Progress – real progress – in the Middle East.
Years ago, I learned never to date a woman who spends her free time writing goth poetry, illustrated with giant, teary, disembodied eyes. Since we split up (OK, she dumped me – twice) I’ve hardly ever said her name. Just referred to her as The Spooky Chick. Hell, not even the nickname is very original. I stole it from the Nine Types of Girlfriends strip from Matt Groening’s “Life Is Hell.” The panel features a girl in a black turtleneck (natch), waving her arms and saying, “This interpretive dance will explain how I feel about our relationship. The panel text read:
Woman from Mars
Also known as: The Babbler, Spooky Girl, Screwball, Loony, Bad News, Artistic.
Advantages: Entertaining, unfathomable.
Disadvantages: Will read her poetry aloud.
I took two things away from that relationship (other than all her friends) — a total-body itch any time I hear The Indigo Girls, and an enduring love for really bad angst poetry.
With that last item in mind, click on over to The Hatemonger’s Quarterly. They got something special going on.
VodkaPundit was featured on CNN again tonight. Trey Jackson has the video.
I was folding laundry. Melissa was watching TV. I heard bits and pieces of this week’s “CSI: Miami,” and got so interested I sat down and watched the end of it.
The IRS screws up a decimal or three, and tries to screw a guy out of 33 million dollars in taxes he never owed. (Of course, you know how Tax Court works. You have to pay what they claim you owe until you prove you don’t have to. They’ll forfeit any taxes and penalties you unjustly paid, but the IRS never gets penalized.) So when they guy can’t make his monthly vig, the IRS starts seizing his stuff, and puts him out of business. Then, in a made-for-TV confrontation, the guy’s two young sons shoot and kill the IRS agent. There was something about an even more-evil IRS agent, but I didn’t catch all of it.
In the end, our hero CSI chief humiliates the IRS and sets everything right. Except, of course, for the nice kids who never meant to become killers. Lesson learned: Rapacious government is bad.
But how often do we see a government agent as the bad guy? An IRS screw-up is one example, but there are countless others that would make for good TV drama. How about a man who loses everything to asset forfeiture, even though he never committed (or was even charged with) a crime? Distraught, he kills somebody. Or what about a nice couple who put everything into some nice beach propery, then go broke when the EPA declares their property a wetland? Distraught, they, uh, kill somebody. I’m sure you can think of your own examples
John “Loser” Kerry is soliciting emails from military families regarding sacrifices and hardships they’ve suffered as a result of family members serving in Iraq. My brother-in-law is just such a family member, so I sent off the following “Dear John” letter:
My sister’s husband served over a year in Iraq, including the entire ground war and the first year of reconstruction. He missed the second year of his first child’s life to do so, and he has just deployed to Afghanistan, where he’ll miss the first year of his second child’s life.
He is proud to serve, and we are proud beyond words of him and his sacrifices. And we are ashamed that you, as a US Senator and would-be president (that’ll be the day), would be soliciting military families to give you sound bites for your personal political gain.
Shame on you, you pathetic vulture. Release your Form 180.
As PoliPundit notes, Kerry isn’t interested in stories of heroism or honorable service or good works. He’s just looking for gripes and camera-ready tales of “victims” that he can parade before the press. That’s disgusting. That’s the kind of stuff you’d expect from a Michael Moore or hell, from Bagdhad Bob himself.
And this guy wanted to be commander-in-chief.
I fear that we may now be entering the most dangerous period since 9/11. Why? Because I’ve always believed that one of the most important reasons there has been no new terrorist attack in America has to do with the U.S. invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not only that the Bush administration has taken the fight to the enemy, but that the enemy has welcomed that fight.
The reason things may be getting more dangerous now is that the formation of a freely elected government in Iraq may signal that the Baathist-Jihadist insurgency is being gradually defeated. The U.S. may even be able to withdraw some troops. And there is nothing worse for the Baathists and Jihadists than to be defeated in the heart of their world – and, even more so, to be defeated in the heart of their world by other Arabs and Muslims who are repudiating the Jihadists’ vision and tactics.
I fear that when and if the Jihadists conclude that they have been defeated in the heart of their world, they will be sorely tempted to throw a Hail Mary pass. That is, they may want to launch a spectacular, headline-grabbing act of terrorism in America that tries to mask, and compensate for, just how defeated they have become at home.
Sleep tight. But not before you read the whole thing.
One of the guys at AutoWeek’s comments board came up with a great idea: “Slogans Automakers Should Have Used.”
Here are three from the original guy to get you started:
The New 5-Series: We fixed the E39 until it broke.
Corvette Convertible: Tans your bald spot faster.
Aston Martin DB9: Yes, this car will get you laid.
I’d add these:
Hyundai: It’ll get you there – eventually.
Mercedes: So complicated, not even Germans can work them.
Plymouth: Why aren’t you buying Dodge?
Feel free to add your own.
According to the usual gang of idiots in Germany, killing Chechens is hunky-dory:
When US President George W. Bush visited Germany last February, tens-of-thousands of angry demonstrators turned out in Mainz and all across Germany to vent their outrage at the Iraq war and the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Now, less than two months later, Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Germany. And a whopping 30 protesters showed up to demonstrate the bloody Russian war and widespread human rights violations in Chechnya.
Read the whole, revolting thing.
The MSM comes to the defense of bloggers! No, really:
SAN JOSE, Calif. – More than a half-dozen news organizations are supporting three online reporters who wrote about a top-secret product that Apple Computer Inc. says was protected by trade secret laws.
In December, Apple sued 25 unnamed individuals – possibly Apple employees – who allegedly leaked confidential product information to three Web publishers. The Cupertino-based company said the leaks violated nondisclosure agreements and California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
In Apple’s attempts to identify the source of the leaks, the company asked the reporters’ Internet providers to turn over e-mail records.
The reporters – Monish Bhatia, Jason O’Grady and another person who writes under the pseudonym Kasper Jade – tried to block the subpoenas. They said that identifying sources would create a “chilling effect” that could erode the media’s ability to report in the public’s interest.
Let me get this straight. We’re journalists when we’re taking on a big, bad corporation. But when we’re taking on big-name politicians, we’re pajama-wearing cranks.
Remember all that blizzard news you read about Colorado on Sunday? Yeah, well, it melted already. You won’t see that on Fox. Oh, the bigger drifts are still around, and the big piles the neighborhood kid made shoveling our driveway are still big piles
Could we live to be 1,000?
I dunno. But I do know this much: If I’m still blogging in 2573, just frickin’ kill me already.
Richard Lyon writes:
Congratulations to the MSM are in order. They threw caution to the wind, along with professional standards, and tenaciously pursued the “Schiavo Talking Points Memo” story. Because this was deemed harmful to the Republicans, they fervently pursued what was, evidently at the time, no more than a memo of unknown and questionable provenance. The gamble paid off. They managed to tarnish the Republican Party when this unseemly, but not criminal, memo was discovered to have have been written by a heretofore faceless party operative. They are vindicated and I don’t suspect that they will bother to address the questions regarding their rushing this story to press or the other irregularities associated with their coverage which would lead one to question their motives.
Now that this mystery has been solved, professional standards and their professional objectiveness will demand that the MSM finally investigate the circumstances behind the “Rathergate Memo”, an obviously forged document which was released with the intent of impacting a Presidential election, a federal crime. Of course, this investigation might reflect badly on someone sympathetic to the Democrats.
I don’t suppose that I should hold my breath.
Hey, CBS kind of sort of fired some people – isn’t that enough?*
*You knew I was being sarcastic, right?
“Today, over sixty-one thousand Iraqis are alive (and free and perhaps voting) because of American policy.”
I don’t subscribe to the body-count calculus of war. Really, Hitler only wanted to kill 12 million Jews, plus a few million more gays, Gypsies, and other “undesireables.” Left to his own devices, Hitler would have killed far fewer people than ended up dying because nations and people chose to fight him.
Of course, that leaves out the 100 million Slavs Hitler would have enslaved and dislocated to make labor and room for his “Greater Germany” in European Russia. Body-Count Calculus leaves out a similar fact in Iraq : No matter whether the war has claimed more Iraqi lives than it saved, today’s Iraqis are free.
The US (North and South) lost 600,000 lives in the Civil War. Had we let the South go its own way, all those lives would have been spared. But slavery would have lived on.
I do not subscribe to the body-count calculus of war — but sometimes it sure is nice to know.
Sometimes, even a Congressman can make some sense:
WASHINGTON (AP) – Rep. Christopher Shays said Sunday that fellow Republican Rep. Tom DeLay should step down as House majority leader because his continuing ethics problems are hurting the GOP.
“Tom’s conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election,” Shays told The Associated Press on Sunday.
What Shays forgot to say was, “Also, DeLay is just a slimy rotten bastard.”
Arthur Chernkoff has it in spades.
UPDATE: I finally finished reading his latest update, and he doesn’t have the good news in spades — he has it in clubs, diamonds, and hearts, too.
More trouble in Washinton State’s long-disputed gubernatorial election:
That’s appalling,” says Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican who has frequently drawn praise from Democrats for being evenhanded. “You just don’t do those things.” Even the office of Democratic County Executive Ron Sims admits that “an outside review is probably a good idea” if for no other reason than to address Republican suspicions about the 94 new King County ballots. GOP lawyers point out that two-thirds of the new votes were cast in King County precincts that Republican Dino Rossi won. Ms. Gregoire won seven in 10 King County precincts.
All of this means that the May 23 date set for a trial on a GOP lawsuit seeking to declare the election invalid and to hold a new one this November takes on added significance. Mr. Gorton points out that “a court [can] void any election where the number of illegal or mistaken votes exceeds the margin of victory.” In the case of last year’s race for governor the number of uncounted ballots unearthed just this April is fast approaching Ms. Gregoire’s margin of victory.
I’ve long argued that the democratic process is much more important than the result of any single election. (Or as Megan McArdle so eloquently put it: “Having a legitimate democratic process is far more important than having someone whose policies I agree with in office.”)
A voided election is always, always my last choice. That said, it looks like the Washington election might have been tainted so badly that nothing but a do-over will do.
If you missed it yesterday, here’s the tale of Patrick Byrne and the “65% Solution.”
Joe Gandelman’s moderate voice was heard at a recent Standford blogging symposium:
During the campaign both Right and Left Blogs not only preached to the choir. Most left and Right blogs seldom made a real ATTEMPT to win over people who might still have open minds. People who thought web logs and the Internet had a role in persuading would be disappointed if they monitored blogs on both sides as closely as I didComments Off
Big story from the New York Times:
WASHINGTON, April 10 – Two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the American-led military campaign in Iraq is making enough progress in fighting insurgents and training Iraqi security forces to allow the Pentagon to plan for significant troop reductions by early next year, senior commanders and Pentagon officials say.
Reporter Eric Schmitt continues:
The American military’s priority has shifted from waging offensive operations to training Iraqi troops and police officers. Iraqi forces now oversee sections of Baghdad and Mosul, with American forces on call nearby to help in a crisis. More than 2,000 American military advisers are working directly with Iraqi forces.
More Iraqi civilians are defying the insurgents’ intimidation to give Iraqi forces tips on the locations of hidden roadside bombs, weapons caches and rebel safe houses. The Pentagon says that more than 152,000 Iraqis have been trained and equipped for the military or the police, but the quality and experience of those forces varies widely. Also, the Government Accountability Office said in March that those figures were inflated, including perhaps tens of thousands of police officers who are absent from duty.
Interviews with more than a dozen senior American and Iraqi officers, top Pentagon officials and lawmakers who have visited Iraq yield an assessment that the combination of routing insurgents from their sanctuary in Falluja last November and the Iraqi elections on Jan. 30 has given the military operation sustained momentum, and put the Bush administration’s goal of turning Iraq over to a permanent, elected Iraqi government within striking distance.
This is all good news, even though all of it is delivered with caution: We ain’t out of the woods yet, both Schmitt and American military commanders repeat throughout.
Most of what we see on TV or on the front pages of most newspapers has led us to believe we’ve been losing ground in Iraq this whole time. That the insurgents were unbeatable. That the election was doomed. That Iraq’s political growing pains were certainly the latest signs of failure.
And then – boom! – out of seemingly nowhere, comes a report that the Coalition is feeling confident enough, and the Iraq is growing strong enough, that it will soon be time to draw down our troop strength.
Of course, chickenhawk bloggers and their readers have been linking to and providing positive news stories for months now. But for the rest of the American public, today’s front page news will come as no small shock.
The MSM should have learned to get ahead of (or at least on) the curve following their failure to get the story right during Afghanistan’s election. If not then, then at least they should have gotten a clue after getting it all wrong in the lead-up to Iraq’s election.
Get on the ball, boys – the public is tired of MSM-induced whiplash.
“The revelations in it should sink her candidacy,” a source close to Klein warns the DRUDGE REPORT.
Last week, Clinton stalwart Ann Lewis fired off an email to supporters warning of the ‘Swift Boat’ tactics coming against the former first lady turned senator.
Now the coming sales pitch for ‘ THE TRUTH ABOUT HILLARY What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far SheComments Off
I’m not a golfer, and not a particularly big fan of the game, but today’s Masters final is flat-out mesmerizing. Entertaining whether you really care about the game or not. Chris DiMarco just pulled into a tie with Tiger Woods at the 18th hole after trailing all day, and now they’re going to a playoff.
Go turn it on. This is really worth watching.
UPDATE: Woods got a birdie on the first playoff hole to DiMarco’s par, giving Woods his fourth Masters title. Even if golf means nothing to you (it means very little to me), if you missed this, you really missed something.
Hey, Green! Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah!
It’s 75 and perfect in the ATL. Bob loves it.
Oh, and dinner is a grilled pork tenderloin in roasted garlic marinade with sweet potatoes.
Brad DeLong picked a fight with Jonah Goldberg last week, criticizing a Goldberg column about the dearth of Republicans on college faculties. Among other things, DeLong offered up a litany of reasons why “engineers and scientists” that he says he’s talked to aren’t Republicans.
Unlike DeLong, I’m actually an engineer. Based on DeLong’s list of supposed non-starters, I’m guessing most of the “engineers and scientists” that he spoke to teach college at Berkeley (like DeLong himself), or at the very least live in the Bay Area. In approximately six years of college and graduate school (BS, Auburn, MS, Texas) I probably had two or three engineering professors who were identifiably far enough to the Left to be called Democrats. The rest (at least those who noted politics at all) were a pretty conservative bunch. The leftie count was higher among graduate assistants, and considerably higher among the physics profs–but I think I can say without serious fear of contradiction that physics departments worldwide have a reputation for general weirdness (you can make of that whatever you like).
In over ten years of professional work, I think I’ve encountered maybe four working engineers who would admit to voting for a Democrat. There are a few who lean liberterian, but they’re also in a considerable minority. The overwhelming number of engineers whom I’ve encountered (at least those who voluntarily express political opinions; I don’t go around asking) are conservatives who vote for Republicans.
Not unlike in DeLong’s case (although he’s too pompous to admit it), this is undoubtably due to a great deal of self-selection. I’ve worked almost exclusively for defense contractors at Southern military bases during my career, and you don’t normally find MooreOns coming out of the woodwork in those places.
What does it all mean? Very little, other than the simple fact that like minds do tend to congregate together. Lefties are more likely to teach at Berkeley. Conservatives are more likely to work for the military.
Not much of an insight, I know–but the point was obvious enough for Brad DeLong to miss it, and go out of his way to be a jerk in the process. Which, come to think of it, is also hardly a surprise…
If all goes according to plan, I’ll be a dad in the next year or so. So it’s time to grow up, and give up the convertible.
My first was a 1977 Mercedes SL 450, purchased in 1997 with less than 100k on the odometer. The ragtop canvas had been replaced the previous year, something I knew the salesman wasn’t BSing me about: It wasn’t at all faded and I needed to put forth Herculean effort to get the damn thing to lock down for the first few months. I loved that car. I’d still be driving that car today, if I hadn’t wrecked it.
The accident was in 2001, and I wasn’t ready to quit convertibles just yet. I knew (but Melissa didn’t), that we’d be getting married before long