Friday, February 28, 2003
Hey, kids! How'd you like to
be a credible evidence bearing economist?
The American Prospect's weblog Tapped
had a great post the other day about
the recent story of apparently no significance
to anyone in the media- that 450 economists
(10 of whom won the Nobel Prize) issued
a statement condemning Bush's latest tax
plan. The White House has responded
with, as you'll see here, their
statement entitled "250 Economists
Endorse President Bush's Jobs and Growth
As Tapped pointed out, though, there's
just on small problem with the numbers
inflation: apparently anyone who endorses
Bush's tax plan is now allowed to be called
an economist. The list of 250 economists
endorsing the plan include:
- Horace Brock of Strategic Economic
Decisions, Inc. - holds no doctorate
- Grover Norquist - head of the right-wing
Americans for Tax Reform, holds no degree
- Jackson Brown - member of the American
Dental Association - holds no degree
- Donald L. Luskin of Trend Macrolytics,
LLC - never even graduated from college
- Kevin Hassett - actually is
an economist, used his economic prowess
to write a book concluding that the
Dow Jones Industrial Average would top
36,000 by the year 2000
- Ben Stein - B-list celebrity, sounds
smart and stuff
There's more that just Tapped pointed
out, and I'm sure you'd find more if you
scrutinized the list. But Tapped summarized
it the best themselves:
Now, one needn't be a credentialed
economist to have an opinion on the
Bush budget. But traditionally, you
don't get to call yourself an economist
without that sheepskin. If the White
House wants to play a credentialing
game to even out the P.R. battle, it
won't do to pad out their list of "economists"
with assorted businessmen, investment
bankers, high-rolling GOP donors, Wall
Street analysts, political hacks, policy
entrepeneurs and at least one resume-inflating
And I'm sure those Nobel Prize winners
wouldn't object to being compared to such
equal epochs of the study of economics,
either. I mean, doctoral thesis... cable
game show... same thing.
Thursday, February 27, 2003
And suddenly, a glimmer of hope...
...As the laughter of a young baby lights
up the entire room.
Or, actually, the laughter of the White
House Press Corps. Yes, from the
White House's own transcript:
Q: Ari, just to follow up on Mexico.
Is it true that the administration is
willing to give Mexico some sort of
immigration agreements like amnesty
or guest worker program, to assure the
Mexican vote, as the French press is
pointing out today and is quoting, actually,
two different diplomats from the State
MR. FLEISCHER: No, it's exactly as
I indicated, that we have, on this issue,
a matter of diplomacy and a matter of
the merits. We ask each nation on the
Security Council to weigh the merits
and make a decision about war and peace.
And if anybody thinks that there are
nations like Mexico, whose vote could
be bought on the basis of a trade issue
or something else like that, I think
you're giving -- doing grave injustice
to the independence and the judgment
of the leaders of other nations.
Q: The French press is quoting actually
two different diplomats from the United
States State Department that -- they're
highlighting that the United States
is giving some sort of agreements or
benefits to Colombia -- and other non-members
of the Security Council --
MR. FLEISCHER: I haven't seen the story.
And you already have the answer, about
what this will be decided on. But think
about the implications of what you're
saying. You're saying that the leaders
of other nations are buyable. And that
is not an acceptable proposition. (Laughter.)
MR. FLEISCHER: Thank you.
END 1:03 P.M. EST
Yes. You read that correctly, and if
you don't believe it you can watch
the video here (the fun starts at
about the 29:00 mark).
That is, for the eternal record, the
Press Secretary for the President of the
United States being laughed off the stage
by the White House Press Corps.
War Blog, and everyone else who got
to this before I did)
Trees were cut down to make the paper
and money was spent to mail these
So I was watching old reruns of The
Honeymooners the other day and they
actually showed that rare classic episode
where Ralph and Ed come up with yet another
hair-brained scheme. See, they got their
hands on this thermonuclear warhead, and
Ralph figured that all they had to do
was take out a huge insurance policy on
their apartments, then Ralph would put
the nuke on his bus the next morning,
drive it into the Lincoln Tunnel, and
set it off. Bingo. The policy pays off
thousands for Ralphie Boy, and all they
had to do was send a few thousand people
To The Moon, Alice. Where, of course,
they would be met by 69 virgins or something
Of course, as you would guess, those
crazy knuckleheads never did get the darn
scheme to work... I mean, they never
do, those lunkheads. But as you all remember
during those horrid few years during the
show's heyday, many a zealous fan would
try and imitate Ralph's famous "nuclear
explosion insurance scam" scheme, with
the odd change here and there to "make
sure it would work if you do it right."
Thousands of lives and millions of dollars
in damage later, none have actually pulled
And how could they? I mean, it's only
a TV show, stuff like that couldn't happen
in real life. Well, maybe it could, because
honestly, the crack-binge-induced hallucination
of a non-existent episode of The Honeymooners
suggesting that one could live through
a nuclear explosion only to immediately
worry about what their insurance will
cover of all the things destroyed in the
occuring holocaust is the only feasable
rationale for why a legitimate profit-making
company would actually have an official
policy like this:
State Farm, the nation's largest auto
and residential insurer, recently began
mailing its California customers renewal
notices explaining that it doesn't cover
auto losses stemming from nuclear attacks.
Company spokesman Rudy Rodriguez said
he didn't know why the clarification
was being issued now, other than "to
make sure we let our customers know
what is covered and what is not."
Previously, State Farm's auto policies
only said damage caused by "acts of
war" were ineligible for coverage. Its
homeowner's insurance already carried
a nuclear-specific exclusion, an exemption
that has been standard for most liability
companies since the Cold War.
Such clauses were designed to release
insurers from the responsibility --
and the cost -- of rebuilding whole
towns, said P.J. Crowley, a vice president
for the New York-based Insurance Information
The full article here.
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Umm... what the hell?
Bruce Willis is guest hosting for David
Letterman. He's currently interviewing
Dan Rather in a serious discussion about
his interview with Saddam Hussein on the
Late Show set, which is covered with plastic
sheeting and duct tape.
There is a slight chance that David Letterman
is the most brilliant man who ever lived.
- "Context at $2.99
for five nights."
On a side note, it occured to me that
techincally about two weeks ago I passed
one year since I put Blogger on this website.
I don't really consider it a major feat,
since I've been doing the comic (and its
website) for well over three and a half
years now, but there's no question that
entering (to use netspeak, which I hate
doing) the "blogsphere" has raised my
hit count to fantastic levels, thanks
mostly of course to the humbling support
Tomorrow and others. It was definitly
a large step from writing one rambling
essay a month to two or three rambling
posts a day.
When I started the blog, I was getting
about five hits a day; now I'm averaging
about 750. My bandwidth limit is holding
strong enough to support at the very least
double that, and I hope that I'll reach
that soon to expand the mighty X&O empire.
(Riiiiiight.) I've made a private deal
with myself that when I start averaging
over a thousand a day I'll start considering
merchandising, even if that means just
finding a way to (finally) sell you people
the damn stickers. Let's face it, I'm
Arcade, but the advantage right now
is that having a small (but faithful)
readership means I don't consume the resources
just yet to start asking you all to contribute
towards them. (And before you ask, no,
visiting the site multiple times a day
does NOT raise the hit count, so if you
want the numbers to raise faster you'll
actually have to tell your friends instead
of just tricking me into thinking I have
I'm behind, yet again, on responding
to e-mail to the point of tragically having
to ignore some of it, so forgive me if
I fail to respond to all of your questions,
comments, and romantic inquiries, the
latter of which still amaze me... I swear,
there are people who write me with the
idea that writing a political weblog somehow
earns me, to paraphrase a former classmate,
more Tang than Buzz Aldrin. If only we
lived in such a world. Or rather if only
I; the rest of you seem to be doing just
fine, and if not I don't want you hoarding
in on my non-existant harem of nubile
blonde 18-to-24-year-old swimwear model
That all said, I am insanely behind on
classwork, which at least for the next
three months still exists. So if you'll
excuse me, I have to stop complaining
about my social life to hundreds of strangers
as a form of procrastination from doing
long-overdue assignments now.
Update: Virtual Kudos go to Will
Matthews for being the first to catch
the ubiquitous Früvous reference.
As for the video titles, most of them
are in-jokes, which fall under the "you're
never getting an explanation" category.
You shouldn't be reading text that small
anyway; it's bad for your eyes.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Sorry, just needed to remind you once
again that this really is all about bringing
democracy to Iraq. Yep. Sure is. Yessireeeeeeeebob.
The Army's top general said Tuesday
a military occupying force for a
postwar Iraq could total several
hundred thousand soldiers.
Iraq is "a piece of geography that's
fairly significant," Gen. Eric K. Shinseki
said at a hearing of the Senate Armed
Services Committee. And he said any
postwar occupying force would have to
be big enough to maintain safety in
a country with "ethnic tensions that
could lead to other problems."
In response to questioning by Sen.
Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat
on the committee, Shinseki said he couldn't
give specific numbers of the size of
an occupation force but would rely on
the recommendations of commanders in
"How about a range?" said Levin.
"I would say that what's been mobilized
to this point, something on the order
of several hundred thousand soldiers,"
the general said.
The full article here.
Yes, when our fathers brought forth to
this nation a new system of liberty, clearly
they had always meant a massive standing
army maintaing martial law over a foreign
You know, when I posted a week ago about
the absolute flat-out bullshit
that was the new claim that "this is about
liberating the Iraqi people," I really
think I did emphasize how it really would
only last about a week. So please, tune
in to CNN tomorrow when I'm sure the government
will either A. explain to us how military
occupation is good for the people
of Iraq, or B. ignore any questions about
This could very well be the most frightening
Please keep in mind, as you read this,
site is apparently real. If it's not,
I'd be much happier, and for that matter
in much stronger control of my bowels.
The site's Gunther IV Disturbingness Quotient
is a 0.5. 0.3 if it turns out to be just
a really well-done yet sick joke.
Recently, our family watched as our
nation chose a president. Now that George
W. Bush is in, I can only hope and pray
that the scandals that happened to President
Clinton will not happen to him. George
W. Bush is a believer and carries our
Father's reputation in the actions he
takes. (I can only wish we had been
doing this for President Clinton.)
It is because our heavenly Father is
jealous for his glory (Exodus 20:5)
that I write to you.
Recently I have felt the Lord speak
to me (remember, I'm a conservative
Presbyterian, I rarely use those words)
that our President needs someone fasting
for him every day in the office for
his holiness. This will not only cover
him through our prayers and fasting,
but also give him encouragement (and
accountability) knowing that there is
someone (and hopefully multitudes) fasting
for him each day.
That's right. Interactive global fasting.
For the benefit of George W. Bush. And
according to the site, over thirteen thousand
people with the comprehesive skills to
use a computer are actually participating
So... does fasting mean not eating, or
just not keeping any of it in you? 'Cause
I've been throwing up ever since I first
read this- if that's fasting, count as
me being inadvertently part of this now.
Monday, February 24, 2003
The President of the United States
has gone completely insane, Pt. 7
Via the LA
Times (again, just stop whining and
fill out the damn registration form:)
The Bush administration is proposing
to exempt the Pentagon's controversial
missile defense system from operational
testing legally required of every new
weapons system in order to deploy it
Buried in President Bush's 2004 budget,
in dry, bureaucratic language, is a
request to rewrite a law designed to
prevent the production and fielding
of weapons systems that don't work.
If the provision is enacted, it would
be the first time a major weapons system
was formally exempted from the testing
The proposal follows administration
moves to bypass congressional reporting
and oversight requirements in order
to accelerate development of a national
missile defense system.
Now. I'm no rocket scientist, but...
umm... neither is the president.
So the only thing I could think of to
explain this is that this is another one
of Bush's "faith-based" initiatives. As
in "Golly, I hope that untested projectile
warhead we've installed in Alaska works
perfectly so it doesn't kill us all!"
Clearly, there is no need for testing
as the holy hand of Jesus Christ himself
guides us and our missile radars.
Update: Yes, I am more than aware
of the vast coincidence that Bush's
deadline is literally within one month
of the 2004 presidential election... I
had assumed the sheer and utter (and,
again, mind you, obviously coincidential)
obviousness that Bush would be able to
have a massive public spectacle celebrating
a symbol of anti-terrorism Xenophobic
military might laden with speeches about
him and his administration's devoted pursuit
of Defending All Freedom As We Know It
during a campaign stop sort of went without
And now, a quick check on the face
York Times (oh quit whining, you can
lie in the registration if it's that
important) has a compelling story about
the current drive by prosecutors to limit
(or rather hinder) the ability to re-open
the cases of convicted murderers just
because of this pesky problem where they,
you know, might not have actually been
guilty. According to some advocates of
this reform, as the article points out,
suggestions include limiting case re-openings
"to prevent additional trauma to victims'
families" and restricting analysis of
claims of innocence to- I am not
making this up- clemency requests. (You
may all grimmace ironically as you ponder
how effective such a concept will be in
states with an "X" in their name.) The
first passage of the article pretty much
sets the tone:
A prosecutor was trying to block a
death row inmate from having his conviction
reopened on the basis of new evidence,
and Judge Stith, of the Missouri Supreme
Court, was getting exasperated. "Are
you suggesting," she asked the prosecutor,
that "even if we find Mr. Amrine is
actually innocent, he should be executed?"
Frank A. Jung, an assistant state attorney
general, replied, "That's correct, your
That exchange was, legal experts say,
unusual only for its frankness.
So you can imagine how far downhill it
all goes from there. Oh, what the hell,
here's my favorite splatter of logic from
Other prosecutors say that the criminal
justice system has an interest in finality,
and that executive clemency is the best
mechanism for considering claims of
innocence made long after the original
trial. Retrying cases years later puts
prosecutors at a disadvantage, they
"Society has a real and legitimate
need for finality in answering the question
of whether someone is guilty of a crime,"
said Jamie Orenstein, a former Justice
Department official. "The justification
for closing off innocence-based challenges
is that eventually we reach a point
where allowing them will prevent very
few unjust executions, but will undermine
the deterrence and retribution justifications
for the death penalty by letting prisoners
engage in endless delay."
Oh dear sweet lord Jesus, save us all
from the threat of "very few unjust executions."
Saturday, February 22, 2003
Dear Pyra: screw you to hell
I'm having this problem with Blogger
that I had a few months ago before it
disappeared all on its own and I thought
I could be happy again, but now it's back.
For some reason when I make a new post
it doesn't update the archive page unless
I wait about three hours, go back and
republish it again. You can check now,
clicking the link tag goes to the archive
page with the next-to-last post
at the top. Basically, it means you can't
get a permalink for the most recent post
which, as one would guess, really sucks.
I, of course, wrote Pyra about this,
since they have the most supportive and
efficient tech support in the nation.
[international hand-job gesture] So if
this problem has been encountered (and
fixed) by anyone else out there using
Blogger, please feel free to let me know.
Oh, and before you do it, to all the
people thinking about sending me an e-mail
saying my solution is to "switch to Moveable
Type" or something clever like that: please
fold a frisbee in half and then shove
it into your mouth. Thanks. Just some
lingering resentment from a tech support
guy who actually answered my Internet
Explorer problem with "switch to Mozilla."
No, fuck you!
Two on readiness
Some fun for the weekend: hot on the
heels of Tom Tomorrow's link to the anti-Ready.gov
site, Bill Dollinger sent me a link to
his own "NotReady.gov"
In regards to the icons, I have been
told that there are already sites selling
the various icons on T-shirts a la CafePress.
Personally, I think the government could
pay off the debt just by selling the stupid
"radiation symbol over Texas" one, but
hey, that's just me.
Second, a letter from Mike Weaver, under
the category of "one of the most brilliant
observations I've ever heard:"
I introduced a friend of mine to the
great humor that is Ready.gov and we
stumbled across the area for making
sure the air is clean (this is the
famous "plastic sheet and duct tape"
area). It's listed as:
- Heavyweight plastic garbage bags
or plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
This brought us to conclude that Ready.gov
was giving us a new game to play, should
we be trapped in rubble or a nuclear
shelter waiting for the radiation to
subside. It is played like the traditional
Rock-Paper-Scissors game but with different
ingredients. Scissors (made with the
same hand sign as the traditional game)
can cut the duct tape. Duct tape (made
by making your hand an "O"-sorta like
a hollowed-out version of the traditional
rock) can tape the plastic. Plastic
sheeting (made by the traditional "paper"
hand sign) trumps scissors because it
is too thick for the scissors to cut.
I hope you and your friends enjoy the
many hours of enjoyment this game can
bring you. Until, of course, you notice
that several large fish and birds have
made their way into your office building
and are now dead: a warning sign of
I have such creative readers.
has a site up too.
Thursday, February 20, 2003
Do. Not. FUCK. With your. Local. Independent.
Fresh off the miracle of the angry librarians
who prevented the pulping and vanishing-into-the-ether
of Michael Moore's Stupid White Men
(which just happened to end up, you know,
the best-selling non-fiction book of last
year, not like that's significant or anything)
comes yet another little heartwarming
tidbit about how people devoted to the
art of maintaining and distributing culture
and information have decided to formally
tell John Ashcroft to shove his duct tape
and plastic sheeting when the threat level
remains at "Code Green."
Some booksellers are troubled by a
post-Sept. 11 federal law that gives
the government broad powers to seize
the records of bookstores and libraries
to find out what people have been reading.
Bear Pond Books in Montpelier will
purge purchase records for customers
if they ask, and it has already
dumped the names of books bought by
its readers' club.
"When the CIA comes and asks what you've
read because they're suspicious of you,
we can't tell them because we don't
have it," store co-owner Michael Katzenberg
said. "That's just a basic right, to
be able to read what you want without
fear that somebody is looking over your
shoulder to see what you're reading."
Funny, considering Ashcroft and Ridge
want you all reading the ready.gov site
right now. Frankly, I'm already reading
that stuff without fear; in fact I'm flat-out
laughing at parts of it.
(Mad props for the link to my homie back
home representing tha Big-T old school.
S to tha hiz-ZAY! No, none of you will
understand any of that since it's meant
to piss off just one specific person.)
This makes no sense at all
I'm watching CNN right now with their
"Breaking News" about that poor girl who's
heart surgery screwed up and now they
have to do it a second time. While, of
course, my sympathy goes out to this girl,
I have absolutely no idea what CNN is
doing right now.
They are currently interviewing.... some
guy. And I can clearly see the microphone
setup below him... yet apparently for
some form of realism or "non-studio" theme,
the entire interview is being done in
some kind of diner. (Perhaps the hospital
cafeteria. But still) This is couple by
the fact that the man, apparently a spokesman,
despite all his heartfelt intentions for
this girl, is completely incomprehensible.
He sounds like, with no offense intended,
Ross Perot with lung cancer after being
shot with an elephant tranquilizer gun.
But now that's all over, because we need
to jump to some podium somewhere else,
whee President Bush is now going to read
a speech behind yet another backdrop labelled
"strengthening America's economy."
Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Well, this one is just weird
Josh Orr wishes to alert me and all other
website owners out there that a handy
Threat Level Warning Monitor is available
for your own page. It's just like the
one at the new Terrorism Readiness site,
except instead of a simple scale it actually
displays the color as the hue of John
Ashcroft's head. Part of me wants the
country to go red just so I can see this
site's icon pop up everywhere.
comic posted - "Thought-free targets
in political commentary."
I'm sure more than one of these will
be recognizable considering the news of
the last few weeks. Read. Enjoy. Vote
if you deem it worthy.
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
Cleaning up after the last bull-feeding
The previous post I made about the spontaneous
campaign on behalf of warbloggers needing
a new excuse this week to justify invading
Iraq needs a hell of a lot more clarification,
since I didn't explain the context of
how I found it mentioned in a thread on
Metafilter the other day. Bits of this
are from previous online argument, so
bear with me if there's a grammar error
or two in my fervent copy-and-paste activity.
The site was noted in the first place
Bennet, who I recognized only because
links from him had turned up in my site
tracker over the last week or so: turns
out it was because he linked to me noting
comments in the No War Blog debate.
listed under the "pro-oppression" bloggers.
Truly, we have an adherence to the civility
and rational discourse propted by the
NWB debate here.
The Campaign for Democracy and Human
Rights in Iraq, as noted in the previous
post, is under the influence of the Foundation
for the Defense of Democracies, which
I'm sure has an inordinately large list
of links to right-wing pro-war think tanks
just as a coincidence. But the blog-centric
source to which this new pro-democracy
campaign holds as its brainchild is that
Esmay, who as the cheif initator of
the linking and orchestrator of its publicity,
has gone beyond the call of duty in proving
himself to be a true and proper purveyor
of a human-rights reform campaign.
Oooooooooooor..... not. Since evidence
has been asked as to the lack of credibility
of this humanitarian campaign,, all that
is really necessary can be found in the
words of Esmay and his corybantic verbal
assaults against any and all who disagree
In a recent
post he exacerbates his outrage at
anyone questioning this country's intentions
of installing democracy in Iraq, even
as posts within this very thread have
noted news reports that question the actual
veracity of fact to that concept. In addition,
he solidifies the true compassion of a
human rights campaign by labeling anyone
who opposes his views as racist, anti-American,
and of course, anti-George W. Bush. He
asks "'Of course, there are those who
say, "I support Iraqi democracy and human
rights, I just oppose the war.' But how
many of them talked about human rights
and democracy in Iraq until now?" apparently
never having heard of, for example, Amnesty
International or NOW,
which have for decades existed for the
sole purpose of defending the rights
of the oppressed. But why would he mention
those organizations, as by opposing the
war, Esmay would have to declare actual,
credible human rights campaigns
as "hateful" and "pro-oppression?"
The idea that "liberating Iraq" is a
necessity out of concern for the Iraqi
people is shattered by the thing that
Esmay's rhetoric fails to provide that
organizations like AI and NOW do: legitimate
compassionate concern. It's beyond fascinating,
now at the point of frightening how such
a vicious little man can be so rabid
and violent in expressing his central
opinion of passionate concern for the
Iraqi people. The rhetoric is tantamount
to psychotic anti-abortion protestors
who scream their love of the millions
of babies they claim to be desperate to
save as they pass off as "God's will"
the most recent domestic terrorist attack
on a clinic or one of its employees. And
through this logic of promoting peace
through hate, Esmay dares to call someone
against a war "hateful:"
You stop with the bullshit you pre-programmed
socialist shithead. You OBVIOUSLY can't
think for yourself. After 8 years of
believing the Clinton Administration,
I can understand your confusion about
LIES versus TRUTH but seriously - it's
time to grow up now.
You want to stop the wholesale slaughter
of Iraqi civilians?
Well then, YOU GIGANTIC SCHMUCK ...
STOP PROTESTING AGAINST THE LIBERATION
OF THE IRAQI CIVILIANS THAT YOU ARE
SO WORRIED ABOUT!
This is the leader of a movement
to instill compassionate concern for people?
(I have recieved e-mails from someone
going by Chris Grealy, by the way, so
if it's the same person I can certainly
vouch that he doesn't deserve treatment
with that level of vitriol. Of course,
for that matter neither do numerous convicted
The rhetoric that Esmay's site, and his
campaign to promote democracy by labelling
all opposition as anti-democratic, and
a sampling of sites that have rapidly
attached to it, has been spun to the exact
opposite of the bloodlust that is blatant
in the tone of dialogue they present:
they are feigning a "human rights" campaign
to use the invasion of Iraq as a reason
to liberate the Iraqi people because what
they truly desire is to use the liberation
of the Iraqi people as an excuse to invade
Iraq. The fact that they are so obviously
manipulating this logic is the greatest
sign that they know damn well they're
Esmay and the CDHR are pushing an illegitimate
cause that fractures legitimate ones like
Amnesty International. There is no doubt
that out there, deep down, there are people
who rationally believe in a military assault
as a means of liberating the Iraqi people,
and I hope that the debate on the No War
Blog brought some of those views to light.
But there is also no doubt that 99% of
the people supporting this "movement"
of Esmay's are suddenly touting the need
to free the poor oppressed people of Iraq
only because they can't use last week's
excuse about the goddamn aluminum tubes
Just like those pathetic little orange
icons on CNN and Fox News reminding us
that there's an "advanced terror mood
ring warning" or whatever the hell, those
link-GIFs are going to disappear as soon
as everyone gets bored and finds some
new activity to instill war-promoting
anger and fear into the country. And just
like the Afghani women we exploited to
bomb someone and make ourselves happy
(Afghani women who, years before the September
11th attacks were highlighted by NOW of
the oppression they had to endure, but
again, I'm sure that's not relevant to
the warbloggers,) the people of Iraq are
still going to be impoverished and oppressed
when the U.S. gets bored of making good
military PR. Why? Because on the long
list of things the United States has on
its Iraq shopping list, actually giving
a shit what happens to its citizens is
right near the bottom, and there's no
precedent in this current administration,
or for that matter the former, to prove
otherwise. Kuwait? Iran? Kosovo? There
is a difference between an improvement
and a success, and I don't see anyone
on the pro-war side admitting the that
the most a massive civilian-casualty-laden
bombing campaign will produce is "an improvement."
This campaign is simply a lie, which
is a thousand times worse than this being
"just about oil." The rabid "who cares,
it's hapening no matter what" war hawks
care just about that- it happening no
matter what. They don't want to free the
Iraqi people. They want to go to war so
they can tell us all they told us so.
Nothing more, and it certainly can't be
Of course the people don't want
war... But after all, it is the leaders
of the country who determine the policy,
and it's always a simple matter to drag
the people along whether it's a democracy,
a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament,
or a communist dictatorship... Voice
or no voice, the people can always be
brought to the bidding of the leaders.
That is easy. All you have to do is
tell them they are being attacked, and
denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism,
and exposing the country to greater
danger. It works the same way in any
For those of you who, according to Tom
Ridge, forgot that the principal problem
with the country prior to the War on Terrorism
was, of course, the alleged "lack of communication"
between major government branches, you'll
be pleased to know just how much the president
and his cabinet have orchestrated their
rhetoric. After a long weekend wait, we
W. Bush's true feelings about the
massive global protests held on Saturday.
As we all expected, it is the views of
the president that a massive opposing
opinion uttered by a significant portion
of the electorate has, of course, no bearing
on his personal individual beliefs (the
true bearing of our appoinment of elected
officials, you understand):
President Bush declared on Tuesday
that he wouldn't be deterred by global
protests against war with Iraq, saying
"I respectfully disagree" with those
who doubt that Saddam Hussein is a threat
He said such a war remains a final
resort, but "the risk of doing nothing
is even a worse option as far as I'm
Amid heavy opposition at the United
Nations and protests around the world,
the Bush administration faced a decision
whether to push ahead with Britain for
a new Security Council resolution to
support war to disarm Iraq.
Bush said that the size of the protests
against a possible U.S.-led war against
Iraq was irrelevant.
"Size of protest, it's like deciding,
'Well I'm going to decide policy based
up on a focus group.' The role of
a leader is to decide policy based upon
the security - in this case - security
of the people."
Okay, time to carve the president a new
one. Let the record now show that George
W. Bush thinks that treating a few million
people as a focus group should have no
bearing on reflecting the mood of the
country. I mean, that's something that
should only be saved for telling
everyone to buy duct tape.
Last Friday, the five-stage alert system
went from the third level of yellow,
"elevated risk," to orange, "high risk."
This past week's jitters, fed by the
release of an audiotape purportedly
by Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden,
helped fuel rumors that the administration
had decided to raise the threat alert
to the highest level--red, or "severe
risk"--for the first time.
"That's gross speculation," said Ridge.
"There has been no discussion among
the people who would be responsible
for making that recommendation to go
from orange to red. That discussion
has not occurred."
Still, rumors circulated in Washington
on Thursday that the Senate would not
convene Friday due to the terrorist
threat. A Senate aide denied the claim.
Kayyem and Camper said Ridge and other
homeland security officials should start
appearing before the public on a more
routine basis, especially after the
threat level is reduced, to offer information
and advice. That would help make their
appearances seem more a normal part
Experts said Americans needed to remember
that the 2-week-old department is charting
unknown waters, at least in the United
"You are seeing very publicly an incredible
learning curve by the government," Kayyem
said. "We don't know how to do this.
We don't have a history of this."
Ridge appeared to acknowledge as much:
"As we roll out the broader communications
strategy, [we] have done quite a bit
of work with professionals around the
country--who include focus groups--as
a way to communicate the message that
really helps people feel empowered and
educated rather than alarmed. And again,
time will tell whether we are successful
or whether we've taken the right approach."
I guess 400,000 people in New York City
wasn't a large enough focus group to communicate
a message that, you know, educated anyone
Humburg sent me this 2000 pre-election
article from Slate noting how Bush decided
to use the exact
opposite argument when addressing
his views on teaching evolution in schools.
Apparently, impact has a higher personal
standard when it's something you feel
like listening to.
Oh, yeah, but... umm.... yeah.
A follow-up to the caring, kind-hearted
warbloggers who this week care for nothing
but the bringing of democracy to the Iraqi
people. Turns out there's a small problem
with their intentions. They face a sudden
disagreement in policy by this pesky fringe
group known as the
United States government, who have
decided that once again, democracy is
great, but military-controlled puppet
regimes supervising cost-recoup efforts
vis-a-vis annexation of "liberated" oil
fields is greater.
The US is abandoning plans to introduce
democracy in Iraq after a war to overthrow
Saddam Hussein, according to Kurdish
leaders who recently met American officials.
The Kurdish leaders are enraged by
an American plan to occupy Iraq but
largely retain the government in Baghdad.
The only changes would be the replacement
of President Saddam and his lieutenants
with senior US military officers.
It undercuts the argument by George
Bush and Tony Blair that war is justified
by the evil nature of the regime in
"Conquerors always call themselves
liberators," said Sami Abdul-Rahman,
deputy prime minister of the Kurdish
administration, in a reference to Mr
Bush's speech last week in which he
said US troops were going to liberate
Of course, if it makes Mr. Abdul-Rahman
feel any better, odds are by the end of
February there'll be an even better albeit
completely different reason to invade the
country, and the fears of continuing the
U.S.'s shining record of beneficial democratic
regime change will fade away.
Monday, February 17, 2003
I hope it didn't look like that when
you fed it to that bull
Kicking out the inspectors was proven
to be a lie. We've proven Saddam isn't
a current or future threat to his neighbors.
And there's still no magical photo of
Saddam and Osama holding hands at Disneyworld
So, it's on to the next excuse for war
to feed in simple soundbites to the press:
war in Iraq is now about defending democracy.
In counter to the unacceptably high (to
the pro-war people, that is) outpour of
protest this weekend, the warbloggers
have started a link ring to suddenly forget
all the other reasons to go to war that
have been proven baseless and come up
with a brand new one!
Forgive the overdose of condescending
sarcasm, but the main problem with this
campaign is just far too blatant: much
as how Clinton's impeachment was "really
about perjury" and the Confederate flag
is "really about Southern heritage," the
idea that people fervently supporting
the bombing of a country because it's
"really about the poor oppressed people
there" leaves the familiar scent of bullshit
when it rolls off the tongue.
I'd love to get some statistics from
all the members of this webring (which
suddenly enveloped after the previous
excuse of an Al-Qaeda link fell dead in
the water) in regards to how many of them
maintained, and continue publicly to express,
their outrage over the horrific oppression
of Afghani women that we used as an excuse
to bomb their country and then not care
Tom Tomorrow did a cartoon
a few months ago about this unique little
trend of circling around to a new excuse
when the old one runs out. All this is
is throwing a new one into the circle.
As soon as more awareness rises to the
hypocrisy of countless other nations'
human rights abuses that the warbloggers
don't seem to care about (including, as
mentioned before, Afghanistan) and the
equal horrors of conflict that the U.S.
plans to inflict on the Iraqi people we've
taken upon ourselves to liberate using
methods such as, for example, launching
600 missiles into the most populous area
of the country, all those cute little
image links are going to disappear as
fast as the lower-left-corner "orange
terror alert" emblems on CNN and Fox News
will when everyone stops buying it.
Saturday, February 15, 2003
The piss off George W. Bush weekend
As the news has already been telling
you, this is the most unexpectedly high
turnout of anti-war demonstrators worldwide
ever. They're saying it's over a million
and a half people in London- the largest
public rally in the country's history,
and in Berlin, they're calling it largest
political rally since the liberation of
Nazi Germany. Roll those concepts through
your head when you consider that this
is for a war that hasn't even started
The city of New York and John Ashcroft
gambled big, and lost even greater, with
their denial of the parade permit for
New York today. In an attempt to stifle
the blatant desire of what we shall now
legally classify as "an assload" of people
from doing that whole thing- what's it
called again- oh, right- "peacably assembling
and petitioning the government for a redress
of grievances-" where do we naive
leftists come up with garbage like that-
the city ended up getting more than it
could handle. Instead of a labelled, guarded
parade route, what the New York Times
is now (albeit reluctantly) confirming
as around 400,000 people choked the entire
Upper East Side to gather around the main
stage of the rally. When my friends from
my dorm and I got there, 3rd, 2nd, and
1st Avenue has already been either completely
closed or cut down to one lane- not by
property damage or barricades, mind you-
but simply by an army of protestors amassing
like moths to a gigantic lightbulb. This
picture here, courtesy of my floormate
Braden, is of 3rd Avenue and somewhere
around 50th street. People were, literally,
parking their cars and getting out.
I didn't witness any arrests or mass
forcefulness of the police, though I later
heard that obviously this happened. On
the whole, both the police and the protestors
seemed somewhat rational- at least in
the scope of "shutting down a entire quadrant
of upper Manhattan versus trying to prevent
one from doing such." One lady even told
a policeman as she walked by him that
he "was doing a good job." This was, likely,
not the same old lady who would later
fall over my friend Javid as a riot patrol
shoved her off the street, but hey, at
least some of New York is friendly.
Life is not without its sense of insanely
illogical coincidence, and as such it
was only slightly amazing to me when,
in the midst of (as mentioned before)
participating in one of the largest public
gatherings of New Yorkers in one unorganized,
somewhat-uncontrolled swarm, I somehow
ended up standing next to Tom Tomorrow
for no logically explicable reason. Here
and Tom in a photo that makes me look
ten times better than the one he has of
me on his
site. As I told him earlier, logic
continues with the obvious outcome that
in the one photo documenting my participation
in one of the most history-making outpourings
of political protest in our nation's history,
I would of course end up having my friggin'
eyes closed. I'd say "oh well, maybe the
next protest," but honestly... the real
point of this one was to try and prevent
the need for another, you know?
Have a yell and scream and piss off
George W. Bush weekend
I'm gonna go with a few friends to the
big protest tomorrow, and considering
the range of options available across
the planet you've nary an excuse not to
yourself. The big issue with NYC has been
the whole issue with the city conveniently
deciding to refuse to grant the protest
organizers a parade permit to march by
the UN. As such, the basic goal for tomorrow
is to get as many people as possible over
there to, of course, collectively ignore
Friday, February 14, 2003
Oh yeah, that Afghanistan
Okay, now that I'm done being a cranky
fart.... for now, it's back to being blindsided
by the stupidity of the Bush administration.
Yes, just for you, just for the weekend,
they've outdone themselves again.
Deep breath and brace yourself:
The United States Congress has stepped
in to find nearly $300m in humanitarian
and reconstruction funds for Afghanistan
after the Bush administration failed to
request any money in the latest budget.
Okay, that was this
article's first sentence. There's
more, of course, but for me, I need not
say any. Only... wow.
Screw you all and screw your stupid holiday.
Now for the heartwarming.
Skye sent me this fantastic website of
Day cards. Not enough? Want more?
Fine. Here's a Salon article for you that
brings light to the fact that the chocolates
you just bought your significant other
likely made with child slave labor.
I am a raging cauldron of anti-Valentine's
Look, I'm sorry. I'll feel better later
on, but Valentine's ay is combined with
the fact that only a day or two ago marked
100 Nights Before Commencment at NYU,
something which, ultimately, I'm not completely
thrilled about. So, I conclude with a
combination of the celebratory events
of both this and Valentine's Day and note
to you all this example of my anger: the
closest I'll be to getting my hands on
some pussy this holiday.
So it's a nasty joke. Piss off.
Thursday, February 13, 2003
Let's talk about bombing Iraq a lot
I'm a participant in the No
War Blog, which recently moved to
the next stage of "The Great Cross-Blog
Debate." The rules of engagement were
and anti-war bloggers collectively assembled
a set of five questions for the other
side, in which NWB participants were then
encouraged to answer on their own sites.
I'll admit that, ultimately, this is
probably futile, since most of these are
so set on our beliefs that we're going
to spit our A-material rhetoric at each
other and declare that we're right, so
there, but I figured I should go for this
anyway, especially since I appear to have
been a significant contributor to one
or two of the questions presented by the
I'll post the questions asked
by the pro-war side and my answers
here, but before I do I'd just like to
add that these are responses to a debate
sponsored by No War Blog, not me. so if
you have commentary or feedback on the
questions, or my response, please, don't
flood my inbox with them. Go visit No
War Blog and its more-than-hospitable
comments section. Thanks.
1. If you were President of the United
States, what would be your policy toward
Iraq over the next year? What advantages
and disadvantages do you see in your proposed
policies versus the current path being
pursued by the Bush administration?
The policies towards Iraq have been ineffective
not just because of President Bush, but
because of the inactions of former President
Clinton as well. The lingering resentment
towards the United States, as well as
the desire for Saddam Hussein to attempt
a solidification of his prestige and power,
is largely fueled by over a decade of
sanctions that, on the whole, could be
argued as ineffective by both sides. Those
for war would argue that Saddam is violating
the sanctions anyway and is using covert
deals and terrorist ties to acquire weapons
and other dangerous banned items, while
those against UN sanctions of Iraq will
point out the estimated half-million lives
that have been lost in Iraq from sickness,
starvation, and general lack of welfare
as a result of basic human necessities
being denied to the Iraqi people.
As far as the Bush policies have gone,
the greatest error has been the removal
of nay idea of a favorable solution for
Saddam Hussein. I find it hard to argue
that any of the U.S.'s rhetoric has suggested
an end to the conflict with Saddam Hussein
still in power. Saddam's lack of compliance
can be tied to the fact that he sees no
positive outcome. There is no way Bush
will accept a plan that disarms Hussein,
verifies his compliance with UN inspections,
and as such removes the sanctions on Iraq.
The advantage of making this an option,
even an unfavorable one, is that it actually
gives incentive to Hussein to care about
what happens. As Bush's plans stand, Saddam
likely sees no reason to be compliant:
the U.S. is coming for him, coming to
remove him, no matter what. As such, why
should he bend over backwards to show
them the few pieces of military equipment
he might have left to defend himself when
the U.S. comes for him?
Finally, the greatest and longest-running
fallacy of the last three U.S. administrations
in regards to Iraq and Middle East stability
is the flat-out blindness to the issue
of Palestinian statehood. There is, and
let us make this perfectly clear, absolutely
no way whatsoever stability will even
reach the Mideast and terrorism will decline
while the Israeli army occupies the West
Bank. George H.W. Bush had the foresight,
and for the matter the luck, to prevent
Israel from going Nova on Iraq during
the first Gulf War. Now, twelve years
later, the tension is at a higher and
more critical boiling point. Sharon is,
whether you like it or not, as dangerous
for the Israeli people as Yassir Arafat
is to the Palestinians.
Whether it requires mandated buffer zones
or flat-out international intervention
of peacekeeping forces, acceptable statehood
much be reached in the West Bank. It will
not happen overnight, and it will not
immediately cease terrorism. The irony
is that we shrug the idea of a statehood
deal now as something that would take
years to actually show an effective in
Mideast policy. To this I simply note:
we could have done this twelve years ago,
and if we did we might not be arguing
the need to invade Iraq a second time.
2. Is there any circumstance that
you can conceive of where the United States
would be justified in using military force
without the support of the UN Security
Council --- or does the UN always have
a veto against US military action for
Ironically, the last time this circumstance
happened was before the UN was created.
The right of the United States to actively
engage in a military assault on another
country without any approval or acceptance
from the rest of the world is in the circumstance
of a flat-out attack on the United States
Many would argue that this indeed happened
on September 11th, 2001. If so, then our
"response" to the foreign invasion force
has been a dismal and complete failure.
after all, we were, essentially, attacked
by a coalition of Saudi invaders led by
a Saudi-born militant leader we have yet
to capture or bring to justice in any
way. Instead, we are over a year later
paying homage to the very "I was under
orders" excuses we reviled during the
Neuremburg Trials in the process of grasping
for an Iraq connection to the actions
of an independent terrorist organization.
To use the now-clichéd analogy, it's as
if a group of Mexicans destroyed an oil
refinery in Texas and we decided a year
later to invade Cuba because we believe
they harbor terrorists.
The argument "does the UN always have
a veto" mentioned in the question gives
way to a glaring hypocrisy, as the United
States has already proven their ability
to exercise veto power in light of a individual
issue. It is unbelievable that the U.S.
is openly claiming that there is now a
"threat to credibility" of the U.N., or
more recently NATO, because, using a procedure
specifically allowed by the organizations
in question, the United States is (gasp!)
not getting what it wants. Meanwhile,
the United States has used its own veto
power on the security council to override
countless resolutions and statements of
rights violations against both the U.S.
So in regards to the question "does the
UN always have a veto against US military
action for whatever reason-" my answer
would have to be yes, if only for the
reason that the U.S. has proven, and demanded,
that the U.S. always have a veto against
UN action. To argue an alternative would
be a true "threat to credibility."
3. American and British military force
has allowed Northern Iraq to develop a
society which, while imperfect, is clearly
a freer and more open society than existed
under Saddam Hussein's direct rule. Do
you agree that the no-fly zones have been
beneficial to Northern Iraq --- and if
so, why should this concept not be extended
to remove Hussein's regime entirely and
spread those freedoms to all Iraqis?
I don't think that's really a fair argument,
because a shift in public recognition
of policy does not mean a "freer and more
open society." The actions of the U.S.
in Iraq in 1991 lessened the chances of,
for example, Iraq invading Kuwaiti oil
fields again, but the phrasing of this
question is akin to the false rhetoric
of the "liberation of Afghanistan." Many
on the pro-war side used a quote similar
to "oh, they play on soccer fields that
used to be used for public hangings."
This ignores the fact that the hangings
still exist; they've simply been moved
and placed under the false pretense of
kangaroo tribunals to make themselves
look good in front of their U.S.-placed
The U.S.S.R. was a "freer and more open
society" under Kruschev than it was under
Stalin; that doesn't mean it was a society
one should take credit for creating. While
the containment of Saddam and the removal
of his ability to engage in spontaneous
warfare against his neighbors is of course
a good thing, the side effects of the
no-fly zones are great, hindering both
the U.S. and Iraq.
The media never mentions that technically
the no-fly policy in Iraq has led to one
of if not the longest military bombing
campaign in global military history; at
numerous points during the last twelve
years we had on a near-weekly basis engaged
in air-to-ground combat with Iraqi forces.
These were attacks that, while killing
civilians and unnecessary non-threatening
infrastructure, also destroyed military
equipment that were of no major threat,
such as radar equipment and short-range
artillery. Aside from the cost in the
U.S.'s defense budget that could have
easily been diverted to a Marshall-style
humanitarian program for the Iraqi people,
it has led to Hussein's desire to research
and acquire more advanced technology to
subvert the very no-fly policies he refused
to agree to in the first place. In effect,
the short-term benefits of the no-fly
zones have been grossly outweighed by
the fact that they partially inspired
Saddam to seek the more advanced weaponry
we now wish to attack him for.
It is not, of course, the only reason,
but you must admit that the constant (what
Saddam what consider) aggression of UN
airstrikes purported by the no-fly zones
are a reason why Saddam might have considered
the diversion of funds from the same entities
towards defensive weaponry.
4. Do you believe an inspection and
sanctions regime is sufficient and capable
of keeping weapons of mass destruction
out of the hands of the Hussein regime
--- and should this be a goal of U.S.
policy? In what way is an inspection/containment/sanctions
regime preferable to invasion? Civilian
casualties? Expense? Geopolitical outcome?
To answer the first question: no. There's
not really any spin to that, I'm afraid.
There is no way the U.S., the UN, or any
other entity can prevent anyone, including
Saddam Hussein, from seeking weapons of
mass destruction. The technological aggression
of North Korea with their covert nuclear
program and the psychotic ingenuity of
Al-Qaeda and its capability of converting
passenger airlines into bombs proves this.
Civilian casualties are a difficult issue
in a standoff like this. The extreme,
of course, is the idea that someone might
actually deploy WMD, in which case the
casualty estimate is both horrific and,
frighteningly, unlimited. On the other
end, an inspection process as an alternative
to military intervention, assuming it
could lead to the containment of threat,
leads to absolutely no casualties of conflict
at all. Using those two extremes, the
argument doesn't really seem to have a
conflict- a path leading to no casualties
is obviously greater than a path leading
to hundreds of thousands. Therefore, in
the realm of inspecting and containing
WMD, the true issue is not over possession,
but rather the likelihood of their use.
The United States has thousands of nuclear
warheads, yet few argue in rational debate
that we would ever spontaneously desire
to use them. We simply have no reason
to. Our current dealings in North Korea
have led the current regime to demand
not an arms race or a military standoff,
but a non-aggression pact. Ideally, no
nation, the U.S. included, should possess
WMD. But the threat of a nation that possesses
one expressing desire to prevent another
from having them is what raises the fear
of the lesser nation to do just that-
acquire the greatest of equalizers.
In the case of Saddam Hussein, it's illogical
using all senses of U.S. intelligence
revealed to us to suggest that Saddam
would suddenly decide, if he had one,
to launch a nuclear missile at the United
States, or at Israel, or at Kuwait, and
so on. The current global scenario indicates
that if Saddam even did such an action
he, and the whole of his country, would
likely be literally vaporized.
The fact is, as mentioned in responses
to earlier questions, that Saddam does
not want to leave power. He does not want
to stop ruling Iraq, and he does not want
to do anything that would threaten his
ability to do so. Currently, the U.S.
stating that they want to prevent Hussein
from doing just that is the greatest incentive
for him to seek WMD as fast as possible.
The geopolitical issue I will link to
my answer to the next question.
5. What, in your opinion, is the source
of national sovereignty? If you believe
it to be the consent of the governed,
should liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein's
regime be U.S. policy? If so, how do you
propose to accomplish this goal absent
military action? (And if in your view
the sovereignty of a state does not derive
from the consent of the governed, then
what is the source of sovereignty?)
The source, and the strength, of sovereignty
is linked to the general desire of the
people coupled with the quality of their
life and desire to have their current
life position changed. I have made this
argument many times in the debate about
the West Bank crisis: the fact that a
majority of Israelis claiming their "right
to exist" has absolutely no relevance
to their actually ability to enforce this
belief. In the United States, the consent
of the majority of Southern state residents
declared the desire to govern themselves;
their claim of a "right to exist" was
unenforceable against the Union army that
disagreed with them.
In other words, the desire of the people,
truly, is second only to the ability of
the people to maintain that desire. In
Iraq, the alleged desire of the people
to be rid of Saddam is second to the issue
of how it must be done: history seems
to be proving that a U.S.-led military
invasion is the only way to go.
The fallacy of this question, however,
is exactly which section of the governed
in Iraq should be construed as the sovereign
goal? In the United States, the Confederate
faction was overpowered by the Union faction;
this situation is exponentially more difficult.
Iraq currently contains at a minimum three
major racial and religious factions, coupled
with extreme fundamentalist groups on
the borders and non-Arabic groups interested
in claming a section of a destabilized
Iraq for themselves. The only way to stave
off a massive conflict with the non-electoral
removal of Saddam Hussein is to leave
a massive U.S.-led military force in the
region. which I defy the pro-war side
to claim is what "the governed" desire
as their source of sovereignty.
Iraq does not just need a powerful force
to enter the region, take over, and tell
them how they need to live and who should
govern them; this has been attempted in
various degrees in the West Bank, in Afghanistan,
and in the Serbian region. All such situations
have led to a temporary ease in violence
followed by a resurgence of resistance
and military fear.
The invasion of Iraq will destabilize
the region, and as such increase conflict
and decrease quality of life (a subject
which can be linked to the violence and
strife in almost any nation at any level
of development) in it's neighboring regions.
The destruction and impoverishment of
Afghanistan in the 1980's led to the takeover
by the Taliban. Economic troubles and
military fear were the primary excuse
of the Nazi party in its eventual takeover
This is, to go back to the West Bank,
one of Arafat's fallacies. In his vision
of a Palestinian state, little has been
mentioned of its infrastructure. What
will the department of transportation
look like? What plumbing methods are intended?
How fast will communications systems be
upgraded? The education system? Cultural
These are issues hardly, if ever, mentioned
by the American media or the government
in regards to Iraq. Instead, CNN and Fox
News have done reports that already emphasize
Iraq as some culturally-devoid entity
that exists in our viewpoints solely for
the one export is possesses: oil. As such,
the only stable post-invasion plans U.S.
groups have mentioned are how they considered
the idea of using oil as "payment" for
the costs of an invasion they have not
even sold to the Iraqi people. Much is
said of the protection of the oil fields,
as it is "the lifeblood" of Iraq. That
sounds very much like an argument that
Iraq is only good to anyone for the oil.
it raises the question as to what the
real source of sovereignty in Iraq is.
the people or what they can provide.
These are, to remind you again, the
people who ran the winning election
Bill Dollinger sent me this text taken
from the RNC Team Leader Alert website
mentioned a few weeks ago around other
Make sure Congress passes President
Bush's fiscally responsible and pro-growth
budget. Tell your Representatives and
Senators how much President Bush's budget
will help 198,000 of Washington, D.C
Tell your Senators and Representatives
how President Bush's budget will help
the people of Washington, D.C by creating
jobs, protecting America, and ensuring
(Bill was quick to point out how the RNC
might want to take a quick survey of the
total number of Senators and Representatives
in Washington D.C.)
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Thank you for not reminding me it's
Valentine's Day Pt. 1
What is WRONG with me? Why the HELL do
I keep eating thse little candy heart
thingies? You just look down and you realize
you're eating another one... and it's
not like you WANT one. I mean, they suck.
They taste like dried toothpaste and would
look like it too if they weren't orange
and had "PAGE ME" written on them. "Page
me?" I swear to god, I should be nibbling
on tabs of Ecstacy. They're probably healthier
than this crap.
I swear. It says "Page me." I'll scan
it if possible later.
comic posted - "Love meets Cubism
in New York City." Oh, believe me,
I'll be even more bitter by Friday.
Busy work day (and preceding night),
so enjoy the funny (or anti-funny, whatever)
and I'll try to give you some more angry
words late tonight or something.
Tuesday, February 11, 2003
Diamond LeGrande sends me a link to a
2000 article by Noam
Chomsky about the U.S. and "NATO's
threat to credibility."
Of course, this means I actually have
to watch the damn ceremony now
Also, as if to add some happy icing on
the cake, the Academny actually noticed
that Japanese people made animated films
this year, and they decided for no reason
whatsoever to nominate Christopher Walken
for one of his least memorable roles ever.
But whatever. With Columbine officially
nominated, I'll embellish my ability to
start whining again. For example, the
fact that they're most likely going to
give Eminem an Oscar. Marshall- we get
it. You're white. Apparently you really
do get a huge frikin' medal.
Ummm... it was supposed to
I actually alerted the WSN editor about
the story that the Dell Kid was busted
for pot the other night. To my defense,
it was actually NYU-related news since
Ben Curtis is actually a fellow student.
I've actually met the guy- hell, Freshman
year before he got the Dell gig I freakin'
ate in the same cafeteria as him.
So, with my Dad over at the New York
Times and the various online outlets providing
me with copy, not to mention that as of
this posting the headline making the front
page of Yahoo! right under revalations
about the Space Shuttle Columbia and NATO,
for Christ's sakes, I've realized that
we've officially made this way more than
we really should have. I'm interested
in it as a local issue; now it's gone
from kinda funny to kinda sad.
It's noteworthy to print my own school
paper's story, because that's really
what it is. It's an NYU story. An NYU
student got busted for having pot. But
outside of that realm- i.e. local and/or
personal- It's not front page news. I
mean, Jesus, people. It's like AP is holding
a stopwatch to see how fast they can destroy
this guy's life.
Monday, February 10, 2003
Today's terror forecast is papal white
I'd like to report to eveyone that it's
Pope is with the terrorists.
(Please, no "like you didn't know that"
I've noticed this recurring
variation of the same idea, and it's
time for it to stop. We can see it, we
can spot it, and we can call on it now.
Will the United States please stop
declaring everything said against is a
"threat to international credibility?"
I'm being whiny here, but seriously,
the logic is pathetic. The United Stetes,
a nation which in the last few years has
demanded exemption from the International
War Crimes Court, has demanded that the
entire world follows it in lockstep or
by default admits to supporting terrorism,
has held a UN Security Council veto gambit
allowing Israel to violate over... what
is it now? 30? 40 UN resolutions?... pulled
internationl funding for various projects,
and, of course, withdrew or abstained
from a few missle treaties one might have
considered slightly important...
is incessantly whining about how France
or Germany disagreeing with them is a
violation of credibility? Please.
I mean, Jesus. NATO is "facing a crisis
of credibility." The U.N. is "Facing a
crisis of credibility." The Venezuelan
government is "facing a crisis of credibility."
Next week: Condy Rice starts calling rival
nations "poopieheads." You know what's
really killing credibility here?
The U.S. throwing these little diplomatic
tantrums every time someone gets this
silly idea that we don't, you know, control
the entire planet.
And justice be done
Salon's got an article up about a story
that I forgot to mention when it first
broke out. Ed Rosenthal is a man who was
recently convicted in Federal Court for
drug charges. He now, as many have already
noted, faces the possibility of more mandatory
time in jail than the average convicted
What makes this story significant is
that Rosenthal was arrested by Federal
authorities after the city of Oakland,
California declared him, under Prop 215,
a legal distributor of medical marijuana.
judge in the federal trial specifically
forbid the jury from being made aware
of this. Because, you know, not like
that little detail was important
or anything. I don't do drugs. I'm not
any kind of rampant supporter of using
them. But this is, without a doubt, a
mockery of justice.
Sunday, February 09, 2003
Bill O'Reilly is the world's most
disgraceful human being and a pathetic
excuse for someone who claims to be a
journalist Pt. 2
Jeez, the title could be longer than
the post. Brian Rea sent me this link
to anyone who is interested in a video
stream of the Bill O'Reilly tantrum.
Saturday, February 08, 2003
Bit of a bog-down yet again this weekend...
for some reason what with it being my
last semester of projects that's going
to be somewhat of a trend. Rubin Hall,
the dorm I live in, had its fire alarm
go off last night at about midnight. Then
it weet off again at about 12:30. And
then again, at 12:45, while the firemen
were still there packing up after arriving
to not have to do anything for the 12:30
malfunction. Then, just to be really clever,
the alarm went off- but only for ten seconds-
just enough to wake everyone in the building
up- at 6:30 and 7:15 AM, respectively.
As such, I have labelled this one of the
worst night's sleep since that time last
summer I suddenly couldn't sleep for 70
straight hours, and have spent most of
the day grogging around stopping only
to consume scrambled eggs before pretending
I'm going to do some work.
Work, however, must commence, such as
the need to very quickly come up with
a comic; likely the subject will involve
how much I dislike Valentine's Day. Maybe
A side thingie though: those of you with
the audacity to have actually bookmarked
this site may want to consider re-bookmarking
it, as if I did it right those of you
with the more up-to-date browsers might
be able to get a little icon of XQUZYPHYR
in your address bar instead of the generic
white thing with the blue thing in it.
If it worked you'll know what I'm talking
about. It's just one of those little things
I do when I'm bored. Beats working; I'm
far too cranky to do that.
Friday, February 07, 2003
Waiter? I'll have a double-order of
It's insane that the UK's evidence of
Iraqi violations being
a plagiarized report is getting little-to-no
press in the U.S. It had a brief mention
on the home pages of a few news sites,
and is now being pushed aside for the
breaking and virtually useless news that
the National Mood Ring has gone to orange.
(Many have also noted the giggle-inducing
element of the major news networks actually
adding a "ORANGE ALERT" icon to the top
of their logos, along with the news scroll
and the current time and weather. As if
to say, "the country's gone orange now.
Better cancel that doctor's appointment.")
Anyhoo, the government is reluctant to
release their statement on what a... ahem...
slightly pragmatic person such
as myself might construe as, you know,
the complete collapse of any credibility
on behalf of the British government, so
I guess, yet again, we'll have to resort
to near-past statements, won't we:
Iraq's declaration even resorted to
unabashed plagiarism, with lengthy passages
of United Nations reports copied word-for-word
(or edited to remove any criticism of
Iraq) and presented as original text.
Far from informing, the declaration
is intended to cloud and confuse the
true picture of Iraq's arsenal. It is
a reflection of the regime's well-earned
reputation for dishonesty and constitutes
a material breach of United Nations
Security Council Resolution 1441, which
set up the current inspections program.
Well, I trust Condoleeza
Rice on matters like that. Shall we
start the bombing? (Thanks for the link
to a handful of people over at MetaFilter)
Update: Argh. Well, not only did
I copmpletely miss the fact that Atrios,
like anything else remotely important,
already had this one, he actually the
same smarmy comment I did. I suck.
Oh, yeah. That thing.
I haven't said much about Colin Powell's
report to the U.N. because most of the
internet and media community has covered
it in ways that I agree. My general comment
on the report is that obviously it was
worth a significant portion of Colin Powell's
grade, as he really put that "A+ instead
of an A" effort into the visual presentation.
Tony in the back, however, is going to
get in a lot of trouble this week though
since Teacher caught him copying someone
else's notes. Ooooooooooooooh! Someone's
In a media opinion sense, Powell handled
the report masterfully. Basically, anyone
who wanted to go to war with Iraq heard
everything they needed to hear, while
everyone against the war realized that,
honestly, most of Powell's evidence raised
even more questions than we had before,
Conason raised in example the other
There was quite a lot of other pertinent
information missing from Powell's address.
It is hard to listen to him talk about
Saddam's violations of human rights
and his gassing of the Kurds, without
wondering why those events didn't bother
the Reagan and Bush administrations
when they were actually occurring. (It's
easier to understand why he omitted
any reference to the American role in
arming Iraq and the subsequent coverup
under his old boss, the president's
What was most noticeably absent from
Powell's presentation, however, was
any evidence that Iraq is a present
threat to its neighbors or any other
nation -- and thus must be invaded and
subdued immediately. He showed that
Saddam has sought an arsenal of mass
destruction, and that his regime is
still resisting disarmament. But he
inadvertently made some arguments for
continued inspections backed by force,
rather than war.
"This effort to hide things from the
inspectors is not one or two isolated
events, quite the contrary," he said.
"This is part and parcel of a policy
of evasion and deception that goes back
12 years, a policy set at the highest
levels of the Iraqi regime." No doubt
true -- and yet the U.N. inspection
team between 1991 and 1998 destroyed
tens of thousands of tons of chemical
and biological weapons, prohibited missiles
and the Iraqi nuclear program in its
entirety, despite Saddam's duplicity.
What the inspectors are now trying to
find is a small fraction of what their
predecessors found and neutralized.
Powell also pointed to the documents
found by inspectors in the home of an
Iraqi nuclear scientist, an achievement
he attributed to "intelligence they
were provided." If sharing U.S. intelligence
with the inspectors can locate documents
in a private home, why not continue
with that process?
His presentation about links between
Iraq and al-Qaida included a satellite
photograph described as a "terrorist
camp" in northern Iraq where operatives
are trained in the use of poisons. "You
see a picture of this camp," he said.
"The network is teaching its operatives
how to produce ricin and other poisons
... Those helping to run this camp are
Zarqawi lieutenants operating in northern
Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein's
controlled Iraq. But Baghdad has an
agent in the most senior levels of the
radical organization, Ansar al-Islam,
that controls this corner of Iraq."
If the United States firmly believes
that its satellites have located an
al-Qaida training camp in northern Iraq,
why haven't our bombers, jets and missiles
destroyed it already? On the ground,
northern Iraq is friendly Kurdish territory,
and the U.S. and its allies control
Nothing Powell said proved that war
is necessary now. He didn't justify
the potential deaths of thousands of
people and the unforeseeable dangers
of an invasion by the U.S. and its coalition.
He didn't convince the Security Council
to change course in support of immediate
war. What he did prove is that inspections
ought to continue and intensify -- and
if Iraq tries to frustrate them as the
regime did in 1998, there will still
be plenty of time for military action.
This is the major logical flaw that the
administration has been avoiding... the
complete lack of evidence supporting such
a drastic change in time frame. How is
it that for eleven years (or seven, technically,
if you want to factor just the time of
inspections) we posed no serious worry
or fear of the ability of Saddam Hussein
to inflict damage on the world, opting
for a steady, and effective, policy of
inspecting, locating, and disposing of
his arsenal, and now suddenly require
the Iraqi regime to do more in Bush's
timeframe of three months than a complacent
U.N. actively did in seven years? The
first answer, of course, will be to blame
September 11, 2001. But even more spin-worthy,
(of course,) will be to blame the Clinton
To solidify the strength of the Republican
Party, and to set in stone the "look what
Bushes can do that Clintons can't" legacy,
Bush is going to need his war, and I think
yet again Get
Donkey! put the obvious truth in front
of us already:
Alas, it really doesn't matter anyway.
My questions and those of who knows
how many others will go unanswered.
This Administration doesn't feel the
need to answer to anyone. This decision
was made long before the first "No Iraq
War" sign was ever painted and long
before the President told us he was
a peaceful man. No debating, no poll
numbers, and no hundreds of thousands
of demonstrators are going to do anything
to change it.
As much as it pains me to think of
the soldiers who may die, or how many
Iraqi citizens may perish under the
hail of bombs, I must admit that I am
hopelessly resigned to this war. This
war is going to happen, and there is
nothing I or anyone else can do about
it. Why bother arguing about it anymore?
I think this may be a strategy of this
administration. It's a trick propogandists
have long employed. Repeat something
enough. Beat it into the ground enough.
Shout about "undeniable patterns of
behavior", "strong circumstantial evidence",
"Weapons of Mass Destruction", "evil"
enough, and people either will jump
on board or will just start to become
apathetic and tune it out. That's where
I find myself now. I am in full tune-out
mode. I don't know why I even tried
to watch Powell's speech today. Somewhere
in my gut, of all places, I knew what
he was going to say before he even pulled
out that vial or put up his slides.
I just hope this damn thing is quick
and as bloodless as possible. I hope
our soldiers have an easy time of it
and come home alive. I hope few innocents
have to die. I hope the economy doesn't
suffer more than it already has. I hope
that armies of new terrorists are not
born from a protracted US occupation
of the cradle of civilization.
Of course, the profane side of me,
the part I don't want to listen to,
harbors a dark thought that a botched
war will surely taint this Administration.
It's an awful and sickening thing to
contemplate, but it's there, and the
reason why it's there is because I fear
it may be the only way people will wake
up. Hardship may be the only thing that
will slap the arrogant smirk off the
faces of power-hungry hawks. It may
be the only thing that makes some realize
that "from one's gut" is not the best
way to run the greatest and most powerful
nation in the history of the world.
It may be the only thing that makes
some realize that partiotism means more
than a flag-shaped lapel pin. Sadly,
it may be the only thing to shake many
of us out of our apathy.
Today's lesson in taste - sponsored
by Reuters News Service
Screenshot taken from Yahoo! News.
Thursday, February 06, 2003
Bill O'Reilly is the world's most
disgraceful human being and a pathetic
excuse for someone who claims to be a
Well. Forgive me for not finding a clever
title this time, okay? Tom Tomorrow put
up a transcript yesterday of a "conversation"
Bill O'Reilly had on his show with Jeremy
Glick, a founder of Not in Our Name. Live,
and on-air, O'Reilly approached his disagreement
with Glick, whose father was killed in
the September 11th attacks, and his opinions
that his father would not have wanted
to be killed to persue a military agenda,
by screaming at Glick to shut up before
openly demanding that his mic be cut off.
First, the obvious that this post title
already implied. Were Fox News a credible
news channel, and were he actually be
compared to the profession of people such
as Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite
as an actual television journalist and
not a mere talk show host, Bill O'Reilly
would be out of a job this morning. Actual
newscasters actually have to act
"fair and balanced," unlike O'Reilly who
simply gets to say he does. By allowing
this, the most erroneous example of disgraceful
televised journalism- actually berating
and condemning an interview subject- and
not ever giving it a passing thought,
Fox News has officially endorsed their
categorization of O'Reilly- this man is
not comparable to Dan Rather. He's comparable
to Ricki Lake. The only difference is
the time slot and the lack of a live audience
of inbred rednecks hooting at the prospect
of giving today's guest a celebrity makeover.
The professionalism, and the quality,
of the host is identical. To be honest,
I'm fine with that. I just want O'Reilly's
fans to be aware of that as well.
Second, a lot of people, for example
Hamster, have made their opinions
about this, and provided their links to
commentary and evidence of O'Reilly's
outright hypocrisy. I, for one, will stick
to this one quote I heard a while ago.
It, like Glick's interview, is a statement
of a victim of terrorism about the reponse
to such a violent act against someone
in their family:
Revenge would be easy, but it is far
more valuable in my opinion to address
this problem of terrorism with enough
honesty to question our own responsibility
as nations and as individuals for the
rise of terrorism. My own courage arises
from two facts. One is that throughout
this ordeal I have been surrounded by
people of amazing value. This helps
me trust that humanism ultimately will
prevail. My other hope now--in my seventh
month of pregnancy--is that I will be
able to tell our son that his father
carried the flag to end terrorism, raising
an unprecedented demand among people
from all countries not for revenge but
for the values we all share: love, compassion,
friendship and citizenship far transcending
the so-called clash of civilizations.
That quote is from a statement by Mariane
Pearl, a mere few days after being made
aware that her husband Daniel, a Wall
St. Journal reporter, had been kidnapped
and killed by terrorists.
And unless Bill O'Reilly decides to start
saying that she has a "warped view of
the world and the country," he is forever
a hypocrite, and forever a disgrace to
the institution of legitimate social inquiry.
Update: a couple of readers have
been asking if there is video of the transcript
available somewhere. Sadly, I doubt it,
since I don't think Fox News is too interested
right now in loaning that out to other
networks for evidence in a discussion
about the lack of credibility of their
biggest star. Nevertheless, if anyone
knows of a video of the Glick berating,
please feel free to inform.
Second Update: No video, but Cursor
has a link to an audio file here.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
- "Well, fine. I'll
Eh, it's sort of a self-explanatory one.
Lots of words, since everyone knows how
much people love those in comics.
No one took the initative to use "the
line," so I settled my own bet. Either
way, go enjoy the funny.
Tuesday, February 04, 2003
Mmmm, that's some tasty tinfoil
Umm, I'll take "conflict of interest"
for a few million there, Alex:
former conservative radio talk-show
host and now Republican U.S. Senator
Chuck Hagel was the head of, and
continues to own part interest in, the
company that owns the company that installed,
programmed, and largely ran the voting
machines that were used by most
of the citizens of Nebraska.
Back when Hagel first ran there for
the U.S. Senate in 1996, his company's
computer-controlled voting machines
showed he'd won stunning upsets in both
the primaries and the general election.
The Washington Post (1/13/1997) said
Hagel's "Senate victory against an incumbent
Democratic governor was the major Republican
upset in the November election."
Six years later Hagel ran again, this
time against Democrat Charlie Matulka
in 2002, and won in a landslide. As
his hagel.senate.gov website says, Hagel
"was re-elected to his second term in
the United States Senate on November
5, 2002 with 83% of the vote. That represents
the biggest political victory in the
history of Nebraska."
What Hagel's website fails to disclose
is that about 80 percent of those
votes were counted by computer-controlled
voting machines put in place by the
company affiliated with Hagel. Built
by that company. Programmed by that
Charlie Matulka had requested a hand
count of the vote in the election he
lost to Hagel. He just learned his request
was denied because, he said, Nebraska
has a just-passed law that prohibits
government-employee election workers
from looking at the ballots, even in
a recount. The only machines permitted
to count votes in Nebraska, he said,
are those made and programmed by the
corporation formerly run by Hagel.
The full article is here.
I look rather good in a pointy aluminum
Now that's how to run a news
An exceptional post from Get
Donkey! which I shall take the liberty
of reprinting below. Frankly, it's too
good to not paraphrase at all, and even
further... too... good... grammar lessons!
to cut up. So here it is:
From an MSNBC.com article about the
Orrin Hatch's push to confirm all of
Bush's judicial appointees as fast as
Tapia countered that Hatch was trying
to be responsive to Democrats' concerns
but believed it was necessary to move
quickly because Bush's nominees had
been waiting so long.
"We hope that there will be no further
delays and obstructionist gimmicks,"
Seeking to get around time-honored
tactics senators use to hold up controversial
appointments, Hatch has changed the
rules that allowed a single senator
to block a nominee from his or her
own state, a procedure Democrats used
during Leahy's chairmanship to stall
candidates in the first two years
of the Bush administration.
Previously, both home-state senators
had to submit blue slips of paper
signaling their approval for a nominee
to come before the Judiciary Committee.
Hatch said earlier this month that
so-called "negative blue slips" would
only be given "great weight" from
now on and would not be considered
Of course the article fails to mention
that the rule that allows a single senator
to blue slip a nominee was reinstated
Hatch himself during the Clinton
Administration (UPD. In 1994 Hatch required
two "positive" blue-slips to move the
nomination forward, so having one "negative"
blue slip would block the nomination)
so Republicans could more easily block
President Clinton's nominees. Orrin
Hatch is a f|<'n hypocrite, pure and
simple. And shame on MSNBC.com's Alex
Johnson for making the single-vote rule
seem to be a Democratic invention to
block President Bush's nominees.
Monday, February 03, 2003
A perspective lesson from Thad Boyd,
in regards to last Tuesday's Rall/Hellman
Your comments about Rall and Hellman
making you ashamed to be a cartoonist
have resonated with me, even though
I've a vastly different discipline --
this is a hard week to be an engineering
I suppose that if it's any consolation,
at least when cartoonists make public
asses of themselves, nobody gets incinerated.
Well, that just about covers it
post here pretty much ends the conversation
for me on the Texas Tech science professor
Atrios, and I'm sure many others like
MWO and the other biggies, are making
their morning posts now about filibustering
the rammed-through nomination of conservative
judge Miguel Estrada to the Federal bench.
To which I say with two years now of Bush
administration experience behind me...
Look, I hate Bush. I hate most of the
psychoic vengeful Republicans in the Senate
right now. I am worried, beyond all sense
of security, that Estrada has a personal
agenda to further a conservative judicial
policy which, according to most opinion
polls in the country, generally contrasts
the true desire of the nation. That said,
do you all really think the Democrats
are going to do anything about it? Why?
Did the magic pixy dust suddenly wear
off or something?
Even when the Democrats were in control
of the Senate, you may have noticed that
this is one of the most complacent governments
in recent history. The Democrats have
not publicly and openly filibustered anything
in two years, and likewise Bush hasn't
vetoed a single bill that's come to his
desk. The biggest move Daschle made when
in control was to block the nomination
of Charles Pickering- who Bush has now
re-nominated. I don't think a lot of you
are willing to bet money that he's going
to go down again, and you all know it.
I would be thrilled if Estrada doesn't
get placed on the bench. But I would have
been thrilled if John Ashcroft never became
Attorney General, if the Democrats didn't
vote for a massive tax cut, the Patriot
Act, the "War on Terrorism," military
action against Iraq, and so on and so
on. I'm glad Atrios and others have this
optimism, but I'm not optimistic, I'm
insulted. I shouldn't have to remind my
own party leaders what I stand for...
they should be working for me.
I'm not trying to come off as some raving-liberal
Naderite here, but I'm really sick of
the Left mounting these futile campaigns
to get the Moderates we're claiming to
represent us to notice us. They haven't,
and they won't. I am completely against
the nomination of Miguel Esrada, but I
have better things to do today than be
ignored by my senator a twentieth time
Oh dear lord not something about the
A reader sent me this
story, and I promise, the funny line
in it is the only reason I'm talking about
the freakin' Raelean baby. I don't want
to talk about it, because I don't think
anyone should be talking about
it. I don't get how there are still four
or five major news and media corporations
in this country that still choose to do
stories about these people. A cult claims
to have a cloned child- I'm sorry, I believe
they're up to two now- and after several
weeks, they refuse in any way whatsoever
to prove this. You know what that means?
You stop reporting about it because
you don't have anything new. I mean,
Jesus! It's not like the cult had an affair
with an intern that turned up dead. Now
that's an eight-month news cycle.
Really. Anyway, the article:
The baby girl alleged to be the first
human clone is in hiding with her parents
in Israel for fear that U.S. authorities
would separate them, an Israeli spokesman
for the religious sect behind the cloning
claims said Thursday.
Clonaid chief Brigitte Boisselier has
said the baby was cloned from an American
woman, who remains unidentified. On
Wednesday, she testified in a Florida
court that the baby exists and is now
The religious sect behind Clonaid,
a group called the Raelians, believes
life on Earth was created by space aliens.
The Israeli spokesman for the group,
Kobi Drori, said Thursday that the baby
was brought to Israel because the parents
were Jewish and thus had automatic rights
to arrive and even seek immediate citizenship
Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman
Tova Elinson said she had no information
on the claims, and without a name "there
is no way to check."
Health Ministry spokesman Ido Hedari
depanned that while cloning is illegal
in Israel, airport authorities don't
ask arrivals whether they were cloned
Saturday, February 01, 2003
And speaking of a modicum of tact
The same Creator who names the stars
also knows the names of the seven souls
we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle
Columbia did not return safely to Earth;
yet we can pray that all are safely home.
May God bless the grieving families,
and may God continue to bless America.
Said President Bush, apparently forgetting
the 28% of the crew that wasn't born in
the United States, or for that matter
Granted this is nitpicking, especially
at such a tragic time. But considering
our current leader's position as the representative
of the diversity of cultures of this fateful
mission, plus his unavoidable tendency
to invoke his personal Lord and Savior
every time he opens his mouth without
thinking about such, not to mention the
overwhelming coverage of mourning in the
homes of the Israeli and Indian-born astronauts-
two nations that are prominent for the
diversity and devotion to the multiple
variations of their dominant faiths (including
such dominant versions that, you know,
don't even believe in the Western
God and/or the concept of Heaven itself,)
it's sort of a nit too big to avoid picking.
Maybe I'm just upset by the day's events,
but it just seemed like Bush could have
easily stopped before the last few passages
statement and still reassured the
world without reminding us how much he
really, really loves Jesus Christ.
Though they haven't announced it yet,
simply what I'm seeing on TV right now
is pretty much a giveaway that we just
lost the shuttle Columbia and its entire
crew. It's even more terribly tragic that
only three days ago was the anniversary
of the Challenger explosion.
One of the astronauts is (was) the first
Israeli in space, and because of that,
especially here on the local stations
in New York, they've been highlighting
the security issue and downplaying the
idea that this was terrorism-related.
Yes, it's fundamentally impossible for
this to be somehow a result of terrorist
actions, but I'm sure a lot of people
are having 9/11 flashbacks. Either way,
it really doesn't matter. This is tragic,
Update: This is ridiculous. There
hasn't even been a press conference yet,
and NASA's own web site has already added
the deaths of the Columbia astronauts
as a statistic to the shuttle's timeline.
They're not doing a very good job right
now of alerting the world to the blatantly
obvious with even a modicum of tact.