Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Diplomatic turnabout?

WASHINGTON — In a diplomatic turnabout, the Bush administration will join an Iraq-sponsored "neighbors meeting" with Iran and Syria, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday. -- AP

A turnabout? Is that, like, a flip flop?

Is the low msm buzz on this because we aren't buying this as a sincere initiative?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This is nuts!

New Freedom Commission on Mental Health

Where in the World?

WaPo: Intelligence Officials Offer Grim Assessment of Security

The new national intell guy, john mcconnell (any relation to mitch?) gave the nat intell estimate today on c-span in front of the levin-warner committee of the senate.

It sounded like a very negative scorecard in the WOT, comparing 2005 to 2006, and projecting 2007.

So I wanted to think about a more detailed breakdown -- see the list of sovereign nations at the link below, and tell us which ones you believe were better off in 2006 than 2005, and which will be better off in 2007.
Link: Wikipedia's List of Countries

Here's the only one I could extract, north korea (and maybe not even them).

Gallows humorously, the part of mexico that is here, is doing better every year.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tehran, Iran

A few days ago, a thoughtful poster at the TCP Political Forum posted this link to photos of Iran's capital city. It's hard to hate someone when you can see their faces. Tehran, Iran.

A Hypothetical Election

We need to elect a new world leader.
Here are facts about the candidates. Who would you vote for?
Candidate A.

Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists.
He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

Candidate B.

He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in
college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C.

He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and never cheated on his wife.

But wait! FDR is A, B is Churchill, and C is Hitler.

Hitler had a mistress and was very much into the occult. He got counsel from astrologers and psychics.

Partial truths are the most devastating lies. By leaving out the critical information, we can make black into white, and day into night. Watch.

It is all colors. Black or white? All colors reflected = white, all colors absorbed = black.

It is when animals are active. Day or night? Diurnal animals, then day; nocturnal animals, then night.

It's what we KNOW about a person that makes them attractive or ugly. Political elections are like dating, you only see the side of a person he or she wants you to see, and then when it's too late, you see the other side. I think this is what we are speaking of, the other side that is not known of the person is what you need to worry about.

It's what we KNOW about [proposed wars] that make them attractive or ugly. [Going to war] is like dating, you only see the side of a person he or she wants you to see, and then when it's too late, you see the other side.

In other words, partial truths are the most devastating lies.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Punchy Palookas

Answering growing criticism in the U.S. and Australia, [cheney] defended the Iraq war as a "remarkable achievement" . . .

In oz this week, I suppose he feels no need to tell the truth in the hinterlands, but wait, he feels no need in the u.s.a!

The line on punchy palookas refers to a theme begun on an earlier post here. There is a great scene in Pulp Fiction where travolta calls willis palooka, willis says, who you calling palooka, and travolta says, that's right, punchy, I'm calling you, palooka.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

How lobbying really works

If you want to see a crystal clear example of how lobbying works, read this excellent (and funny) plea for Ditch the dollar greenback by Joel Stein.

In theory it only takes 1 lobbyist to confound the better judgment of 300 million people. More on the tyranny (innumeracy) of democracy later.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Torture and Slavery

Torture was necessary to maintain slavery. It was integral to slavery. You cannot have slavery without some torture or the threat of torture; and you cannot have torture without slavery. You cannot imprison a free man for ever unless you have broken him; and you can only forcibly break a man's soul by torturing it out of him. -- Andrew Sullivan

The Daily Dish

Ranking the Presidents

imho, it is very hard to come up with 5 great presidents. Here's my cut for today:
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Dwight Eisenhower
  • George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • James Madison
and maybe Teddy Roosevelt

Typically, all of these men had greatness in them. There is not a case of a mediocre man being converted into a giant by his times (goodbye to the zeitgeist theory), but I believe also that the presence of these unique men had to intersect with a time that could support greatness.

In some cases, gw and al, the intersection is bright. If you look at ike and tr, you see a greatness from an event somewhat aside from the presidency, WW II and the Panama Canal. For tj and jm, the greatness was in a towering intellectual capacity embedded in a bias for articulation and making it so.

Who are your five?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Commander in Chief

I began to wonder yesterday about the genesis of the head of state becoming commander in chief -- see Wikipedia article

And I have learned a few things:
  • george washington and james madison actually appeared in a theatre of combat as president (without a plastic turkey)
  • rumsfeld did away with actual military CINCs in 1992
  • the powers of THE CINC are moot
  • and the war on terror (while not a real war) has been used by bushco to declare invented powers of the oval orifice
See the subhead of the above Wikipedia article on The United States

U.S.News 10 Worst Presidents

vote as of 2/22/07 4pm est

U.S. News 10 Worst Presidents

urged to take action on asteroid threat

Astronomers are monitoring an asteroid named Apophis, which has a 1 in 45,000 chance of striking Earth on April 13, 2036. --

"a 1 in 45,000 chance"

This ought to be enough for karl rove and gonzo to announce that there will be no election in 2008, that marshall law will be declared, and that we will all work for Halliburton in their asteroid deterrence program, except for small, elite groups that will work for Blackwater's UN disassembly project, and HCA's dick cheney immortality squad.

Surely, we will never become a police state!

You don't wanna know.

Will Embarassing the President Make Us Safer?

Will Embarassing the President Make Us Safer? by Ed Koch

kilgore forelle:
Oh yeah! I think we should have two non-binding resolutions:
  • from now on bush is fully-in-charge of embarrassing himself, and
  • ed koch can run for congress anytime he can find someone who wants him.
One of the reasons rudy looked so good as mayor is because he followed koch and dinkins.

Is leaving Iraq now a good thing?

"Goodness has got nothing to do with it." -- Mae West.

Is removing your teat from a wringer a good thing? Not relevent. Is removing your teat from a wringer next on your agenda? Very relevent.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress are seeking to humble, embarrass and, if they can, destroy the President and the prestige of his position as the Commander-in-Chief who is responsible for the safety of our military forces and the nation's defenses. -- Ed "who asked you?" Koch

And that is exactly what had to be done to lbj and rmn, to make them stop writing their memoirs long enough to find out that they had only punchy palookas left on their side.

hirohito had to be destoyed to get him to stop, hitler, saddam, the roman empire, the ottoman empire, the hapsburgs, napolean, clinton, . . .

It's omelette making time.

And those of you who are OK with the war but not OK with domestic spying, the whole domestic spying thing is growing right out of the nose of the iraq war. Where else, do you think?