Friday, September 15, 2006

Oh, Snap!

Glenn Greenwald has the goods on the Specter bill. Harry Reid said on a conference call that - if it makes it to the floor - it will be fillibustered hard and rode home wet.

If you have the time you can read the bill (pdf) here. I've spend some time punching through it trying to see if the clearly unconstitutional retro-active application of the changes to FISA was still included but one passage from "findings" section where Specter is outlining the necessity of the bill really struck me. He is using the failure to nail Zacarias Moussaoui by the FBI as proof that the FISA law is to restrictive as stands.

"For days before September 11, 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation suspected that confessed terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui was planning to hijack a commercial plane. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, however, could not meet the requirements to obtain a traditional warrant or an order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to search his laptop computer (Report of the 9/11 Commission 273-76)" (emphasis mine)

Specter sure makes it sound like the FISA court denied the FBI's request for a warrant, doesn't he? If one took the bill at face value and assumed the 9/11 Commission Report said exactly what they said then one would certainly be left with that impression.

I didn't. I read through the pages of the report covering Moussaoui and found this-

This set off a spirtited debate between the Minneapolis Field Office, FBI headquarters and the CIA as to whether the Chechen rebels and Khattab were sufficiently associated with terrorist a organization to constitute a "foreign power" for the purposes of the FISA statute. FBI headquarters did not believe this was good enough, and its National Security Law Unit declined to submit a FISA application."

Say it ain't so. Arlen "magic bullet" Specter isn't shooting straight in his FISA reform bill?

Next thing you'll tell me Brittany Spears is a bad parent or Colin Farrell has an anger management problem.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In Moscow we fought for an inch of freedom! Here you take it and pour shit all over it.

After reading some of the comments in reply to some of my posts in clear to me that some of you left-of-center types just don't get it. The the Jihadiciders (sounds better than terrorists) hate our freedom. How difficult is that to understand?

They hate our freedom of religon. They hate the fact that we don't have leaders in our government who shove religon down our throats, or make laws based upon their supernatural beliefs.

The terrorists hate our freedom of speech. They hate the fact our media can broadcast the wrong-doings of our government without fear of legal reprisals. That the media isn't controlled by fear of the government. They also hate the fact we can be critical of our own government without being labeled "traitors" or "appeasers."

They hate our freedom of assembly. They hate the fact that we can say anything we want to our leader to his face, to protest without being shunted off someplace miles away where he doesn't have to look at us.

The terrorists hate all of our constitutionally protected freedoms. They hate our right to a fair and speedy trial, our right to a lawyer and our right to a trial by jury. They hate the fact we can walk into any library in the land and check out a book without the government looking over our shoulder to see what we're reading. They hate the fact we can make a phone call to our Aunt Edna without the government listening in to what we're saying. They hate the fact the government can't just arrest us and hold us without charging us with a crime.

The people that hate this country do hate all of our freedoms. When are you guys finally going to get that through your thick heads?
Happy Birthday Lil' Munch

13. I'm doomed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

There will be no bargain, young Jedi. I shall enjoy watching you die.

In response to Keith Olbermann's excellent 911 speech Rush writes:

All right, folks. I think that is revisionist history. This idea that we were all unified on 9/11 is just bunk, and I am going to say it. I don't believe it for a moment. I think that when 9/11 happened, a lot of kooks on the left said, "A-ha! This is how we're going to get Bush. He's incompetent," or they were either saying, "Oh, no! The country is going to come together." You can't tell me that the people who hated Bush ten months earlier over the Florida aftermath, the Florida recount, all of a sudden came together and it was all kumbaya time. I do not believe it."

I'd make the observation that anyone who cannot imagine that those whose politics they disagree with would put country before party in a time of national crisis must themself be someone who consistently puts party before country and sees everything through this same lens.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?

Bush said yesterday that "This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a struggle for civilization. We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations."

Need I note that Barb and Jenna remain on the party circuit maintaining their horrible allergy to clothes in a desert camo pattern? Apparently they aren't too terribly worried about this "struggle for civilization." At least not enough to actually take part in the struggle by enlisting.

If his own family doesn't take the President seriously why should we?

It's CROC savin' time!

Last week I used a throw-away line in my labor day post about the death of Steve Irwin and how he was a "pseudo-real" hero. I'd considered writing more about Irwin but we were all so inundated with news about his death that I figured anything I wrote would probably be better said by one of the numerous big-time commenters writing about the life of the energetic Aussie.

This weekend the local rag ran an opinion piece by the clueless conservative Debra Saunders* entitled Crocodile Tears which really got my blood boiling.

Many Australians, however, could not stand Irwin. As ex-patriate Germaine Greer wrote in the Guardian, "The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin."

(I first learned about Irwin in 2001, when the guide who took me through Australia's rain forest complained bitterly about the croc-hunting showboat. In the rain forest, the biggest crocodile we saw was about a foot long. Later, when pointing to a lizard, the guide quipped, "You can tell your friends that in Australia you saw a lizard the size of a crocodile.")

Irwin's other legacy is that he has passed onto the world's children the fanciful notion that nature is a theme park. He failed to respect the lethal side of his co-star creatures. "I don't want to seem arrogant or big-headed," Irwin once told the Washington Post's Paul Farhi, "but I have a real instinct with animals. I've grown up with them ... It's like I have an uncanny supernatural force rattling around my body. I tell you what, mate; it's magnetism."

No, mate, it's delusion. The real surprise is that a crocodile hadn't finished off Irwin sooner -- just as a bear mauled to death Grizzly People co-founder Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard in Alaska three years ago.

When human beings mistake wildlife for Walt Disney characters, they fail to appreciate wild animals for what they truly are -- wild. Read: Not susceptible to boyish charm.

It's no surprise that a shrew like Saunders had never been exposed to Irwin from his numerous Animal Planet shows but felt compelled to write about him anyway. That noxious combination of blissful ignorance combined unbending certainty has always been a hallmark of conservative culture. Saunders isn't new in this regard.

If Saunders HAD taken the time to watch Irwin in action she probably wouldn't have been able to so glibly accuse him of Disneyesque personification with the animals he was working with. As the father of three, I've watched hours of Irwin and I can say confidently there wasn't even a split second when he was dealing with dangerous animals that he didn't seem scared shitless. Whether it was venomous snakes or his beloved crocodiles his demeanor around the animals practically screamed nervous respect. There was no question by watching Irwin that these animals were wild and they were dangerous. That was part of the actual message he was trying to get across.

Of course the other part of the message, and this is the part that Saunders is too obtuse to understand, is that Irwin was the antithesis to the Disney personification of animals she accuses him of. The dangerous animals that Irwin dealt with have been popularized as evil by our cartoon culture. From cobras to crocs they are generally the villains in children's stories and Disney movies. By interacting with these wild animals he was able to teach our kids that, yes they were unpredictable and sometimes deadly, but they weren't in any way evil and could even be beautiful on occasions. He was confronting our prejudices about wild animals head-on.

For this reason and this reason alone I'd say he's a hero. No "pseudo" about it.

* The use of the word "clueless" with the name Debra Saunders, not to mention the descriptor "conservative," is redundant. I apologize.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy. The United States Of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked.

Rather than mark the 911 attacks by laying a wreath at ground zero, President Bush would be better served by repeating his actions on the day of the attack: listening to a children's story and then hiding under the bed on Air Force One as it flew him to Nebraska.

Since this date has become an odd sort of holiday with the expectation that everybody take a moment and remember what they were doing on that horrible day here's mine: I spent the day wishing Bill Clinton was still the President rather than a fucking incompetent frat-boy.

Strangely enough I've had no problem remembering that feeling in the years that've followed.