Friday, July 14, 2006

Madness! Madness!

Via Gilliard we have this quote from a Q&A with Bill Clinton yesterday-

I mean look, there are a few Democrats, and Senator Lieberman – my friend – is one, who genuinely believed what the President believed, and Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld believed, and apparently what Senator McCain believes, and a number of other people, which was "we should just get rid of Saddam whether he's got any weapons or not, and it doesn't matter if we let the U.N. inspectors finish."

When it comes to Iraq the fact that Lieberman believed we should oust Sadaam is only the lesser of Joe's sins.

The real problem is that he thought George W. Bush was the right man to do it.

The former sin is minor, the latter sin is mortal.

The way we get into these scrapes and get out of them, it's almost as though someone was dreaming up these situations; guiding our destiny.

The familiar feeling of helplessness has gripped me these last couple of days as the events in Lebanon escalate. Under normal circumstances it would be something I'd just keep a wary eye on and proceed on with my life. Normal circumstances being a President who has a better understanding of foreign affairs than a five-year old and who would place domestic political calculations at the bottom of a list of priorities when it came to dealing with the situation.

Watching the administration sit on it's butt while the regional violence spins out of control is literally painful. There is simply no reason other than politics as to why the U.S. would not be vigorously working towards a diplomatic solution. The administration and their media surrogates have made no secret of their intentions towards Iran. Unfortunately for President Bush the U.N. and our allies have simply refused to provide any diplomatic cover towards military action. It appears that the administration sees an escalation of the conflict as an opportunity. An opportunity to throw some ordinance at Iran. An opportunity to show muslims just how tough we are (again, sigh.) But - most importantly - an opportunity to put security front an center in the looming congressional midterm election.

I've used the monkey with a grenade analogy many times when talking about this President. This time the monkey is playing with the detonator on a thermonuclear warhead. To say that's engendering a little anxiety would be the understatement to end all understatements.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it.

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Peter Hoekstra says

"More frequently than what we would like, we find out that the intelligence community has been penetrated, not necessarily by al Qaeda, but by other nations or organizations," he said.

"I don't have any evidence. But from my perspective, when you have information that is leaked that is clearly helpful to our enemy, you cannot discount that possibility," he added.

It'd be a shame to let actual evidence get in the way of the GOP efforts to further emasculate the Fourth Estate.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I've got it! I've got it! The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right?

Suckered again on deficit forecasts. The administration shoots high on forecasts then claims victory when the deficit is only $296 billion. I would think it prudent that financial reporters stay away from any situation that involves haggling (buying a car or bartering in an arab market for example) as they would most certainly lose their pants.

Gotta love the White House, though. "Sure you stepped on a beehive but you were stung only 296 times as opposed to the 423 times we originally estimated. Isn't that great?"

UPDATE - It appears not everybody was suckered. Kudos to the LA Times for finally getting it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

You will then spend the remainder of the voyage contemplating all possible meanings of the phrase "silent as the grave". Do I make myself clear?

It's not difficult to find all sorts of stuff written on how the experience of going to the movies has changed over the years. Much of this is attributable to the rise of the home theater and the rise of the big cineplex.

Almost all of the commentary on this points to the general increase in plain old rudeness among theater-goers. Talking, chatting on cell phones and behaving overall as if they are in their own living room rather than a movie theater.

All of these are valid complaints but they leave off one very important reason that attending movies these days just isn't all that fun: the demise of the sense communal experience. The inverse of people making too much noise during the movie is that people sit on their hands during a movie- especially a big, fun summer film.

I attended "Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest" this weekend and was really surprised at how quiet the audience was for an opening weekend. Sure, not everything worked but there remained enough funny/ exciting stuff that should have provoked some sort of reaction out of the audience. Instead: nothing. Crickets.

I can put up with cell phones, crying babies and people talking. But the only reason I still go to the movie theater is to experience a movie with a crowd. If the crowd might as well not be there then I don't see what the point is...