Monday, October 31, 2005

the company condi keeps

It was nice of the de facto Administration's one prominent black woman to attend the ceremony honoring Rosa Parks in Mongtomery, Alabama. Rice said, "I can honestly say that without Mrs. Parks, I probably would not be standing here today as secretary of state."

Does anybody else find it ironic that Rice says that as a member of the party that accepted the racist political refugees that fled the Democratic Party over its support of civil rights?

it's alito

No stealth candidate this time, Samuel "Little Scalia" Alito is very popular with the theocrats for his opposition to abortion and accommodating attitude to mixing church and state. He also has enough intellectual heft to please the right-wing intelligentsia that hammered poor Harriet Miers so hard.

The conservatives have shredded the idea that a president's choice should receive automatic approval; I imagine the Democrats will oppose Alito, but I doubt enough Republican senators will abandon Alito to make any difference. Look for him to be on the court by Christmas. This hunk of red meat should satisfy conservatives for at least a little while.

dresden church reopened

One piece of positive news out of the mass of scandal, war, ignorance, and stupidity that fills the White House and the press. The Dresden church reopened Sunday, 60 years after it was destroyed by the Royal Air Force in a still-controversial bombing raid. But there was no controversy in Dresden on Sunday, only reflection and celebration.

Assembled dignitaries including German President Horst Koehler, Britain's Duke of Kent, who played a key role in the drive for donations to rebuild the baroque masterpiece, and American and French representatives. A delegation from Coventry, England also participated in the ceremony. Coventry's medieval cathedral was also destroyed during the Second World War, and citizens of Coventry and Dresden have worked closely ever since promoting peace and reconciliation.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

fearless prediction for 2006

Over the past two years, we have seen the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox retire the longest MLB championship droughts for American League teams. I'm quick to jump on a trend. I hereby predict the Cleveland Indians will win the World Series in 2006.

-- The Indians last won the World Series in 1948, giving them the longest current AL futility streak.

-- They were torrid in the second half of the 2005 season, before a fade in the last week kept them from capturing a wild card or division spot.

But I'm not going to be able to predict a Cubs championship any time soon. I mean, I do have some sense of reality.

Friday, October 28, 2005

friday -- scooter, miers, and the nationals...

Libby Indicted, Quits
Cheney's man Scooter Libby has been indicted, and Fitzgerald hasn't ruled out indicting Karl Rove or others. Bush flees the capital for Camp David, after eloquently noting "I got a job to do." And with all that vacation time, he has so little time to do it, in between exercise sessions and bike rides and endless Supreme Court selections.

But the real question is, whether Fitzgerald's not-yet-finished investigation will reach beyond Cheney's right hand to Cheney himself...

Miers Aftermath
The Post's EJ Dionne correctly notes that the cannibalistic borking of Miers by the GOP's right wing undermines the previous right-wing argument that the President's choice deserves deference from the Senate. Deference ONLY if Bush picks a right-winger satisfactory to the Kristols, Krauthammers, and Ingrahams, I guess. Wonder if this would embolden Dems and moderate Repubs if Bush comes back with some judicial neanderthal?

Now, Can We Free the Nationals?
The White Sox' season is over (congrats to Sox fans) and Jerry Reinsdorf is free to focus on other matters... Can we finally free the Nationals from their long limbo and name a damn owner? Every day more damage is done -- I mean, Jim Bowden has been signed to a six-month extension. A new owner should be able to choose his OWN general manager for the winter off-season, before Bowden makes any more stupid moves like trading a decent starting pitcher because he belches while drinking a beer near Frank Robinson.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

harriet, we hardly knew ye

So Miers has quit, allegedly because of concern over access to White House papers. Yeah, right -- and the shitstorm of criticism from the GOP's right wing had nothing to do with it.

I can kind of enjoy this as another sign of disarray in the de facto Administration. But unfortunately, I think the outcome will be a WORSE justice for the US. One with more judicial experience, a more clearly-defined conservative (if not Federalist Society-style reactionary) ideology. And probably 10-15 years YOUNGER than Miers, making the damage s/he can do even worse.

So, who's next? Will they stick to a woman? Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owens or somebody similarly horrible? Or will Bush get his back up and try for ANOTHER crony, maybe this time torture-advocating Attorney-General Gonzales?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the worldcom university?

So, let me understand this. American University decides its president, Benjamin Ladner, has been wasting university money on his own lifestyle-of-the-rich-if-not-quite-famous -- and then the Board of Trustees gives him a golden parachute worth over $3 million? And they allow him to resign instead of firing his luxury-loving, penny-pinching, imperial-university-presidency ass? They gave him this sweet deal even though he had no contractual claim on the university? I mean, he was essentially fired for cause. Isn't spending university money on his own personal stuff without permission basically THEFT?

Ladner shouldn't have a golden parachute -- Ladner should be charged with embezzlement and sued by the school to repay the funds he misappropriated. No wonder the faculties of several AU schools have publicly disagreed with this action.

There has been a growing tendency over the past thirty years for universities to grow more "corporate" in their approach. Congratulations, AU -- you have done the same. This is like a compensation committee of a corporation composed of cronies of the CEO voting the CEO a nice fat juicy raise -- and then a bloated severance package when they finally have to fire the incompetent and possibly criminal son-of-a-bitch.

2000 dead in iraq

Now 2000 American military personnel have died in Iraq (see MSNBC report).

I thought our mission was accomplished. If it were accomplished, would people still be trying to blow our people up? Let alone blowing up fellow Iraqis in much greater numbers.

Monday, October 24, 2005

farewell to rosa parks

Rosa Parks died today; MSNBC has the story.

As she herself said, she wasn't just tired that day in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a white man. She just felt that she had the right to be treated the same as any other passenger. I still find it difficult to comprehend that such treatment in the US used to be legally condoned. And I find mindboggling and inspiring the courage of people like Rosa Parks to stand up to it -- not in the courts, where people will usually be on civilized behavior, but on the buses and in the drugstores and on the streets and at the voting places, where standing up for fair treatment could get you killed.

Farewell, Rosa Parks.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

why i want the white sox to win the world series

This certainly isn't a World Series experts would have predicted back in March, but that's okay -- the White Sox and Astros are both a couple of good teams who earned their way to the Fall Classic, the Sox holding off the Indians' late charge and bouncing the Red Sox & Angels out in the playoffs, the Astros recovering from their awful 15-30 start to become the first team since the Miracle Braves of 1914 to reach the World Series after falling 15 games below .500. But they won't deserve the name "Miracle Astros" -- it's easier to recover from that bad start to reach the third best record in the NL and grab a wild card spot than it was for the Braves to recover and reach the very top of the eight-team league.

So we get a Series between two teams that have little tradition; assuming my favorite teams aren't present, I tend to root for teams that don't win much, so that's fine by me. In this matchup, I've got to pull for the White Sox.

That's partly because they have gone longer than the Astros without reaching the Series. And partly because I kind of like the symmetry -- the White Sox & Red Sox were baseball champs in 1917 and 1918; they can now reverse the order in 2004-2005. The "Black Sox"/Eight Men Out punishment angle is well past the statute of limitations now -- nobody associated with today's Sox was even alive in 1919 when Ed Cicotte, Buck Weaver, Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest took money from gamblers to throw the Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

The fact that I detest Roger Clemens also plays into my rooting for the White Sox. Yeah, he's a good pitcher and all, but he's always struck me as a jerk and I don't like how he gave all of his brood names beginning with "K" (as in strikeout) in a nice piece of self-worship only rivaled by George Foreman's mono-monickerical use of the word "George" for his sons. Also, I thought we were down on steroid-popping ballplayers nowadays -- it ain't just hitters using the creams and clears, folks.

But the main reason I'm pulling for the Chicago White Sox is really because I like the idea of Cubs' fans spluttering and moaning at the idea of a championship for the Second City's second team, representing the second-class type of people in the less desirable parts of the city. The literary yuppie Wrigley-Field's-ivy-extolling baseball fans typified by George Will can sink even further into their sixty-years-and-counting funk if the Pale Hose bring home the World Series trophy to the Southside of Chicago.

Go-Go, White Sox!

Friday, October 21, 2005

a whiff of watergate in the air?

Some posts and commentary at TPM Cafe here and here about whether the current situation in Washington is akin to Watergate -- and whether the de facto administration would do anything drastic or illegal.

Interesting discussion. I don't have any idea what Fitzgerald's investigation into Plamegate will reveal, or whether indictments will only hit senior staffers like Rove and Libby, or if they will reach up to Dick Cheney. And the parallels to Watergate are imperfect -- for one thing, the current crowd is FAR more ruthless than Nixon.

fema knew!

Esteemed expert on Arabian horses and disasters Michael Brown knew about the breach of the New Orleans levees on the first day -- FEMA's man on the ground emailed FEMA HQ at 11:00 AM that day and called Brown personally later that day.

It's amazing how often the de facto Administration is caught in a lie when somebody gets around to asking a responsible person like the FEMA guy in New Orleans...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

powell's man unloads

Larry Wilkerson, who has been with Colin Powell for a long time, unloaded on the Bush Administration yesterday. Steve Clemons has the whole transcript here, dirty words and all.

Pretty raw criticisms, long but worth the read. Seems Wilkerson doesn't have much respect for the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal (Wilkerson's word) that runs US foreign policy. Condi Rice was weak at the NSC and became part of the problem, and Bush didn't know much about international policy, and didn't care either.

Now, America is paying the consequences for all these decisions made in secret. And finally, the combination of our policy of torture, the instruction from superiors that officers lie about what's going on in the field and in the prisons, and the burn rate of US military personnel and equipment in Iraq has left the Army and Marines in truly bad shape.

This isn't just partisan bickering by Wilkerson -- he calls George H. W. Bush "one of the finest presidents we've ever had."

No doubt the character assassin squad in the White House is already looking into what they can leak about Wilkerson, taking care of course to make sure his wife isn't an undercover CIA operative.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

bush's competence, in one simple photo

a natural fit

You know how some words just go well together? They have a pleasing sound when put together, or there is some meaning to it that makes them work? "Crack of the bat" is an example of words that work so well together. Or "gentle lullaby," words that fit.

"Arrest DeLay" -- now those are words that sound good together. Mostly because they include within them some sense of justice, both in the legal and karmic sense. "Arrest DeLay"... yes, I think I like that sentiment.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Screwed -- that's how working-class Americans are nowadays. This LA Times article details some of the issues. I guess those workers at Delphi should be happy management is offering them a pay cut from $27/hour to $10/hour -- they COULD be offering to fire the whole bunch of them.

Now these people won't be able to afford the cars they make. Henry Ford's idea for paying his employees is fading fast with competition from workers in China and elsewhere...

I understand the economics of globalization, and the gains to be made for two economies when they engage in trade. Unfortunately, our society isn't doing a better job of allocating those gains across the whole population, nor of supporting those whose jobs are disappearing. Maybe when economists, think-tankers, and journalists begin to see their jobs disappear to India they will change the tune on globalization and free trade. It isn't a win-win game... except for MANAGEMENT at places like Delphi, getting those fat retention bonuses to agree to stay with the company, while they slash the workers' wages.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

those anonymous comments

Sometimes I get comments on an item as soon as I post it. Usually from people with "blogs" that are selling real estate or advertising cell phones or something, not from "real" readers. I delete them all.

They happen so quickly, they must be automated. Isn't technology wonderful? I wonder how effective these spam-comments are? Does anybody out there actually follow those links? If you do, STOP IT! If we quit responding to these stupid spam-comments and quit responding to spam email, they will eventually fade away. But as long as 0.01% of us are gullible, greedy, or stupid enough to believe these scam artists, we're gonna be stuck with it.

Now, if anybody would like to give me their bank account information, I have access to $20 million in Nigeria but I need a partner who will give me access to their bank account so I can spirit it out of the country, I'll be glad to give you $2 million but first I need $10,000 to make sure you are an honest partner...

that blown call

An umpiring controversy is always fun to follow, assuming you aren't a fan of the aggrieved team. You can still make a Red Sox fan splutter just by whispering "Ed Armbrister" in his ear...

Angel fans bood ump Doug Eddings and White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski when they took the field last night, which is part of the fun of course. Eddings especially is lucky the blown call came at the expense of the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angels -- his reception from the fans in right field would have been much more raucous if it had been fans in Boston or New York or Philadelphia; he would've neede a suit of armor. Same with Angels catcher/victim Josh Paul -- the fans cheered him in SoCal.

Personally, I think Eddings blew the call. Pierzynski, who is roundly disliked by everybody including his teammates, took a step to the bench before reversing direction. I dunno if he thought the ball hit the ground, heard hesitation in Eddings' voice, or thought he'd take a chance on fooling the ump and Angels... but it worked.

But still, the Angels have only themselves to blame. Even if the call was wrong, they only needed one more out to send the game into extra innings, and there was only a guy on first. If they get that last out without a run scoring, then this is just a little footnote. Now, if the Angels lose this series, they will gnaw on this bone all winter...

rove testifies again

Boy genius turd blossom Karl Rove spent a few hours yesterday with the grand jury. No comment from the White House. I found it interesting that Rove's lawyer said that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald “has not advised Mr. Rove that he is a target of the investigation and affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges. The special counsel has indicated that he does not anticipate the need for Mr. Rove’s further cooperation.”

Here's what Fitzgerald did NOT say: Rove is NOT a target of the investigation, Rove will NOT face charges, and we already have what we need to make a decision on whether or not to ask for an indictment against him.

dog flu, too

Pet owners are worried about a flu strain that jumped from horses to dogs. No indication in this story that this flu has any propensity to leap to humans, fortunately. But imagine if it did, the outcry that would arise if authorities tried to convince owners to quarantine their dogs, or worse euthanise them if they contract the flu.

Friday, October 14, 2005

coulter attacks laura!

I am not exactly a fan of Ann Coulter, but this is a rare thing -- Coulter attacking a Republican. Leggy ice-bitch Ann doesn't much care for the Miers nomination, and Coulter even compares Laura Bush to -- hsss -- Hillary Clinton!

In the sphere of the wingnuts, there is no lower insult. That said, there is something to Coulter's point that Miers' "firsts" don't really compare to those of Ginsburg or O'Connor, a generation earlier. But the crack at SMU law isn't fair -- yes Harvard grads on average have higher test scores than SMU law grads, but you don't appoint raw 25 year old law grads to the Court, you appoint 40-, 50-, 60-year old people with experience.

Wait, wait -- Coulter WANTS Harvard law grads on the Court??? Wow, she HAS flipped.

it's a virus, not a terrorist

Although I am glad that Health Secretary Leavitt is active on avian influenza, this quote from him on his trip to Vietnam made me laugh:
The world is a biological dangerous place right now. An enemy avian virus known as H5N1 is establishing a presence in nations all over the world.
Yes, this virus is dangerous. No, it isn't an enemy, it's a bunch of protein strung together. I guess the comparisons to the Spanish Flu and death tolls in the tens of millions isn't scary enough, we need to make it sound like Al Qaeda or something!

But this story, about a drug-resistant (already!?!?) strain of the H5N1 virus being found in a Vietnamese girl, is really chilling.

The idea back in the 1950s and 1960s that we had defeated disease seems so quaint now.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

a pioneer, gone

Whenever I see footage of the first black students entering the University of Alabama in 1963, or similar shots from the Little Rock public school system a few years earlier, I shake my head. I can't believe the hatred in some of the bystanders' eyes, and I can't imagine the courage of the students walking thru that gauntlet. It's like scenes from another planet or another era, not from my country in my lifetime.

One of the brave students, Vivian Malone Jones, died today.

Jones forgave George Wallace when they met in 1996. She was probably a better person than me, because I'm not sure I could have.

time for a terror alert

Last night on "Countdown," Olbermann pointed out ten of thirteen instances where political problems for the White House have been followed in short order by some sort of terror alert. It is possible, as Olbermann himself said, that some of these were coincidental. But not all of them. Especially the on right after the 2004 Democratic convention about attacks on financial institutions that turned out to be based on FOUR-YEAR-OLD INFORMATION.

Follow the link for the full story.

confused by cohen

I'm confused by Richard Cohen's column today. He wants Patrick Fitzgerald to drop the Plamegate investigation. But he doesn't want him to issue an indictment or to fold up his tent. What else CAN he do? Either he quits, or he indicts somebody, unless there is a third legal option I can't think of -- can he scold people?

I'm not sure I buy Cohen's idea that the Fitzgerald case could quell leaks and deprive journalists and the American people of important information. Leaks happen for many reasons, political and personal, and those reasons will always be present, and in most instances they DON'T violate the law.

THIS particular investigation is being conducted because the leaker gave away the identity of an undercover CIA operative. The fact that it was to Bob Novak is not a central element, it would still have been a crime if Karl Rove, oops I mean the unknown leaker, had disclosed Plame's identity to the Russian Ambassador or Barry Bonds.

Cohen's point that there was no intent to have Plame assassinated, therefore this shouldn't be seen as a violation of law is crap. First, intent doesn't automatically get you off; if you don't believe me, try speeding thru a school zone and telling the cop you didn't intend to endanger any kids.

Second, we DON'T KNOW whether anybody has paid a price, maybe even with their life, because of the exposure of Plame's true identity and employer. This law protects foreigners abroad who are giving the US information as much as it protects Valerie Plame and her fellow undercover operatives.

Cohen must be blinded by Judy Miller's pose of selfless heroism.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

dodging the blame

So the neocons aren't willing to admit that their starry-eyed fantasy of American legions imposing peace and democracy in the Middle East, starting with a cakewalk in Iraq, was in fact an utter crock of self-deluding camel shit. So instead, they're joining OTHER various cons in blaming Bush...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

carter tells all about trip with w!

Check the dateline closely when reading this interview with Jimmy Carter about his trip to China with George W. Bush...

The article is funny. Unfortunately, the scenario it describes -- a disastrous collapse of China's Three Gorges Dam -- is pretty plausible. It would make Katrina look like somebody spilled the cat's water bowl.

the climate, it's a-changing

The good news could include summer cruises thru the Arctic Ocean, which is now doing its imitation of the Wicked Witch in the "Wizard of Oz" -- it's melting. The bad news is that this may be a threshold event that could permanently and rapidly change climatic conditions. And the South Atlantic hurricane that hit Brazil last year -- the FIRST recorded hurricane in the South Atlantic -- could be a sign of things to come.

"The Day After Tomorrow" was a big brainless action movie, but it held the nub of an idea: climate change could occur very rapidly. Are you ready to say "goodbye" to the Gulf Stream? Remember evidence Cambridge scientists found that it is already slowing. If that happens, you won't want to go to England without a good coat.

So I guess the only sane solution for the de facto Bush Administration to consider is to drill even more for oil and gas, because we'll need more to run our air conditioning and the pumps to keep the Gulf of Mexico from taking over Houston.

Monday, October 10, 2005


So the GOP's having some difficulty recruiting good Senate candidates for 2006. Wish I could get excited over that, but I can't. First, they don't have to defend many open seats, so the power of incumbency will help them keep their Senate majority. And in the House, they'll be even harder to dislodge because of the precise science of gerrymandering.

Personally, I think gerrymandering comes damn close to being unconstitutional because it essentially nullifies votes by precooking elections, and I'd love to see something done to get rid of the practice, but that will never happen either, because both parties use it and by definition one of the parties will be in a majority and won't want to change anything.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

bird flu in the news

A lot more in the news about avian influenza. The de facto Bush administration is working on a plan to deal with a bird flu outbreak. They fear as many as 1.9 million could die in the US, and millions more could be hospitalized. As a talking head on MSNBC said yesterday, the Bush administration is trying to look prepared for this one -- not just wise from a public-health perspective, but in the post-Katrina environment a chance to give the illusion of competence.

The New York Times today says the report shows the US really isn't ready for a pandemic. Could it be because we have systematically starved our public health system over the past 35 years? Yes. It is not a certainty that we will have a bird flu pandemic, but this strain has been persistant, sticking with bird populations instead of quickly fading away (like most bird flus do), and spreading beyond Asia -- outbreaks now reported among birds in Turkey and Rumania.

The State Department hosted a conference on Friday to discuss a coordinated international response to a big bird flu outbreak, should the damn virus gain the ability to jump from human to human. Which looks increasingly likely -- researchers now see changes taking place in the A/H5N1 virus that are typical of the Spanish flu virus, which if you have been paying ANY attention at all, you realize killed aroung 50 million people in 1918-19 -- more than World War I.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

rove proclaims innocence, all is well

So Turd Blossom told his boss he was not involved in revealing CIA agent Valerie Plame's name to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson.

Gosh, I feel such a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I mean, you only have to look at his record to realize his word is golden. He would never tell a lie, not even to help his candidate win an election. I mean really, on the telling-the-truth scale, there is Gandhi, George Washington, Karl Rove, then Mother Teresa (she fibbed about her age once I hear).

The White House has denied this all along, and really, I don't know why we just don't believe Scott McClellan. I mean, he has always been straight with us, as has the entire de facto Administration. Remember before the war against Iraq when they said they wanted to establish a democracy; I admired the Bushies for not using cheap scare tactics like making up stuff about weapons of mass destruction or bogus links to Al Qaeda to fool us into agreeing to this clearly necessary war. And I'm glad they have told us again how swimmingly the whole thing is going. I mean, if there is one thing we can all accept as we count our blessings, it is the unvarnished candor and honesty of everybody associated with this Adminstration, from Dick Cheney on down.

So surely Flanagan can just wrap up the whole Plamegate investigation, and we can let Karl Rove get back to his important work of character assassination, ass-kissing, and sweeping away the last few taxes that unfairly burden the rich.

excellent reason #37 for dumping your boyfriend

He stomps your son's cat to death in a garbage can.

Inexplicably, the jury wasn't buying Peter Landrith's story of self-defense against the fat, declawed, 14-year-old cat. Now he's facing five years of free room and board. At least there won't be any cats around to bother him.

Friday, October 07, 2005

bush's terrorism speech

Bush' October 6 speech on terrorism was a bunch of disconnected crap. For a very good, detailed analysis of precisely how it was a bunch of disconnected crap, read Juan Cole.

If you can only remember one thing about terrorism, remember this: Despite repeated innuendo and outright lies by members of the de facto Bush Administration, Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11 or ANY OTHER terrorist attack against the U.S. before we invaded Iraq in 2003.

quotes about harriet

Miers had the look of "a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president."
-- conservative intellectual/journalist Bill Kristol

About the shaky relationship between Bush and the hard-core conservative movement: "The easiest way to save it would be if Ms. Miers decided to withdraw her nomination."
-- again, Bill Kristol

"People in Dallas know she's a conservative. She's not Elmer Gantry, but she lives what she believes.... I'm like, y'all, has George Bush appointed anyone to an appellate court that is a betrayal to conservatives?"
-- Miers friend and federal district judge Ed Kinkeade

"She's the president's nominee. She's not ours."
-- anonymous conservative activist

"I picked the best person I could find."
-- de facto president George W. Bush

"Is she the most qualified person? Clearly, the answer to that is 'no.'There are a lot more people -- men, women and minorities -- that are more qualified, in my opinion, by their experience than she is. Now, that doesn't mean she's not qualified, but you have to weigh that. And then you have to also look at what has been her level of decisiveness and competence, and I don't have enough information on that yet."
-- GOP Senator Trent Lott

"There's precious little to go on and a deep concern that this would be a Souter-type candidate."
-- GOP Senator from Creationopolis, Kansas, Sam Brownback

"President Bush is asking us to have faith in things unseen. We only have that kind of faith in God."
-- President of Texas Eagle Forum (Schafly's organization) Cathie Adams

"... the president has made possibly the most unqualified choice since Abe Fortas."
-- conservative lobbyist Manuel Miranda

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

cheney's mouth moves again

Dick Cheney tells returning Marines that weak responses to seven terrorist attacks -- six under Clinton and one under Reagan -- lead to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The de facto vice president said, "The terrorists came to believe that they could strike America without paying any price. And so they continued to wage those attacks, making the world less safe and eventually striking the United States on 9/11."

Bullshit. First, terrorists don't strike the US because they can do so "without paying any price." Terrorists aren't joyriding teenagers who egg houses, paint bridges, and steal from their mothers' purse because they can do it "without paying any price." They attack US targets and kill Americans because they don't like our policies, don't like our military presence in holy Saudi Arabia, don't like our support of the decadant Saudi royal family, don't like our support for secular infidels like Mubarek in Egypt, etc. And now, adding to the above list, a whole group of Iraqis new to the terrorism game are killing our troops and what they see as Iraqi collaborators due to the invasion/occupation of Iraq. And besides, most of the cited attacks were SUICIDE BOMBINGS. How much more of a price can those terrorists have paid???

Cheney makes it sound so easy, so simplistic, implying that Clinton could have done anything he wanted against terrorists, without constraint. This simply isn't true. One example was the attack against the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000 -- would the GOP have preferred that Clinton declared war on somebody? They would have accused Clinton of using national security as a partisan campaign tool -- you know, the way the GOP did in elections in 2002 and 2004. Clinton/Gore decided to rise above partisanship (unfortunately) and didn't immediately jump to do something, in large part due to the impending election.

Many in the GOP consistently opposed any Clinton military action, even accusing the Clintons of "Wag the Dog" behaviour when he struck at Sudan after the Lewinsky revelations. Would anybody in the GOP have supported a Clinton invasion of Afghanistan after the Khobar attacks or the attacks on our Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania? I don't think so. Cheney is being his usual disingenuous self and is trying to deflect blame and justify Iraq. Remember, this is the de facto Administration that neglected terrorism for the first nine months of its term precisely because the outgoing Clinton gang told them terrorism would need to be their TOP priority, and was the same group that was out on a nice, peaceful vacation in August 2001 while the counterterror universe in Washington and elsewhere was screaming at the top of their bureaucratic lungs that SOMETHING BIG WAS COMING. If Bush/Cheney had been around in December 1999 the Millennium terrorist plot would probably not have been thwarted because they would have all been on vacation instead of leading an intensive, high-level effort to try to stop the attack.

Remember, when you see Dick Cheney's mouth moving, you know he's lying.

spain, trying to have it both ways

African would-be immigrants trying to get into Spain highlights an an interesting isue. The final remnants of Spain's colonial past are two small cities on the Moroccan coast. You'd think the Spanish would want to give Ceuta and Melilla back to Morocco just to avoid them being rushed by migrants! In any case, I always have a hard time crediting Spain's arguments for getting Gibraltar back from Britain (Gib's population overwhelmingly OPPOSES being returned to Spain) when Spain insists on holding onto these two Moroccan towns. Guess Spain would like to have it both ways -- hold onto their coastal enclaves while demanding the return of another...

Monday, October 03, 2005

the miers pick

Harriet Miers is an interesting choice. She's a lawyer, but has never served as a judge -- like Earl Warren and 39 other Supreme Court justices. She's a close friend of Bush, but not the close friend -- Alberto Gonzales -- that many conservatives feared. But like Gonzales, she is already getting squawks from the right that she's not a "known conservative." She's a she, but not one of the women who had been named as possible justices after O'Connor announced her resignation. Does this choice reflect a greater desire to avoid a post-Katrina fight over a real hardcore right-winger female judge like Brown or Owens? She's 60 years old, not ancient, but not young like Roberts and some of the other candidates for the slot.

And basically, with no judicial experience, she's a blank slate. Barring anything scandalous (some rightwingnuts are beginning the "she's a lesbian" thing about the unmarried Miers), she'll be confirmed, and it'll be interesting to see where she goes.

panic in dc

An unusual fireworks show at an unusual time (October) at an unusual place (Kennedy Center) sent many people in DC and Northern Virginia into a tizzy.

I guess I can understand mistaking it for a train wreck, or machine gun fire -- but a nuke? It's kind of a funny story, but also a commentary -- didn't people used to mistake the noise made by fireworks for thunder, not nuclear weapons?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

end of the beginning

So we are at the last game of the first season for the Washington Nationals. They're trailing the Phillies 4-0 as I write, so it looks like they'll end up exactly at .500 -- which would have sounded good on April 2 but is a little disappointing given they were 50-31 at one point.

Still, a better than expected season. Except for a few minor details... Like the fact that there is STILL no owner for the Nationals!

I don't know why I let anything that Bud Selig's crew perpetrates surprise me any more, but I honestly thought that 12 full months would be enough to choose from among the eight groups anxious to fork over $450 million big ones for the privilege of joining that exclusive club of major league baseball owners. I haven't attended one Nats game this year -- I didn't want the price of MY ticket to go to Bud Selig and the other 28 owners, who are dragging this out to extract a season's worth of profits from Washington baseball fans before giving up ownership. Incredible. And lately it appears that Jeff Smulyan, who's name I fear is Latvian for "Bob Short", is in the lead to rejoin the group of "rich and dumb" baseball owners. I hope he does better than he did with the Seattle Mariners. He could start by firing Jim Bowden...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

think pink?

The past few days the fact that the University of Iowa has for thirty years painted its opponents' locker room pink has been in the news. A law professor at Iowa now says this is hostile to women and gays.

I think Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins has it just about right -- better to be amused than outraged by this little bit of pop-psy-ops against Hawkeye opponents. Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry -- a psychology major himself -- read that pink calms people down and thought he'd give it a try.

I do think the law professor doth protest too much. There are bigger outrages to protest than a goofy-ass attempt to soften up the local football team's opponents. Let's start with inadequate representation for poor and usually minority prisoners at trials that could end up with the death penalty.

baseball investigates god-squad

Bud Selig doesn't much care for the fact that the evangelist assigned to the Washington Nationals told one of the team's players that his Jewish ex-girlfriend was doomed to burn in hell for all eternity -- MLB is investigating.

If you're a regular reader of Vaguely Logical, you've already seen what I think of the the whole Baseball Chapel thing. But again, I wonder whether people like Moeller are doing something similar in the FBI, his regular employer. Does the FBI have an Air-Force-Academy problem?