Thursday, December 30, 2004

Faith-Based v. Reality-Based, Redux

Florida State may open a Chiropractic school, angering some of the fact-based community there.

They have created a funny "map" which they envision may be the ultimate status of the campus if the quackery school opens the door to further non-reality-based teaching.

Good for the professors standing up to this.

Who's leading the push to insitute a quackery school? Members of the faith-based party, it seems:
But Sen. Dennis Jones, the Treasure Island Republican who spearheaded legislative support for the school in the spring, said the professors were "overreacting."

He accused anti-chiropractic groups from outside the state of stirring faculty opposition at FSU.

"If they resign, so be it," said Jones, a chiropractor himself. The instructors don't deserve to teach at FSU, he said, "if they're putting their credentials with people known for promoting professional bigotry."

The Legislature appropriated $9-million annually for the chiropractic school, which was pushed by Jones and then-Senate President Jim King, R-Jacksonville, an FSU graduate. It would be the only school of its kind in the country.
So now requiring evidence and experimental support is "professional bigotry." How quickly the Republicans turn to victim status when they meet any resistance.

Dr. Stephen Barrett's invaluable is a good place to start investigating many kinds of quackery, including chiropractic.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami and Earthquake

How horrible this event is.

Charity Watch has compiled a list of groups that are offering relief services to victims. They rate "based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency" which seems a good place to start.

Charities Offering Emergency Relief in Southeast Asia

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Cemetaries Promote Terrorism

Tenn. Muslims Seek Approval for Cemeteries

SOMERVILLE, Tenn. - Muslims planned to turn an old sod farm near Memphis into a cemetery, but angry neighbors protested, complaining the burial ground could become a staging ground for terrorists or spread disease from unembalmed bodies.

It was not the first time a group faced opposition when trying to build a cemetery or a mosque, but the dispute stood out for the clarity of its anti-Muslim rhetoric.

"We know for a fact that Muslim mosques have been used as terrorist hideouts and centers for terrorist activities," farmer John Wilson told members of a planning commission last month.


Belinda Ghosheh, owner of the five-acre plot being considered for the cemetery, said a meeting of planning officials drew such a hostile crowd she feared for her safety. One woman yelled, "We don't need bin Laden's cousins in our neighborhood."

Ghosheh and her husband, a native of the Middle East who has been a U.S. citizen for more than 20 years, live in neighboring Shelby County.

"These people would possibly have been our neighbors if we had decided to build on that property," she said. "If this doesn't go through, we're still getting rid of it. I would never live out there now."
These idiots really do want a war against all Muslims, it appears.

Christmas Consequences

Dad Tries to Sell Christmas Gifts on EBay

"No kidding. Three undeserving boys have crossed the line. Tonight we sat down and showed them what they WILL NOT get for Christmas this year. I'll be taking down the tree tomorrow. (December the 23rd)"

Bad kids.

Here's the sale on Ebay-- currently it's over 800 dollars.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 18, 2004


Lynndie England Fansite

Joke? I'm no so sure.

The collection of Michael Moore hate-graphics (on another page) is a peek into a pretty twisted mind -- a mind that might actually have a Lynndie England fan page.

Consume at your own risk.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Faith: The Good Kind

Well, you know, so much of the time we’re just lost.

We say "Please God, tell us what is right. Tell us what is true."

When there is no justice, the rich win, the poor are powerless.

We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time we become dead. A little dead.

We think of ourselves as victims. And we become victims. We become ... we become weak.

We doubt ourselves, we doubt our beliefs, we doubt our institutions. And we doubt the law.

Well today you are the law. You are the law.

Not some book. Not the lawyers. Not a marble statue or the trappings of the court.

See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just... They are in fact a prayer, a fervent, and a frightened prayer.

In my religion they say “Act as if you had faith. Faith will be given to you.”


If we are to have faith in justice we need only to believe in ourselves and act with justice.

See, I believe that there is justice is in our hearts.
The Verdict

Monday, December 13, 2004

Digby Wins

Theres nothing wrong with this.

Fight back. Stand up for your beliefs, because they are American beliefs. Tell a good narrative -- one that relies on facts -- and let people know that what the Republicans are doing is telling them a story that doesn't mean anything in the real world.

They can win doing that if you don't take them on. You will lose by capitulating.

Take them on. In a hardcore way.

That's what they've been doing for over 20 years, and that has led to the least impressive president in American history being revered by a huge chunk of the electorate.

Tell the naked truth. If it's a lie, say it's a lie. If it's the truth, say it's the truth. Don't triangulate.

More Phosphorus

The history of the match that I linked to yesterday (which really is an excellent little history -- read it) is part two of "Fire from Urine." Here's a link to Part One, about the history of phosphorus. We begin with a charming evocation of the stick-to-it-iveness of alchemists:

Phosphorus: fire from urine:
"'More than 300 years ago, in 1669, Hennig Brand, a Hamburg alchemist, like most chemists of his day, was trying to make gold. He let urine stand for days in a tub until it putrified. "

I'm sure he had many people who just dropped by to hang out for hours.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Founding Fathers Hate American Christmas

Those of you who visit Atrios (all of you, I'd guess) have already learned this, but it bears repeating

History Channel - Christmas

When was the celebration of Christ's birth (Christmas) first declared a federal holiday in the US?


Nearly a century after the US was a nation. I guess Jesus wasn't so important to the Founding Fathers.

And, for those who aren't so interested in American history, guess when the first friction matches were sold. It's earlier than when Christmas was a holiday. Remarkable.

What is the history of the fire-producing match? What did phosphorus have to do with it? When were safety matches created, and when did they finally become important in the US? And why is "phossy jaw" an important medical issue during the development of the match?

All answered -- with more interesting stuff -- in this fascinating piece. Here's an intersting side point:
Phosphorus vapour is oxidised in air to phosphorus(V) oxide (P4O10) and it the oxide that is dangerous. It is taken into the body through cavities in the teeth and destroys the jaw, causing 'phossy jaw' or phosphorus necrosis. It does not attack people with sound teeth and the match manufacturers introduced free dental treatment and regular inspections to protect their workers.
There are pictures of "phossy jaw" available on the web, such as here. (Warning: not a pretty picture, though not a graphic wound photo.)

In the match essay above, one can compare the actions of various government in dealing with "phossy jaw." I leave that up to the web-surfer.

Friday, December 10, 2004

I Couldn't Stop Lauging

The Poor Man made me laugh really hard.

"Peter Beinart will assume that there's something to this, and write about how the Democrats need to abandon their unmanly intellectual elitism and embrace the proud Democratic tradition of Wavy Gravy. Gregg Easterbrook will mount his 600 cubic hectare gravity bong and write a column about how the theories of evolution and relativity are only theories, maaaan, and as such are no better than his theory that there is an infinitely wise and kind and just spirit controlling the universe who allows the creatures he loves unconditionally to suffer the many arbitrary cruelties of this world, such as Gregg Easterbrook columns. Principled liberals and moderates will roll over, and public universities will create Departments of Conservative Studies, where you can earn a Doctorate in Wingnuttery for your dissertation on how the Dixie Chicks made us lose Vietnam."

Hilarious all the way through, and makes a good point, too. Namely, that one reason academics may tend to be leftist is that many areas of the academy are part of the reality-based world.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Sound Like Nam Yet?

Homeless Iraq vets showing up at shelters

Washington, DC, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. veterans from the war in Iraq are beginning to show up at homeless shelters around the country, and advocates fear they are the leading edge of a new generation of homeless vets not seen since the Vietnam era.

"When we already have people from Iraq on the streets, my God," said Linda Boone, executive director of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. "I have talked to enough (shelters) to know we are getting them. It is happening and this nation is not prepared for that."

Of course, when Viet Nam was going on, there was no such thing as a "homeless shelter."

Thanks George W. Bush.

Now work on Social Security so, while you don't destroy it this decade, they'll have nothing when they retire. Jesus will love you for that.

Washington Post Spews the Funny

Here's a priceless bit of drollery from Harold Myerson at the Post. It's an Op-Ed column cast as a news story from 2016 reporting the reappointment of Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary, beginning his 16th consecutive year as SecDef.

Eternally Rumsfeld.

I know it sounds deadly, but it's deft and funny.

Here's just the last paragraph:
Rumsfeld's decision to remain at the Pentagon's helm may not have been dictated entirely by his desire to stay until the PTCZWBOS is secured. "Don took a bath when the dollar tanked back in 2005," one prominent Republican said, "and hasn't done all that well since the dollar was pegged to the yuan. In the absence of Social Security, he can't afford to quit."
I laughed out loud several times. Please read it, if you like to laugh.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Funny Cause It's True-ish

Sub Democrat seeks Dom Republican Couple for fun and games

I yearn for the day when this isn't something people "get" as being a joke about democrats.

With our current leadership, I'm not sure that day is close.

From wonkette.

Thanks, Dems. Let Bush trash the New Deal on the way to destroying the US as a world power. Whatever you do, be such weenies that you can't find an effective way to win by being aggressive. Instead be submissive for whatever Delay, Rove, and Bush want. And be a "submissive-sex" joke that everyone gets. Yeah, as a Democrat I just love it.

See, that's the meta-story of the joke. And, sadly, there's a lot of truth to it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


The Economist on the dire state of the dollar.

I have dollars that are not in the stock market. I know gold is purchasable on the market, but I didn't like the fact that a bit of gold is shaved off every now and then for overhead. Should I buy bullion then?

What should one do with dollars when the US adminstration is fixated upon a banana republic policy for our currency?

Finally, the Economist says:
American bond yields (long-term interest rates) would soar, quite likely causing a deep recession. Americans who favour a weak dollar should be careful what they wish for. Cutting the budget deficit looks cheap at the price.
Bush shows no interest in cutting the budget defecit. Instead, he is attempting to increase it by TRILLIONS of dollars with his Social Security plans.

So, again I ask, what should I do with my dollars?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

A Foolish ...Something

Gaw3 of Keats Telescope does something I haven't considered for a couple years: taking Charles Krauthammer seriously and not just as a Bush mouthpiece. Still, we find that Krauthammer is a Bush (not conservative, nor Conservative, nor Republican) hack.

A Foolish Consistency

Gaw3 writes:
Without too much trouble, one could mention that elections were already underway in Ukraine, but were disrupted and subverted with the connivance of an outside power. If the Iraqi elections get railroaded by the U.S., then I hope Mr. Krauthammer will welcome German and French outrage. In the name of consistency.
Yes, I'm sure Krauthammer values intellectual consistency highly.

As do others, who Gaw3 is anticipating, who say:
Did you know that solving the election crisis in Ukraine is going to involve a full-scale invasion, a several-year occupation, and a terrorist insurgency?
No, Krauthammer is just trying to blame the French and Germans for the abysmal performance of the Americans. Blame-shifting will be his reflex in Bush's second term. Bush can do nothing wrong, and no one who ever disagreed with Bush can do anything right.

The message discipline of the hacks is astounding. Even if the US goes into the toilet, their song is whatever Bush wants them to sing.

Friday, December 03, 2004

They Call Scalia The Smart One


Scalia at Manhattan's Shearith Israel synagogue.
Scalia, 68, addressed the topic of government and its relationship to religion.

In the synagogue that is home to America's oldest Jewish congregation, he noted that in Europe, religion-neutral leaders almost never publicly use the word "God."

But, the justice asked, "Did it turn out that, by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America? I don't think so."

Yeah, I'd bet the Nazis were too principled to use the church to forward the Reich. Sure. Thomas Hartmann does a good takedown of Scalia:
Article 1 of the "Decree concerning the Constitution of the German Protestant Church, of 14 July 1933," signed by Adolf Hitler himself, merged the German Protestant Church into the Reich, and gave the Reich the legal authority to ordain priests.

Article Three provides absolute assurance to the new state church that the Reich will fund it, even if that requires going to Hitler's cabinet. It opens: "Should the competent agencies of a State Church refuse to include assessments of the German Protestant Church in their budget, the appropriate State Government will cause the expenditures to be included in the budget upon request of the Reich Cabinet."

That new state-sponsored German church's constitution opens: "At a time in which our German people are experiencing a great historical new era through the grace of God," the new German state church "federates into a solemn league all denominations that stem from the Reformation and stand equally legitimately side by side, and thereby bears witness to: 'One Body and One Spirit, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of All of Us, who is Above All, and Through All, and In All.'"
Scalia always scared me but I thought he was only misguided, not ignorant.

Now I know it's much worse.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Which Quagmire Is Greater?

Gary Brecher, War Nerd, compares the US in Iraq vs. Russia in Chechnya in the The 2004 Quagmire Bowl!
But in one way our countries are totally alike: we're both stuck in quagmires. You're bogged down in Chechnya, and we're hip-deep in the shit in Iraq.

So whose quagmire is deeper and stickier, yours or ours?

It's pretty easy to make the case for Iraq as a military disaster. By now, the only people who won't admit it are the ones who think God personally ordered us to invade.

I'm not sure where in the Bible they get that from. After all those years of sweating through Sunday morning Children's Service, I don't remember anything about how some kid from Oregon has to lose his leg to an IED in Ramadi. Maybe He was speaking in tongues at the time.
It's funny and makes some good points. Don't know how I've missed War Nerd until now.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Destroy..To Save

Falluja "a horror' after U.S.-led offensive

"All the wealth will not bring back my son, but now I have to think of the future for the rest of my children," said Zubari's wife, Selma. "What will become of us?"

That is a sentiment shared by many residents of the shattered city, which remains under curfew and where pockets of fighting continue to rage. Some homes in the city have begun posting signs in both Arabic and English that read, "Family inside."

Who would have expected to find families in a city the size of Cincinnatti?

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Giving Thanks

I'll be away celebrating the American holiday of Thanksgiving with friends and family. Reduced activity here on Riffle for a week. But I'll probably toss up a post or two occasionally.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Republican Priorities

In just the last few days, Republicans have already begun sleaze that should be condemnable even to most in the GOP. What are Republican priorities now?
  • SPECIAL PRIVILEGES TO TRASH PRIVACY AND GATHER INFO TO ATTACK ENEMIES: Republicans tried to insert language into a bill that would allow Congressional leaders access to any American's tax returns. It was a few lines in a huge omnibus bill; they hoped no one would catch it. Thank you Democratic staffer, for finding this travesty!
  • KEEP THE POOR UNEDUCATED: Republicans voted to cut college funds for around a hundred thousand students
  • REWARD CRIMINALLY INDICTED REPUBLICANS: Republicans voted to change the rule barring indicted Republican congressional leaders from their positions: with the vote, Delay can still serve as leader even when he's indicted.
  • TAKE RIGHTS FROM WOMEN: They inserted anti-abortion provisions into a huge spending bill.
Those are just off the top of my head, and they probably don't reflect other sneaky stuff that went through unnoticed.

It's not even the new Congressional session yet, which will have safer margins in House and Senate for Republicans. What scary times we live in.

[At, DemFromCT says "Welcome to the seventies." I'd agree, except that Nixon actually tried to help the poor -- this crowd cuts their college funds -- and Nixon had the opposition party running Congress -- Bush has a sycophantic Republican Congress that won't investigate any idiocy he perpetrates.]

Why Do They Hate Us, Again?

Juan Cole Informed Comment puts it well:
I personally agree that there may have been extenuating circumstances regarding the shooting of a wounded Iraqi guerrilla in a mosque by a marine (wounded guerrillas often lure US troops close and then blow them up). But most people aren't good at seeing both sides of the story. If guerrillas had stacked four wounded American Marines up somewhere, and then a second set of guerrillas came in, and a guerrilla shot one of the unarmed, wounded Marines in the head on camera, I guarantee you no one in the American media would be talking about extenuating circumstances. This act would be seen as cowardly and perfidious, with no need for further investigation.
Those who hated us pre 9/11 had many reasons ("they hate out freedom" was not among the top 20), but the millions who have come to hate us since then have concrete reasons they see on their televisions.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Not Liked or Respected -- The Costs

Matt Welch has a killer piece has in Reason Online that puts the Bushies' contempt for the rest of the world in perspective.

America Unbound...or Insolvent?
Bush knows that Anti-Americanism is costly; he just doesn't care

He takes us through Alberto Gonzales' nomination, the current state of the dollar and the deficit, and why maybe it's not such a great idea to flip off every country in the world.

Highly recommended.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Bounties on Shiites, Americans

The AP offers a story about bounties on Shiites, Americans, and Iraqi National Guardsmen:
Bayan Jaber of the major Shiite political party said that a week ago, five Shiites traveling to Najaf from Diyala province near the Iranian border were waylaid in the "triangle of death" and shot dead. The attackers demanded — and received — $15,000 from their families to return the bodies.

According to Jaber, insurgent leaders in the area offer cash bounties for killing certain kinds of people: $1,000 for a Shiite, $2,000 for a member of the Iraqi National Guard and $3,000 for an American.
Thank you George W. Bush for contributing to a free market economy in Iraq.

Stench of Failure

Here's a UPI story by Richard Sale with a bleak overview of the situation in Iraq.

There's too much damning information to excerpt it all, but here are some bits:
WASHINGTON -- As insurgents launched counterattacks in cities following the U.S. victory in Fallujah, several administration official acknowledged that U.S. military tactics in Iraq since last April have proved ineffective in destroying guerrilla forces and have acted to weaken popular support for the new U.S.-appointed government.


A senior Pentagon official complained that U.S. counterintelligence investigations designed to prevent enemy penetration of U.S. facilities had proved "pitiably inadequate."

The ability of the insurgents to penetrate U.S. intelligence was made clear in the recent massacre of 49 Iraqi soldiers who were taken from three minibuses at a fake checkpoint and then shot in the back of the head.

"That massacre would not have been possible without enemy penetration of U.S. plans," a knowledgeable U.S. official said.


"Things are absolutely terrible," said former CIA counterterrorism chief, Vince Cannistraro. "The insurgency is growing and spreading, and its ability to coordinate operations, the growing sophistication of those operations places us in a disaster of unprecedented proportion."

Referring to the "pin strike bombings" claimed by the administration against Zarqawi, Peter Singer, national security fellow at the Brookings Institution, called the bombings a "stop-gap measure" and "unwise."

"When I hear of an F-16 dropping a 500-pound bomb on a populated area, I cringe, because you have to know innocent people are being killed," he said.
There's more information in that story -- read it. What an incredible disaster .

Thank you, George W. Bush.

Kerry's a Closer. NOT!

Kerry to Give Dems Leftover Campaign Cash

Boy this sucks. Concerning the millions the Kerry campaign had left over after the election:
One member of Kerry's inner circle of campaign aides said Thursday that the failure to spend the money cost the senator victory in a close election.
I rearlize this is one, perhaps disgruntled insider. But, really, Kerry had fifteen million dollars or so to spend. (And that should not have been saved for a recount: Any potential recount would have used a seperate account they were raising money for, not general campaign funds. )

Sitting on that money was foolish. What could he have been thinking?

[I've not been jumping on Kerry, even though he made some other mistakes (like not hitting back hard enough on the Swiftie liars and tying them closer to Bush), but letting millions accrue interest while he should have been spending them .... Words fail me.]

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Alabamans favor racist language in their constitution

That's a simplification of Russell Arben Fox's thoughtful post about the recent amendment vote in Alabama. Here's his summation of the news story that prompts his post:

This morning, I read John Brummett's column about the close but likely defeat of Amendment 2 in Alabama, a proposed amendment to the state constitution which would have repealed segregation-era language included in the document back in the 1950s. The strategy of Alabama politicians back then to avoid any potential interference with their racist educational system was to amend the constitution so that it included, besides poll taxes and mandated segregation, language which denied the right to an education at taxpayer expense for any Alabama child. Thanks to federal action, poll taxes and the doctrine of separate-but-equal was rendered moot; but the rejectionist language itself remains in the constitution, and has become a branch which many of those who reject a sense of obligation to the larger (and multiracial) social unit which Alabama in fact is continue to cling to. The push for Amendment 2 was led by Governor Bob Riley, who has bravely fought for a better Alabama before, and done so on explicitly Christian grounds. But once again, the Christian Coalition of Alabama and many of their Republican allies refused to budge on their opposition. Not that they necessarily still harbor segregationist sympathies; Amendment 2's opponents insisted that the racist language in their state constitution is meaningless, and that they would introduce legislation to strip them in particular anyway.

He goes on to give several other reasons why this amendment may have failed, but to me it boils down to tolerating racist language in the constitution.

It's depressing that Dems can't make inroads into this mindset, but it's fertile ground for dermagoguery with tinges (or more) of racism and bait-and-switch political argumentation.

I think Mr. Fox is way too easy on the cynical methods these folks employ. For instance, he says:
Many social and religious conservatives in the South and West have drawn themselves away from civic responsibility, shamefully allowing archaic and otherwise rejected political strategies to provide them with a way to hide from the inequality and need that education can provide at least a partial solution to.
I think those "archaic and otherwise rejected political strategies" are, sotto voce or not, bedrock tactics of Republicans, and they're a goodly part of the reason why Repubs won as much as they did recently. They're not a hiding place for their responsibility -- they believe that they are being responsible by acting this way (not so much about the racist undertones, but about much else of their policies).

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Friendly Iraqis

Making friends in Fallujah

FALLUJAH, Iraq — The men from Fallujah gathered on the red carpet inside their mosque to vent their anger. Instead of feeling liberated, they said the violence of the U.S. offensive to take control of their city has deepened their hatred.

These men came to collect food from U.S. and Iraqi forces at the Hadra Mohamadiya mosque, and were secretly given a swab test for recent explosives handling, something that might mark them as insurgents.

Forty-seven men were arrested as a result of the tests. These men were clean and said they were bitter.

"When you captured Saddam Hussein, I was very happy, and not fighting Americans, but you used your guns, and your military debased me," said Mahmoud al-Samarrai, who says his house was hit by U.S. airstrikes.

Way to win hearts and minds -- winning them to hating Americans and into recruitment to Al Qaeda.

Thanks, George W. Bush

Paris Hilton Tax

Rrom a commenter in a Washington Post Online Chat with Steven Pearlstein: "To counteract I suggest we all start calling the estate tax the Paris Hilton tax instead of the death tax and see what people think."

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Why Do They Hate Us?

Well, it doesn't exactly explain why some of them hated us pre-9/11. But these photos from a site called Fallujah in Pictures help explain why a lot more of them hate us a lot more than they did before.

Many of these photos are graphic: they are war photographs, after all. Though many in the US have apparently forgotten, war is violent and images of war are ugly.

Photos of kids with limbs amputated, for instance -- that's one answer to that old question "Why do they hate us?"

A Doctor Is Haunted by Those He Couldn't Save

The LA Times reports on the experiences of an Iraqi Doctor in Fallujah.

What a horrible mess. How can you attack a city of a quarter million (largely by bombing from air, even with precision munitions) , and not harm or kill many civilians?

You can't.
"I was doing amputations for many patients. But I am an orthopedic surgeon. If a patient came to me with an abdominal injury, I could do nothing," he said, eyes cast down, close to tears. "We would bring the patient in and we would have to let him die."

Electricity was cut off to the city. There was no water, no food, no fluids for the patients, Ghanim said. But the patients just kept coming.

"We were treating everyone. There were women, children, mujaheds. I don't ask someone if they are a fighter before I treat them. I just take care of them," he said.

Late Tuesday, a bomb struck one side of the makeshift medical center. Ghanim ran out.

A second bomb hit, crashing through the roof and destroying most of the facility. Ghanim believes it killed at least two of the young resident doctors working there and most of the patients.

"At that moment I wished to die," he said. "It was a catastrophe."
Of course, there's more, if you have the stomach.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Robotics Sidebar

RoboDump 1.0

Passes the Turing Test. And a lot more.
From Christian Exodus :: Come Out of Her, My People is coordinating the move of thousands of Christians to South Carolina for the express purpose of re-establishing Godly, constitutional government. It is evident that the U.S. Constitution has been abandoned under our current federal system, and the efforts of Christian activism to restore our Godly republic have proven futile over the past three decades. The time has come for Christians to withdraw our consent from the current federal government and re-introduce the Christian principles once so predominant in America to a sovereign State like South Carolina.
Kooks. Reminds me of the Libertartian's Free State Project.

[Christian Exodus link via William Gibson Blog.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Good News! Ummm...

That glowing economic news about the recent trade surplus numbers not being quite so horrible?

Well, after a fashion, maybe.
Globblog notes: "September's trade deficit was still the third largest in history. The four largest in history have all occurred over the past four months. "

Also he writes "What did we buy less of? Fuel oil!! It was the #2 declining category, at -$384m. Kind of puts the troubling fall in fuel oil stocks throughout September into a new context, doesn't it?"

And winter is coming on.

Fundie, Meet Fundie

At the end of a typically informative post about the mess in Mosul, Juan Cole adds this fillip:
On a lighter note, it is hard to avoid observing that al-Baghdadi castigated Bush's administration as "fundamentalist" and "right-wing." When even the Sunni Salafis of Mosul consider you too fundamentalist and right-wing, you have probably gone too far.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Arafat Joke

From Nick Gillespie at Hit and Run
Arafat has a dream that he is going to die so he goes to see a medium who might be able to explain the circumstances of his death. The medium gazes into her crystal ball and declares, "You are going to die on a Jewish holiday." Arafat replies, "Which one?" The medium responds, "It doesn't matter. Whatever day you die will become a Jewish holiday."
Yeah, that's a funny joke.

I've been surprised about the number of Arafat-death jokes in the usual suspects (Letterman, Leno, Daily Show) on US national TV.

I suppose it's a reflection of the (largely deserved) ill-esteem in which Arafat is held, but still I found it odd that a man's death would be the springboard for mass jocularity.

Even if I do indulge in it myself.

Will Ariel Sharon's death lead to such a joke-fest? No way -- not even about obesity (ok, there will be fat jokes).

Opposition, Not Obstruction

Opposition, Not Obstruction: that's the slogan Matthew Yglesias is adopting. I hope the Dems pick it up.

As Atrios says re the Gonzales for AG nomination, it's best to shine a light on the guy in the strongest terms possible.

I also think they should do some down-and-dirty rhetoric, which is not untrue, saying that Gonzales essentially OKed the torture of Arabs if they have any suspicion they may possibly be terrorists. Then say to the world that it's no wonder the Arab world (and much of the non-Arab world) doesn't trust Bush, when he nominates to the highest law enforcement office in the land a torture-pimp who scoffs at the Geneva Conventions.

Keep the rhetoric true if hot, back it up with stories about non-terrorists who were detained and tortured (in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and elsewhere). Their stories fall on Alberto Gonzales, and on George W. Bush.

Don't let them get away with the "we only torture terrorists" crap either: there are enough stories out of Abu Ghraib about people who were definitely not terrorists or even insurgents who were locked up and tortured. If Abu Ghraib was filled with terrorists, why were prisoners there released en masse (in the hundreds) when the stories of Abu Ghraib came to light?

The Democrats didn't do that stuff -- the Bushies did and it may as well be laid out starkly.

Iraq: Hellhole

From the L.A. Times, a bleak assessment of Iraq.
BAGHDAD —Iraqi insurgents have extended their reach over large swaths of the country, including sections of the capital, making it unlikely that the United States can establish the stability needed for credible elections in January even if its forces succeed in Fallouja, military and political analysts say.

There is little doubt that American-led forces will recapture Fallouja within days, the analysts say. But U.S. officials who are planning for the election face another challenge: a law and order vacuum in many Sunni Muslim areas where there are no American or Iraqi forces and insurgents can operate with impunity.

Masked gunmen patrol these places, particularly at night, assassinating government officials, carrying out kidnappings and intimidating the people.

"There are large areas of countryside that are controlled 24 hours a day by the mujahedin, where people do not see U.S. forces," said Charles Heyman, a senior defense analyst for the London-based Jane's Defence Weekly.
The rest of the piece includes a bleak tour of several hotspots around Iraq, including:
Civil authority appears to have all but vanished in some areas. In Haditha and Haqlaniya, neighboring towns 135 miles west of Baghdad, people say they are afraid to walk the streets. Insurgents sent a strong warning months ago after the U.S. military put a local tribal leader in control. Militants killed him and his sons. A second group of leaders, including a police chief, was also deposed.

The current chairman of the city council, Khaled Hussein, who has the approval of the insurgents, painted a bleak picture of life in the city. He spoke about a weekend attack on two police stations in the towns, in which 22 police officers were killed. Some were handcuffed, then executed.

"Now the Iraqi police refuse to go to work. The shops are closed, the streets are empty and very few people go out," Hussein said.

The picture is reflected in other areas.
Thank you, George W. Bush.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veterans Day

Greater Love

Red lips are not so red
As the stained stones kissed by the English dead.
Kindness of wooed and wooer
Seems shame to their love pure.
O Love, your eyes lose lure
When I behold eyes blinded in my stead!

Your slender attitude
Trembles not exquisite like limbs knife-skewed,
Rolling and rolling there
Where God seems not to care;
Till the fierce love they bear
Cramps them in death's extreme decrepitude.

Your voice sings not so soft,-
Though even as wind murmuring through raftered loft,-
Your dear voice is not dear,
Gentle, and evening clear,
As theirs whom none now hear,
Now earth has stopped their piteous mouths that coughed.

Heart, you were never hot
Nor large, nor full like hearts made great with shot;
And though your hand be pale,
Paler are all which trail
Your cross through flame and hail:
Weep, you may weep, for you may touch them not.

-- Wilfred Owen

[There's a fine collection of Wilfred Owen poems at The War Poems & Manuscripts, part of the Wilfred Owen Multimedia Archive]

A Very Old Story

Digby at Hullabaloo has a long and interesting post on Southern exceptionalism. It's worth your time to read it. Here's the concluding paragraph:
It sure looks to me as if they've been nursing a case of historical pique for more than 200 years and that resentment no longer has any more meaning than a somewhat self-destructive insistence on maintaining a cultural identity that's really defined by it's anger toward the rest of the country. They are talking themselves into a theocratic police state in order to "crack the whip over the heads of the northern men" and it's not likely to work out for them any better this time than it did the first time. The real elites in the church, the government and the corporations will take them down right along with us when that comes to pass.
As someone who's from the South, I really don't know what to make of all this (I've been a Yankee for over a decade now). I'm as peeved as any other blue stater about being lectured to by people who claim I'm lecturing them while they pocket the tax money their states disproportionately suck from blue-land. I find the religious right offensive at best, scary at worst.

There is little doubt that the South really does consider itself exceptional. A great essay that points this out (sotto voce) is "The South: Where is it? What is it?" by John Shelton Reed. [Emphasis added.]
It tells us that the South is, to begin with, a concept and a shared one. It's an idea that people can talk about, think about, use to orient themselves and each other. People know whether they're in it or not. As a geographer would put it, the South is a "vernacular" region.

Stop and think about that. Why should that be? Why can I write "South" with some assurance that you'll know I mean Richmond and don't mean Phoenix? What is it that the South's boundaries enclose?
Click on the map links in the linked essay-- Reed uses maps that delineate the South in different ways: where cotton can be cultivated, where kudzu grows, percentage of dentists per capita, or where the word "Dixie" appears in telephone directory listings:

I'll never understand why getting your ass kicked in a war where you fought for the "right" to own other human beings is such a source of pride. My ancestors, dirt-poor hardscrabble Scots-Irish who never owned slaves, didn't bequeath to me any of the feelings of superiority or exceptionalism or religious zealotry that I hear from the contemporary South.

But pointing that out won't help Democrats win the South. I'm not sure what -- if anything -- will. The prairie states, however, are a different matter.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Nation's Poor Win Election For Nation's Rich

The Onion gets it right.

There's been a lot of talk recently about contributing factors to the Dem loss last week. There are many facets to the loss. You can find that talk all over.

I've been thinking about a few things which could help win upcoming elections. Some important factors seem to me to be:
  • A narrative (Kos points Carville mentioning this). To me this is essential and leads to other things. To put it crassly, Democrats have (among other things) a serious branding problem.
  • The narrative is one that'll speak to (almost) all Americans, and the smaller issues will spring from that. These issues will have to be as focused and strongly posed as Republican issues are. This will be difficult but not impossible.
  • On the ground, Democrats must start peeling away red areas with the messages above, and the medium of a self-perpetuating narrative.
There. All fixed.

[As an aside, it's strange to me that as of this posting Google has no hits for "Democratic Party as a brand." We'll probably need some marketing help, but more what Frank Luntz does than what weenie "branding experts" generally do. ]

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Bush's Real Mandate

Don't start any large new projects until you prove that you can fix some of the nasty messes you created in your firs term. I can't see why anyone would trust you to start a big new mess when you still won't:

  • show any seriousness about budgets. Instead we hear more programs from you that are going to further blow out the deficit you created.
  • Get Iraq on the right track and stop our soldiers from getting killed over there.
  • Make a serious dent in terrorism with a grand strategy beyond Iraq --where an assault on Fallujah is about to incite a bunch more people to hate the U.S.
  • Have an economy that lifts people out of poverty rather than adding to their roles.
  • Rather than having fewer people with health coverage, have more.

    Maybe when you fix a few of those horrific problems, I'll trust you to do something else.

    If not, then no.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


KEN LAYNE takes us to Jesusland. Wait, we're already there.
Rove's re-election strategy was elegantly simple: Scare the bejesus out of Jesusland. Faggots are headed your way! Satanic Muslims are hiding everywhere! That's all it took to get Jesusland to do the job. Intellectual conservatives like the National Review staff are flattering themselves if they honestly believe Jesusland cares about conservative thought. The "reality-based" folks are learning that Jesusland doesn't even care about jobs or the economy.
As Froomkin writes today:

The Bush campaign super-charged the "moral minority." Exit polls showed 21 percent of voters said moral values were the most important issue -- and 78 percent of them voted for Bush. That's about 18 million Bush votes right there.
Even more than terror, these people voted against gays and abortion, and for the belief that God selected Bush.

Here's a question (actually, a statement) Froomkin got in his chat today:

College Park, Md.: Just a comment!
I'm an African-American female who is a registered democrat. I voted for George Bush, because I am also a believer in the Word of God. Although I don't agreed with a lot of decisions he made over the last four years, as a Christian his belief in God and open confession of his beliefs persuaded me to vote for him. I think you will find a lot of people voted because of morale values versus party affiliation. I think we are better off with a president who has a biblical foundation and is not a shame to admit he hears from God. With the help of God we can get through anything. Kerry didn't offer me the same assurance. Thank you for allowing me to speak.
There's no reasoning with that, because it's faith-based, not logical. Many of them believe God picked Bush.

They really do live in Jesusland.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Ohio = Florida

And may I introduce you to
J. Kenneth Blackwell

J Kenneth "Katherine Harris" Blackwell

Maybe he feels if he helps steal an election for Bush, he can get a Congressional seat, too. And he'll use the same excuse: "I'm not corrupt, just incompetent, nudge nudge wink wink."

Maps, etc. that may help

Media Matters for America has a list of the states called for each candidate by each news network, and the time of the projection.

Two good electoral maps:



I think C-SPAN's is a bit cooler.

If you have not voted, don't bother looking at the maps until after you cast your ballot.




Even if you're in a non-swing state, vote to increase the total votes, so your candidate gets a majority of the national popular vote.

It'll mean something, believe me.

If you're in a swing state, then


Lying Liars Who Don't Want You to Vote

Those lying liars will try to suppress the vote in many Democratic areas.

There will be rumors and crazy stories and seemingly official-looking documents and lying phone calls which may cause you to lose your vote, vote inappropriately, or miss something important. There will be lots of underhanded things that have been done for decades (but which you may not be familiar with), and there may be some new ones. Be prepared.
  1. Know where to vote. is a great place to start.
  2. Take ID, two pieces if you have them. Perhaps bring a utilities bill (for instance) showing your current address.
  3. If you can, vote after the morning voting rush and before people generally get off work.
  4. Be prepared to stand in line, whatever that means to you. Water, snacks, books, magazines, umbrella, poncho, folding stool, cell phone, etc. Someone on dailykos pointed out that "a roll of garbage bags makes for a good emergency pancho cache for the rain."
  5. If you need help in voting (using the machine, for instance), ask at the polling place.
  6. If you're not listed among registered voters, it's your right to receive a provisional ballot. Demand one.
  7. If you have any problems, here are a list of places to
  8. Take these number with you:
    1 (866) OUR-VOTE or 1 (866) 687-8683
    1-866-MYVOTE1 or 1 (866) 698-6831 .
    If you have any problems, call those numbers for Election Protection.
For more information, visit DailyKos' Tips for Voters and this less detailed list at RockTheVote.

I'll copy from Eszter at Crooked Timber for a couple more tips (note the websites she links to):

A U.S. toll-free telephone hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1 866-687-8683) and a great set of Web sites at and, help citizens to vote and have their votes counted as intended. Voting questions and problems can be reported, tracked, and responded to by thousands of specially trained operators, attorneys, and technologists, now and beyond November 2nd.

There is also a “do-it-yourself” 24/7 incident reporting form on the Web at, as an alternative recording method, without real-time follow-up.

The more people hear about and use the Web sites and hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1 866-687-8683), the better the world can trust U.S. elections to be

Chat with people in line. Be upbeat. For most of human history people had to put up with unelected leaders telling them what to do, and they couldn't speak back in any meaningful way.

Celebrate the fact that you can speak back, and that you can help change the course of history.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Bush and Jewish Leaders

AMERICAblog finds a great graphical exemplar of the weakness of Bush's Jewish vote. At least as of this posting time, the "Jewish Leaders on President Bush" sidebar on his Jewish pandering page is still "Check back for updates" and nothing else.

The night before the election.

Embarassing for them! But me likey.


There are a number of good omens for Kerry today. I'll just pick a few.
  • Josh Marshall's posts here and especially here, and scroll around for more
  • Bush's disaappearing lead in several polls this week, as pointed out by the (admittedly, generally a site with rose-colored glasses for Dems) Donkey Rising (again, scroll for more).
  • Fox's poll showing a small (within margin of error) Kerry lead.
  • Meta-analysis from a Princeton prof with some statistical expertise showing a likely Kerry win.
There's more good news for Democrats out there. Kerry has momentum. I feel pretty hopeful. But everyone has to vote, wait in long lines if necessary. Bring a book. Bring an umbrella. Bring some leftover halloween candy to hand out. Make it enjoyable!

And the Dems have to make sure the election isn't outright stolen from them by voting machines, election hanky panky, or whatever scummy tricks the Republicans pull. Turnout is essential to put this election beyond question.

To win this war, the Dems have to get out the vote. Vote and take 1, 2, 3 or more people with you.

I was listening to Hardball and they seem to think that polls are moving for Kerry because of Iraq. I wouldn't be surprised at all. Dick Morris doesn't say many things I agree with, but I do agree with this quip of his (from memory, so it may not be precise): "If you're going to run as a war President, you kind of have to win the war."

More Dead Letters II

The DEAD LETTER OFFICE, as I said in the post below, has put up newly found emails. Those with an interest should visit -- there may be something that jumps out among the new stuff.

One of the newly found missives probably has a lot of interesting information. It's an email sent in mid-August among several (Republican Party of Florida) operatives, and to those at (Republican National Committe HQ), and the Bush/Cheney campaign operation. It has -- count them-- around 25 Florida-related spreadsheets attached.

What do you want to bet that these, like the earlier "caging" spreadsheets we looked at, are focused in largely Democratic and probably African-American zip codes?

-----Original Message-----

From: Carrie Thompson []
Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 8:55 PM
To: Sarah Anderson []
Cc: Andy Palmer [];
Subject: CSV Files

ATTACHMENTS: 11A_7664_20_2004817.CSV; 11E_7470_238_2004817.CSV; 24R-1_7672_140_2004817.CSV; 25E_7665_238_2004817.CSV; 25J_7666_188_2004817.CSV; 25T_7667_144_2004817.CSV; 25X_7671_175_2004817.CSV; 2B_7669_337_2004817.CSV; 2E_7483_187_2004817.CSV; 2F_7670_242_2004817.CSV; 43X_7451_208_2004817.CSV; 44X_7471_322_2004817.CSV; 63Q_7452_219_2004817.CSV; 70Q_7811_210_2004818.CSV; 70V_7813_11_2004818.CSV; 71Q_7812_262_2004818.CSV; 90R_7814_18_2004818.CSV; 91Q_7815_41_2004818.CSV; 91R_7816_3_2004818.CSV; 92Q_7817_123_2004818.CSV; 92Q-1_7818_122_2004818.CSV; 93Q_7819_2_2004818.CSV; 93Q-1_7820_35_2004818.CSV; 97R-1_7821_2_2004818.CSV; 98R_7822_9_2004818.CSV;


What a wonderful party, the Republican party. The "don't let the Negroes vote" party for a new century!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

More Dead Letters

I notice that folks at the parody site, who received real emails from Bushies and put them up on their DEAD LETTER OFFICE page, have gone back and added more emails recently (the new ones are on a yellow background).

Here's a quote from an older email that I haven't put up before, but it shows some consciousness of guilt, at least [emph. added]:
-----Original Message-----

From: ardean anvik []
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 12:47 PM
Subject: Federal Campaign Law


May I request that you or someone on your staff send
directions regarding What Counties can and cannot
do as it pertains to newsletters and phone banks
usage for federal candidates. There is a great
deal of ignorance out here and many counties are
violating the campaign law as I understood it
from you. God help us if the Democrats find out.

I think we all need direction. Can you help us?

Thanks, Chris

Ardean A. Anvik
Thanks, Ardean A. Anvik, for at least showing a conscience. Wonder if the people he wrote that email to have one, too?

Executive Decision

HBO has been (and Cinemax will soon be) playing the 1996 movie "Executive Decision." It's a first-rate thriller. Normally, you'd presume that a movie about terrorist hijacking would be pigeonholed as an "action" movie. While this movie has a good bit of action, it's also got a lot of suspense and tension and doesn't merely go from mindless action scene to another rote action scene.

Neil Gabler wrote about it in 2002, in The Authors of 9/11: "
It also seems likely that prior to planning the 9/11 foray someone in the Arab terrorist camp had seen Executive Decision [written by Jim Thomas & John Thomas], a 1996 thriller about terrorists who use planes as missiles to attack Washington.
I realize that at least Condi Rice among the Bushies said that such use of planes as weapons was unimagineable, but this movie had ... terrrorists hijacking planes and planning to use them as missiles.

Also, it had the passengers placated by telling them, in paraphrase, "this will all be over, just stay calm," as the hijackers more or less did on 9/11. At least one of the hijackers was a trained pilot.

One surmise by some is that all the hijackers didn't know the true plan on 9/11 -- such was the case in the movie.

There are more similarities, too. But one big item echoed in the movie is that, although the movie is called "Executive Decision," the President isn't in D.C. and makes apparently no contribution to the entire crisis.

Hey, that's a lot like George W. Bush on 9/11.

It's skillful action-oriented thriller -- well acted and well put together. And, while there are a few "well, I don't quite believe that" moments, there are far fewer than in your average action fare.

Recommended. It's on HBO-2, I note, at midnight tonight and on Cinemax in days to come.

Young Kerry Country

Zogby International says:
Polling firm Zogby International and partner Rock the Vote found Massachusetts Senator John Kerry leading President Bush 55% to 40% among 18-29 year-old likely voters in their first joint Rock the Vote Mobile political poll, conducted exclusively on mobile phones October 27 through 30, 2004. Independent Ralph Nader received 1.6%, while 4% remain undecided in the survey of 6,039 likely voters. The poll is centered on subscribers to the Rock the Vote Mobile (RTVMO) platform, a joint initiative of Rock the Vote and Motorola Inc. (for more information: The poll has margin of error of +/-1.2 percentage points.

The poll also found that only 2.3% of 18-29 year-old respondents said they did not plan to vote, and another .5% who were not sure if they would. The results of the survey are weighted for region, gender, and political party.


“The results of this text-message poll mirror what we’re seeing in our more conventional polls,” said John Zogby, CEO and president of Utica, N.Y.-based Zogby International. “Among 18-29 year-olds, Kerry leads the President by 14 points—55% to 41% in our current daily tracking poll—virtually identical to these results.
From the number of those who are going to vote (probably an overestimate, but still...) I wonder if Eminem's great video "Mosh" has been effective (link to video is a quicktime .mov file, from a great site called Internet Vets for Truth.

How Bush Let Bin Laden Get Away

TopDog04 has a nice timeline of how how Bush let Bin Laden Get Away. (Via Josh Marshall.)

Tommy Franks was running the war from Florida at the time. (And, as an aside, I always found it odd that Franks retired in the middle of a conflict. Why not finish the job before handing it off to others?)

At any rate, the US was virtually certain that bin Laden was in Tora Bora in mid November, 2001. On Nov 21, while bin Laden is making his stand at Tora Bora, Bush asks CENTCOM to prepare for an Iraq war. On Nov 27, Franks meets with Rumsfeld about ... Iraq. Bin Laden escapes soon after.

Talk about taking your eye off the ball.

Sure would have been nice to have that terrorist leader dead nearly three years ago, before he turned al Qaeda into a metastasizing ideological movement.

Instead, bin Laden is looking healthy and making new video tapes.

Knight-Ridder (via Atrios) has a very damning piece about how horribly Bush, Rumsfeld and Franks botched the Tora Bora operation. Read it all. One paragraph:
Military and intelligence officials had warned Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn't be trusted, and they proved to be correct. They were slow to move their troops into place and didn't attack until four days after American planes began bombing - leaving time for al-Qaida leaders to escape and leaving behind a rear guard of Arab, Chechen and Uzbek fighters.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

No Retreat, No Surrender

Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim
The walls of my room are closing in
There's a war outside still raging
You say it ain't ours anymore to win
I want to sleep beneath
Peaceful skies in my lover's bed
With a wide open country in my eyes
And these dreams .....

Once we made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Blood brothers in a stormy night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Bruce Springsteen

Don't be tremulous. Fight. Be brave.

This is your country. Get pissed off if some Republican tries to take your vote or your voice.

You have the right to vote. No Republican has the right to take it away from you. Get mad and get even if they do.

Kick Ass and Take Names

Josh Marshall speaks wisely:
Another way I've noticed this over the years is that Republicans are usually far more confident that their candidates are going to win given races, whether polls give reason for the confidence or not, whether the eventual outcome bears out the confidence or not.

Democrats could use more of that.


If you're a Democrat and you notice your fellow Democrats dipping into these spasms of fecklessness and weak-kneedism, as I've described above, I strongly encourage to slap them around a few times and tell them to get a hold of themselves. If you're experiencing such spasms, by all means, slap yourself a few times and tell yourself the same thing.
Bush has totally screwed up our response to 9/11 after Afghanistan (a war which "any conceivable President," as Richard Clarke put it, would have fought.)
  • Bush didn't focus on getting bin Laden back when it would have counted -- before it was a franchise ideology.
  • Bush relied on fickle Afghan warlords to try and catch bin Laden.
  • Bush diverted money, materiel, and troops, especially troops with language and cultural skills, away from Afghanistan to Iraq back when capturing bin Laden and al Zawahiri would have mattered.
  • Bush has stretched our military to the breaking point in a war of choice -- a war we did not have to fight -- in Iraq.
In his video, bin Laden looked hale and hearty. He should have been dead and rotting (or at least captured and imprisoned). He was speaking not to America but to the countless people in Muslim countries who he can now better recruit since Americans are viewed (through the lens of Iraqi civilian deaths, Abu Ghraib, and "invading an oil rich Arab country") as repressers of Arabs.

Bush is a strategic and tactical failure as a Commander in Chief, but he's become a great recruiter for al Qaeda. Bin Laden loves him for that

Also, bin Laden probably owes his life to the inept way that Bush prosecuted the war in Afghanistan.

Bush sucks. OBL's tape doesn't change that fact, it only emphasizes it.

Friday, October 29, 2004

OBL: Player of the long game

William Gibson (yes, that William Gibson), on the bin Laden tape:

In that light, I can only assume that OBL's new tape is a very clever player's best shot at getting his partner a second term.

I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that OBL fears Kerry any more than Bush. But Kerry can only comprise an unknown, and why allow the other team to introduce an unknown when your familiar power-symbiote has always proven so wonderously adept at doing everything you'd most want him to do?

OBL today is probably a very satisfied, very optimistic man, and if he can skew the last-minute dynamic of the election in Bush's favor, he'll have cause to be all the more satisfied.

And that's the danger, that some crucial percentage of our dimmer, more reactive voters will flash back to 9-11 and the Bush of the bullhorn, the Bush buffeted with the heartbroken grit of Ground Zero, and vote for that -- childishly imagining that such a vote runs counter to the wishes and the needs of OBL, the bearded stickman, the cave-dwelling spider, our new Old Man of the Mountains. Player of the long game.

Yeah, exactly.

We need a President who is more cunning, craftier, and smarter than the Islamist terrorists arrayed against us. Our current President is not.


Bush has taken to saying recently, regarding his failure to capture or kill bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001:
Bush reminded his audience that Kerry said on national television in late 2001, "I think we have been doing this fairly effectively, and we should continue to do it that way.
Of course, Bush is taking that so far out of context that it's essentially another lie.

Here's the whole exchange:
CALLER: Hello. Yes, I would like to ask the panel why they don't use napalm or flamethrowers on those tunnels and caves up there in Afghanistan?

KING: Senator Kerry?

CALLER: My golly, I think they could smoke him out.

KING: Senator Kerry?

KERRY: Well, I think it depends on where you are tactically. They may well be doing that at some point in time. But for the moment, what we are doing, I think, is having its impact and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way.

KING: Congressman Cunningham, what do you think of that question?

CUNNINGHAM: I think Senator Kerry is right on the mark. To use a flamethrower, you've got to get right into the area close in. And plus, it doesn't penetrate that deep in those tunnels. You've got to go in there after him. So I think you have to neutralize that threat. And then you can get him out in a lot of different, various ways including what the gentleman spoke about.
The caller was asking about the use of napalm and flamethrowers. Not about whether we should let Afghan warlords run the show in Tora Bora.

I'm sure Kerry has been in far closer proximity to napalm than George W. Bush has. But I'm pretty sure Bush knows what the word "napalm" means and didn't just distort Kerry's meaning because of ignorance.

Bush, again, bearing false witness against his neighbor.

Mendacious B

Christopher at Shrillblog has a great rundown of why the Al Qaqaa story matters, and why Bush's evasions and lies about it matter too. The whole thing is worth reading. Excerpt:

Following this original bombshell, the Bush administration has said:

  • It's not a big deal. (Di Rita, 10/24)
  • It's the Iraqi's fault. (McClellan, 10/25)
  • There was a lot going on, so we might have missed it. (McClellan, 10/25)
  • We've found lots of other less dangerous explosives. (McClellan, 10/25)
  • The Pentagon only learned about this a few days ago. (McClellan, 10/25)
  • U.S. forces completely searched the facility several times after the invasion. (Di Rita, 10/25)
  • The explosives were taken before the U.S. got there. (Di Rita, 10/26)
  • This NBC story proves that the explosives were indeed missing when U.S. forces first arrived. (Pentagon official, 10/26)
  • Oops, NBC pulled their story; their reporter's group wasn't the first on the scene. (AP, 10/26)
  • Oops again, the troops didn't search the facility--they were in combat. (MSNBC, 10/26)
  • We never found any explosives. (Pentagon official, 10/27)
  • We have satellite pictures of trucks at the bunkers, maybe taking the explosives. (Di Rita, 10/27)
  • Oops, wrong bunkers. (Global Security, 10/28)
  • The Russians took the explosives. (Shaw, 10/28)
  • The troops didn't search hard enough. (Giuliani, 10/28)
  • Kerry hates the troops. (Bush, 10/28)

And after all that equivocation and grasping at straws, the administration managed to avoid telling the truth even once: that the weapons were there, that the Bush administration knew, that the troops were not given the intelligence, training, or manpower necessary to secure the weapons, that the bunkers were opened and then abandoned--and subsequently looted. And now the 760,000 pounds of explosives are being used on American soldiers, Iraqi police, and innocent civilians.

According to former Iraq weapons inspector David Kay there are 80 such sites in Iraq--and that the evidence is damning.

Mendacity instead of policy. That's Bush in a nutshell.

Video Pit Stop

Never Forget: Internets Vets for Truth hosts a collection of Quicktime video clips (and some MP3 audio) relevant to the election, including:

  • Eminem's "Mosh" video (and MP3)
  • Tim Ryan's speech on the floor of the House during the recent draft vote
  • Bush reading "The Pet Goat" after being informed that "America is under attack" on 9/11
  • Jon Stewart on Crossfire.
  • Britney Spears' political genius
and quite a bit more. Looks like a handy pit stop for video, and it's BitTorrent enabled.

Psychological Warfare

Ken Layne delivers a stem-winder that moves from the new Homeland Security Department intell head telling us we'll have to "abridge individual rights" to an exegesis of the power of Eminem's "Mosh" video, and how the corporate media have to play the damned thing, like it or not. Along the way we get, for example, this:
It's war all the time. Let those bastards get another four years -- and they may get those years -- and next time will be a little bit different. Worrying about "John Kerry" is like worrying about what sort of steak you'd like as you die of starvation in a cave. Get rid of these people, folks. Get rid of them so you can, hopefully, safely ignore (or take part in) the next elections.
I learned that Eminem now has his own channel on Sirius Satellite Radio, and that :
Eminem will be on SNL this Saturday ... from retard gal who can't even lip-sync to furious dude who just might throw the election, all in seven short days. These are weird times.
That video really is powerful. If you haven't seen it yet, try here or here. Stick with it to the end.

Hurtin' Halliburton

Gee, Dick Cheney's old company attracts the attention of the FBI :

F.B.I. Investigating Contracts With Halliburton

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether the Army's handling of a large Iraq contract with the Halliburton Companyviolated procurement rules, according to lawyers for an Army official who made the charges of improprieties.
And, to recap a golden oldie by this pariah corporation:
One aspect of the company's performance - the importation of high-priced fuels into Iraq soon after the invasion - had already attracted the attention of Pentagon auditors, who say the government may have been overcharged by $61 million.
Thank you, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, for giving Halliburton money that could have been used to pay Iraqis to reconstruct their country -- putting unemployed Iraqis to work, among other good things.

Some Liberator

USATODAY writes: "A survey of 2,000 Iraqis around the country conducted last week by the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies in Baghdad shows 58% of Iraqis say they don't care who wins the U.S. presidential elections. Of those who do care, 22.5% prefer Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry and 16% prefer President Bush."

Lessee, $200 billion dollars divided by 25 million (roughly the population of Iraq) means that Bush will soon have spent about $8,000 per Iraqi.

And they still don't like the guy.

I suppose if the money were actually going to help the Iraqi people rather than corporations like Halliburton things might be different.

And Bush might be more popular if tens of thousands of Iraqis hadn't died in the war so far. Mass death kind of turns people off.

[Poll link via Americablog .]

Thursday, October 28, 2004


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"As a songwriter I've written about America for thirty years, tried to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. And I believe that these essential ideas of American identity are what's at stake on November 2nd.

The human principles of economic justice, healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their back and still not make ends meet.

The protection of our environment, a sane and responsible foreign policy. Civil rights and the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home.

I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past fifty years, and he's formed an adult view of America and its people. He's had the life experience. I think he understands that we as humans are not infallible.

And as Senator Edwards said during the Democratic convention, struggle and hearbreak will always be with us, and that's why we need each other. That's why "United we stand," that's why "One nation, indivisible," aren't just slogans, but they need to remain guiding principles of our public policy.

And he's shown us, starting as a young man, by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism, that's where we find a more complete view of who we are, that's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is imbedded only in truth, to make our world a better and safer place.

Paul Wellstone, great Minnesota senator, said "The future is for the passionate, and those that are willing to fight and work hard for it."

Well the future is now, and it's time to let your passions loose.

So let's roll up our sleeves. That's why I'm here today, to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. And together we can move America towards her deepest ideals.

And besides, we had a sax player in the house. We need a guitar player in the White House."

- Bruce Springsteen, Madison Wisconsin, October 28, 2004

Madison Photos
Madison Video

Huh? Bad News From Iraq?

I thought freedom was on the march there. I thought major combat operations were over last year. I mean...President George W. Bush said those things were true.

Instead, I read that Ramadi, a Provincial Capital Near Falluja, is rapidly slipping into chaos.
While Ramadi is not exactly a "no go" zone for the marines, like the insurgent stronghold of Falluja 30 miles to the east, officers say it is fast slipping in that direction. In the last six weeks, guerrillas have stepped up the pace of assassinations of Iraqis working with the Americans, and marine officials say they suspect Iraqi security officers have been helping insurgents to attack their troops. Reconstruction efforts have ground to a halt because no local contractors are willing to work.
Insurgents have tried discrediting the marines and the local government through widespread propaganda. Clerics regularly preach against the occupation, while guerrillas post the names of Iraqi security officers outside mosques. A marine showed a flier seized from a mosque that depicted a woman in a black robe being raped by men in sunglasses, presumably Americans.
The story has a lot more of the "march of freedom" there in Ramadi, including beheadings, building demolitions, and other hopeful signs of democracy.

Also the AP notes that Signs point to Imminent Showdown In Iraq
An uptick in airstrikes and other military moves point to an imminent showdown between U.S. forces and Sunni Muslim insurgents west of Baghdad -- a decisive battle that could determine whether the campaign to bring democracy and stability to Iraq can succeed.

American officials have not confirmed a major assault is near against the insurgent bastions of Fallujah and neighboring Ramadi. But Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has warned Fallujah leaders that force will be used if they do not hand over extremists, including terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
A series of policy mistakes by the U.S. military and the Bush administration have transformed Fallujah from a shabby, dusty backwater known regionally for mosques and tasty kebabs into a symbol of Arab pride and defiance of the United States throughout the Islamic world. [Emphasis added.]
I wonder if that "imminent showdown" may be ... oh, around or after election day in America? But how could any military decision in Iraq be pinned to an election in the USA?

Because possibly the civilians are micro-managing the war in Iraq for whatever political benefit it may give the Bush administration?

We'll see.

One more small thing. I don't think the Iraq is exactly like Vietnam, but there are many similarities. One similarity I'd like to point out is that, here in America, few of us knew the names of cities or villages or holidays in Vietnam before that war. But now, after decades, some of them still ring out: My Lai, Tet, Hanoi. And, similarly, we're learning the names of villages, towns, and cities in Iraq: Ramadi, Fallujah, Najaf, and more. Places where they kill American soldiers who they see as "occupiers."

Should we be learning geography through war? I'd rather read a book, but there are Americans in those places shedding blood and losing limbs based, essentially, upon the geographical knowledge of George W. Bush.

Who would willingly base any important decision upon the geographical or historical knowledge of George W. Bush? Not what you impute (probably falsely) is Bush's "steadfastness" or his "moral clarity," or other airy things that Bush would want you to believe. Would you bet the amputation of a limb just upon George W. Bush's concrete knowledge of history or geography or military strategy ?

Who would want to bet their life or their leg on George W. Bush's knowledge of My Lai, or Ramadi, or Hanoi, or Najaf or the Crusades or the Seven Year War?

Not me. Maybe you. If so, you can bet your life , in a concrete way, by joining up with Bush's military adventure.

Put your prostheses where your mouth is.

Faith-Based Finger

Quite a few people have shown this, but I think this is one of those "the more the merrier" type situations.

Video Vote Vigil has a video of George W. Bush, Born-again Christian, displaying the filthy finger to the camera. For those Christians who are not familiar with the gesture, it is commonly interpreted as "f*ck you."

Demonstrate this gesture to your pastor and ask him about it.

Bob Harris has made an animated gif of the focal bit.

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That cackling creature there, folks, is your President, after his religious conversion. Once a dumbass frat boy, always a dumbass frat boy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Republicans Against Voting

The Republican plan codenamed "Stop the Negroes from voting" is oh-so-uplifting in itself, but there's a particularly lovely example of anti-civic-mindedness in Wisconsin:

GOP criticizes student get-out-the-vote campaign
Republicans are criticizing a Wisconsin get-out-the-vote campaign involving public school students, saying Democrats are exploiting the students for political gain.

Young people in the program organized by the Wisconsin Citizen Action Fund take time from regular classes to go door to door in minority neighborhoods and areas with historically low voter turnout, urging people to cast ballots.

The students, ranging in age from 11 to 18, also use phone banks to call homes and urge people to vote.

Chris Lato, spokesman for the state Republican Party, called the program "a disgraceful use of taxpayer money."
Charming: disparaging a voluntary and entirely non-partisan program to encourage citizens of a democratic republic to exercise their right to vote.

It's come to this: Republicans outright stating that they do not want citizens encouraged to vote. That illuminates Nick Confessore's point, which he amplified today. One side wants more eligible voters to actually vote, and the other side wants fewer voters.

There is no doubt: Republicans are going to try and gum up the works at the polls in Democratic precincts. Even if they don't win that many challenges but just make the lines unbearably long, the long waits and the hassles will supress the vote.

That's their plan, anyway. Will people stand for it?

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