Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Ben Shapiro gets smacked by a fellow righty

I know almost nothing about Vox Day except he's another conservative who's managed to wrangle some money out of the Republican Noise Machine as a writer at WorldNetDaily. He and I do agree on one thing, though. Ben Shapiro ought to be in uniform.
It is entirely possible that my WND colleague has a perfectly good reason for not serving his country in its moment of need. For all I know, he may have a weak heart, a wooden leg, a predilection for San Francisco bathhouse sex or some other condition that prevents him from joining the military. But devoting two columns to criticizing a single word strikes me as a lady protesting a bit too much...

The America Bar Association already boasts more than 896,000 lawyers, America has no desperate need for another one. The U.S. Army, on the other hand, is currently 8,000 men short of its 2005 recruiting goals. I am only one of many non-pacifist, non-leftist Americans who believe that Mr. Shapiro would do well to heed his own words of Aug. 26, 2004. "Now's the time: Either put up, or shut the hell up."
Very nicely done. You should read the whole thing before Vox goes back to talking about things like how women aren't cut out to be leaders, because that... Wha...?

Damn. Too late.

Compassionate conservatives

Conservative pundits have decided that Hurricane Katrina is both funny -- see here and here -- and a great thing for the economy.

Here's a hard and fast rule: Whenever one of the Corner kids starts a post with a line like "NOT THAT I WANT TO OFFEND ANYBODY," what follows will offend you. But only, of course, if you still have a soul.

Lowering the maximum wage

I've been reading this and other interesting articles on wage issues and I have a simple question: Why can't CEO salaries be capped by law?

I'm not talking a specific amount, but, say, 100 times the mean salary of employees.

I know that there are those who say this if foolish. Wharton business professor Martin Conyon said, "Capping pay is not an option. It won't work. If the objective is to circumvent avarice then those so inclined will simply find alternative routes to achieve their goals."

That seems a bit off. It's like saying that thieves are going to try to steal from you anyway, so why not just give them your stereo?

Honestly, I'm really asking here. Talk to me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Helms versus the First Amendment

Ah, Jesse. I kind of missed you, you bigoted old bastard. No current politician does crazy quite like you did, though many of your fellow Republicans have tried.

Now that your book's out, though, you can go away again. I didn't miss stuff like this:
In vintage Helms fashion, the 83-year-old North Carolinian and former newsman who left the Senate in 2003 assails a news establishment he describes as contemptuous of American values and a threat to the country's future.

"We need to face up to the fact that the nation's freedom has been put in danger by the very people who claim to uphold it, with their claim that freedom of speech gives them license to say anything - or do anything - because they are simply being 'informative.'"
As a Kansan, I've been around all kinds of Republicans my entire life and I've grown to admire many of them. For example I'm a huge fan of James H. Lane and, when he's acting in an honest matter (which lately has not always been the case), I like Bob Dole. I like no Kansas Republican more, though, than William Allen White.

Editor of the Emporia Gazette, White wrote scathing, brilliant editorials opposing his political foes. It's from one of White's essays -- "What's the Matter With Kansas?" -- that Thomas Frank borrowed the title for his best-selling book. Even more important, though, was the editorial "To an Anxious Friend," for which White won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923. This is the entire piece:
YOU TELL ME that law is above freedom of utterance And I reply that you can have no wise laws nor free enforcement of wise laws unless there is free expression of the wisdom of the people - and, alas, their folly with it. But if there is freedom, folly will die of its own poison, and the wisdom will survive. That is the history of the race. It is the proof of man's kinship with God. You say that freedom of utterance is not for time of stress, and I reply with the sad truth that only in time of stress is freedom of utterance in danger. No one questions it in calm days, because it is not needed. And the reverse is true also; only when free utterance is suppressed is it needed, and when it is needed, it is most vital to justice. Peace is good. But if you are interested in peace through force and without full discussion - that is to say, free utterance decently and in order - your interest in justice is slight. And peace without justice is tyranny, no matter how you may sugar-coat it with expediency. This state today is in more danger from suppression than from violence, because, in the end, suppression leads to violence. Violence, indeed, is the child of suppression. Whoever pleads for justice helps to keep the peace; and whoever tramples upon the plea for justice temperately made in the name of peace only outrages peace and kills something fine in the heart of man, which God put there when we got our manhood. When that is killed, brute meets brute on each side of the line.

So, dear friend, put fear out of your heart. This nation will survive, this state will prosper, the orderly business of life will go forward if only men can speak in whatever way given them to utter what their hearts hold - by voice, by posted card, by letter or by press. Reason never has failed men. Only force and repression have made the wrecks in the world.
When I read this, I remember that my state--and the Republican Party--were founded on liberal, progressive ideals of freedom. If I had been born in, say, 1860, I could have been a Republican for almost 70 years without guilt, a lifetime. That's not to say I would have agreed with everything the party did, but on most issues, Republicans were in the right. Later, though, I would have had to seek out Democrats to find progressive ideals. Republicans gave in to the divisiveness of red-hunting (of which White was an early opponent) and the race-baiting "Southern Strategy" (of which Helms was a notorious heir and Republicans have finally admitted to, but not quite stopped using.)

I read the other day that the earth's core is spinning faster than the crust. A team of scientists dug deeply into seismic records and found that movement in the earth was causing shifts in seismic waves. I worry that they're wrong. I worry that news of the state of the Party of Lincoln is filtering into the earth and what they've discovered were the vibrations of generations of progressive Republicans spinning swiftly in their graves.

Ouch

Francis Fukuyama, the man who wrote the NeoCon bible The End of History slaps Bush over Iraq.*
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Americans would have allowed President Bush to lead them in any of several directions, and the nation was prepared to accept substantial risks and sacrifices. The Bush administration asked for no sacrifices from the average American, but after the quick fall of the Taliban it rolled the dice in a big way by moving to solve a longstanding problem only tangentially related to the threat from Al Qaeda - Iraq. In the process, it squandered the overwhelming public mandate it had received after Sept. 11. At the same time, it alienated most of its close allies, many of whom have since engaged in "soft balancing" against American influence, and stirred up anti-Americanism in the Middle East.

The Bush administration could instead have chosen to create a true alliance of democracies to fight the illiberal currents coming out of the Middle East. It could also have tightened economic sanctions and secured the return of arms inspectors to Iraq without going to war. It could have made a go at a new international regime to battle proliferation. All of these paths would have been in keeping with American foreign policy traditions. But Mr. Bush and his administration freely chose to do otherwise.
Later on, it seems that Fukuyama's really pissed by the fact that the Iraq war might cause Americans to think twice about trying to drop the loving bomb of freedom on countries we think might need it in the future, as he writes, "If Jacksonians begin to perceive the war as unwinnable or a failure, there will be little future support for an expansive foreign policy that focuses on promoting democracy."

Look what Bush's dirty little war did to my bright, shining theory!

Either way, if Bush is losing the neo-cons then he's beginning to lose the true believers who started this war in the first place. All he will have left in the end are the party operatives who will eventually also abandon him rather than sink their whole endeavor.

*This is kind of a big deal. Read Sands of Empire for more on the influence of Fukuyama.

Reaching into the memory hole

Jo Fish finds Bush talking about how he'd keep gas prices down.

The Man in Charge

Bush has to run back to Washington to oversee the Hurricane Katrina response. Wars, though, they practically run themselves.

What's the Matter with Kansas?

Um, here's one thing:
On Sunday evening, Matthew Koso tipped three ounces of formula into his 5-day-old daughter's mouth, then hoisted her atop his shoulder in hope of a burp. On Tuesday morning, he is scheduled to be arraigned on charges for which the newborn is the state's prime piece of evidence.

Mr. Koso is 22. The baby's mother, Crystal, is 14. He is charged with statutory rape, even though they were wed with their parents' blessing in May, crossing into Kansas because their own state prohibits marriages of people under 17...

Outrage over the case has rippled through this town of 4,800 about 100 miles from both Omaha and Kansas City, and to two state capitals. The governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, embarrassed by her state's status as one of the few allowing children as young as 12 to marry, has said she will propose a raise in the minimum age when the Legislature reconvenes in January.
Where have we heard about kids and sex in Kansas recently? Oh yeah, hyper-conservative state attorney general Phill Kline has been trying to get access to records from clinics with the reported intent of prosecuting "child rape and other crimes in order to protect Kansas children." But no one in the freaking statehouse thought to say that, with or without parental consent, 12 is probably too young to marry?

Don't forget: Kansas has had a Republican majority for almost its entire history, so blaming this on liberals' loose morals won't stick.

Fix this, please.

Update: In the comments, one person wrote that I was being ridiculous and this had simply passed "under the radar" of most Kansas politicians, who will now fix it. Commenter Kim disagreed.
This didn't slip under anybody's radar, and here's why: the Kansas legislature probably punted on this issue a couple of years ago (2003?) when they closed the loophole in common-law marriage. Sneaky people were avoiding statutory rape charges in Kansas by declaring themselves to have been common-law married at the time of the offense. The Legislature caught on and, if I recally correctly, made it so that you have to be 18 to be common-law married.

So nobody thought of raising the age for getting married via a license and a ceremony until now? They were raising the age for one kind of marriage--I find it hard to believe that they wouldn't have given at least passing consideration raising the age for the other kind of marriage as well. In my mind, it amounts to a reaffirmance of the existing law.

I hope this gets pointed out whenever legislators (at least those who were around when the law was enacted) feign surprise at the shockingly low marriage age.
Kim then adds:
The common-law marriage change took effect in 2002. Sebelius had not yet been elected, so she's off the hook.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Props (Get it? Props? Never mind...)

Anecdote

This weekend was the first drill back for those of us who returned from Afghanistan earlier this year (you get 60 days off after coming off of active duty). Driving home to Lawrence from Topeka, I stopped into a gas station to grab a soda while still in uniform. As I was leaving, two older gentlemen stopped me and shook my hand. One said, "We just wanted to thank you for your service, Sergeant."

"Yeah," said the other, "we want you to know we support the soldiers."

It had been a long day and, in a mischievous mood, I grinned and said, "Thanks, but you could really support us by not voting Republican anymore."

The guys bust out laughing. "Why the hell would you think we do something as stupid as voting Republican?"

One man had served in the infantry in Korea and Vietnam. The other had served as a Marine in Vietnam.

From the RightWing Irony Dept.

Man, this is funny.
Can I criticize a blog ad?

“When Clinton Lied, Nobody Died.”

That’s what the blog ad over yonder for The Progressive Mind reads.

Well, I guess it’s true. Sort of. Depends on what the meaning of “nobody” and “died” is. If “nobody” means “U.S. troops” I guess it’s true, sort of...

I guess we did lose a few men in Somalia. But that was over 10 years ago, and the left has no sense of history.
Hmmm...

One has to wonder about the "sense of history" of rightwing dipshits, too, since they keep forgetting that Bush Senior is the one who sent troops to Somalia.

Thanks, ColdFury, for the giggle.

Then what the hell do your ideologues do?

So this guy Marc Morano writes an article that misrepresents protests outside of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and all the conservatives run with it.
Since the spring, long before an angry mom named Cindy Sheehan set up camp outside President Bush's Texas ranch, anti-war activists have been holding vigils outside Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Friday nights, when many soldiers and their families venture off campus for steak dinners.

They've called for better health care benefits for soldiers wounded in Iraq, protested an early policy of making some soldiers buy their own meals while in care, and accused the military of purposely flying injured troops in under cover of night to downplay the volume of casualties. And they've waved signs protesting the war and the Bush administration.

Organizers say they weren't getting much media attention - even after a pro-war group began gathering to protest the vigils - and that the coverage they did get was generally positive, including a write-up in the military newspaper Stars & Stripes.

Until last week, that is. That's when an online news service with politically conservative ties released a special report suggesting the vigils were actually protests aimed at wounded soldiers - an accusation that infuriated vigil organizers, many of them family members of troops serving in Iraq and some of them veterans themselves. The Drudge Report previewed the story, and conservative television and radio hosts seized on it.
Here's the sweet bit:
Meanwhile, the reporter who wrote the story that has generated so much controversy, Marc Morano, says he is not part of any ideological conspiracy. He heard about the vigils on his own and pitched his editors on the story, he said.

"There's no agenda," he said. "The only agenda is that a lot of veterans were outraged. These soldiers have to see these people every Friday night, and that's what got these people upset."

Still, Morano said he wouldn't equate what the vigil participants are doing to the way some Vietnam protesters scorned soldiers.

"I don't think this is a redo of Vietnam in the sense that they're calling them baby killers," he said. "And I don't allege that at all. It's almost like they're saying, 'The soldiers are suckers, you were maimed for a lie, you were duped.' "

The parent organization of Morano's news service is the Media Research Center, a watchdog group that seeks to expose liberal media bias. Its founder is a conservative columnist and political activist.

And Morano worked from 1992-96 for conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh on a freelance basis. Morano declined to discuss his own views on the war, but he said they were not a factor in his coverage.
Rush Limbaugh's "Man in Washington," says that, you know, he's not writing from an ideological standpoint. He also didn't write from an ideological standpoint for all the other places he's worked for.

He was unbiased on The O'Reilly Factor.
He was unbiased on Special Report w/ Brit Hume.
He was unbiased in The Washington Times.
He was unbiased in The Wall Street Journal.
He was unbiased in The American Spectator.
He was unbiased in Human Events.
He was unbiased in National Review.
He was unbiased on Newsmax.com
He was unbiased on WorldnetDaily.com.
He was unbiased on the Drudge Report.

I'm certain that classy places like that wouldn't have put up with some sort or radically conservative agenda.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Poor Georgie

I mentioned just a few days ago that George Will only showed how idiotic he is in calling Buckley and the National Reviewers of the 1960s "responsible conservatives." Too bad for Georgie that I'm not the only one who doesn't want to forget their racism. (Link via Atrios). How dumb does George look today?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Naw, 'tain't Nothin' Like 'nam

See TBogg.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Some of Republicans' best friends are in the military

Terry Neal wrote an interesting piece for Monday's WaPo that I haven't seen quoted anywhere. In it, he looks at class as a predictor for both voting and enlisting. He also links to this great bit from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Staff Sgt. Jason Rivera, 26, a Marine recruiter in Pittsburgh, went to the home of a high school student who had expressed interest in joining the Marine Reserve to talk to his parents.

It was a large home in a well-to-do suburb north of the city. Two American flags adorned the yard. The prospect's mom greeted him wearing an American flag T-shirt.

"I want you to know we support you," she gushed.

Rivera soon reached the limits of her support.

"Military service isn't for our son. It isn't for our kind of people," she told him.
Operation Yellow Elephant loses another one.

Will: I don't understand the present or the past

George Will writes his Sheehan article today, called "Tone-Deafness Among Democrats." How can someone get so many things wrong in one column?

First, Will digs up the old "hate-filled left" argument, which has grown smooth with overuse.
Many warmhearted and mildly attentive Americans say the president should have invited Sheehan to his kitchen table in Crawford for a cup of coffee and a serving of that low-calorie staple of democratic sentimentality -- "dialogue." Well.

Since her first meeting with the president, she has called him a "lying bastard," "filth spewer," "evil maniac," "fuehrer" and the world's "biggest terrorist" who is committing "blatant genocide" and "waging a nuclear war" in Iraq. Even leaving aside her not entirely persuasive contention that someone else concocted the obviously anti-Israel and inferentially anti-Semitic elements of one of her recent e-mails -- elements of a sort nowadays often found woven into ferocious left-wing rhetoric -- it is difficult to imagine how the dialogue would get going.

He: "Cream and sugar?"

She: "Yes, please, filth-spewer."
Ha ha!

Here's what's weird, though. Sheehan is a gold star mother standing on the side of the road. She's never said that she speaks for anyone but herself. The funniest bit about the whole Will article is that, in the end, it demonstrates the political tone-deafness of the political right. Let's remember that the president was said to be a rough-and-tumble cowboy of a man. "Bring 'em on" and "dead or alive" were examples of this straight-talking toughness. Now he's hiding from someone's mom like a kid who broke a window. I know plenty of people who disagreed with Bush on all kinds of domestic policies, but they felt that he was tough enough to deal with terrorists.

Now, though, he just looks like a pussy.

Will goes on:
Do Democrats really want to embrace her variation of the Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 9/11" school of political discourse? Evidently, yes, judging by the attendance of 12 Democratic senators at that movie's D.C. premiere in June 2004, and by the lionizing of Moore at the Democratic Convention -- the ovation, the seating of him with Jimmy Carter.
So Bush won't speak to Sheehan because she's called him names. That's sad. Too bad that Clinton had to speak to so many hate-filled fanatics during his tenure in the White House, but, you know, they weren't the nearly powerless mothers of dead soldiers. They were the Republican leadership of the house and senate. The philandering head of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Dan Burton, called Clinton a "scumbag." Another Republican House member said that it was "obvious" that Clinton was bombing Iraq "for political reasons."

Will goes deeper into the hole he's digging.
If liberals think that such flirtations with fanaticism had nothing to do with their 2004 defeat, they probably have nothing to learn from what conservatives did four decades earlier. But for the record:

In the 1960s, just as conservatism was beginning to grow from a fringe tendency into what it has become -- the nation's most potent persuasion -- it was threatened by a boarding party of people not much, if any, loonier than Sheehan. The John Birch Society, whose catechism included the novel tenet that Dwight Eisenhower was an agent of the Kremlin, was not numerous -- its membership probably never numbered more than 100,000 -- but its power to taint all of conservatism was huge, particularly given the media's eagerness to abet the tainting. Responsible conservatives, especially William F. Buckley Jr. and his National Review, repelled the boarders, driving them into the dark cave where today they ferociously guard the secret of their size from a nation no longer curious about it.
Oy.

Let's remember the "responsiblity" of Buckley in the 1960s.
"It would be ridiculous to hold the Supreme Court solely to blame for the ludicrously named 'civil rights movement' – that is, the Negro revolt . . . . But the Court carries its share of the blame. Its decrees, beginning with Brown, have on the one hand encouraged the least responsible of the Negro leaders in the course of extra-legal and illegal struggle that we now witness around us..." - June 2, 1964

"...it is well-grounded that if the entire Negro population in the South were suddenly given the vote, and were to use it as a bloc, and pursuant to directives handed down by some of the more demagogic leaders, chaos would ensue." - 1965
Yes, Buckley mellowed with age, but, just a few days ago, Rush Limbaugh was reminiscing about how Buckley had invited him to a party and welcomed him to the conservative scene when he first arrived from California. Limbaugh isn't a fanatic but Sheehan is? What about the other leading lights of the conservative movement? Phillis Schafly, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage, Mike Reagan, Dr. Laura, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, Bill Bennett, Bob Novak, Tucker Carlson, William Safire and Peggy Noonan all receive the adulation of conservatives and have used much worse language than anything coming from the mouth or pen of Michael Moore or Cindy Sheehan.

Moore says Bush has a too-close relationship with the Saudis? Sheehan calls Bush a "filth-spewer"? How about Safire and Limbaugh teaming up to call Clinton a murderer?

The reason Will's column is so ridiculous is that so-called "movement conservatives" have been defined by their fanaticism since at least 1964 and they have only gotten worse. Now, fanaticism itself defines the Republican party--not a fanaticism based on principle, but solely on partisanship. Honestly, can anyone explain to me what Republicans stand for today besides remaining in power?

It's not smaller government. The Cato Institute found a 33 percent increase in U.S. federal spending during George W. Bush's first term and a 27 percent rise in spending over the past decade for the 101 biggest domestic programs that the Republican-led Congress had vowed in 1995 to eliminate.

Give me something. Anything.

Call Sheehan what you want, but she stands for her view of justice--a view clearly influenced by her deep Catholic faith. She believes that the war was, as Pope John Paul II called it, a "defeat for humanity." She believes that we are losing American lives for no good reason in Iraq. What George Will knows, but won't say, is that a majority of Americans agree with her. In recent polls, 54 percent of Americans said we made a mistake going to war and that it wasn't worth it. Even more Americans say it's made us less safe and that we're losing ground. Over sixty percent of Americans say they disapprove of Bush's leadership in the Iraq War.

Cindy Sheehan continues to say that she stands only for herself and not a movement. Will can cherry-pick names that she called Bush and try to smear Dems with it all he wants, but the truth is that, when you look again at those polls, Cindy Sheehan is a surrogate for the average American. Only someone as tone-deaf as Will would think differently.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Addition to Blogroll

I've added Jeff Huber's wonderful blog, Pen and Sword, to the roll. I would have added it a few days ago but I couldn't remember the source of that find. I should have guessed - hat tip to Susie for the link. Go check it out.

Typin' With One Hand

In the previous post I mentioned the predominantly anti-Bush responses that appeared in the local rag and suggested that you needed to live here to know how surprising that was - maybe not.

This is representative of the typical fawning though it's not generally this pornographic. Oh, and Dan, a little Oxiclean pre-treatment should take care of that stain on your trousers.

Now you understand, right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Peace Rally in Boise

There was a reasonable turnout of about 300 or so people for the Peace Rally this evening (Yeah, I know, Salt Lake kicked our butt -what's up with that Mayor Beiter?).

In fairness, the protest is tomorrow when Bushovic will be addressing yet another pre-screened friendly crowd in nearby Nampa (provided he didn't hurt his little self on his mountain bike while gettin' on with his life today in Donnelly).

Surprisingly, he did make a brief appearance at the Peace Rally this evening and was arrested on a warrant for war crimes and other crimes against humanity (us and our constitution).

There were several speakers including spouses and parents of men serving in Iraq as well as veterans from Korea and Vietnam. The most poignant moments came when an incredibly composed, newly widowed, 27-year old (with her 6-month old son planted on her hip)
told of how her husband had wanted to serve after 9/11.

She spoke of his transformation after he and his friends came to wonder why they were in Iraq. He was a Navy Corpsman who, along with 13 marines, died when his helicopter was shot down last January.

She spoke of how he told her of his plans to speak out about the war when he returned. He saw his little son once, by video phone, when he was only 12 days old - the son he'll never come to know. When she last spoke to him, he said the worst was over for him and he'd be seeing them in three weeks. That was one day before the knock on her door.

She now feels compelled to speak out against the war in Iraq for her soulmate who can no longer speak for himself - she traveled from California to do so tonight. She said she will not lie to her son about this war as George Bush has lied to the American people. She will tell her son the truth - his daddy died for a lie, in an illegal and unjust war.

The rally ended with the passing of the collection jug for the Idaho Peace Coalition, that sponsored this event as well as tomorrow's protest (which I will not be able to attend), while we were serenaded as only those in Idaho can be - by Peace Potatoes.

On an additional positive note, the local (extremely partisan) rag posed a question last week asking readers to write in about the one thing they would like Bush to do for Idaho. The responses (to everyone's amazement) were overwhelmingly anti-Bush. Many suggesting that resigning and taking Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice with him would be a nice first step. You have to live here to understand how unbelievable this is. Do you think we'll see 30 by the 30th?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Something in the Air

It's not uncommon in summers here in the semi-arid banana belt, where everything wears more than a light coat of windblown sand, for dusty to be the predominant scent. As a respite my nose and I occasionally escape to higher elevations because sometimes you just need to smell pine.

This summer (the seventh in a drought) with significantly more 100+-degree days than usual and numerous dry-lightening-induced fires (with 8 large fires currently burning) we can add smoky to the almost daily assault on our eyes and nasal passages.

But this afternoon, an indescribable stench filled the air. This explains it.

To be sure, there's ass-kissin' aplenty (after all, Idaho is to red as George is to ass) but the local news reported over 200 protesters up in Donnelly which is a mighty fine showin' - of course AssChimp won't see them but what's new.

There are rallys scheduled in Boise tomorrow (though the pReznit will still be gettin' on with his life up at a new resort a couple of hours northwest of here) - I'll try and get some pics and report on the turnout.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Nate Tabor: Idiot

Apparently, I hate freedom.

"How DARE you imply that we hate freedom?" That's what red-faced Liberals say, even as they protest against the war for freedom in Iraq and call our President a war criminal.

Liberals are such hypocrites, and I for one am sick of it.

Our brave men and women in uniform are fighting and dying on foreign soil, thousands of miles away from their homes, so that these misguided, misanthropic Liberals can exercise their Constitutionally protected rights to whine, moan and protest in public.
Um, funny thing is that I was exercising those rights before and after this war started and the only people who think I shouldn't are the "freedom-loving" fuckwads of the Republican Party (i.e., Mr. Limbaugh) The sad thing is the "brave men and women" in Iraq are fighting for nothing. If not a single one of them had been killed in this bullshit war, I'd still be sitting here with the right to whine, moan and protest. More from the dumbass:
Conservatives, on the other hand, truly love freedom - so much so that when necessary, they are willing to fight to preserve and protect it, as well as to export it around the world and extend it to other peoples less fortunate than we are.
This discussion is all over the place today, but here's my take: If you really believe that Iraq is a war for freedom and that Conservatives are "willing to fight" for it, then go fucking do it. You look like you're a good, soldierly age.

Talk about a hypocrite.

Now here's where Nate goes from idiot to liar.
Let me give you a few examples of how patriotic Americans should support our troops.

Bill Clinton was one of the worst Presidents in American history...blah blah blah...

Yet when newly elected President Clinton launched his 1993 "nation-building" experiment in Somalia, by turning U.S. troops over to incompetent United Nations commanders, most Conservatives supported our soldiers - even though they disagreed with Clinton's unconstitutional action and the deadly disaster that it ultimately produced at Mogadishu.
NO, ASSHOLE! How old are you that you don't remember Bush Senior sent troops to Somalia and it served as an extra little "fuck you" to the incoming Clinton:
With only weeks left in his term as president, George Bush responds to the UN request, proposing that US combat troops lead an international UN force to secure the environment for relief operations. On December 5, the UN accepts his offer, and Bush orders 25,000 US troops into Somalia. On December 9th, the first US Marines land on the beach.
Are you that stupid or do you just think all of your readers are?

More from the moron
When Clinton later sought NATO military action in the former Yugoslavia, intervening in behalf of the desperate Bosnian Muslims who were being slaughtered in a ruthless campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Serbs, most Conservatives did not protest - despite the fact that no vital U.S. interest was being threatened in the Balkans.
Again, bullshit. (There are a bunch of great quotes here, but these apply directly.)
In November and December of 1995, Congress debated the deployment of United States Armed Forces to Bosnia and Herzegovina. H.R. 2606 was a Republican bill offered to prohibit the use of funds from being used for the deployment of U.S. forces in the region. H.R. 2606 passed the House 243-171, but failed in the Senate 22-77.

In addition, the Republican-led House Resolution 302 “reiterates serious concerns and opposition to the President’s policy” regarding the deployment of American peacekeepers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This Resolution passed 287-141. In contrast, a Resolution offered by Democrats (H. Res. 306), which “unequivocally supports the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who are carrying out their mission in support of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina” was defeated 190-237, with 219 Republicans voting against it.


• “It is neither in the President's nor the country's best interests to forge ahead with a plan to send United States troops to Bosnia without the full support of the American people through their representatives… Congress has a duty to exercise its power of the purse when it feels the President is making a grave mistake.” Majority Leader DeLay, Floor Statement, 11/17/95

• “I believe the President has made a grave mistake. He has put Americans in danger without clearly articulating what national security interest requiring the use of United States forces is at stake in Bosnia.” Majority Leader DeLay, Floor Statement, 11/17/95

• "US troops will be deployed in Bosnia no matter what the Congress does. Congress should support the troops without endorsing the president's policy." Sen. Arlen Specter, CNN, 12/14/95

• “Even though, as Commander in Chief, the President has the constitutional authority to commit United State soldiers to Bosnia, I cannot support a plan that does not minimize the risks to, and maximize the security of, our troops, especially a deployment that is not vital to our national security interest.” Rep. Sam Brownback, Floor Statement, 12/14/03

• “It is because I support the troops, because I am concerned about their well-being, that I am opposed to sending troops to Bosnia. I have no doubt that the Americans who serve in the Armed Forces of the United States will go where their Commander in Chief sends them. They will serve proudly. They will do their job well. That is not the issue here.” Sen. Phil Gramm, Floor Statement, 12/6/95
Idiot:
When Clinton invaded Haiti with UN approval, supposedly to restore law and order and democracy, most Conservatives didn't protest - even though the Marxist dictator Aristide was restored as ruler of Haiti through the intervention of our American military.

Finally, when Clinton decided to bomb Iraq and obliterate its infrastructure with cruise missiles, merely to deflect attention from his own proven perjury and pending impeachment trial, there was no outcry from most Conservatives.
Why he's full of shit:
Last December, on the eve of the House impeachment vote, President Clinton ordered air strikes on Iraq. The result is murky at best, the reasons unclear.

Each time the President has acted, charges of "wag the dog" have reverberated around the globe. Whether those charges are true or false is no longer material. What is material is that the President of the United States is not credible. He is not trusted. He cannot act in the best interest of America.

He has lost the moral mantle of leadership.

He has selfishly placed this nation in jeopardy.

It is precisely this kind of situation, I am convinced, that worried America's founding fathers as they devised the impeachment mechanism to remove a sitting president whose actions endangered the republic.

-Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
There are more, but since that fuckwit's my senator and the quote seems to be so applicable today, that's my favorite. And, while we're at it, the truth about Clinton's bombing of Iraq, from George Dubya's own weapons inspector.
Information found to date suggests that Iraq's large-scale capability to develop, produce, and fill new CW munitions was reduced - if not entirely destroyed - during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Fox, 13 years of UN sanctions and UN inspections.
Tabor goes on and on and on, explaining, I suppose in his mind, why I hate freedom because I don't want to bomb a country based on bullshit excuses and don't like to see my fellow soldiers come home in body bags. It's all too tiring...

Let me say it one more time, though.

Nate Tabor's an idiot.

Love the soldier...

Kn@ppster knocks this out of the park (but his thunder is quickly stolen by a soldier in the comments).

Chickenshit

Ben Shapiro covers his ass.
The "chickenhawk" argument is dishonest. It is dishonest because the principle of republicanism is based on freedom of choice about behavior (as long as that behavior is legal) as well as freedom of speech about political issues. We constantly vote on activities with which we may or may not be intimately involved. We vote on police policy, though few of us are policemen; we vote on welfare policy, though few of us either work in the welfare bureaucracy or have been on welfare; we vote on tax policy, even if some of us don't pay taxes. The list goes on and on. Representative democracy necessarily means that millions of us vote on issues with which we have had little practical experience. The "chickenhawk" argument -- which states that if you haven't served in the military, you can't have an opinion on foreign policy -- explicitly rejects basic principles of representative democracy.
Actually, I don't remember anyone saying "if you haven't served in the military, you can't have an opinion on foreign policy." I know I haven't.

Ben, what you won't say is why you won't volunteer to fight. Look, the Army needs people. You've supported the war and should be willing to put your own ass on the line. Period.

Don't give me the line that you're a sorry ass wimp and wouldn't do well in the military. It's bullshit. Military training has been making men out of doughy little punks like you since Alexander said "Get up, we're going to Persia." If everyone was ready for military service we wouldn't need boot camp.

Don't tell me you can serve better here by tapping away at your keyboard. Trust me, I've pulled a tour in the GWOT and the difference between what you're doing and what soldiers do in country is the difference between saying you believe in God and living like you do. And that goes for every soldier, from the Rangers to the pay clerks. Besides, the Army assures you that you'll still have plenty of free time for your cute little hobbies.

The truth is that there's only one reason you won't go. You're chickenshit. The whole "Michael Moore despises the Constitution because he doesn't believe in civilian rule" argument is ridiculous. I don't care if someone served as long as they'll do a good job as a legislator. (Do I think service helps? Sure.) But we're not talking about civilian rule, Benjamin. We're talking about you.

You love to rattle on about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as if you understand them, but you and the other members of the Order of the White Feather seem to forget that the men who signed the Declaration were willing to pledge their "Lives...Fortunes and (their) sacred Honor" for what they believed in. If you can't do the same, you are unworthy to use their noble words as a fig leaf for your cowardice.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

FYI

I saw a list of the scumbags who run the New London Development Corporation over at MaxSpeak! (via Atrios) and just had to know what kind of people they were. Guess what?
CEO David Goebel gave $500 to Republican Congressman Rob Simmons

President Michael Joplin gave $800 to Rob Simmons

1st Vice President Karl-Erik Sternlof gave $1000 to John McCain
Sternlof's weird, because he used to give to Democrats, but, apparently, you have to go crooked and Republican at the same time.

Grand Old Police Blotter: Kansas edition

While Bob Taft and all of his corrupt cronies appear to be finally getting the treatment they deserve in Ohio, my also deeply red state is trying to put another scummy Republican behind bars (Reg. required):
Former congressional candidate Adam Taff was indicted by a federal grand jury today on a charge that he used political contributions for personal use.

Taff, 40, of Lake Quivira, and John D. Myers, 48, of Leawood, also were charged with one count of wire fraud.

Myers operated a mortgage company that employed Taff, and the two allegedly were involved in a scheme to allow Taff to fraudulently obtain a mortgage to purchase Myers’ house, according to the indictment handed down by a grand jury in Kansas City, Kan.

The indictment alleges that the events occurred between November 2003 and February 2004.

Taff twice unsuccessfully ran for the Kansas 3rd Congressional District seat now held by Dennis Moore.
I'll bet his mother's pissed.


He began as a Naval Aviator, fresh out of law school. After eleven years of active duty and an armful of military medals and ribbons, he remained in the sky as a United Airlines pilot. It wasn't until after the 9/11 tragedy that Adam Taff became grounded in the pursuit of a political career. "I realized how much I still deeply wanted to serve my country." He ran on the Republican ticket in the 2002 election for Kansas's Third Congressional District, and though outspent 5 to 1, Taff lost by a mere 3 percentage points to the incumbent. Taff's campaign was bolstered by his experience working as a liaison to foreign air forces in creating aviation programs, along with a strong background in economics as a National Program Development Director for National Mortgage Company.

"My mother raised me in the KC area with the values that make us all proud to call this our hometown--hard work, honesty, integrity, respect for others, and the virtue of giving back to our community," says Taff.
Lately, whenever Republicans start talking about "honesty and integrity," I just start giggling and think, "I wonder what he'll be indicted for..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

10 Million Thousand Man March

Geez - they never run short on incredibly bad ideas do they?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Am I missing something here?

Honestly. This scares the shit out me.
In the first hint of how he will steer the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge John G. Roberts Jr., Senator Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said Monday that he would press the nominee for his views on specific cases involving the authority of Congress to pass broad social legislation, a power that Democrats fear will be rolled back by a more conservative court...

"I think Republicans have a duty to pursue this line of questioning and any relevant line of questioning," Mr. Specter said on Monday in a telephone interview from his home in Philadelphia.

He said he was particularly upset that the court, under Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, had questioned lawmakers' "method of reasoning" in striking down laws.

"Well, that's just another way of saying Congress is incompetent," Mr. Specter said, adding, "I'm not suggesting we pack the court, but at a minimum, the Senate is determined to confirm new justices who respect their role."

Democrats and liberal advocacy groups, caught off guard by Mr. Specter's letter, were elated.
Um, why are they elated? I know that Specter, being a smart guy, used the overturning of the laws behind United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison--a gun control law and a section of the Violence Against Women act--but couldn't he also be talking about any other law Congress may choose to make? Isn't that exactly what the conservatives have wanted? A court that will let them make whatever crazy fucking laws they want?

Hell, before Specter asks those questions of Roberts, I'd like to ask roughly the same question of him. What does he see as the court's proper role? Is it or is it not to regard the constitution as "superior to any ordinary act of the legislature" or that "a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument"? Isn't Specter saying the court shouldn't, you know, be a check against the legislature's power?

I'll admit I might be missing something, but this all seems creepy to me.

Note to Gary Berntsen

When the CIA--which has had about two-and-a-half months to review your book Jawbreaker--finally releases it to you for publication, I recommend that you publish it with "black marker" lines in the redacted areas. I think that would be quite telling and would make me more likely to buy it.

I'm just sayin'...

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bullshit!


Little Bobbie Novak is given a time-out for actually saying "bullshit" as opposed to, you know, merely spewing actual bullshit as usual. But check out that picture. Someone's been messin' with his make-up! It must be photoshopped, certainly he can't be that ugly (Rove obviously doesn't think so).

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A conversation on Mark Kirk

You have probably seen my previous posts about Rep. Mark Kirk (here and here). I have received a couple e-mails suggesting that this is a partisan vendetta. I assure you it isn't. Rather than explain it again, though, I thought I would show you a conversation I am having with a blogger named Amy Allen in her comments.
Amy...

I was the one casting aspersions on his credentials, but, as they say, if the aspersion fits...

Kirk, if he did not deploy to Iraq, cannot be considered a veteran of Iraqi Freedom. Service stateside does not qualify him for that title. I give him credit for serving, but he's no longer an Iraqi Freedom veteran than George W. Bush is a Vietnam Veteran. The White House's own website says that those who are qualified for the Iraq Campaign medal must

serve or have served in Iraq or contiguous waters or air space, as defined by such regulations, on or after March 19, 2003, and before a terminal date to be prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.

Kirk did not.

Let me give you an example. I recently returned from Afghanistan and, therefore, qualify for the Afghanistan campaign medal. I am a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. Those of my unit who did not deploy but remained behind serving their "one weekend a month, two weeks a year" do not qualify for the medal and are, therefore, not veterans of OEF. It's simple, really.
nitpicker | Homepage | 08.03.05 - 12:48 pm | #

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...Hats off on your service in the armed forces. Congressman Kirk considers himself a veteran, and, in the popular parlance, someone who is in the armed forces at a particular time is a veteran of the conflict transpiring at that time.
Amy Allen | Homepage | 08.03.05 - 5:16 pm | #

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Kirk is a veteran, but he has not "served in Iraqi Freedom." Neither have I. Neither of us are Iraqi Freedom veterans. So says the Navy.
nitpicker | Homepage | 08.03.05 - 8:12 pm | #

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Mr/Ms "Nitpicker"
Congressman Kirk identifies himself as having "served stateside" in OIF, which is an accurate summization. He is on inactive status not of his own choosing, but of neccessity of having to attend to his duties in the US House.
Amy Allen | Homepage | 08.03.05 - 9:05 pm | #

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He took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom like Bush took part in the Alabam Air Gaurd. It's just not accurate in any way.
Conspire C. Dude | 08.04.05 - 10:46 am | #

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Congressman Kirk is a distinguished combat veteran of Operation: Northern Watch and served stateside in Operation: Iraqi Freedom. He is on non drilling reservist status for teh aforementioned reasons. I am disappointed in anyone who would choose to malign Congressman Kirk's credentials or insinuate that he is being disingenuous. He is a man of integrity and would mislead or deceive no one.
Amy | Homepage | 08.04.05 - 11:54 am | #

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Amy,

On his house site (here) it says he "is the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom." I spoke to the Navy Office of Information myself and was told "Someone would have had to serve in Iraq to have served in Iraqi Freedom."

He's clearly being disingenuous. The fact that you can't admit it because he's a Republican makes you doubly so.
nitpicker | Homepage | 08.04.05 - 7:07 pm | #

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How is he being disingenuous? In the popular parlance, he would be considered to have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also readily identifies himself as having served stateside. B., why is it a point of such unresolved contention among certain Democrats? Sir, your being a Democrat makes you equally disingenuous, if that's the game we're playing. But, I would like to think that this comes down to something more than partisan politics.
Amy | Homepage | 08.04.05 - 8:06 pm | #

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It does come down to something more than partisan politics. Soldiers take very seriously the idea of service. If you say you did something and you didn't your a fraud. He did not serve in Iraqi Freedom. Period.

You may or may not remember ADM Mike Boorda. When I was in the Navy, he was the Chief of Naval Operations, the Navy's top officer. I met the man several times and never hope to meet as fine an officer in my life. He had risen from the lowest enlisted rank to the most exalted rank in the service through genius, skill (he was said to be the Navy's best ship pilot) and a sense of duty to his service and his sailors. We needed Boorda. He took over at a time when the Navy was going through the Tailhook scandal and its image was suffering. So, when COL David Hackworth wrote that he was wearing a valor award that he had not earned, ADM Boorda stepped onto his lawn with a pistol and shot himself in the chest. He died.

It turned out later that the award Boorda was said to be wearing wrongly was a "V device," given to sailors who have performed an action under fire. Boorda had been under fire as the commander of a ship, but the device had never been officially rewarded. I seethed at Hackworth (and a part of me still does), but Hackworth explained his article this way.
I pursued the story because for a soldier or sailor there's no greater disgrace than wearing unearned valor awards. Combat ribbons -- awards for which so many brave warriors have bled -- are the ultimate status symbol to warriors. They bring a special recognition and respect.

And with military leaders, from corporal to four-star rank, there's a larger issue: integrity. The very bedrock of any military organization is honor, doing the hard right over the easy wrong and standing tall in everything that's done.

I understand that you're a civilian, but it's this simple: If Kirk served in Iraq, then he served in Iraqi Freedom. He would be allowed to wear the Iraq Campaign medal. If he did not serve there and does not qualify for the medal, then he is claiming the honor of a service he did not earn. As Hackworth wrote, "Midshipmen at Annapolis, cadets at West Point, the Air Force Academy, all the ROTCs and other officer-producing schools in the land are taught the code, 'I will not lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate anyone who does.'"

I cannot tolerate this unbecoming claim by any officer, especially when this claim has clearly been made in order to pad his resume for political purposes. You want this to be about more than politics. It is. It is about honor. It is about integrity. If you value those things more than your party, you will agree with me and join me in asking Rep. Kirk to quit claiming an honor he did not earn.
nitpicker | Homepage | 08.04.05 - 9:36 pm | #
For the record, I eventually forgave Hackworth for his article, even though it turned out he might have had some problems of his own.

What I find difficult is that so many people on the right love to toss around the words honor and courage, but will embrace dishonor if it serves a political purpose. Call me an idealist if you will...

Santorum: It does take a village

Holy crap. Does this guy have any idea what he's even saying anymore?
SANTORUM: They say it takes a village, but really what they're ideology is based around is really the individual. And we understand that the basic unit of society is the family and that the individual needs to be nurtured, supported and molded and shaped through this family structure, through the real village which is the church, the community organizations, the non-profits, the civic associations who are there on the local level. The neighbors. To form and to shape this individual into a person of character...

This whole idea of personal autonomy, while I don't think most conservatives hold that point of view some do, and they have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do. Government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulation [unintelligible] and we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, we shoudn't get involved in cultural issues, you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that's not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can't go it alone...
I once interviewed "Topeka's shame," Fred Phelps, for a radio station for which I worked. My boss pulled me aside and said that the one thing I should be sure to do is let Phelps answer the question and then, when he had finished, wait. I did. Phelps, who was once a lawyer, knew how to craft an answer that made him seem not entirely crazy. Then, though, when he realized I wasn't going to jump right in, he couldn't keep himself from talking and the foam would begin to pour from his mouth. This book tour has finally put Santorum in the situation where he's got to fill a lot of airtime and he's beginning to go off the rails.

Please, for the love of God, go give some love (and money) to Bob Casey.

I wish I had gotten a lockbox

Bush, yesterday:
And by the way, it is a pay-as-you-go system. Some people think it's a trust fund. The trust fund concept means we take your money, we hold it and we give it back to you. No, this isn't the way it is. It is a pay-as-you-go -- you pay, we go ahead and spend. (Laughter.) You pay, we pay -- you pay your payroll taxes, and we go ahead and pay for the benefits. And with money left over, we fund federal programs...

So my first question to members of Congress is, how can you go back to your districts, when you look at the facts, and stand up in front of young workers and look them in the eye and say, man, the future is bright for you, knowing full well somebody is going to be paying payroll taxes into the system that's going broke?
Today in the WaPo:
Having skirted budget restraints and approved nearly $300 billion in new spending and tax breaks before leaving town, Republican lawmakers are now determined to claim full credit for the congressional spending. Far from shying away from their accomplishments, lawmakers are embracing the pork, including graffiti eradication in the Bronx, $277 million in road projects for Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and a $200,000 deer-avoidance system in New York...

When lawmakers return in the fall, they are almost certain to vote for more tax cuts. They also will vote on a huge new defense spending bill...

"If you look at fiscal conservatism these days, it's in a sorry state," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), one of only eight House members to vote against the $286.5 billion transportation bill that was passed the day before the recess. "Republicans don't even pretend anymore."

Like Sunshine On A Cloudy Day ...

It looks like my guy is going to be keynote at our JFK dinner in October.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Poor Katherine Harris

It seems that she never really looked like Cruella DeVille, but the evil liberal media "colorized" her photographs.
On Monday, on a conservative radio talk show, Harris, now a congresswoman from Longboat Key running for the U.S. Senate, hit back, blaming newspapers for the criticism and charging that some - without saying which - altered her photographs.

"I'm actually very sensitive about those things, and it's personally painful,'' Harris said when host Sean Hannity asked about her image problems from 2000.

"But they're outrageously false, No. 1, and No. 2, you know, whenever they made fun of my makeup, it was because the newspapers colorized my photograph,'' Harris said.
Evil bastards! They even went back in time and colorized her official Florida Secretary of State photo, too.










Now that's evil.

(Note: People, I don't hold Katherine Harris to a different standard because she's a woman. I just think it's funny that she would say something so freaking silly.)

It's time for Mark Kirk to apologize

I've said this over at DailyKos and I'll reiterate it here. I'm not angry about Mark Kirk's misrepresentation of his service because I'm a liberal (I hear the guy's actually quite moderate). I'm pissed because I'm a soldier.

The man is saying he served in Iraqi Freedom when he, well, didn't.

Who says? The Navy.

I called up the Navy Office of Information and left a message. Unlike the half dozen calls I've made to Matt Towson, the press secretary for Mark Kirk (847.940.0202), the Office of Information actually got back to me. I spoke to a very helpful Ms. Van. After explaining the situation to her -- without naming names -- she agreed with me that there is no way Mark Kirk should be claiming to have served in Iraqi Freedom. She actually laughed when I said that he could be claiming his weekend drill periods and two-week annual training at the Pentagon as meeting that requirement.

Ms. Van's bemused final answer? "Someone would have had to serve in Iraq to have served in Iraqi Freedom."

Update: Because this post was linked recently (May 31, 2010), I felt it important to point out that the date on this post is correct. I began noticing falsehoods in Kirk's claims about his career in 2005. My most recent post on the number of BS claims Kirk has made is here.

The bird lives

Nick Coleman:
A president showing disdain for the media is nothing new. But doing it with a contemptuous gesture that is offensive to millions does not just insult the press. It insults anyone who relies on the press to tell us what our leaders are doing. When presidents flip off the press, Americans get the finger.














But you can't expect Americans to care if the press doesn't.

The networks and most newspapers ignored Bush's Big Bird, and only a handful of papers printed stories about the incident. Most were light, gossipy and inconclusive, giving the thumb theory more weight than it deserves (try mimicking the video with your own hand; only one finger will do). White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan gave a limp denial: "I'm not going to dignify that with a response," he said the next day. "I mean, I haven't seen the video that you're talking about, but I know the way the president acts."

Yes, we know how he acts. He has flipped the bird before.

"The president knows his way around his middle finger," says John Aravosis, a Washington consultant and liberal blogger (he runs Americablog). Aravosis has helped keep the presidential finger story alive, and the White House took the unusual step of calling him to try to convince him that the videotape features Bush's thumb, not his middle finger. A weirdly elongated and misplaced thumb.

Help me out here

O'Reilly apparently said last night that keeping religious beliefs out of science classes is fascism. I'm not kidding. Other people can deal with that. Here's the problem, though. O'Reilly said:
Intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution and that a higher power might be involved.
Explain this to me: Doesn't the argument that life is so complex that it must have been designed by a vast, omnipotent, infinitely more complex intelligence seem to refute itself? Who built that intelligence? And the previous one? Carry this argument out to a million builders...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Jean's lie outs a fellow Republican

I was looking into Jean Schmidt's lie and discovered that people are being a little too easy on Mark Kirk. Kirk does misrepresent his service. On the Kirk for Congress website he does say he "is the only member of Congress to serve stateside during Operation Iraqi Freedom." But, meanwhile, his official government site says "He is the only member of Congress to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom..."

Service in the United states during the GWOT qualifies you as being able to wear the GWOT Service Medal, which does not mean you served "in" Iraqi Freedom. Those who served "in" Iraqi Freedom, as I pointed out before (and the White House website says), are qualified to wear the GWOT Expeditionary Medal or the Iraq Campaign Medal. In other words, Kirk no more served in OIF than I did while serving in Afghanistan.

Here's the truth on Kirk's campaign site (Click photos for larger images.):









Here's the, um, shall we say, "distortion" on his House site:









Update: NO NO NO! The assholes asshole "Eric Qweefus" (see Shawn?) over at the "still comment free" Project Logic are quoting this comment approvingly.
Kirk of Illinois served in OIF, though not in the country of Iraq, and has never said otherwise, based on a discussion just completed with him. Contrary to other commenters here, Kirk is NOT lying.
Look. It's simple. The soldiers guarding the airports can't call themselves veterans of Iraqi Freedom. The soldiers who served with me in Afghanistan can't call themselves veterans of Iraqi Freedom. Only people who served "in country" in Iraq are Iraqi Freedom vets. It's that simple.

Update: Let's also note that Iraqi Freedom isn't mentioned in this May 4, 2005, press release from Kirk's office:
During a White House Ceremony Wednesday, President Bush officially promoted Lieutenant Commander Mark Kirk, United States Naval Reserves, to the rank of Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve in what the Navy calls a frocking ceremony.

Joining Kirk at the ceremony was his wife, Kimberly (a former naval officer and graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy), his mother Judith Reeve, stepfather Robert Reeve, father Frank Kirk and stepmother Beverly Kirk.

"It is an honor and a privilege to stand before the Commander-in-Chief in the Oval Office and be a part of this special ceremony," said Kirk. "I am grateful that my wife and family were able to witness this memorable occasion."

Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) is the only member of Congress drilling regularly as a naval reserve officer. Originally commissioned in 1989, Kirk served as part of a squadron flying the EA-6B Prowler electronic aircraft in the skies over Kosovo during Operation Allied Force and over Iraq during Operation Northern Watch. Kirk currently serves one weekend a month and two weeks a year as the Assistant Deputy Director for Intelligence in the National Military Joint Intelligence Center for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Kirk's military experience has helped him serve his constituents well where the Navy has spent over $1 billion in new construction at Naval Station Great Lakes and plans the construction of a new joint Navy/VA hospital to be built in North Chicago.

Contact: Matt Towson, 847/940-0202, 773/454-5396.
Yes, do contact him.

Bullshit

Atrios points to the latest salvo in the "Swift Boating" of Paul Hackett.
Conservative bloggers denounced Paul Hackett for his deceitful advertisements and his phony forums, but it seems there was a blatant lie we have overlooked. Until now.

For all of the liberals who said we should vote for Hackett because he would be the first Iraqi War veteran elected to Congress, I am proud to present to you Illinois Congressman Mark Steven Kirk: A veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who is already serving in the US House of Representatives.
Atrios points out that
Apparently, one current member of Congress flew missions over the northern no-fly zone in Iraq in 2000, before Operation Iraqi Freedom, and that therefore Hackett is a liar.

...To be clear, as far as I know Mark Kirk isn't misrepresenting his military service, the Schmidt campaign is doing it for him. Kirk's own website says he served stateside during OIF (one weekend a month as an intelligence officer in the Pentagon). There's no separate medal for serving in OIF, as the morons in charge decided to piss on the troops even further by lumping OEF and OIF together and giving only a GWOT Expeditionary medal, but unless there's some component of Kirk's service he's not advertising he wouldn't qualify for a GWOT medal. Again, this is no criticism of Kirk who, as far as I know, has not engaged in any resume puffery at all. It's all Schmidt, pissing on yet another Vet.
Here, though, Atrios is wrong. The Army got hugely pissed over Bush's anti-historical lumping together of both te Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns and, finally, Rumsfeld had to relent. Now, soldiers are allowed to wear the GWOT Expeditionary medal or specific campaign medals. The White House website defines who's allowed to wear the Iraq Campaign Medal:
Sec. 2. Iraq Campaign Medal. There is hereby established the Iraq Campaign Medal with suitable appurtenances. Except as limited in section 3 of this order, and under uniform regulations to be prescribed by the Secretaries of the military departments and approved by the Secretary of Defense, or under regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy, the Iraq Campaign Medal shall be awarded to members of the uniformed services of the United States who serve or have served in Iraq or contiguous waters or air space, as defined by such regulations, on or after March 19, 2003, and before a terminal date to be prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.
Anyone qualified to wear the Iraq Campaign Medal can call himself an Iraqi Freedom veteran. While we applaud the service of Mark Kirk, his service occurred before the March 19, 2003, start date of the mission, according to the Bush administration itself.

(FYI: All the members of my unit have chosen to wear the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, knowing, as we do, that the GWOT medal is political b.s.)

Update: Ah, integrity. First "Project Logic" deletes about 50 comments for "personal attacks" and for anonymous postings, postings including "personal attacks" or those which "came from the same IP Address while having different names signed to them." Then, when people continue to point out the bullshit, the post itself is simply deleted, without an admission that it was proven to be demonstrably false. Here's a personal attack for you: Eric Minameyer and the other posters "Eric Qweefus" at Project Logic are a bunch of irresponsible, unethical assholes.

Update: Project Logic wrote this after deleting the post. "As for the contents of the post, there's an ongoing debate as to where the mix-up came from, assuming it was inaccurate." Then, when it was pointed out in comments that that was a cop-out, comments were shut down. Fucking cowards You're a fucking coward, "Eric Qweefus."

Monday, August 01, 2005

Correlate This

Okay, we all know ID (Intelligent Design) is anything but, however, if the Kansas School Board wishes it to be taught in the classrooms along side evolution then alternative theories, like the Flying Spaghetti Monster, should be taught as well - fair is fair. Although the Flying Spaghetti Monster Theory represents only a modest improvement over ID theory, I think they're really on to something with their theory on global warming.[via Bob Harris]

It's Not The Speed ...

It's the sudden stop. Okay, so Mr. CJ and I have Hondas and short of adding rocket propulsion, I don't think we could get them up to 155 mph. [via So It May Secretly Begin]

Not that I've ever tried mind you, I'm more of a cruiser. I only take the freeway when I have to. Give me the nice curvy mountain roads with no traffic and I'm perfectly happy under 50 mph.

Even more content now after a scare I had a couple of summer's ago. We were on our favorite local mountain circuit and I was in the lead (as usual on curvy runs as Mr. CJ has the annoying habit of slowing in the turns - as opposed to before the curve and then speeding through) when my rear tire hit a small patch of oil and slid out.

It all happened so fast (and I was probably only doing about 45 mph), my heart was racing as I slowed and stopped on the side of the road. Mr. CJ said, "How in the hell did you get out of that?" I replied, "I have no bleeping idea". In a split-second I did whatever I had to do but it's not like steering into a skid in a car - you only have two wheels for chrissakes. I can only say, I appreciated this at the time I took it; it was definitely time and money well spent. Who knows, the life you save could be your own - training, instinct or perhaps trained instinct - at the time all that was between me and a mighty long drop. But then, it's not the drop ...

Riding The Short Bus

I guess after all of those years he spent riding the short bus to school, this is what passes for genius.

Fatal Probabilities

One in a million, one in seventeen thousand ... more or less the same. This is kinda scary...
TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- Five southern Idaho women - four of whom have already died - have been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease since January, health officials say.

None of the cases appeared to be the variant type of the fatal disease, which is usually linked to mad cow disease.

Instead, health officials said, the women may have all developed the sporadic form of CJD, where the disease appears even though the person has no known risk factors.

The women - four in Twin Falls County, one in nearby Minidoka County - were all between the ages of 60 and 83.

"We do not think that there is any reason for the community to be alarmed about these cases," said Cheryle Becker, an epidemiologist at South Central District Health. "In our investigation so far, we do not see any common source of contagion between the women. We don't think there is any reason for people to change their eating, drinking or living habits. We will continue to investigate and inform the public of what we find."
Given the risk factors for C-JD (brain surgery, eating eyes of animals, eating brains of animals), I'm thinking sporadic cases are any for which they are clueless - kinda like a syndrome X where "x" can be pretty much any variable(s). A local news affiliate reported this story under the unfortunate heading of Four Die in Magic Valley. Whew, thankfully, I live in the Treasure Valley 'cause that's the kind of magic I'd just as soon do without.