Friday, June 29, 2007

Jonah and the Wail

Let me get this straight: a foiled terrorist bombing is the same as a successful terrorist bombing—only worse?
Anyway, the irony is that from a policy standpoint, it seems to me that security officials have to view things like the failed London bombing as basically no different than a successful bombing. But because the bombing failed, the policy options to security officials are far narrower precisely because the bombing failed and therefore didn't rouse the sort of political reaction it might otherwise have.
Yes, if only...

The real irony is that Jonah titled his post "Dogs That Don't Bark" when he clearly should have called it "That Dog Don't Hunt".

Sound Familiar?

Hungry victims of monsoon-spawned floods rioted Friday, protesting slow, meager aid reaching their marooned villages....

Military helicopters continued to drop relief supplies, but many of the more than 800,000 people hit by monsoon flooding in southwest Pakistan appeared to have received little or nothing.
Yes, George Bush's vaunted emergency preparedness apparatus is about as good as Pakistan's. Do you feel safer now?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sullivan's Self-Delusion

Andrew Sullivan believes in nuance when it comes to the term "conservative." In fact, his definition is so supple as to exclude the vast majority of the war-mongering, Coulter-supporting, Jesus-freaking, Limbaugh-loving knuckleheads who make up the Republican Party.

Fair enough, I suppose. If he wants to live in rarefied air of Oakeshott and Burke, that's his deal. He just shouldn't fool himself into thinking he has much company.

You might think that a pundit who has written a whole book devoted to teasing out the complexities of conservatism would at least attempt to give similar consideration to liberalism.

You would be wrong.

Here's what Mr. Sullivan has to say about liberals. They are not fascists, he kindly allows, but:
They engage in a subtler form of well-meant self-delusion, one that tends to inhibit human freedom at best and create statist nightmares at worst.
I find this odd. Out of context, I would have assumed Sullivan was talking about conservatives generally and himself specifically. It is, after all, the "well-meant" support of people like Sullivan that gave us George W. Bush in 2000 and failed to deliver us from him in 2004.

Let's be clear: Sullivan knew who Dick Cheney was in 2000; he knew who George Bush was, too. Anyone with a pair of eyes and a functioning bullshit detector knew all too well what they were about. Maybe he didn't know the extent to which they would betray the country, but us "liberals" sure were screaming about it way back then. Turns out we were right and guys like Sullivan were the victims of a "self-delusion" that cost us our values, our freedoms, our reputation and way too many of our soldiers.

I would like to know, as we stand in the ruins of Bush/Cheney America and look across the world to the smoldering wastes of Iraq, how Sullivan could possibly accuse liberals of inhibiting human freedom and creating statist nightmares. Does he really take his readers for such a pack of morons? Or is it that self-delusion again...?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chickens. Home. Roost.

In two partisan 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court has decided that the First Amendment applies to mega-corporations and special interest groups—but not to ordinary teenagers. Hooray! Can you guess which side second-term Bush appointments Roberts and Alito were on?

But then, that's what we get for electing an empty vessel as president—twice. Oh, that and a tragic, unwinnable farce of a war; massive deficits; an out-of-control, unaccountable executive branch and a wholesale rollback of American values and freedom.

Monday, June 25, 2007

With Friends Like These...

According to the Associated Press, U.S. and NATO forces have killed 203 Afghan civilians so far this year. The Taliban have killed 178.

Not exactly what you'd call "winning hearts and minds".

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Separated at Birth?

Have you ever noticed how Kathy Griffin is slowly morphing into Brian Eno circa 1973? I have.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gimme Some Loving

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Loving vs. Virginia that legalized interracial marriage over the protests of more than a dozen states that had anti-miscegenation laws.

It's hard to believe that interracial marriage was actually illegal in some parts of this country (guess which parts!) as late as 1967, but bigotry can be a very powerful force—especially when it's buttressed by religion. Here's Judge Leon Bazile upholding his original ruling against the Lovings in a 1965 decision:
Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. ... The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.
Praise Jesus! Funny, though, that the same god who wanted the races kept apart was enthusiastically in favor of white people relocating to the red man's continent and bringing a few million black slaves in tow. Mysterious ways, I guess.

An anniversary like this one is a good opportunity to see how far we've come, not to mention how far we have left to go. I wonder how long until we'll be marking the 40th anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage. Will it be 45 years, or 50? Maybe 80 years?

The same bigoted Christianity that gave cover to those who would deny the love between two people of different races is now what stands between homosexuals and equal rights in this country. Every 'religious' argument against gay marriage is but an echo of Judge Bazile's disgraceful justification of racism and intolerance.

One day, we will be embarrassed for the things we said and thought. Will that day be sooner or later?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Unintentionally Hilarious Headline of the Day

From our friends at the AP:
Judge freezes congressman's assets
Nice try, Judge, but William Jefferson's way ahead of you. He was arrested, after all, when police found over $90,000 in cash stuffed in his freezer.

Neoconspiracy Theory

A casual observer of the breathtakingly incompetent Bush administration might wonder if they're deliberately trying to revive the Cold War between the U.S. and the World's Only True Democratic Republic of Mother Russia.

I say, maybe they are. After all, these Bush administration neoconservative "intellectuals" are just old Cold Warriors who slapped a new coat of paint on their teetering dominos when the bogeyman switched quite abruptly from Ruskies to A-rabs.

Now all their hopes and dreams lie in tatters, having been horribly mutilated under the inevitable crush of Iraq's collapse. What better way to get that old blood flowing again than to dust off their outmoded theories and put them to use against the enemy they were actually intended for?

It won't be that bad. After a good half-decade of terror scare tactics, 'duck and cover' comes naturally.

Diplomatic Understatement of the Day

A headline from Voice of America about the administration's reaction to the fact that those super-keen negotiations with North Korea may not have actually gone that well after all:
White House Says North Korea Missile Test 'Not Constructive'
West Wing officials went on to say that suicide bombings were "not conducive" to providing safety and security in Iraq.

Vice President Cheney is said to be "slightly miffed" about the whole situation.

Soul II Soul

A headline we should be reading:
Bush Looks Into Putin's Soul, Sees Own Reflection
Too bad Putin already used the "I am the world's only true democrat" line. That sets about the right tone.

Quote of a Few Weeks Back

Andrew Sullivan lifts a garbled nugget from Christopher Hitchens' Hannity & Colmes appearance on the occasion of Rev. Jerry's passing:
If you give Falwell an enema you could bury him in a matchbox.
Well, you know what they say about big asses.

Quote of the Day

The physical design of these things is incredible — heroically ugly, radiating un-fun like a potato studded with razor-blade splinters.
Boing Boing expounds on the wretched glory that was Soviet arcade game design. Click the link to have a look.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Stupid Bumper Sticker Watch

I saw a minivan the other day sporting the following bumper sticker:
True Love Waits For Marriage
Now, I know that the sticker intends to make a smug commentary on the value of sexual abstinence until marriage, but in point of fact it does no such thing.

It is actually either a defense of arranged marriage or of marriage between two people who kinda sorta maybe like each other. True love, you see, can't (or shouldn't) develop until after marriage.

This is why you shouldn't try to encapsulate a political or moral philosophy on a 3x12 sheet of sticky vinyl.

Gunliness Is Next to Godliness

Talking Points Memo notes a movement among conservative Catholics to oppose Rudy Giuliani's candidacy for president.

A Michigan group aptly named Conservative Declaration blasted the ex-Hizzoner for being an "unacceptable Republican nominee" on these grounds:
He is pro-abortion, pro-partial birth abortion, pro-registration of handguns, and pro-homosexual rights.
Hmm. Which one doesn't belong? The Bible certainly has a thing or two to say about the abomination of homosexuality and one could reasonably argue that Jesus would be against abortion (if one could reasonably argue anything about Jesus's attitudes, that is). But I must have missed that part of Leviticus where God says thou shalt not permitteth the registration of handguns.

I'll bet you dollars to donuts that Conservative Declaration's motto is "praise the lord and pass the ammunition."
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