July 31, 2005

You are Too Kind

Craigorian Chant's march to total media domination with a prominate place in the SLO New Time"s (Best. Paper. Ever.) story about bloggers.

I would like to thank eveyone who sent in word about the story. Thanks for caring.

I have also gotten some e-mails along the lines of "That blogging sure looks like fun, how do I get started?"

First of all blogging is fun. It has given me fame, fortune, and don't even get me started about the women. So the thing to do is just jump in and get started. Get yourself to Blogger or one of the other services and sign up. Then start writing. The rest will follow, but getting started is the important part. Anyone claiming to have started blogging because of Craigorian Chant will recieve massive support from this site, so literally docens of hits will be coming your way.

Just remember is the words of one e-mail "You are the future of the new media world"

So I just finish a weeklong bing of the complete season of Firefly, thanks to my good friends at Netflix Now that was a damn good show. The wit, the action, the coolness of it all. Too bad only half a season got made. Somewhere there is a Fox TV executive who will burn in pop culture hell for that particular choice. But have no fear for a movie, based on the series is coming September 30. The tagline was just too good so I have given over the top banner of the site to the promotion of Serenity. The space has become available after a misunderstanding with Google Adsense. So follow the link and earn me points. Do it enough and I get a free movie poster or something. I earn the most points and I get a date with the cast member of my choice. So join up today.

July 30, 2005

Weekend Talk

This weekend's discussion:

Bernard Goldberg, conservative twerp has wrote a book called 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. I did not make the list, which means I'm just not trying hard enough. And I'm not. You can read the complete list here. Odd stuff. Phil Donahue is 71. Courtney Love is 95.

The question is who make your list?

July 29, 2005

Yesterdays Terrorists Today

I know this is getting lost in all the action of the London terrorist arrests and all, but it appears that the IRA is giving up armed struggle. Nobody seems that worked up over this. The truth is that North Ireland has been pretty peaceful as of late, with some very messy, non-violent politics and the IRA doing nothing but very non-political crime, like bank robberies. I think the reason no one is making a big deal of this is that it doesn't fit our current all or nothing, struggle to the death with the forces of terror storyline. Terror in Northern Ireland has pretty much come to an end. A messy, ambiguous end with no big event or great victory. Anybody who wants a big parade should look at some other kind of war. A war on terror will never have one.

July 28, 2005

Balls in the Air

Craigorian Chant has been tossing around a lot of different subjects in recent days. Just to keep these going.:

Pakistan: Still not helping:

So when sophisticated bombs detonated by long-range cordless phones began blowing up under U.S. and Afghan military vehicles on mountain tracks, investigators knew they had to search elsewhere for the masterminds.

Afghan officials immediately focused on nearby Pakistan and its military, whose Inter-Services Intelligence agency helped create the Taliban in the early 1990s and provided training and equipment to help the Muslim extremists win control over most of the country.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf joined the Bush administration's war on terrorism and publicly turned against the Taliban immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. But Afghan officials allege that Taliban and allied fighters who fled to Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 are learning new, more lethal tactics from the Pakistani military at numerous training bases.

"Pakistan is lying," said Lt. Sayed Anwar, acting head of Afghanistan's counter-terrorism department. "We have very correct reports from their areas. We have our intelligence agents inside Pakistan's border as well.

Over There is damn good television. Its all the stories you read in the paper brought to graphic, compelling, life. Is there something about graphic language and violence that makes TV good these days. First Sopranos, now Over There and other really good FX shows like Rescue Me and The Shield. Is there something about not being censored that just lends itself to being good? Its not that it good because these show are violent, but they do seem linked somehow.

Read a great post from Juan Cole:

The Bush administration is giving up the phrase "global war on terror."

I take it this is because they have finally realized that if they are fighting a war on terror, the enemy is four guys in a gymn in Leeds. It isn't going to take very long for people to realize that a) you don't actually need to pay the Pentagon $400 billion a year if that is the problem and b) whoever is in charge of such a war isn't actually doing a very good job at stopping the bombs from going off.

July 27, 2005

41% and ...

Bush approval rating now at 41%. I think that without a doubt the Iraq war is behind this number. Why even poor JESSICA SIMPSON is upset. Right wing bigot and all around ass Michael Savage is attacking Bush on the war. Is it any wonder that there is now talk of troop withdrawal? Of course as Ameriblog points out there will be no Iraqi troops to replace them. Bit of a bind eh? So is it 41% and falling or a steady 41%. Time will tell.

What to Watch

Ah summer. Time to watch TV but nothings on. But wait, a new show. It’s called Over There and it’s about the Iraq War. Nobody has every tried to do a TV show on a war while it happens. The show is earning some serious buzz. The Bee's great TV critic writes:

The writing is simple and clear, almost hard-boiled, and it lets us slowly and completely engage these people. As the show and the episodes move on, we'll learn more about them, about their unit and their lives back home. It's done slowly and completely, too, and that is maybe the strongest element to this series.

It is clearly a ground-level view of the war, a soldier's view, as removed from the politics of the Iraq conflict as any soldier's life would be.

What it is not, despite some grumbling in the usual political quarters, is a comment on the Iraq war, except to the point out that any story of people at war, if it's honest, carries the anti-war message that battle is always horrific and inhuman.

I know I'll be watching.

July 26, 2005

Lucky and Good

The shuttle got up fine today, mainly because I watched with fingers crossed on both hands. I'm thinking of getting a rabbit foot to watch the reentry.

Election Day in San Diego today. Go, Donna Fry! Surf Chicks Rule.

Governator screws things up:

Last fall, Schwarzenegger rightly cited California's gerrymandered districts as a major cause for the dysfunctional Legislature. He set his legal and political team to drafting a ballot measure to reform how we draw legislative, congressional and Board of Equalization districts. Since then these Keystone Kops have managed to do everything wrong.

The irony is that redistricting is the one part of the Governator's "reform" agenda that might be worth doing. And he gets the paperwork wrong. Maybe having a bad actor as a political leader turns out to not result in smart government, Go figure.

July 25, 2005

Pakistan Trouble

It does seem like when people talk about a terror problem, we really seem to be talking about a Pakistan problem:

Al Qaeda's possible role in the July 7 bombings and the latest attacks remains murky, but one thing is clear to South Asia analysts and Western intelligence officials: Pakistan continues to be a principal recruiting ground and logistical center for global terrorists. This is despite three years of military operations by the U.S. and Pakistan to root out al Qaeda and Taliban members in the remote tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

This is why Bush and conservatives simple revenge model breaks down. The situation on the ground in Pakistan is very complicated with pro- and anti- terror forces within the Pakistan government. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is in a real tricky spot, an unelected leader allied with the United States, who can't help the US too much or he might lose the country. The whole situation is very difficult, but how it turns out will be the factor in how many bombings happen.

July 24, 2005

Labor Trouble

Looks like the ALF-CIO is cracking up. The service workers and the teamsters are leaving the organization. Not at all certain what this means for organized labor and workers rights, but my first thought would be: nothing good.

July 22, 2005

Weekend Open Thread

Going out into the mountains this weekend, so you folks are going to have to make the best of it in the comments section. Here, I'll give you some subjects to talk about.

London: City of the Future?

Will Craig ever get a real job?

Who is more corrupt, Randy "Duke" Cunningham or Tom Delay?

Just what is the matter with Craig, anyway.


July 21, 2005

Catch a Break

So much of life is just dumb luck. Timing, who meets who when, answering the right phone call, being at the right place. London caught a real break today. Four more bombs go off but they look to be duds. Only one person hurt and that was one of the bombers, who is now in custody. This means a lot of evidence, a subject to question and a whole lot more info. I would rather be lucky than good.

July 20, 2005


So Bush has his nominee for SCOTUS and its...rather dull. Fifty year old white guy from upstate New York. He has a great (and boring) legal background. He served in a variety of rather dull sounding jobs with GOP administrations. The cases he has ruled on as a judge are boring:

Roberts wrote a dissenting opinion that suggested Congress might lack the power under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to regulate the treatment of a certain species of wildlife.

That's the best that they can come up with as far as his past rulings go. Even his name John Roberts, is boring. I think the whole idea is to lull everyone into a stupor in order to get a very conservative guy on the Court. Of course he is a conservative. His appointment means lost ground on privacy, choice, civil rights, the enviroments and so on. That's what we get when we lose elections. I think the state of politic can be summed up by this FoxNews exchange:

Brit Hume of FOX News captured the moment well last night when, turning from congressional correspondent Brian Wilson to White House reporter Carl Cameron, he chuckled with surprise at Bush's decision to name a white male -- "just like all of us." They all got a nice laugh out of that.

July 19, 2005

Bad Ideas

The housing market is seriously screwed up. Housing is just too expensive particularly here in California and other hot spots. Now the classic economic supply/demand solution is that if housing becomes too expensive, people will not be able to afford to buy, demand goes down and so do prices. There seems to be a small problem: Banks are now offering "exotic" mortgages so people can buy homes that they can't afford:

Welcome to the high-stakes world of the negative-amortization loan. With skyrocketing home prices in America’s hottest markets, lenders have become increasingly creative in their efforts to stretch consumers into pricier homes.

Interest-only loans, nearly unheard of three years ago, have jumped in popularity. “IO” mortgages, which come in many shapes and sizes, can shave 20 to 30 percent off monthly payments because they temporarily relieve borrowers of the need to pay any principal. But after that temporary reprieve, mortgage payments jump sharply. Fully one-third of mortgages opened last year were interest-only loans, causing a stir of concern among economists including Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

But interest-only loans seem conservative compared to the latest lending rage, the negative-amortization loan. Consumers who sign up don’t even have to pay the full interest owed the bank each month. Instead, they borrow more money as time goes by, making minimum payments in a way that echoes the world of revolving credit card debt. In a housing market that goes suddenly flat, such a loan guarantees the buyer will be “upside down” after a few years — meaning their home will be worth less than the mortgage on it.

If the market changes, and it always changes, a whole lot of people are going to be screwed with these loans.

Brace Yourself

Bush to announce his SCOTUS nominee tonight. He is asking to do it in a prime time news broadcast. I think he's trying to get a certain other story off the front page. I'm lisening to Lawrence O'Donald on the Al Franken show even as I write this. Interesting tidbit: A judge in the case refers to a "plot against Joe Wilson." Interesting stuff.

July 18, 2005


Maybe its the fact that its 104 in the shade but I'm just not feeling it today. The Rove story continues to churn. Joe Biden has the $ quote of the day:

"Anybody who's ever made a mistake in this administration has never paid at all. Everyone who has been right in this administration has been fired."

July 17, 2005

Movie Day

First I recommend this quick list in Salon on how not to make sure your Superhero movie doesn't suck:

Don't believe the director makes that much difference? Wait until next year, when Brett Ratner ("Rush Hour") gets his hands on the "X-Men" franchise.

Now on to a more heavy subject. I found a great group of posts talking about "War of the Worlds." Slacktivist makes the case that WOTW is a anti-Colonial work:

The book is an exercise in empathy -- what would it feel like to be on the receiving end of such imperial force.

The alien invaders arrive. We cannot understand them. Our best technology cannot harm them. They are inscrutable and unstoppable. There is nothing we can do.

That's what makes the book so enduringly creepy. Spielberg often captures this sense of inevitable doom, and the scenes in which he does are as unsettling as Orson Welles' infamous radio broadcast of this same story in 1938. Right-wing critics of the film complain that Spielberg's hero, played by Tom Cruise, spends most of the movie running away and hiding. But that's the point -- there's nothing else he can do.

Empathy with the victim -- with the Tasmanians, or with the Mahdi at Omdurman, or the Wampanoag -- is not a favorite sentiment of the right wing. But there are other reasons they wouldn't like Wells' book.

These conservative film critic wannabes want a story to follow the moral outline of the old comics code or of Job's foolish friend Bildad. They want the good guys to be rewarded for their virtue and the bad guys to be punished for their vice. But Wells' story isn't about morality, it's about power. His Martian invaders have bigger, better weapons so they win and we lose. Period.

This, I think, is what the rightwing critics find most threatening in Wells' story and Spielberg's film. It vividly illustrates that might and right are not the same thing, that military superiority is not evidence of superior virtue. If the illustration of such a basic truth can now be interpreted as an "anti-American" political statement, that is neither Wells' nor Spielberg's fault.

I actually have a different take on the whole thing. In both the book and the movie the aliens lose in the end, killed off by Earth's deases. Its pretty clear that the aliens, confident in their overwhelming tech superiority, just didn't do their homework about conditions on Earth. Surely if you can cross the stars and ride the lightning you can deal with germs. Likewise the US comes crashing into Iraq with no idea how hard it will turn out to be, despite our overwhelming tech superiority. The Iraq war is not like the colonialism that Orsen Well was reacting to. The neo-conservative mistake is not believing that might makes right. Its that right makes might. That because our intentions are good and our enemies evil, we are sure to win regardless of strategy. In fact, we can screw up badly and have. We are raised by our pop culture to think that the good guys always win, regardless of odds. The truth is that if the good guys are stupid, the bad guys can win. That's the mistake of the Iraq war.

More on WOTW on Pandagon and Digby

July 16, 2005

Iraq and London

London gets bombed and its a front page news story for weeks. Iraq has a London sized deathtoll every day and nobody seems to pay any attention. Why?

July 15, 2005

Take Me Out to the Ball Game...

... or, “Craig tries to be a sports writer”
Took in a Sacramento River Cats game last night. The Cats lost 12-8. The whole thing has a really interesting vibe. The Rivercats play AAA minor league ball, the level of baseball just under the major leagues, which means that every player on the field is just a pulled hamstring away from going to the big show. This feeling of almost greatness hangs over the whole place. Pictures of River Cats players who’ve made the Bigs hang on the walls of the stadium. A player goes for a bunt and pops it up and the guy in front of me intones, “Scouts don’t like a guy who can’ bunt.” It’s like there’s this big dream of money and fame so close to this game that every diving catch in the outfield and two-run homer brings that dream closer and every bobbled grounder and wild pitch moves that dream farther away.

Week in Review

Who is this Karl Rove and why is everyone talking about him?
Real estate grandmaster Duke Cunningham not running for reelection.

Baseball fun. Camping fun. Rove going down. Priceless.

SLO New Times = A great paper.

Today's discussion point: Every Rivercat player get their own theme song, a music clip that plays when they get up to bat. Question: what would you pick for a theme song? It would play for 30 seconds every time you walked into a room. What song would you use?

July 14, 2005

Red Rover, Red Rover

Really can't go a day without more Karl Rove posts. Republicans screechers are turning up the volume. Rush this morning was out of his mind. The GOP stratagy is to just flood the airways with as much crap as possible. I don't feel the need to debunk all this crap so I give you Chatterboxe's Rove Death Watch for that.

Also Sidney Blumenthal has an excellent piece up.

The Shuttle

I always get amazing nervous when the Shuttle goes up. It comes from my formative years when I really wanted to be an astronaut the same time the Challenger exploded. That Columbia burns up on reentry doesn't help at all. So a mission scrub and a delayed launch isn't making me feel much better.

July 13, 2005

The Fight Goes On

Little know fact: if Karl Rove goes down, the political direction of the Bush will lie entierly in the hands of Harlan McCraney. No wonder they must protect Rove.

To get a good idea of what exactly was done in this case I recomend Larry Johnson a former CIA guy over at TPMCafe.

July 12, 2005

Kill the King

Karl Rove is the only political story worth talking about today. The key phrase here to remember is "If you are going to strike at the King, you must kill him." Karl Rove is the King of GOP politics today. Marshall Wittmann lays out how important Rove is:

Rove is to this Bush what Lee Atwater was to the father, except more so. He actually created W as a candidate for Governor and then for President. Bush was, and is well aware of how Rove operates. He peddles in gossip, innuendo and rumor to destroy his enemies. Ironically, in this instance he was divulging the truth.

Rove also understands internal GOP politics. It is likely he gave the speech a couple of weeks ago attacking liberals to cement his relationship with the right as he enters this difficult time with the Plame prosecutor. Also, he may be influential in promoting conservative replacements on the Supreme Court to further bolster his standing with the right.

Rove is the nerve center of today's Republican Party. The White House is already lowering the bar for punishment in the Plame case. Unless, the prosecutor has the goods on Karl, he stays. The President and the GOP has no choice. Rove is the closest in Washington to the indispensable man.

If Rove can't be pushed out the back door or go spend more time with his family, then he hast to be defended. That means attacking. Attacking the special prosecutor, the congressional Dems who bring this up, Joe Wilson, the reporters doing the investigating and anyone else involved. That's the only way for Rove to survive. Watch your heads.

July 11, 2005

HTML 101

Dudes.....I've notice way too many ugly URLs in the comment sections. Here's what to do:

1. Go to this web page
2. Read "The Anchor Tag and the Href Attribute" Section
3. Fill your comments with sweet, sweet beautiful links!

Bring me the Head of Karl Rove

So the story is out - Karl Rove was a source:

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified as a covert agent in a newspaper column two years ago, but Rove's lawyer said yesterday that his client did not identify her by name.

Rove had a short conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003, three days before Robert D. Novak publicly exposed Plame in a column about her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV. Wilson had come under attack from the White House for his assertions that he found no evidence Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger and that he reported those findings to top administration officials. Wilson publicly accused the administration of leaking his wife's identity as a means of retaliation.

This is heavy stuff. Grand Jury, National Security violation stuff. The White House has gone silent. But there were talking before. Big game hunting season is on.

July 10, 2005


The main point of my latest New Time article is that Bush may have to choose between the War in Iraq and his political power. A new British memo sheds some light:

The paper, which is marked "Secret — UK Eyes Only," said "emerging US plans assume that 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006," allowing a reduction in overall U.S.-led forces in Iraq to 66,000 troops. The current troop level is about 160,000.

....The memo notes a debate between U.S. officials at the Pentagon and military leaders in Iraq, saying that officials in Washington favor "a relatively bold reduction in force numbers," differing with battlefield commanders, "whose approach is more cautious." There are more than 135,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq.

Early 2006 means before the elections which occur in late 2006. Choices. Link and Quote from Political Animal.

Weekend Fun

It must be Wing Nut's influence or maybe just a need to keep testing out Blogger's new photo function, but here's a show of my weekend adventures. A hike up to Granite Lake. We now resume our regular programming.

July 9, 2005

Our Friends the French

From Matthew Yglesias, a story on US-French efforts in the War on Terror. This is the real war on terror:

Alliance Base demonstrates how most counterterrorism operations actually take place: through secretive alliances between the CIA and other countries' intelligence services. This is not the work of large army formations, or even small special forces teams, but of handfuls of U.S. intelligence case officers working with handfuls of foreign operatives, often in tentative arrangements.

Such joint intelligence work has been responsible for identifying, tracking and capturing or killing the vast majority of committed jihadists who have been targeted outside Iraq and Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to terrorism experts.

This is the real fight against terrorism, and its a fight the French are a real help with. Which is why Bill O'Reilly, with his talk of "Europe getting real" after the London attacks is so full of crap. The kind of covert, shadowy stuff that is effective just doesn't register with conservatives. They think that if it doesn't include huge fireballs and lots of chest beating, it doesn't happen.

July 8, 2005

All Kinds of Stuff

A little analysis of Air America Radio's ratings.

TNR asked top conservative thinkers if they believe in evolution and the results are...awkward.

Ezra Klien has a great post up about marriage:

Homosexuals don't threaten today's marriage, they simply codify the defeat of yesterday's.

When Santorum slips and blames emancipated wives, he's actually being the most honest of the bunch. The fundamentalist conception of marriage as a duty demanded by God made perfect sense when it was an obligation imposed by society. Back then, partners were chosen for you, reproduction was required (the upper class would divorce the infertile, the lower class often only married the already-pregnant), and women were locked into the union, lacking both property rights and job opportunities. By allowing childless unions, marriages for love, and female equality, we destroyed traditional marriages. Indeed, it's only once we had watered marriage down to a mere social codification of love that gays and lesbians could even think the institution applicable to them, much less attractive.

July 7, 2005

London and Iraq

First a shameless plug. The good people at the New Times have once again put my words down on real pages with real ink. This piece is on Iraq and Bush. Look for the New Times with the Drag Queen on the cover. Its free, so really you have no excuses.

Obviously the piece was written before today's bombings in London. I would only add that the war in Iraq is not helping the War on Terror. If "War on Terror" means anything, it means stopping attacks like occurred in London today. The Iraq war does nothing to help. Iraq is a resource sink. It is a place where US (and British) soldiers, money, and diplomatic capital go to die. All the resources that could have better directed going after a real terrorist threat are now going Iraq.

Feel free to let me know what you think of the New Times article in comments.

London Bombings

Terrorist attack in the London Underground.

July 6, 2005

Science Proves Me Right......(To a Large Extent At Least)

I recall several years ago having a good natured argument on the nature of homosexuality. I stated that (and I was refering exclusively to men) you're either gay or you're not, there's no in between. The other two (who will remain nameless) said I was totally wrong and that homosexuality in men was like a continuum, with varying degrees of "gayness" and/or "straigtness" (i.e. bisexuality). I based my arguemnt on common sense, I assume the others based it on political correctness, but I could be wrong. Check this out to see for yourself.

New From Abroad

British beat French again, continuing historic winning streak.

The protest season kicks off in Scotland.

Oh and Bush and company made a series of massively stupid choices with regard to invading Iraq. Who knew?

July 5, 2005

Really that Bad

Good Grief the GOP is really that bad. Rick Santorum has written a book on family life. Click here for details.

Bring me the Head of Karl Rove

It seems that Karl Rove is very much tied up in revealing the idenity of a CIA agent. Lawrence O'Donnell seems to think so. More here.

July 4, 2005


How cool is this:

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft completed a flawless journey to oblivion early today, slamming into an onrushing comet to vaporize itself in an Independence Day blaze of glory.

Scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory cheered as spectacular images taken by a second "fly-by" spacecraft positioned nearby confirmed that the "impactor" had scored a perfect bull's-eye, smacking into comet Tempel 1 at its lower edge at 1:52 a.m. EDT, spewing dust and ice in a column of debris that lit up the heavens

You know this would be cool even if it served no scientific perpose whatsoever. The good is that it does:

By assessing the shape and size of the crater and chemically analyzing the debris that belched from it, scientists hope to gain new insights into the composition of the solar system at the time of its formation 4.5 million years ago.

Comets, composed mostly of dust and ice, periodically migrate in from deep space, their outer layers burning away as they approach the sun. To get to the ancient material within, Deep Impact needed to punch through the boiling crust.

July 2, 2005

Live 8

Today the massive, world spanding Live 8 concerts targeting poverty in Africa, kick off. While billed as something of sequel to the Live Aid concert of the 1980's, it has a very different tactic. Rather than raise money for direct aid these concerts are all about putting pressure on rich countries, the G8, to spend more on debt relief and aid. The calculation is very simple. Government just have so much resources that any private effort can hope to match. Move the governments, move real money.

July 1, 2005

Super Big News

This just in: Craigorian Chant sources, confirmed by CNN are now saying that Sandra Day O'Connor is leaving Supreme Court. This is huge, Ready big. O'Connor is the swing vote on just about everything that you care about, starting with Roe v Wade. The thought of Bush putting in a Scalia-style conservative in that spot will make a lot of people, including me, go a bit nuts. Look for the mother of all confirmation battles this fall. Everything has been a warm-up till now. There is no other political story for the rest of the year.