Wednesday, February 28, 2007

'Under'whelmed

Number 1 on the list of things I did not need to know:
Film queen Dame Helen Mirren has admitted she didn't wear undies at the Oscars.
It's times like these when you wish those amnesia rays from Men in Black were real. Alas.

I can say this: it's the best company Britney's been in for a long, long time.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Why I'm Joining the GOP

I've spent a lot of time second-guessing the president and therefore, by definition, giving aid and comfort to the enemy—both terrorist and Democrat alike. I've made fun of Bush's inability to say "nuclear"; I even laughed when Cheney shot that old guy in the face. It seemed to me like these guys were dragging America down a road to ruin, making a mockery of everything that makes this country great.

Boy, was I dumb!

I've only just realized that the problem all along wasn't the Bush administration; it was me. I just didn't grasp the boldness of the president's vision. It took yesterday's U.S. Court of Appeals decision to jolt me out of my stupor.

The court upheld the Bush administration's decision to abolish habeas corpus and to make it so that no detainee at Guantanamo can challenge his detention in court. To some, that might seem antithetical to American values. Kafkaesque, even.

But George Bush is doing this because he loves us and wants to protect us. On Sept. 20, 2001, he declared that we were attacked by terrorists because "they hate our freedoms." What better way to prevent further attacks than to target this hatred at the source?

By taking away our freedoms, the president has undermined the terrorists' cause and has undoubtedly saved countless American lives. No more freedoms, no more terrorism. Presto! That takes a level of genius and courage that you simply can't find among the charlatans on the other side of the aisle who "respect" the "Constitution" and believe in things like "civil liberties".

And that's why I'm joining the Republican Party. I already see the Romney '08 campaign in a whole new light.

And Now for the Good News...

The Bush administration has greeted the news of a British withdrawal from Iraq as a "positive sign".

They also staunchly denied that their vaunted coalition was crumbling. Its appeal, to borrow a phrase from Ian Faith, is merely becoming more selective.

A Stopped Clock

Some welcome sanity from, of all places, Instapundit.

Note: My post title is not meant to be taken literally. I would certainly never accuse Glenn of being right two times a day.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Triumph of the Therapeutic

I borrow my title from culture critic Philip Rieff who argued in his 1965 book of the same name, if I may vastly oversimplify, that the rise of the Freudian therapeutic ethos marks the end of a culture in which authority rests in a system of shared beliefs and experiences.

What Rieff just doesn't get is how awesome the therapeutic culture can be! Just look at all the things that therapy can do. It can cure you of alcohol-related antisemitism and stupidity-related outbursts of public racism. It can even cure you of booze-fueled sexual predation and wanton abuse of public elected office.

Amazingly, therapy can cover all the angles. It can cure you of homophobia and using the "f-word" at the Golden Globes, but it can also cure you of the scourge of homosexuality! In only four weeks of intensive therapy, for example, it was discovered that Ted Haggard is "completely heterosexual" and his years of drug-fueled sex romps with a gay prostitute were merely "acting-out situations". I'm sure most completely heterosexual men can relate.

While Haggard's story is impressive, it doesn't show the full, amazing power of therapy like another recent story. Britney Spears—a shining symbol of today's therapeutic culture if there ever was one—required only one day of therapy to learn that her problems didn't come from drugs and alcohol, or horrible romantic decisions, or a terrible taste in friends, or post-partum depression, or sheer stupidity. No, Britney's problems come from all that long, lustrous hair.

Clip, clip—problem solved! Another victory for the therapeutic culture. Take that, Philip Rieff!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fair & Balanced Watch

Yesterday, Drudge linked to a story declaring that Valentine's Day is "sinful" for Muslims—failing to include the fact that it was so decreed by some obscure imam from the Indonesian hinterland even though that detail appears in the story's headline itself.

Enter right-wing weblogistan. A number of amateur scribblers picked up on this story and used it as the latest proof of how Muslims are incapable of moderation.

Interestingly enough, neither Drudge nor his legion of wannabes made prominent use of a very similar (if slightly different) story. It was full of protesters shouting slogans like, "Death to Valentine's Day!" and, amazingly, "Down with Western culture!" Aha! Just exactly what these guys are fighting against.

So why the reticence? Oh, because these enemies of civilization were Hindus, not Muslims. They were members of the right-wing Shiv Sena political party who disapprove of public displays of affection. Such affronts to society can actually earn you a beating in the street in India. Sound familiar?

I suppose to Drudge and his minions writing about Hindus behaving like lunatics would take away from their anti-jihad mission. The truth be damned. (As it so often is in all corners of weblogistan.)

On an Unrelated Note: I was pleased to to learn that Al Franken will run for senate in 2008, if only because it means Bill O'Reilly may actually explode.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Creatures Great and Small

So, the Navy is thinking about deploying anti-terrorism dolphins.

What's next, Sexual Harassment Panda?

Rudy the (Not So) Great

I've seen a lot of nonsense recently about Rudy Giuliani's fantastic War on TerrorTM credentials. I lived in New York City in September of 2001 and as best as I can remember it, this reputation is based on two things:
1) When the terrorists attacked, he didn't immediately crap his pants
2) He was way more "presidential" than the actual president
All well and good, but let's not forget that in this day and age, being "presidential" means projecting the appearance of being in control. Any halfway decent actor could pull it off. It doesn't mean you actually are in control.

As the mayor of NYC, Giuliani had precious little decision-making power in the war on terror. None, to be exact. Yes, he showed that he cared about New York City and he encouraged people to join together and help each other after a huge tragedy. This, it seems, is what we should expect as a matter of course from our politicians. That it is instead held up as exceptional leadership is only testament to how far we've fallen.

I also lived in New York City in 1997, when Abner Louima was beaten and sodomized by Brooklyn police officers; and in 1999 when the unarmed Amadou Diallo was gunned down by four white NYPD officers in the Bronx. I remember how Rudy Giuliani reacted then, too. I remember the utter indifference. I remember the contempt he showed for minorities in the city.

It's not going to be all guts and glory for "America's Mayor". As Rudy will soon find out, the harsh lights of the campaign trail highlight the tarnish just as well as they do the glitter.

The Myth of Global Warming



The myth is, of course, that global warming is a scientifically controversial idea. It's not. Remotely.

I'm not an environmental scientist, so I won't pretend to have poured over all the research or to be an expert. That doesn't mean I can't make a few observations of my own.

Global warming naysayers do not all operate the same way. Some claim there is no such thing as global warming. Others say there is, but question humankind's role in causing it. Presenting a united front is not important in this case, since the true goal is to obfuscate and sow seeds of doubt.

As long as enough people think the science is questionable, they won't demand something be done to stop global warming. And the powers that be understand this very well. That's why a group associated with Exxon/Mobil recently offered $10,000 each to scientists willing to dispute a new UN report on climate change. Why so much cash? Because they'd be paying them to lie, of course.

It's also why almost 50% of government scientists studying the climate have reported pressure from the Bush administration to "eliminate the words 'climate change,' 'global warming,' or other similar terms from a variety of communications."

Some may call this cooperation between government and business 'symmetry', but I prefer 'collusion' since it hints more at the nefarious truth behind this sickening alliance. It's a simple truth, really: power and money in the short run are more important than survival in the long run. And here's why we're screwed: the people misleading the public for their own personal gain already have way more power and money than the rest of us.

And they have stooges. They have managed to turn a scientific question into a political one by suggesting that a bias exists in the work of the vast majority of the planet's scientists focused on studying the climate. In fact, plainly, the bias is readily apparent in the funding of the tiny minority of scientists who oppose the majority. They're the ones who just happen to work for Exxon/Mobil front groups and right-wing think tanks. It's not the other way around and that's not a coincidence.

Then, an army of political toadies and pundits fill the airwaves and the broadbands with what they must, in their hear of hearts, know is utter nonsense about "so-called" global warming. The sad thing is that these puppets are just being used by fabulously wealthy people to make fabulously wealthy people more fabulously wealthy. All they get for their trouble is ten grand or a lousy gig on the Wall St. Journal editorial board.

Turning the global warming debate into a political rather than scientific question is a stroke of genius. Political positions are generally so ossified as to be impervious to things like reason and evidence. Only in political discourse could inane 'scandals' about what cars Al Gore deigns to travel in gain traction. Political discourse is also the natural home of the conspiracy theory.

Here's my prediction: these people will stand in the way of truth—of clarity—until it's too late to do anything to stop the disaster we've brought upon ourselves. And they will have done it on purpose. For money and power—the motives behind all great murders.

Yes, we're all going to die. There are things we can to to stop it but we won't. There's your happy thought for the day.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Secure, Undisclosed

If you keep pulling at the loose strings of the current administration, you just might end up with the elephant's tail. Andrew Sullivan posts a must-read on the Libby trial with some chilling thoughts about our old, secretive friend Dick Cheney.

To quote from the Orwell essay that Sullivan references in his post title—the same one he quotes in his blog's tagline, by the way, and an essay that finds Orwell fleshing out a concept that he would soon call doublethink—"[i]n general, one is only right [about political predictions] when either wish or fear coincides with reality." When it comes to Cheney, it always seems to be fear, doesn't it?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Snipe Hunt

From our friends at the Associated Press: U.S. military finds no evidence of abuse at Guantanamo.

Yet somehow Bush and Cheney can find plenty of evidence for success in Iraq. It goes to show, a search mounted in bad faith can only yield bad results.

Put another way: bullshit in, bullshit out.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Mission Accomplished

I would like to congratulate the Chicago Bears on their glorious victory in Super Bowl XLI last night! I know that some news outlets are reporting that the Indianapolis Colts actually won the game, but this is merely the latest egregious example of the liberal media bias in action. Here they go again, cherry-picking negative stories in a cynical and callous attempt to diminish the truly fantastic and spectacular things the Bears were able to achieve.

Particularly when seen from the vantage point of the coin toss and the first 14 seconds of the game, the Bears were unstoppable. I am happy to declare the Bears victorious and our noble mission accomplished! Not only did the Bears succeed—they struck with such shock and awe that the Colts were left dizzy and in disarray.

Naysayers may prattle on about what they call a "total lack of preparation" for the second half or about hideously ill-conceived strategy on the part of our generals on the field and on the sidelines, but this is just defeatism that serves only to give aid and comfort to the enemy and to sap the morale of our men in uniform.

Whatever difficulties the Bears may have experienced after the first 14 seconds of the game—and I prefer to emphasize that they had 'a lot of success'—really can't be blamed on the Bears or their coaching staff. No, blame should be assigned equally to the pro-defeat media and the fans themselves, who are now clearly unworthy of the joy the Bears came to bestow on them (despite the fact that we all thought the fans were pretty freaking awesome as recently as six months ago).

You're either with me or you're against me. Dissent is great, just watch what you say.
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