This story hurts so much, I hesitate even linking to it.
Yesterday we talked about why Dick Gephardt‘s presidential campaign is losing steam. Today, a reader asks me why Joe Lieberman hasn’t gained any traction with the money men, or (if polls are to be believed this early) with the voters.
OK, I’m game.
Let’s get the silly reasons out of the way first. I’ve heard some folks (mostly conservatives) complain here that when Lieberman was tapped to be Al Gore’s running mate in Naught-Naught, that he reversed himself on some of his more conservative positions. That’s a bogus complaint, and people who read this site frequently should know better.
The Veep’s main job, other than maintaining a pulse at least slightly longer than his boss does, is to stump for him. Whenever the Prez says A, the Veep has to say A, too. Saying B sows discord and confuses the voters. Remember that in 1980, George H. W. Bush called Reagan’s proposed tax cuts “voodoo economics.” Then he lost the nomination and got the nod to be Veep, and suddenly voodoo econ sounded like a pretty damn fine program to him.
That’s just the way the game is played, so there’s no sense in hammering Lieberman for playing by its twisted rules. Besides, playing second fiddle to Al Gore should help Lieberman with Democratic primary voters
Am I the first person to notice that Johnny Depp’s performance in Pirates of the Caribbean seems to be based almost entirely on Keith Richards?
The voice, the accent, the beads in the hair, the not-ever-quite-sober way of talking
Hey, New Yorkers — help Sheila O’Malley get a line on a new apartment.
The Sacramento Bee‘s Daniel Weintraub thinks Arnold will be the next governor of California, should he decide to run:
If Schwarzenegger runs, Democrats won’t be able to lay a finger on him with issues they’ve long used to demonize Republicans: abortion, gun control, gay rights, the environment. And Republicans who think they can hit him on culture issues (he smoked pot as a young bodybuilder) will find their bullets bouncing off him as if he were a machine.
That’s because Arnold has something that few modern politicians possess: a story. It’s a captivating personal tale that meshes perfectly with his political beliefs. And if he runs, I think, it will get him elected.
The rest of the piece is a quick bio, including one thing I hadn’t read anywhere else. Arnold made his first million in real estate, before he ever starred in a movie. That speaks well of a man who arrived here penniless, but it doesn’t mean he — or anyone else — can quickly, easily, or painlessly ease California’s budget problems.
Dick Gephardt’s money-raising campaign is falling short:
Presidential candidate Dick Gephardt fell short of his fund-raising goal by more than $1 million, raising questions Tuesday about his ability to excite Democratic donors and remain a top-tier candidate.
The former House Minority leader, who hoped to raise $5 million from April to June, collected just $3.87 millionComments Off
Karl Armstrong clued me in to this local story with perhaps an international angle. Read from the Colorado Springs Gazette:
Four hundred pounds of an ammonium nitrate-based explosiveComments Off
For those still curious about why the UN can’t be relied on, read this report about peacekeepers in Burundi, from StrategyPage’s Adam Geibel. Following a rebel attack on Bujumbura:
The 900 South African-led African Union force have done nothing to stem the violence in the capital. Welile Nhlapo, deputy head of the AU mission, told the press that they were not involved in the fighting, it wasn’t their responsibility and they would not let the situation slide into chaotic situation that they could not control. Asked what the force would do if the situation worsened, Nhlapo said he could not predict future actions.
UN peacekeepers who refuse to keep the peace. Sound familiar?
Merde in France discovers that French anti hate-speech laws don’t cover their American allies.
Caught this story today while reading USN&WR in my “dad chair” this afternoon, and thought it was interesting enough to hunt down on the web. The Pentagon is drafting a short-of-war plan for North Korea.
One scenario in the draft involves flying RC-135 surveillance flights even closer to North Korean airspace, forcing Pyongyang to scramble aircraft and burn scarce jet fuel. Another option: U.S. commanders might stage a weeks-long surprise military exercise, designed to force North Koreans to head for bunkers and deplete valuable stores of food, water, and other resources. The current draft of 5030 also calls for the Pentagon to pursue a range of tactical operations that are not traditionally included in war plans, such as disrupting financial networks and sowing disinformation.
What I like about 5030 is that it throws Pyongyang’s strategy right back in their faces. North Korea has survived, in large part, by being unpredictable, nutty, and seemingly dangerous. If they see the victors of Afghanistan and Gulf Wars I and II acting the same way, it might — might — just get them to settle down a bit.
The other bright idea is forcing the NPRK to use up its small stores of diesel and jet fuel, which will be expensive for them to replace. There’s danger here, however. Back them up against the wall too hard, and the Dear Leader might see no choice but to lash out at the South, or even Japan.
5030 outlines a bold, but risky, scenario. But with Pyongyang’s recent nuclear saber-rattling, the risks could prove worth taking.
What’s interesting is that even at this early planning stage, details are already being leaked. Whether 5030 is ever implemented, or even real, just letting Li’l Kim know we’re thinking such thoughts should give him pause.
If the whole idea scares you, don’t worry yet 5030 is suddenly US policy, without any debate. The Pentagon draws up war plans all the time, and most of them never see the light of day.
Is the Iraq-Niger uranium controversy a French plot?
Two foreign intelligence services, thought to be those of France and Italy, supplied Britain with the information for its controversial claim that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had sought uranium from Africa, the Financial Times newspaper reported Monday.
Britain made the uranium claim in a dossier last September despite being told the US Central Intelligence Agency had “reservations” about its inclusion.
The paper said its information came from senior Whitehall sources.
The French secret service is believed to have refused to allow Britain’s MI6 to give the United States “credible” intelligence showing that Iraq was trying to buy uranium ore from Niger, U.S. intelligence sources said yesterday.
Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service had more than one “different and credible” piece of intelligence to show that Iraq was attempting to buy the ore, known as yellowcake, British officials insisted. But it was given to them by at least one and possibly two intelligence services and, under the rules governing cooperation, it could not be shared with anyone else without the originator’s permission.
U.S. intelligence sources believe the most likely source of the MI6 intelligence was the French secret service, the DGSE. Niger is a former French colony, and its uranium mines are run by a French company that comes under the control of the French Atomic Energy Commission.
What kind of play do you think this will get in the US media? Not that there’s some kind of newsroom cabal plotting to embarrass the Administration, but the story is of the complicated kind that makes for great spy novels, but lousy sound bites.
(Many thanks to Nelson Ascher for both links — he’s a treasure to bloggers looking for good material.)
Once the AOLers learn about blogs, look for comment sections to attract even more trolls than we already have.
Personally, I plan to use IP banning to block all AOL customers. If I lose regulars, fine. That should be another incentive to switch to a real ISP.
I am not saying *all* AOLers are idiots and that they can’t operate nice blogs. I am saying that those who want to, already have the power to do so, through Blogger, and it doesn’t cost them a dime.
But as soon as AOL starts linking to blogs on its own content screens, the troll level in the blogosphere will double or triple. Count on it.
I say: bring’em on.
Dave Barry wants you to support the arts:
This blog was just thinking how interesting it would be if a whole bunch of people submitted poems that contained a certain key poetic phrase. To see how it might work, this blog submitted a poem under the pen name of “Freemont A. Harkins,” entitled: “A Sad Day.” Here’s how it goes:
A Sad Day
i am sad, so very sad
the tears run down my nose
it was a happy day until
the dog ate mother’s toes
You can see this poem at www.poetry.com, using the search engine to search for “Freemont Harkins.” Wouldn’t it be fun if a lot of people submitted poems using a Pen Name that began with “Freemont” and incorporating the phrase, “the dog ate mother’s toes”? Then we all could search for poems written under the first name of “Freemont” — currently, this blog is the only one — and see how creative everybody was!
As Harkins A. Freemont, I subitted this dreck:
She was lovely
Lovely like a rose
Her teeth, like thorns
Ate my mother’s toes
It’s OK to cry.
(Hat tip to Ken Layne.)
UPDATE: Read this one from e.e.freemont.
In response to this story, Mike M writes:
I believe we’re watching the wheels come off the big media establishment before our eyes, and it’s only a matter of time before it wraps around a telephone pole and bursts into flames. Hopefully the blogosphere will be there as a passenger-side airbag for the truth.
Can I be the power-assisted steering of flippancy?
Lileks, of course, is our anti-lock brakes of effrontery.
Glenn would be the all-wheel drive of reasonability.
Jane Galt is our traction control of tribulation.
Pejman? Why, he’s the cruise control of incorruptibility.
Jane Galt wants to know who is today’s Ronald Reagan.
David Warren is a writer of rare skill, and a foreign affairs analyst of even rarer subtlety. Today, however, he slides down the slippery slope on the issue of gay marriage:
Sex — what is male and what female — was written into each of them; and in extracting it, all intra-familial relations were thus abrogated. There can only be “partners”, henceforth; and as the whole notion of “parentage” was founded in the “heterosexual monopoly” on childbirth, children themselves can only have “guardians”. The common paternity and maternity of brothers and sisters may continue to exist as fact (progressively undermined by new technology). But by degrees such facts must cease to be publicly acknowledged.
This is not alarmist. No other possible course is available, in the logical wake of the “same-sex marriage” ruling. It leaves no way back. In Canada, the Charter of Rights has empowered our courts to strike down, successively, every attempt to maintain such distinctions.
The family itself has thus been driven underground. It can now exist only by the private consent of its members, on extra-legal terms. It most certainly no longer exists as a model or example, binding one generation to another.
Somehow, the inclusion of more people into legally-binding families will destroy families. I suppose shoving bourgeois constitutions down the throats of Germany and Japan after WWII diluted the power of elections and free markets.
But what most interests me is this paragraph:
They were the Jews, in ancient times, who fully realized the significance of this fact: that God “had made them male and female”. Who realized, in a theological development of the idea of marriage, the deep truth of this anthropological fact. The deep truth that men and women are necessary to the completion of each other, that “man” in the male aspect of Adam, cannot be alone. That “man” in the sense of human, was Adam completed by Eve. This is the “beast with two backs”, of Shakespeare’s droll image — the one animal in nature who embraces face-to-face.
That last sentence is revealing. If Warren wishes to enjoy and approve of nothing but the Missionary position, that’s his (boring) business. But to give it, and nothing else, God’s sanction is simple prudery dressed up in the language of the Bible and Shakespeare. Although if you read or watch his works, you’ll find that Shakespeare was anything but a prude. And while I’m no Bible scholar, I can’t imagine that all the begatting going on in Genesis didn’t involve at least a little healthy variety.
Now let’s apply Warren’s slippery logic to the rest of the paragraph. If God made us male and female, to be completed by complimentary pairing, then it must follow that gays and lesbians are lesser creatures, undeserving of protection under our laws — or God’s. No gay marriage today, and back alley beatings tomorrow? Stonings starting next week! Hate the sin, love the sinner — but no touching, please.
No, I don’t think Warren actually thinks such things — but the slippery slope descends both ways, so to speak.
It shouldn’t shock you that Warren would come out against gay marriage — it is possible for reasonable people to disagree reasonably on such a fundamental issue. What should shock you is that he has done so in such a callous and offensive manner.
UPDATE: Judith Weiss adds in the Drinks section something so good it needs posting here:
I hate it when people take the Hebrew scriptures out of context and present them as examples of Jewish law. According to the Talmud, which is as binding on Jewish law as the Torah for observant Jewry all over the world, all forms of mutually enjoyable sex are permitted between husband and wife. So much for the missionary position.
Also, polygamy was permitted under Jewish law until sometime in the Middle Ages, when the rabbis ruled that this law would be suspended for the indefinite future because it was out of step with the civilization they were living in. But few families in the Scriptures look like the stereotypical “nuclear family” (which also rarely existed in history – because of adult mortality, there were just as many stepfamilies then as now).
David Warren should do some research. But he has put his foot firmy in his mouth before, so I’m not surprised at this.
UPDATEDY UPDATE: Scott Wright adds his own thoughts here, and I’m inclined to agree that there is a lot of anti-gay bigotry on the Right. Let me add that I don’t believe any and all arguments against gay marriage are homophobic — far from it. But David Warren, John Derbyshire, and (to a much lesser extent) Stanly Kurtz, all fall on the wrong side of reasonableness.
HOTDAMN WE GOT UPDATES: Click on the Drinks below and read Arthur Silber‘s comments. Turns out that Western Civ fetishist Warren doesn’t know his Bible or his Shakespeare.
We want the funk, gotta have that funk.
Ralph Peters puts events in Iraq into perspective:
During the war, unseasoned journalists reported every minor exchange of fire as if it were the Little Big Horn, Part Two. Now, the obsession of reporters with every sprained ankle in our occupation force ignores the tremendous good we have done, the strategic advantages we have gained – and the potential, at last, for a measure of meaningful progress in the world’s most politically, culturally and morally backward region.
If we took the criteria for instant failure that the media and our most self-interested politicians apply to Iraq and applied them here at home, the U.S. government would be obliged to evacuate California and abandon Mississippi, since two shooting incidents in those states last week killed more Americans than did the low-level violence in Iraq.
Clearly, our 150-year-old annexation of California has been a failure – likewise, the reintegration of Mississippi in the years since our Civil War. Let’s just pack up and go home.
Really, nothing good seems to have come out of leaving the Olduvai Gorge a quarter million years ago. Shall we all just pack up and go home?
US government officials, Iranian-American expatriates and communications satellite operators confirm that all US-based satellite broadcasts to Iran were being jammed out of Cuba. Loral Skynet operates the Telstar-12 satellite used by the broadcasters, which was being effected by jamming probably emanating from “the vicinity of Havana, Cuba.” Cuba’s main electronic eavesdropping base, at Bejucal, is about 32 kilometers outside of the Cuban capital.
How the Cubans are doing the jamming is another question. The jamming is simply a matter of aiming a strong signal at the satellite’s uplink transponder and overwhelming the broadcasters’ signals. An investigator told MSNBC that “you need a dish, some power, not too much. You put up a test pattern … and do a sweep and find the transponder on the satellite you want to jam. It could even be smaller than the standard 6-meter dish. It could be a small dish with a lot of power.”
Could the Cubans be getting help to do this? Since 1999, China has been operating a sophisticated electronic espionage network out of Cuba aimed at the United States by taking advantage of the Castro regime’s “electronic war against Yankee imperialism”.
Capitalist communists helping old-school Stalinists to protect medieval theocrats. Did I miss something?
Well, this is depressing:
A mob of about 100 Palestinian refugees stormed the office of a Ramallah polling organisation yesterday to stop it publishing a survey showing that five times as many refugees would prefer to settle permanently in a Palestinian state than return to their old homes in what is now Israel.
The protesters pelted Khalil Shikaki, the director of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, with eggs, smashed computers and assaulted the nine staff members on duty. A female worker was treated in hospital for her injuries. “This is a message for everyone not to tamper with our rights,” one of the rioters said.
Odd, but aren’t “rights” supposed to be about letting people do what they want, rather than be placed at the mercy of the government or the masses?
There are some Israelis who refer to the West Bank as “Judea and Samaria,” and beleive they have the right to evict every last Muslim from those holy lands. They have no such right, although they might just have a justification.
Jews who call for the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank are called racists — or worse. Palestinians who call for killing all the Jews and then forcing Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank are called freedom fighters.
Arthur says I’m an honorary member — and I am honored.
Melissa has the day off, so we’re taking another long weekend. I understand there will be shopping and drinking involved, so we’ll be tired and broke come Sunday night.
See you then.