Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" doesn't work, in a nutshell.

The first service member wounded in the Iraq War, Marine Sgt. Eric Alva, is coming out to help repeal the DADT policy. This stood out for me.
I have tons and tons of friends that were in the military at the time who knew I was gay because I confided in them. Everybody had the same reaction: "What's the big deal?"
And that's why DADT doesn't work. Service members are supposed to--no, required to, actually--report their buddies when they come out to them, but soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, for the most part, don't give a damn about what people do out of uniform. They only care about whether a person can carry their own weight and cover their comrades' asses (um, so to speak).

Honesty from the right?

Is this the first example of a "Republican strategist" publicly admitting the Swift Boaters were using 527s to attack Kerry to allow Republicans to "keep their hands clean"? Karen Hanretty said, on Tucker:
And it's not Republicans, necessarily, who have to go after her in a general, if, in fact, she wins the primary. She can be Swift Boated. She can -- 527s can go attack her, and Republicans can keep their hands clean of it.
By admitting that's what "Swift Boating" means, isn't she admitting that was the point of what the Kerry attackers were doing?

Problems all taken care of at Walter Reed

The problem, of course, being those loud-mouthed wounded.
Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.
Nice to see that they're taking care of the troops.

If you know what I mean...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Malkin fake outrage watch, Episode #1,000,156

You mean there are left wing jerks just like there are right wing jerks? What a surprise (see Nitpicker Rule #1). Of course, I can't think of any lefty who posted this kid's address and said, "Sic 'im." That would be wrong. Right, Michelle?

This day in history

1371 Robert II succeeded to the throne of Scotland, beginning the Stuart dynasty.

1403 Charles VII, King of France, is born.

1630 Indians introduce pilgrims to popcorn, at Thanksgiving.

1732 George Washington is born.

1744 Battle at Toulon English-French & Spanish fleet.

1770 Christopher Snider 11, Boston, becomes 1st martyr of US Revolution.

1777 Archibald Bulloch dies under mysterious circumstances.

1810 Frédéric F Chopin is born.

1819 The U.S. acquires Spanish Florida.

1819 James Russell Lowell is born.

1832 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe dies.

1847 Battle of Buena Vista begins.

1854 1st meeting of the Republican Party, Michigan.

1856 1st national meeting of the Republican Party (Pittsburgh).

1860 Shoe-making workers of Lynn MS, strike successfully for higher wages.

1864 Battle of West Point, Mississippi.

1865 Tennessee adopted a new constitution abolishing slavery.

1888 John Reid of Scotland demonstrates golf to Americans (Yonkers NY).

1891 "Chico" Marx is born.

1892 Edna St. Vincent Millay is born.

1900 Luis Bruñel is born.

1902 A fistfight breaks out in the Senate. Senator Benjamin Tillman suffers a bloody nose for accusing Senator John McLaurin of bias on the Philippine tariff issue.

1917 Mussolini wounded by mortar bomb.

1918 Montana passes law against sedition.

1924 Calvin Coolidge made the first presidential radio broadcast from the White House.

1925 Edward Gorey, American writer and illustrator, is born.

1926 Pope Pius rejects Mussolini's offer of aid to the Vatican.

1932 Purple Heart award re-instituted.

1932 Edward Kennedy is born.

1935 Airplanes were no longer permitted to fly over the White House.

1942 President Roosevelt to MacArthur: Get out of the Philippines.

1944 US 8th Air Force bombs Enschede, Arnhem & Nijmegen by mistake/800+ die.

1944 C.S. Lewis writes in a letter: "Heaven enters wherever Christ enters, even in this life."

1946 George Kennan sends "long telegram" to State Department.

1948 Arabs bomb attack in Jerusalem, 50 die.

1950 Disney's Cinderella opens.

1950 Julius Erving is born.

1956 1st British soccer match at Kunstlicht Portsmouth vs Newcastle United.

1965 Westmoreland asks for Marines

1967 Suharto takes full power in Indonesia.

1967 Operation Junction City becomes the largest U.S. operation in Vietnam.

1969 LtCol. Donald E. Paxton and Maj. Charles Macko go MIA in Laos, despite DoD claims we weren't in the country.

1971 Terry of Nitpicker is born.

1973 Israeli fighter planes shoot down a civilian Libyan Arab Airlines Boeing 727 killing 108.

1980 The "Miracle on Ice" takes place.

1980 Afghanistan declares martial law.

1983 Hindus kill 3000 Moslems in Assam, India.

1991 Bush & US Gulf War allies give Iraq 24 hours to begin Kuwait withdrawal.

1993 The U.N. Security Council approved creation of an international war crimes tribunal to punish those responsible for atrocities in the former Yugoslavia.

1994 Double agent Aldrich Ames is arrested.

1997 Dolly the sheep is cloned.

2006 Samarra's al-Askari mosque bombed.

(Sources here, here, here, here, here and here)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Good God

ABC has pictures on their website chronicling the recovery of Bob Woodruff.



If the skull above was the skull of your friend, would you cry? You shouldn't, because that would make BlackFive "very angry."

If someone said your friend wasn't as worthy of sympathy as a soldier because that friend was just "looking to get 'street cred,'" how would you feel?

The only reason we're seeing these pictures of Woodruff is because he, as the patient, had a right to them. I await the right wing bloggers' call for the release of the photos and scans of all the soldiers injured in this war, too. Why not? Shouldn't we see what the war's done to those Confederate Yankee says he cares more about?

Instapundit calls Ronald Reagan a traitor!

Well, at least, that's the obvious, logical extrapolation of arguing we've been at war with Iran since 1979. I pointed out over three years ago (when Oliver North of all people, made a similar claim) that any argument that says we were at war with Iran during the Iran-Contra era implies the actions of the Reagan administration were treasonous, as they would have been actively lending "aid and comfort to the enemy."

Update: Scott Lemieux makes the same point (but, ahem after me).

BlackFive: The Iranian military is teh bomb

Right wing blogger "Uncle Jimbo" at BlackFive says that, sure, soldiers shouldn't be recovering from wounds in squalor, but the American military has always been completely screwed up.
If you are to deploy to the mountains in winter, the only thing you'll have enough of is mosquito nets. Iif you go to the desert, pallets of climbing ropes and toboggans will appear. What do you do then, do you howl to the gods about the inequities and how Rumsfeld and Cheney were just trying to make a buck? Well yeah probably for a minute, but then you make harnesses from the ropes and pretty soon you've got a convoy of camels hauling your gear in the toboggans.
(He also accuses Dana Priest of touring "military hospitals until she found the crappiest ones and also the most jerked-around wounded troops" without the slightest shred of evidence, but we'll set that aside.)

If the logistics of the American military are so completely fucked up, then why is it Jimbo thinks it's impossible that rogue elements of the Iranian military might be skimming weapons for Iraqi insurgents? In other words, why does Uncle Jimbo think the Iranian army is so much better run than ours?

Quit being mean to Jonah

I agree with Jonah Goldberg. It's rude and wrong to point out what a fatass he is while he's busy pontificating about how writing about the conditions faced by American military casualties--casualties which are the result of a war he now calls a "mistake"--proves a journalist has an agenda.

It is, of course, perfectly acceptable for Jonah Goldberg to use his fatass status as an excuse for not joining the military and, perhaps, getting a first-hand look at the conditions of military medical facilities.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Serious news...with boobies!

Fox News continues to aim for excellence:
Fox News has hired Courtney Friel as a correspondent and substitute anchor. She will host Fox & Friends Weekend tomorrow and Sunday, Bill Shine announced today.

"Friel will join co-hosts Kelly Wright and Greg Kelly in anchoring the morning program this Saturday and Sunday from 7-10AM/ET. In addition, Friel will be a correspondent for Foxnews.com."
TVNewser also suggested we check out Friel's online gallery, adding that one shouldn't "miss all her swimsuit photos..." Alas, those photos have disappeared since that was posted, so I thought I'd provide the pic below.

Me, I'm of the if you've got it, flaunt it camp. That's fine, but Fox is starting to seem like a 1963 Lake Tahoe Fuller Brush convention--a bunch of ugly, creepy men surrounded by hotties who are wondering just exactly how they got there. We are probably months away from midriff-bearing twins doing reports as "The Gibson Girls." Sure, they'll have the thinnest fig leaf resumes--journalism degrees and a couple years in a top 200 market doing stories about local lottery winners and the brave granny who defended herself from muggers with a cane--but shouldn't "the most watched cable news channel" at least try to act like they care about serious news?

Of course, I understand what happened here: Bill O'Reilly probably had a say in this hire, but what is he going to tell Ann "Let's take a closer look at those breasts" Althouse? She's bothered by the boobies.

Frank Gaffney: Whiny baby

On Alan Colmes' show yesterday, Frank Gaffney and Glenn Greenwald debated about Gaffney's column, which used a made-up Lincoln quote to imply that speaking out against the war was a treasonous hanging offense. You should follow the link and listen to the whole thing, because Gaffney simply could not seem to make, or at least support, a single logical point.

I do want to point out something that I find funny about Republicans, though. Unless someone is willing to give them a soapbox and all the time in the world, they get pissed. Colmes started talking to Gaffney first, then went to Glenn, but, when Colmes turned back to Gaffney, you got this little pissy moment:
COLMES: Frank?

GAFFNEY: Do I get equal time?

COLMES: I mean--I went to you first.

GAFFNEY: You attacked me first.

COLMES: Are we going to spend our time arguing about who gets what? I'll run the show...
And it went on like that with Colmes explaining that it's his show and Gaffney whining like a child.

The truth is this: If you count up the time Frank Gaffney had to speak--minus time when Colmes interrupted or redirected him with a question--Gaffney had two minutes and 23 seconds to speak. While Glenn Greenwald did receive less interruption, he only received 2:04 in which to speak. Either Gaffney doesn't understand what "equal time" means or he was simply more comfortable arguing about Colmes' bias than his disgusting, inaccurate column.

Update: Not only whiny, but a blatant liar
GAFFNEY: The Iraq Survye Group...found, contrary to what Jeff keeps saying, uh, what Glenn keeps saying, that there was a hot production line for chemical and biological agents in Iraq, there were plans to ramp it up when sanctions were lifted (which was immminent) and to place the products of those lines in aerosol cans and perfume sprayers for shipment to the U.S.
Um...
The 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequent U.N. inspections destroyed Iraq's illicit weapons capability and, for the most part, Saddam Hussein did not try to rebuild it, according to an extensive report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq that contradicts nearly every prewar assertion made by top administration officials about Iraq.

Charles A. Duelfer, whom the Bush administration chose to complete the U.S. investigation of Iraq's weapons programs, said Hussein's ability to produce nuclear weapons had "progressively decayed" since 1991. Inspectors, he said, found no evidence of "concerted efforts to restart the program."

The findings were similar on biological and chemical weapons. While Hussein had long dreamed of developing an arsenal of biological agents, his stockpiles had been destroyed and research stopped years before the United States led the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Duelfer said Hussein hoped someday to resume a chemical weapons effort after U.N. sanctions ended, but had no stocks and had not researched making the weapons for a dozen years.
But even that is speculation, as Duelfer had to admit (PDF link).
Over time, and with the infusion of funding and resources following acceptance of the Oil for Food program, Iraq effectively shortened the time that would be required to reestablish CW production capacity. Some of this was a natural collateral benefit of developing an indigenous chemical production infrastructure. By 2003, Iraq would have been able to produce mustard agent in a period of months and nerve agent in less than a year or two We have not come across explicit guidance from Saddam on this point, yet it was an inherent consequence of his decision to develop a domestic chemical production capacity.
Update: "Hot production line?" Here's what Gaffney said in November:
For the record, I remain convinced that the liberation of Iraq was a necessary and laudable measure to prevent a megalomaniac from handing off to terrorists weapons of mass destruction for the purpose of attacking us and our allies. Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. government has proof that Saddam Hussein had precisely such plans ready to implement. In fact, such evidence was actually documented in the Iraq Survey Group’s final report released last year with much obscuring fanfare about the absence of recovered WMDs.
To the eternal sorrow of Mrs. Gaffney, Frank uses "hot" in exactly the opposite manner the term is used by the rest of America.

Friday Random Ten

1. "Asi Es Mi Vida" - Los Pinguos
2. "Turn Into" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

3. "Chocolate" - Snow Patrol
4. "Wake Up" - The Walkmen (Free mp3 here)
5. "King of Trees" - Cat Stevens
6. "Girl in the War" - Josh Ritter

7. "Juditha triumphans devicta Holofernes barbarie, oratorio in 2 parts, RV 644 Quanto magis generosa" - Yo Yo Ma, Ton Koopman, Katherine McGillivray and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
8. "Mad World" - Michael Andrews (You must watch the sweet Michel Gondry-directed video below.)

9. "Distance" - Editors
10. "The Rotting Strip" - Crooked Fingers

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Give me a lever long enough...

and, according to Archimedes, I could move the world. This would be quite interesting, since, according to Texas Republican nutjob Warren Chisumit's not moving now.
It's not surprising that the earth doesn't move for Warren Chisum, and maybe it's not surprising that he blames a Jewish conspiracy for it.

Still, it's enough to set the world a-spinning that the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, the most powerful committee in the House, distributed to legislators a memo pitching crazed wingers who believe the earth stands still--doesn't spin on its axis or revolve around the Sun--that Copernicus was part of a Jewish conspiracy to undermine the Old Testament. That would be the same Old Testament that was written by the folks Chisum's friends say are conspiring to undermine it.
Oh Jews, is there any conspiracy you aren't involved in, you rascals?

Come to think of it, if I had a lever long enough, I'd probably reach out and try to knock some sense into Warren Chisum with it.

What kind of churches are these people going to?

Atrios points us to this poll from USA Today:
Those who say they attend religious services weekly were more supportive of the administration's move to increase U.S. troops levels in Iraq. But a majority still opposed that idea.

Attend church weekly: 46% favor troop increase, 53% oppose.
Nearly weekly/monthly: 35% favor, 62% oppose.
Seldom/never: 34% favor, 63% oppose.





















From The Good Citizen's Alphabet, by Bertrand Russell, with illustrations by Franciszka Themerson, 1953 (h/t Crooks and Liars).

Reid to Republicans: Put up or shut up!

Give 'em Hell, Harry!
The House of Representatives will almost certainly approve a resolution Friday opposing the president's escalation of the war in Iraq. In a statement released just a few minutes ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he will move for a "clear up-or-down vote" on the House measure the very next day.

"For nearly four years, the Republican-controlled Senate stood silent on the president's flawed Iraq policies and watched as the situation deteriorated into a civil war," Reid says in the statement. "The American people have chosen to change course. Democrats have chosen to change course. Unfortunately, Senate Republicans have chosen obstruction. Almost every Republican who expressed concern about the escalation chose to block the Senate from debating the issue."
I can't wait for the Republican whining to begin...

The Hammer of Jihad?

I've always considered the story of the Maccabees one of a people, oppressed by overbearing invaders with no appreciation of their values system, rising up and regaining their independence when pushed too far. For those of you who don't know, the repurification of the Temple in Jerusalem after Jews led by Judas Maccabeus retook the city is the origin of the celebration of Hannukah.

So, isn't it bothersome that The Corner's Andrew Stuttaford says the Maccabees were driven by the same "violent religious fanaticism" as jihadis and the Spanish Inquisition?

Update: I'll admit I got most of what I know about this story from my Bible--and, yes, Virginia, if you haven't been paying attention that means I'm a Catholic--and oddly enough, it sounds as if Stuttaford is pretty much right on here. He's right in general about his view of D'Souza, but also right about the fact that the Maccabees were somewhat more like, say, al Qaeda in Iraq--an extreme sect of a religion which forced their will upon others. Fascinating.

They're funny when they're honest

Republican House leaders say it's wrong --and liberal!--for Americans to "fully understand the consequences of continuing our efforts in Iraq." Truth, apparently, really does have a liberal bias.

The sorry state of the conservative media

The recent use of a fabricated Abraham Lincoln quote by Frank Gaffney, has shone a bright light on just how unethical the right wing media is. I'm not only talking about Gaffney. His error is just that, an error. He hasn't, however, been rushing to correct it, a terrible lapse for a former Assistant Secretary of Defense and the president and CEO of the Center for Security Policy who, according to his speaking bio, "has been nationally and internationally recognized as a resource for timely, informed and penetrating analyses of foreign and defense policy matters."

But, still, I'm willing to believe Gaffney didn't realize the quote was fake.

Look, however, at the FactCheck article which exposed its falseness and you find this, from the man who spawned a million right wing blog posts and comments, J. Michael Waller.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct this important issue. The supposed quote in question is not a quote at all, and I never intended it to be construed as one. It was my lead sentence in the article that a copy editor mistakenly turned into a quote by incorrectly inserting quotation marks.

Additionally, I filed my story with the lead sentence ending in the words "Civil War," which my southern editor switched to "War Between the States."

Oddly, you are the first to question me about this . I'm surprised it has been repeated as often as you say. My editors at the time didn't think it was necessary to run a correction in the following issue of the magazine, and to my knowledge we received no public comment.
Aside from the fact Waller's article was full of historical inaccuracies and the man is a supposed "conservative scholar," he's also the Vice President for Information Operations at the selfsame Center for Security Policy of which Gaffney is president and CEO (which seems an odd sort of coincidence). Despite these credentials, he demurred to his editor and did not correct this error--an error which a more cynical reader might think was no error at all.

So, I want to tell a story. When I left the U.S. Navy and returned to Kansas State University, I took a position as a columnist with the Kansas State Collegian, the college newspaper. In October of 2000, I wrote a column for the paper regarding the need for Americans--even, if not especially, conservative Americans--to support same sex marriage. It began:
If you can count on anything when dealing with other people, it's their ability to surprise you by not being able to be counted on.

Take Dick Cheney, for example. Here is a man who I counted on to be a typical conservative line-toer, who turns out to be a man thoughtful and intelligent enough to challenge his own party's position on same-sex marriage.

True, he did it in what could euphemistically be called a "diplomatic" fashion, lacking any evidence of real political cojones, but he did it nonetheless. He said this about the issue during the debate: "I try to be open-minded about it as much as I can and tolerant of those relationships."

And like Joe (Lieberman), I also wrestle with the extent to which there ought to be legal sanction of those relationships. I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into.

This statement, though somewhat wishy-washy, seems to be one of the best made by any of the four main candidates on this issue during this election season.
You've probably already caught the error here. The third paragraph was supposed to be in quotes as well. It was Cheney, not me, who wrestled with legally sanctioning gay marriage.

To make a long story short, I went to the editor, Reed Dunn (this guy, by the way), and asked him to run a correction. He refused, saying it was no big deal. I argued that it not only skewed the point of my column, but made me look like a plagiarist--and an inept one at that. In the end, I told him that I could not write for the newspaper any longer.

Now, I know that I'm just a nitpicking blogger and that was just a college paper, but shouldn't those taken seriously by the conservative establishment and, by extension the mainstream press, actually aim for a higher ethical standard than me?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Letter to a lawmaker

Dear Rep. Wolf,

Your party had four fucking years to pass your own bills dealing with Americans' concerns about the Iraq War and 12 years to try to bring about a less divisive Washington. To see you mewl like a five year old who REALLY WANTS SOME CANDY about how you don't get the debate you want to add your niggling amendments seems a little ridiculous. It's especially embarrassing to you since we all know your party leadership has said they want to avoid a "debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq" because they know you'll lose.

So quit whining, OK?

One good thing about the new "conservative daily show"

As a connoiseur of classic American television, it's good to see the classics return and I'd date the show's laugh track to the best years of the Joan Davis/Jim Backus series "I Married Joan." Who says conservatives don't believe in recycling?

Understanding Barbara Starr's confusion

[Update below]

Barbara Starr is driving Atrios insane today, as she discusses the "evidence," briefed anonymously to reporters over the weekend, that Iran is helping Iraqi insurgents.

The truth is, there's a pretty good reason for her confusion over Maj. Gen. William Caldwell's suggestion that "hype" is involved in the Iran evidence: Caldwell can't keep his story straight.

Today, Caldwell not only suggested someone wants to hype the evidence, but is quoted in USA Today as saying that the decision to release the information had no political backing. "Our decision to publicly release this information was conceived, coordinated, and ultimately decided here at the (U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad)," he said. Caldwell, as chief spokesman in Baghdad, would have been one of the decision makers who made the final call on this and, as anyone who has worked in military public affairs (like me) knows, there's no way in hell this info would have been released without the approval of, at a minimum, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and, since it involves the discussion of another country, the Department of State PAO. In the military, the number of people who have to see something before it's released as official is known as a "chop chain." The chop chain for information like this would be a mile long and, if not followed, should cost someone their job.

What makes Caldwell's seeming contradictions--someone wanted to hype this, but we released it--even more confusing is that Caldwell himself has been outed as one of the anonymous briefers who, according to Starr, "said that these shipments were tied to the highest levels of the Iranian government."

Either Caldwell is being pulled this way and that by competing interests (and doesn't care to spin his contradictions in order to cover for those interests) or he's an incompetent hack. And I've never met a two star who's an incompetent hack.

None of that excuses the notoriously incurious Barbara Starr for reciting what she's fed as gospel, but even a real journalist would be confused by Caldwell's statements.

Update: Starr isn't the only one who's confused. Andy McCarthy writes at the Corner:
When it comes to Iraq, the Left is dizzying. Are these not the same people who said that if Lynndie England was walking a naked Iraqi prisoner around like a dog on a leash, she simply must have been acting on orders from Don Rumsfeld, if not Bush himself? Now, the mullahs' own militia, formed for the purpose of exporting the Islamic revolution, is caught red-handed exporting the Islamic revolution to Iraq, and the Left's response is to ask whether we can really be sure the mullahs put them up to it?
All I can say to that is welcome to the Left, General Pace:
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Tuesday that the discovery that roadside bombs in Iraq contained material made in Iran does not necessarily mean the Iranian government is involved in supplying insurgents.

The comments by Pace called into question assertions by three senior U.S. military officials in Baghdad on Sunday who said the highest levels of the Iranian government were responsible for arming Shiite militants in Iraq with the bombs, blamed for the deaths of more than 170 coalition personnel.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday that he is confident the weaponry was being sent with the approval of the Iranian government.

Pace told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, that U.S. forces hunting militant networks in Iraq that produced roadside bombs had arrested Iranians and some of the materials used in the devices were made in Iran.

"That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this," Pace said. "What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers."

On Monday, Pace told the Voice of America during a visit to Australia: "It is clear that Iranians are involved and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."
If only there were a memo tying the Iranian government to the weapons.

Update: And welcome to the Left, CentCom commander Adm. William "Fox" Fallon:
I have no idea who may be actually with hands-on in this stuff, but I do know that this is not helpful to the situation in Iraq. The folks there are struggling. They’re trying to build a new life for themselves, a new country.
[Oy. I fixed a misquote caused by careless pasting before running out to Valentine's Day dinner with Mrs. Nitpicker. See comments. Thanks, psyberdawg.]

Wells avoids imitating art

Jane Hamsher, who should know better, has some questions about the Libby trial.
When Ted Wells came back from lunch today and announced that he had released Dick Cheney as a witness I was damn near brokenhearted. After all that, and Shooter lets me down. Did he not want to testify on Libby's behalf, did Team Libby decide he could do more harm than good, or did they never intend to call him at all? We'll probably never know.
Jane, Jane Jane... It's obvious why he won't be called. Observe:
They began spreading wild rumours about faulty conclusion--and then "Old Big Time". I was to blame for Wilson's incompetence. [At this point, Cheney would begin rolling shotgun pellets around in his hand.] Wilson was the perfect public servant, but not Cheney. But the yellowcake, that's where I had them. I proved with geometric logic that a evidence of a meeting existed. I could have produced that evidence. They were protecting someone...

A note: If you really don't get what I'm saying, replace "yellowcake" with "strawberries" and I think you'll see what I'm getting at. If you don't, you need to watch The Caine Mutiny because you're missing out on an important cultural moment.

Doug Feith thinks you're stupid

He writes:
In evaluating our policy toward Iraq after Sept. 11, 2001, my office realized that CIA analysts were suppressing some of their information. They excluded reports conflicting with their favored theory: that the secular Iraqi Baathist regime would not cooperate with al-Qaeda jihadists. (We now face a strategic alliance of jihadists and former Baathists in Iraq.)
What we don't face, obviously, is an Iraqi Baathist regime. Now that we're in Iraq, we've given jihadists and Baathists a common enemy, but, before the war, there was absolutely no way the secular government of Hussein would have been able to find common ground with the religious fanatics of al Qaeda. A Republican-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report said so, as did the bipartisan 9/11 commission. It should also, of course, be mentioned that the mostly Sunni Baathists suddenly find themselves a relatively powerless minority in a majority Shiite country.

And, according to those who are pushing us, Feith-like, to attack Iran, we should be worrying about the Iran-backed Shiites, right? I just get so confused trying to pick kernels of truth from the shovelfuls of bullshit.

Poor Doug. He's got the job of trying to convince people that he's correct, that wars don't create strange bedfellows, and all I have to say to prove him wrong is that I, a liberal Democrat, think Pat Buchanan has been right about Iraq since the beginning.

Q.E.D.

Update: Armchair Generalist also peeks into "Doug Feith's Magic Wonderland."

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tomorrow's messages today

A highlight of voicemail messages Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, will receive tomorrow:
*beep*

Hey, General, John Hannah from the VeePee's office. I, uh, caught the quote you gave Voice of America, buddy, and, I gotta say, I wish you would have called us first. We're trying to kick something off here and you're kind of making it harder when you, um, don't, uh, go along with the program. Now, I'm not sayin' we gotta slam-dunk or anything, heh heh, but, um, we did do a PowerPoint...So, anyway, give me a ring when you get this message. Thanks.

*beep*

Pete, it's John Hannah again. I still haven't heard back from you and I'm wondering what's up. I, uh, hope you're not listening to people suggesting the numbers don't add up, 'cause, um, 'cause we checked 'em twice and, you know, we--God, I hate these machines (nervous giggle), everything comes out wrong. AAAaaaanyhoo, I'd like to talk to you as soon as possible. Please, uh, call me when you can.

*beep*

General Pace. This is John Hannah and I would appreciate it if you would CALL ME IMMEDIATELY!

*beep*

Whoa. Damn, I'm sorry, Pete. I think I may have come off a little...ah, brusque in that last message. Didn't mean to. Like I said, I'm not, uh, not real good with machines. Or mail. Um, you know, voicemail, I mean. Though you probably knew I meant that. Uh, so, we've got some things we're trying to get done and I'd like to speak with you. Give me a call.

*beep*

Hey, motherfucker! I heard you were talking to Olbermann. If you screw-up our plans in Iran, I'll have your stars you son-of-a-bitch! JUST DRINK THE GODDAM KOOL-AID! DRINK IT! DRIIIIINK IIIIIT!

(Sound of huffing and puffing from exertion and then the voice returns, but quietly, away from the mouthpiece.)

Aw, shit...Hey, Lucy, do you know how to delete a voicemail? Huh? Luce? Come in here...I messed up and I gotta delete this--

*beep*
Damn generals, always straying from the script.

A note to an e-mailer

____________ Your wrath is nothing to me,
Not even if you go to the deepest foundations
of Earth and Sea, where Cronus and Iapetus
Dwell out of the light of Hyperion the Sun,
Cooled by no winds, in the trench of Tartarus--
Not even then will I care that you are angry,
Because there is nothing more shameless than you.

____________- The Iliad, Book 8
_____________Stanley Lombardo, trans.

A note: If you haven't read Lombardo's masterful, modern translations of The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Aeneid, you are missing out on versions of these classics which read briskly, but in the use of vernacular, highlight layers of depth you may have missed when reading your Chapman, Pope or Butler versions. Lombardo, a University of Kansas professor, bona fide Zen master and certified billiards instructor, tries to get back to the root of the perfomance art the epic poetry once was and the resulting translations seem the collaborative works of Alistair MacLean and Billy Collins. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Waste

Michelle Malkin is, of course, livid that Barack Obama pointed out the obvious--that Bush's war is a waste of American lives--calling his statement "patronizing, infantilizing, and insulting" to the troops. She even quotes some service members who supported and died for the war and family members of other dead troops who believe the sacrifice was worth it. You can't argue with their opinion on this matter, because it is, after all, simply an opinion, no matter how hard it may have been to come by. Should one be interested in debating Malkin on the "uh-uh/uh-huh" playground level she's chosen, it would be simple to find an equal number of service members who feel the war is a waste and family members who believe that they gave a son, daughter, brother or sister for nothing.

A closer look, however, reveals that Malkin's childish fuming is just another version of Bush's spin point: That only by "winning" the war in Iraq can we "honor" the service members already killed in his war.

When you consider this logical result of this construct, though, Bush and Malkin are saying that those soldiers deaths--and, by extension, their service and lives--only have meaning if the war is just and finished properly. As Malkin's anti-Catholic little buddy Allahpundit tried to spin it, those of us who oppose the war all think that soldiers lives are being wasted, but we "can’t say that because it dishonors the dead so they’re forced into rhetorical pretzels..."

I have tried to write this post several times, but it usually devolves into the sort of cursing rant which might make it easy for some to dismiss my point, but I want to be very clear here. Malkin and her followers--and, even more importantly, anyone who might think about taking them seriously--must be led to understand something important:
Nothing I can do or say can add or subtract one iota from the honor a service member has earned. Nothing Michelle Malkin, George W. Bush or the entire Fox News staff does or says can add or subtract one iota from the honor (or even dishonor, in rare cases) a service member has earned. The Iraq War does not provide the life of a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine with meaning. The Iraq War does not instill meaning in service. Those who have served know that, foolish war or just, honorable service is a meaning unto itself and has a value independent of context.
In other words, soldiers don't need your fucking war to give their lives or service meaning. Those in uniform who both support and oppose the war have earned their honor with their own two hands. Their lives have an inherent value that cannot be affected by right wing bloggers or even failed presidents.

Think of the money in your wallet right now. Despite the value it represents, it can be wasted. Or think in economic terms of the true opportunity cost of each soldier's life: The birthday parties of children; the creativity and drive that might have found flower in our culture; the soulmate lucky enough to end her days on this earth in the arms of a loved one. This is a high cost that, no matter the outcome of this war, cannot be won back. I have worn the uniforms of two services. My father and his brothers fought in Vietnam. My grandfather's ship lobbed some of the 165,000 shells which helped liberate Saipan. And, if my great aunt's research is correct, a relative of mine received his pay in the infirmary of George Washington's Valley Forge encampment. I am no pacifist. I understand that there are times when the value of what might be earned could outweigh the cost of a few thousand American lives--or, even, a few hundred thousand lives.

But the lives we have lost in Iraq were lost due to the fever dreams of ideologues, who ignored all historical precedent in both proposing and planning their war. Every rationale for war has proven either false or foolish and the results pyrrhic, at best. We are less respected, less revered and, yes, less feared than before we began it. Our own intelligence agencies think that the war is actually creating more terrorists with even less central command and, while you argue that "we weren't in Iraq on 9/11," it's clear to anyone with the eyes to see that, in the words of Don Rumsfeld, "the harder we work, the behinder we get." Even some of your most erudite of conservative intellectuals (a near oxymoron these days) and mindless, partisan hacks have admitted the war was a mistake, closing a gap of years between them and the American public.

It is not dishonoring the troops to point out--as I do now, flatly--that their lives are being wasted in Bush's ridiculous, pointless and, ultimately, futile adventure. It is simply the truth and does not reflect on their service, but rather on the fact that the loss of their lives has gained us less than nothing. We must leave Iraq. Most Americans and even most soldiers believe that.

Malkin and her supporters to proverbially patting soldiers on the head and saying, "Everything will be all right soon, don't worry, it's going to get better," isn't the same as supporting the troops. It's patronizing the troops. It's infantilizing the troops. It's insulting the troops. And, if there are Americans blinkered enough to look at this debacle of a war and still believe the ridiculousness of Malkin and her minions, thereby lending support to those who would send more soldiers into Iraq's grinding machinery, it might even be killing the troops.

Friday, February 09, 2007

We're doomed

How can we democrats compete with the next generation of rising Republican stars? Check out this up-and-comer at the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans:
Mike Flory - Chairman

Mike Flory is truly one of the rising stars of GOP politics in America. He has been active at the grassroots level of politics and in leadership positions for over fifteen years.

Mike Flory served as State Chairman of the Michigan Federation of Teen Age Republicans from 1989 to 1991, a position which automatically made him an ex-officio member of the MFYR Board. After turning 18, he became a member of the MFYR Board of Directors and in 1995 was elected MFYR Co-Chairman, a position which he held for two terms. In 1999, Mike was elected State Chairman and is currently serving his second term.

Even at the national level, Mike has earned a great name for himself. In 1992, Mike was the youngest person to address the Republican National Convention live on national television from the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. He returned four years later to the 1996 Republican National Convention in San Diego, California, as Michigan's youngest delegate.

Education has always been one of Mike's top priorities. His undergraduate degrees are in nuclear power. He worked for two commercial nuclear power plants before attending law school. He has his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. During his law school career, Mike also served as President of the Wayne State University Law School Chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and he currently is a member of the Michigan Lawyer's Federalist Society Chapter.

Mike began private practice as an attorney in 1999 and founded Flory & Associates, PLLC, an elder law advocacy firm with offices in Okemos, Michigan and Jackson, Michigan. Mike currently lives in the East Lansing area.
With people like this charming newcomer, how can we ever hope to win the future elections. Flory is already a "notable" supporter of John McCain, according to Hotline and a leader in McCain's PAC and it seems obvious he's going to ride that Straight Talk Express right into a cabinet posi--Wait. What's that?
The chairman of a Michigan young Republican group has been accused of raping a 21-year-old woman while both were in Cleveland for a convention last July.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury returned a 17-count indictment Wednesday against Michael A. Flory, 32, including charges of rape, kidnapping, aggravated burglary, gross sexual imposition and witness intimidation.

Flory, who lives in the East Lansing area, is chairman of the Michigan Federation of Young Republicans, an organization for Republicans from age 18 to 40. He attended the convention of the National Federation of Young Republicans last summer.
What I find shocking isn't, after all, the number of Republicans who are sexual predators (that particular problem knows no party, I'm sure), but that there are so many holding Republican party leadership positions at the local and national levels. Add him to the list.

Oy

This week has been very instructive in the ways of the media. Not only did we learn that major figures in the Washington press don't understand what journalism is, but the Iraq War was put on the back burner in order to cover more salacious stories like the tragic story of the female astronaut who apparently wanted to kill a rival or the death of Playboy Playmate and C-list celebrity Anna Nicole Smith.

But Newsweek takes the cake this week, giving its cover over to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and a typical "the cultural sky is falling article." Honestly, though, I couldn't make it past the first couple paragraphs of the ridiculous, whiny essay. Observe:
My 6-year-old daughter loves Lindsay Lohan. Loves, loves, loves her. She loves Lindsay's hair; she loves Lindsay's freckles. She's seen "The Parent Trap" at least 10 times. I sometimes catch her humming the movie's theme song, Nat King Cole's "Love." She likes "Herbie Fully Loaded" and now we're cycling through "Freaky Friday." So when my daughter spotted a photo of Lindsay in the New York Post at the breakfast table not long ago, she was psyched. "That's Lindsay Lohan," she said proudly. "What's she doing?"

I couldn't tell her, of course. I didn't want to explain that Lindsay, who, like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, sometimes parties pantyless, was taking pole-dancing lessons to prepare for a movie role...
If the author, Kathleen Deveny were really all that concerned with what her 6-year-old is exposed to, why is she reading The New York Post at the breakfast table?






















Stay tuned for my upcoming Esquire article where I complain about how naked women are a bad influence on my sons, who have been reading Playboy over my shoulder in the living room.

Elitists

I'm loving the Republican intramural fight over immigration. It's very effectively highlighting both the racism of the anti-immigration, "Mexicans are sapping and impurifying our precious American bodily fluids culture" crowd and the racially elitist view of the Corporate Shill Wing of the Republican party. Case in point: Karl Rove.
According to a congressman's wife who attended a Republican women's luncheon yesterday, Karl Rove explained the rationale behind the president's amnesty/open-borders proposal this way: "I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Speaking of big 'ol planes...

Despite the fact the House sergeant-at-arms has said that it was he, not Nancy Pelosi, who went to the Pentagon about getting access to a military plane for her travels and even the White House's Tony Snow has called this a "silly...unfair" story, Republican representatives and bloggers and even the Christian Coalition have continued to flog and exaggerate the story of Pelosi's access to a military flight.

My question is this: Where were they when Bush's presidential campaign was using one of the very planes about which they're bitching (a C-32, the military's version of a 757)--plus a C-17 and Air Force One--and tearing up runways by ignoring the warnings of locals?
When people refer to battlegrounds in presidential races, they are usually not thinking of airport runways. But those people probably have not heard of Runway 4/22 at the airport in Las Cruces, N.M.

The runway, the airport's longest, has been closed since President Bush made a campaign stop in August 2004. It has gouges six inches deep and a hundred yards long, which the city says were put there by two Air Force cargo planes accompanying the president. Las Cruces put the damage at $2.1 million.

The city said airport officials warned the Air Force that the planes, a giant C-17 and a military version of the 757, were too heavy, and that the hot asphalt would be too soft for landing that day.

When Bill Clinton paid a presidential visit, he landed at Holloman Air Force Base nearby, said Terence J. Kelly, a spokesman for Las Cruces. When Senator John Kerry and former Senator John Edwards, the Democratic candidates for president and vice president, visited, "they landed elsewhere," Mr. Kelly said.

After a year of discussions, the Air Force has offered $600,000 for repairs.
Don't sweat it though, that $600,000 payout from the DoD coffers only would only have provided just about every soldier in Iraq with the best body armor on the market. Oops, I shouldn't post so late. But what, one wonders could the DoD do with that $600,000?

P.S. By the way, if this is the first your hearing of this, it's because, as I predicted, the press let this true story die, but the myth of Clinton tying up LAX for a haircut lives on.

Rank hypocrisy smothered in embarrassment sauce

Michelle Malkin's buddy "Allahpundit" doesn't believe Amanda Marcotte’s and Melissa McEwan’s statements that they didn't mean to hurt nobody.
It wasn’t their intention to malign anyone’s faith? By referring to religious conservatives as “godbags” and “Christofascists”?
And, because John Edwards says he takes them at their word, Allahpundit says he's either "a gullible moron or he takes us for gullible morons."

That's not even the worst of it. Amanda and Melissa even called Catholics cannibalistic "ghoulish fucks" who were "chewing on Jesus." Oh wait. That wasn't Amanda and Melissa at all. That was Allahpundit himself.

Snicker

Dear Republicans,

Pleasepleaseplease give the world a Rumsfeld-Bolton ticket in 2008. You keep saying that you lose because your candidates just aren't crazy dislikable crochety and/or mustachioed conservative enough, so why not put your money where your mouth is?

The Fightin' Dainties?

Michael Ledeen should make up his mind. Today he writes:
I’ve spent a lot of time of late with military people, and I am reminded of Tocqueville’s observation that the best Americans generally do not go into politics or the academy; they go into business or the law or religion, and, in times of war, the armed forces.
But a month ago he was saying that we were doing poorly in Iraq due, in part, to the "substantial number" of our troops who were lazily "sitting in air-conditioned quarters and drinking designer coffee." Which is it?

Also, he writes that "Military people are not happy with the media or with the American public. Many of them say, I think quite accurately, that most Americans view them — the soldiers — as an annoyance." Of course Ledeen offers no evidence for this claim, but I'll say this: In my experience military people often aren't happy with the American public or the media and it's not because they're seen as an annoyance. It's because the vast majority of the American public and the press are so disconnected from the military that they just don't understand them.

Soldiers were always bitching to reporters about stories that would misunderstand their mission, the rank structure, the way combat units are apportioned, etc., basic stuff reporters should probably have at least looked up before arriving in country. But just as annoying are those who write paeans to service members' glorious service or call them all heroes. Soldiers know that every unit has some pogues, that not all who serve serve heroically (or even adequately) and that saying everyone's a hero makes no one a hero.

Who paid Jonah's debt?

Here's the list of the people who've covered Jonah's bet:
David Rees
Matt Ortega
Charles Kuffner
Christopher Dumler
TRex
Sean-Paul Kelley
Jesus' General
Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
Adam Bonin
Tom Tomorrow
Ian Welsh
Stephanie Taylor
Hoffmania
Taylor Marsh
Robin Marty
David Neiwert
Walter Ludwig
And there are others, some who asked not to be named and some who said they simply could not bring themselves to post "in honor of" Jonah. I'll post others as they come in, but it should suffice to say that far more than $1000 was raised.

It's a good cause and I hope you consider donating more to the USO. It really is a great boon to service members and their families.

Editor and Publisher covered the fact we paid Jonah's debt here, speaking to me early in the morning before we topped the $1000 mark.

Jonah wrote saying that he was "I've said the war was a mistake and that cole would've won if he took the bet. Anything more is jumping through hoops for a mob. Sorry." He also mentioned at the Corner today that Juan Cole rejected the bet, adding he had to mention that because he's getting plenty of emails and "many of these enraged emailers seem to believe whatever lefty bloggers tell them." I said, for the record, that he's "right that Cole didn't officially take the bet." My argument is this: Jonah has admitted being wrong about everything except the overriding premise of his original post, that Islamic Studies Professor Juan Cole's experience and education didn't matter much where Iraq was concerned and that Jonah's "judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture."

That's what Jonah needs to admit being wrong about.

Update: Nitpicker got nitpicked in the comments of the original post. Erich wrote, "Actually, I thought Jonah's implication was that if Cole lost and paid him $1,000, he would donate THAT to the USO." He's right, but Cole quite decently rejected Golberg's bet--naming no organization to which he would prefer money be donated--and so the USO was hanging out there. I just tacked them on to receive the money and left out the explanation. Good catch, Erich.

The post where lefties cover Jonah's wager

Dear Jonah,

You've made it clear that you do not intend to pay off the $1000 wager you made with Juan Cole two years ago. You told Editor and Publisher that Jeff Cohen, founder of the Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, (and, presumably, the rest of the bloggers who've been bugging you about the bet) know that "Cole never took the bet, but he's trying to muddy the waters. Indeed, I've admitted that Cole would have won. I've written that the Iraq War was a mistake." And you have. Kudos (although I think your statement before the war that "The United States needs to go to war with Iraq because it needs to go to war with someone in the region and Iraq makes the most sense" demands something more than a simple apology. A year in a hairshirt, perhaps? Six months as a lunch lady at the Camp Anaconda chow hall? People are, after all, dying over there.)

Still, you're right that Cole didn't officially take the bet, suggesting for some odd reason that betting on a tragedy like the debacle in Iraq was immoral and disgusting. "(V)ery, very lame," you wrote, taking what you called a "victory lap." After all, you said, you had written that you "don't think it's right to bet on such serious matters for personal gain" and offered to send the money to the USO, which, obviously absolves you of any taint. Instead of treating the war like a thrilling bloodsport--a cockfight, for example--your offer to give the money to the USO made the bet more like a wager over a gigantic, horrendous, collateral-damage-causing cockfight for charity! Much better.

But I don't want this whole ordeal to rest uncomfortably upon your conscience, so I and a few friends of mine are going to cover your bet, Jonah. A few of my left blogger friends and I will each toss a few bucks into a hat to send to the USO to cover the $1000 they won't be getting from you. (I'll post some of their names later if they tell me they want me to.) Hell, I'll even put "From Jonah Goldberg" on the memo line of my check. There. You can rest easy.

After you do one more thing.

You have admitted that you were wrong about Iraq and that the war was a "mistake," but let's go back to your original post:
Anyway, I do think my judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture. So, I have an idea: Since he doesn't want to debate anything except his own brilliance, let's make a bet...
You see, while you've admitted your error, you have never clearly backed away from the first sentence in this paragraph. So, all I ask that you do in return for the fact that we lefties are covering your bet is admit clearly and publicly that Juan Cole's judgment is superior to yours when it comes to the big picture.

The USO will get the money no matter what you decide, Jonah. As someone who slept in a few airport USOs while in the service and drank plenty of the coffee at the USO on Bagram Air Field, I know how helpful the USO is to soldiers away from home. I hope, however, you can see your way clear to the admission that Professor Cole deserves. Trust me, you'll feel better. You might even feel so good you'll want to make a habit out of saying and writing things that have a clear basis in fact.

Yours truly,

Nitpicker

P.S., From the USO:

Your order reference number is: USO 111738.

CONTRIBUTION INFO:
General USO Contribution: $100.00
--------------------------------------------------
Total Contribution: $100.00

Red Eye at night, failure's delight

So I was having trouble sleeping and flipped over to Fox's "Red Eye" program tonight. I heard it was designed to be a response to "The Daily Show," but I think Jon Stewart can rest assured the Foxholes on this newest affront to American broadcasting standards won't be challenging him for an Emmy any time soon.

You can catch a clip here, if you must, but, rather than make you watch it, I'll just give you the basic recipe of the show so you can roll your own:
  1. Start with a host who thinks stunts involving midgets are hi-larious, that Mother Teresa wasn't shown nude often enough and, as editor, lost a magazine nearly one-sixth its readership despite plastering its pages liberally with boobs and bad puns.

  2. Add a three- or four-person sample of typical Fox News right wing blowhards.

  3. Convince them, despite all evidence to the contrary, that they're funny.

  4. Beat all of the "talent" liberally with an ugly stick.

  5. Add the production values of an underfunded public school journalism class (don't forget the cameras must move with a nauseating sway, mimicking the cutting-edge style of circa 1981 MTV interstitials).
Ta-freakin-DAH! Fox News has pulled off the nifty trick of doing something even more embarrassing than having a supposedly "pro-family" loofah lover and phone rapist host their flagship program.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Shorter Jonah Goldberg

Much Ado About the “A” Word:
A lot of black people talk like uneducated nigras, so it's not racist to point out when, surprisingly, some don't.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Debunked: New smears against Dems from Moonie rags

A week ago, the Washington Times staff was, according to Wes Pruden, sputtering over claims that the paper and the (other) right wing nutjobbers at Insight magazine were connected. "Some of the editors here get annoyed when Insight is identified as a publication of the Washington Times," Pruden told the New York Times.

Insight had just run a smear article claiming that Barack Obama had gone to a Muslim madrassa as a child and implied he had been inculcated in the ways of Muslim extremism. The right wing press ran with the story--including several Fox News programs and, yep, the Washington Times. But, when some actual journalists did something I hear is called reporting, it turned out the entire story was unfounded.

What wasn't unfounded, of course, was the connection between the Times and Insight. According to Insight's own web site, it is published "by News World Communications like its sister publication The Washington Times" (News World is, of course owned and operated by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church) and, if you want to send a letter to Insight editor Jeffrey Kuhner, his email address is jkuhner@washingtontimes.com.

The real question, though, is whether Insight will distance itself from the Times now that it's been caught publishing false allegations against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Jeff Kuhner may even want to change his email address.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cliff May exposes strawman's lies

In writing about Cully Stimson's resignation--Stimson tried to embarrass lawyers who represent Guantanamo detainees--Cliff May writes at the Corner:
Many of those who criticize Guantanamo allege that detainees at the facility do not have legal representation. They are either misinformed or lying...
They are also, as far as I can tell, nonexistent. I can find no instances of anyone alleging such a thing since, well, a judge said detainees could have representation in direct opposition to the White House's position that they shouldn't be allowed representation.

Perhaps Cliff will enlighten us as to the identities of these "many" misinformed and/or lying critics?

Tom Tancredo gets an "F" in Sunday school

Today, Tom Tancredo--the anti-Catholic representative from Colorado who, if not a racist himself at least hangs out with racists--said yesterday that today's America seems familiar to him.
"We have a cult of multiculturalism. This is what permeates our society," he said. Immigrants who come to the United States but refuse to assimilate by learning the language and following the laws water down what it means to be an American, he said.

"It's a cultural, political, linguistic tower of Babel," he said.
Tancredo, who once said "Hillary Clinton doesn’t know the first thing about the Bible" proves his own Biblical illiteracy with this analogy.

The Biblical story of the Tower of Babel is not one which should be used by those who would attempt to create a homogenous society. In Genesis 11:1-9, the story goes:
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (KJV)
Only the most obtuse reader can fail to understand that this story describes a society so lacking in diversity that they make the hubristic attempt to reach heaven. God, clearly, is on the side of the "cult of multiculturalism," which He created in this moment in order to keep any culture from getting too big for its britches.

Friday, February 02, 2007

How things work in Bushland.

Shit.
  1. History teacher tells his students they must accept Christ or burn in hell and Noah's ark carried dinosaurs.

  2. Student tapes statements to prove his teacher's doing things in class he probably ought not be doing.

  3. School board leaps into action. Bans taping classes without teacher permission.
Oy.

There's audio at the link above.

True martyrs

Though I disagree with Michael Yon's take on the war, the man can sometimes write rather evocatively. Today, he posted this piece about an Iraqi who stopped a suicide bomber by grappling with him, saving the lives of several children. I won't excerpt it, as it should be read in its entirety. It truly captures the horror of the war and the heroism some Iraqis are showing in the face of that horror.

I can't bring myself to believe, however, that the man's last thoughts were of how happy he was that Bush invaded his country and forced this final choice upon him.

Regardless, salaam.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Questions

What would you think if I wrote--about a fellow white midwesterner who disagreed with me--the following sentences:
He's self-corrupted as both an American and a white man. OK, maybe the point is that he isn't a white man.
Wouldn't your skin crawl? Wouldn't you be justified in suspecting me of the worst form of bigotry? Wouldn't you suspect I'd be the kind of guy to call someone a "n****r lover" or a "race traitor"?

And, if I said of a Jew that he was not only "self-corrupted" but "animated by greed," wouldn't Abe Foxman be right in roundly criticizing me for "summon(ing) up classic stereotypes that Jews are greedy, money-grubbing and morally deficient"?

I agree. It's despicable.

Why then is it OK when Marty Peretz does those things? I am not Jewish, but I'm really interested in understanding the rules of debate here, because Peretz's writing seems slimy to me. Am I alone in that?

Ann Coulter weeps: "Save me!"

Ann Coulter publishes a ranting, contradictory column today (e.g., she suggests that Democrats attack conservatives by going after their sexual proclivities then, of course, attacks Bill Clinton's sexual proclivities) bitching about how conservatives won't defend their "champions." She starts out by talking about Scooter Libby, but gets around to Rush Limbaugh and his suitcase full of penis pills, ending with this whiny paragraph, calling on conservatives to do opposition research against prosecutors and anyone else who finds reason to deal harshly with conservatives.
You want to protect the borders, cut taxes, fight Islamic fascists and put up Ten Commandments monuments?...Find out about Patrick Fitzgerald what we'd know if he were Ken Starr. If you won't defend your own champions, conservatives, then don't sit back and wonder why so few people want to be your champions.
Ann's wrong, of course. Because of the Wingnut Welfare system, it seems there are plenty of right wingers just chomping at the bit for the opportunity to write angry screeds about the decade-old sexual advances of liberal Lotharios.

Ann never mentions her own problems, but the truth is Ann might soon be losing her spot at the right wing feeding trough and it seems she's a little irked because she might be going to jail for committing three felonies--two counts of voter fraud and one of falsifying her driver's license--yet no one seems interested in killing a cat to save her career.

Don't ask me how that would help. Ann wrote the column.