The good news is funding isn't available for this yet. If it's real - I hope it's a bad joke - you can still write your congressman and complain.

Assuming you can get a word in past the mad mob of pork-feasting "consultants"...

Oh well. The good news is reality has finally surpassed Doonesbury... Duke will be sooo jealous...

Saturday, December 03, 2005


I've redacted a couple of paragraphs from a blog It was written sometime in the last three years.

Question for the house? Is the author liberal or conservative?

""... point out the obvious answer as to why people like [a congressperson] and [a congressperson] could make such statements given the reality of the situation. I said, "It is not surprising that a bunch of insulated elitists in the Washington establishment -- most of whom have never served in uniform -- would stab the [which?] party in the back and attack the courage of people like [who do you expect?] for their stand on Iraq."

"That's what's really going on. We have a divide in this country between ordinary hard-working people throughout America who want their government to reflect their interests, and the politicians/pundits in Washington who have made an art form out of denying reality, whether it comes to national security policy or economic policy. Sure, there are some courageous politicians fighting for us in Washington, like [your champions] and some others. But there is no denying that a growing divide is what defines our political system...""

I've read things like this posted to blogs of all persuasions. Haven't you?

Friday, December 02, 2005


Human Events Online

relates today that the organization Media Matters for America has launched an e-mail drive whose goal is to convince CNN not to grant air-time to Anne Coulter.

Human Events considers this a "liberal" muzzling. If so, conservatives owe their liberal antagonists a heartfelt thanks. They're the ones who should be doing the muzzling. Anne Coulter is an embarrassment to any thinking person and a detriment to everything real conservatism stands for.

Thursday, December 01, 2005



VIA WorldNet Daily: "Ruling: Pregnant moms can harm babies at will"

The conviction of Tayshea Aiwohi, who was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of her newborn son, was reversed by the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii. Aiwohi admitted to using methamphetamine for three days before the birth and took a "hit" on the morning her son was delivered.

The hell of it is, the ruling is based on the literal interpretation of Hawaiian Penal Statutes:

"The proscribed conduct must have been committed at a time when Treyson 'qualified' as a 'person,' defined by the Hawaii Penal Code as 'a human being who has been born and is alive,'" the Court wrote.

But there is a remedy, no? There's the legislature? House Judiciary Chairwoman Sylvia Luke, a Democrat, agrees with the decision:

"At least from the Judiciary Committee's standpoint, we don't have any interest in changing the current law to allow for such prosecution. I think that runs into a very dangerous ground because it can be expanded to not just drugs, but the state infringing on the woman's life when the woman is pregnant."

Absurd. A banner case for those who think feminism has run completely amok. A case that begs for a remedy which will never happen, for the remedy would strike at the very heart of women's "rights."

But the next time someone complains about "liberal" judges legislating from the bench on issues like abortion, remind them of the Aiwohi case, where strict interpretation and the right thing were different things.


Delivering the 141st Landon Lecture at Kansas State University,

the always meandering founder of CNN shared his fears about nuclear war:

"[I'm] afraid someone in power could make the mistake to launch a nuclear war, including President Bush, based on his previous decisions... You have to question ... the president on a lot of decisions he's made," Turner said. "He might just think launching those weapons would be a good thing to do. ... He thought Iraq was."

A comparison to fit the comparator, I think... Does Ted think GWB is Dr. Strangelove?

Well, at least this explains a lot about CNN... Bad intellectual seed...

But there is cause here for every man to cheer: Ted is proof a complete idiot can become rich and famous in the USA!

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