Monday, March 29, 2004

I could have sworn this was from The Onion. But, unsurprisingly, it's not. John Kerry gave a campaign speech at a church and quoted the Book of James to describe the Bush administration: "The Scriptures say: `What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" The Bush campaign responded by saying this was "beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse, and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack.'' Really. Captain Jesus and friends say religion is out of bounds.
Atrios watches the O'Reilly Factor so you don't have to:

O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In THE FACTOR "Follow-Up" Segment tonight, we've been following the various demographic shifts throughout America, and now the Census Bureau estimates, by the year 2050, white Americans will make up less than 50 percent of the population...

*snip*

WILLIAM FREY, PH.D., BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, I really think what's happening is going to be this phasing out or fading out of the white baby boom population. It is a 50-year time period we're talking about...

O'REILLY [who's not xenophobic! Really!]: Yes. We'll all be dead. Thank God, right?
According to USA Today, Bill Frist's demands to declassify all of Richard Clarke's classified testimony from the Bush administration in hopes of finding something to discredit him have been joined by - Richard Clarke. Except, I have to imagine his reasons are more along the lines of proving he DIDN'T perjure himself at any point. Anyway, I value full disclosure, so the fact that he's willing to provide it makes me more likely to beleive Mr. Clarke's story. Assuming, of course, there's nothing in these soon-to-be-released documents that DOES contradict it.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Apparently Canada has so much uninhabited land in the far north that they have to occasionally sweep through with troops to make sure no one else is planting a flag and claiming it in the name of Spain. Such a plan, code name Polar Epsilon, is underway now.
Cambodia's newest plan for economic recovery - Blow away a cow for $400.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

According to a 60 Minutes interview with Richard Clarke, chief White House anti-terrorism adviser at the time of the September 11th attacks, not only had the Bush administration been uninterested in the issue of terrorism right up until it made itself evident on American soil, they wouldn't even schedule a meeting between his department and the president or cabinet. When they finally did give him an audience, no one above the rank of Deputy Secretary was present. And when he presented the intelligence estimates of an Al-Qaeda threat, Paul Wolfowitz, the Defense Department representative at the meeting, responded "no, no, no. We don't have to deal with al Qaeda. Why are we talking about that little guy? We have to talk about Iraqi terrorism against the United States." And when he plans began to take shape on September the 12th, they didn't involve Afghanistan. The arrows on the invasion plan all ended in Baghdad. According to Donald Rumsfeld, Al-Qaeda might be in Afghanistan, but it would be easier to find targets to bomb in Iraq. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the strategy of the civilian head of our military - if you drop your keys in the dark, go look for them somewhere where the light's better. Clarke suspects that the reports first of the Al-Qaeda threat and later of Iraq's non-connection to the September 11th attacks never even made it to the president's desk. Apparently, every time he or anyone in the intelligence community would submit such a report, it would come back from Condoleeza Rice's office bearing a stamp somewhere along the lines of "wrong answer."

To be fair, the White House denies everything. According to Stephen Hadley, from the National Security Council, Al-Qaeda had been a top-tier concern of the Bush administration from day one, and it was in fact the intelligence community that failed. In this version, the President met daily with George Tenet, whom he instructed to make Al-Qaeda a top priority. Additionally, Hadley suggests that this was entirely the president's initiative - there was never any intelligence that Al-Qaeda might strike the US, but George W. Bush just had this prescient hunch that the CIA was missing something (and had they looked harder on his instructions, who knows what they might have found?)

This last line of reasoning actually may be consistent with Clarke's account. Had the intelligence been suggesting an Al-Qaeda attack, but his aides had been screening the intelligence, he might have seen just enough to make him suspicious, but not enough for him to consciously recognize what was going on.

The current White House line of Clarke is that he's a disgruntled employee who quit when the Bush administration downgraded his position from cabinet-level, and is trolling for favors from a future Kerry administration. Outside of the fact that downgrading the anti-terrorism czar seems inconsistent with an administration bent on the elimination of terrorism, it's worth noting that he didn't quit until two years after the downgrade, making it seem more likely he resigned in protest over being ignored, rather than in a fit of pique. Either way, though, I suspect Mr. Clarke will soon be involved in some sort of scandal. If he is, I will take it as gospel that he is speaking the absolute truth. I wonder if his wife works for the CIA?

Friday, March 19, 2004

Add Jack Kelly, formerly of USA Today, to the list of "journalists" who've just been making shit up. The paper's excuse for letting the inaccuracies slip through? He was a good Evangelical Christian, and we all know they don't lie! The New York Times caught hell because Jayson Blair was black, thereby definitively proving the Times was putting "Affirmative Action" ahead of the news. But when USA Today out and admits that evangelicals get special treatment, my guess is the story's gonna pass with a whisper.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Kevin Drum of Calpundit has been hired to write the Political Animal blog for the Washington Monthly. His pontifications will henceforth be found in the new location.
Here's an absolutely amazing piece from Slate: A compendium of graffiti that has appeared on the walls of occupied Baghdad. Well, maybe absolutely amazing is a little strong. There may be nothing there that surprises you. Nevertheless, it's a look into the situation that no embedded reporter could hope to provide.

From these scribblings, it is clear that there is significant support for the Americans. In fact, there's significant support for everyone and everything - Americans, killing Americans, Iraqis, Shiites, Jews, Jewish Conspiracy Theories, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkmen, Saddam, brutally executing Saddam, Baathists, Suicide Bombers, Chalabi, kicking Chalabi's ass, you name it. As you can probably gather from that list, an awful lot of this support is mutually and violently contradictory. The obvious implication is that the fate of Iraq is still totally up in the air. It remains to be seen whether we can hold it all together long enough for the situation to shake itself out. I am confident it can be done - or, at least, could have been done, had this war been handled properly from the start. I fear the Iraq of the near future may not be the one that anyone, from the neoconss to the peaceniks, wanted. But no one ever got anywhere by saying "I can't." What's important is that the men on the ground in Iraq are reading these things and reacting accordingly. If they do, we might pull this thing out after all.
One of the problems with blogging is that there's just so much stuff out there in the world. It can be daunting. Why bother saying anything when you know a thousand other people are saying the same thing better? And sometimes, the question is just why bother saying anything at all? When trains explode and people die, my rantings into the blogosphere aren't going to do anything. But, I guess that's not the point. I'm a citizen of the US, and a citizen of the world. A citizen has a duty to keep himself informed and to contribute to the public discourse. That's what I do, here and in the real world both. God only knows what it accomplishes, but I feel like somehow it's the right thing to do. One day something useful will come out of it.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Quick housekeeping update: Fixed the links to Where is Raed? and The Homeless Guy. Their URLs had moved, and I had forgotten to change 'em in the template.
The Daily Kos tagline for the Bush Missile Shield, for which most testing was cancelled and the funds diverted into immediate deployment before the election: Faith-Based Defense. "Faith-based defense"... do I sense a Kerry attack ad in the making?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Kerry-McCain 2004? It could happen. I mean, it's not going to, but it sure would be cool if it did. That would be a ticket I wouldn't want to be up against. Although speaking of Sen. McCain, he seems to be taking a lead in the Senate's crusade to rid Major League Baseball of steroids. Do these people not have anything better to do? Oh well, if it makes him happy. At least it's not hurting anybody, unlike certain other political hobby-horses.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Just added HaloScan commenting. Notice the little "Comments" link under this post? And all the other ones? Well, if you click on it, you can (surprise!) leave comments for all the other little boys and girls to read.
Indecency fines. This is the most important thing our government has to worry about? Someone's gotta check their priorities. MSNBC contributor Michael Ventre may put it best:
...as usual, the booby prize goes to our government watchdogs. Because they’ve spent entire careers suckling off the taxpayer teat, these elected officials are uniquely qualified to preside over this matter.
So, it looks like Ford is (finally) going to build some hybrids - based on licensed Toyota technology. It's about time an American manufacturer stepped up to the plate here, although it's sort of disappointing to see that they're too lame to actually figure out how to do it on their own. So much for GM's vaunted electric-car program. Sooner or later, the government is going to regulate greenhouse emissions, and it would be a shame if foreign cars suddenly became the only economically viable option at that point. Of course, I'm also just happy to see more hybrids out there. The less oil we burn, the better.

By the way, am I planning to just start writing again with absolutely no explanation of where I've been? Yep. Am I sure I actually am going to write on any sort of regular basis for the forseeable future? Nope.

It's good to be your own publisher.