Saturday, April 22, 2006

Don't shove me Harv. I'm tired of being shoved.

Pink sings to the Prez about "hard work."

Via Americablog

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good news everyone!

Read further only if you're a fan of Star Trek. Not that namby-pamby Next Generation stuff or that souless dreck that is Voyager or Enterprise but Star f-ing Trek. Tough as nails man's men who were somewhat in shape, leggy yeoman's in mini-skirts, hamfisted political symbolism obvious to even a five year old child, props that were made quite literally out of salt shakers lying around the commissary and a "Prime Directive" of non-interference that got tossed out every single episode in lieu of a weird sort of outer space gunboat diplomacy.

And green chicks. Lots and lots of green chicks.

Golden ticket for what you ask? JJ Abrams has been picked up to helm the 11th feature installment for Star Trek!

JJ Abrams to Direct Star TrekAccording to Variety, Paramount has picked up Mission: Impossible III director J.J. Abrams to produce and direct the 11th Star Trek feature with hopes of getting the Enterprise back out of the docking station by 2008.


The story will be penned by Abrams and MI3 scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. After conflicting rumors that mentioned a return to Starfleet Academy with new characters, it has now been confirmed that the story will center on the early days of seminal Star Trek characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer space mission.

What this most likely means is we will be able to see Captain Kirk pass the infamous Kobayashi Maru, a test that stumped every cadet before and after James T. Kirk's go with the program.

Best news of all: the guys that ruined Trek on television Brian Bragga and Rick Berman are nowhere near this project.


Hey you wouldn't hit a guy with glasses on, would you? Huh?

Atrios points us towards Joe Lieberman's pathetic "Can't we just agree to disagree?" ad he just started running in Connecticut. Lieberman seems to think he can get out of his slobbering support for the Iraq boondoggle, not to mention the lips on the posterior position he's assumed towards The Worst President in Historytm, with a simple shrug and a smile.

"I already know that some of you feel passionately against my position in Iraq. I respect your views, and while we probably won't change each others' minds, I hope we can still have a dialogue and find common ground on all the issues where we do agree," Lieberman says in the TV spot.

Let me see if I can put this in terms Joe might understand...

"I already know that some of you feel passionately against my position requiring crying babies be fed to rabid Dobermans. I respect your views, and while we probably won't change each others' minds, I hope we can still have a dialogue and find common ground on all the issues where we do agree," Lieberman says in the TV spot.

We aren't talking tax policy here, Joe. The war in Iraq is the most serious issue facing this country in thirty years and you're on the wrong side of it.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath-of-God type stuff.

This report by the Oxford Research Group on implications of an attack on Iran is sobering.

Although US or Israeli attacks would severely damage Iranian nuclear and missile programmes, Iran would have many methods of responding in the months and years that followed. These would include disruption of Gulf oil production and exports, in spite of US attempts at pre-emption, systematic support for insurgents in Iraq, and encouragement to associates in Southern Lebanon to stage attacks on Israel. There would be considerable national unity in Iran in the face of military action by the United States or Israel, including a revitalised Revolutionary Guard.

One key response from Iran would be a determination to reconstruct a nuclear programme and develop it rapidly into a nuclear weapons capability, with this accompanied by withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This would require further attacks. A military operation against Iran would not, therefore, be a short-term matter but would set in motion a complex and long-lasting confrontation. It follows that military action should be firmly ruled out and alternative strategies developed.

Although I find that kind of forward thinking tedius. Why reason out the possibilities that would arise from an attack on Iran when we have Bush's gut to make the decision. You know the gut I'm talking about. The same gut that told him forty-plus years of being an alcoholic, cocaine-addicted layabout would be a good thing.

(NOTE: I was going to use the "Cats and Dogs sleeping together" quote but couldn't find a good pick of Bill talking to the mayor.)

Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk down middle, sooner or later, get squished.

I would hope that Democratic leaders would take Matt Stoller's advice...

The admission that progressives are winning influence within the party is something I've noticed since my four years in politics. The party has been moving away from the DLC model of triangulation, and towards the politics of contrast. This is natural for an opposition party, but it also means that not listening to the progressive base could cause an increasing number of problems for centrists Democrats. heart but I won't hold my breath.

Stoller is commenting on a piece by Ben Smith claiming Hillary Clinton is a shoe-in for the Democratic nomination (tons of money) and has a "50-50 chance" of actually winning the White House. Amazingly he doesn't say a thing about this bombshell.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that despite Hillary's money she doesn't have a chance in hell of winning the Democratic nomination and, were she to beat those odds she would be squashed like a grape in the highway in the general election.

Centrists and DLC types have consistently underestimated the strong sentiment against the Iraq war among the Democratic base. They have continued to try and play the middle by taking a powder on confronting the President both pre-war and, even more importantly in my view, after the invasion as the country sank into a bloody civil war. More than anything the Democratic party nominee for President in 2008 cannot be a pro-Iraq war candidate. The base simply won't have it.

But were she to beat the odds and slap the base down by winning the nomination her candidacy would be DOA. The political strategy she's been operating under seems to be an assumption that her base is in the bag (hardly) so she can afford to take "centrist*" positions early on in order to attract undecideds in the general election. Conventional wisdom has held that undecideds are the ones that actually decide elections.

George W. Bush has proven that this particular bit of conventional wisdom is wrong. Voters have become increasingly apathetic over the last several years with the importance of undecided voters diminishing as fewer and fewer actually go to the polls. The important thing to winning an election now is getting out your base on election day.

Short of a very public mea culpa and a loud denunciation of the war in Iraq and Bush's handling of same there's no way the Democratic base would turn out vote for Hillary and she would lose the election handily.

(* With over half the country now opposed to the Iraq war I'm not even sure you could say that a position supporting the President's handling of same could be deemed "centrist.")

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I came over for a snoop, uh, a scoop of sugar. I hope I'm not disturbing you.

This column in yesterday's Oregonian pretty much made my head explode.

School bus drivers being trained to watch for terrorism signs

4/18/2006, 12:00 a.m. PT
The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — School bus drivers and transportation officials across the state are being trained to spot possible terrorists and other signs of danger.

The training, given to more than 1,000 Oregonians so far, is part of the national School Bus Watch program, which teaches drivers to identify, evaluate and report suspicious activities around school buses and along bus routes.

Bus drivers are taught to look for little signals that something could be awry: For example, a man at a bus stop wearing a long trench coat on a hot summer day; a person photographing students boarding or departing; a person videotaping school buses from a freeway overpass or sketching the layout of school buildings.

The online version of the article appears to be annotated with much of the money quotes that appeared in the print version conspicously absent. The fact that the program is part of a $50 million dollar Department of Homeland Security grant is missing from the portion I linked.

$50 million dollars that could have gone to mounting geiger-counters on every crane at every port in the U.S. but instead went to training school bus drivers in the hinterland to spot junior-jihadists who sneak onto their buses.

You'd be surprised to know that thus far the program hasn't turned up any terrorist plots but I can just imagine the interview with the first bus driver that breaks a al-qaeda cell: "He was a kid I'd never seen ride the bus before, see. I could just tell he was up to something and not just because he was six feet tall with a full-on beard."

At one point the print version of the article mentions some of the how-to-spot-an-evildoer-training was conducted for average citizens in Medford. Medford. The number one target on Bin Laden's operation map, I'm sure.

Get over you bad selves, Medford. Nobody, least of all the enemies of the United States, care about you.

This is another telling graf:

Tom Slavin, a veteran school bus driver for Portland Public Schools who is also certified to train bus drivers, said the program teaches drivers to be observers, not law enforcement officers. Slavin said all drivers volunteering for the training program must go through an extensive criminal background check but are not required to sign a loyalty oath.

No loyalty oath? That is SO pre-9/11. Loyalty oaths are all the rage these days.

What the heck would they swear loyalty to? Good driving? Bus safety? Not throttling the noisy little brats?

I'm actually am fairly close to someone that's been through this training for bus drivers. One of the things they're taught is that if they suspect someone of preparing to do something nefarious to a bus they should radio in a secret code and continue business as usual until law enforcement determines what to do. In other words: if you suspect someone has a bomb on the bus keep picking up students in case they suspect you're on to them and set off the bomb.

Only the Bush administration could come up with something that asinine.

Great Scott!

"The 164 centrifuges are in place. There are pipes but no (nuclear) material has been fed into them," a diplomat close to the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Reuters, 3/24/2006

Iran will move to ``industrial scale'' uranium enrichment involving 54,000 centrifuges at its Natanz plant, the Associated Press quoted deputy nuclear chief Mohammad Saeedi as telling state-run television today.

``Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days,'' Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow.

Bloomberg, 4/12/2006

"Iran tested a nuclear weapon in 1988. Look it up."

A conservative caller to Randi Rhodes' radio show yesterday.

At this rate Fox News will be reporting Iran INVENTED atomic weapons and that the United States is scrambling to catch-up.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Apology accepted, Captain Needa.

The efforts by the administration to rush to Rummy's defense are pretty damn laughable. I particularly enjoy former Air Force Gen. Richard Myers statement:

"We gave him our best military advice and I think that's what we're obligated to do," Myers said on ABC's "This Week." "If we don't do that, we should be shot."

Of course this ignores the small item that the generals who spoke out against Rumsfeld last week weren't claiming that they weren't able to give him advice, only that their advice was routinely ignored. Neither Myers statement nor Rumsfeld's defensive memo sent out to officers at the end of last week which detailed lots of meeting with officers do anything to counter that point.

Perhaps the saddest element to this pathetic counter-offensive in the media to the "Rumsfeld is incompetent" meme is the fact that the debate itself is completely meaningless. We don't need former Generals to point out that Rumsfeld is the most incompetent strategist since Montgomery. We simply have to turn on the evening news and find out what's happening in Iraq on a daily basis.

Sorry General Myers. I'm not going to believe you over my lying eyes.