Saturday, December 30, 2006

We kill for our future. We kill for peace.

It's long past time that anybody try to make sense of President CooCoo Bananas incoherent babblings but having accidentally read this in the middle of an article on Saddam's execution I'm simply left saying "WTF?"

Mr Bush said Saddam's execution was "the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime".

Saddam's victims were denied show-trials followed by speedy executions?

Friday, December 29, 2006

This is down to the line, folks, this is down to the line. There can be no more divisions among the living!

I've got zombies on the mind.

Overdroid's lovely girlfriend presented me with a copy of Max Brook's "World War Z" for Christmas and I've found myself *ahem* devouring it.

Brooks tells the tale of a zombie apocalypse that engulfs the earth and almost wipes out humanity. The story is related as a series of post-war interviews Brooks conducted with the survivors for a report to the United Nations. It may sound cheesy but it's utterly engrossing. Probably partly because the zombies are really not that important to the story and partly because Brooks seems to have thought of everything when it comes to how such a fictional war would play out.

What I really love about the book is that it's seeped into my subconscious in all sorts of insidious ways. I'm finding myself analyzing what the best places in the Portland/ Metro area would be to defend against the zombie hordes. Brooks points out that zombies can't climb so tall buildings are a good idea as long as they're clear of infection and the stairwells have all been disabled.

There's a former federal treasury building only a couple of blocks from my office which has bars, bullet proof glass and steel shutters on the windows and 6" thick solid steel stores without handles that looked like a good place to hole-up. The problem is it's awfully close to downtown and that's where all the undead will concentrated.

Ultimately the safest place in Oregon in the even of a zombie uprising would probably be Timberline lodge. It's not as secure of a building but the zombies have a lot of trouble with cold weather and freeze. Just thought I'd share that important safety tip.

Admit so, sir. This is some new form of torture. Say it, Brother Sir.

A friend recently asked me who I thought would take the Democratic nomination in '08. I haven't the foggiest. If you believe the press then it'll be Hillary or Obama. Yawn. Here's my personal take on the candidates and potential candidates so far...

Hillary Clinton - No, no, just NO. The appeal seems to be her profile, her enormous campaign war chest with would presumably give her an advantage in the general, and the "two-fer" we'd get from having Bill Clinton back in the Whitehouse as the First Spouse. So what?

Hillary has been a huge disappointment as a Senator. She represents a solidly blue state yet has continued to put her national political ambitions ahead of what's good for the country or what's good for the Democratic party. Her support for the war or, at the very least, her failure to criticize it's prosecution, should automatically disqualify her from the nomination as demonstratably lacking the judgment necessary to be President.

Barack Obama - Look, I loved his keynote speech at the convention, although it was delivered before the the wrong audience. Democrats aren't the ones pushing the red/ blue America meme.

Putting that aside the guy just hasn't lived up to the hype. There was a particularly memorable moment when he got Pwned by John McCain over torture that comes to mind. He just comes across as too nice a guy to deal realistically with Republicans who favor eliminationist policies towards Democrats.

John Edwards - I like the populist message and like seeing someone focus on economic concerns but the fact is he did very poorly in his debate with V.P. Yosemite Sam. If you can't face down the Prince of Darkness, who can you face down.

Dennis Kucinich - Love his policitics but don't think he has a serious chance at fundraising and the nomination. Would love to be wrong on this.

John Kerry and Al Gore - I'm lumping these guys together not just because they share the dubious honor of already having been the Democratic candidate for the Presidency but they also both failed to understand the depths Republicans would go to to steal the Presidency nor be willing to put up a real fight. Kerry sins on this issue are particularly unforgivable.

I know I left a ton of potential candidates off this list the whole exercise is beginning to leave me depressed. I'm really hoping for a white horse this year to come in and shake things up.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Let a man die, right away he's "good, old Claude". How was he *before* he bucked out?

One more observation on the death of President Ford.The headline in today's Big O reads "Ford again stirs unity, this time to grieve." This seems to be the prevailing public stance on the former President.

But I'm having a difficult time imagining that same sentiment will be extended by the press to former President Clinton when he passes. In fact - I can't imagine there will be a headline or article that doesn't lead with the Lewinsky matter and refer to the impeachment in one way or another.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

When they look at me, they see what they are.

I really try to live by the adage to never speak ill of the dead but I can't be the only one finding the adjective "brave" a little tough to swallow when referring to Gerald Ford. His crowning achievement was his pardon of Richard Nixon- an act that won him a "Profile in Courage" award from the Kennedy foundation a few years ago. Ted Kennedy said he spoke out against the pardon at the time but realizes now that it was a brave act that will be looked on favorably by history. He may be speaking too soon.

It's too soon to tell for sure, but it seems to me that history will judge that the scorch-and-burn political strategy really came into it's own under Nixon and Ford's pardon did nothing but push it out of sight. It continued to fester and plague our political system for the next thirty years. Had Nixon actually been tried and convicted we MAY not have had to suffer through the likes of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove with the damage they've done to America and our political system.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I can't be responsible for what my goons are ordered to do.


I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday. I know I sure had a great time goofing with Overdroid and his gal, Don and his fam, the fam, HJ and everybody else and I suppose it's time to get back to work and post a couple of things since I'm out of blackberry wine anyway.

So right out of the gate I give you this article covering Saddam losing his death-sentence appeal in Iraq. I recall quite a few Western legal analysts saying the conviction would probably be overturned on appeal considering what a farce the actual trial was. Suckers.

Seems there's this section of Iraqi law in which a death sentence must be ratified by the President and two Vice Presidents of Iraq. There was some question as to whether President Talabani would sign the death warrant since he generally opposses the death penalty but the Appeals court wasn't about to let that technicality get in the way of a good hangin' --

Raed Juhi, a spokesman for the High Tribunal court that convicted Saddam, said the Iraqi judicial system would ensure that Saddam is executed even if Talabani and the two vice presidents do not ratify the decision.

“We’ll implement the verdict by the power of the law,” Juhi said without elaborating.

At least it's not like Washington is pushing the High Tribunal to ignore the countries' laws and push through this execution. Our hands are clean, at least.

Excuse me while I clean off my keyboard. I just re-read the paragraph before this.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I said, "Next," goddamn it! This is not the DMV!

I'll be out on vacation for the week and posting periodically as I plan on hitting the homemade blackberry wine pretty heavily (Overdroid and his girlfriend are here.)


Friday, December 15, 2006

If that's normal, I don't want it!

I had a roomate in college that displayed a singularly annoying habit. Everything that was new to her was new to everybody else. Thus- her daily discoveries about different cultures, politics, government and all the other things she either wasn't exposed to, or didn't spend time to think about in the small town in which she went to high school, were all carefully explained in excruciating detail to me each evening as if I had come out of the same insular world and had no idea what the hell she was talking about.

For some reason this roomate has come to mind while reading a sampling of recent columns by conservative writers. Their columns brought flashbacks of sitting on that cheap apartment couch listening to my roomate prattle on about the separation of powers or the importance of family in latin-American culture. Conservatives are the last people that should be lecturing us about the state of Iraq.

David Brooks puts his imagination to work (always a sure sign that he's about to run off the rails) and presents us a picture of a dystopian middle east future that results from the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

The essence of all this disorder was that the Arab nation-states lost control. Subnational groups — like Hezbollah and the Mahdi Army — and supranational groups — like loosely connected terror networks, the new Sunni and Shiite Leagues and the satellite television networks — went from strength to strength while central national governments toppled and fell. The collapse of national governments led to a power vacuum that the more authentic and deeply rooted social groups sought to fill.

This war had several stages. The first was the disintegration of Iraq. No national institutions could survive the onslaught: There was no impartial justice, no effective law enforcement, no political organization that put loyalty to nation above loyalty to sect or tribe. Absent a government of laws, government by death squads emerged. Militias — with their own hospitals, schools and indoctrination systems — sought to impose order through assassination and revenge.

Put aside for the moment that Brook's middle east nightmare could easily come about regardless of whether or not our troops remain in Iraq the fundamental question remains- "David, where the hell were you during the debate leading up to the Iraq war?" The issue of the power vacuum that could arise with the overthrow of Sadaam and the collapse of Iraq and the rest of the middle east into chaos was a primary argument advocated by those against the war. Just because you dismissed that argument out of hand because it was made by damn, dirty hippies doesn't mean it's any less correct.

At least the infamous Jonah Goldberg actually makes an effort to offer a solution to this ensuing chaos. In his Los Angeles Times column entitled Iraq needs a Pinochet he argues that Iraq needs a strongman, a benign dictator, to bring all the disparate warring factions in the country into line. He compares and contrasts two models as examples- Pinochet and Fidel Castro- declaring Pinochet the hands down better example of a dictator. I guess he cracked fewer skulls. Or threw them out of helicopters.

Goldberg does close with one of the most unintentionally amusing paragraphs I've read in some time:

But these days, there's a newfound love for precisely this sort of realpolitik. Consider Jonathan Chait, who recently floated a Swiftian proposal that we put Saddam Hussein back in power in Iraq because, given his track record of maintaining stability and recognizing how terrible things could get in Iraq, Hussein might actually represent the least-bad option. Even discounting his sarcasm, this was morally myopic. But it seems to me, if you can contemplate reinstalling a Hussein, you'd count yourself lucky to have a Pinochet.

Realpolitik? The neocon clowns like Goldberg wouldn't know realpolitik if, to paraphrase the Black Adder, it sat on their face and wiggled singing "realpolitik is here to stay!"

So let's do the math. Two of the leading neocon deep-thinkers have independently concluded that an Iraqi dictator would be the best option to unify Iraq and thus keep the middle east from descending into violent chaos. I guess hindsight really is 20/20.

I feel like the parent who cautioned a small child against touching the stove because he might be burned, only to watch him touch the stove and burn his hand only to spend the rest of the day listening to that child explain how dangerous stove's are.

Or like I'm back in college.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

In my loneliness I decided that if I could not inspire love, which is my deepest hope, I would instead cause fear.

A tear shed at the passing of Peter Boyle. With very few actual lines he absolutely stole "Young Frankenstein." He parlayed a scary look and a gruff personality into a lifetime schtick but was supposedly one of the nicest guys in show business.

He inspired a lot more love than fear. RIP, sir.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.

This tempest over the movie Happy Feet immediately brings to mind something Mrs. Wormer quipped a few years ago when she heard of televangalist Jerry Fallwell's campaign against a "homosexual" Bert and Ernie: "They're puppets."

(Mrs. Wormer is the queen of icy observations. Several years ago while in a theater watching E.T., the gentleman sitting behind her waited until the end of the movie when the alien magically made Elliot and his bike fly to spout in disbelief "Oh, Cmon!" Mrs. Wormer turned around and said "But you bought it up 'til now.")

It goes without saying that conservatives are not often, as the Tick would say, on a first name basis with lucidity. They couldn't call themselves conservatives if they weren't accustomed to looking reality squarely in the face and telling it to bugger off. Those that've displayed the mental gymnastics necessary to convince themselves Saddam was behind 9/11 or that abstinence only programs actually decrease teen sexual activity or that human activity doesn't contribute significantly towards global warming aren't really a big leap away from assuming cartoon penguins represent the evils of liberalism.

I will admit to a grudging respect for those conservatives that've taken the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach to cartoons. The Veggie Tales are cloyingly annoying yet they wear their Christianity loudly and proudly. It does beg the question as to whether it's creators recognize the irony of a cartoon about Christians in which Christians are represented by vegetables. What's the deal- were cattle, zombies or lemmings already taken?

But what I'd really like would be for conservatives to stop the cowardly hiding and the alternative entertainment sources and engage us directly. Don't believe in global warming? Fine, then engage a study that can be published in scientific journals for peer review rather than broadcast through right-wing media. Think a movie about dancing penguins is a little too heavy on the liberal message? Fund your own major animated film about animals that eat their young, kill everything that's weaker and rule through fear. Why not Atlas Shrugs with bears?

Monday, December 11, 2006

I must stop this whole thing! Why, for fifty-three years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming... but how?

Since we have become the frontline soldiers in the War on Christmas (WOC) we might as well discuss tactics. The spotlight that dastardly Bill O' Reilly has cast on us these past few years has forced us to go underground and use guerilla tactics. Here are some strategies I cribbed from other secular warriors and some I came up with on my own-

Operation Wishes Aren't Horses - Kidnap a mall Santa, steal his costume and take his place. As kids give you their Christmas wishes tell them they're thinking to small and that Santa's going to bring them a pony. The dissapointed kids on Christmas morning will swear off Christmas forever.

Operation Frosty's Randy - Move the carrot noses on neighborhood snowmen down a couple of feet.

Operation Santa's Last Ride - Put together a fake Santa-tracking website mimicking NORAD's Christmas eve offering. Early in the evening make a grim announcement that Santa was accidentally shot down by Air National Guard just before reaching North America.

Operation Reveal the Double Entendre - Tell children what the song "Santa Baby" is really about. They'll be so grossed out they won't enjoy the holiday.

Operation Lamer Gamer - Build a state-of-the-art gaming system, make sure it's the "must have" item of the season, then only manufacture enough that only a few people are able to secure one for their kids.

Operation MistlePOWNED - Hang mistletoe around the office then file tons of harassment complaints.

Operation X-Mas Nativity - Rearrange the figures at the town nativity scene so they're now involved in lewd behavior. Replace the baby Jesus with a disco ball.

Good luck soldiers!

General Wormer

Friday, December 08, 2006

No, you don't look like you're up to something, but whenever you look like you're not up to ANYTHING, you're up to something.

Via Atrios I see Gordo's jumping the Iraq war ship.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an emotional speech on the Senate floor Thursday night, Sen Gordon Smith, a moderate Republican from Oregon who has been a supporter of the war in Iraq, said the U.S. military's "tactics have failed" and he "cannot support that anymore."

Smith said he is at, "the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up the same bombs, day after day."

That is absurd," he said. "It may even be criminal."

There are few things in life that are as predictably regular as Gordon Smith's "I'm really a moderate" act he puts on every cycle he's up for re-election. Change of heart? Hardly. It's just time for a conservative politician who voted for Bush's tax cuts, the Iraq war and to convict President Clinton after his impeachment, to start pretending he represents the mainstream views held by his constituents.

Gordo: it ain't gonna work this time. Come 08 it's back to pea-farming for you, bud.

And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.

As if we needed another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart they've also joined the fray in Bill O'Reilly's "war on Christmas" nonsense.

“We, quite frankly, have learned a lesson from last year” and all of the threats of protest and bad publicity that arose from shunning “Merry Christmas” in the stores, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Linda Blakley told USA Today. “We’re not afraid to use the term ‘Merry Christmas.’ We’ll use it early, and we’ll use it often,” she said.

Apparently that "lesson" was that when the Right Wing throws themselves on the ground, kicking and screaming because you won't buy them a "real, live unicorn" that the thing to do is to give them what they want. Of course like most spoiled children all that'll do will be to enable them the next time they want something they can't have.

While I'm on the subject of Wal-Mart shame on the Salvation Army for allowing their charity to be featured so prominently in Wal Mart's holiday advertising. They're reputation as THE Christmas charity doesn't deserve to be sullied by association with the nation's leading corporate deadbeat.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


On the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor my thoughts go out to a sailor who, as a favor to a buddy who wanted a sea billet, switched billets with the guy to the naval base at San Diego from the battleship Tennessee just a month before the Japanese attack. His buddy survived but called him afterwards to jokingly accuse him of "knowing something."

He got over to Pearl anyway later in the month. He was an Electrician's Mate so they sent him into the capsized battleships first to wade through the garbage, oil and bodies of his fellow sailors and string lights so that salvage could begin. This was certainly his most vivid memory of the war and something that choked him up on the retelling even sixty odd years after the attack.

He may not of won the Medal of Honor but gramps was still a hero.

(If you're trying to figure out how the Christmas Carol quote works with the attack on Pearl Harbor - it doesn't. It's just something the sailor I'm talking about used to like to say this time of year.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.

Who would've thought that something as simple as word tense can make all the difference in the world? Yesterday Robert M Gates the heir apparent to Rummy's empty seat told the Senate Armed Services Committee "is not winning the war in Iraq." This just so happens to dovetail nicely into the sensible centrist McCain/ Lieberman position of doing whatever it takes to "win," usually manifest in the form of sending in more troops. "Not winning" is the perfect expression politically because it not only implies that there's still a chance to "win*" but also plays neatly to the American sense of rooting for the underdog.

In the afternoon and after Gates took some hits from critics on the right in that "not winning" could be interpreted as "losing" he amended his comments to say what he meant is that we are "neither winning or losing" in Iraq. Way to muddle things further, Bobby.

It occurs to me that Gates' characterization of the war is so confusingly nebulous and our options so murky is that he simply is using the wrong tense of "to lose" when describing the situation. Myself and somewhere upwards of 60% of Americans recognize the war in Iraq is already "lost" in the sense the U.S. can achieve military goals that will bring political stability. The U.S. army is the finest fighting force in the world but it was built to fight conventional, not guerilla wars.

Still- I have to give Gates and others credit for demonstrating signs that they're beginning to understand what's going on by entertaining the idea of losing in Iraq. It's just that they're about two years behind everybody else when it comes to deciding what needs to be done.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money.

The last second flood of Measure 37 claims has sent the state into a bit of a panic but has at least provided a bit of grim amusement in watching the Oregonian expressing shock, SHOCK, that corporations might take advantage of a ballot initiative they largely funded the passage of. Not the sharpest tools in the shed over there at the Lazy O.

More sympathetic are the small rural communities which strongly supported Measure 37 that are now running smack dab into the law of unintended consequences. The media has focused on coastal communities near to large tracts of corporate owned timber that may face development under Measure 37 claims but that's not the end of the story. For example:

Sandy received its first claim from Lila C. Leathers, who says her downtown property is hurt by a ban on gas stations and drive-through restaurants.

In other words: a truck stop.

The Sandy downtown is really a small, oval shaped island that splits Highway 26 East and West on both sides. Traffic on the highway is slowed to 25 mph in town and, during the winter ski months when the traffic is particularly heavy, it can be a real bear getting through town.

Leather's property is on the West end of that island bordering Highway 26 on both sides. The truck stop she's been fighting to build would no doubt add considerable traffic problems to the surrounding area as tractor trailers merged back onto the highway. That's why the notoriously development-friendly city have wisely spiked her efforts up to this point. A truck stop would not be beneficial for the local community nor the seasonal travelers that depend on the highway to get up the mountain. Sandy, which bills itself as the "Gateway to Mt. Hood," would become more gate than gateway.

The Governor and legislative leaders are discussing some "tweaking" of Measure 37 during the next session. Most likely something will come together that caps the larger, corporate claims while expediting the smaller individual claims. I would hope the Leathers deal falls into the former category because the benefit to Sandy, and to all all Oregonians that enjoy their winter sports, is negligible to say the least.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kid's suck.

Do you have a child you particulary despise for whatever reason? Is their a toddler at whom the sound of his voice just makes you want to claw off your own ears? Well here's the perfect Christmas present for the little spawn of satan:

From the authors of "Help! Mom! There are liberals under my bed" comes another children's book which can serve as the equivalent of a literary lobotomy on any wee ones on your hate list.

If you want to ensure a certain child doesn't develop the cognitive skills to complete college, much less kindergarden, get them this book.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Overdroid advances another human temporal unit based on Terra's rotation around Sol.

Another year older another year closer to total subjugation of the earth. Congrats Seph!

Friday, December 01, 2006

He seems fit enough. Have him report to me in Istanbul in 24 hours.

The apparent assassination of dissident Alexander Litvinenko by radiation poisoning at first left me to briefly wonder whether Vladimir Putin and his government really realize the cold war is over. The whole episode has a James Bond/ poison-tipped boot aspect to it that would've been right at home forty years ago.

Upon further reflection it appears the threat Litvinenko posed to Moscow was more political than security related. Putin worried what Livinenko's outspoken criticism would mean to his and his deputies electoral fortunes.

Ultimately if Putin ordered Litvinenko's assassination then he actually is crudely following Western political models. He just hasn't completely grasped the concept that in our political system it's the reputation of our political opponents that we send hit squads after not the political opponents themselves. I believe we refer to this as "swiftboating." Once he comes to terms with this concept he'll save himself a ton of time, effort and embarrassment in the future.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Well surprise, surprise.

So the Iraq Study Group, also known as the Iraq CBA ("Cover Bush's Ass") Group comes to the stunning conclusion that the best option for Iraq is withdrawal of U.S. forces, but refuses to put a timeline on such a withdrawal. We should pull out of Iraq? Thanks for the hard work figuring that out, Captain Obvious.

The longer this drags on the more dangerous the inevitable withdrawal will be. Delaying the withdrawal simply because President Chuckles and the chattering classes don't want to admit they were wrong on the war is a morally wretched position that puts their reputation before our troops' lives.

I don't give a flying figg if George W. Bush goes down in history as the architect of the worst U.S. policy debacle in history. What I want is our covenant with the troops to be honored. Their service is based on trust in the wise stewardship of their leaders. Neither Bush nor the Iraq Study Group are providing that.

Scenes like that pictured below involving REAL marines have got to stop.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

They don't have a name for what he is.

George W. Bush - still a heartless sociopath.

How can all these things happen to just one person?

Of all the excuses posited to explain away the 18,000 undervotes in District 13, Florida the weakest has to be the "intentional decision by voters to skip this race." As someone who has voted in every election since I was 18 I can say the only races I might intentionally skip are those down-ballot like judgeships in which I might not know a lot about the candidates. On the high-profile congressional and gubernatorial votes it always comes down to the lesser of two evils.

(The "Bringing up Baby" quote was for Aaron. Probably the best of the great screwball comedies, IMHO.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Know why you couldn't figure this one, Keyes? I'll tell ya. 'Cause the guy you were looking for was too close.

"Bush to press Iraqi leader on 'strategy'"

"Joker to press Batman on rise in Gotham crime."

"Industry to press environmental activists on emissions."

"Man to press dog on cell phone use."

"Yoko to press John on shrieking voice heard in his songs."

"Doctor to press patient..."

You get the picture.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.

The end is nigh.

We've got nothing to do with the war. Maybe that's why we're on this ship, cause we're not good enough to fight.

In my tryptophan-induced coma last week I missed a post by tristero at Digby's in which he wrestles with the question of whether one must themselves fight in a war they support.

Jose Chung and DavidByron both seem to believe (and I'm sure they'll correct me if I'm wrong!) that the chickenhawk issue really is about whether only those with military service are qualified to opine on the subject of war. But that's not quite right. Of course, military service, or the lack of, has no genuine importance to the worth of an argument pro or con the Bush/Iraq war.* The real issue is the total cluelessness of a particular group of war advocates whose drooling enthusiasm for war isn't grounded in reality.

I tried to make it clear in my post - but it wasn't clear enough, apparently - that the hostile question, "well, if you support the war so much, why doncha serve?" is no query at all, but an angry, exasperated, assertion amounting to saying, "You don't know a damn thing about what you're talking about, or you wouldn't talk about Bush/Iraq in such a foolish, callous way." So yes, as DavidByron says, the question is a nasty, sarcastic, ad hominem attack. What makes it appropriate is that the reasoning of the chickenhawks was beyond serious discussion. Thomas Friedman's insistence that even if Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 or had WMD's, "we" still oughta whack him because "we" can. George Packer's utterly naive kumbaya-save-the-world attitude. John Podhoretz' floating the suggestion that maybe US forces should have killed more young Iraqi males at the beginning of the invasion. And, of course, the 101st Keyboarders who talk as if Mr. Kurtz's "Exterminate all of the brutes" doesn't go far enough by half.

I've been tossing this question of whether or not one is qualified to speak on military matters if one has never worn the uniform of the United States military. Obviously from a purely pedantic standpoint the answer is in the affirmative. Citizens make decisions on the use of military in broad strokes through support of platforms advocated by individual candidates at the ballot box. Support of specific military action (such as that in Kosovo or Iraq) generally takes the form of arguing the necessity of the action with their fellow citizens and bumper stickers. Speech and franchise are constitutionally protected with no caveat of prior military service necessary.

Ultimately the chickenhawk issue is really a question of personal morality. There's a whole series of questions that those of us practicing realpolitik work through before deciding to lend their support to specific military action. Is this action necessary for the security of the Untied States an it's allies? Does it meet the long term strategic interests of the United States? Have we exhausted all diplomatic and alternative means of solving the problem? Does it meet the Powell Doctrine and, if not, would I be willing to send me an mine to fight?

Chickenhawks aren't just people who avoided service but are today glib about sending others to fight in wars they advocate. Chickhawks are people who refuse to ask themselves any of all of those moral questions before advocating military conflict. They chose not to expose themselves to the moral ambiguity of war when they were younger and choose today not to expose themselves to the moral ambiguities of war by not facing and coming to terms with them today. They are both physical and moral cowards.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I can't cook a Thanksgiving dinner. All I can make is cold cereal and maybe toast.

Happy Thanksgiving to all great friends and family! I can think of a lot of things to be thankful for this year which is probably in and of itself the biggest thing I'm thankful for.

Love ya all!


Someone get that dirty old man out of this operating theater.

There isn't a whole lot to say about the sad passing of Robert Altman other than to say I personally salute him for two amazing achievements: single-handedly changing the style of western films with "McCabe and Mrs. Miller" and being the first director of a major motion picture with the balls to use the word "fuck" in it's dialog.

RIP, sir.

Come on, this man has been under a lot of pressure.

Sometimes it's hard to escape the fact that a goodly portion of progressives have a stick up their ass. You know the people I'm talking about; humorless, iron-deficient drones who flee from pop culture like Dracula from holy water.

Over at Tapped there's a small spat taking place over Michael Richards's recent racist remarks during a stand-up routine. Charles Pierce took a whack at Richards's tirade by observing, in part, that the late comic Sam Kinison was much better and channeling the angry id. This prompted the following response from fellow Tapped blogger Garance Franke-Ruta:

Why is it that misogyny is the only hatred still defended by men of the left? Seinfeld soothed the "maidenly vapors" people had around Kinison? My recollection was that Kinison was a disgusting, hateful, hate-filled boor and those "maidenly vapors" he raised were genuine feminist objections to him, by women who were, for example, trying to create a situation so that girls like myself were not, in the 1980s, subjected to his rants (and those of the equally gross Andrew Dice Clay) by our older brothers and their friends.

Personally I wouldn't bet the farm on Franke-Ruta's recollection. Kinison was indeed rude and crude, of that there's little argument. But characterizing Kinison as a misogynist portrays a serious misunderstanding of the man's approach to comedy.

I remember vividly spending a date with the very progressive future Mrs. Wormer sitting in my car and listening to a tape of Kinison's stand-up and laughing profusely. As a former pastor Kinison's take on religon and Jesus were inspired. Both of us were big fans of Kinison yet neither of us could stand the aforementioned Andrew Dice Clay because we found he himself to be too much of a misogynist. What is that seperated Kinison from Clay?

Pathos. Despite his screaming Kinison rarely came across as truly angry. Instead he came across as someone that'd been beat up pretty good by life and was in a lot of pain. For all the abuse heaped on others he himself was generally the biggest target of his own satire. Clay - who calmly chain smoked and recited dirty limericks during his own act - came across as somebody who really hated women and everybody else that didn't make up his target audience of frat boys.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The nose of the police dog, although long and efficient, points in only one direction at a time.

You'll have to admit this murder/ shooting of Clinton's neighbors looks a trifle suspicious. Obviously it should be front-page news now that the OJ deal has fallen by the wayside. What the press really needs now is former congressman Dan Burton "proving" the Clintons were involved by summoning them to watch him shooting a watermelon in his back yard. Those were good times.

I'm sure Larry Klayman can be talked into coming out of retirment to dig into this story and get to the bottom of the Clinton's guilt. Perhaps it involved a love triangle or swinging or something really sordid like that. Proof? Not necessary where the Clintons are involved. The burden of proof lies somewhere between innuendo and just-made-this-up-out-of-whole-cloth when it's Bill and Hillary.

Of course to really make this nostalgia come alive they'd have to bring in Richard Mellon Scaife to finance the investigation. I'm sure it wouldn't take much convincing. I'm sure he still hates the Clintons. He just didn't seem the forgiving type.

"Spokespeople for the Clintons did not immediately respond to requests for comment."

I don't doubt it for a second.

Take your stinkin' paws of me, you damn dirty ape!

Damn, dirty hippies are apparently trying to ruin everything in Kentucky (and America.) I'm sure Digby and Duncan will be on the case.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Child of the kindly West, I have come to know, if more of us valued your ways - food and cheer above hoarded gold - it would be a merrier world.

Those that felt Peter Jackson did a poor job of interpreting Tolkein for the big screen are going to be happy at this news. I'm personally not the least bit happy that my position that Jackson got a lot more right than he did wrong and it could've been much, much worse is about to be vindicated when someone else takes the helm of the Hobbit.

Let me see if I've got this straight: in order to be grounded, I've got to be crazy and I must be crazy to keep flying.

I imagine you've already seen this Washington Post article outlining a pentagon summary of options in Iraq but just in case you missed it-

Pentagon review sees 3 options in Iraq

The Pentagon's closely guarded review of how to improve the situation in Iraq has outlined three basic options: Send in more troops, shrink the force but stay longer, or pull out, according to senior defense officials.

Insiders have dubbed the options "Go Big," "Go Long" and "Go Home." The group conducting the review is likely to recommend a combination of a small, short-term increase in U.S. troops and a long-term commitment to stepped-up training and advising of Iraqi forces, the officials said.

Personally I would haved dubbed the three options "Go Big," "Dogpaddle" and "Go Home" but that's just me being a silly realist. "Go Long" does imply throwing a Hail Mary pass so at least it somewhat captures the slim chance of success of what really amounts to staying the course.

Friday, November 17, 2006

You'll shoot your eye out, kid.

It wouldn't be the holidays without the hype of some sort of must have gaming console. Yesterday's Big O ran a front page story on a college guy who is paying people to wait in line with him all this week at Best Buy so he can purchase a bunch of Playstation 3s as soon as they go on sale. He plans on flipping them for at least $2000.00 profit on each on ebay.

The article posited that this sort of thing was just adding to the cynicism of the holidays. I think that's true but I don't think it's fair to blame those that are taking advantage of the situation such as that enterprising college student. If there's a real bad guy here it's the manufactures of these systems; Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo that intentionally ferment scarcity in order to elevate the hype and sell more systems. Not sure what can be done about that business practice but they're all weasels just the same.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?

General Abizaid seems to be channeling Goldilocks. In a Senate hearing yesterday he told Democratic Senators that withdrawing troops from Iraq would increase sectarian violence. Then, in response to questioning from Maverick John McCain about increasing troops by about 20,000 men (as he's been pushing on the Tim Russert circuit,) Abizaid answered that our "troop posture needs to stay where it is" in order that the Iraqi government stands up and fills the gap on it's own. Apparently the porridge is just right.

Which is odd because most of us find this administration's Iraq porridge recipe nauseating at any temperature.

Here's a thought: when you are occupying a country that has an unemployment rate with estimates ranging from 28% all the way up 70% then the level of troops you send in to help administer order might be wholly meaningless. That's a heck of a lot of dissatisfied people who have nothing to do but sit around, get angry and look for somebody to blame. The leap towards violence isn't so great when you take that into consideration.

Which is why our economic policies and aid to Iraq following the war was at least as important, if not moreso, as our military strategy. Those of you who have some sense of U.S. policy in the twentieth century and recognize the genius that was the Marshall Plan are probably breathing a sigh of relief. Don't. You'd be forgetting that this is the Bush administration formulating our policy here. They don't learn from history they MAKE history. Or some other such nonsense.

Conservatives have waited decades for an opportunity like that presented in Iraq- a chance to demonstrate to all that conservative economic principles work. They looked at Iraq like Dr. Frankenstein staring at a slab of recently exumed body parts. "Finally a chance to show the world I'm not crazy!"

(Insert evil crazy laugh here)

The dust from the defeat of the Iraqi had hardly cleared before the conservative mad scientists snapped on their surgical gloves, got out their scalpels and got to work. They implemented a flat tax of 15% (exempting foreign companies doing contract work in Iraq,) made sure organized labor was deterred by making all of Iraq a "right to work" state, employed the cheapest labor possible (read: non-Iraqis) and pretty much sent blood and body parts flying as they worked deep into the night.

Is it any wonder they wound up creating a monster? Now their creation is advancing on the town, leaving the bodies of villagers and constables in it's wake and they want to quibble about how many torch-wielding townspeople we're going to send out to meet it?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Did you see that movie, "Night of the Living Dead"?

Be sure to check out Overdroid's hysterical "Night of the Zombie" which he wrote and starred in.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.

Sigh. I don't really expect this to get better.

Pelosi may have another problem. As the crop of freshly elected Democrats — including many younger ones who campaigned to the right of the party line — came to Capitol Hill for orientation Monday, they encountered a leadership dominated by mostly liberal, old-school Democrats.

A couple of questions for the LA Times reporter: what exactly is the Democratic "party line" and what is your evidence that newly elected young Democrats "campaigned to the right" of it?

So much of what seems to be accepted as benchmarks to political discussion these days seems wholly seperated from reality. This model of the political breakdown of the two major parties is thirty years old. Old and busted: Democrats are hippy, liberal whackos. New hotness: Democrats represent the mainstream of American values.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Also, if I should fall, remember what you see here.

With the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial here is just a reminder of his greatest speech, the most famous parts delivered off the cuff.

You're hanging around my fuckin' neck like a vulture, like impending death.

Who gives a rat's petutie what Joe Lieberman says has to be done about Iraq? Follow-up question: when will the media do the Senate math and recognize Joe represents only Joe at this point?

Speaking in Hartford last Wednesday, Lieberman remained unwavering in his opposition to Democrats' calls for withdrawing troops from Iraq. "What we are doing now there is not working, but that doesn't mean in any sense that it is time for us to retreat," he said. "This is a test in a very difficult and dangerous hour in our history."

But his victory also was something of an aberration, and whatever the fate of Lieberman's proposed bipartisan group, which he pledges to introduce in January, his continued support of Bush's stay-the-course approach places him well outside the Democratic mainstream.

"The voters spoke on Tuesday that they're unhappy with the status quo," Lieberman said. However, he added, "I don't believe they want us to pick up and leave."

Since upwards of 60% of Americans support a withdrawal from Iraq I'd say that Joe's support for the war doesn't just put him outside of the "Democratic mainstream" but out of the American mainstream.

I know Joe did great by pretending he wasn't a Bush lapdog during the general election and fooled enough Dems/ Moderates to make his almost overwhelming Republican support signifigant enough to get him re-elected but that doesn't in any shape or form mean we should take Joe seriously now. He is not a serious man.

Friday, November 10, 2006

All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important!

It's been a crazy week. Besides the wonderful things that have been happening nationally work's been just nuts and my ability to post has been cut considerably by the collapse of my home computer to the dreaded motherboardblowsup virus. It appears it won't be recovering. So here are a few random thoughts on various items I'd wanted to talk about this week but didn't get the chance--

The Virginia Senate seat - I was trying to figure out the math on the senate make up with Lieberman and what it would mean if Allen beat Webb. In that case the Senate would have stood at 48 Democrats and 50 Republicans with 2 independents. As I understand it (I could be wrong about this) the Vice President doesn't vote when it comes to determining Majority Leader, only on bills before the Senate that are tied. This would've really put Lieberman in the cat bird's seat. Webb's win then diffused some of Lieberman's bargaining power though I don't doubt he'll still leverage quite a bit out of Democrats.

Governor Schwarzenegger - I don't believe his moderate act but, truth be told, what really gets me down about his re-election is that it makes it unlikely this film will ever be made. I may not like Arnold the Governator but I enjoy Arnold the bad actor immensely.

Conservatives - My very cool brother gave me John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience" for my birthday and probably the best parts of that book are the beginning chapters in which Dean searches for the definition of "conservatism" itself by examining the statements of it's leaders. The long and the short of is that it that the only thing conservatives seem to have in common is an overwhelming belief that "liberals" are bad. It's really a movement more easily defined by what it isn't rather than what it is.

With that in mind I got a good chuckle out of people like Ann Coulter, George Will and Rush Limbaugh trying to spin this election as a victory for conservatives by concentrating on the moderate Dems just elected and claiming America was really voting against liberals again. Who did they vote for? Who did the rest of the Bush wingnut base vote for? Moderate Democrats or Republicans?

Face facts guys: this election was to movement conservatism the same thing that Ned Beatty's run in with a toothless hillbilly on a river rafting trip did- America saying "Squeal piggie!"

Investigations vs. Impeachment - A lot of progressives seem to be fretting because Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have said impeachment is off the table. First comes first, guys. Investigate and THEN impeach. ;-)

Rummy b' Gone - I spent yesterday morning looking for a quote from Rumsfeld which was something he said at his press conference with Bush to the effect that "if voters understoond what kind of war we're fighting the election would've been different." Bush made similar comments- owing the results to the inability of our simple minds to wrap around the complex strategy they've put in place to prosecute the GWOT.

Dear Rummy - You're no Sun Tzu. You aren't even a Sonny Bono. True military strategists adapt to the patterns of the enemy, not stumble blindly forward on the same path fighting the war you wish you were fighting. Small, rapid troop deployments combined with high-tech military equipment may be effective when fighting conventional armies but that's not what we're facing in Iraq, you worthless hack.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's like, how much more black could this be? and the answer is none. None more black.

In answer to a question regarding the incoming Democratic congress' differing approach to the war in Iraq Bush said:

We're not going to leave before the job is done. And obviously, we've got a lot of work to do with some members of Congress. I don't know how many members of Congress said, get out right now - I mean, the candidates running for Congress in the Senate. I haven't seen that chart.

I'd like to see that chart myself because if you were to ask the question "how many Democratic congressman say we should immediately pull out of Iraq" the answer would be none. None congressmen.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The things you own end up owning you.

On the day following his re-election Bush made the following observation:

"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."

As you might expect today Bush is singing a different tune:

"I recognize that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made" in Iraq, the president said. "Yet I also believe most Americans - and leaders here in Washington from both political parties - understand we cannot accept defeat."

As has been aptly pointed out many times before by others "defeat" to George W. Bush means a signifigant withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Yet this is exactly what the voters are demanding by yesterday's vote.

It's another "accountability moment," Mr. President. Time to open wide and take you medicine like a big boy.

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know.

I was able to contact my Farber graduate White House mole last night to gleen some of the reaction to the election from the principle players-

President Bush "Just like the last election I earned political capital last night. In this case it's what I call 'deficit political capital." I intend to spend it."

Donald Rumsfeld "Goodness gracious, gee golly wilikers."

Dick Cheney "Unfortunately tonight the American people decided to join our enemies and, through their reckless actions in the ballot box, provide the terrorists with a key to our house. A major city will now be hit."

Rush Limbaugh "Folks, if it weren't for Democrats we would have won this election."

Secretary Rice "I called the Iraqi ambassador to express to him that our policy towards his country would not change as a result of this vote and unfortunately he could not stop laughing."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Dinosaurs, uh, had their shot, and nature selected them for extinction!

Shortly after the Republicans took the House in 1994 newly installed Speaker Newt Gingrich had the skull of a T-Rex mounted in his office which he dubbed "T-Rex Anne." He was asked about that skull during a PBS interview in 2001 and explained that he had it as a reminder to the other Republican members of the House not to forget humility.

Eighty-five million years ago Rex Anne was out there feeling very important, looking for something to eat, and so I just wanted to remind my members, "Let's not get too full of ourselves here. This is a long democracy. We'll have our innings, but there'll be other people who will get their innings, too."

I recall reading an article on Gingrich at the time they took congress in which he referenced the skull and taking the opposite in his intended symbolism: it represented the primacy of the powerful on the food change and the (hoped) permanence of Gingrich's Republican majority. It represented more hubris than humility.

I remember thinking at the time that he seemed awfully comfortable in the Speaker's office. That it was going to be a huge hassle for him in a couple years when the voters realize their mistake and Republicans lose the House again and he has to move that big skull back out of that office. I resolved to do whatever I could to make sure Gingrich - and his T Rex skull - were kicked to the curb.

Now - fourteen years later and with Gingrich long gone - it looks like his revolution is finally coming to an end today. Although that's a long time to wait I take comfort in the fact that it could have been much worse.

It could've been eighty-five million years.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Look at these three words written larger than the rest. With a special pride never written before.

We the people, baby! Tomorrow we start the long journey to take our country back.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

I've had all these little bits of video rattling around in my head the last couple of weeks and apologize if it all seems a bit... jumbled. It's almost straight out of my subconcious so it's bound to be a little disorganized.

I also realize it's quite a bit of stuff to watch but most of it you've probably seen before. The stuff from "V" are a couple of the best bits from the film, IMHO. Hendrix playing a song that tears me up in pretty much ANY form (except Jessica Simpson's version - ick) Eminem's "Mosh" which got me so stoked that the youth of America would save us. They tried. They were just overwhelmed by the "afraid of their own shadow" security voters.

Most of all it's a combination of both glum assesment of the current state of affairs and call to arms. Here's a silly, fun video to bring hope which I stole directly from Jane Hamsher at firedoglake.

Listen carefully. Can you hear it?

You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.

"This is a different kind of army.

If you look at history you'll see men fight for pay, or women, or some other kind of loot. They fight for land, or because a king makes them, or just because they like killing. But we're here for something new. This hasn't happened much in the history of the world. We are an army out to set other men free. America should be free ground, from here to the Pacific Ocean. No man has to bow, no man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was. Here you can be something. Here you can build a home. But it's not the land. There's always more land. It's the idea that we all have value, you and me. What we're fighting for, in the end, is each other. Sorry. Didn't mean to preach."