Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Is it November yet?

For me, one of the most interesting -- if completely unscientific -- methods of guaging public opinions after a significant event is to check the most emailed stories on Yahoo! News.

This morning, I expected the number one slot to belong to some thoughtful commentary on September 11th; its meaning and impact on our national life, etc.

But the most popular story this AM isn't a tribute to the fallen, or memories of that fateful day - it's a commentary by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann taking George Bush to task for, well, just about everything.

Here's Olbermann:

[Post 9/11/2001] Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Hear, hear!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Where can I get one of these?

In the movie Raising Arizona, "Glen" responds to an obvious question by positing: "Does the Pope wear a funny hat?"

Well, you tell me...

The hat is called a Capello Romano (lit: Roman Hat) or Saturno (because the brim is said to remind one of the rings of Saturn. I don't see it...)

Pope Benedict has made a habit (pardon the pun) of telegraphing his conservative orientation by dressing in more traditional papal duds than his immediate predecessor. Here's a portrait of his namesake, Benedict XV (who reigned during WWI) in his saturno.

I don't know why the pope's wardrobe fascinates me but it does. In any case, I have to have one of these hats...

And, yeah, I definitely need a hobby.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My friend Bob

I have a friend named.. well, let's just call him Bob. Most people think Bob is a nice, intelligent, easy-going guy. I think he's a glutton who drinks too much but, hey, he has a pool so I try to stay in his good graces.

In addition to his social vices (see above) Bob is a communist. (The guy has a Ned Lamont sign on his front lawn and he's serious about it!)

Anyway, last Sunday -- while shamelessly partaking of his hospitality -- he laced into me for "throwing my vote away". (He was in full purple rage, spit, food particles and alcohol flying from his mouth... It was ugly)

His irrational rage was sparked by my voting plans this November. I hate the Democratic party but, for the first time in my life, I'm planning to vote a straight Democrat ticket. I want:

1) To give the Dems control of at least one of the houses of Congress and subject the Bush administration to subpoena power in the hands of the opposition.

2) To lodge a protest over a failed GOP Congress (no executive oversight, failed wars, profligate spending, big brother encroachments, etc.)

3) To end one party rule in DC.

To my mind, all worthy and legitimate reasons for supporting a party I would not otherwise (even under pain of death) support.

Bob disagrees. He says that I should only vote Democrat if I truly believe in what the Dems stand for - any other motive is illegitimate.

As I assume that I won't be the only Independent supporting the Dems this Fall, I wonder if anyone else agrees with Bob's booze addled thinking?

Worth a read:

- From Republic to Empire? America under Bush by Ronald Bailey in Reason Online.

- Fascists... "The last 25 years have seen a 1,300% increase in the number of paramilitary raids on American homes. The vast majority of these are to serve routine drug warrants, including for offenses as trivial as marijuana." Read the rest (.pdf) - from Radley Balko at the Cato Institute.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

John Kerry on the Brain...

It's been a John Kerry kind of day. I think I'm in mental communication with the man.

Has that ever happened to you?

First, in a comment on James' post here, I mentioned the immortal John Kerry line; "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Then, a few hours later, I was reading through news reports of the Emperor's latest Iraq propaganda. In a speech to the Military Officers Association of America, Bush played the long-forgotten Osama card:

WASHINGTON - Quoting repeatedly from Osama bin Laden, President Bush said Tuesday that pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq would fulfill the terrorist leader's wishes and propel him into a more powerful global threat in the mold of Adolf Hitler.


"History teaches that underestimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a terrible mistake," the president said. "Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?"

So my first though was, "Yeah? Then why didn't you capture the sonofabitch when you had the chance and why does every neocon pundit tell us that Osama "isn't important" if, according to you, he could be a threat on par with freakin' Hitler?!"

Then, reading deeper into the article, Senator Kerry popped up:

"If President Bush had unleashed the American military to do the job at Tora Bora four years ago and killed Osama bin Laden, he wouldn't have to quote this barbarian's words today," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. "Because President Bush lost focus on the killers who attacked us and instead launched a disastrous war in Iraq, today Osama bin Laden and his henchmen still find sanctuary in the no man's land between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they still plot attacks against America."

Um, yeah... Kind of makes me wish I'd voted for the man. (No it doesn't)

In any case, I've found myself saying. "John Kerry was right" far too often lately. I think it's cause for grave concern...

More sensitivity...

...from the diversity crowd:

[click image to enlarge]

Standing firmly on the free speech ideals of its illustrious founder (Thomas Jefferson), the University of Virginia's Cavalier Daily thinks portraying the Virgin Mary with a sexually transmitted disease is high comedy.

Alas, Mohammed with a bomb in his turban didn't seem to pass the editors' tickle test.

I guess, some sacred persons are just funnier than others...

Worth a read:

- Fascists Under the Bed Pat Buchanan in the American Conservative.

- Preaching, Pondering and Predicting Col. Karen Kwiatkowski on Rumsfeld's American Legion speech.

- Another Connecticut Marine dies in Iraq... Lance Cpl. Philip A. Johnson († 9/2/06), 19 of Enfield, is the second native of this tiny state to die in Iraq during the past two weeks.

[The full list of Joe Lieberman's constituents who have been killed in Mr. Bush's war can be found here.]

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The difference between us

When Michael Ledeen (a man with the finest of neocon pedigrees) isn't hyping up a case for an American attack on Iran, he's reminding people like me why we began to hate neoconservatism in the first place.

To illustrate, here's a line or two from his latest column:

In any event, the first time I encountered the notion that Syria is really our friend was in the mid-Eighties, when I was working on counterterrorism. The synagogue in Vienna had been savagely attacked by terrorists carrying hand grenades and a machine gun. We had learned that the terrorists had gone to Damascus, and then directly from Damascus to Vienna. They had not stopped between the Vienna airport and the synagogue.

I suggested that we might contemplate doing something mean to Syria.

Ok, so the obvious question here is: WHY should WE do something mean to Syria in response to an attack on a synagogue in Vienna? Isn't that, properly, the responsibility of the Austrians?! (Or the Israelis, for that matter.)

The United States Government should have condemned the attack and shared whatever intel it had with the Austrian authorities. Period. End of story. Time to move on.

It was, by the way, exactly what the Reagan administration did. (The above incident occured over twenty years ago.) But for Ledeen, it seems, American restraint in a matter that didn't involve us in the least was, naturally, [get ready for it!] appeasement.

These are the people who are in charge of our foreign policy, folks. For the love of God, vote Democrat in November...

(WHO said that???!!!)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Consider Adolph Hitler

I never thought I'd write those words but what he said during his rise to power is informative and perhaps a bit prescient in our current circumstances.

When Hitler said, "The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category", he may have been writing a page in this administration's playbook.

Happily for us, we don't have a "leader of genius" (Faaaaaaaar from it) but keep Hitler's words in mind when you read a few selected quotes from Bush's speech to the American Legion yesterday in Salt Lake City.

It makes you wonder who the fascists really are:

"When terrorists murder at the World Trade Center, or car bombers strike in Baghdad, or hijackers plot to blow up planes over the Atlantic, or terrorist militias shoot rockets at Israeli towns, they are all pursuing the same objective -- to turn back the advance of freedom, and impose a dark vision of tyranny and terror across the world."


"Despite their differences, these groups from -- form the outlines of a single movement, a worldwide network of radicals that use terror to kill those who stand in the way of their totalitarian ideology. And the unifying feature of this movement, the link that spans sectarian divisions and local grievances, is the rigid conviction that free societies are a threat to their twisted view of Islam."


"On one side are those who believe in the values of freedom and moderation -- the right of all people to speak, and worship, and live in liberty. And on the other side are those driven by the values of tyranny and extremism -- the right of a self-appointed few to impose their fanatical views on all the rest. As veterans, you have seen this kind of enemy before. They're successors to Fascists, to Nazis, to Communists, and other totalitarians of the 20th century."

So there you have it... Whether you fly planes into buildings; resist Israeli occupation; resist AMERICAN occupation, or just want to be left alone you're a terrorist.

There is such a thing as terrorism and it should be condemned. But the men who flew planes into the WTC are not the same as the Iraqis who have picked up guns to resist opposition and/or occupation. Neither is the Palestinian who shoots an Israeli soldier in Gaza the same as the monster who blows up children in a Tel Aviv restaurant.

But it's politically expedient for a failed president to use the fascist tactics of "common enemies" and "perpetual fear" to blithely defend the indefensible.

His latest round of cheerleading for a war already soundly rejected by the American people will only be effective if we allow him to scare us into submission. Or, as Hitler said, "How fortunate for leaders that men do not think."

The above quotes from Mr. Bush's speech in Salt Lake City are a small sampling of the persistent propagandizing and fear mongering that appeared throughout the text. Space and, quite frankly, limited attention span forced me to limit the number of quotes I included in this post. To read the entire speech, go here

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Apparently aren't the brightest bulbs on the tree. To wit:

Boulder, Colorado District Attorney Mary Lacy on her decision to fly a lunatic from Thailand to Boulder (via California) when exculpatory evidence could have been gathered in Bangkok -- thus saving Colorado taxpayers thousands upon thousands of dollars:

DA defends decision to arrest Karr

"We felt we could not ignore this. We had to follow it," she said. "There was a real public safety concern here directed at a particular child" in Thailand, and a forensic psychologist said Karr "was dangerous, this person was escalating."

That's great but, typical power trips of American elected officials notwithstanding, her authority does not extend to Thailand. She's the Boulder, Colorado DA for pity's sake! His behavior in Thailand is the responsibility of Thai authorities. Period.

By all means, share whatever info Boulder has with the Bangkok police, but... awwww, forget it. She should be removed from office, but she'll probably win the compassion vote and remain DA until she grows old and dies.

And then there's the email I found waiting for me this morning... It was a collection of ethnic jokes (everyone was bashed: Blacks, Mexicans, Irish, Italians, Blonde women, all men, and, of course, Southerners). It had been forwarded (and forwarded again) at least half a dozen times. The thing is, it orginated at a very prominent local law firm. No one had enough brain cells to strip the original headers before forwarding it...

Should I send eight lawyers to the unemplyment line?