March 31, 2008

Gore Will Not Save Us

From the Primary, that is.

He's busy trying to save us from real problems.

March 27, 2008

Anyone can Play

Holy Crap, anyone can be an arms dealer these days:

But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur.

With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.


Apparently you can be some punk off the street, suck eggs, and still score 300 million dollar government contracts. This is a total waste of taxpayer money. If my hard earned dollars are going to fund arms deals I want top notch arms and top notch arms dealers! I want deals brokered by shady, ruthless, internationally connected underworld figures, not a "22-year-old licensed masseur." We should really get more out of our money than this.

New Innovations in Spin

Pentagon says new Iraq fighting arises from surge's success.

Everything good comes from the surge. Even bad things are good things when they come from the surge.

March 26, 2008

Missing Metaphor

Here is a question for you all.

What is an appropriate metaphor for someone with no self-control?

Today I was trying to complete this sentence-

I have all the self-control of a ______.

I couldn't come up with anything. Its hours later, I forget the context of the original conversation, but I still haven't come up with anything good.

Suggestions?

Leave the Girl

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be a in a state of total war with John McCain for the next eight months or so. But I'm figure there's at least one member of the McCain camp I'll hold my fire from.

Such a sucker.

Woo!

From Balloon Juice, great achievements in dirty-old-manhood:

Prosecutors are moving ahead with a case against one of two 93-year-old men picked up during undercover prostitution stings.

In the case of Frank Milio, prosecutors have issued subpoenas and plan to take him to trial in April.

Milio, according to police records, tried to pay $20 in November to an undercover officer on 14th Street West.

Milio recently told the Herald-Tribune he was only flirting with the woman.

"I haven't had that in years," he said. "Ninety-three is kind of old."

March 20, 2008

Honor is Dumb

When I think of "honor" the example that comes to mind is the scene at the end of the The Last Samurai where, Tom Cruse and company, to make their point about the honor of the Samurai, charge across the battlefield and are cut down by Gatling gun fire. Its moving, sad, inspirational and gripping. And once you think about it for one second, really, really dumb. Honor is like that.

Which brings us to John McCain, man of honor. As D-Day calls him, the The Klingon Candidate. John McCain's approach to life is all about honor. His lives for moments where he can be honorable, where he can show courage. And honor is dumb. As Ezra Klein has pointed out, the reason McCain sucks at domestic policy is there is no opportunity to have honor or courage. You can't boldly face down the health care system or the mortgage crisis. You have to work at it. There is no honor in better hospital management. There is no honor in math.

And there is no honor in leaving Iraq, at least as John McCain conceives it. If we leave Iraq, our enemies will gloat, and the honor of John McCain will not tolerate that. McCain is willing to kill a lot of people in order to keep his honor intact.

As Bill Maher said “Not Tougher. Dumber.”

Quick Version

Mark Kleiman's summary of Obama's security policy speech:

1. Get out of Iraq and pay attention to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
2. Don't forget the people of the countries we're dealing with.
3. Don't be evil.
4. Don't be stupid.

March 18, 2008

Go, Win, Protest

A fresh round of unrest in Tibet. One of my less well though out foreign policy proposals has been that the Palestinians and Tibetans should switch resistance tactics. The Palestinian would get a lot further with democratic Israel using non-violence and civil disobedience and the Tibetans would get a lot further along by blowing some shit up. Violence against a democracy only incurs popular resentment and retaliation, while a dictatorship will happy to ignore peaceful protests and go about its business of oppression.

Which brings us to China and the Olympics. China does bad things. They oppress their own people, oppress the Tibetans, and help prop up the genocidal regime in the Sudan. They are also hosting the Olympics this summer. There have been rumblings of boycotts. Steven Spielberg has already walked off the job in protest.

Personally, I don't think athletes should boycott the games. China is going to be the center of the worlds attention regardless of whether or not a particularly shot-putter or gymnast competes. The thing to do is to use the attention of the world that comes from the Olympics to put pressure on the regime. Hold a Tibetan flag when you're up on the metal stand. When Gene Gray sticks a mic in your face and asks what it feels like to lose, say it hurts, but it nothing compared to what the people in Darfur are going though. Be a bad guest. China thinks the Olympics are it day in the spotlight. Its time to make that spotlight as hot as possible.

Speech

So today Obama is going to solve the problem of race today.

Stay tuned.

Here you go.

March 17, 2008

Happy Saint Paddy



The Dubliners-Finnegan's Wake

Panic!

So color me worried about this economy thing. Luckily, I have my money tied up in emu ranches, so I'm protected. The rest of you suckers are in trouble. What to do?

Investment bank Bear Stearn just died. JP Morgan just bought it for 2 bucks a share. It was at sixty something last week and 160-something last year. The Fed took on 30 billion dollars in bad debt to help make this fire sale happen. That's you and me getting stuck with the bill.

Is it really the Fed's business to save dumb banks from themselves? Bear Stearns made a lot of money in recent years with really stupid investments, namely bad mortgages. But now when those investment go south, the US taxpayers step in to save their ass. I'm pretty sure when my emu ranch investment goes south, the US taxpayer will not foot the bill. Of course, if I go under, it will not lead to worldwide economic disaster. Normally, I'd say let rich idiots burn. But if the banks fail and the stock market craters, we all get hurt.

What say you, gentle readers? Is it worth if for the Fed to spend large amount of your money to save idiots from themselves? Is it worth it when those idiots could bring us all down if they don't get saved?

March 16, 2008

Black is the new President...



A response to this.

Oh and can I just say that Hulu is pretty great. Top notch video quality, a big library (Airwolf!) I know YouTube is the future, but there is something to be said for old media once it gets it act together.

Details, Details

Remember how close the election was in 2000 and has we got such a close look at how voting works? Well the same thing is happening for the primary process this year. Because Obama/Clinton is so close, the media pays very close attention to the details of the process that normally get missed. For example, the Iowa precinct caucuses happened on Saturday. Obama picked up a number of delegates, mainly from Edward's people switching over. Now normally this sort of thing doesn't matter, but this race is so close that those seven extra delegates are a big deal.

For further enlightenment on the process, go read Mark Schmitt's take. Basically uncertainty is the key to keep the Clinton run alive. The more we know, the more its clear the Obama is winning. Clinton has to keep things uncertain or else she loses.

March 14, 2008

Meet the Next NY Govenor

From NY Mag:

"Just so we don't have to go through this whole resignation thing again," one ballsy reporter asked, "have you ever patronized a prostitute?" Patterson thought for a minute. "Only the lobbyists," he said.

March 12, 2008

Notes on a Scandel

Everybody update your MySpace profiles! In the unlikely event that you are caught up in a sex scandal worthy of national media attention, your MySpace page is going to be you're main introduction to the good people of America. Oh and to answer the obvious question, yes, but not four grand an hour and destroy your life yes. I myself just hope this blog will present a good face to the world, when my own sexual peccadillo's are exposed to the world.

The detail I want to know is not the girl. The late, great Governor of New York was identified in court documents as client #9. Who are clients 1-8? How many dudes past #9. Given these rates, I figure some real captains of industry are on that list. It shouldn't just be the reformers that go down for this. Those in need of reform should takes their lumps as well.

Bear Pork

So more on pork. John McCain has a favorite example on wasteful spending - 3 million dollars for the study of Bear DNA. The rift is pretty good - “I don’t know if it was a paternity issue or criminal, but it was a waste of money.”

Well the truth of the matter is the program was a $1 million earmark and is about counting bears. Finding out if they are going extinct or if our conservation efforts are working. And it turns out, conservation is working. The bear is saved! And now we know. Sounds a little less silly now eh?

Oh and the cost of that bear-counting earmark? Equal to how much it costs us to stay in Iraq for about four and a half minuets (Tom Tomorrow does the math) John McCain could find and eliminate 10,000 government programs the size of the great bear-count and it wouldn't equal what we spend in one month in Iraq. In the four years of a McCain Presidency, we would spend 480 billion dollars in Iraq. That's a lot of bear counting. So don't lecture me on wasteful spending, Senator.

March 11, 2008

M-I-Crooked Letter-Crooked-Letter-I...

Ok, that's the last election we get for six weeks. Big Obama win. Makes up for those unfortunate results from Ohio earlier this month. No really. The delegate score for March is a tie. And Obama was winning to begin with. Its really a testimony to Clinton's spinners that she's able to stay in this thing.

Shuttle Launch

Night Launch, Very Cool:

March 10, 2008

"Involved" Could Mean a Lot of Things

Once again, a pol and the contents of his pants are front-line news. This time its the governor of New York. Eliot Spitzer showed some real promise as a crusading State AG, so this fall into the "sad" category, as opposed to the "comic" file.

A few notes:

For love of God, keep your wife off the stage. I can't imagine a more humiliating spot than that, and every single one of these jerks does it. Take your lumps in front of the camera without adding to the hurt you've caused. I don't care who Eliot Spitzer bonks. But I'm sure his wife does. How about we do something for her and not me? Let the public think less of you in exchange for not humiliating your wife!

Two, 5,500 dollars an hour? What on earth could you do that is worth that kind of money? I mean sex is kind of hard to price, but still.

March 9, 2008

A Proper Caper

I do love me a good heist movie. There are lots of things a good heist movie must have. High stakes, a double-cross or two, a beautiful woman who isn't to be trusted and so on. Well The Bank Job has all that, plus the added bonus of being English. Which means all of the above plus characters that say things like "cheeky bastard" and "spot of trouble with some local villains" I love it when they call criminals "villains" it makes the whole affair seem so much more...classy.

For an added bonus, this story is supposedly based on true events and involves 1970's swinging London, black militants, royal sex, straight and crooked cops and either MI-5 or -6 ("Who can tell the difference - they all have the same bloody tailor and went to the same bloody school") The blokes doing the bank job are the most honest characters in the movie.

The real affair was placed under a news blackout (They can do that?) in Britain, so I'm unsure how true this story is.

But its a heck of story and well worth your time and money.

We Really are Doing Well

Not to rain on anyone's sense of impending doom, but Democrats really are doing well. They just picked up former House Speaker Dennis Hastert seat in a special election Saturday. Just to be clear, seat held by House Speakers are incredibly safe. It's not by accident that Nancy Pelosi comes from San Fransisco. If the GOP is losing seats that safe, they are screwed.

Now normally, a party in this much trouble would do something different policy-wise. Like ending a long war that has been destroying their standing in the Country. But it looks like conservatives will pursue a slightly different tack.

Get Down

Eddy Grant - Electric Avenue

March 8, 2008

Math

You know what they say. As goes Wyoming so goes...wait, Wyoming is a state? They have enough people to have an election?

Well ok. Go team. A win is a win. 3 extra delegates matter.

Speaking of math, the final vote totals were certified in California and it looks like Obama picked up a few delegates from the election night results. Which makes me wonder if the total we have been looking at are true.

Quick somebody check the math! Not me, math is hard, but somebody should really check that math.

Rock On

March 7, 2008

Taking Down the Lord of War

A Russian businessman known as one of the world’s most notorious arms dealers was arrested in Thailand on Thursday as part of an American-led sting operation. If it sounds like a movie that because it is.

March 6, 2008

Stuck

Don't Panic!

A long Democratic Primary isn't fatal. Its not going to hurt us. Both candidates are doing just fine in polls against McCain.

The truth is, McCain is stuck. No primary fight means no attention. All everyone will be talking about and covering for the next three months will be the Donkey race. McCain has no money. His candidacy is all about his personal story, but we've heard that story before. He could unveil a bold new domestic initiative, but really, he 's just not a bold new domestic initiative kind of guy. McCain is going to spend his time being pulled between his "maverak" image and a GOP nuthouse that he is now in charge of.

Don't Panic.

March 5, 2008

Last Roll

Gary Gygax has died. The man created D&D and inspired all the games that came after. It was he that first figured out how to live in the fantastic worlds that Tolkien and other could create. It involved lots of dice. So the man pretty much defined how I've played games my entire life.

A 21 magic missile salute to the fallen hero.

March 4, 2008

Noble Victory, My Lady, Noble Victory

Nothing is done until Puerto Rico says its over. Clinton Wins three of four tonight, which gives her enough juice to keep going.

McCain won everything tonight, which now means he's a total lock on the GOP nomination.

Leave no State behind! Who's Next? Wyoming? Bring it on!

Last Stand?

Keith Olberman calls today the V.O.T.E.R primary - Vermont, Ohio, TExas and Rhode Island. Hillary is in desperate need of some wins if she wants to stay in this race. She's up in Ohio and Rhode Island, down in Vermont and Texas is too close to call. She wins Texas and Ohio this campaign marches on, she loses both the big states and she's done. If they split the big states that's the margin of spin. And the Clinton team spins hard. My bet is on the split and that Clinton keeps going. The Clintons have won a lot of things in their career just by not giving up when others would have folded. My guess is that she keeps up the habit.

March 3, 2008

Fixed

Tired of competitive elections? Of well matched, talented candidates fighting it out in debates, covered by a free media? Then I give you Russia, where Putin was just able to engineer the victory of his unknown aid. Yes, the fix was in. The media is in the regimes pocket, real opposition has been hounded from the political area, and the only people left to face Putin an company are the communists and the ultra-nationalist. Democracy may not be dead in Russia, but its in a deep coma. A family-must-consider-its-options kind of coma.