Thursday, September 29, 2005

Delay the puns

Now that one-time asshole of the week here on livefromblogdahd, Tom Delay has been indicted, the press is ready to roll out bad pun after bad pun. In fact, I'm responsible for at least one likely to be published in blogcritics.

The fact remains that Delay personifies the take-no-prisoners, lie through your teeth and deny everything school of the Republican party that the American public has in large part been suckered by again and again. The ability to forgive, or forget, the transgressions of past politicians is astonishing. For the democrats, the re-election of a crack-smoking Mayor of DC and for the Republicans the re-election of George Bush in the face of the absence of WMD in Iraq.

The fact is that the Republicans, for more than thirty years, have been the party of dirty tricks and deceit. This first came to light during watergate, re-exposed again in the Iran-Contra scandal, reborn in the Clinton era during the fishing expedition which revealed the incredibly national security breach involving a cigar and an overweight intern in the Oval Office, moved into Bush's cooking of the intelligence to this.

I predict the Republicans in this next election are going down hard. But Americans have a short memory...

Here's a good article as to why both parties shouldn't be glad to see him go..slate

Monday, September 26, 2005

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Strange bedfellows

Traditional Islam is only vaguely related to what we see happening here. It isn't so much the rebirth of the Islamic caliphate as a rebirth of fascism in the mideast and elsewhere with an Islamic face on it. All of the same type of thinking that Hitler, and Mussolini and Stalin put forth in rejecting liberal civilization are here as well. Islamism is a reaction to the "isms" of the twentieth century. IN a modern world where a version of Capitalism has dominated Marxist states in a number of ways, the Islamist rejects modern society while utilizing the tools of that society. Islamic nuclear weapons. Islamic genetic engineering. Islamic science, which is all stolen from Christian civilization, accepted as truth for it's power, and Christian ideals altered by the enlightenment.

There are a number of different types of posters here on bnet who see the Iraq war in different ways. The one thing that almost every supporter of the "resistance" in Iraq has in common is that they aren't really quite sure what they are FOR, but they know what they are against, which is anything the US does, including defending herself.

There are the Islamofascists who openly call for global domination under an Islamic Caliphate, where even Shiites are infidels, who would exterminate whole civilizations and who cloak their language in heartfelt, soulful language that would make even apparently sane people sign on. The astonishing beauty and power of Islam, the depth of the honor and wisdom found there is coopted by these folks. And when one sees the careless manner in which the US conducts itself, it really isn't that hard to see why undeducated, illiterate people who only know what they are told by others would believe it. They really have so much in common with American fundamentalists; they hate the separation of church and state, believe homosexuals are evil, believe in modesty and moderation in appetites and desires.
But it is the educated Islamists here that are fascinating and mirror-images of the educated fundamentalists in America who now wish to pack the courts and coopt the political system.
But by far the most fascinating thing of all is the apparent coalition of anti-secular, anti-liberal, anti-homosexual and anti-woman Islamofascists with secular liberal pro-homosexual feminists. The former doesn't hate the concept of empire, but the idea that there is no Islamic empire. The other believes that the former is anti-imperialist, not realizing that under such an empire they would very quickly become the next victims of Islamofascism.
It is against the backdrop of this that we see western liberals having a romantic love affair with these cults of suicide and death. For a long time they have been making excuses for the Palestinians. Should we be surprised when the victims become American, British, or Nepalese that the excuse continue? We, as liberals, cannot countenance the possibility that there aren't rational reasons for why people do things. Isn't it understandable that oppression in Palestine would lead to butchery in Haifa? Aren't the chickens coming home to roost?

9/21/2005 12:55 PM 10 out of 10

It is easy to see, given the intransigence of the US, why people might believe that, especially if that is the lense through which reality is viewed by them. There are two fantasies here meeting each other; one in which America is a prop in an elaborate fantasy about the return of Saladin aka Bin Laden, and the other in which the poster is a freedom-fighter a la Che Guevara who is intent upon smashing imperialism while the innocent victims of it are crushed under her heel. It is a romantic, appealing fantasy, particularly for those whose lives appear devoid of meaning in a hostile and impersonal world where it is easy to find a scapegoat and blame them for everything under the sun. The arab becomes a scapegoat for Americans, Americans become a scapegoat for Arabs. An endless cycle perpetuated by both polar extremes.
On one hand we have a vastly oversimplified conspiracist theory of imperialism in which terrorists, despite what they say and do for all to see, are still defended by shrill hysterical revisionists clinging to their dogma. On the other hand, we have liberal internationalists like me who believe that in this shrinking world, there will be no safe place for us to isolate ourselves from this vast totalitarian movement afoot yet aware of how easy it is for a nation like the US to go to far.beliefnet

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

By TAREK EL-TABLAWY, Associated Press Writer Fri Sep 16, 7:26 PM ET

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A leading Sunni cleric called for religious and ethnic groups to take a stand against violence as
Iraq endured a third consecutive day of sectarian killings — the worst, a suicide car bombing at a Shiite mosque that killed at least 12 worshippers as they left Friday prayers.

The bombing in Tuz Khormato, where a young Saudi man was later arrested wearing a bomb belt on his way to a second mosque, was the latest suicide attack following al-Qaida in Iraq's declaration of all-out war on Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority.

Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's terror group said it was taking revenge for a joint Iraqi-U.S. offensive against its stronghold in Tal Afar, a city near the Syrian border.Yahoo news


So the Saudis send their poor children to kill themselves to kill the Shiite infidels and Galloway is braying like an ass about the "resistance".
Cleric says al-Zarqawi died long ago

Saturday 17 September 2005, 8:12 Makka Time, 5:12 GMT

Al-Kalesi said al-Zarqawi was killed in Iraq's Kurdish region

Al-Qaida's leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead but Washington continues to use him as a bogeyman to justify a prolonged military occupation, an Iraqi Shia cleric says in an interview.

Sheikh Jawad al-Kalesi, the imam of the al-Kadhimiyah mosque in Baghdad, told France's Le Monde newspaper on Friday: "I don't think that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi exists as such. He's simply an invention by the occupiers to divide the people."
-from Aljazeera

Al Jazeera

As their PR problem grows, the lies become more desperate.

A message from an Islamofascist.

Has any one noticed a trend on how some of the warmongerers respond to this fake Zarqawi call? You can never expect a Bush supporter, neo conservative, fascist, or a zionoprat to be reasonable, this will never happen. It is compelling that they have never seen or known anything in their life except what the axis-of-evil is telling and pumping them.

Americans use your brains even if al Zarqawi was real he couldn't open another front fighting 14 million iraqi shiites, in addition to the U.S. forces. Any human being with little brain would not do that. It is an evil plot manufactured by the U.S. and its collaboraters. However, this shitty plot has back fired on the U.S., as the Iraqi Resistance groups have gotten more popular support by condemning this message. mohsin84
9/20/2005 2:27 AM 118 out of 121

So now that it's obvious the insurgents are just a bunch of mass murderers and aren't freedom fighters, these guys have to change gears. It must by the zionists.

Monday, September 19, 2005

left and right mirroring each other...

What the real left is and should be doing

I found this interesting while reading blogcritics...

The anti-war movement- while certainly holding up its end of being loud and recognized- is ushering very little discussion on the substantial content of the matter at hand. I've certainly heard questions raised about the war. However, the mere existence of questions does not an intelligent dialogue- towards a real end- make.

Maybe I am alone in this, but I have been trying to base my feelings toward this war off of a little more than "let's go kick some enemy butt" versus "this war is a lie, and we need to stop killing our soldiers." Let's face it, while the wording is often a lot more winded, that is about the entirety of the debate right now.

Wars, however, are much more complex than that. Always. These complexities exist in the reasons for, the actual ground strategy within, and the final objectives of any war. And- as much as it may not serve the vitriol and consensus snowballing of either side- this war is no different.
Being a fan of complexity...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Galloway and Hitchens face off...

Having the opportunity to watch much of the debate from Baruch College between the British MP George Galloway and Journalist Christopher Hitchens, I wanted to give Galloway a chance. It was apparent from the getgo that Galloway was a politician for his appearance and delivery, and Hitchens an unpolished journalist who could only offer his understated truth and subtle yet self-deprecating ad hominems. Amy Goodman was obviously uncomfortable with the tone of the debate and performed admirably despite this. While I enjoy listening to the British Parliament and their hecklers, they carefully tone down their booing and chattering enough to allow a debate. What can I say? I don't boo or interrupt and I don't think it helps anyone.

Galloways' finest moment, came when he pointed out that the Hitch had supported the rebels in Algeria and the rebels in Vietnam, yet now found himself on the side of imperialism. I found it partly convincing, although in retrospect I don't know how often the Algerians or the Vietnamese massacred their own civilians by the hundreds as the "resistance" heroically has been doing for quite some time now.

Hitch was at his best when he pointed out that the same George Galloway who claimed to be anti-Saddam while Hussein was massacring Kurds in the 80's was embracing Hussein in 1994. It is not a good thing to be a politician accusing journalists of lying.

What went back and forth? Galloway claiming the US has supported murderous dictators across the mideast and claiming the massacre in New York was caused by the despotism in Israel. Unconvincing to say the least when one argues that a massacre in New York would have been forestalled by peace in Palestine. And as Hitch pointed out, this wasn't the best city to be arguing that point.

Hitch appearing to apologize for Bush's response to Katrina wasn't a good moment, though in fairness he alluded to, but did not press the manner in which Louisiana officials were culpable for what happened in their state. A missed opportunity, I thought. Though it was interesting to hear him point out that blaming Arabs for the fate of poor blacks in NO was race-baiting of a form, I felt a little more research on hydrology could have made a better point. His rejoinder that "you are all on television" sounded unwittingly Orwellian and I thought it was ill-advised.

Debates always are nullified by politicians with the simple tactic of total denial. But at some point, this tactic begins to defeat itself. Could EVERYTHING Hitch says be a lie? That is doubtful.

The winner in all this is the British debating style. I learned nothing and nobody was convinced of anything. Should we be surprised?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Germans not allowed to smile on new passports...

BERLIN - Germans were ordered Thursday to stay serious when having their photographs taken for new passports, wiping away any grins, smirks or smiles so that biometric scanners can pick up their facial features.

Interior Minister Otto Schily ordered passport authorities to only accept pictures taken from the front showing the "most neutral facial expression possible," starting Nov. 1.

Facial recognition systems match key features on the holder's face and work best when the face has a neutral expression with the mouth closed.

"A broad smile, however nice it may be, is therefore unacceptable," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
stereotypes, let's face it, are a great source of humor...true or not...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Urine therapy

drink your piss!

This particular blog, in the "2" category advocates the drinking of urine for health...need I say more?

more bad blogs

Crooked Timber is fucking horrible. I clicked over it (again I link these guys so you can see for yourself) and here is what I get...
Blogging and academic jobs
Posted by Henry

Ralph Luker has a round-up post of reactions to the second “Ivan Tribble” missive on blogging and academia. This is something that I’ll be speaking to substantively in the near future in a longer piece; for the moment, I just want to observe that blogging has been helpful in a very practical but unexpected way to my academic career. I moved last year from the University of Toronto to George Washington University (I loved Toronto and the university, but had good personal reasons, unconnected to the Department, to move). I know for a fact that my blogging at Crooked Timber played a minor (but real) role in helping me land my current job – one of the people involved in the job search for a new position was a CT reader, clicked through to my homepage, and saw that my research interests seemed a plausible fit with the Department’s needs.
ummmmm...."speaking to substantively" on a blog? Could you have said something substantive here about anything other than your own little world?

bad blogs...

ON the subject of bad blogs this blog "anti-blog" where the concept was already discovered of talking about bad blogs, is a really shitty blog. I anticipated this person would actually take the time and effort to find some bad blogs, and he or she hasn't and didn't. Good concept. Bad blogger.

On the matter of bad blogs there are really three levels;

1. idiotic personal blogs ("mommyblogs") that aren't even worthy of this
2. small-time blogs which have some local following of fellow nutcase fundamentalists, trekkies, or other intellectual masturbators, and
3. Popular blogs that don't deserve to be. They apparently were in the right place at the right time and someone liked the name. Now they get linked. Examples? Instapundit, comes to mind, which you will notice I linked. I now do not understand why. Three lines on every subject in the world? Do we need this? Or "bitch, phd" which is sort of a mommyblog on steroids where I searched in vain for one single original, intelligent idea....

I dedicate the concept of bad blogs to those in the third category.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Monday, September 12, 2005

Is the chief justice powerful...

Roberts as Chief Justice: Not Just One Vote out of Nine
Tony Mauro
Legal Times

During his mournful contemplation in front of William Rehnquist's coffin at the Supreme Court on Sept. 6, John Roberts Jr. looked up and soberly scanned the majestic Great Hall in which he was standing.

It seemed to be sinking in for Roberts that he could soon be running the Court and the federal judiciary as chief justice, rather than starting as the most junior associate justice, whose main special duty would have been to open the door when someone interrupts the Court's private conferences with a knock.

In swiftly switching Roberts from the Sandra Day O'Connor seat to the chief justice opening created by Rehnquist's death, President George W. Bush may have left the impression that the jobs of associate justice and chief justice are fairly interchangeable. The hoary axiom that the chief justice has only one vote, just like the rest, also feeds that view.

But in reality, the job Roberts signed up for has sweeping, if usually unstated, powers and significance.

Inside the Court -- which will be known henceforth as "the Roberts Court" if he is confirmed -- he will have powers not only to assign opinion-writing but to disproportionately influence policy over issues ranging from the size of the docket to whether to allow broadcast coverage of Court proceedings.

Beyond the Court walls, Roberts will be the titular head of the entire judicial branch, with policy-setting roles and a budget in excess of $5 billion. He will chair the Judicial Conference, which sets policy for the federal judiciary, and will appoint judges to key committees of the conference. During his confirmation hearings, Roberts may face a whole line of questioning about administrative issues that he would not have been subjected to as a choice for associate justice.

"It's more than just being chief justice. He sits at the head of a Fortune 500 corporation, a very large and complex organization," says Harvey Rishikof, a professor at the National War College who served as one of Rehnquist's administrative assistants in the 1990s.

Roberts, himself a clerk for Rehnquist while he was an associate justice, is keenly aware of the differences between the associate and chief positions.

"It's a big change when you go from associate to chief justice," Roberts said in a 1997 talk at Georgetown University that was recently replayed on C-SPAN. As an associate justice, Roberts said, Rehnquist developed "a carefully considered view of the Constitution." As chief, he said, Rehnquist "now has to spend some time policing" his colleagues and the Court. "Institutionally, it's a very different role."

Does it Matter Whether John Roberts Becomes an Associate Justice, or the Chief?
Why Both the President and Democratic Skeptics Are Wrong to Think it Does
Monday, Sep. 12, 2005

Moving quickly in the wake of Chief Justice Rehnquist's death, President Bush announced that he was withdrawing the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the seat vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and instead nominating Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States.

With the start of the Supreme Court Term just a few weeks away, Bush said that it was "in the interest of the Court and the country to have a Chief Justice on the bench on the first full day of the fall term."
Click here to find out more!

Democrats reacted swiftly and predictably. New York Senator Chuck Schumer's statement was typical of those who thought that switching Roberts to Chief Justice ought

to imply a higher level of scrutiny. Schumer was quoted as saying, "This nomination certainly raises the stakes in making sure that the American people and the Senate know Judge Roberts's views fully before he assumes perhaps the second most powerful position in the United States."

Yet both Bush and the Democrats are wrong: The Chief Justice wields scarcely any greater power than the other members of the Court. Contrary to Bush's contention, the Court could function perfectly well with an acting Chief Justice, and contrary to Schumer's contention, an Associate Justice merits no less scrutiny than a Chief Justice.findlaw

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sacramento is next....

There are times, however, when much of Sacramento lies below the level of the American and Sacramento rivers at flood stage, straining our vital levees. And, as in New Orleans, rushing water can have a fatal scouring effect on Sacramento levees.

"In a lot of ways, we see New Orleans as a sister city," said Stein Buer, executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency. "We feel deeply the tragedy that's unfolding."

New Orleans was said to enjoy 250-year flood protection, meaning the city faced a 1-in-250 chance of flooding in any given year. Central Sacramento, in comparison, is rated to withstand only a 100-year flood event.

Sacramento's risk of flooding, in short, is the greatest of any major American city, according to SAFCA.

"One of these days, we might get a huge storm," said Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento. "We have to take steps to ensure something like this doesn't happen to a community like Sacramento."

Sacramento narrowly dodged that bullet in two recent wet years, 1986 and 1997. As a result, local officials developed an ambitious plan, originally estimated to cost about $700 million, to improve flood protection to a one-in-213 standard.

The project includes modifications to Folsom Dam and many miles of levee improvements along the Sacramento and American rivers.

Much of the project remains unfunded, and recent setbacks have slowed progress.

Bids for a key project to improve Folsom Dam's release capacity came in up to three times higher than the $215 million estimate. As a result, it could now be up to three more years before full construction begins-MSNBC

Of course a brief perusal of other stories indicates the government says all is well. Carol Hopwood reassures everyone that Sacto. is hunky-dory when it comes to floods, though as you can read above NO had 250 flood year protection and SACTO. only has 100. I will let you research what exactly "100-year" flood protection means, but suffice to say it probably isn't what you think it it.

1% Flood Refers to a flood of a magnitude that has an estimated probability of 1 in 100 of occurring in any given year. Technically more precise way of referring to the "100-year flood". Generally, 1%, 2%, 10% events refer to levels of flood flows with an expected recurrence of 100, 50, and 10 years respectively.

Glossary of flood protection
100-Year Flood Flood of a magnitude with an expected recurrence of once in 100 years. Synonymous with 1% flood.


"I think we're looking at what's happening in New Orleans and we're looking at ... have we considered all the issues that are confronting them? At this point, I think we have," Sacramento Emergency Management Planner Jerry Colivas said.

Sacramento County's top disaster planner, Carol Hopwood, said thanks to nine years of coordinated flood disaster planning, the city and county have already identified which major malls, churches and schools can be used as evacuation shelters. Agreements have been struck to Regional Transit buses and private buses to move evacuees. And, in the coming months, a telephone alert system will be up and running -- a system that could potentially notify every resident in the Sacramento area when evacuations are mandatory.

I'm quite sure if we mine the net enough we are going to find the same bullshit from Louisana officials, who interestingly enough haven't been the target of the ire of the people as much as Bush has. The feds screwed up. But LA and NO? Let's play the blame game then and see how they add up.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Political comment from a Healdsburger

I found this blog while surfing through other blogs in Healdsburg this morning...thought it interesting enough to post the following comments and my responses to them...


When I explained the situation he shook his head sadly. "A nation that doesn't provide for its poor is like a father who refuses to care for his children," he said — a phrase that's stuck in my mind ever since.
Of course the Europeans don't understand that what uninsured people are denied is long-term health care, which is of course probably more important the emergency care. Anyone can walk into an American hospital and get help but they are then financially ruined assuming they had any money to begin with. I'm not sure the European model is all that great, but your point is well-taken. People WITH health insurance end up ruined.
The citizens of New Orleans were told they must evacuate. Those with cars drove away. Others got out in rental cars, or other transportation.

But thousands were left for a number of reasons. They didn't have transportation. They didn't have money for transportation. They were too sick or frail or old to leave. They simply didn't understand the gravity of the situation. Or they were simply to skeptical of a government announcement to heed.
I'm actually surprised at how many people DID understand the gravity of the situation, and left.
The whole world is looking at the faces and the bodies of these people, listening to their outcry. They are almost invariably poor. And like all the poor in our country they are for the most part sick, frail, old, children, and/or illiterate. They get their information from pictures, not the printed word. Their dietary advice comes from advertisements for sodas, potato chips, and fast-food restaurants. Their health advice is little beyond pharmaceutical advertisements.
There is always a healthy balance between what we owe them as members of our society and what they owe themselves. We have failed them, and they have failed themselves.
America has turned her back on a large percentage of her children, and they have grown resentful. New Orleans is perhaps only the beginning of their outrage. It is an outrage that transcends race. It is an outrage that just might have a profound influence on the future of American politics. At least I hope so.
The parents of those children were the first to turn their backs; they made decisions like the ones I saw daily when I taught in Vallejo; to have three children before the age of seventeen with no way to care for them, to avoid education and to fall back on government aid with a sense of entitlement that transcends generations; the republicans are wrong when they blame the poor for being poor. The democrats are wrong when they believe the poor bear no responsibility for the decisions they make that perpetuate the cycle.

The Eastside View

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

asshole of the week...

My apologies, Hirohito

Japan bears no special guilt for the events of World War II: compared to the Caucasian combatants, their role was peripheral and reactive. The Japanese "militarists" were merely reacting to the economic embargo imposed by the US, the British, and the Dutch. Faced with economic strangulation or war, they chose the latter – the only honorable choice.
-justin Raimondo

What is the difference betweeen Justin Raimondo and a catfish? One is a bottom-feeding mud-sucker and the other is a fish.

Raimondo's "" is most popular among the know-nothing left in the US and his hysterical exhortations about Jews, 911 and various other wingnut conspiracy theories are widely accepted. His prose is lyrical but barely coherent and his insults childish and artless. According to frontpage,he's a homosexual libertarian neo-conservative who worships Pat Buchanan. As is pointed in out by Chip Berlett of PublicEye, the increasing tendency of leftists to seek ties with rightists is indicative of the prevalence of conspiracism and how it has spread from it's right-wing roots to the left. Most leftists who cite Raimondo don't even realize he is a conservative who supports Pat Buchanan.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The 17th street canal and New Orleans

An article today by Debra Saunders, a Bush bungleech who rushes to Bush's defense on an almost daily basis in the SF Chronicle, claims the 17th street levee was recently upgraded. This is, of course the levee that collapsed and helped flood NO. I'm not sure it is true or relevant, but I have to say that my inclination leans toward disgust at the politicians who LIVE in Louisiana that suddenly have found their voice. It would seem to me that some time ago was when it was necessary to grandstand, they weren't doing it. They, like everybody else, were hoping it wouldn't happen and didn't really believe it either.

As much as I dislike Bush and jump at the chance to attack him, I'm pretty sure that living in a flood zone should cause one to pause and perhaps expect the possibility of floods. I'm also pretty sure that a category five hurricane is probably going to breach any flood control project known to man. A good book on the topic is "Cadillac Desert" by Marc Reisner.17th street canal upgraded

This article on CNN explains that, in fact, the 17th street canal was one of the strongest sections...

"No one expected that weak spot to be on a canal that, if anything, had received more attention and shoring up than many other spots in the region. It did not have broad berms, but it did have strong concrete walls.

Shea Penland, director of the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of New Orleans, said that was particularly surprising because the break was "along a section that was just upgraded."

"It did not have an earthen levee," Dr. Penland said. "It had a vertical concrete wall several feel thick.""

Crybaby nation...

But there was also anger and profane catcalls.

"Hell no, I'm not glad to see them. They should have been here days ago. I ain't glad to see 'em. I'll be glad when 100 buses show up," said 46-year-old Michael Levy, whose words were echoed by those around him yelling, "Hell, yeah! Hell yeah!"

"We've been sleeping on the ... ground like rats," Levy said. "I say burn this whole ... city down.
The above quote comes from someone in New Orleans who was in the process of being saved. Whenever I see ungrateful people with this sense of entitlement, it brings me much anger. Who exactly owes this many anything? When I see idiots in dirty nightshirts in Iraq screaming in the streets, or in Palestine, or here in the US, demanding that someone give them something while men risk their lives to do so, I see spoiled children. I see a situation where I would turn and walk away, and leave him to burn his city. And when he is done burning his city, and is hungry, and needs food, the will come begging.

The world doesn't owe us anything. We need to rememember that.