Wednesday, February 28, 2007
"WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 — American officials said today they had agreed to hold the highest-level contact with Iranian authorities in more than two years as part of an international meeting on Iraq.
The meetings, scheduled for the next two months, are expected to include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Iranian and Syrian counterparts.
The announcement was first made in Baghdad and confirmed by Ms. Rice that the United States would take part in two sets of meetings between Iraq and its neighbors, including Syria and Iran. It represents a shift in President Bush’s avoidance of high-level contacts with the governments in Damascus and, especially, Tehran."
A sea change? Not when the the ice burg is straight ahead. Still it's a good sign, and hopefully it will start some sort of meaningful dialogue when Obama comes into office.
PS: This is not to say that Obama will be president--only that I WANT him to be president. See I retained my objectivity, just like FOX News.
"If you checked out yesterday's Worldwide Threat briefing, you could be forgiven for checking your calendar to see if it was still September 10, 2001. Discussing al-Qaeda, John McConnell, the new director of national intelligence, described a metastasizing threat coming from... the lawless Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
This year will be "pivotal" for Afghanistan, McConnell said. From the NYT:
""Mr. McConnell’s assessment was grim: “Long-term prospects for eliminating the Taliban threat appear dim, so long as the sanctuary remains in Pakistan, and there are no encouraging signs that Pakistan is eliminating it. ‘’"
Thanks in large part to Pakistan's toleration of al-Qaeda's growing presence in North Waziristan, it's questionable whether the western troops will be able to even arrest what McConnell called the "resurgence" of Taliban and allied (read: al-Qaeda) forces. Last month, the outgoing U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Lt. General Karl Eikenberry, said that cross-border Taliban raids for December were up a staggering 200 percent. And a new report from the Jamestown Foundation finds that, although their effectiveness is questionable, there were nearly as many suicide-bombing attacks in the first seven weeks of 2007 as in all of 2005."
The wheels on the bus go round and round.
Investors were digesting new economic data, released after the opening bell, including a 16.6 percent decline in new home sales in January after a 9.1 percent rise in December."
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
"...Evan Thomas reported that Dowd told the magazine, in Thomas' words, that during her interview with Geffen, "Geffen did not seem out to get the Clintons," adding: "Dowd says Geffen was initially reluctant to be interviewed for her column. ... Dowd says she was the one who brought up questions about Bill Clinton's past as a campaign issue.""
Wait...so you're telling me a reporter, twisted an interviewee's word's to--gasp!--sell papers! NO!
Ann Coulter would be so ashamed.
"The richest bankers are the most lavish spenders -- deploying a larger proportion of their take toward homes, cars and luxury goods. Roughly half of the survey's respondents took home bonuses of more than $5 million last year; this group spent 16% on watches and jewelry and socked away about 9%. By comparison, the other half of respondents -- those who received $2 million to $5 million -- spent only about 7% on baubles and put 23% into savings.And despite the notion that the really rich give more to charity, the rule didn't seem to apply to the bankers in this survey. Respondents gave about 4% to charity. Those receiving bonuses of $5 million or more gave the same proportion as their poorer peers. Says Mr. Prince: "This is not an especially generous group.""
"The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen.A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 - half the federal poverty line - was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas."
Only in America can we fight to "make the world safe for democracy" while our people stare. The sad fact--we can't do much better over there either.
"From their point of view, surely a coup de grace: showing their firepower and fanaticism within earshot of the vice-president. All that was needed was for the veep to be trapped by a snowstorm for one night for the enemy to act. It certainly helps justify the extraordinary secrecy the secret service deployed for the trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan; but it also helps justify mounting concern that we are losing traction in the war against the Talbian in the region. Pakistan is particularly the threat, after the peace-deal with the terrorists by Musharraf. But here again, diplomacy does not seem to be Cheney's strong suit. "Pakistan does not accept dictation from any side or any source" was Musharraf's original response to Cheney's strong-arm tactics. Kharzai seems more supportive - just alarmed that he may be abandoned in the near or distant future. Both Democrats and Republicans need to make sure that Kharzai knows that U.S. support for his fledlging democracy is solid and bipartisan and open-ended. And that the debacle in Iraq - and whatever redeployments may be needed to grapple with it - will not affect that."
I agree with everything up to the last point. Not that I disagree with that point, only that Sully's comment is a bit murky, because US support for Kharzai's regime isn't "solid" or "open-ended" and in fact much of our support ended with Pat Tilman and our invasion of Iraq. We didn't finish the job there, and in fact Bush did a Pontius Pilate and washed his hands of the Taliban years ago. This is the aftermath. Not only that but or lack of that very same support in conjunction with the arrogance of Bush's rhetoric ("We will hunt down terrorists where ever they are, and we will consider countries that harbor terrorists terrorists themselves") is what makes our dealings with Musharraf impotent and woefully ironic. Here we have an 'ally' who has made an agreement with the Taliban and no mater what Good Cop/ Bad Cop Law and Order type dealings Cheney wants to have with Pakistan they know that, under this administration, we need them more than they need us. This is like playing poker with my fiance--she's going to call all my bluffs because, in the end, she's got my pin number.
The office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai reported that 23 people had been killed, but the U.S. military put the toll at nine. The discrepancy could not be reconciled immediately. At least one U.S. soldier, an American contractor and a South Korean soldier were among the dead, NATO said."
"BAGHDAD - A car bomb exploded near a park west of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing up to 18 boys on a soccer field, police said. Police said the blast occurred in Ramadi, a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency, and that 19 people, most of them children ages 10 to 15, were killed or wounded. State television Iraqiya said 18 children had been killed.The bomb-rigged car blew apart at about 4:15 p.m. local time while the boys were playing.
It was not immediately known if the children were the intended targets, but young people are often caught in Iraq's daily bloodshed."
This is hell.
Monday, February 26, 2007
"As I write this, Oprah is on Channel 4 (one of the MBC channels we get on Nilesat), showing Americans how to get out of debt. Her guest speaker is telling a studio full of American women who seem to have over-shopped that they could probably do with fewer designer products. As they talk about increasing incomes and fortunes, Sabrine Al-Janabi, a young Iraqi woman, is on Al Jazeera telling how Iraqi security forces abducted her from her home and raped her. You can only see her eyes, her voice is hoarse and it keeps breaking as she speaks. In the end she tells the reporter that she can’t talk about it anymore and she covers her eyes with shame.She might just be the bravest Iraqi woman ever. Everyone knows American forces and Iraqi security forces are raping women (and men), but this is possibly the first woman who publicly comes out and tells about it using her actual name. Hearing her tell her story physically makes my heart ache. Some people will call her a liar. Others (including pro-war Iraqis) will call her a prostitute- shame on you in advance.I wonder what excuse they used when they took her. It’s most likely she’s one of the thousands of people they round up under the general headline of ‘terrorist suspect’. She might have been one of those subtitles you read on CNN or BBC or Arabiya, “13 insurgents captured by Iraqi security forces.” The men who raped her are those same security forces Bush and Condi are so proud of- you know- the ones the Americans trained. It’s a chapter right out of the book that documents American occupation in Iraq: the chapter that will tell the story of 14-year-old Abeer who was raped, killed and burned with her little sister and parents."
All I know is--regardless of the veracity of these allegations--if this is the Iraqi perception of the US and US led forces, and our battle for their hearts and minds is already lost.
Of course it would help if at least it LOOKED like America gave a damm.
"The price you pay for your beef with string beans depends entirely on whether or not you are Chinese - at least according to the menus at one restaurant in Chinatown, city officials say.
The city Human Rights Commission has filed a discrimination complaint against the Canal Seafood Restaurant for allegedly giving a different menu with lower prices to customers who are Chinese."
By the way, its not really about ordering in Chinese, its about being Asian. I go to Wo-Hop with my Asian frat brothers (one is Korean, the other Filipino) and we always get deals. Sometimes I get nearly half off with them. Once I went there with them and then came back myself the next day and ordered the same thing. When they handed me the bill I was like, "Um dude, you know I was here yesterday and you charged me half?" But still, whatever. Like paying the extra loot is going to stop be from ordering the salt and pepper pork (which is SLAMMING). For more on the obviousness of this story check out Yglesias.
PS: You know at first I thought it said "City Hunan Rights Commission" leading me to wonder why the city would have an agency dedicated to protecting the rights of a Chinese cuisine. Then I realized that it was the Human Rights Commission and I wanted to stab myself in the eye with a rusty screwdriver. A human rights violation...I tell you--try to con a white guy and there's no telling who they'll send after you.
"Starting next week, the Senate wades into the muck at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The Senate Armed Services Committee announced today that next Tuesday, March 6, a host of responsible Defense officials will parade to the Dirksen building to try to explain how conditions at the Army's elite hospital complex deteriorated to the horrific conditions depicted in last week's depressing Washington Post series."
The officals need to be fired immediately, and hopefully this will be the kick in the ass to get more funding for veteran care.
"SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.
Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.
The threat of a wave of resignations coincided with a warning by Vice-President Dick Cheney that all options, including military action, remained on the table. He was responding to a comment by Tony Blair that it would not “be right to take military action against Iran”. "
When Cheney loses the confidence of the people its just another day at the office, but when he loses the respect of the Pentagon this country gets further weakened. Isn't he due for another heart attack? For someone with a bad ticker he sure handles stress well.
"It’s ridiculously early for such measurements, but a tracking poll showed Clinton with a 14-point lead over Obama among Democrats at the end of January. Her lead last week was down to four points. And what does she have to get back on track? A ruthless political machine that only emphasises the freshness of her opponent. Even her “first woman president” schtick has been neutralised. Why not the first black president instead? If you’re a Hollywood liberal, it’s a wash."
2007 is looking to be the year for black people in Hollywood. When they didn't need to prove their NAACP credentials they gave Oscars to Forrest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson, nominating Eddie Murphy to boot. Why is this important? Because if Obama can scoop up that Hollywood money he will be a candidate to be reckoned with.
"THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The United Nations’ highest court on Monday exonerated Serbia of direct responsibility for the mass slaughter of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica during the 1992-95 Bosnia war, but ruled that it failed to prevent genocide."
Sounds alright so far, I mean how much culpability can you give an entire nation for the acts of their leaders, especially since, pragmatically, the people rarely, if ever, actually have a say in their government's policies. But then:
"The International Court of Justice said Serbia also failed to comply with its obligations to punish those who carried out the genocide in July 1995, and ordered the government to hand over suspects for trial by a separate U.N. court."
"However, it rejected Bosnia’s claim for monetary reparations."
My problem, who is culpable? Don't these people deserve some type of justice? Or, like the Native American, or Australian natives, do they get nada. Only time will tell.
"HONG KONG - Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned Monday that the American economy might slip into recession by year's end.
He said the U.S. economy has been expanding since 2001 and that there are signs the current economic cycle is coming to an end.
"When you get this far away from a recession invariably forces build up for the next recession, and indeed we are beginning to see that sign," Greenspan said via satellite link to a business conference in Hong Kong. "For example in the U.S., profit margins ... have begun to stabilize, which is an early sign we are in the later stages of a cycle.""
All in all, it was a pretty good show.
Friday, February 23, 2007
"Look, if someone is humping your leg, they probably want to fuck you. If someone is acting out a hunt, they probably want to kill you. I'm not saying that bloodshed is inevitable, I'm saying that bloodshed is what they desire."
PS: Because of illness I haven't been posting at my regular clip. Hopefully next week I'll be back to my regular verbose self.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
[Talking about the Kos beef with moderate Democrat Ellen Taucher (D-Calif)] "This is a suicidal waste of time...While you infants are getting all self-righteous about the sins of moderates and littering the space with pornographic comments, the Republicans have spent the day sending bombs like this to people like me. They've done one for each Democratic candidate for President. Some perspective, please, from the commentariat."
The link Klein puts out there takes you to the Republican National Conventions website's list of talking points against every Democratic candidate for President. Featuring such nuggets as:
"Bill Richardson: A Self-Promoting, Washington Insider With A Controversial Record
"John Edwards: A Hypocritical, Inexperienced Liberal With A New Negative Attitude (Sounds like a Dance doesn't it?)
"Barack Obama: An Inexperienced, Insulated, Arrogant, Unabashed Liberal"
Well at least they didn't paint in little Hitler mustaches and horns on their photos. Meanwhile over at The Hall of Superfriends they...have a nice article on African-American Democrats for black history month. This is sorta like if the Rebellion got their hands on the plans for the Death Star, and Princess Leia posted up her recipe for weed brownies. I'm reminded of another Star Wars parody, Spaceballs, when Dark Helmet says, "Do you know why good always loses to evil? Because good is stupid."
Maybe not, but sometimes we are too dammed nice.
"Tim Hardaway (and most of his former NBA teammates) wouldn’t welcome openly gay players into the locker room any more than they’d welcome profoundly unattractive, morbidly obese women. I specify unattractive females because if a young lady is attractive (or, even better, downright “hot”) most guys, very much including the notorious love machines of the National Basketball Association, would probably welcome her joining their showers. The ill-favored, grossly overweight female is the right counterpart to a gay male because, like the homosexual, she causes discomfort due to the fact that attraction can only operate in one direction. She might well feel drawn to the straight guys with whom she’s grouped, while they feel downright repulsed at the very idea of sex with her."
So...does Medved want to have sex with fat women, or buff NBA stars, or some sort of combination of the two like Grandmama? All I like is that he is deeply, deeply confused.
Then again this is what happens when you let movie critics talk about anything other than movies. What? Is Gene Shalit going to start talking about the Iraq war?
"President Bush announced a plan to increase troop levels in Iraq yesterday, and let me tell you it's the SHIITE!"
More jokes at Medved's expense over at Rude Pundit.
"Campos chose to devote an entire column (“The right’s Ward Churchill,” Feb. 20) to a blog entry of mine from last week, in which I wondered why the Bush administration wasn’t acting covertly to kill radical mullahs and atomic scientists, rather than preparing a major attack on Iran. (Silly me, I thought this was advocating a less warlike approach). According to Campos, this suggestion was both morally wrong — suggesting that we kill people this way made me a “fascist” and an “extremist” — and illegal."
While I'm not at all familiar with Campos' argument, I would like to say that what is morally wrong about Reynolds POV is that he claims, through omission, there are only two methods to settle this dispute. A) Full out war (intervention), or B) Covert operations (assassination). What ever happened to negotiation? Not enough guns? Of yeah I forgot, that's hippy peacenik talk. Words, what are they good for?
"Similarly, the September 1944 Allied bombing raids on the German rocket sites at Peenemunde regarded the death of scientists involved in research and development of that facility to have been as important as destruction of the missiles themselves. Attack of these individuals would not constitute assassination.”
International law is unlikely to be a problem either. The bombing attack on Moammar Qaddafi was legally justified, according to the State Department’s legal adviser, as an act of self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter because of Qaddafi’s terrorist activities."
...according to the State Department's legal adviser, umm...tell you what, how about we have the UN put Reagan on trial and we'll see how legal his actions were. Or let's try another scenario, say you have a child and you know he'll be drafted in the Iran war (coming to a city near you soon!), you assassinate the President in order to preserve your child's life. Would that be called an act of self-defense? Would that be permissible under your "approach?"
What Glenn doesn't get (and the whole AEI for that matter) is that this isn't a legal and historical intellectual exercise, but this are serious matters of life and death, and since the specter of death looms across the world rather than over their own homes and families they don't feel close moral connections between their philosophies and the implications of those philosophies. At least that my personal feeling. Any one who's that cold blooded, anyone who can casually call for death and destruction (yes Glenn even just a Navy Seal raid with night vision and silence laser guided hollow tipped bullets and all that other Q branch nonsense that you love) that easily must have a Vulcan-like ability for personal detachment that's creepy, if not a bit psychopathic.
Still Campos' calls to have Reynolds fired are unfair. No matter how vile his opinion, Glenn Jack Bond Bourne has the right to non-violently express his thoughts and no matter how much I disagree with him I agree with the freedom of speech more. And you know what--I even promise not to assassinate him. Now that's love.
"As a campaigner, Sen. Barack Obama is angry and overwhelmed.
That was the unflattering takeaway from Maureen Dowd's catty column (subscription required) last week about the Illinois senator's foray onto the presidential campaign trail, as Dowd traipsed out to the heartland to watch the Democratic sensation up close. But as is her custom, Dowd fixated on personality and stagecraft, not substance, as the poison-penned, Wednesday/Saturday columnist for The New York Times painted a relentlessly unflattering portrait of the senator.
In the eyes of Dowd, Obama was out of his element on the national stage: "testy," "irritated," and "conflicted."
Dowd's attack, hyped on the Drudge Report the night before the column was published and widely seen as the first real Obama hit piece of the season by a major pundit, deserves attention not because of the (largely nonexistent) insight Dowd shed on Obama's emerging candidacy, but because Dowd included several of her now-trademark -- and highly dubious -- attacks; attacks that in the past have been embraced by the mainstream press and tripped up Democrats such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry.
The truth is, almost nothing about the Obama column rang true. In part, because Dowd provided virtually no evidence to back up her contentious claims that Obama was "testy," "irritated," and "conflicted" while campaigning in Iowa."
Personally, I have a small crush on Dowd--I find her witty, attractive, and intelligent, even if the majority of her opinion is based on Freudian methodology. Regardless Maureen, please keep of of Obama. He's going to have enough on his plate dealing with the putzes over at Fox News to have to contend with your caustic lashings. Besides don't you have your plate full with the Bush Administration. If any group of people needed a head shrinking its them.
"A February 26 Newsweek article by Jonathan Darman and Evan Thomas described former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) as "buff and handsome in late middle age.""
PS: That will be the last Tim Hardaway joke I make. Honest.
"Well, we're hardly weak in this battle. Civilized societies have always won against barbarians ever since the industrial revolution made making things a greater source of power than breaking them.
Civilized societies have found it harder, though, to beat the barbarians without killing all, or nearly all, of them. Were it really to become all-out war of the sort that Osama and his ilk want, the likely result would be genocide -- unavoidable, and provoked, perhaps, but genocide nonetheless, akin to what Rome did to Carthage, or to what Americans did to American Indians. That's what happens when two societies can't live together, and the weaker one won't stop fighting -- especially when the weaker one targets the civilians and children of the stronger. This is why I think it's important to pursue a vigorous military strategy now. Because if we don't, the military strategy we'll have to follow in five or ten years will be light-years beyond "vigorous.""
Let his words sink in till you get that nice cold shiver down your spine. I used to think that such words came from fear, but now I think it comes from a cold blooded egotistical idealism; basiclly reading too many books and not knowing enough people. You want to know the mentality of the Neo-cons then look no further. It's the mentality that ironically goes against every precept of the Constitution and Democracy. Social Darwinism at its best. I'm right, you're wrong and there is no middle, no compromise. Might makes right and the strong have the moral obligation to exterminate the weak. Glenn has the same ideals as Apocalypse from the X-men comics, but without the cool costume. What stuns me is that he doesn't seem to see that his rhetoric is no different than that of Bin laden or Hitler, and his intellectualism only makes that callousness more terrifying.
I can't even say anymore about it I'm so...sorry I just threw up a little in my mouth. More on it here and here.
"Cheney also responded to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who said in a recent interview with the Politico newspaper that, "The president listened too much to the vice president. … Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the vice president and, most of all, the secretary of defense."
"I just fundamentally disagree with John," Cheney told ABC News. "John said some nasty things about me the other day, and then next time he saw me ran over to me and apologized. Maybe he'll apologize to [former Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld."" [Boldface mine]
How is it that guys like Kerry and McCain can show such courage in the line of fire, but can't stand up to these DC Chickenhawks? Thankfully there's Jim Webb.
""The president views this as a success," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. "The president wants to do the same thing, to bring our troops home as soon as possible.
"The president is grateful for the support of the British forces in the past and into the future. While the United Kingdom is maintaining a robust force in southern Iraq, we're pleased that conditions in Basra have improved sufficiently that they are able to transition more control to the Iraqis."
"The United States shares the same goal of turning over to the Iraqi security forces and reducing the number of American troops in Iraq," the statement added."
So bringing "our troops home" means sending more out. I see. Right this is making alot of sense."
What I'd like to know is, are the British as full of shit as we are, meaning have conditions in Basra "improved sufficiently?" Is so, what are they doing that we aren't? Then again maybe the Brits real concern was over Prince Harry. Will he still have leave? He was supposed to be sent to Basra...
Note: I'm sure concern over Prince Harry did not enter into the decision to pull British troops out. But maybe this did.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
"Wow you're very articulate. :)"
Now getting a comment on one of my postings is, to me, an event that's up there with getting invited to the Playboy mansion--a highly desired but rare occurrence. Figuring that it was some prankster I replied back:
"I am, aren't I?"
A comment that only proves my eloquence. Then today I decided to look over Ken's blog, which is pretty interesting in its own right, and I noticed this:
"It bothers me that people have misinterpreted my Tim Hardaway rant as racist. People, come on! That was not my intent. So to avoid any further misunderstanding I've decided to just junk the post. Moving on to new less controversial topics...."
Could Ken have seen my post? Was he the anonymous poster? Will Batman and the Boy Wonder really escape the Joker's jaws of death? The world may never know. Either way I just wanted to state for the record a couple of things:
1) I don't know Ken and I have no idea if he's a racist or not. Just because a person can say things that are construed as racist doesn't mean that they are a racist. Hell, sometimes I think I'm a racist, but who knows? I just think a person should be who they are.
2) I'm not about junking posts just because they inspire debate and criticism from others. While I might have thought Levine's comments might have been a bit insensitive I don't believe in just editing them out. Even self-censorship can be destructive.
3) I appreciate Ken acknowledging his critics. In this day and age of "F-you" debate it's nice to see other peoples' opinions getting some respect.
Either way, I'm adding Ken's blog to my roll. Hey, the guy worked on Cheers, Frasier, Wings, and Everybody Loves Raymond--anyone who's brought that much comedy to the world can't be all that bad.
"Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.
This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Any one wanna guess how long it will be before Tony Snow calls this a 'liberal hoax,' or something equally as insensitive? Three...two...one...BOOM.
"We didn't win the Cold War by fighting. We won it because the other guy lost. We won it by not fighting. We could have nuked China; we didn't and China is slowly moving down the path to freedom. We killed a million Vietnamese for no good reason and it took far longer for them to move to a free-market economy than it would have if we had dealt with Ho when he first came to us, after World War II. So much suffering we caused by blundering around, so much harm we did inadvertently to the cause of freedom.
A war to liberate people from an invader, as we did in Europe in the 40s or even in Kuwait in the 90s, makes sense. A war to liberate people from the trials of their own history does not."
Sometimes the correct thing to do is to do nothing at all. It sorta reminds me of when I was in High School. There was a girl I was fanatically in love with and I showered her with gifts (that I couldn't afford) and praise (that she wasn't worthy of) and the more I pushed the less she liked me. Years later when I saw her again, she told me, "Yeah, I thought you were cute, but you were annoying as F-ck!" That might just be the eulogy for the US in Iraq. We liked your Democracy, we hated your war.
By the way, now I'm only as annoying as shit.
"Speaking of George Bush, with whom Sharon developed a very close relationship, Uri Dan recalls that Sharon's delicacy made him reluctant to repeat what the president had told him when they discussed Osama bin Laden. Finally he relented. And here is what the leader of the Western world, valiant warrior in the battle of cultures, promised to do to bin Laden if he caught him: "I will screw him in the ass!""
This just in: Tim Hardaway hates President Bush.
"Sen. Hillary Clinton made her first swing to the South yesterday, drawing an enthusiastic crowd of African-Americans and showing that Sen. Barack Obama doesn't have a lock on the black vote."
Once again the "liberal" press exposes the slip of its white hood. What the hell does one have to do with the other. So blacks can't enjoy--or heaven help--vote for anyone other than the black guy? Can you imagine if the headline was "Obama gives a speech to an enthusiastic crowd of White-Americans showing that the entire field of Democratic candidates doesn't have a lock on the white vote?"
Just sickening. Glad to know what the Daily News thinks about blacks...but wait, I knew that already...
"WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court threw out a $79.5 million punitive damages award to a smoker’s widow Tuesday, a boon to businesses seeking stricter limits on big-dollar jury verdicts.
The 5-4 ruling was a victory for Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA, which contested an Oregon Supreme Court decision upholding the verdict.
In the majority opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer, the court said the verdict could not stand because the jury in the case was not instructed that it could punish Philip Morris only for the harm done to the plaintiff, not to other smokers whose cases were not before it."
Not sure if I'm for or against the decision. 79.5 million isn't chump change but I'm no big fan of Phillip Morris either. According to MSNBC.com the 79.5 mil was in punitive damages which are,"...intended to punish a defendant for its behavior and to deter repetition." But 79.5 million isn't exactly a punishment to the corporate giant, and it can't repeat the same mistake (at least it cigarettes) because of the overabundance of information on the health risks of smoking.
On thing I'd like to note though are the individual judges votes:
"Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy and David Souter, joined with Breyer.
Dissenting were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens and Clarence Thomas."
So the 'liberal' and 'moderate' judges voted for corporations while the 'conservative' justices voted against. Just goes to show you that what happens behind those doors is more complex that simple partisan hacking. At least when they're not voting on the next President of the United States.
"WASHINGTON - Guantanamo Bay detainees may not challenge their detention in U.S. courts, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in a ruling upholding a key provision in President Bush’s anti-terrorism law.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that civilian courts no longer have the authority to consider whether the military is illegally holding foreigners.
"Federal courts have no jurisdiction in these cases," Judge A. Raymond Randolph wrote for the court majority in his 25-page opinion."
That may be, but in that case, who does have jurisdiction? Does being in a US military prison mean that there is no habeas corpus? Does one have to appeal in a international court? I would hope not since there isn't an international ruling that the US doesn't feel it has the right to ignore. Either way, this constructionist ruling is a blow to liberty everywhere.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Alternate side parking is suspended again today, so drivers can use the brief warm up to free their cars from their icy grips.
After heavy criticism, Mayor Michael Bloomberg reversed his decision to keep the rules in effect, and waived all tickets handed out Thursday and Friday.
Most car owners welcomed the news, but said it was too little, too late.
"I wish I would have heard that earlier,” said one driver. “I have two cars. I had to dig them out, move them down, and put them back into the same ice. But what are you going to do?"
My sentiments exactly.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
"Well, the NBA sure put Tim Hardaway in his place. For stating in a radio interview that he "hates gays", David Stern, the stern commissioner of the NBA, has banned Hardaway from participating in ANY of this weekend's All-Star activities. If he had only said "hates bi-sexuals" he could have still entered the Sprite Slam Dunk contest.
How about banning players for being morons? How about requiring an SAT score above their shoe size? How about insisting they all buy "hooked on phonics"? The NBA wonders why it has such a horrible image, why its glittering All-Star game isn't even televised on a broadcast network. Then it allows kids to drop out of college or skip college altogether to join the league. Here's what the average sports fan sees when he comes across an NBA game: mean, arrogant, scary looking, tattooed, prison inmates. Not exactly All-American role models unless you're a gang member or skinhead. In interviews these players often come off sounding like Pogo. So when Tim Hardaway says a spectacularly idiotic thing the league may feign shock and outrage but the truth is - what do they expect? And Hardaway is supposed to learn his lesson and become tolerant of homosexuals because he can't take part in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout. Stupidity in the NBA is not confined to the players."
You know this reminds me of a dentist visit I had about five years ago. I'm in the chair, and this guy, an older white man, is digging around in my mouth ranting about how the Knicks suck, and how they're a "bunch of apes running around." Needless to say, I had my mouth full so I wasn't able to say anything, but that was the first and last time I ever went to him.
The NBA, which every one knows is primarily African-American, catches alot of heat, some of it warranted some of it not. When Tim Hardaway opens his dumb mouth and spouts off alot hatred, I look and say, he's a dumbass who happens to be a basketball player. When Kobe drops his pants and then snitches on his teammates I say, hey there's a punk...who happens to be a basketball player. But maybe I think these things because I'm black. Where I grew up the people around me dressed like the NBA, acted like the NBA, and wanted to be in the NBA. You get to see the 'ballers' as it were as regular guys with extraordinary talents. But when I read the above article by Ken Levine, a white guy, I can't help but have my antenne of racism spark like Peter Parker's Spider-sense. Seems to me that any time some scandal comes out of the NBA white dudes (usually the guys who sit courtside at games) get up in arms about how the NBA is (to quote Levine), "mean, arrogant, scary looking, tattooed, prison inmates." Umm, who in the NBA look the the people who happen to be predominately in prisons...umm Steve Nash..wait he's Canadian...Dirk Nowitski...yeah guess it must be those other black dudes.
So is Levine a racist? Jezz no, or at least he's not any more racist than I am, he's just racist in a different way. When anyone's approached by something unknown and threatening the first instinct is to ridicule it. With him it's a bunch of tattooed up black dudes dribbling a ball. With Tim Hardaway it's gay people, and with me its old white dudes in suits who vote in Congress or who live in a White House. I just thought it was pretty ironic that a post that criticizes some one for saying some some insensitive things about a group, would then say insensitive things about another group.
By the way Tim Hardaway is still an asshole.
PS: By the way Levine, Hardaway's retired from the NBA so he couldn't have entered the slam dunk contest. OH MY! TEETH DELIVERS THE FACIAL! I LOVE THIS GAME!
I really believe that one of the ways we could "fix" Washington is by getting some third (and fourth) party candidates in the process. When Ralph Nader first announced his candidacy in 2000, I was a big fan. When he announced in 2004, I was less than thrilled. Whether or not he wants to accept responsibility for it, Nader's campaign arguably did contribute significantly to Bush's ultimate placement in the White House. That protestations and requests from even the Green Party to not run in 2004 fell on deaf ears, my (and others', judging from this SF Chronicle article) esteem feel quite a bit.
Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader said he is considering a presidential run in 2008 and strongly suggested today he would enter the race if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the Democratic Party nomination.
"She's just another bad version of (former President) Bill Clinton,'' Nader told KGO radio host Ronn Owens in San Francisco.
[..]"To an awful lot of people, Ralph Nader appears to be threatening, once again, to play the role of a spoiled brat whose purpose in life appears to be … electing Republicans by draining off votes from Democrats,'' said (Phil) Trounstine, who heads the San Jose State Center for Policy and Research.
Nader's presidential aspirations are viewed by many as evidence that he is on "an enormous ego trip with potentially destructive impact,'' Trounstine said.
Nader's is the subject of a searing new documentary, "An Unreasonable Man,'' which chronicles his early work as a consumer advocate and the turn in his career toward presidential politics. In the film, critics lambaste Nader, the author of "Unsafe at Any Speed,'' for abandoning his consumer advocacy, and suggest he is the ultimate egotist."
Yeah, a guy who decides to PLAY a role in HIS democracy, brings up good points, and has probably done more for the average joe than any of our so called leaders from either party, and he's the asshole. Sometimes I just hate everyone.
"I am an atheist (who was once a Christian) and wanted to comment on your latest missive to Sam Harris.
I would describe my own embrace of science and secular humanism as being motivated by a form of faith that is deeper than Christian faith. I believe that if Jesus lived today, he would be a secular humanist and would reject Christianity, just as he "rejected" Judaism and inspired Christianity. Christianity was once the vehicle for the boldest and most honest thinking about reality, the brotherhood of man, and the human condition. I think in light of the advances in science and our exposure to other religious traditions, it is time again to humanize further our understanding of "God" (or the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty) and come to a more universal understanding of religion.
It's time again to look beyond the letter and literal interpretation of immortality, heaven, hell, and miracles, and see the essence and spirit of these ideas. What is it about love that survives death? What is the ideal world? What is eternal separation from all that is good? Where do fundamentally new ideas and relationships come from? In the 21st century, we are able to see more clearly than the saints before us (just as Jesus was able to see more clearly than prophets before him) that deeds of love live on forever in the hearts and minds of all those who are transformed by such love and by those who value loving acts of goodness and justice. This is the immortality of the saints.
Heaven is not some place where we will go when our body dies. It is the world that we all yearn for and that each man of faith and good helps to realize in his small way through the march of human history. Hell is not some burning pit for the doomed and unsaved. Rather, it's a metaphor for the eternal separation from this community of the saints that the wicked are doomed never to realize by their rejection of what is good and beautiful. What are miracles? They are not supernatural gifts from an all-knowing God. Rather, they are what men of faith and good appreciate in this universe, despite all that is broken, evil and ugly.
I find that I am better able to love and appreciate Jesus as a humanist imagining him as a man than when I was a Christian and imagined him as a God or a spiritual presence. Jesus was a man therefore he is one of us and we can truly become like him.
I feel that I have lost nothing by rejecting the doctrines of Christianity. Rather, I have rediscovered what it means to have true faith and true understanding by embracing humanism and science. Humanism then does not reject Christianity, it completes it. Paul was wrong. Our faith is not foolish if Jesus is not literally and physically risen from the dead. We know our faith is true, because we know that death has not defeated him. As a humanist, I do not discard the rich legacy and richness of the Christian tradition, rather I claim to be the true heir to the Christian patrimony. Christians embrace a shallower version of Jesus. I know this because I continue to be transformed by Jesus's love and he continues to inspire my humanist faith - faith that there is yet some good in this earth, that we can all be redeemed by love, and that we should all choose life and should try to live it fully in a spirit of peace and brotherhood with all mankind. It makes no difference to me whether Jesus was born of virgin or rose bodily from his grave after three days. These are signs that the wicked demand because they do not have the heart to see the divine in Jesus and in all of us without such signs. Blessed are those who follow Jesus not having seen and without any need for signs and wonders."
Personally I would take out the 'blessed' at the end of this, but I think that Jesus the man would be a stronger role model for people precisely because of his humanity rather than his 'divinity'.
Friday, February 16, 2007
"WASHINGTON - The Democratic-controlled House issued a symbolic rejection of President Bush's plan to deploy more troops to Iraq on Friday, opening an epic confrontation between Congress and commander in chief over an unpopular war that has taken the lives of more than 3,100 U.S. troops.
The vote on the nonbinding measure was 246-182, with 6 not voting."
Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the Iraq fiasco. More to come tomorrow when the Senate votes on their resolution.
And to the liberals who call the New York Times conservative. The New York Times is not conservative.
The New York Times is mostly moderate, with a crap load of left and right radicals on their Op-Ed page. You should see their meetings.
""It was easy to move your car," Bloomberg told reporters. "I don't like to get up early in the morning and have to do anything either. I'd like to sleep in too. But it was the right thing to do.""
Thursday, February 15, 2007
I'm not saying this to say that I'm smart and Marines are stupid. I made my choices just like they made their choices, but what I am saying is that with every decision comes consequences. Just like the decision to lie. Some people would say that whatever happened to that Marine was his own fault, he knew what he was getting into, yadda, yadda, yadda. I've always hated that attitude because it puts the fault on the victim, and let's not mince words, this man is a victim. He's a victim of a lie. I don't trust the government, it's my upbringing and my background. But some people do, and I understand that. But now the government's been caught in a lie. Someone has to take responsiblity for that. Someone has got to pay a price, and that someone has got to be this admistration. For the sake of us all.
"Iribarne [Minister of Justice] explained to him that the methods used by the Argentine dictatorship three decades ago led to state terrorism, which the current government rejected. Fernandez said that Argentina's cooperation had a limit: he mentioned explicitly Gonzales' famous memos and explained to him the goverment's disagreement with their substance. He added that the Argentine government is part of the International Crimes Tribunal and supports the application of the statute of Rome, which it created, and the Geneva Conventions.
The astonishing response from Gonzales was that those memos had not been written with public dissemination in mind. "Either way they reflect your thinking, which we don't agree with," the Interior minister replied. " [Boldface mine]
Don't forget this is supposed to be the "New World" talking to the "Third World." Too bad our morals are dictated by Fox Television.
"The specter of the war in Iraq -- a war the Bush administration denied it was planning, supported by evidence that turned out to be false -- looms large over administration policy toward Iran. Skeptical members of Congress have questioned administration charges of Tehran's support for Iraqi insurgents and President Bush's insistence that his plans for dealing with Iran remain purely diplomatic. The administration, conscious of its low credibility, believes it has gone out of its way to convince doubters that Iran is not Iraq all over again.
"No, no, no, no," White House spokesman Tony Snow said Monday in response to questions about whether the administration embellished evidence against Iran in a U.S. military briefing in Baghdad the previous day. "I'm almost ready to hit my head on the microphone.""
That would be completely AWESOME!
Seriously thought, this is so sad. This President really has become the boy who cried wolf, and is at a point where only the AFI would believe CIA intel. Now I not only do believe but have to believe that Iran doesn't have WMDs, because if they did and Bush really is telling the truth then the Middle East is in a sorrier state of affairs then we could have ever guessed.
Note: Actually the Middle East is in a sorrier state of affairs.
In a way I'm glad he said what he said. Many, many people feel the same way but disguise their hatred with a smooth flow of rhetoric. It's refreshing to hear honesty even if it's complete and utter bile. The devil you can see is the devil you know.
"First is the autonomous control over the development and expression of one's intellect, interests, tastes, and personality...Second is the freedom of choice in the basic decisions of one's life respecting marriage, divorce, procreation, contraception, and the education and upbringing of children...Third is the freedom to care for one's health and person, freedom from bodily restraint or compulsion, freedom to walk, stroll, or loaf."
Notice in his second section, there's nothing he mentions about gender when it comes to respecting marriage. The basis for a case? Ummm...
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
"American agents are infiltrating Iran killing Iranian scientists and religious leaders and none of them get caught. How? Are there really dozens of Farsi-speaking ninjas working for the CIA? I was going to compare this to a fun-but-stupid movie like The Bourne Identity but the point of that movie (and its sequal) is actually that if you somehow did build a hyper-competent utterly secret government agency it would likely become a cesspool of corruption and abuses of power."
The sad thing is that the influence of the fictional counter-intellegence/ super-spy really does affect our judgement as Americans, and it's alot less liberal an influence than the Right wants us to believe.
"The 45-year-old senator waded into a major foreign policy row just one day after formally announcing his candidacy, telling Mr Howard he should dispatch 20,000 Australians to Iraq if he wanted to back up his comments.
"I think it's flattering that one of George Bush's allies on the other side of the world started attacking me the day after I announced," Mr Obama told reporters in the mid-western US state of Iowa.
"I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops in Iraq, and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1400, so if he is ... to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq.
"Otherwise it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric.""
But isn't that Bush's plan?
"The three Big Dogs throughout 2005 were Rice, McCain, and Rudy. Once Condi had made it clear that she wasn't going forward (at least as a Presidential candidate), Mitt Romney was able to move up to the top tier. Romney has tried to corral the "conservative" wing that was supposed to coalesce around the Washington Beltway's conservative candidate, George Allen. However, the flips and flops outlined by you as well as those conservatives not posting on the Corner appear to have damaged Romney in the short term. McCain is not trusted by the base.
You've overblown the power of the "Christianists". You'll see this when Rudy walks away with South Carolina and gets the support of guys like Haley Barbour and Jeb Bush (who is already, silently, in Rudy's corner). "Christianists" don't win elections; Republicans do. That's what the polling is saying - people in our party are recovering a more Republican identity and embracing the idea of a larger tent. All that was needed was for the exclusionary wing to play themselves out ..."
Meanwhile over at TPM they got their hands on a juicy 450 memo that the 1993 Giuliani campaign created to address their canidate's weak points. Most of them still apply today, including such issues as:
"The report raised Giuliani's first marriage — to his second cousin — as a major liability. "In reviewing the news stories describing this event and others in his private life, there are numerous inconsistencies and questionable circumstances about how long the two were married, whether Giuliani knew he was marrying his second cousin, whether he dated other women while still married, and ultimately, how consistent he has been about his personal life."
• On Giuliani's honesty about their familial relationship: "He grew up with her, vacationed with her, married her, then divorced her and had the marriage annulled ... Despite their time together building sand castles out on Long Island, Giuliani claimed, first, he knew, and then he didn't know, Gina was his second cousin."
• Rudy's first marriage was not fully dissolved when he began dating Donna Hanover, who he would later marry — and then divorce after an adultery scandal in 2000.
• On Giuliani's exceptional deferment from the draft to work as a law clerk: "A 'one in a million occurrence' ... Ironically, after avoiding the fighting Giuliani worked in a department supposed to punish others who did the same."
• Giuliani was a Democrat as late as 1972, supporting George McGovern, but later switched to the Republicans in 1980, when doing so would get him ahead in the Justice Department."
All good points and the personal issues I think are more of an anathema for Republicans rather than Democrats including his support for abortion. But Sully sums up my deep passionate personal reasons for not wanting to see Giuliani elected:
"My major fear with Giuliani is civil liberties. He hasn't met one he wouldn't get rid of. And I doubt the mayor who backed the NYPD in the Diallo case is going to stop torture."
Giuliani--no hyperbole--is a fascist. Unfortunately he came into power after Mayor Dinkins, who had tremendous problems with the cops who refused to work with him. Crime increased, and when Giuliani came in he had the green light to give the police more power. And more power he gave them, like Chris Walken asking Will Farell for more cowbell. Living in Harlem I remember Goonliani's street sweeps where cops would jump out of cars and search entire blocks, throwing twenty or more kids to the ground. Civil liberties aren't in the man's dictionary, unless you were white and living on Park Avenue. It was one of the most degrading spectacles I'd ever witnessed. Emperor Palpatine would blush with shame.
Monday, February 12, 2007
"Originally posted at The Seminal.
A bill introduced last week by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) is beginning to raise eyebrows.
[It] would require ISPs to record all users' surfing activity, IM conversations and email traffic indefinitely.
The bill, dubbed the Safety Act by sponsor Lamar Smith, a republican congressman from Texas, would impose fines and a prison term of one year on ISPs which failed to keep full records. (emphasis mine)"
Not saying that the governement doesn't already do it, but enough is enough. America is America because of our civil rights and when those get torn away we might as well be China with Reality TV.
"For him, Dr. Ross said, the methods and theories of paleontology are one “paradigm” for studying the past, and Scripture is another. In the paleontological paradigm, he said, the dates in his dissertation are entirely appropriate. The fact that as a young earth creationist he has a different view just means, he said, “that I am separating the different paradigms.”
He likened his situation to that of a socialist studying economics in a department with a supply-side bent. “People hold all sorts of opinions different from the department in which they graduate,” he said. “What’s that to anybody else?”"
Opinion is one thing, emperical fact is another. I can't see how someone can hold on to a theory based on superstitution and at the same time hold onto the contrapositive scientific theory. It would seem to lead towards sometype of a intellectual schizophrenia. Now the question that the Times addresses is whether the intitution (in this case the Uni. of Rhode Island) should give him a degree since his personal beliefs run counter to the very paradigm of what he's studying. Their approach to this question though seems more political then intellectually honest. In other words, it's not whether he holds a diverging perspective, it's rather does his degree validate his religious beliefs? My answer? It's not up to the university to judge, and a student should not be denied the fruits of his work because of personal beliefs that run counter to the traditional foundation of his work. It would be like denying a person a PhD in American History because they believe Communism is the best system of government. If a person does the work (and from the article this guy's work within the school has been exemplary) within the correct framwork of the program and scientific discourse then he should recieve his degree. It has been the province of religion to silence and ostracize dissenting views. Academia should not engage in the same prejudice, even when the ideals run counter to the emperical view as long as the course work does not reflect that personal belief.
"Wonkette now confirms a reader's observation:
Donald Rumsfeld has now been spotted repeatedly visiting the swank Washington DC law firm of Williams & Connelly. If this firm has one claim to fame, then it's representing the high and mighty inside the Beltway when they get into criminal law trouble. So let's guess which of Rumsfeld's legal issues have taken him there: he's a) being sued for damages by Iraqis and Afghans, b) facing an indictment on war crimes in Germany; c) getting pulled into all kinds of dirt on Iraq contract corruption.
Rummy and Cheney: they're going to need a lot of lawyers in the years ahead."
Don't forget about Bush.
Funny how the PM went after Obama for being anti-war but not any of the other canidates including forerunner Hilary Clinton, who has also expressed a willingness to pull US troops out of Iraq. Why...this couldn't be racism could it?
"TEHRAN, Iran - Iran on Monday rejected U.S. accusations that the highest levels of Iranian leadership have armed Shiite militants in Iraq with armor-piercing roadside bombs."
Sure, and Kim Kardashian isn't coming out with a sex tape, and Anna Nicole Smith didn't take drugs and there were WMDs in Iraq.
Wow. Those were alot of references. Eat your heart out Dennis Miller!
"BAGHDAD, Iraq - Thunderous explosions and dense black smoke swirled through the center of Baghdad on Monday when at least two car bombs — one parked in an underground garage — tore through a crowded marketplace, setting off dozens of secondary explosions and killing at least 71 people, police said. Another bombing nearby killed at least nine."
And this is supposed to be in the "safe" section of Baghdad? Then again, calling any place in Iraq "safe" is like saying that there's a "cool" spot on the sun. Either way you're toast.
Friday, February 09, 2007
"And, please, would my people stop complaining every time somebody in the so-called liberal media asks the question: "Is America ready for a black president?" Yes, that question posits a negative. Yeah, the question really should be "can American stand one more rich old out of touch white guy as president," of course the question is in total abeyance of the fact that a black person has been four heart beats away from the presidency for the last seven years. But it's a nice safety valve. Kinda like when the faux liberals start a conversation with: "Do you want me to put some hip hop on?" or come back from vacation and say: "Oh my God, I'm as dark as you!""
It's the same kind of racism that makes the white media call Kramer a racist when we blacks understood that Kosmo just had a really bad day. And when white people have bad days and you add a few blacks in the mix you might just get a few "niggers" tossed around. Hey it's human nature, and we'd rather that than then getting dragged from the back of a pick up truck till our eyeballs fall out. Just ask George Jefferson.
"Now, Obama's about to endure a going-over that would make a proctologist blush. Why has he sometimes said his first name is Arabic, and other times Swahili? Why did he make up names in his first book, as the introduction acknowledges? Why did he say two years ago that he would "absolutely" serve out his Senate term, which ends in 2011, and that the idea of him running for president this cycle was "silly" and hype "that's been a little overblown"?
In interviews, strategists in both parties pointed to four big vulnerabilities: Obama's inexperience, the thinness of his policy record, his frank liberalism in a time when the party needs centrist voters and the wealth of targets that are provided by the personal recollections in his first book, from past drug use to conversations that cannot be documented.
Beginning with his announcement for president on Saturday, the long knives will be out for Obama from three directions: Reporters, perpetuating the boom and bust cycle of a ravenous media culture, will try to make up for fawning coverage of the past. Democratic rivals want to get him out of the way. And some top Republicans think the party would have a better chance with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., as the nominee, since she is a known quantity while
Obama can try to define himself as anything he wants.
Officials at the top of both parties calculate that Obama has risen too fast to sustain his popularity in the cauldron of a presidential campaign. Democrats talk of "vapid platitudes" that could produce a "soufflÃ-effect" an implosion as journalists and activists begin probing for substance behind Obama's appealing promise of "a different kind of politics" and "a new kind of politics.""
Whew glad this was put up, or else he'd have no idea what was coming. Being that as it is, here's a few tips I'd like to give the junior Senator:
1) Regarding of the origins of your name, think of the great Bard and his phrase "A rose by any other name..." Swahii or Arabic, don't both have great traditions which should be admired just as much as a German or English? Should Giuliani or Clinton be ashamed of their backgrounds?
2) You sought to protect the idenities of the people in your books, a silent covenent between you and those people. So far no one who has been outed or identified as those people has complained that they were mischaracterized, so why should we?
3) True you said that you would finish out your term, but you're fortunate enough to be so young in the game that you haven't been put on the record as flip-flopping on bigger and more important issues like your opponents. Point that out, and remember that ultimately that promise was a bond between you and your constituents in Illinois. If you should pay for that it would be there. (But I doubt it)
4) If your candidacy is "hype" remind the media that it's the people who will decide on how serious your chances are. I think that the candidacies of Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Rommey are just as much "hype" as yours if not more so. Fact is you're is still a long shot, but as any candidate will say it's still early in the ball game, and in the latter innings the game is up for grabs.
5) Your inexperience is a factor, but not overwhelming. Clinton's years in the Senate only overshadow you by one term, and Edwards by even less. Stress that your inexperience in Washington makes you a true outsider and thusly a sincere choice to those who don't want "business as usual"
6) Appeal to your strengths: You're the most elequent speaker the Democratic party has produced since Bobby Kennedy. Rhetorically you can run rings around your opponents, and, with the exception of Edwards and Kuchinich you're ready to phrase things in terms of class warfare which will be the battleground the Bush adminstration has left for 2008 as the people begin to recognize that our foriegn and fiscal policies were based more on class than national security. Use that "frank liberalism" to your advantage and you might (stress on might) have a chance.
7) But no matter what--don't shoot yourself in the foot. Meaning that you have plenty of time in your career and a bright future ahead. Take strong stands but don't overreach and please, please don't take any advice from John Kerry. Oh please Jesus, don't do that.