Saturday, October 23, 2004

Happy 6008th Birthday, Earth! 

I needn't remind my loyal bible-literalist following that today is the anniversary of God's creation, since we know He formed the earth on the 23rd of October, 4004 bc. So bake a cake, insert six thousand and eight birthday candles, and celebrate in loving Christian fellowship. If your lost, once-born neighbor ambles up and inquires about "the four billion missing candles", sit him or her down and share the Good News at once. And beware for any secular humanist sarcasm.

As we continue moving to the Palmetto state, fine work is still being done elsewhere. For example, we can take great pride in biblical geologists like Tom Vail, who understand that the great flood of 2348bc explains the rock and "fossil" patterns we see today. Atheist groups are intimidated by his perspicacity and desire to silence him.

(Talon News): A new book offering an alternative view of how the Grand Canyon was formed is the object of a book-banning effort by prominent evolutionists, who have demanded that the Grand Canyon National Park Service remove the text from bookstores within the park.

"Grand Canyon: A Different View" is the 2003 work of Tom Vail, who collected essays from 23 contributors, most of whom hold doctorates in science-related fields. His book presents a creation science viewpoint of the Canyon's formation that is quite different than what most Canyon visitors are told.

Creation scientists present evidence that the Grand Canyon was formed not by the slow erosion of the Colorado River over millions of years, but by a lot of water over a short period of time.
...
The controversial "Grand Canyon: A Different View" has been on sale at the Canyon's bookstores since last fall. It quickly raised the hackles of the presidents of seven science organizations, who jointly signed a December 16, 2003 letter to the park's superintendent urging him to remove the book.
...
Meanwhile, the book has sold out and is being reordered, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Hallelujah, friends! This is an important victory. And I predict that very soon such creationist geologists will discover major new American oil fields. This will help keep our gasoline prices down, because, as George Bush understands, big trucks glorify God.

Also, it is clear that our "Teach the Controversy" strategy is the camel's nose under the tent of godless macro-evolutionism. Keep up the pressure on your local school boards. Soon we won't be forced to homeschool our precious young Christian minds.

There is truly much to celebrate today.

---
(And thanks be to White Sunday.)
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Friday, October 22, 2004

"It's a fantastic thing to come to a country where people are able to express their views." 

--Pres. Bush extolling democracy in London (11/2003).



From the Progressive (10/21):
John Sachs is a high school senior in Johnston, Iowa, a northern suburb of Des Moines. Sachs got a ticket at school to go see Bush speak in nearby Clive one day in early October. It was billed as a question and answer session with the President.

So he and two friends, Alex Grasso and Tim Stewart, went to the event.

"I was wearing this pin that said 'Bush-Cheney '04: Leave No Billionaire Behind,' and we were walking in the line going up to the metal detector, and one of the Bush staffers saw my pin and literally pulled me out of the line," Sachs says. "He said, 'Come with me. Let me see that pin.'

"So I pulled my shirt toward him so he could read it.

"He read it and said, 'Give me the pin.'

"So I took it off and gave it to him."

Sachs says the Bush staffer told him he could go back in line. But then the staffer pulled him aside again.

"Are you a Bush supporter?"

"Well, not really."

"So why are you here?"

"I'm here to see my President, and ask questions of my President."

Then the staffer gave Sachs a chilling warning, he says. According to Sachs, here's what the Bush staffer said: "Know if you protest that it won't be me taking you out. It will be a sniper."
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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Spitz gives greedheads fits 

I love Eliot Spitzer.

In the past four years he and his small team have outperformed entire branches of government, rooting out fraud in investment banks, mutual funds, the insurance industry and (soon) the record moguls. That he could be the next U.S. Attorney General is a massively attractive reason to vote for Kerry. If you like brokers who sell you crappy financial products and laugh at you behind your back, then you should vote Bush/Ashcroft.

Rather than defend the indefensible, opponents criticize Spitzer for relishing the spotlight, and of going "too far". But that is a misunderstanding of his method. Publicly embarrassing corporate malefactors is precisely how he achieves results so quickly. He knows how to make them squirm, so companies 'fess up and bite the bullet. He's disinfecting entire industries, and benefitting the American consumer to the tune of billions of dollars. Perhaps trillions over the long term.

And as for going too far: I believe that moderation in the pursuit of "nihilists in golf pants" is no virtue.

---
Anticipating Spitzer's next project, here's a pertinent selection from the Dead Kennedys' "Pull My Strings":

I'll make my music boring
I'll play my music slow
I ain't no artist, I'm a business man
No ideas of my own

I won't offend
Or rock the boat
Just sex and drugs
And rock and roll

Drool, drool, drool, drool, drool, drool
My Payola!

Background: Prior to the release of their debut album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, Dead Kennedys were invited to perform at the Bay Area Music Awards in front of music industry big-wigs to, in the words of the organizers, give the event some "new wave credibility". The day of the show was spent practicing the song they were asked to play, the underground hit "California Uber Alles". In typically subversive, perverse style, the band became the talking point of the ceremony when after about 10 seconds into the song, Biafra said "HOLD IT! We've gotta prove that we're adults now. We're not a punk rock band, we're a new wave band." The band then tore into the previously unheard "Pull My Strings", a barbed, satirical attack on the very ethics of the mainstream music industry.

As well as containing the lyrics "Is my cock big enough, is my brain small enough, for you to make me a star", the song also sent-up The Knack's biggest new wave hit, "My Sharona". The song was never recorded in the studio but this performance, the first and only time the song was ever performed, was released on the posthumous compilation album Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death... and the band were never invited to play the awards show ever again.

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Democratic base further erodes! 

Apparently, back in the day, Professor Glenn liked those liberals from "Taxachusetts". Having voted for Dukakis in '88, Insty now says he'll "most likely" vote for Dubya this year. Curses!


Perhaps the younger Glenn wore a pin to show his support.



Indeed.
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Brother, can I borrow some gas money? My carpool is chasing suspected terrorists. 

WASHINGTON - The homeland security agency tasked with hunting down terrorists inside U.S. borders and shutting down human smuggling and nacro-trafficking is so strapped for cash that it's asking agents to wash government cars at home, on their own time, and use money earmarked for confidential informants to pay for gas...

[Immigrations and Custom Enforcement] is the largest investigative arm of DHS; its agents are responsible for everything from shutting down child pornography rings to breaking up terrorist financing networks to identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities at U.S. borders and safeguarding infrastructure.
...
"Some staff must use their own money for legitimate expenses, such as gas for their official government vehicles, because credit cards have been deactivated by the card companies for lack of payment," noted a June 25th letter from Rep. Jim Turner, D-Tex., ranking member of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, to DHS Secretary Tom Ridge. Turner's letter noted other budgetary concerns involving ICE.
...
Everything from cell phone use to limiting express mail packages to a restriction on how frequent oil changes should be made went into effect in October. Any car that needed repairs was simply parked in the motor pool and not fixed; carpooling is being encouraged. Agents were told 'to see if necessary supplies are available" from other area offices, according to an internal ICE e-mail from a west coast field office that was obtained by MSNBC.com.
...
As of Monday the spending restraints were still in place, sources told MSNBC.com.

Indeed, a hiring freeze within ICE, in place before the new budget was signed, is still in force as is a moratorium on any new training after the last class graduates in early November.

"Without this training, thousands of agents will be prevented from finding and removing tens of thousands of fugitive aliens at large nationwide," said Randy Callahan, an ICE agent and a union local official of American Federal of Government Employees.

Next fiscal year ICE is predicted to run out of money in May (versus September). The belt-tightening seems prudent since we are fighting terrorists in Iraq so that we won't have to fight them here.

---
Hat tip to Winning Argument.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Congratulations 

To the Red Sox, for a tremendous comeback against the Yankees. I think even Lazarus was impressed. Good show!

Jeffrey and Matt, among many others, are no doubt celebrating in fine fashion. Fellow Yank fan Monk was correctly worried early on.

Tonight's late-night menu: crow po boy dressed with deflated hubris, washed down with unending tear-enhanced beers.
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Bush's "Iraq Tax" squeezes military families 

Letter in today's Time-Picayune:

My son, a Marine Reservist, called us with this story. His squad of 12 men is serving west of Fallujah in Iraq. They go out on night patrols. Night vision goggles are supposed to be standard issue ($3,500 per pair). His squad has four pairs and two do not work. The other squads seem to have the same problem.

My son uses a $60 Surefire military police flashlight, which we bought him, when they go house to house on these raids. He asked for six more, cheaper flashlights for his squad that cost $34 each. I don't have the extra cash to send these because we have already spent over $2,500 to equip him. He has been there two months.

His buddy, who drives a Humvee part time, was told to make an air filter out of a T-shirt and duct tape because they did not have the $7 part. No joke!

I am ashamed that these men make do with such poor equipment while getting shot at. My son has had life and limb spared twice because of the prayers of family and friends.

I have notified my elected officials and I just want the public to know.


Paula Ourso

Mandeville



Last year some Senators understood that handing a blank check to George "we're making sure they get everything they need" Bush is like giving an ape a gun. I hope that help is on the way for these soldiers and their families.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The siren song of gutter politics 

From Louisiana's largest weekly newspaper, a story on opposition research in the "Gret Stet" (my emph):
This summer, the Louisiana Democratic Party shipped in [Andrew] Koneschusky from Vermont, where he served as deputy press secretary for presidential hopeful Howard Dean. He's a long way from his home in Staten Island, N.Y., but Koneschusky is already well adjusted to the ways of bayou politics.

Traditionally, his job is one delegated to young, energetic staffers. At 23, Koneschusky says he is young enough to handle the brutal hours of oppo research. His corner cubicle in the party's Baton Rouge headquarters is a nerve center of counter-intelligence -- videotapes labeled "Vitter" stack up against the wall, digital recording equipment is propped up on tripods, and hours of footage are cataloged on a desktop computer.
...
Opposition research conjures up images of forgotten arrest records and shady real estate deals, but Koneschusky says his work is "mostly all records-based research," centered on what politicos call "votes and quotes." He'll spend hours on his laptop searching through legislative records and speeches in hopes of finding something sexy enough to insert into the upcoming news cycle. "Or you can try and create the news," he adds.
...
A quick scan of political forums on the Internet produces plenty of available information of dubious origin -- or of dubious importance. One candidate for federal office is named for frequenting the now-defunct Canal Street Brothel. Another well-known story being circulated involves a first-person article written by another Louisiana candidate when he was 17 recounting how he helped cast demons out of a friend during an exorcism. Neither story has been deemed both credible and newsworthy by most in the media.

All due praise to Koneschusky's energy and internet research talents. But if David Vitter wins the open primary outright, becoming the first GOP senator in Louisiana history, can this Deaniac "Op-man" really feel good about his effectiveness here? Perhaps less Google, and more Atwater is required.

I'll be meeting with one of the major campaigns tomorrow to discuss some of this nasty business. If they're still too faint of heart, then I'll make sure Koneschusky has what he needs to create an incendiary "media packet" (a la Chris LeHane). Names will make it newsworthy, documented payoffs will make it credible, and whores who terminated pregnancies and fled the state will make it "sexy enough to insert into the upcoming news cycle".

(And, yes, I'm probably overpromising.)

---
Speaking of Dr. Dean, here are some of his recent views on Lyndon Johnson.

From Hardball (8/3/04):

MATTHEWS: Yes, but all you have to go on is the old "who benefits" rule. Like some people would say Lyndon Johnson had something to do with killing Kennedy, because he got to be president then... Whenever there's a beneficiary, that person must have been the motivator.

DEAN: No, Chris, that's not true. There was no evidence whatsoever that Lyndon Johnson had anything to do with that.

MATTHEWS: But is there any evidence that the administration is timing these releases of information to benefit themselves politically? Is there any evidence of that?

DEAN: The evidence is in past problems that this administration has with credibility, and I just went through them. It's a sequence of specific events. And the crazy stuff, the conspiracy theories about Lyndon Johnson, there is no evidence whatsoever, no pattern whatsoever, to suggest anything of the kind. In this case, there's a very specific pattern, actions on the part of senior people and the Bush officials, Karl Rove's memo, the president's declaration that he's going to run as a wartime president...

"No pattern whatsoever"? We'll come back to that one. From a chat with supporters:

hanna: Who do you think was the greatest American President?

Gov. Dean: My list of the top seven - Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Jefferson, Truman, TR, Lyndon Johnson.

Gov. Dean: Of all those the most interesting choice is Johnson who had an appauling (sic) record in Vietnam but nevertheless belongs on the list because of his extraordinary domestic record on civil rights, the creation of medicare and medicaid and the war on poverty.
...
Maura in VA: Interesting choice of Johnson as a great President. Did you have this opinion in college, or is it only after many years of reflection?

Gov. Dean: Only after many years of reflection. I disliked him intensely in college because of the Vietnam War.


It's intriguing to see Howard "take our country back!" Dean describing how Johnson's positives outweighed his negatives. While my aim in coming posts is to illuminate the current administration in light of powerslave LBJ, I will also present evidence against Dean's conclusion.
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Monday, October 18, 2004

For 1st person history: All you need is LUV 

Back in June on a 45 minute Southwest flight from San Antonio to Houston, I sat next to an 83-year old oil man. We talked about Texas, real estate and beer; an easy-going, breezy conversation between generations. As we compared notes on legendary BBQ figures of the Golden Triangle, I realized this guy knows people.

So I kept poking into his myriad experiences, and he casually mentions one time when nine Texas congressman plus Lyndon Johnson came to his ranch for a hunting trip. He was obviously proud to have hosted them, but he added, almost guiltily, "I didn't vote for [LBJ], either."

Then I asked a seemingly weird follow up, "But you never let that get back to him?" (how could it?)

That's when the old guy looked directly at me for the first time, ubrupt and serious. "Oh, no sir. Never."

I was hoping to shake something loose, and I did. At that point I knew there was much, much more that I should've asked the old codger about LBJ, but the short flight was almost over by then. Later I learned that LBJ wouldn't hunt unless a kill was guaranteed for himself, and he'd illegally shoot prey after sundown if necessary to get a trophy. Not a very sporting mentality, to be sure. He wanted preordained outcomes.

It's possible that I read too much into looks sometimes, but after chatting with that older fellow, I decided to devour as many LBJ- related materials as possible. Trust me, it's not a pretty picture.

---
On a related note, I want to recognize Michael for not buying into the "Osama's bin captured" rumormongering that got me in a tizzy a few months ago. Thanks for keeping a good, level head over at Musing's. YRHT gives you a lot of credit.

Right now, I'm quite unworried about any HVT captures being the "October Surprise" that others are speculating about. Previously, I thought we had the HVT's more or less surrounded, and we were just waiting for the most politically advantageous time to begin final operations. This seems highly doubtful to me now, based on several clues that aren't necessary to disclose this moment.
---
*
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Before you wrap the fish... 

Uniting, not dividing:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The most feared militant group in Iraq, the movement of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, declared its allegiance to Osama bin Laden on Sunday, saying it had agreed with al-Qaida over strategy and the need for unity against "the enemies of Islam."



Bush: "I have pledged, as has the secretary of Defense, to give our troops everything that is necessary to complete their mission with the utmost safety."
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The U.S. Army Reserve soldiers who refused orders to drive a dangerous route were members of one of a few supply units whose trucks are still unarmored, their commanding general said Sunday.

An embedded patriot takes exception to the "reality" Bush has created, leaking this:

The top U.S. commander in Iraq complained to the Pentagon last winter that his supply situation was so poor that it threatened Army troops' ability to fight, according to an official document that has surfaced only now.

The lack of key spare parts for gear vital to combat operations, such as tanks and helicopters, was causing problems so severe, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez wrote in a letter to top Army officials, that "I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low."

At least we can humbly ask for help:

Newsday: RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - President George W. Bush rebuffed a plan last month for a Muslim peacekeeping force that would have helped the United Nations organize elections in Iraq, according to Saudi and Iraqi officials.

(snip)

The [White House] spokesman said the primary reason for the plan's failure was opposition from the Iraqi government, which did not want troops from neighboring countries to be deployed inside Iraq.

But Iraqi officials already had worked out a deal with the Saudis ruling out the involvement of any country that borders Iraq. In early July, the interim Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, sent letters formally requesting troops to about a dozen Arab and Muslim nations. Allawi also visited several countries in July and August to personally plead with their leaders to send troops.

The episode raises doubts about the Bush administration's repeated assertions that proper elections can be held in Iraq by January and that it is eager to have other countries send troops to Iraq to ease the burden on American forces. The U.S.-led coalition has been losing members since the insurgency intensified in April. Five countries -- Spain, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines -- have pulled out their troops, about 2,200 total.

At least two other countries plan to withdraw their forces earlier than scheduled. While the pullouts have had little military impact, they have embarrassed the Bush administration during an election year.

Trusty Poodle?

LONDON - Britain is considering a request by the United States to redeploy a small number of British troops in Iraq to free up American soldiers for anti-terror operations, the defense minister told lawmakers Monday.

(Snip)

Several newspapers have reported that Britain is considering sending its reserve force — the 650-member First Battalion Black Watch — from the southern port city of Basra to Baghdad to free up American troops to participate in an expected all-out offensive on Fallujah, a city 40 miles west of the capital that is considered the toughest stronghold of insurgents.

(snip)

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond voiced his concern over the weekend.

"I don't want to see a single Black Watch soldier sacrificed and jeopardized for a political gesture from Tony Blair to George W. Bush," he said.

Highlander Salmond isn't alone (via Dr. Juan).

London - Thousands of anti-war activists marched through central London and filled Trafalgar Square on Sunday to protest the U.S.-led coalition's presence in Iraq.
...
"I think our message to Americans is simple: Don't vote for Bush," said Emma Jane Berridge, a London resident.
...
"These rallies are always anti-Bush, nothing more," said Andrea Needham, who carried her daughter, Esme, with a sign proclaiming "Babies go waaaaa for Bush."

"I've never met anyone at a rally who was anti-American, even though that's how the media like to portray these protests," she said.

One American on the march said taking part was bittersweet.

"Watching this makes me want to cry," said Erin Kiefer, a student from New York carrying an "Out with Bush" sign. "I know it's anti-Bush and not anti-American, but it kills me that he represents our nation so poorly, that he speaks for us as Americans."


It "kills" you? You?! ...Anti-war protesters too often choose their words carelessly. How about saying it "pains" you, while it kills (among others) kids who simply live in the wrong part of town? Warning, graphic picture from U.S. bombing at the start of the war:



When smart bombs aren't so smart.

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Often wrong, never in doubt... Why is that? 

Ronald Suskin writes in the NYT Mag (via Josh):

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''


Well, hell's bells, I didn't expect them to come right out and say it. And I had this Chomskian cartoon link all ready to go, too (via American Leftist). Pity.

I think there is more for us doubters and dissenters to do than stand idly by, merely noting "the creeping Putinization of America." Who's with me?
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