Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Greg Sheffield over at Newsbusters thinks he’s on to something:

“CBS Slants Bush Poll in Favor of Democrats”


The subject of his scrutiny is a new CBS poll that puts GWB’s overall approval rating at just 34%. It’s the sample breakdown that has Greg all a-lather…

For the highlights:


For the data:


For an indirect CBS response to all the “Gregs” out there:


Greg – you’re grasping at straws. I hope this is just ignorance; that’s excusable. Any poll is an arbitrary measure whose only value is in its own internal consistency. If you want to insist CBS is deliberately slanting the poll, go ahead – it doesn’t matter, as long as they slant it the same way every time. Did you complain back in December when the same poll gave GWB a 5 point “bump?”

And they do “slant,” or weight, the poll the same every time, within a narrow margin. Over at Mystery Pollster


Mark Blumenthal notes “Some will no doubt seize on the fact that the latest CBS News sample is a few points more Democratic on party ID (37%) than on their last three surveys (34% in late January, 33% in early January and 32% in December), although the Republican percentage (28%) is about the same as the last three surveys (27%, 29% and 28% respectively).  However, the difference in the party results does not explain the drop in the Bush job rating, which occurs across all three categories.

And it does. Here’s the most recent previous poll:


This poll starts out with a significantly different cross-section but is weighted in more or less to match the series, as it should be.

And among Republicans, between the end of January and the end of February the President’s support declined from 83% to 72%, which is worse than the overall decline of 42% to 34%...

So go ahead, Greg… Put more makeup on that pig… I mean elephant… No matter what you put on top, we’ll all know what’s underneath…


VIA WorldNetDaily, we have something well, unusual…

“Anti-war activists planning to 'take over' White House”


“A leading anti-Iraq war group is advertising a plan to storm the White House next month and "take it over" until the Bush administration vacates the premises.”

Political Cooperative, one of the 1300 member groups of United for Peace & Justice, is the event sponsor:



From the United for Peace & Justice website:

“It is our duty and the duty of the United Nations to rescue the people of the world from the U.S. dictators… The Administration is Criminal and if they will not step down, we must storm in… The World Criminal Courts need to incarcerate Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld for admitted crimes and known crimes of international scope. The Political Cooperative will put a new, temporary government in place that is comprised of people from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and all the organizations that have finally made us aware of the truth”…

Now that’s a plan… Put Amnesty International in charge…

Sound and fury signifying nothing, I expect. But what if they did? What if 10,000 mad citizens, a smattering of them armed, some of them driving whatever trucks or busses they could commandeer, started down Pennsylvania Avenue… And just kept coming. Ramming gates and fences, running over cops, burning cars… Setting off bombs…

I’ve never been there; I assume the security is formidable. But I also assume it’s more geared toward obnoxious yet ultimately malleable crowds. What if, in order to protect the President and the White House, the defenders were forced to kill.. Ten? A hundred? More?

Would they do it? Tear gas, rubber bullets, and truncheons are one thing. What if it came down to using automatic weapons to stop a mob – or not stopping them?

Would they shoot? Would they stand aside? Would they defect?

An American Tiananmen Square. Or worse.

Monday, February 27, 2006


I’m getting beat up today for defending the UW Senate’s handling of the proposal to erect a monument honoring “Pappy” Boyington:

“Pappy Boyington - Shot Down By American Imperialism”


Comments made by 2 of the 100 Senators have especially inflamed the conservative blogosphere. Ashley Miller commented “many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men" and Jill Edwards said she “didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce.”

I offer some observations on the roots of the attitude displayed and then opine:

“Here's the real issue. The Senate did what Senates do: It debated the question. A lot of the things said by US Senators are over the top; it's not surprising the UW Senators said a few wild things. What they did was perfectly reasonable.”

What, exactly, constitutes unreasonable in this context?

VIA Huffington Post, Politics 1 brings us an example of what “reasonable” means:

“Gay Adoption”


From the post:

“State Senator Robert Hagan (D-Ohio) says he will introduce legislation to ban Republican couples from adopting children. According to Hagan, "credible research'' shows that adopted children raised in GOP households are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities." Hagan agrees there is no scientific evidence backing his claims about Republican parents -- just, as Hagan notes, there is none backing State Representative Ron Hood's (R) bill banning gay parents from adopting. Hood claims children purportedly suffer from emotional "harm" when they are adopted by gay couples. Hagen admits he created his proposal to mock Hood's proposed ban on gay adoption in a way that people would see the "blatantly discriminatory and extremely divisive" nature of the bill. The GOP House leadership does not support Hood's proposal.”

That’s what passes as reasonable for a Senator… Proposing a bill banning GOP adoption…

I’m reminded of last summer [July 22, 2005] when US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney led a Capitol Hill hearing on whether the Bush administration was involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…

Reminded of this and of a lot of other utterances our national and state leaders have given vent to… I’m sure everyone has their favorites…

Now, in between beatings, if will someone will please explain to me how Edwards and Miller can be considered out of order… Within the context of their examples…

Saturday, February 25, 2006


A first-class teapot tempest arose mid-February over the reluctance of the UW Senate to approve a proposal to erect a monument to WWII marine ace pilot Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, UW alumnus.

Blogger Andrews Dad has been following the controversy. Two relevant posts:



Blood pressure time…

I think this argument is a load of crap and has gone far enough. I don't think anyone is 100% right here, but the students are far more "right" than their attackers.

I am quite familiar with this history, and was long before the fracas. A lot is being left out.

Boyington didn't want to be a marine. He wanted to be an engineer. He started out as ROTC, did a few months' gig with a coast artillery battery and then served as a reservist. He chose his other, more noted path partly to escape a bad marriage... Later, when his drunken excesses got him censured, he fought to get a commission with the marines. They didn't want him! But they needed him...

Which is to say he was like a lot of other people in his day, an ordinary man with more than his share of stain on his life.

On 12-6-1941, most Americans didn't want to go to war. On 12-8-1941, they lined up by the thousands to sign a blank check to their Nation because they were needed. They weren't lured to the recruiter with promises of fat bonuses, huge educational payments, or the virtual guarantee of a cushy civilian job after the fact. They were promised nothing except blood, toil, tears, and sweat.

It's a far cry from today...

Why do the students at the U - or at least some of them - think a Marine isn't the kind of person "we" should honor? Because WWII was the last "just" war this Nation fought.

Who shot down Pappy, symbolically? Who changed what he has come to stand for here from a hero to a villain? US Imperialism did this. Vietnam did this.

FWIW, if I had been there, I would have voted for the memorial. If I had been voting on memorials per se at a time none existed, I would have voted no. There is honor in putting down your plow and taking up a gun for your country. There is no honor in what you do with the damned gun.

The students deadlocked on this proposal. As the fat chickenhawk extraordinaire, Kirby Wilbur, noted, a few years back the vote would have been overwhelmingly "no." Make what you want of that.

A couple of the girls in the Senate made stupid little girl comments. And your point is? One uneducated kid thought Boyington was a rich white guy. Oh well. She made a fool of herself. Maybe she has learned to study before speaking.

If you have read the minutes of the Senate meeting that started the fight you know there was a motion to table the proposal. If they had done so, maybe some of the senators would have had a chance to study this matter, which is, after all, something only we students of history know in detail. The vote might have been different after reflection.

Here's the real issue. The Senate did what Senates do: It debated the question. A lot of the things said by US Senators are over the top; it's not surprising the UW Senators said a few wild things. What they did was perfectly reasonable.

But not to the war party. They just couldn't wait to put a jackboot on somebody's neck because they cannot tolerate any more dissent, especially now, that their Iraq escapade is in tatters. It's not quite a NAZI attitude, but it's on the path to it. Since the wars this fallen Nation chooses to embroil itself in no longer have any real honor, the war fanatics fight at every turn to stoke the inherently tarnished, diminished honor of the volunteers who have chosen to follow our misleaders.

But it doesn't matter. They will never meet Pappy's measure or the measure of his peers because the Pappy generation didn't want war yet they fought anyway.

"Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just"... Pappy's generation could sing the anthem knowing they lived up to it. Today it just comes off as a hustle.

Pappy was famously and possibly incorrectly quoted [paraphrase] "Scratch a hero and find a bum," perhaps an appropriate sentiment coming from a man who flew his most famous sorties with a blinding hangover.

Pappy's collegiate descendent, Jill Edwards, said she "didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce."

I'm not so sure Pappy would have disagreed.

Friday, February 24, 2006


News sites world wide are carrying the news this morning of a near-miss disaster for the oil-dependent west. VIA Reuters:

“Saudis foil attack on oil facility”


Two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s 7.5 million barrel a day crude oil for export goes through this terminal. That’s about 12% of the oil exported worldwide…

Thinking out loud, darkly…

I’m the loon in charge of Iran. My mad scientists have managed to scrape together enough 95% U-235 to make a bomb. One bomb.

Where do I use it?

I could hit Haifa or Tel-Aviv. But it will be immediately obvious who did the deed, and the survivors will annihilate me. Likewise, I could attempt the more logistically difficult feat of attacking an American or European city, but terrible retaliation would still be almost certain.

One hundred fifty miles southwest of my border is the Achilles heel of the hated Western powers. It is controlled by people with whom I, a Persian Shiite, share neither religion nor ethnicity. Yet the relations between that Nation and my own are close enough I may be able to deny involvement.

It is vulnerable to a clandestine attack. That has been demonstrated before. It could be attacked by land or by ship.

And as a bonus, if the Abqaiq oil facility is destroyed, the price my country’s oil exports fetch will be greatly increased, and the increased prices will likely prevail for some time.



Joel Connelly over at the Seattle P-I brings us interesting if a bit rambling observations on the upcoming elections:

“We'll have front-row seat in battle for Congress”


A bit of news trivia toward the end caught my eye:

“A hero to the party's anti-war left, fiery controversial Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean spoke to 1,200 people in Olympia at the Democrats' annual crab feed Monday night. Gov. Christine Gregoire's aides expended a bit of energy figuring ways to assure that their boss was NOT photographed with Dean. The governor did greet Dean, in the safety of a private reception.”…

It’s amazing. Almost nobody wants to be seen with Howard Dean. There must be a special “unlikability” gene which causes it’s carrier to give off “obnoxious rays”… The only people unaffected are fellow carriers of the gene…

But it suggests a sure-fire winning strategy for the Democrats in 2006. The party should promise that everyone who votes Democrat gets to throw a pie at Howie…

Thursday, February 23, 2006


NewsDay.com brings us the comments of the junior Senator from New York on the subject of school vouchers:

“Clinton raps vouchers”


A more complete transcript of the lady’s comments can be read at MichelleMalkin.com:


The senator expressed misgivings of a slippery slope she sees in allowing public monies to be spent on private school tuitions. From Malkin, Mrs. Clinton opines:

“Suppose that you were meeting today to decide who got the vouchers. First parent comes and says 'I want to send my daughter to St. Peter's Roman Catholic School' and you say 'Great, wonderful school, here's your voucher. Next parent who comes says, 'I want to send, you know, my child to the Jewish Day School. Great here's your voucher! Next parent who comes says, "I want to send my child to the private school that I've already dreamed of sending my child to.' Fine. Here's your voucher.
Next parent who comes says, 'I want to send my child to the school of the Church of the White Supremacist.' You say, 'Wait a minute. You can't send...we're not giving a voucher for that.' And the parent says, 'Well, the way that I read Genesis, Cain was marked, therefore I believe in white supremacy. And therefore, you gave it to a Catholic parent, you gave it to a Jewish parent, gave it to a secular private parent. Under the Constitution, you can't discriminate against me.'

Suppose the next parent comes and says 'I want to send my child to the School of...the Jihad.' Wait a minute! We're not going to send a child with taxpayers dollars to the School of Jihad. 'Well, you gave it to the Catholics, gave it to the Jews, gave it to the private secular people. You're gonna tell me I can't? I'm a taxpayer. Under the Constitution.'

Now, tell me how we're going to make those choices.”

Blood pressure time… I think she’s making a damn good point.

Why do we have public schools? Where and when did the idea originate?

In the 1840’s in New England, more specifically the Boston area. And the public school movement wasn’t launched for “the children.” It was a response to one of America’s first great waves of immigration. The mostly Protestant Boston establishment viewed the Irish Catholic immigrants of the day with a profound xenophobia. They were “different.” Different language, different religion. A religion quite willing to set up its own schools…

A long time ago but still a valid point. The public school system has since its inception played a key role in the assimilation of immigrants, among other things. A more or less common standard, even a loose one like evolved in the US, does a great deal to unite the Nation, teaching the common language and at least some of the history and civic principles Americans share.

I like vouchers, at least in principle. I think a legally defensible way to avoid the kinds of problems the senator foresees can be devised. But I cannot simply dismiss these concerns in today’s political climate. Answer truthfully, Court watchers:

Do you believe many of our Courts wouldn’t uphold the “right” of a parent to send their child, at public expense, to the Church of the White Supremacist? Such an expansive view of “freedom from discrimination” is right up the 9th Circuit’s alley… And if not them, there are many others. Courts have many times held with fringe groups seeking various protections.

Consider it. Through sheer frustration liberally greased by the lobbying of non-public education providers, the Nation, without due consideration of the downside arguments, opens the purse to all comers.

The next day La Raza breaks ground on their own schools with a “Hispanically oriented” curriculum…

Balkanization, here we come…

Monday, February 20, 2006


Three articles published in the last week offer interesting insights into what many have called the “clash of civilizations” between the partly secular West and the intensely religious Moslem world.

First, on the clash.

Among the ranks of the neoconservative movement, the “clash of civilizations” view is quite popular. Neoconservatives who hold with this belief may be discomfited to read their view is shared by Bill Maher:

“Anti-Muslim Cartoons are a Riot”


Maher opines: “I have to admit: part of me is glad we're seeing the cartoon riots. They serve as a great reminder of what we're up against. Plus, sometimes it's just nice to see angry Muslims burning someone else's flag for a change. And all this over a cartoon… These riots really do remind us that, in some ways, this really is a clash of civilizations. One photo in particular caught my eye, one of a dark-skinned man holding a sign that read, "Freedom: Go to hell!"”

Such agreement among people so otherwise diverse may suggest “everybody” is right… Or wrong…

The question that must be answered, if one is to accept the “clash of civilizations” position is, who is really represented by the contending parties? Is this really, as hatemongers like Anne Coulter insist, a contest between “the ragheads” and the modern world? Or is that a simple view for simple minds?

Supporting that view, from AP:

“Muslims Assault U.S. Embassy in Indonesia”


Another in the long series of violent and even deadly protests by enraged Muslims throughout much of the world…

Much, but not all…

A different perspective is provided by an article in the February 18 New York Times, which chronicles a protest of a different sort - a protest which, the Times aside, has received very little mention in any press:

“More Than 1,000 Protest Cartoon Depiction of Prophet”


“More than 1,000 Muslims gathered yesterday for a rally and prayer session across the street from the Danish Consulate in Manhattan, protesting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have set off a series of violent demonstrations around the world since their first publication in Denmark… In a program that lasted several hours, the speakers talked about the responsibility that comes with free speech and their reverence for the prophet to a peaceful crowd that included families with small children and student groups.”

No riot, no arrests… Not even a burning GWB effigy. All in all, more peaceful than the average anti-abortion rally… Or anti-war rally…

In the classic work “The Foundation Trilogy,” Isaac Asimov noted “violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” The contrast provided by these two protests suggests an expansion: Violence is the last refuge of the powerless, the frustrated, the dispossessed. As a different kind of philosopher once noted in song, “when you got nothin’ you got nothin’ to lose.”

Riots – whether they are racially inspired riots in Los Angeles or religiously inspired ones in Jakarta – have two things in common: Their primary victims are the rioter’s own communities and opportunities, and the tinder in which their spark kindles is the detritus of despair.

Our leaders insist we are fighting a war against terror. I disagree. It isn’t a war against terror. It’s a war for hope. Once this Nation fought for things instead of against them. When we did, we were invincible. So conquer we must if our cause it be just…

Fail we will if it isn’t…

Sunday, February 19, 2006


VIA OrbusMax, NBC 4 out of Alta Loma, CA reports on an unusual legal issue:

“Girl Charged With Battery After Dodge Ball Game”


Brittney Schneiders, 12, and five other students were charged with battery after they “repeatedly and unnecessarily hit with the ball” a young brace-wearing boy who sustained a fat lip. The other students opted to accept probation, but Brittany and her parents opted to fight.

The article notes not all the facts in the case can be made public at his time.

“"I don't think I did (commit a crime)," Brittney told NBC4's Mary Parks. "I thought I was just playing a dodge ball game. I never thought it would come up to this level."”

Her father, Ray Schneiders, concurs.  "We are not parents who see our princess can do no wrong. It is all about power and the manic egos of those who possess and abuse it."

Gut reaction, based on admittedly incomplete information…

I agree with the father – but the abusers in this case are the kids, not the system. It’s the kids who had the power and abused it.

Oh, but it’s only a game…

Only a game? Games are the original and most basic way kids learn. It’s not the game, it’s the lesson. While there may be nothing wrong with “one hit and your out” dodgeball, group assaults are never OK, and they almost always stem from an ugly motivation.

Read between the lines. This kid was singled out by his tormentors. The game ended when the torment began. The lesson is either it’s OK to arbitrarily abuse for sport, or it’s not. A thrown ball is worlds away from setting a homeless drunk on fire, but the motivations have remarkably similar sources: The monkey urge to inflict pain for amusement.

Rebuke the monkey. Throw the book at her.


Michael Kinsley over at Slate shares his hobby - Federal Budget number crunching:

“The Spreadsheet - Numbers don't lie, but sometimes they mislead.”


The goal? “My goal is to reach an objective, scientific conclusion about which party governs better.”

Kinsley nebulously defines “better” as effectiveness in meeting the oft contradictory goals of meeting the needs and expectations of the citizens while operating in the black.

An interesting read if only for the obvious amount of work Mr. Kinsley has put into it. The data are arranged according to various contexts of political control: Who is President, which party controls Congress, etc. Five spreadsheets are provided: A summary, and two sets; 1930-2006 and 1981-2006, both repeated with a one-year lag for policy effect. The rationales for his choices are fully explained in the article. I recommend the two spreadsheets 1981-2006:



Kinsley notes “There are also some who believe fervently that the world began in 1981, and that the performance of Republican politicians before Ronald Reagan is about as relevant as the performance of the old Roman Senate in judging Republicans today.” While remembering there was life before Ronald, I agree Reagan rewrote the book – these spreadsheets are therefore more relevant.

Kinsley’s conclusions are as nebulous as his definitions but to his credit he does not interject political motivations – his or others’ - into the analysis. In short, the author thinks Democrats are better money managers but Republicans are improving.

That, of course, relies on defining “better”…

Looking at the two “post-Reagan” charts, I see a pattern and can’t help but also see the political machinations Kinsley avoids. Basically, it goes like this:

Republicans and Democrats, irrespective of who is in control, spend whatever is required to meet the social “needs” of “we the people.” In general, both parties are spending a smaller % of a bigger pie on non-defense outlays – and in the process, spending more all the time, although you have to crunch that # yourself. Interestingly, GWB is seen breaking both the trend and the bank in this category…

The real differences are in taxes, defense spending and deficit spending. Republicans clearly tax less of the total GDP, but they spend far more on defense. That, coupled with the entitlements trough, drives the Republicans into deficit spending far more than Democrats.


Both parties hand out the goodies to Joe Citizen.

Republicans also pander to the tax-cut lobby and the defense lobby, in the process screwing the children – not today, but tomorrow, when the little darlings are grown taxpayers coping with Grandpa’s debts.

Democrats on the other hand tax today, slight defense, and balance the budget – the kids won’t have a debt, but they may not have a free country, either, if slighting defense compromises security…

Political conclusion:

Republicans protect two key Republican voting blocks: The military-industrial complex and high-income taxpayers. Republican “concerns” about the deficit are largely a smokescreen.

Democrats, who consider the aforementioned voters a lost cause, try to make generic points by balancing the budget, in the process shafting predominately Republican interests, “taxing the rich” and slashing defense.

Both parties will spend whatever it takes to keep Joe Citizen comfortable today. They just get the money from different places.

Neither party is conservative. Caveat Emptor…

Saturday, February 18, 2006


VIA Huffington Post, AP informs us Iran has re-named the Danish Pastry:

“Iran Renames Danish Pastries”


From the article:

“Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries Thursday after the confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet published in a Danish newspaper. "Given the insults by Danish newspapers against the prophet, as of now the name of Danish pastries will give way to 'Rose of Muhammad' pastries," the union said in its order.

"This is a punishment for those who started misusing freedom of expression to insult the sanctities of Islam," said Ahmad Mahmoudi, a cake shop owner in northern Tehran.”

This is the silliest thing I have heard since the Freedom Fry… Speaking of which, doesn’t this make all of you who renamed their French Fries feel stupid?

It should…

Thursday, February 16, 2006


VIA The Seattle P-I, John K. Wiley of AP provides an interesting if incomplete analysis of one of Washington’s biggest cash crops:

“Pot edges cherries in value as a state agricultural product”


“The estimated $270 million value of the plants seized in 2005 ranked just above sweet cherries, which were valued at $242 million in 2004, and just below the $329 million the state's nurseries and greenhouses produced. Apples are the state's No. 1 agricultural commodity, bringing $962.5 million in 2004.”… “This is the seventh year in a row that record numbers of marijuana plants have been seized and destroyed statewide, the State Patrol said.”

Of course, the valuation is SWAG: The estimate is based on a standard one pound per plant and $2,000 per pound for the 135,323 plants seized. Yet the growth of seizures suggests interdiction aside, there is a healthy, even thriving marijuana economy here in The Evergreen State.

Thriving to an extent that staggers the imagination…

A few doodles:

The DEA has in the past estimated that seizures were approximately 1/3 of the total produced – a figure, FWIW, accepted by NORML. If we assume this ‘90’s vintage estimate is accurate, 270,646 plants – 270,646 pounds – of pot weren’t seized. Even if we attribute part of the increased seizures to increased effectiveness, it’s still huge: If only half got to the consumer, that’s still 135,323 pounds of weed.

That’s somewhere between four tenths and eight tenths of an ounce for every citizen of Washington State.

If we assume an interdictive effectiveness of 33% in 2003, then the 66,521 plants seized in 2003 represented a market availability of 133,042 pounds. If we assume increasing interdictive effectiveness to 50% in 2005 – a huge increase that would be - market availability probably still held its own and may have slightly increased from 2003 to 2005…

And then there are the imports: In 2003 British Columbia reported eradicating 460,971 plants and seizing 8345 pounds of “processed marijuana.” An additional 10,575 pounds was reported seized at the Blaine and Sumas border crossings… That number is growing, too…

Nor is Washington unusual. While the availability of public lands makes Washington a popular place for outdoor growing, we’re hardly leading the charge. This is a nationwide phenomenon.

Lunacy. The literal definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over even though it doesn’t work. The ill-conceived war on drugs is lost, and only a blind prejudice more potent than any opium dream can explain our government’s obdurate insistence on continuing the debacle.

That $270 million could have been tax revenue, and the market wouldn’t have been affected in the slightest. Add in the savings of law enforcement resources, from cops to prisons, and then extrapolate that savings as opportunity cost if the funds were diverted to the interdiction of really dangerous drugs like meth.

How much is the pot jihad really costing us?

You know, maybe it’s the politicians who are secretly smoking all that pot… It would explain a lot…


WorldNetDaily brings us the latest bilious rant from the wicked witch of the right:

“Muslim bites dog”


Coulter intersperses her usual racist shtick with foreign policy advice:

“I believe we are legally required to be bombing Syria right now. Muslims in Syria torched the Danish Embassy a few weeks ago, burning it to the ground… We are signatories to a treaty that requires us to do more than "hold Syria responsible" for this attack. Syria has staged a state-sponsored attack on our NATO partner on Danish soil, the Danish Embassy. According to the terms of the NATO treaty, the United States and most of Europe have an obligation to go to war with Syria”…

Bomb Syria? For the first time since 9-11 I agree with the witch. We should bomb Syria – with Anne Coulter… We can attach her to a precision munition and drop her on what’s left of the Danish Embassy .

Of course, using such a vile tactic might be a war crime… But I suppose a billion or two in reparations would make up for the defilement…

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


AFP brings us the comments of prominent Democrats relating to bwana Cheney’s safari mishap:

“Democrats blast Cheney secrecy after shooting”


The Junior Senator from New York opines:

“A tendency of this administration -- from the top all the way to the bottom -- is to withhold information ... to refuse to be forthcoming about information that is of significance and relevance to the jobs that all of you do, and the interests of the American people…Putting it all together, going back years now, there's a pattern and it's a pattern that should be troubling”…

Interesting… As I recall, her husband, the former Commander-in-Heat, did quite a bit of “shooting” in the Oval office, and was less than forthcoming with the details…

But that was with a MUCH smaller gun…


VIA Breitbart from AP we have word of a new ballad by Willie Nelson:

“Willie Nelson Releases Gay Cowboy Song”


I think we need to remember Willie isn’t really a cowboy, even if his heroes are… So I have to wonder if “Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out” shouldn’t be re-written “Inside every country music pretend cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out.”

No wonder he shot the woman in “Red-Headed Stranger”…


Linked via OrbusMax, WorldNetDaily delivers another “informed” account of the fate of Saddam’s WMD’s:

“Saddam general: WMDs in Syria”
“Another former confidant of ex-dictator makes claim, also links Iraq to al-Qaida”


From the article:

“A former general and friend of Saddam Hussein who defected but maintains close contact with Iraq claims the regime supported al-Qaida with intelligence, finances and munitions and believes weapons of mass destruction are hidden in Syria.

Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti, southern regional commander for Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen militia in the late 1980s, spoke with Ryan Mauro of WorldThreats.com.

Known as the "Butcher of Basra," al-Tikriti commanded units that dealt with chemical and biological weapons. He defected shortly before the Gulf War in 1991.”

Note that surname…  This fellow was from Saddam’s hometown and is likely Saddam’s kin…

You know, I think this fellow is full of compost and is simply trying to turn a long-lost status into fame today.

While remaining skeptical “we” the oft-misinformed people know the whole story, it’s plain to me this acount doesn’t pass the reality checks…

“He defected shortly before the Gulf War in 1991.”

Now read the rest of the article. In both the statements he makes and the statements imputed to him, he’s speaking either of the distant past or of events he didn’t witness. His claims about Al-Qaeda and WMD’s concern events which occurred years after he was safely locked up… Somewhere…

And as I have asked in other cases, where are the spooks in this? He defected before Gulf I. Before that, he admits committing what are probably war crimes against civilians. Therefore he survives under sufferance. Either everything he knows was turned over to CIA 15 years ago or the spooks gave him a bye – not likely. If “everything” went to the spooks, either they ignored “good” WMD evidence – at a time they were inventing BAD WMD evidence – or he didn’t have any good evidence.

Even if he did… This defection, which I remember, was a significant event. Are we to believe Saddam left plans intact that were compromised by a traitor?

In other words, he’s guessing. His may be good guesses, but they are based on old information and later second or third-hand accounts.

Those who insist the last chapter of the WMD saga has yet to be written may well be right. But this turkey won’t write it. He’s no Sada – he’s a suckup, looking for a few minutes of fame.

Throw the fish back. This one’s not a keeper.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


FoxNews reports this morning on a citation issued to bwana Cheney for failure to procure an Upland Game Bird stamp:

“Cheney Issued Warning for Failure to Buy Stamp”


Unofficial sources insist the Vice President did in fact have his Republican tag…

Sunday, February 12, 2006


FoxNews brings us the story of bwana Cheney:

“Cheney Accidentally Shoots Hunter in Texas”


The great white hunter was on safari stalking quail and bagged a Republican instead. The quail escaped unhurt…

I have to ask: What’s the bag limit on Republicans? I can’t find it anywhere in my hunter’s booklet… Maybe Republican season only opens in Texas…

And if that’s the case our State game department needs to look into the matter. We’re hip deep in Republicans around here, and they’re over-grazing the habitat…

Saturday, February 11, 2006


VIA Orbusmax and AZCentral, AP relates the tale of Manfred van H:

“Man to face charges for printing Koran on toilet paper”


Germans… There must be a fight-picking gene…

From the article:

[The defendant] “printed sheets of toilet paper with the sentence "Koran, the Holy Qur'aen" and sent them to about 15 mosques, television stations and magazines. In an accompanying letter, authorities say, he asserted that Islam's holy book is a "cookbook for terrorists" that calls for acts of violence. He proposed that a "memorial to all victims of Islamic terror" be set up, financed by sales of the toilet paper - an offer that prosecutors say he also posted on the Internet.”

He got charges and death threats for his trouble, but managed to incite no riots…

I bet he’s terribly disappointed.


VIA Drudge: Contactmusic.com brings us the opinions of Kanye West:



I think there is merit in the suggestion. How about a gig waving goodbye to Lot from the gates of Sodom???


Yesterday Newsmax brought us word of the still tentative future plans of the peerless radio commentator Paul Harvey:

“Fred Thompson May Replace Paul Harvey”


Speaking as someone who has enjoyed Paul Harvey’s work since childhood, I’d have to say Mr. Thompson may succeed Mr. Harvey, but no one will replace him…

An early, fond farewell to Paul. You will be sorely missed.


This morning the Idaho Statesman brings us the cheery tale of Walter Bayes, anti-abortion activist:

“Wilder abortion activist is starving to make a point”


Mr. Bayes is 33 days into a hunger strike and intends to starve to death unless the Idaho Legislature passes “a law saying that human life begins with conception.”

Talk about dedication to a cause…You’d think siring 16 kids would be enough “pro-life activism”…

And I have to ask a couple of questions: Is this martyrdom? In allowing him to do this, are his associates guilty of assisting suicide?

At the risk of appearing to be unforgivably crass, I have to opine… Go Wally! Maybe he could be a trendsetter! It would be fine if he could convince a few million or even a few thousand other busybodies to off themselves… America would be greatly served by a busybody depopulation initiative… We have too damn many people who think they are appointed to oversee other peoples’ private decisions.

Starve, Wally, starve!

Friday, February 10, 2006


The ugly and often violent furor over the “Mohammed cartoons” published last October by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten – and subsequently republished by others – begins to die down.

A fascinating footnote to the controversy is the identity of one of the republishing entities: The Egyptian Daily Al Fager. Egyptian Sandmonkey recounts the matter:

“Boycott Egypt”


Sandmonkey notes that the action taken by Al Fager last October – during Ramadan, no less – incited no riots…

This dichotomy has prompted many conservative and neoconservative pundits to suggest the recent protest riots in several Muslim countries were at least inflamed if not outright orchestrated by either governments or quasi-governmental religious institutions…

Perhaps. Perhaps at least the authorities involved “fanned the flames” kindled by a genuine outrage. But if the outrage was genuine, why didn’t Al Fager feel the thunderbolt?

I think we’re seeing the workings of an unusual aspect of human psychology. There is a possible parallel here in America…

The greatest linguistic taboo in America today is the word “nigger.” So opprobrious is this term that when referred to at all it is usually referred to as “the N word.”

Among non-blacks, that is. It is still common for black people to use the word, however impolitely, to refer to each other…

Why? Why should the taboo only apply to non-blacks?

Because spoken by a white man, the “N” word is perceived to be a disrespectful reminder of a great oppression, an oppression some insist continues to this day. The “oppressed” wield a kind of power against the “oppressor” via the taboo.

I think the cartoon protests stem from a similar perception of oppression, however misplaced that perception may be. Between Muslims, the questions portrayed by the cartoons, and indeed the question of the propriety of displaying the Prophet’s likeness can be discussed… One underdog to another, so to speak… The outsider’s comments carry hundreds of years of baggage, whether the outsider understands it or not.

It isn’t the picture, it’s the past…

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


A predictable offshoot of the current “cartoon protests” is the subject of a story from Yahoo News:

“Muslim Cartoon Protests Hit the Internet”


Hackers are defacing sites across Europe and especially in Denmark…

Which has to be viewed as progress of a sort. They’re hacking sites, not hacking off heads…


By now word of the Muslim reaction to cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed carried by European newspapers has reached the darkest cave and dankest jungle. The latest wrinkle in that reaction comes from Iran, where two days ago Tehran’s largest newspaper, The Hamshari Daily, announced it would hold a “Holocaust cartoon” contest.

Two links, one from our side, one from theirs…

From The UK Guardian: “Iranian paper to run Holocaust cartoons”


From AlJazeera: “Iran paper plans Holocaust cartoons”


From the latter: “It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust," Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri said on Monday. The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons," he asserted.”

As an Atheist, I would find the original dispute amusing but for the violence it spawned. Such primitive foolishness… More proof “we” are descended from monkeys, and not very far…

But the reaction of Iran’s “right wing” adds another dimension to the issue. While one might expect twelve year-olds to pursue this sort of tit for tat, to see this from a State-sanctioned newspaper…

And that’s a point we dare not mistake. We are seeing an adolescent reaction from a Nation ruled by adolescents – adolescents who many believe want the bomb.

It becomes harder all the time to expect any rationality from Iran. And without rationality, there is no possibility of political solutions to any of the international issues to which they are a party.

We’re going to have to spank the kids… Let’s hope it doesn’t hurt us more than them…


Yesterday I blogged the story of Rev. Richard Cizik, dubbed the leader of “God’s Green Soldiers” by Newsweek. Today the New York Times elaborates:

“Evangelical Leaders Join Global Warming Initiative”


From the article:

“Despite opposition from some of their colleagues, 86 evangelical Christian leaders have decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying "millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors."

Among signers of the statement, which will be released in Washington on Wednesday, are the presidents of 39 evangelical colleges, leaders of aid groups and churches, like the Salvation Army, and pastors of megachurches, including Rick Warren, author of the best seller "The Purpose-Driven Life."

"For most of us, until recently this has not been treated as a pressing issue or major priority," the statement said. "Indeed, many of us have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that climate change is a real problem and that it ought to matter to us as Christians. But now we have seen and heard enough."

The statement calls for federal legislation that would require reductions in carbon dioxide emissions through "cost-effective, market-based mechanisms"”…

This over the previously noted opposition to evangelical leaders such as James Dobson…

Watch this. It could be the beginning of the biggest political shift in a decade: The fragmentation of the “unfragmentable” Religious Right.

Oh well. That just seems to be the pattern. Political movements that hold together as the underdog working to gain power often fall apart once power is achieved. We’ll see if the political Christian soldiers break the pattern or affirm it…

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Newsweek brings us an account of an environmentalist who doesn’t fit the oft-offered stereotypes:

“God’s Green Soldiers”


Meet the Rev. Richard Cizik, a conservative evangelical Christian who believes environmental stewardship is a religious duty.

Not so much an unusual person as an unusual context. There are of course millions of people who call themselves Christians who also call themselves environmentalists – yet for the most part the well-known ones drive on the left side of the road…

But some things never change, including the nature of the fanatic. While Cizik’s views are gaining much ground among the churches’ leaders and members, some insist the subject doesn’t belong on the evangelist’s agenda:

Speaking for James Dobson and his Focus on the Family movement, Tom Minnery, director of Dobson's political-action group, opines "It's a distraction when families are falling apart and abortion continues as a great evil."

And that’s fanaticism in action. As long as abortion is legal and the fictional “traditional” family has competition, nothing else matters.

If there were a devil, and Dobson had a soul, he’d offer it in trade for an end to legal abortion. But Satan would turn him down… He/she would already own all the fanatics…

Thursday, February 02, 2006


VIA Orbusmax, we have a book review from moderate in training Karl Swenson at Leaning Straight Up:



The tome under consideration is a child’s book entitled “Why Mommy is a Democrat”…

Neither the site nor the author is officially connected with the Democratic Party… Which, I expect, appreciates this “endorsement” about as much as the RNC appreciates Pat Robertson…

Really, I have to suspect funny business… The critters on the book’s cover are squirrels, which, as any Possum can tell you, are all Republicans.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the average squirrel: Workaholic, obsessive saver, nervous – type “A” all the way – and constantly scanning the horizon for enemies…

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Huffington Post continues to beat the Abramoff drum:

Republican Operative Abramoff Sold Access To Bush For $25,000 A Head”...


“On May 9, 2001, five of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's clients met with the President at the White House. Grover Norquist, the President of Americans for Tax Reform, had invited them to a White House reception on behalf his organization. Telling his clients they had to be event "sponsors" to attend, Mr. Abramoff convinced at least two clients to write $25,000 checks to Americans For Tax Reform (ATR)… Though they did not attend the event, the Choctaw Indians donated $25,000 to be a "sponsor" of the meeting, according to a June 8, 2005 Associated Press report”

HMMM… Buy my Norquist and I’ll throw in a Bush at no extra charge…

Now that’s a hell of a salesman: He sold something he didn’t even have…


Drudge leads this morning with the following headline:

“Bloody Google: $12b Overnight Value Vanish”

It’s accompanied by a graph, courtesy of Yahoo:


I bet the Yahoo people enjoyed publishing that…


The State of the Union Address is obsolete.

I didn’t watch the State of the Union address. I don’t watch TV, and even if I did I wouldn’t watch this sort of thing, because TV relies too much on presentation and appeals to the emotional mind.

I prefer to think about politics…

So I set down this morning to read the address. VIA Orbusmax, KTAL TV provides a transcript:


5406 words about nothing… Or at least nothing startling or new…

Article 2, section 3 of the US Constitution provides the framework for this address that wasn’t called “the State of the Union” until FDR used the phrase in 1935. In a day when the fastest communication moved in a saddlebag, such an “annual message” likely served a legitimate purpose. Washington and Adams 1 delivered their messages in person; Jefferson began a tradition of delivering a written message, a tradition that held until 1913.

Today our acronym-laden media refers to SOTU, giving us the pre-game, the live coverage, the rebuttal, analyses of both, and then the post-game, which will surely last for days. The message itself is tightly scripted, professionally produced, and propped with the occasional cameo of the “ordinary” American, a wrinkle that began with that master showman, Ronald Reagan.

I think we need a better acronym for this: How about PPPP? That stands for Policy Platform Propaganda Presentation…

Dog & Pony themes we have heard before:

Four plugs against isolationism and one against protectionism; one for the odd combination of “border security” and a guest worker’s program. The President clearly intends to continue pursuing an aggressive foreign policy militarily while pushing globalist economics. How he will pay the freight for his adventures isn’t specified – as usual. Certainly not with tax revenues from Joe Averageman – his job is moving to China. If he learns Spanish, maybe he can work  - for half a wage – with the Mexicans…

Tax cuts get their salutatory plug: Good for the relatively small number of Americans who pay significant income taxes, meaningless for most. Nor are the tax cuts meaningful to the overall economy: 880 billion in “tax relief” sounds enormous, yet it is only 1.5% of the GDP and 2.2% of consumer spending.

On the flip side, and in almost the same breath, we’re handed the sacrificial lamb of “fiscal responsibility:” Continued cuts in “the growth of non-security discretionary spending.” Mind that phrase. Every year, another qualifying adjective is inserted – That because we’re running out of “discretionary” items that can be cut…

Then the expected potshot at “mandatory spending, or entitlements.” The potshot is a rimshot coming from a man who fought for the biggest increase in entitlement spending in the history of the Republic. In principle, I think Social Security reform of some kind is a good idea, even a necessity. But juxtaposed against the Medicare Cyclops, the totality begins to resemble what the drug benefit’s opponents said it was: A sellout. The biggest “beneficiary” of the prescription drug entitlement is the pharmaceutical industry. The biggest “beneficiary” of any currently proposed privatization scheme will be the markets which will receive the infusions of cash.

Remember the NASDAQ in 2000… Market collapses today are unlikely but not impossible. Taken together, you could foresee a time when millions could be utterly impoverished, starving and homeless, but still have their meds… If they can afford the co-pay…

Terror: Twenty mentions in several contexts, including spygate. 700 words on Iraq, including the dutiful Iraq widow in the audience shtick. Four mentions of “drugs” in a terrorist-related context; two for organized crime. Two things:

“A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison ... put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country” No mention that our invasion gave them their opening…

“Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy - a war that will be fought by Presidents of both parties, who will need steady bipartisan support from the Congress.”

This one really disturbs me, even though it’s just more recycled rhetoric. Put together with the spying, the conflation of terror and black market activities, the Patriot Act, and the more accepted Presidential war powers, the totality is a power grab. Our liberties will not survive the generations-long war implied, whether we win or not. If the power grab survives this administration, it’ll be permanent.

A plug for AIDS programs; a mention of malpractice reform. No news…

Hat tips to the Supremes… The Court, that is…

A not new but new for the President plug for more Science and Math teachers. A good idea, but frankly I doubt it will help. What we need is what South Korea recently lost: A scientist-hero. Science is way too far down the list of interests for most American kids.

Maybe he could get Cheryl Crowe or Madonna to work on “sexing up” the sciences…

And some discussion on the one thing on the National plate that is really still completely within our power to affect: Energy policy. We can still repair this if we start now. For the rest of it, for terrorism, democratic reforms, even the environment - mentioned once in connection with energy policy – the die is cast. The President used the “N” word three times – two in connection with somebody else’s weapons, once in connection with our energy policy. I hope we hear the words “nuclear power” from this administration a lot more in the future – even if GWB never learns how to pronounce it.

And the Democratic response? Didn’t read it… Why bother?

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