July 31, 2006

This Song is Not a Rebel Song

Tonight's musical guest U2



More?

Our National Conversation

Summed up in six panels.

July 30, 2006

Maxims to Die By

When looking at military matters, its helpful to know your maxims. These are carefully though out sayings that impart great wisdom. Or give the appearance of doing so. Bonus points if it was first said by Napoleon or Sun Tzu. Good military analysis lives and dies by the quality of its maxims. A very good one is "amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics." Or the classic "All warfare is based on deception." Also good is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia." And the always notable "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"

But my personal favorite, which I first heard here (not sure where he got it) is "Your battle-plan always gets fucked up as soon as the enemy arrives, that's why he is called The Enemy."

So keep that one in mind when you go and read this analysis about the Israeli-Hezbollah war. Its not going according to plan.

July 29, 2006

What Friends Do

This is a great point:

The Christopher piece points to an important role that America can play in the Middle East, which we aren't playing now. We can solve a common political problem in the region that runs something like this: Islamic militants do something vicious that creates Israeli demand for a violent response. While Israeli leaders are under domestic political pressure to shoot back, they can only do so in a way that harms large number of civilians, derailing the peace process and driving people into the miliants' arms. They don't want to do this, but political pressure forces their hands. The shooting begins, and that's when America steps in and negotiates some settlement between the two sides. Israel needs us to do this for them, since the leaders don't want to look like weak compromisers. As Christopher says: "A succession of Israeli leaders has turned to us, and only us, when they have concluded that retaliation for Hezbollah attacks has become counterproductive. Israel plainly trusts no one else to negotiate on its behalf and will accept no settlement in which we are not deeply involved."

Imagine yourself back on the schoolyard. Words are exchanged, and it look like your about to get into a fight. What do your friends do? They hold you back. You can't back down with looking like a wimp, but he's bigger than you and the Principal with have you locked in detention for months if he sees this. So thank God your friends are holding you back. You can say that jerk would have got whats coming to him, if only. And no black eyes. A good friend will save you from yourself. Will help you do what you can't do on your own. That's not what we are doing for Israel.

July 28, 2006

Really?

For lots of people the fighting in the Middle East signals the End of Days. And they really do feel fine. Media Matters has some appearance by End Times advocates. I think Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind books is one of the creepier humans I have ever seen. If the world is ending, he couldn't be happier.

These people are rooting for more violence in Israel, because they think that's what's going to trigger the rapture and The Big Guy's return and all the badly written fun you find in the Left Behind books. The fundies support Israel, but only in the sense that the existence of Israel fufills their wild-ass biblical prophecies. They don't want an Israel living in peace with its neighbors. A peaceful Middle East won't fill the pews or sell the books. Which means that the fundies are completely fine with the dumb-ass diplomatic approach that the Bush administration is taking.

July 27, 2006

$$$$$

Here's a story about making money from you web site with advertising. Here is a worthy goal:

Take Andrew Leyden, former House Commerce Committee counsel and founder of a dot-com venture that failed, who started PodcastDirectory.com, a search engine for podcasts. As the site's popularity rose from a hundred hits a month in 2004 to nearly a million now, Leyden started making the equivalent of an entry-level government worker's salary -- $30,000 to $40,000 a year -- simply because people clicked on ads. That allowed him to work at home in Chesapeake Beach, Md., trying to make more money by attracting still more traffic to his site.

They even have a term for it: Hopeful Hobbyists

"We have a segment of customers called 'hopeful hobbyists'" who have Web sites devoted to anything they might care about, from crochet to sailing, and who hope to eventually make enough money to quit their day jobs, said Willan Johnson, vice president of Yahoo Publisher Network, which launched a test version of its software last year.

Get clicking. I can't quit my day job without you.

Justice

Remember Florida 2000? Its going to become one of those American history turning points. Noted popular historians in 2050 are going to write best-selling 500-pagers on how all the disasters of the early 21st century can be traced back to the Florida Vote Recount.

Which brings us to Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of State/Bush-Cheney campaign chair who did so much to help Bush "win" Florida. You remember, the one with too much make-up. Well, after spending the last few years as a US Congresswomen from a safe Republican seat, she's trying to move up to US Senate. And she's getting crushed in the polls. Her campaign is turning into a national embarrassment. Her entire campaign staff has quit. Twice. She is becoming a National Laughingstock.

So some small measure of justice has been served.

July 26, 2006

So Let Me Get This Straight............

She waited until her husband went to work, killed her kids, covered the bodies with a sheet, then called 911. But a jury considered her "insane?" What the hell was different in this trial?

Can someone explain to me why this woman shouldn't be hit in the face with a baseball bat as additional punishment?

Collapse is Bad, Right

So the Headline this morning is Lebanon Crisis Talks Collapse. Man, I do hate being right all the time. It looks like Isreal is settling in for a long term occupation of part of southern Lebanon. Because the last time it went so well.

July 25, 2006

The Circle is Complete

The Circle of Crap. Muqtada al-Sadr's Iraq militia is now preparing to send troops to Lebanon to fight on behalf of Hezbollah. Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army is a major player in the Iraqi government that we are proping up with American blood and money. Can you tell the good guys from the bad? Its getting harder.

July 24, 2006

Done Right

Finally, Net Neutrality explained the right way. The Daily Show way.



Of course, you have to have seen the Mac Ads to get all the gags. Here you go.

Show Off

Beware Bush Adminitration officials making a surprise visit. It's a surefire indication that they are doing something as a PR stunt. When something real is going to get done, we know about it in advance. Bush takes a well publizided trip to India, deals get done and treaties get signed. They keep making "surprise" trips to Iraq and nothing changes. Its about generating a favorable headline and making it look like your doing something when you arn't. So today Condi made a "Surprise" trip to Lebanon. So I'm doubtful we are going to get a deal that ends the fighting (Israel/Hezbollah fighting, not Iraq Civil War fighting. It's getting hard to keep track)

July 23, 2006

Ack! The Heat! It Burns!

I take back ever bad thing I have ever said about the rain. Its record setting heat here in Sac this weekend. 109! The bigger problem is that it isn't cooling off at night. Its already 87 degrees and its only 9:00 a.m. And its only going to get hotter. I don't want to leave my apartment and its sweet, sweet air conditioning, but food is running low here at Craigorian Chant World Headquarters, and I'm going to have to go out sooner or later. Courage Man, Courage.

July 21, 2006

War is Good For You

Salon's War Room points out this Orwellian Headline:

In Mideast Strife, Bush Sees a Step To Peace

The story isn't much better:

President Bush's unwillingness to pressure Israel to halt its military campaign in Lebanon is rooted in a view of the Middle East conflict that is sharply different from that of his predecessors.

When hostilities have broken out in the past, the usual U.S. response has been an immediate and public bout of diplomacy aimed at a cease-fire, in the hopes of ensuring that the crisis would not escalate. This week, however, even in the face of growing international demands, the White House has studiously avoided any hint of impatience with Israel. While making it plain it wants civilian casualties limited, the administration is also content to see the Israelis inflict the maximum damage possible on Hezbollah.


Where does this thinking come from? I'm not the type to say that "War doesn't solve anything" but I'm think I'm on pretty safe ground to say that in the Israel-Arab conflict, war isn't going to solve anything. The simple fact is that Israel has already won. It's beaten the Arab States again and again. No Arab state is attacking Israel. All that's left are the Arab guerilla groups - Hamas and Hezbollah, that formed as a result of Israeli occupation. And as we have learned in Iraq, guerrillas groups are hard to destroy and hardly ever worth it. So unless Israel wants to kill every Hezbollah sympathizer in Southern Lebanon and every Palestinian, of course this is going to to turn into diplomacy. If we know that it always end in peace talks, why wait? (To Quote Bill Kristol)

July 20, 2006

Bill Kristol is a Lunatic

And yet for some reason, he continues to be an influenual voice in American political life. But he's crazy.

July 19, 2006

Up and Did It

As promised Bush just issued the first veto of his entire Presidency, stopping efforts to Federally fund embryonic stem cell research. Congratulations, you've just block a slew of potentially life-saving research. The measure was passed pretty overwhelmingly even in the GOP controlled Congress, but not overwhelmingly enough to override the veto.

Time to hang this veto on Bush. Bush is now the anti-cure President. Full Stop. He's going to eat that veto before this is over.

(Thanks Erin)

Right Out the Door

I think we can mark down a new causality in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Ralph Reed, baby-faced former head of the Christian Coalition, has gone down to defeat in the Republican Primary for Lt. Govenor of Georgia. Yeah.

This is a real fall from grace for Reed, who sometime in the 90's appeared on a Time cover with the caption THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. Reed provided the Christians in Abramoff's sleazy "Get Conservative Christians to oppose new gambling operations with the money from existing gambling operations" con game.

New Donkey has been crazy obsessed with this race, so check in with him if you want more details and analysis.

July 18, 2006

Walk and Chew Gum...

...and juggle and work a hula-hoop and...

The Taliban is retaking towns in Afghanistan. There is too much going on in the world and the Bush administration can't handle it. Afghanistan has long been neglected with the Iraq war getting most of the attention, money, and troops. Tack on all the new crisis and Afghanistan is suddenly fifth or six in priority. And we are losing ground.

July 17, 2006

Oooohhh.

Bush said a bad word. I'm going to tell the teacher.

UDATE: Now Bush has goosed the German Chanceller, Angela Merkel. I swear, we can't take this guy anywhere.

All the Way to the Gallows

The Butch Cassady award for being able to crack wise in the face of danger is hearby offically awarded to MICHAEL KINSLEY:

They just drill a couple of small holes to put the wires through. Tiny holes. Itsy-bitsy holes. Teensy-weensy little holes. The propaganda they give you when you sign up for the operation describes the holes as "dime-sized." That took me aback. The dime, there's no denying, is a seriously undersized coin. But frankly, I wasn't thinking coins at all. I was thinking grains of sand. A dime is huge! The hospital printout of all the things you can't do afterward describes it as "major brain surgery." Is there minor brain surgery?

But it turns out ok:

Editor's note: Kinsley's surgery took place on July 12 and went fine. His first words were, "Well, of course, when you cut taxes, government revenues go up. Why couldn't I see that before?"

Kinsley's brain is a national treasure. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery.

July 16, 2006

Cycle

I was going to write the post that solves the Middle East in about 300 words, but I keep coming up short. We are deep in the cycle of violence now. Lots of people getting blown up on both sides. Its always amazing to me how much attention violence in the Middle East gets. Dozens of people could be killed in Africa or Burma or Sri Lanka and it barely makes a blip on the world media radar. But as soon as the bombs start flying between Israel and somebody, it jumps strait to the front page. Evening news anchors start broadcasting from the region. Why do we care so much about death in the Middle East? Is it the biblical nature of the conflict, the presence of Armageddon, which makes every shot fired seem like impending doom?

July 15, 2006

Iraq the Model

What a goddamn joke. Check out this story out of Russia today:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected a suggestion from U.S. President George W. Bush that his country should emulate democracy in Iraq.

Oh sure, that the way to spread democracy. Point to Iraq and say "Be like them" Who on earth would want Iraqi "democracy" It chaos and death, interupted by occational elections. I wouldn't want that in my Country. Do you think Russians would?

The fact is, Putin has been eroding democratic institutions in Russia and is moving to an authoritarian style of government. We should rebuke him on the subject. But to say that Russia should emulate democracy in Iraq makes the whole thing into a big sick joke.

July 14, 2006

Everything Is Connected

I'm getting the feeling that things are just spinning out of control out there in the world. We now have a full blown crisis in the Middle East, with Israel bombing Gaza and Lebanon. We have showdowns brewing with Iran over nukes and North Korea over missiles (and nukes!) India was just the victim of a massive terrorist attack and is accusing Pakistan of being involved. Not to mention Iraq. Not to mention Afghanistan. All these crisis feed into each other. Iran has ties to Hamas and Hezbollah, both groups are in a shooting war with Israel. We need Pakistani help with Afghanistan and so on. This number of problems would strain even the best foreign policy team, but this isn't the best team, is it?

July 13, 2006

Da Race is On.

New poll out for California Races. Phil Angelides, fresh off his Primary, win has a narrow lead of 46% to 44% over the Big A. Most polls I've seen as of late show Arnold with a (slight) lead. Stay tuned.

The other major race in California is not a race. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic incumbant Senitor is crushing her unfortainly named challeger, Dick Mountjoy, 60% to 33%. Despite Larry's nashing of teeth over her support for the Flag Burning Ammendment, she is cruising to reelection.

Fun with Numbers

Check out this profile on your hero and mine, Keith Olbermann. I just love watching that guy work.

"You can't spell momentum without Olbermann, or something like that."

But trulyuely amazing fact in the piece is found by Cenk Uygur. The average age of a Bill O'Reilly viewer is 71. 71! Its the bitter old man show! Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Keep Your Head

"If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, it's possible you haven't grasped the situation." -- Jean Kerr

It might be time to lose your head. The headline out of Korea is Diplomacy in tatters as two Koreas spar. The headline from the Middle East is Israel warns of prolonged offensive in Lebanon. How is it that every potential crisis in the world is suddenly becoming an actual crisis.?

Did somebody declare the end of the world and not tell me about it?

July 12, 2006

Earn

The National Journal has a list of everything that the members of the White House Staff make. Just in case your wondering, being lord of all evil makes Karl Rove $165,200 a year. Thinkprogress notes that the WH has two "Ethics Advisors" that seem rather overpaid by making over 100 grand a year each. Not to mention the White House Fact Checker, a waste of $46,500 Also, its interesting to note that people at the bottom make $30,000. I'm at the bottom rung of a County Planning staff and I make more than that. I'm pretty sure you pay a price in salary to get "White House" on you resume. In fact, I make a little more than the "Deputy Associate Director for Invitations & Correspondence" makes. But you can't beat that title.

July 11, 2006

Trivia

Your fun fact of the day: President Bush has not vetoed a single piece of legislation sense he took office.

He just issued a new veto threat, against Stem Cell research.

For why its silly to oppose Stem Cell research, please see Michael Kinsley.

July 10, 2006

Interesting

My inner Political Science Nerd perked up at this post by Kevin Drum. It seems that there is a pretty big chunk of people out their who call themselves conservative when what they actually believe makes them liberal. That means that the conservative shrekers of the world have done their job well. Liberal doesn't mean an ideology to some people, its just shorthand for "bad"

July 9, 2006

Victory!

Italy wins the World Cup!

Cowboy Diplomacy is Dead!

Sex and Violence is Still Safe in Movies!

Arrrgh

Welcome to At the Movies with Craig. Today's show is on the latest Pirates Movie. The title is Pirates of the Caribbean: We've Come to Steal Your Money and Two and a Half Hours of Your Life that You Will Never Get Back.

I'm sorry its called Dead Man's Chest, but you get the idea. I was a late comer to the first Pirates movie. I was operating on the principal that if movies based on video games always suck, a movie based on an amusement park ride would suck ten-fold. But right in the middle of the action blah, blah, blah of the first movie was this wonderfully manic Johnny Depp performance. His captain Jack Sparrow is a classic. It will be making top ten list for all time.

Well Jack's back in the new movie and still great. The best part is how you can see the gears spinning in his head as he does his dirty deeds. The best parts are when those wheels start grinding and then come completely apart. But he's not the delightful surprise he once was. The romantic leads are physical wonders. My God, Keira Knightley is pretty. My God, how is it that Orlando Bloom is even prettier? But I can't recall a thing they said or did, and it's only been hours since I left the theater.

The action in this movie really is cartoonish. It's practically at the point where Captain Jack won't fall until he looks down. After he runs off a cliff. In a strait line.

Also the movie comes with about three endings, none of them real. The whole movie sets up Pirates of the Caribbean: Arrrgh, Fooled Again.

Ye Be Warned.

July 7, 2006

Still Kicking

Looks like we are still going to have Tom Delay to kick around. Delay (R-Hell) marked my birthday by resigning from Congress under a cloud of corruption. However Delay had already won his primary a few months back, so he still had to get off the ballot in November. Well the master plan just hit a snag. A judge just ruled that if Delay withdraws, the GOP can't replace him. Which would leave the Democrat in the race unopposed. So Delay has to keep running for a seat he already resigned from in disgrace. Delay was being too clever with the ballot and it just bit him, you know where.

July 6, 2006

World Cup Update

First of all check out this pitch perfect montage clip from the Beeb. Via Andrew Sullivan. It perfectly sums up the trials of England this year. All set to a killer track from the Pet Shop Boys. Did you know they were still around?

Which brings us to the finals. Italy verse France. Interestingly enough, both teams wear blue uniforms (or "kits" for our English readers) The French team is know as Les Bleus (The Blues) The Italians are know as the Azzurri. Which means... The Blues.

I'm going with the Italians. First, their shade of blue is better. A darker, Navy Blue. Also, Italy is the official homeland of Craigorian Chant. I'm just going to have to forgive them the whole drama queen thing. Plus, Italy was the one great game that the US played the whole tournament, if they win it all its a big help in the moral victory department.

Timeline

TPM Muckraker now has a timeline up for John Doolittle and Jack Abramoff. Let's just say that there is a very high correlation between Doolittle helping out Abramoff clients and Doolittle's wife receiving payments from Abramoff's organizations.

July 5, 2006

Secret Formula: Still Secret.

Don't mess with Coke:

Three people were charged by federal prosecutors on Wednesday with stealing confidential information, including a sample of a new drink, from The Coca-Cola Co. and trying to sell it to rival PepsiCo Inc.

Rocket Science

So North Korea is getting into the 4th of July Spirit by firing off some bottle rockets. Most of what they launched were short-ranged missiles which landed in the Sea of Japan. Their one attempt at firing an intercontinental-ranged missile failed badly. Turns out rocket science really is hard.

But it works out nicely. The United States has built a ballistic missile defense system that doesn't work in order to stop a North Korean missile that doesn't work. Nice.

July 3, 2006

Your Congress

Ted Stevens is a United States senator. He represents Alaska. After a committee vote on a net neutrality law (which tied and thus died 11-11)he spoke on the subject. Go read the remarks he made on the subject. I can safely say that Ted Stevens has no idea how the internet works. I'm pretty sure that Ted Stevens has no idea what the internet is.

What's Spanish for Hanging Chad?

Mexican Election is a Tie.

July 2, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Mexico votes today.

Most days it isn't worth it, but sometimes, watching the Sunday morning talk show reveals some lovely moments.

The US Air Force is going to spend $450,000 of your tax dollars on the study of blogs.

Lazy Sunday