January 31, 2005

History Lesson

Presented without commentary:

U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote:
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror

by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.

According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.

The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.

Stolen wholesale from Dailykos.

January 30, 2005

Calling Fouls

Back in my high school basketball days one of the teams one county over that we would play in league would foul on ever play. Some were light, some were heavy, but every shot, every time the ball was brought up the court a foul could be called. At a certain point the refs would just stop calling every foul and would start saving the whistle for "big" fouls. Not just bumping the shooter but real hard "hey, they arrest people for that in some States" fouls. Even I, a bench-riding intellectual, would end up with bruises in most games. Their players would hardly ever foul out. Our coach called it "desensitizing the refs."

Which brings me to coverage of the Iraq election. By the latest count, 44 people have been killed on election day despite a total lockdown of the country and 150,000 U.S. troops on the ground. And yet the election is widely being called a success in the media and not just on Fox. Name me another country in the world where 44 dead on election day would be considered a success. The 'refs' in this case, the media, have been desensitized to the violence. This is just "normal day Iraqi violence." Do you realize how bad that is? How many Iraqis have to die in a day for the media to call a foul?

January 28, 2005

Carson the Debunker

I found this from Majikthise which reminded me of my second favorite Johnny Carson story next to "pet my pussy." Uri Geller claimed to bend spoons with the power of his mind. The Amazing Randi, who is a slight of hand artist and debunker of psychics worked with Carson to debunk Geller when he went on the show. The trick to "bending spoons" is to weaken the spoons in advance. Carson provided Geller with new spoons and presto no more psychic ability. Follow Hajikthis's link to see video.

Election Issues

I think that we have been dwelling too much on the bloody mess around the Iraqi elections. I think that we should spend a little time on the issues that will be decided by them. TAP has a good round-up:

1. The withdrawal of foreign troops
2. Individual political leaders
3. The ownership of oil
4. Justice
5. Power sharing

By far the most important of these is the withdrawal of foreign troops. Bush is now on record as saying that if asked we will withdraw. Iraq'd has a good run-down on the jam the Shia who should end up in charge will be in over foreign troops. This is going to be the big choice for the new government.

January 27, 2005

Pay for Options

Looks like no less than three conservative columnists have been caught with their hand in the Bush administration cookie jar:

And three makes a trend.

One day after President Bush ordered his Cabinet secretaries to stop hiring commentators to help promote administration initiatives, and one day after the second high-profile conservative pundit was found to be on the federal payroll, a third embarrassing hire has emerged. Salon has confirmed that Michael McManus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, "Ethics & Religion," appears in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services to foster a Bush-approved marriage initiative. McManus championed the plan in his columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed.

The guys that have been caught have all been 3rd tier conservative gasbags. I'm waiting for some big game to be caught up in this. FOE (Freedom of Information Act) is a wonderful thing. It all comes out because unlike WMD, screw-ups by Health and Human Services can't be hidden behind national security.

Just for the record Craigorian Chant shall never be bought. We will however, be rented.


Rulers of China: Not good people.

China has detained dozens of people, some of whom have been severely beaten, for trying to mark the death of former leader Zhao Ziyang, witnesses said.

The allegations came as the government intensified security to prevent mourners attending Saturday's funeral in Beijing for Zhao, the former Communist Party secretary general purged for opposing the 1989 military crackdown on the Tiananmen democracy movement.

At least three people, including a woman in her 70s, were punched and manhandled by police officers outside the government offices which receive complaints in the Chinese capital, witnesses said.

January 26, 2005

Mindless Fun

I have found the perfect way with which to waste time. It's called Gold Miner and it's perfect mindless fun. Something to take your mind off it.

Bad Day

Very Bad Day:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thirty-one U.S. troops were reported killed in a helicopter crash and five more died in insurgent attacks Wednesday in the deadliest day for American forces since they invaded Iraq 22 months ago.

Guerrillas also killed 10 Iraqis in a string of bombings and raids Wednesday. President Bush urged Iraqis to defy the insurgents, who are waging a bloody campaign to disrupt Sunday's landmark election, a cornerstone of U.S. plans.

January 25, 2005

2 More Years

What exactly does two more years in Iraq mean?

The U.S. Army expects to keep its troop strength in Iraq at the current level of about 120,000 for at least two more years, according to the Army's top operations officer.

While allowing for the possibility that the levels could decrease or increase depending on security conditions and other factors, Lt. Gen. James J. Lovelace Jr. told reporters yesterday that the assumption of little change through 2006 represents "the most probable case."

What does 2 more years mean? Well, we have been in Iraq 23 months. Just under two years. Asuming that our President, who never changes course ever, does the same thing for 2 more years. Thats 1,380 more dead, over 10,000 more wounded. That's 300 billion more dollars spent (80 billion more right now). And for what?

January 24, 2005

SS Beat Stick

Social Security Reform is going down. TTP has all the gory details as various Republicans run for the hills. If Bush's term starts out with a massive legislative failure it could cripple his already shaky Presidency. Let's keep the heat up.

Social Security cuts: a tax hike for the young

The administration has not called this a tax increase, but that is exactly what it is: a massive tax hike reserved for the young and the young only. It is a tax increase because they will pay the same payroll tax but will receive less in benefits.

The burden will be carried entirely by the young -- yet Mr. Wehner says that "we have a duty to ensure that we do not create an intergenerational conflict."

The White House is offering benefits as usual to older Americans -- and a terrible choice to younger Americans. With expected Social Security benefits replacing about half of what their parents had, the young face an inevitable descent into poverty when they retire. They can avoid that fate by saving far more than their parents ever did, reducing their lifetime standard of living. Either way, the White House is proposing to raise taxes -- but only on the young.

Young people didn't vote for Bush and now they will be screwed. Don't let it happen.

January 23, 2005

Johny Carson, RIP

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself.

Johny Carson

Best line ever, even if not true:

Zsa Zsa Gabor: Johnny, would you like to pet my pussy?

Johnny Carson: Sure, if you move that damn cat out of the way!

January 22, 2005

Traffic Report

Just though all you would like to hear about the traffic that Craigorian Chant is getting. Thanks to the free trial offered by the good people at Hitmatic, now we know. We are averaging just under 200 page views a week and about 50 unique visitors each week for the last month. Thank you loyal readers. Your favorite day to check the site is Tuesday and you favorite time is between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. In the last month the Chant has gotten hits from computers in 12 different time zones and 16 different countries. People are finding the Chant with Google search terms including "spell-check" and "expert on political matters." 5 People found the Chant with the search phrase "brad and jennifer break up" which tells me I need to do more celebrity gossip. 10% of readers use Macs, one (one person, not one percent) use Linux, and the rest use some form of Windows. Kind of scary how much you can know, eh?

Iraqi Election Countdown!

Eight days to go and interim prime minister Iyad Allawi says it will be impossible to provide full security for the elections. In related news: Cheney blames Saddam for the Bush administration's miscalculations.

January 21, 2005

Friday Roundup

Craigorian Chant is not yet equipped to cover the inauguration parties the way they need to be. Go to Wonkette to get all the dirty, dirty details. In other news Craigorian Chant is looking to hire a hot female gossip reporter. Must be able to sneak into parties uninvited and find Craig attractive on some level. Send resumes and headshots.

More Iraqi Election Fun - The city of Mosul (2 million souls) is going to have 40 polling places! That's 33,000 voters per polling place for those of you keeping score at home. But I'm sure that the Iraqi's will not mind standing in line. It's not like freaking CAR BOMBS are going off all the time!

Counting down Bush's term here.

Internet explorer losing market share: 16% of Craigorian Chant readers now use Foxfire.

Have a fun weekend everybody.

Iraqi Election Countdown!

Nine days to go, and the UN warns that the lack of international observers could undermine the election results.

Seriously, are they going to go through with this? Shouldn't they actually evaluate the security of the situation there and then decide, rather than go ahead with their aribitrarially choosen post-US election date?

January 20, 2005

Philosophy Fun

Found some good stuff on TAPPED today on the philosophy of Bush's Speech:

I think this belief that the goodness of our cause constitutes a reason to believe in the inevitability of its success is a dangerous delusion. It's the deep, philosophical version of a narrow, political tactic we've often seen -- a flight away from questions about what's actually going on toward questions about whether or not the president means well. The Iraq War must be a good idea, because we're on the side of liberty and the people we're fighting are repugnant. Unfortunately, the world doesn't work this way. It's not good enough to love freedom and really, really, really want your policies to cause its spread. You need policies that will actually advance the cause. And that's what we still don't have.

It's not enough to be good. You have to be smart. You can't just want good things to happen. You have to make them happen.

Iraqi Election Countdown!

10 days to the Iraqi election, and boy are we excited. Only a few lingering questions remain:

  • Who are the candidates? Their names have not been disclosed because they are afraid for their lives.
  • Where will the polling locations be? In order to avoid preemptive attacks by insurgents, the citizens have not yet been notified where they can vote.
  • How will the US ensure that people are safe when voting? We've done a bang up job so far with protecting those Iraqis who have enough civic pride to volunteer for the police force, so no worries.
  • What plans do we have to counter the inevitable sectarian violence that arises when the Shiite majority wins, and the Sunnis minority loses? The Sunnis had their turn under Saddam and it is time for them to graciously step aside.
  • How will we respond if the elected government asks for a total withdrawal of troops and a closure of all US military bases? Self determination is crucial to any fledgling democracy.

Bonus pithy answers to non-election questions:

  • Will the US continue to pursue its unilateralist approach to foreign policy, and its preemptive strike doctrine? Yes!
  • Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Iran.
  • Where does the buck stop for the torture prisoners in Iraq and Gitmo? Private First Class Lindy England and Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr.
  • Is there a terrorist threat for the inauguration as there has been with every other significant event in the US for the past 3 years? No! Terrorist chatter is down 62%!
  • Where is Osama bin Laden? A: He is a nebulous evil can arise at anytime, including your backyard around the time of the next election!

January 19, 2005


Man, this really puts letting that girl get away into perspective, eh? Check out this regret:

"I'm disappointed that Iraq hasn't turned out better. And that we weren't able to move forward more meaningfully in the Middle East peace process."

Then, after a minute's pause, he adds a third regret: "The biggest regret is that we didn't stop 9/11. And then in the wake of 9/11, instead of redoubling what is our traditional export of hope and optimism we exported our fear and our anger. And presented a very intense and angry face to the world. I regret that a lot."

That's Richard Armitage. He is Colin Powell's deputy. Poor Guy. Link via P.A.

2nd Term Preview

Bush is sworn in Thursday. Can you feel the excitement here at Craigorian Chant? We, much like the Nation, are of two minds as to whether the President is a divider or a uniter. You will all be happy to know that his agenda is already in trouble:

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) predicted yesterday that partisan warfare over Social Security will quickly render President Bush's plan "a dead horse" and called on Congress to undertake a broader review of the problems of an aging nation.

Every day after Thursday is a cut to the Bush Administration. Their biggest enemy is time. Every day they have to go get a GOP Congressman back on the reservation is one day less to push their agenda forward. About all we can hope for is to slow them down as much as we can.

January 18, 2005

Irony, the Blog, and the Missing Links

I realize that the links that were supposed to be included in the last post aren't there. Those links were of course, to bad news about Iraq in the lead-up to the election. I will blame blogger for these missing links. Or maybe the Craigorian Chant Intern. Either way, what was supposed to be pitch perfect ironical statements now just sit there like dead fish. The result must be a bit of sarchasm for you readers out there. So as to clear up confusion - Iraq is going badly. The Bush team messed it up. I can't find the old links so here's a new one:

Kerry, who had recently returned from a trip to Iraq, found Rice's reply "disturbing," and not just because it marked another instance of the Bush administration's refusal to admit mistakes. There was nothing "unforeseen" about the insurgents' re-emergence, he said. The U.S. military "encouraged" them to vanish from the battlefield, promising to pay them if they did so. "But we didn't pay them," Kerry said. So "they got angry and organized."

This is an oversimplified view of the insurgency, but it has some validity. Certainly it rebuts Rice's explanation of the insurgency as the result of an all-too-speedy victory by U.S.-led forces (or, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has described it, a "catastrophic success"). Kerry's argument also speaks to a broader failure of Bush's policy in Iraq—a failure to come to grips with the internal, sectarian tensions unleashed by the removal of Saddam's oppressive regime.

Rice replied that the insurgents are angry not because we didn't pay them, but because "they've lost power and they want it back." Kerry agreed, but noted that's precisely the point. In the Iraqi election, still scheduled for Jan. 30, the Shiite parties are going to win, and win big, partly because Shiites comprise a strong majority of Iraq's population, partly because—owing mainly to poor security and insurgents' threats—few Sunnis are likely to vote. Kerry asked: What is the administration going to do, right after the election, to help reconcile the sectarian factions and thus stave off a potential civil war?

The elections are not going to save us. That was an unironic sentence.

Grilled Rice

Condi's day in the sun today. Don't worry all is well. Iraqi elections will solve everthing. Don't you worry. Diplomancy. Yeah that's the ticket. Diplomacy.

January 17, 2005

Taking A Holiday

Linking to stuff so I don't have to write stuff.


Social Security


More Iraq


Made Up Word of the Day

Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Used in a sentence: I got a lot of puzzled e-mail about that last post due to sarchasm. Thanks, Lauren.

January 16, 2005


A Hero died today. Learn a little about him:

Zhao sealed his fate with an act of courage unseen among China's totalitarian leaders before or since—he broke ranks. He alone sacrificed his career, and his freedom, when he sided with the students and tried to prevent the bloodshed that came on June 4, 1989. In the words of leadership at the time, "Comrade Zhao Ziyang committed the serious mistake of supporting the turmoil and splitting the Party." Despite the changes that have swept China in the past 15 years, that remains the official verdict on Zhao. It is also the Party's most vulnerable point. Any reformist contender for power could at any time propose clearing Zhao's name. Doing so would likely divide the CCP between closet reformers who agree with Zhao's ideas and the rest who fear that democracy will mean the Party's collapse. For China's current, conservative leaders, Zhao may be more dangerous in death than he was in life.

His name is Zhao Ziyang. Learn. Then help.

January 15, 2005

Entertainment Report Part 2

I actually had a better time watching the new Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi which I found on late last night after the movie (Insomnia - Good for entertainment reports). The new show is much better than the original. I wonder if we have any fan boys in the audience. The plot is the same. The evil robot Cylons have wiped out most of the human race and the survivors, protected by the Galactica must try and keep humanity from going into that good night. While the original series seemed like just a friendly trip through the stars the new, series has got real emotional punch. A wall of lost love-one’s pictures (like 9/11 and Tsunami posters) and a simple white board with a count of all the survivors really get you. These are desperate people and you feel it. They need food, sleep and water and don’t have enough of any. The Cylons can look like humans so there is lots of paranoia to go around. The special effects are very slick. The Viper fighter craft move like spaceships. They don’t bank like airplanes, they use thrusters to spin and move in three dimensions. It feels like space. The whole show strikes the right emotional note. The Chant approves.

UPDATE: SciFiDaily Blog likes the new BattleStar too and they do SciFi full time. I wonder if they are more or less fustrated than political bloggers?

Weekend Entertainment Report Part 1

And now the Craigorian Chant Weekend Entertainment Report. Elektra is not a good movie. It is very beautiful on several levels not the least of which is Jennifer Garner (Hubba, Hubba, Hubba) and there are some great visual shots in the movie like the aforementioned Garner in full red outfit reflected in a glass of Scotch. The scene where the walking poison pill Typhoid Mary lays a kiss on the aforementioned Garner as a swirl of leaves decays around them means my $6.50 wasn't a complete wast. But the movie lacks everything else you need to have fun or care about a movie. You know, plot and dialog and stuff like that. Just a little effort on plot, is that too much to ask? Rob had the right call on this - wait for the DVD and ogle Jennifer in the privacy of your own home.

January 14, 2005


More good stuff on California Gerrymandering. Everyone is quoting everyone. My turn:

Non-partisan redistricting -- depending on who does the redistricting (in other words, not a Governor-appointed commission) -- would force some of our incumbents into difficult reelections. Good -- that's the essence of democracy, not 70% Democratic districts.

And on the flip side, it would give Democrats the ability to pick up seats in a state with lots and lots of seats. Worst case? We lose some seats. But given the state of the House, being down by 15 or being down by 20 has little practical consequence.

Thats what I said! Er something like that. Competive races are more fun anyway, in addition to being good for democracy.
There is also some good stuff on how to beat Bush on Social Security. Short version - Beat it like Clinton's Heath Care Plan got beat.

January 12, 2005


Now admittedly the 21st century is still pretty new. However, I now feel safe in saying that we have set the bar for the worst foreign policy blunder of the 21st century. The White House made it official today:

The White House acknowledged Wednesday that its hunt for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction — a two-year search costing millions of dollars — has closed down without finding the stockpiles that President Bush cited as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. Bush's spokesman said the president had no regrets about invading Iraq.

I'm sure the last part will be used a lot when a 3-D hologram on great screw-ups in history is running on the History Channel in 2087.

Cynical, Me?

Are young people really this cynical -

People under 30 tend to be incredibly cynical about the future. My hunch is that if you asked them whether any once-august but increasingly maligned institution will be around in 40 years--functional public schools, a reliable healthcare system, an objective media, sit-coms, music videos, the Brooklyn Dodgers (oh wait...)--a majority would probably tell you "no". It's just their natural reflex

Personally I think public schools will stick around and that the music video will never die, but I'm pretty sure the healthcare system and the objective media are doomed.

January 11, 2005


Dean went and made it official today. He is running for DNC Chair. He put it out on his blog which is where all the cool people hang out. Hey there cool people.

Newt Gingrich has written a number of fiction books that tell alternative histories in which Nazi Germany and the Confederate South win a lot. Please, oh please, nominate this man.

January 10, 2005


First let's all start getting on the Newt Gingrich '08 bandwagon. Please God let this man win the Republican nomination. In the words of the Gladflyer:

Contemplate for a moment the glory that would be a Gingrich candidacy. I think it would be a repeat of 1964, with Republicans winning only the South.

Also on the agenda is picking a DNC Chair. The DNC Chairman, for you non-insider types who read this blog is the nominal head of the Democratic Party, particularly now that we don't hold the Presidency. Howard Dean is actively campaigning for the job and there are various stop-Dean people and lots of the blogs I read (see sidebar) have been weighing in.

Put me in the Pro-Dean camp. The DNC chair has two main jobs: Get democrats organized (see also cats, herding) and debating the RNC Chair (Boo, Hiss) on Meet the Press. The Dean showed everyone how to organize online last year and he could really get the DNC going by bringing lots of Deaniacts in as party regulars. Also, I think he could do an excellent job of chopping up Republicans on live TV. The DNC Chair is the archetype of a partisan attack dog and having a reputation for the attack is a definite plus. So go Dean go. Down with Roemer!

January 9, 2005

So Bad an Idea

I cannot begin to describe the amount of badness of the following Idea:

Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported "nationalist" forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)

Please tell me that an "intensive Pentagon debate" is a whole lot of people yelling at the guy who came up with the idea. Death Squads! Let's take Kurds and Shiite militiamen, train them up and turn them loose on the Suni. Kill a bunch of civilians, set off a civil war. Not to mention tossing what is left of America's moral superiority. Not to mention the inevitable scandal. Yelling at the top of their lungs at the guy who came up with this idea.

January 8, 2005

Is Nothing Certain?

Brad and Jennifer break up! But their kids were going to be so damn hot. My world is in tatters. At least I can take comfort in the sports world. It's NFL play-off time and the 49er's should be in good shape to...Arg! Get the first draft pick! What could happen next? Newt Gingrich could run for President! Arrrg, I'm going back to bed.

January 7, 2005

Skip to the Bad Part

Don't have time to sort through all the details of the Senate confirmation hearing of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General? Neither do I. Luckily we have Slate to give us the bottom line:

Does Gonzales think the president has the power to authorize torture by immunizing American personnel from prosecution for it?

During the hearing, Leahy called this idea, which comes from the August 2002 document dubbed the "Bybee memo," "the commander-in-chief override." And by hearing's end it was clear that Gonzales believed in it.

Let's say that again. The President's nominee for Attorney General believes that the President can authorize torture.

January 6, 2005

One World

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
U2 "One"
The Tsunami Death Toll is rising.
It will get even worse.
Please do what you can. Even a little bit.

We all get the flu,
We all get AIDS
We've got to stick together.
After all, everybody's good enough for some change,

Live "Waitress"


I swear that I had this exact same thought over breakfast when I first read it in the paper. I just never wrote it down. Good thing Political Animal has:

No, what depressed me was Schwarzenegger's proposal to end gerrymandering in California — and that's hugely ironic, because not only is this is a great idea, but the scuttlebutt says that in order to get Democrats to support it Schwarzenegger will agree to extend term limits from the current 14 years (6 in the legislature and 8 in the senate) to 20 or 24 years. That's also a good idea, since the combination of safe seats and absurdly short terms means we have a legislature that's both extremist and inexperienced. It's a toxic brew.

So why am I depressed? Because the insanely partisan atmosphere of contemporary American politics means I can't support this proposal even though I think it would be good for the state. After watching Texas Republicans ram through a brutally gerrymandered mid-decade redistricting that gained the Republican party four congressional seats in the 2004 election, how stupid would a California Democrat have to be to agree to meekly support a goo-goo proposal that would have the effect of giving Republicans more seats in yet another state? Guys like Tom DeLay and Hugh Hewitt would be guffawing in their beers for days about our terminal naivete if we went along with this. Raw power would be their ally in red states and appeals to progressive idealism would be their ally in the blue states. That's quite a combination.

Now to disagree. This may not be as bad for California democrats as Kevin thinks. What Schwarzenegger really want are more competitive districts for both sides. Right now everyone is a lock and the Govenator can't dangle their job in front of them to move his agenda. Competitive districts tend to produce moderates (Good for Schwarzenegger proposals) and close races than can be influenced by say a popular statewide official. The govenator doesn't want to lock in more conservatives. There is no reason to think that the Donkeys couldn't win a bunch of competitive seats and widen their margins over the old system. It is California after all.

January 5, 2005

Blogs and The West Wing

Blogs are now totaly part of the part of the political universe. They have shown up twice this season on the West Wing, which is where all politics and popular culture meet as far as I am concerned. Tonight had C.J. dogged by trashy blog putting out that she, umm, was a very good basketball player. Trashy Blogs, my word, who would read such a thing. I'm so glad I'm part of so trendy a trend by writing a blog. You, the reader of my blog, are also trendy for reading my blog, but not as trendy as I, because this thing is harder to write than to read.

I would like to take this oppertunity to say that the West Wing has bounced back from last season, where it was in real danger of becoming bad. They have really rocked the boat this year and it's made for good shows. Mainly because the cast is just so damn good the "Staff" has stayed on the show much, much longer than real West Wing staff. George Stephenopolus once said that "Presidents use their staff up like bullets" and there can be real drama in a staff shake-up with some people leaving, others are promoted and others are not. It has really broken the show out of a rut.

January 4, 2005


I'm not saying that we might be off track on Iraq. I would never undermine our troops that way. But all of a sudden our guys are outnumbered:

200,000 INSURGENTS?: According to Iyad Allawi's intelligence chief, General Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, the Sunni insurgency consists of 200,000 fighters, of which 40,000 are a hard core. "I think the resistance is bigger than the U.S. military in Iraq," Shahwani told AFP today.

If your friend has smashed his car into a brick wall is backing up to hit it again, is it considered anti-friend to point out his error? Is it considered anti-car?

I'm just pointing out that we seem to have a bit of a problem here:

The governor of the Baghdad region, known for cooperating closely with American troops, was assassinated along with six bodyguards as he drove to work Tuesday in yet another bloody day of insurgent attacks that exposed grave security flaws in Iraq (news - web sites) with elections less than a month away.

Other assaults Tuesday killed five American troops as well as eight Iraqi commandos and two civilians, bringing the death toll in the last three days to more than 70.

January 3, 2005

Can I Still Mock the "Lasers"?

Ok, so a story came out that DHS's latest superthreat was terrorist "lasers" that would be used to blind pilots and crash airliners. This warning was mocked by me. Then a series of rather scary headlines appear. I begin to feel rather bad over mocking our hardworking denizens of national security. But just when I'm about to embrace the fear-mongering, this timely article arrives from Salon's resident Pilot/Columnist:

Hitting two pilots squarely in the face through the refractive, wraparound windshield of a cockpit would be extremely difficult and entail a substantial amount of luck, and a temporarily or partially blinded crew would still have the means to stabilize a climbing or descending airplane. Surviving even a worst-case attack would be challenging, but not impossible.

To accept the proposition that terrorists are behind these events is to assume that gangs of al-Qaida operatives are hunkered down in neighborhoods throughout America, openly risking capture in their attempts to test out obvious, traceable devices that even when used accurately are exceptionally unlikely to bring forth an accident. I submit that terrorists do not undertake operations with such high probabilities of exposure and failure. They have little to gain and everything to lose. With respect to bang for the buck, why waste time with lasers when you could hide in a patch of trees with an assault rifle and inflict greater damage?

I shall now resume mocking the terrorist "lasers."

More benefits of Globalization

I have learned of the existence of a new babe from India, thanks to the good people of Sixty Minutes. Help for the needy and bringing the finest stuff from all over the world. This is globalization today. Much more of this and I'll be totally on board with Tom Friedman

January 2, 2005

Heavy Conversation

I was going to write a hefty post today on the future of the Democatic Party in the south and the Country, but instead I'm going to take a nap. So go to MyDD and read his post if you want that kind of conversation.

January 1, 2005

Uhh, My Head

For those of you who might had too much fun, Craigorian Chant presents the following link as a community service.