Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Side note: I'm serious though, if anyone can refresh my memory about Democratic scandals in the past year or so, please add a comment. And please let it be something substantive. Don't just write "Oh and Sen Byrd was in the Klan!" Yes, we know he was in the Klan, but unless he was burning a cross in front of the NAACP headquarters in the last year I don't wanna hear about it. But if he was, and you have pictures...please send. NYT here I come!
The only think I would add to it is that the true challenge of our country's grit comes in the challenges that we face. One reason why people (including myself to some extent) might see American as not gritty (or as George Carlin might say, 'pussyfied') is that our new set of challenges are more ideological and philosophical and less physical and warlike. This leads us to 'fight' battles not with our fists but with our minds, and when you consider that mental challenges are seen as the arena of 'nerds' rather than 'warriors' one then concludes that we've lost mettle. Still, that doesn't change the fact that this is the new world that we live in, and sadly, our inertia still carries us to old methods of engagement.
Monday, August 27, 2007
"...but my best guess is that Bush will go out of his way to pick somebody fairly controversial -- someone whose confirmation liberals will find outrageous -- and then start loudly and immediately declaring that each hour's delay in confirming his nominee is putting thousands of lives at risk. The hope would be to generate one of these situations where all the Republicans plus maybe a dozen Democrats vote to confirm, and then progressives spend the next month arguing with themselves over it, and even the Democrats who reliable agree to surrender on anything terror-related get criticized in fall '08 for being soft on terror."
Divide and conquer while Bush sets his exit strategy. Sounds about right. What say you? How about Robert Bork? That'll keep the Dems busy.
"As Digby put it, "Sometimes you have to see it to believe it." From Rush Limbaugh's show a few days ago:
"LIMBAUGH: Here's [caller] in Lake Orion, Michigan. Thank you for calling. Great to have you on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. It's great to talk to you. I talked to you once before. I've been listening to you for a couple of years now, and I think I'm getting brighter, but there's a lot to be learned. I know I'm no expert in foreign affairs, but what really confuses me about the liberals is the hypocrisy when they talk about how we have no reason to be in Iraq and helping those people, but yet everybody wants us to go to Darfur. I mean, aren't we going to end up in a quagmire there? I mean, isn't it -- I don't understand. Can you enlighten me on this?
LIMBAUGH: Yeah. This is -- you're not going to believe this, but it's very simple. And the sooner you believe it, and the sooner you let this truth permeate the boundaries you have that tell you this is just simply not possible, the better you will understand Democrats in everything. You are right. They want to get us out of Iraq, but they can't wait to get us into Darfur.
LIMBAUGH: There are two reasons. What color is the skin of the people in Darfur?
CALLER: Uh, yeah.
LIMBAUGH: It's black. And who do the Democrats really need to keep voting for them? If they lose a significant percentage of this voting bloc, they're in trouble.
CALLER: Yes. Yes. The black population.
LIMBAUGH: Right. So you go into Darfur and you go into South Africa, you get rid of the white government there. You put sanctions on them. You stand behind Nelson Mandela -- who was bankrolled by communists for a time, had the support of certain communist leaders. You go to Ethiopia. You do the same thing.
CALLER: It's just -- I can't believe it's really that simple.
"I'm hard pressed to pick the most offensive angle here. The racism? The ignorance? The disregard for a human catastrophe of historic proportions? The total lack of decency? Take your pick.
And let's also not forget that this clown is a favorite of the Bush White House, and a frequent outlet for both the President and Vice President. "
Only thing I need to add to this? Through all of Rush's BS, Imus became the icon for what's 'wrong' with talk radio. I'd love for the media to put this little gem next to Imus' 'nappy headed 'ho' comment and really discuss the merits of each person's racism. Limbaugh has made his bread and butter on these types of positions, and furthermore he seems to get more crediblity as a 'journalist' than Imus (which makes him more dangerous). He gets even scarier when you consider that Rush has a greater market share and number of listeners.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Anyone else probably would have gotten arrested for driving a golf cart drunk in the middle of downtown Sweden, but how can you arrest Carl Spackler?
He's still my hero.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
"Well I'm sick of it. There is no excuse for a country as wealthy as ours allowing innocent children to go without access to basic health care. And if policymakers take steps that result in a net increase in the number of children without access to care, they have a moral duty to find a way to fix that problem immediately. As far as I'm concerned, the Bush administration is morally responsible for what happens to the children who lose access to health care as a result of these new rules. If any of them die or suffer permanent harm from a condition that could have been prevented with routine care (and it's bound to happen), the Bush administration bears the blame."
Now the argument has been revitalized from the most surprising of people. Country music superstar Kenny Chesney has challenged both Kayne and 50, and said in a press release, "''It's funny how with every record that comes out, we're aware of the urban [competition], and none of those acts acknowledge that I exist, until I have that No. 1 debut on the Top 200."
Someone really needs publicity. So sad.
Hat Tip: All Hip Hop
Friday, August 17, 2007
"I'll observe that in both the criminal justice and counterterrorism fields, there seems to be a tendency among policymakers to treat punishing the innocent as a kind of close second-best to punishing the guilty. And, of course, in bureaucratic terms it is -- a conviction is a conviction and a clearance is a clearance, whether or not you've got the right guy. In crime control terms, though, it's a terrible error to be wasting resources (prison space, prosecutors' and judges' time) on punishing people who aren't criminals. It's also a terrible injustice, of course, but it's not a tradeoff between justice and effective crime control -- punishing the innocent is counterproductive, just like torturing innocent people and wasting your time chasing down their "leads.""
Which was further evidenced in this week's exchange on the hill when William Murphy, assistant director of the FBI was questioned by two congressmen:
"Lundgren and Delahunt said they were also troubled by reports that in order to protect the identity of its informants, the FBI had withheld exculpatory evidence from criminal trials, resulting in innocent people going to prison.
"This is worth repeating. The FBI has determined that in some cases, it's better to let innocent people be assaulted, murdered, or wrongly sent to prison than to halt a drug investigation involving one of its confidential informants.
"Could Murphy assure the U.S. Congress, Delahunt and Lundgren asked, that the FBI has since instituted policies to ensure that kind of thing never happens again?
"Murphy hemmed and hawed, but ultimately said that he could not make any such assurance. That in itself should have been huge news."
It sounds like it should have been, but it won't be. Why? Because both what Murphy says and Yglesias' deduction shows the inherent flaws in the system, which can't be rectified with reform but rather deconstruction. Basically we judge the justice system by convictions and by cells filled in prisons--not whether justice is being served. Until that changes "close but no cigar" will be good enough, and a few innocent by-standers will be acceptable collateral damage. It just proves to me that what my father told me when I was a child was correct: stay away from police and the entire justice system no matter how innocent I am, because once you're brought into close contact with them your life becomes nothing but a roll of the dice.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Note to VH1: You have to have a reality show that follows the tour. I want the moment that Eddie cracks David Lee Roth's head open with a bottle of Jack Daniels to be caught on film.
"The result of this [Guiliani's] policy is going to be an endless series of wars, a bankrupt country accounting for way more than fifty percent of world defense expenditures, fewer and fewer countries willing to cooperate with us on key priorities and, perhaps worst of all, more and more nuclear proliferation as countries decide its not safe to live in a world where the Rudy-led USA is the big kid on the block."
In other news, David Duke becomes head of B'nai Brith.
Update: So someone pointed out to me (actually, I pointed out to myself) that one can take the above post to say that I'm comparing a) either the teacher to David Duke or b) Orthodox Jews to David Duke. That, I would hope, would obviously not be my attention, and of course there's no reason why an Orthodox Jew wouldn't be able to be a competent and loving teacher at any school. The joke here, or what I'm really pointing to, is that the off the cuff reaction to this, considering Arab / Jewish relations, would be that the appointment isn't very political and would be polarizing, just like David Duke's appointment wouldn't be political as well. Sorry to offend (myself), and hopefully someday I will apologize (to myself).
I need a therapist.
"BAGHDAD (AP) -- Rescuers dug through the muddy wreckage of collapsed clay houses in northwest Iraq on Wednesday, uncovering at least 200 victims of suicide truck bombings that the U.S. military blamed on al-Qaida.
"The victims of the war's second-deadliest attack were members of a small Kurdish sect, the Yazidis, who have been the target of Muslim extremists who consider them infidels."
Al-Qaida stays busy don't they? Not only do they find time to kill Americans but they also have time to kill Kurds. Considering their effectiveness, do you think the military will consider outsourcing the war on terror to them? I mean SAIC is an abysmal failure but we still use them to the tune of 8 billion.
At least that's the rumor:
"The pop star has been having bisexual romps with her pretty 21-year-old assistant Shannon Funk, according to an article set for publication in OK! magazine. Her alleged torrid makeout sessions could spell trouble for Spears, who is desperate to prove she's a good mom as ex-husband Kevin Federline lines up witnesses to say otherwise."
Ok, so in one fell swoop I've managed to destroy my feminist rating and my credibility as a journalist. On the other hand I've also managed to increase my hits ten-fold and found a way to post up a pic of two girls kissing. And the morning has just begun.
...so of course they call it "controversial":
"An unusual billboard on the West Side Highway that's part of a series of ads for Manhattan Mini Storage poking fun at the Bush Administration is stirring up controversy. The billboard at 44th Street and Twelfth Avenue reads: “Your closet space is shrinking as fast as her right to choose.” There is a picture of a coat hanger in the background.
"A NY1 viewer wrote in to the station, saying she felt the advertisement lacked compassion.
"Passersby on the West Side Highway had mixed feelings about the message. “It’s not in the best taste, but it reflects probably the actual truth to the issue, you know. That’s the history,” said one man. “I think it’s catchy, I think it’s, you know, eye-grabbing and it gets your attention and it’s certainly a little controversial with the hanger,” added a woman. “I think it’s kind of crazy that they put it up there like that,” added another man. “I think it’s a little disrespectful. I think it’s a little inconsiderate and it’s big! I mean, it’s not hidden, people can see it.”
I'm sure that the arguments against the ad are more rational and more thought out than the above comments (It lacks compassion? Huh?), but I like the fact that its topical and actually inspires thought compared to how most ads usually try to lull you into a dopey spending trance. In fact, I have a few more ideas for the Mini Storage guys:
1) Your closet's filled with more dresses than Rudy Guiliani's.
2) Because you've packed your closet with shoes the way Bush packs the courts.
3) Because inmates at Camp X-Ray have more storage space than you do.
Feel free to send your ideas in.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Well, that was the story as posted up by the increasingly irrelevant Media Matters Sunday (as related from Swampland) who must seethe so much at Matthews that even the most mundane breaches of decorum must be touted like he was running a dogfighting operation:
"On the August 10 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, during a discussion of recent financial news, host Chris Matthews told CNBC's Erin Burnett: "[Y]ou're beautiful" and "[y]ou're a knockout," before closing the interview by saying, "It's all right getting bad news from you.""
Um...Wtf? Like isn't Media Matters supposed to report on the truly big foul ups and offensive behavior? I suppose it's misogynistic to call a guest "beautiful" (unless it's John Edwards, who really is dreamy). Look, anyone who's watched Matthews knows he runs his show like it being broadcast from the restaurant above Cheers. So for him to flirt with a guest...well I guess I just figured we had bigger fish to fry.
And by the way Ana, it really is alright getting bad news from you--definitely better than Wolf Blitzer.
"Rove is one of the worst political strategists in recent times. He took a chance to realign the country and to unite it in a war - and threw it away in a binge of hate-filled niche campaigning, polarization and short-term expediency. His divisive politics and elevation of corrupt mediocrities to every branch of government has turned an entire generation off the conservative label."
The only thing I would add to that is that the legacy of Rove (much like the legacy of Bush's whole administration) will be judged solely on their abysmal conclusion and their lack (or inability) of foresight, which, by comparison, makes Nixon look sagacious. Rove, by any means necessary, could get you that election--but what happened after that was, to him, irrelevant. They bit their noses to spite their faces, and then shrugged when no one could smell. But considering how much time and money is spent in the electoral process this tactic is the fashion and will continue to be the fashion as long as politicians are forced by the system to only see the forest for the trees and get reelected. Politics as usual.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Saturday, August 11, 2007
I feel more urbane already.
Hat Tip: Sully
It took a while, but after a couple of tournaments of only human performances Tiger erupts in the second round of the PGA Championship to tie record round:
"TULSA, Okla. - They could hear him coming simply by following the cheers that charted every birdie along the back nine. The sweat-soaked spectators rose to their feet when Tiger Woods climbed onto the 18th green with history waiting at a major.
"They sensed something special at Southern Hills, even if it was only Friday.
"Fifteen feet from the lowest round ever at a major, Woods raised his putter when the ball began to dip inside the left edge of the cup, then let the club fall from his hands as the ball spun around the cup and out the other side."
He now leads the field by two strokes. Looks like I have something to do tomorrow, if my fiance lets me stay home. I'm praying for rain.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
|You Are 96% Feminist|
You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.
What can I say, I was raised by a single mom.
Hat Tip: Bloggers who take dumb quizzes.
"Mitt Romney spent yesterday morning barnstorming the small farming communities of Eastern Iowa, holding a series of "Ask Mitt Anything" events and urging his supporters to turn out for the straw poll in Ames on Saturday.
"How many counties are in Massachusetts?" she asked.
"Thirteen," he said. A few feet away, an aide shook his head and said, "Ten.""And just to think--the day just started!
Hat Tip: Sully
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
There is something deeply appalling and
disturbing about the media's reporting of Bond's 756 homer. Their lack of unbiased recording of this event, in fact their sheer lack at the attempt at disinterest, to me, borders on the pathological.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
"I spent a decent portion of the afternoon wandering the halls, slightly dazed at the notion that out there in the MSM a controversy was raging over Barack Obama saying he could rule out the idea of using nuclear weapons to fight al-Qaeda. Hillary Clinton, it seems, disagrees. But why on earth would you use nuclear weapons to fight al-Qaeda? You use nukes to destroy large portions of cities. Remember counterinsurgency?"
But one mustn't rule out nuclear weapons at any time because then we show weakness and the terrorists win. Obama is naive!
Thursday, August 02, 2007
"The Bloomberg administration is quietly pushing new regulations that would ban certain kinds of photography in New York City without a permit and $1 million in liability insurance...
"It seems clear that this measure is designed discourage small-time filmmakers from shooting in the city. Cynics would speculate that the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater, and Television wants to create a monopoly for the big commercial filmmakers who generate revenue for the city."
Stop the madness. Allowing small time filmmakers to participate in the arts (which new technology has allowed in copious amounts) helps to enrich the cultural fiber of the city and hell, is downright fun. (I recommend everyone should make at least one short film in a lifetime that's not a porn (which, of course, you should make three)).
Sully wonders, "He needs to give these people a pep-talk? Or just the usual instructions?" I think the answer is obvious.
By the way, is it just me who finds his invitation to Glenn Beck to be particularly reprehensible? I mean just a couple of days ago Beck was comparing Gore to Hitler and Nazism to Environmentalism, yet he gets in to see the President? I mean--are you kidding me?
"Outflanking Bush-Cheney with a serious, aggressive, intelligent campaign against Islamist terror? It's what the country wants. And it seems to be what Obama is offering. He manages to decouple the war in Iraq from the broader war on Islamist terror thus:
"Just because the President misrepresents our enemies does not mean we do not have them. The terrorists are at war with us. The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for...
"The President would have us believe that every bomb in Baghdad is part of al Qaeda's war against us, not an Iraqi civil war. He elevates al Qaeda in Iraq – which didn't exist before our invasion – and overlooks the people who hit us on 9/11, who are training new recruits in Pakistan. He lumps together groups with very different goals: al Qaeda and Iran, Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents. He confuses our mission...
"By refusing to end the war in Iraq, President Bush is giving the terrorists what they really want, and what the Congress voted to give them in 2002: a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.
"When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.""
Of course none of this is articulated by the M$M, but they simply focus on the fact that Obama would unilaterally invade Pakistan should it be necessary, which, of course, has gotten the Democrats up in arms. I think the passage above displays Obama's reasonable criteria for doing so, but I'd like to make one more point. According to both international law, and the law of common sense a nation has the right to protect its borders by any means necessary. We had to go address this topic when Kerry was running, and the Bush team distracted us by saying that Kerry would ask the UN first before defending the nation. This claim is both outlandish and dumb. No one in their right mind would ask anyone else for the right to defend their self. The only question is when it becomes necessary to take action, which is then a question of the candidate's character, reason, and irascibility. As time has shown Bush lacks that (a dearth that was on display from before he was even elected) and Obama seems to have it. This isn't to say that Clinton, or Edwards don't have it either, but Obama wins this week for articulating his position in frank and concrete terms before his competition.
"CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has praised Sean Penn for his critical stance against the war in Iraq, saying the two chatted by phone and soon plan to meet in person.
"Chavez said Penn traveled to Venezuela this week wanting to learn more about the situation in the country and walked around some of Caracas' poor barrios on his own."
I guess once you're divorced from Madonna anything (or anybody) is up. In 2013 Guy Richie will probably become bff with Kim Jong-Il.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
"This just in from the Tillman hearings:
"Kucinich [irritated]: did the WH have a press strategy on the Iraq war?
Rumsfeld: If there was, it obviously wasn't very good.
"And, you know what, he's right! There was a press strategy, and it wasn't very good! It most consisted of Rumsfeld standing at podium being folksy and gruff. Also? There was a military strategy on the Iraq war, and it wasn't very good!"
"In the Senate, I don't promise any legislation," Reid said. He said the hang-up is "what the involvement of the attorney general will be.""
So, to break it down, he's endorsing a program that is a pretty obvious breach of civil liberties (assuming that we have some left) and is unpopular, and his only hold back is Gonzo? I'm truly baffled by the Democrats' weakness. The Times assumes that it's because they're afraid to be called 'unpatriotic' but is that argument still holding up? If so then this really shows a dearth of moral fiber and courage on the Democratic side, which has become disgusting and reprehensible. More and more they're looking less like Jonathan Harker and more like Dracula's toadie Renfield.
Seriously though, this is news? Can you imagine if Mary Carey was running for President like she ran for Governor of California? The Washington Post would would explode and the Four Horseman of Apocalyse would fly out their heads.
Now that's cleavage.
"Obama vows to hunt down terrorists
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists even without local permission if warranted - an attempt to show strength when his chief rival has described his foreign policy skills as naive."
Does this count as distributing information based solely on the story, or is this the opinion of the writer? As you might guess, I think it's the latter.
Cut it out.
Sure, Murdoch's FOX News has taken journalism to new heights of biased reporting, becoming nearly a de facto propaganda machine for the Right, while simultaneously bringing 'entertainment journalism' into the commercial realm. But this is nothing new, and the term 'Yellow Journalism' originates with Media Mogul William Randolph Hurst at the turn of the 20th Century. False and equivocal reporting has plagued the public since the conception of the newspaper, for as long as people hold opinions they will hold biases.
But the reins of Journalism cannot be held by one person no matter how hard they grasp them, because the news is reported simply by people, and as we know some people are more trustworthy, disinterested, and courageous than others. In my time I cannot think of one 'media conglomerate' that people consider fair or honest. Whether it be Fox News, The New York Times, or Air America, every outlet has biases and agendas to the right, or the left. But people consider many of the reporters who work for these companies to be fair, and just in their journalism. Do we say CBS was an unbiased and trustworthy source of news reporting during the 50s, 60s and 70s? No, we say that Murrow, and Cronkite were fair and just. Do we say that MSNBC today is an unbiased and trustworthy source of news reporting? No, because Keith Olberman doesn't make up for their Chris Matthews, and Tucker Clarsons. We put of trust not in an outlet but in people, based on their courage, accuracy, eloquence, and ultimately, in whether history has validated their reports.
I say this to say that for the next couple of weeks people will criticize Murdoch and the Dow Jones Company for this deal, but this criticism is misplaced. Journalism is run by people, and no single person will every dominate the media (or even a media outlet) as long as others have voices and a soapbox to stand challenge them. Our only task is to find such trustworthy voices in a sea of propaganda and selfish deceit. And while this buy-out may have made this search more difficult, it is hardly impossible.
Keep the faith.