May 31, 2006

Chicks Flying High

So the Dixie Chicks now have the number-one album in American. So it turns out that being right and not apologizing does pay in the long run. I guessing it doesn't hurt that the Chicks have been literally everywhere there is a form of media to carry them. The hook of every story was "Will their politics hurt their sales?" Apart from the endless still-not-backing-down part of every interview, my favorite part (On NPR, which I will support, I swear) was when Emily Robison talked about wanting to change popular perceptions of banjo players. She's been very successful. I know that I used think of banjo players as not hot. But seeing Emily Robison, I now know that to be a cruel stereotype.

May 30, 2006

Dodge This

I now have a real job with benifits and everything which means that I don't face these problems. (My old health care plan - Don't Get Sick) But it does mean that I have lost my favorite dodge. Used to be when my local NPR station was doing a fund drive or the IRC sent me a pitch I could swear poverty. "I'm just a poor starving Grad Student, I can't give money away I'll have nothing left for Ramen noodles." But now I really could part with 20 or 50 bucks. Ok, Ok, I'll give. But who?

Storm Warning

Word is going out on Capitol Hill and that word is "Brace Yourself."

Congress is getting advanced warning on the fallout from an apparent massacure of Iraqi civillians in the town of Haditha by US Marines. Its going to be really, really bad.

The other warning going out is that GOP political operatives are warning that Democrat Francine Busby is about to win the normally safe GOP House Seat that poor old Duke Cunningham used to hold. If that happens it will be a huge sign that GOP is about to lose control of Congress.

A storm is coming.

May 29, 2006

Can't Stop the Signal

The Revolution will be blogged:

Even from his cell in an Egyptian prison, Alaa Abdel-Fattah is blogging — scribbling messages on slips of paper that make their way to the Internet and spread around the world.

The 24-year-old Abdel-Fattah's blog, which he does with his wife Manal Hassan, has become one of the most popular pro-democracy voices in Egypt. He has continued writing despite being arrested in early May during a street demonstration in Cairo — part of a crackdown on reform activists by Egyptian security forces.

"We covered the walls of our cell with graffiti of our names and slogans and Web site addresses," Abdel-Fattah wrote one time, referring to himself and fellow imprisoned activists. "We chanted and sang and the mood was great."


Craigorian Chant's Guide to attending the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee.

1. Don't look at me like that. Jazz can be cool. Swing.

2. Fine, then think of it as the Spinich of music. It's good for you.

3. Tickets to the venues are very expensive, especially if you are still paying off student loans and are waiting for you Blog advertising check to arrive.

4. The Jubilee can be done on the cheep. A lot of venues are tents or outdoor stages. The music travels far. Just wander slowly around Old Towne and you will hear alot.

5. There are places to sit and hear music for free. A pizza joint was hosting pick-up jam sessions. This 16 year old clarient player was going off. Mop-hair, pale as a ghost. But when he did his solo, he would turn bright red.

6. The crowd is older than other music crowds, but just as drunk. Do your best to fit in.

7. Have fun.

May 26, 2006


Kevin Drum points me in the direction of a Charles Krauthammer piece knocking direct negotiations with Iran.

Its really clear that Krauthhammer really wants to go to war with Iran. His great fear is negociations that would resolve the nuclear issue, but leave the Iranian regime in place.

Krauthhammer is a leading foreign policy voice in this country. He has a regular column in the Washington Post, in Time magazine and a regular seat on Fox News. He used all these forums to push for the Iraq War. What kind of man sits in the ruins of Iraq and asks for more?

The trick now is to short-circuit the debate by skipping strait to the war question. Do you want war with Iran? Krauthhammer and his fellows will try and lead the debate there, but only after a long, tricky path, filled with Iran as Nazi Germany metaphors and negociation equals appeasement and all kinds of well-crafted lies. We should just skip all that and get right to question. Why do you want to go to war with Iran?

May 25, 2006

Somebody Going to Emergency...

...Somebody going to jail.

Lost. Completely Lost.

Don't read this if you're one of those TiVo types.

Sheesh, they are just messing with my mind on this show. I'm going to spend the summer wondering about the statue with four toes.

Ok, so it turns out that pushing the button did matter. I've been in the "stop pushing the button" camp all season. Like Locke, I was wrong.

But I still want to make the case for science in the shows "science v faith" debate. How did Desmond find out that the button mattered? By poring over sheets and sheets of data and then matching it up with observed phenomenon (The crash) to support a hypothesis (holy crap! The button matters! We are all going to die!). That is called science my friend.

I'm telling you it all about science. All the island stuff is caused by magnates, or something. Some very rational natural stuff is behind it all, I'm sure. The guys in Anarctica with all the instruments have it all figured out, I'm sure.

Oh and I love how the Others consider themselves the "good guys." Everybody thinks that they are the good guys. No one wakes up in the morning and says "how am I going to do evil today?"

May 24, 2006

No Sense

I have often made the case that conservatives have sense of irony. Usually this takes the form of being able to argue for months that the fact we haven't captured Saddam Hussein doesn't matter, what really matters is that he is out of power, and then to declare that now that Saddam is captured the insurgency will end and peace will reign in Iraq. Someone with a sense of irony just couldn't pull that off with a strait face.

But today it turns out that not having a sense of irony means that you take an interview done on the Stephen Colbert Report seriously. Tom DeLay's legal defense fund is spreading the word that Robert Greenwald wilted under such tough questions as "Who hates America more, you or Michael Moore?"

Maybe its like a surgical thing. Can you find a sense of irony on a CAT scan and then just have the doctor cut it out?

Zig and Zag

Lloyd Bentsen, Senator, Treasury Secretary and Vice Presidential Nominee has died. Despite a lifetime of dignified public service, Bentsen will be remembered for the Greatest Line Ever in politics.

Bentsen was the Democratic 1988 Vice Presidential nominee. He faced Dan Qualye in a debate. When Qualye compared himself to JFK, Bentsen struck with The Line:

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

I always want to know where the cool moment comes from. What the back story is. In this case you can learn it in Clinton and Me a book written by Clinton's humor speech writer.

The lesson is, don't be a stationary target. Qualye was getting knocked a lot in 1988 for being young and inexperienced. After several "deer in the headlights" moments with the press he settled on the answer that he has served just as much time in the US Senate as President Kennedy did before Kennedy became President, so surely he could be Vice President. Qualye kept giving the same answer again and again, which allowed Bentsen and his staff the time to craft their devastating response. Bentsen had The Line, crafted to perfection, ready to go. Qualye walked into it, and was crushed for all time. So always come up with fresh material, cause the killer response to your zig is coming if you don't start zagging.

May 23, 2006

Don't be Sorry for Being Right

A odd thing happened to the Dixie Chicks. Suddenly buying their music has turned into some kind of Test for the Nation:

Whether the Dixie Chicks recover their sales luster or not, the choice of single has turned their album release into a referendum. Taking the Long Way's existence is designed to thumb its nose at country's intolerance for ideological hell raising, and buying it or cursing it reveals something about you and your politics--or at least your ability to put a grudge above your listening pleasure. And however you vote, it's tough to deny that by gambling their careers, three Texas women have the biggest balls in American music.

That's from the Time cover story. They are getting all kinds of media these days. Keep in mind that the Chick's "sin" was to be right about President Bush, and now not to apologize for it. In a just world, Country music should be on its belly, begging the Chick's forgiveness.

May 22, 2006

Go Read

TAP on the GOP's cult of manhood:

Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness.”

President George W. Bush has made that statement many times. So has Vice President Dick Cheney. And Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Multiple principals endlessly repeating themselves -- that’s the mark of a premium White House talking point. Or in this case, a kind of gospel -- poll-tested, market-driven, swing-voter–approved, and sanctioned by Kardinal Rove himself.

Like its religious counterpart, political liturgy does not reward literal interpretation. The “weakness” that invites our destruction is not a measurable, structural weakness of nations. It is more insidious than that. It is the weakness of men. Certain men of uncertain will. Unmanly men. Men who lack the grit and determination to command other men to expend their grit and determination in battle. Girly men. Men who snuggle before the domestic hearth of the Mommy Party. Men who fuss and fret over Mother Nature (when what she really needs is a good drilling). Men who wish to restrain the natural urges of natural men, to smother initiative and stifle competition beneath the suffocating pleats and ruffles of the Nanny State. Men who are effete. Men who cut and run. Men without guns or guts or glory. Men whose weakness abases and undermines the rugged individualism and frontier can-do that made the United States Numero Uno.

We have met the enemy. And he adores Judy Garland.

May 21, 2006

Issue By Request

My regular readers are such a rare and treasured breed, I do whatever I can to keep them happy. You ask for something, you get it.

Today's issue request comes from Erin of Hawaii: Network Neutrality.

Network neutrality is the principal that internet service providers, or ISP's provide the same level of service to everyone on the net. Everybody's web page loads up at the same rate.

Recently there has been talk among ISP's that companies like Google have been getting rich off their connections, so they should be getting a taste. They are proposing "preferred service" That is to say, pay us money, and your page will load faster. Don't pay and face slowdowns, er, "regular service"

There is a bill working through Congress that would put "net neutrality" into law and prevent this. The big telecoms are fighting this. You can find the latest here.

The ISP's do have a case. They are spending billions on broadband and Google and yahoo are riding that investment to a lambergini for every employee.

Still, we don't expect the phone companies to get a cut of all business deals that get concluded over the phone. Not to mention that media companies are unholy combinations of all sorts of media. When the ISP is owned by the media company, all kinds of problems show up. I do not want only Comcast-owned video to load fast from my Comcast broadband connection. Have you seen Comcast-produced porn? Terrible stuff.

Not to mention once you start picking and choosing what internet content gets priority, all kinds of mischief can result. Let's say I complain about my phone service or my Cable TV bill on my blog and all of a sudden my blog loads slow? And if I want to get really paranoid, do ISP's support Democrat's or Republicans? You can get Bush speeches with 500k streaming video, but Gore speeches only stream at 100K.

I say pass the law. Protect the Net!

Magic Asterisk

So many "facts" today need to come with an asterisk. For example, George Bush was elected President in 2000*

*The other guy got more votes.

Or the United States supports freedom in the world.*

*Except in Saudi Arabia, were women can't even be shown in the media.

So two new stories come with asterisks.

Barry Bonds has tied Babe Ruth for career home runs.*

*That whole steroid thing.

The Iraqi government, five months after the election, has managed to form a government.*

*The most importance government posts, the head of the army and police, haven't been filled because not agreement has been reached. The situation in Iraq does not hinge on who's running the tourism ministry.

May 19, 2006

Not Close. Not Smooth.

I'm shaving this morning with my new electric razor. I finally traded in my old razor after long and noble service. The old razor just wasn't working. It took forever to shave, did a bad job, and if I went a few days without shaving it would tug painfully on the longer hairs rather that slice them off cleanly. But the process of my shaver starting to suck was gradual. I really didn't notice how bad it was, till the new razor arrived. So close! So smooth! So fast!

Which bring me to this Political Animal post on how the Bush administration punished
CIA agents who reported bad news from Iraq:

One former senior agency official told me, “If I were at the CIA now and was asked to work on an NIE [on Iraq], my first response would be, 'How the fuck do I get out of this?' The most courageous, honest person in the place would be reluctant to do it because every time someone says the emperor has no clothes he gets his head lopped off.”

How can Bush get it right in Iraq if he doesn't even know how bad it is? Will a policy ever work if its not even based on the real facts?

Bush administration policy has been so bad for so long that no one even realizes how far we've come. We just put up with it, like I did with my shaver.

The American people won't realize how bad it iuntilll we get a new Administration. Only then will we know that the last six years could have gone so much better.

Bono: Secretary of State

No, really.

May 18, 2006

CO2 is our Friend

Big oil is feeling the heat (if you will) on global warming thanks to Al Gore's new film An Inconvenient Truth. They have launched a laughable attempt to clean up the battered reputation of Carbon Dioxide.

Poor Carbon Dioxide, so misunderstood. You may think its harmful, what with massive quantities being released into the air and causing Global Warming and all. When really CO2 is the most kind and helpful of gases, a vital part of the cycle of life. Leave poor Carbon Dioxide alone. Go pick on Carbon Monoxide. That's some nasty stuff. And also produced by burning oil.

May 17, 2006

Ah Ha!

I knew it! This magic story confirms its. Putting the National Guard on the border was an idea that came from Bill and six months ago even Michael Chertoff, the head of homeland security thought it was a stupid idea:

In December of 2005, Fox News talking head Bill O’Reilly floated an unlikely — even brash — idea to the Homeland Security secretary to seal off the porous southwest border.

“Why don’t you put the National Guard on the border to back up the border patrol and stop the bleeding, and then start to increase the Border Patrol, the high-tech and all of that?” O’Reilly asked.

Michael Chertoff, in those relatively calmer days before mass pro-immigration rallies, heated immigration reform politics in the Senate and cellar-dwelling opinion polls for President Bush, dismissed the idea out of hand.

“Well, the National Guard is really, first of all, not trained for that mission,” Chertoff told O’Reilly. “I mean, the fact of the matter is the border is a special place. There are special challenges that are faced there.”

Chertoff added that that it would take a huge amount of National Guard troops, that they would need new training. But couldn’t the National Guard pull it off, O’Reilly asked?

“I think it would be a horribly over-expensive and very difficult way to manage this problem,” Chertoff said. “Unless you would be prepared to leave those people in the National Guard day and night for month after month after month, you would eventually have to come to grips with the challenge in a more comprehensive way.”

Look, Bill is an entertainer. He is there to be bombastic, to give the right some read meat and Keith Olberman a target. He is not there to put forth serious ideas about how this Nation should be run. In fact, he puts out ideas that can't be used, just so he can rail about how the stupid system isn't doing the right thing. For the love of Shakira, do not take the man seriously!

UPDATE: Case in point.

May 16, 2006

One Man Media Machine

Kevin Sites is now reporting from Nepal in his grand tour of world trouble spots. There was an old Al Frankin SNL skit where Frankin plays a one-man foreign corespondent operation. He carries all his equipment, camera, satellite uplink, and so on, on his back. The joke is that the equipment is so heavy Frankin can't even move.

But today the gear has gotten so small, slick, and just plain cool, that you can become a one-man media machine. Kevin does video, pictures and text reporting and can beam it all back to base on his Satellite Modem. With just ten pounds of gear you can now cover the world. Which won't slow you down when you have to run. And judging by the list of countries he's been to, being able to run for your life seems like a requirement.

May 15, 2006

Speech! Speech!

So I just sat through a mercifully short Presidential "Primetime" speech on the immigration debate. Any East Coast people pissed because Bush stepped on the season finally of Prison Break? I think they are finally getting out of prison tonight.

As far as Presidential immigration proposals go, I'm sorting the stupid from the merely difficult. For putting the National Guard on the boarder, the first time I heard this idea it came from Bill O'Rielly, thus I'm going to assume it’s a stupid idea. The Guard can't actually arrest anybody and it seems to me that the Guard is pretty tied up with the Iraq war thing. That idea stinks of a PR stunt.

Also stupid is the guest worker program proposal. We really think that people are going to come to this country to work for six years, put down roots, and then go home? That's looking around Europe, finding the worse immigration policy you can find, and making it your own.

The merely difficult policy is the "amnesty" or "path to citizenship" part. What are we going to do about the undocumented workers that are here already? What makes this so difficult is that Bush is split down the middle on this issue. He must balance the brutish, ugly, talk-radio part of the GOP and the need to bring Latinos into the Republican Party. The proposals Bush are balancing are "send them all home" and "make them all citizens" I don't think Bush can split the difference. But working out a deal on this issue will be the main action when the Senate takes up the issue again.


Last. West Wing. Ever. Sob.

Nice final episode last night. The rule is always leave them wanting more and I was left wondering how the Santos Administration would turn out. Josh and Donna as COS for the First Family, Sam Seaborn, Amy Garner.

But you really can't argue that this was the best place to stop. It gives the series a nice little period.

Interestingly, Commander-In-Chief seems to have died, so I am left without a political drama.

The only thing left to do is to continue to collect seasons of West Wing on DVD. I have the first two, and my birthday is coming up. Hint, Hint.

May 14, 2006

Sunday Funny

Al Gore was on SNL last night, talking about the last six years of a Gore administration. My favorite "I invented a Anti-Hurricane and Tornado Machine."

Check it out.

May 13, 2006

The Healing Power of Vegas

And you thought it was just a place to have fun:

A wheelchair-bound Los Angeles woman, who has repeatedly filed lawsuits over access for the disabled, got up and ran after police arrested her for fraud, authorities said Thursday.

Laura Lee Medley, 35, had sued in at least four California cities over injuries she claimed she sustained while trying to navigate her wheelchair before she was suspected of fraud.

Medley, who claimed to be paralyzed from a drunk driving accident, was tracked to Las Vegas where police there took her into custody and then, when she complained of medical issues, to a local hospital, Long Beach prosecutor Belinda Mayes said.

"She gets to the hospital and while she's waiting for an examination, she gets up from the chair and runs," Mayes said. "Somebody remarked, 'That's where the great miracle occurred.' "

I would say that the waters of Las Vegas having the healing mojo, but Las Vegas doesn't have any water.

May 12, 2006


You guys need to do something about those housing prices if you want to keep people there. Or maybe all this is a good thing? (patients, it may take a while to load).

Mars Baby

Check out Google Mars. Your fun link of the day.

May 11, 2006

Too Soon

That happened way too fast. It didn't give me any sense of anticipation.

Bush is at 29% approval rating in the latest Harris/WSJ poll.

My cheap champaign didn't even have time to chill. Without sweet, sweet anticipation I'd just be drinking warm, cheap champaign. That's no good.

I'm changing the rules. I'll wait till Bush breaks into the 20's in three major media polls. Three make a trend. I'm holding out for widespread super-mega-unpopularity.

Someday soon he'll hit 29% in a Foxnews poll. I'll toast that.

The Scandal, She Grows

The other shoe has turned over a new rock which a knocked down the next domino. Turns out the NSA wasn't just wiretapping without warrants. It was gathering a massive database of Americans' phone calls. And by "Americans" it seems to mean all of them. Everybody. Billions of phone calls are being tracked. Without warrants

May 10, 2006

Back in High School

It kind of sneaked up on me, but we are now less than a month away from the California Primary, and the Governor’s race is heating up. There is a hotly contested race for the Democratic nomination. There are two guys dueling for the chance to take on the Govinator in the Fall. That would be Phil Angelides and Steve Westly. The three-way dynamics of this race can best be described in terms of High School.

Schwarzenegger is the class jock, the one who gets laid a lot and is wildly popular despite the fact he can't really talk and has not one bit of qualification for the job. But he is sexy and the class loved him. But now he's actually had to govern for a while and government is harder that acting. Not that he can act.

Angelides is the class nerd. He knows what he's talking about. His current job is State Treasurer and he knows numbers and knows the budget and the ins and outs of government. He is also kind of funny looking and not a gifted pol. He is surprising tough for a nerd - kind of like Marty McFly after he discovered that he could punch Biff out. He is also the only candidate offering Spinach on the menu. He says we might have to raise taxes to pay for the government we want in California. Everybody else is offering some form of free lunch.

Westley is the class President. The all-star. You know, the guy who lettered in three sports, got good grades and still had time to start a chapter of Future Business Leaders of America. He's smoother and better-looking than Angelides. He made a fortune with E-Bay and is poring that money into his campaign.

So far the race hasn't featured scorched-earth attack ads. The TV ads, which are the only type of campaign that really matters in California, have been sunshine and fluff. The two did go at it in a debate tonight. My contacts in Angelides's staff dismiss Westley as an empty suit, but right now the suit is winning in the polls. Both sides are trying to attack the other without "really" going negative. Don't worry. I'll keep an eye on the race so you won't have to.


When I was little I used to wear out pants in the knees. Now I wear-out pants in the butt. Which goes to show that I now spend a lot less time climbing trees and a lot more time sitting around on my butt.

May 9, 2006

How to

This is funny. Its a how to guide to making a zombie movie, based on the lessons learned by a 13 year-old who just finished her first picture:

Research: Basically research zombie movies and see as many as you can. Learn the general rules of zombie movies -- gore and...mostly gore. Also, no running zombies. As George Romero says, they are dead. They shouldn't be running around.

Start pre-production: Decide your cast and crew. I recommend auditions. Auditions are the best. People who show up for auditions will show up for the shoot. Do script read-throughs, that kind of thing. Don't hire your friends. Your friends won't take your direction seriously and they won't show up. I kind of lost some friends over that.

Give clear direction: When you watch a lot of zombie movies you figure out what kind of zombies you want in your film. There are different looks and styles. The zombies in my movie wanted to stick their arms out, but I told them to stop doing that, and you have to get them to move slow.

Go read it all. If she doesn't win a Oscar by age 17, I will be sorely disappointed.

Don't Panic

Gregg Easterbrook does more than football. He also writes timely takedowns of overblown fearmongering. Check out his thumping of Bird Flu Panic:

All this for a disease that since 2003 has killed 113 people worldwide. During the same span, about 4 million have died worldwide in traffic accidents. The number of these deaths is rising steadily in most nations, with road fatalities on track to become the world's third-leading cause of death—that is, traffic accidents look exactly like a pandemic. Also since 2003, at least 6 million people worldwide have died of diarrheal diseases, with about 1.5 million of those deaths attributed to rotavirus, which has spread in pandemic fashion. Yet the panic button has been pushed only for bird flu. Why?

I still believe that the best solution to bird flu remains "Stay away from any bird you see with a cough."

May 8, 2006


I'm going to go buy a bottle of cheap champagne and putting it in the fridge. I will open and drink it just soon as Bush drops below 30% approval rating in a major poll. Gallup now has him at 31%.


Everybody have a good time this weekend?

This morning's topic:

It is my firm belief that the "dance mix" of a song is always worse than the original. This weekend I heard a truly terrible remix of 50 Cent's In the Club. It hurt my brain, it was so bad. It strikes me that I've never heard a "dance mix" that didn't suck it up. Can anybody cite a example of a dance mix that actually improved on the original song?

May 7, 2006

Inside Baseball

So I was flipping channels on the Sunday Morning shows, hoping to hear the some stuffy Congressman discuss the possibility that the just-resigned CIA Director was tied to a prostitution ring, but came away disappointed.

However, there was something interesting in the not-sex nerdy politics file. The GOP Chair of the House Intelligence committee Peter Hoekstra went on record as being strongly opposed to Gen. Michael Hayden taking the CIA job. Hayden used to be head of the NSA and was the guy in charge of the controversial warrentless wiretapping program. (By controversial I mean "violates the law, violates the US Constitution, evil abuse of power") Now Hoekstra's objection to Hayden isn't wiretapping, its that a military guy won't keep the CIA independent of the Pentagon. A good point. But the real point is that Bush is catching real flack from his own party on Defense and Security matters.

May 5, 2006

Mystery of Mysteries

Porter Goss, the head of the CIA just resigned. This was a total surprise. The Bush Administration has been doing some house cleaning as of late, but unlike poor John Snow, the Treasury Secretary who has been subject to firing rumors for years, Goss has only been on the job for little more than a year and didn't have any indication that he might be on the outs. There was no reason given by Goss for his resignation.

Now comes the part where everybody tries to figure out the "real" reason he's gone. I wouldn't want to speculate, but here's a hint. The leading theory starts with the letter "H" and ends with an "ookers."

I would be negligent not to point out the out big news of the day is a Kennedy in trouble. But really, when are they not?

There's a Lesson Here

Look Here:

Two voting-age sons of a northern Ohio candidate didn't go to the polls Tuesday, and their father's race ended in a tie.

William Crawford, trying to retain his seat on the central committee of the Erie County Democratic Party, and challenger Jean Miller each received 43 votes in the primary balloting.

Officials plan to conduct a recount, but the race may have to be settled by coin flip, said David Giese, the county's Democratic Party chairman and an elections board member.

You know the lesson. Anyone? That's right, its important to vote. For the sake of family tranquility. Also, elections ties in Ohio are settled by coin toss. That's an interesting fact as well.

We are now one month away from the California Primary. Go get registered. Remember, if you have moved, you need to reregister.

May 4, 2006

Get Out of the Street

Last week I was engaged in one of my new pasttimes, wandering around semi-lost through the downtown in search of fun and adventure. Right in the middle of the busy intersection of 9th and J wandered this kid, maybe 16 or 17. He seemed rather lost; he walked little to his left, and little to his right, never leaving the dead center of a major intersection. The light changed and cars started whizzing by on ether side of him. His response to this was to bend down and tie his shoe.

All I could do was stare. Was he on drugs? Suicidal? Some kind of weird performance artist? I was thinking I better do something, else this guy was going to get splattered. Just when I was starting to contemplate an action-movie-style tackle-him-out-of-the-way-just-before-the-onrushing-garbage-truck move when a construction worker on the other side of the street came up with a much better course of action. He shouted "Get out of the Goddam road, you dumb fuck!"

This seemed to get through. Our lost soul drifted over to the sidewalk with some screeching of brakes and honking of horns. He then drifted down the street, not moving with great purpose but at least out of the flow of traffic, never to be seen again, at least by your humble correspondent.

Which brings me to this George Packer piece I read via TPM on Bush and Iraq:

If there are any Wise Men available in the spring of 2006, what should they tell President Bush to do in Iraq? And, if they told him, would he listen? The government is in a strange and prolonged state of paralysis. Many officials in the Administration now admit, privately, and after years of willful blindness, that the war, in which almost twenty-four hundred Americans have died, and whose cumulative cost will reach $320 billion this year, is going badly and shows no prospect of a quick turnaround. Asked why the President doesn’t take this or that step to try to salvage what will become his legacy—fire his Secretary of Defense, for example—they drop their heads, as if to say: We know, he should, but it’s not going to happen. At the same time, they can’t quite bring themselves to abandon hope for a miracle.

Right now we are standing in the middle of the road in Iraq, not moving, just hoping that the cars are going miss and that someone is going to rescue us. Somebody needs to do the political political equivalent of yelling, "Get out of the street" so that the president can hear. More Packer:

As a strategy, this amounts to muddling through the rest of the Bush Presidency, without being forced to admit defeat, until January of 2009, when the war will become a new President’s problem.

We can't stay on this street for three more years. We have to get off the street.

May 3, 2006


The jury gave Moussaoui life in prison today. The man was vile, would kill Americans if he could, and said everthing he could to goad the system into killing him, but the simple fact was the man was already in jail on 9/11 and just wasn't responcible for 9/11. In the end the jury got it right.

The best part of this outcome is that it is now over. No death penalty means no appeals. Moussaoui plead guilty to the charges. So now he disapears for all time into a Super-Max Federal Prison, never to be seen or heard from again.

As always, go read Dahlia.

May 2, 2006

Ask, I Dare You

Ninja's are a topic we have discussed before. I now have a link to the only source of info you will ever need on the topic. I present Ask the Ninja. Finally the podcast that informs as well as entertains. I found the discussion on the Ninja's relationship with Physics to be particularly informative.

Is this the Right Room for an Argument?

Sheesh, I step out for one minute and the next thing I know, the kids are fighting, the furniture is wrecked and calls of "fascist" and "communist" are echoing through the halls. Keep up the good work.

The problem with the type of stats that Tyler cites is that the underling assumption is that the money we spend on educating or medically treating undocumented workers is completely wasted. It's not. The result of that spending is better educated and healthier people. Those people are able to be more productive, grow the economy and add to the tax base. Those taxes are then spent on more education and health care. To say that social services are wasted on illegal is to say that all social service spending is wasted.

A lot of these numbers need some context. If illegals make up 5% or 10% or 25% of the population (Depends on which City, which State), then they will be 5% or 25% of the people in the ER or in jail. They will also be 5%-25% of the child molesters and the people who get into hit and run accidents. They will also be 5% to 20% of the people who give to charity, rescue kittens from trees, or run into burning orphanages to rescue kids. We can play this game all day. Illegals are both good and bad for society. I think more good than bad and that we can increase the good by allowing them to become citizens.

Personally, I hope that Tom Tancredo (Tyler's author) runs for President like he has said he would. A few months of him screaming about how we are being overrun by the invading brown child molesters will have Latinos voting for Democrats for a generation.

May 1, 2006

"A Day Without an Illegal Immigrant!?....Can we extend that?"

I wouldn't mind extending this whole "day without an illegal immigrant" thing. Could anyone see some positives living in an America without illegals?

But if
illegal aliens all took the day off and were truly invisible for one day, there would be some plusses along with the mild inconveniences.

*Hospital emergency rooms across the southwest would have about 20-percent fewer patients...

*Youth gangs would see their membership drop by 50 percent in many
states, and in Phoenix, child-molestation cases would drop by 34 percent and auto theft by 40 percent.

*Colorado’s K-12 school classrooms would have 131,000 fewer students if illegal aliens and the children of illegals were to stay home...

Just a day!? Why not 20 years or forever? And Tancredo mainly addressing Colorado in this article. Think of the changes in California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico.......Wow.

Call it a Day

May Day has turned out to be very busy. First off, it's the three year anniversary of the "Mission accomplished" Bush lands on a carrier stunt. Relevant numbers can be found here.

Steve Colbert left nobody untouched in a take-no-prisoners appearance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner over the weekend. The level of funny to be found in the performance is subject to an ideological test. The performance was found to be funny by liberals and not-funny by conservatives. Funny is one of those things that's impossible to prove or disprove. I say take a look, and decide for yourself.

Today was also the "Day Without Immigrants." rallies and walk-outs held across the County including near Craigorian Chant World Headquaters. The Craigorian Chant video feed is currently down, so just go to CNN to get your video.

And finally, Anna Nicole Smith was victorious in her appeal to the US Supreme Court.

Whew. That's a day.

Counting Down the West Wing

Just two more episodes left (Sniff) I'm going to award Michael Tomasky of TAP partial credit for his prediction that Santos would make Vinec Vice-President. The show gave us a great big head-fake in that direction, but the gig Santos ended up offering was Secretary of State, which requires a lot less magical thinking to believe. Both Clinton and Kennedy had Republican Secretaries of Defense. What actually requires a suspension of disbelief is the idea that there are Republicans out there with non-insane Foreign policy thinking. For example, check out William Kristol's short little sneer at Diplomatic efforts with Iran. Kristol is one the leading intellects of the conservative movement and he seems to think that the whole point of US foreign policy is to get into wars. Funny, I though the point of diplomacy was to prevent wars. Silly me.

PS Tomasky does more than West Wing predictions, check out this article for some big-think "Future of the Democratic Party and of the Republic."