Friday, September 29, 2006

I know how he feels. I have trouble distinguishing one asshole from another.

AmericaBlog, via War Room:

Trent Lott told reporters today that George Bush and GOP Senators barely mentioned Iraq when they met this morning and that they don’t obsess over the war.

When asked if the war was discussed, Lott told reporters that “You're the only ones who obsess on that. We don't and the real people out in the real world don't for the most part."

On the sectarian violence in Iraq, Lott said: “Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.”

Guns don't kill people. People kill people.



People named Duane with criminal records and assault rifle collections are an especially safe bet.

He then proposed legislation to increase discretionary spending on baby-daddy regulation

Senator George Allen’s campaign has just issued a press release stating that because he is, after all, African-American, he claims the right to use the “n-word” in a manner consistent with its usage by other typical African-Americans.

When asked whether this move was an orchestrated attempt by his campaign to court the African-American vote in what has been until now a tight and contentious race, Senator Allen responded “Nigga, please.”

On Hoosier Pond


Those of y’all that know me personally know that I have a crazy crafty/homey/garden-y streak a mile wide. My online friends - who only know me as a mean, controlling bitch - might be surprised to know that in my real life I am very Martha Stewart-y.

On second thought, maybe not so surprising.

But I just want to say for the record, that I have never berated an assistant for failing to provide me with the correct vintage Merlot.

At any rate, after much preparation and hard work and on my part and on Spooney’s, my backyard pond has been completed and has cycled (pond talk!) and is now a safe place for the fishies to live.

Here’s some fun facts: there are over two tons of big rocks, about 500 lbs. of pebbles, and about 200 lbs. of gravel in there. All brought from the driveway to the backyard using our trusty wheelbarrow. Until the wheel broke, that is. And then they were dragged to the backyard in our trusty wheelbarrow-shaped sled.

The waterfall took about a whole day to get right on its own, because we had to move the rocks into about a gazillion different positions before we found a configuration that allowed the water to cascade beautifully down the stones, as opposed to shooting straight out and drenching the person standing right in front of it. Which was me, by the way.

The pond holds about 1500 gallons of water, I figure. I had a book to tell me how to figure that. I’ve forgotten exactly how it said to figure that, but that’s okay, because as you get older you learn how to instantly recognize information you will never need again and it just goes right out of your brain with no trouble at all.

We have minnows to eat the mosquito larvae, and we have some comet goldfish. Comet goldfish are very hardy, can grow to a length of up to 6", and are also known as “feeder goldfish.” That is, fish you buy to feed to other, larger or meaner fish. So think of the break that was for the guys we brought home. You’re welcome, fishies!

No, we do not have koi. Stop asking me that. There are other fish in the sea, you know, besides koi. Fish snobs.

The pond has already attracted many dragonflies and damselflies, and I have a new bird visitor as well: a yellow warbler that is very fond of drinking from the waterfall. He’s also very fond of pooping on the waterfall, but he’s so chirpy and yellow and cute it’s hard to stay mad at him.

The plantings are a little sparse right now, but they will of course grow and fill in. All the plants are either succulents, or are otherwise drought-tolerant. See how good I am? I’m “water-wise,” as the LA Department of Water and Power is fond of saying.

The pond lights run off a solar panel. Are you impressed? You should be.

The pond pump is electric, and the wiring had to be run through conduit and buried in the ground and under a sidewalk. Who did all that, you ask? A licensed electrician? Nope. Spooney and I did it. Again, we had a book.

You know what’s fun? To feed the fish. They recognize me already, and they all get very excited when they see me because they know some tasty fish flakes will soon be dropping onto the pond’s surface. They can come up and get them, or wait for them to fall to the bottom, whichever they prefer. I don’t care. I let fish be fish.

Tonight, right as the sun is setting, I’m going to be sitting beside my pond with Spooney, relaxing with an apr├Ęs-rat race cocktail. It’s fun. It may sound boring, but for some reason it’s not.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wasted


Second Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez was a graduate of West Point, and the first miniority female graduate of that academy to become a command sargeant.

She is now also the first female graduate of West Point to die in Iraq.

Perez, who died when her Humvee ran over an IED, was first in her high school class, and was described by one mentor thusly: "I clearly remember thinking that she would definitely be the first female president of this country."

And now she won't.

Carnegie would approve

Andrew Carnegie, one of this country's most famous self-made men, believed in giving away his money, and he had a lot of money to give away. He believed that it was his ticket into heaven.

Of course, he didn't want the U.S. government taking his money and distributing it to the poor through social programs. That's what charities were for, and he wrote The Gospel of Wealth to make damn sure everyone knew it.

He would have fit in pretty well with the crowd at the Clinton Global Initiative 2006, or as Robert Reich has described it, Bill Clinton's "second annual tycoon-fest."

If none of you have ever checked out Reich's blog (way at the bottom of my blog links, where a practitioner of the dismal science belongs), you should:

I remember a day when government collected billions of dollars from tycoons like these, as well as from ordinary taxpayers, and when our democratic process (in its own halting way) decided what the billions would be devoted to. In 1960, the moguls of America paid a marginal tax of 90 percent on their incomes (an effective rate, after all deductions and credits, of over 50 percent). In 1960, over two-thirds of Americans trusted government to do the right thing all or most of the time, according to survey research.

Now, the moguls pay an effective rate of maybe 10 percent of their incomes – none at all if they have clever enough accountants and lawyers who park it in tax havens. And they're richer than ever before in history. Today's release of Forbes Magazine's annual list of the richest 400 Americans is made up solely of billionaires -- for the first time.

And what about government? Now, according to surveys, two-thirds of Americans don’t trust government to do anything right.

So nowadays, a few hundred of the moguls devote some of their billions to doing good things, and we applaud their generosity.

Maybe I’m overly sentimental, but I preferred it the old way.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I know a worse one

BushCo excels at the irrelevant defense.

Responding to the recently leaked intelligence assessment that reportedly concludes that our activities in Iraq has increased the ranks of those determined to attack the U.S., the president said, "We weren't in Iraq when we got attacked on September the 11th. We weren't in Iraq and thousands of fighters were trained in terror camps inside [Afghanistan]. We weren't in Iraq when they first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993."

All those things are true. Well, we WERE in Iraq in 1991, when terrorists were no doubt already being trained in Afghanistan, but let's just for the sake of argument say that he speaks the truth. An irrelevent truth, but the truth.

See, because no is disputing that Al-Qaida existed before we invaded Iraq. It's absolutely not on the table for discussion.

What IS on the table, is whether the ranks, the number of members of Al-Qaida have increased as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And Bush of course avoids addressing that question.

The administration spin on this appears to be that the report was leaked in order to "to create confusion in the minds of the American people" prior to the November mid-term elections. Bush elaborates in a typically cringe-inducing manner that "It will stop all the speculation, all the politics about somebody saying something about Iraq -- you know, somebody trying to confuse the American people about the nature of this enemy."

You know, I'm sure there's something really Freudian about how Bush, when speaking off the cuff, often goes on about how enemies are trying to confuse the American people. But is it because he himself is confused, or because BushCo itself attempts to confuse Americans about the facts in order to further their agenda? I guess both.

Bush has promised to declassify part of the leaked intelligence report in order to demonstate that its conclusions are not what they have been described to be. I think we can safely assume that any parts of that report that reflect badly on BushCo will remain classified, eh?

Expressing regret that he will have to declassify the report in order to un-confuse Americans, Bush stated "I think it's a bad habit for our government to declassify every time there is a leak."

A bad habit.

Bad stuff 'bout the Rummy

Retired Major General John R.S. Batiste, former commander of the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, and a senior military assistant to former Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz, testified yesterday in front of a Democrat "oversight hearing" (read: the Republicans won't allow an oversight hearing) and had some smack to talk about one of the principle architects of this disaster of a war we are fighting in Iraq:

[Batiste] charged that Rumsfeld and others in the Bush administration "did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq."

He told the committee, "If we had seriously laid out and considered the full range of requirements for the war in Iraq, we would likely have taken a different course of action that would have maintained a clear focus on our main effort in Afghanistan, not fueled Islamic fundamentalism across the globe, and not created more enemies than there were insurgents."

Joining his call for Rumsfeld to resign were retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, who was responsible for training Iraq's military and police in 2003 and 2004, and retired Marine Col. Thomas X. Hammes, who served in Iraq in 2004 and helped establish bases for the reconstituted Iraqi armed forces...

...Batiste charged in his testimony that Rumsfeld "is not a competent wartime leader" and surrounded himself with "compliant" subordinates.

"Secretary Rumsfeld ignored 12 years of U.S. Central Command deliberate planning and strategy, dismissed honest dissent, and browbeat subordinates to build 'his plan,' which did not address the hard work to crush the insurgency, secure a post-Saddam Iraq, build the peace and set Iraq up for self-reliance," Batiste said.

In addition, Rumsfeld "refused to acknowledge and even ignored the potential for the insurgency," the retired general said. "At one point, he threatened to fire the next person who talked about the need for a post-war plan," Batiste added.

"Secretary Rumsfeld's dismal strategic decisions resulted in the unnecessary deaths of American servicemen and women, our allies, and the good people of Iraq," Batiste said. "He was responsible for America and her allies going to war with the wrong plan and a strategy that did not address the realities of fighting an insurgency."

Turns out, "macaca" is a nice word for what you are

Another former classmate of Allen's, a famous one, is jumping on the you-did-so-use-the-n-word bandwagon. Are they finding safety in numbers, or is it a campaign-fueled clusterfuck?

Monday, September 25, 2006

"We do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one seventh as important as Iraq. And you ask ME about terror and Al Qaida?"

If you haven't seen Bill Clinton get all medieval on Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, you can do so here, but hurry up, because Fox News is forcing You Tube to remove the content.

Validation!

Project Runway's impeccable arbiter of taste and fashion, Tim Gunn, says "I hate crocs. May they please go away."

Unfortunately, it looks like the trend is NOT on the wane, as retailers have, of course, discovered that you can make money by selling girls and yes, even grown women, plastic and rhinestone charms to affix in those goddamn inexplicable holes in their shoes.




What an attractive look!

You know, there's only one shoe I know of that is more attractive than a pair of Crocs.

It is, of course, Hobbit Feet:

They're so COMFORTABLE!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Yeah, but whose side is Allah on?

20% of Americans believe that God is on our side.

If this is so, maybe we can get God to be on someone else's side for a while. Because I don't want to say that God is a jinx, but...

CTrib:

One out of five Americans believe in a God who favors the United States in worldly affairs. Among those believers, Republicans are four times as numerous as Democrats.
No surprise there. If you’re a god-fearing Republican, you got to believe God favors the United States - what the fuck else have you got to hang onto? Your president sure as hell sucks.

Nineteen percent of the 1,721 people surveyed said they either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "God favors the United States in worldly affairs."
The same percentage agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “God likes white people more better.”

Paul Froese, an assistant professor who teaches the sociology of religion at Baylor, a Baptist institution in Waco, Texas, helped devise the survey questions. He said the results show, "The idea of God, the belief in God, can be in a political sense exploited for nationalist purposes, at least for that fifth of the country."
He then went on to say “Of course, the Bush campaign figured that out 6 years ago.”
Froese saw a connection between the findings on God and Uncle Sam and other results in the survey involving Americans' sense of God's "personality." Respondents were given 16 words--including absolute, fatherly, forgiving, friendly, loving, punishing, wrathful--and asked to rate how each word described God.
Is "criminally negligent" a choice?

Researchers found the respondents effectively fell in one of four groups. Thirty-one percent believed in an "authoritarian" God who is active in daily life and largely concerned with punishing humans;

This is the god who is testing you by sending your son to Iraq. This is also the god you thank if you score a touchdown or win a Grammy.

23 percent believed in a "benevolent" God who is less interested in punishment;
This is the god who helped my mom quit smoking.

16 percent believed in a "critical" God who doesn't interfere with daily life
but keeps score for an afterlife;
This is the god who will banish to hell everyone who’s ever tossed their Taco Bell wrappers onto my lawn, blocked my curb on garbage day, or cut me off on the 405
and 25 percent believed in a "distant" God who set the laws of nature in motion but is no longer involved in events of this world.
This is the god of love and relationships. You can pray to him all you want, but it will do no good.

He will never call you back.


(thanks to Daddy-O for the link)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dear President Chavez,

I read about your speech at the U.N. yesterday, and I applaud you for your bravery and candor. Way to stand up to the "world dictator." Bravo.

Your country’s got oil, and so our relationship to you is not unlike some big, important movie star to the little punk on the corner who has his next fix, but still. There were things that you needed to get off your chest and I get that.

If I may make a suggestion, though: the next time you get up in front of a huge room full of the most important people in the whole world, you might want to tone down the crazy just a bit. Just a skooch. I mean, even Qadaffi took off the “kooky” suit when Tom Brokaw showed up with a camera crew. Know what I mean?

Because when you said yesterday how you could still smell the sulphur at the podium where Bush had stood the day before, I thought you were saying that he had farted, like, a really big lingering fart.

Okay, I understand now that your metaphor was about how he was the devil, and that he had the funk of a burning hellish place on him, but it just didn’t translate well. Maybe if I was from your country I would find that image really witty. Hysterical, even. But instead all I can think about is why Venezuelans would believe that the devil smells like hard-boiled eggs.

And while that remark at the end of your speech - "I have a meeting with the axis of evil somewhere around here, so I have to go." IS actually pretty funny, I just want to warn you that our president and a lot of our spy-type people are not really all that bright, and they just might not get the joke, okay? They might really think you and the axis guys are having a meeting later at Carnegie’s Deli.

Now that I think about it, maybe you should have said you were meeting at Carnegie’s Deli, because then most people (although still not the president) would have known that it was, clearly, a joke.

On the plus side, kudos to you for pointing out that because of the Security Council, the U.N. is pretty much powerless to do anything unless the USA says it’s okay. I live in the USA, and I can recognize how stupid and bad that is. And I think that yes, it might be a good idea to move the U.N. to another country for a while, first of all, because those U.N. diplomats NEVER pay their parking tickets, and secondly, it would benefit the U.N. to get out from under our thumb and, frankly, find their balls again.

However, I don’t think the U.N. is going to jump on your invitation to move to Venezuela. I mean, I’m sure it’s lovely, but they do have the whole world to choose from, and my guess is that they would want to go for a country that’s a little less coup-ish. Sorry.

Speaking of coups, I know you’re still steamed about that little CIA-backed deal a couple of years ago. And believe me, we, the people of the USA, are SO embarrassed about that. The CIA so did NOT tell us that they were going to do that, okay? Because if they had, we would have told them that they are just jerks and bullies who are talking out of their ass about half the time and to quit saying that they are with us, because they aren’t.

Anyway, like I said, I know you are steamed, but please don’t refer to Pat Robertson as a terrorist, and imply that we are tolerating terrorism because we don’t arrest him. Yes, Pat Robertson did call for your assassination. But nobody listens to Pat Robertson. Well, okay, some people do, but they are what we would not-so-politely refer to as “the blind, the halt, and the lame.”

The more polite term for them would be “the Republican constituency.”

Well, I should get back to work, and of course you have a nuclear energy program to get off the ground. Say hey to the Venezuleans for us. Oh, and if you dug that Noam Chomsky book, I have a copy of “Manufacturing Consent” that I could lend you. It’s a little dinged up from me slamming it to the ground and weeping over it a few hundred times, but it’s still in pretty good shape.

Let me know.

xoxoxo
Vikkitikkitavi


P.S. I know you are friends with that Ahmadinejad guy. Would you ask him for me if it would hurt him to put on a tie every once in a while? It’s the U.N., for pete’s sake, not a freakin’ barbeque.

P.P.S. I meant a non-pork barbeque, of course.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

But I think "Oksana Baiul" is Russian for "maribou scrunchie"

You can take the girl out of the Ukraine...

But you apparently cannot take the Ukraine out of the girl.



(thanks to GFY for the pic)

Move over, Larry David

There's a new self-loathing Jew in town!

Senator George "Macaca" Allen, who would have lost his senatorial race already if the other candidate weren't sort of vile himself, got all riled up when a reporter asked about his Jewish lineage.

Understandable for a man with a confederate flag and noose fetish.

But he wants us all to know that his mother's Jew blood didn't really, ah, "take": "I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops."

See? No Jewiness here. Now move along, everybody.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thinking outside the sandbox

Sam Harris, whose brilliant book, The End of Faith, I highly recommend, has written an editorial for the LA Times that condemns “head-in-the-sand” liberals for being soft on terrorism (Be sure to also check out True Ancestor’s post on this editorial). LA Times:
Given the degree to which religious ideas are still sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb — and to believe that he will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism.
His assertion that liberals believe what he says they do seems to be rooted in the reactions he got from liberals to his book, which spends a great deal of time discussing the dangers of the Muslim faith.

Let’s not go into how he arrived at his conclusions about liberals, however flawed I think they may be.

As a liberal, I will say that I find fundamentalists of many faiths to be dangerous, and I find Islamic fundamentalists to be particularly scary. But, those people that are religious and who are tolerant of other cultures and religions, are tolerant precisely because they ignore many of the tenets of their faiths (“kill unbelievers” comes to mind), and I think that is a paradox about the positive side of religion or religious people that is generally ignored, at least in the U.S.

But Islamic fundamentalists have existed since the time of Mohammed, so what makes them so dangerous now, particularly? What motivates a moderate Muslim to become a jihadi?

That is the question that I think liberals focus on, and the question that Harris fails to address in his article.

The jihadis have a variety of motivations, I’m sure, but we cannot ignore the fact that one of them is US foreign policy. Certainly they use our ignorance and bullying in the Middle East to bolster their numbers and assist in conversions to their point of view.

Can that really be in question, Mr. Harris?

But let’s look at a concrete example of support for jihadis on the decline.

Holy shit, you say, where in the hell is that happening? And can I move my liberal ass on over there?

It’s happening in Indonesia:

AMID last week’s September 11 anniversary soul-searching about the tenacity of al-Qaeda and the dire state of the Middle East, one theatre of the war on terror was forgotten: the only one where the terrorists are in retreat.

Indonesia gets little attention with Baghdad and Afghanistan in flames, yet it is perhaps the only nation which has come close to beating its own jihadis. It has done so with a radically different strategy to the one pursued by the US...

...The Indonesians, facing criticism from the US and Australia that they had allowed terrorism to fester, ignored much of the unsolicited Western advice to crack down hard. Instead, the sympathisers and hangers-on were allowed to rant and rave in the streets of Jakarta – while the danger men were methodically tracked down by security forces. Around 30 key JI militants have been arrested and tried and three Bali bombers are on death row.

Instead of detainees disappearing into detention centres, the police put one of the key bombers, Amrozi bin Nurhasyim, on TV where he laughed and boasted. Sceptical Indonesians could see the suspects had not been framed or coerced, and much of JI’s support melted away.

JI sympathisers began helping police, who also had success with suspects they befriended in prison. Instead of torture , detainees were treated humanely. Detectives even prayed with them.

The approach worked. Police were able to penetrate the tight clan-based JI networks and root out more terrorists.


Hm. It also seems that the PKS, the Islamic political party in Indonesia, is on the decline.

The trend line shows an unmistakable and steady decline for the PKS, running from a January, 2005 high of 10.1% to a dismal 2.7% by year's end, the second-lowest rating for any major political party. The quantitative results are eye-opening, particularly considering the still prevalent impression among Jakarta's political pundits that the PKS is actually growing in numbers.
Why? Because they stopped focusing on solving the rampant, entrenched, corruption of the Indonesian government, and started pushing an agenda rooted in sharia law. And the people of Indonesia, including, apparently, moderate Muslims, didn’t care for it.

Sooooo, we in the U.S. might want to take an itty-bitty look at what’s going on in Indonesia, and…I dunno, maybe think about what most Muslims really want.

But what do I know? I’m just a head-in-the-sand liberal.




(Many thanks to Harry Shearer’s Le Show for the tip on the Glasgow piece.)

If you want it


Due to the release of the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon, I have been exposed to the above image many times in recent weeks.

And I am going to admit to you that every time I see it, my eyes well up with tears and my throat hurts.

Because it seems like we've learned nothing in the past 35 years. Sure, I was a kid, but I remember Richard Nixon. I remember what it was like the first time our government became our worst enemy. And now, we've let another awful, greedy, lying pig take over our country and change us. And fill us with fear. And divide us over words like "patriot" and "freedom."

Like we aren't all patriots. Like we all don't want to be free to live in our own fashion.

Our young men and women are dying for no reason. No reason. And despite the fact that all of their lies about why we needed them to die have been proven to be lies, they tell us that if they had it to do over, they wouldn't change a thing.

That's how arrogant they are. That's how craven they are. That's how entrenched they are in their own sense of entitlement, that they can spend our lives as if they were nothing.

They would do it all again. And not for any bullshit about freedom or safety. If you have any doubt about why we are in Iraq, you read this article about who we have brought into that country to work on reconstruction, and what their priorities have been, and you tell me, YOU TELL ME why we're there. We are building a certain kind of government in Iraq, with certain kinds of businesses entrenched, and you tell me that isn't why we went in in the first place.

Blood for oil. It may be an oversimplification, but if you think about it, it's not much of one.

Monday, September 18, 2006

"There are times where I'm glad I'm alive, and there are times where I wish it would've killed me."


Forget that giant yellow ribbon magnet, if you really want to support the troops, go see the new documentary The Ground Truth. It's a movie that takes you inside the experience of being a soldier, and, in the words of one of those interviewed, "honors the veterans by really listening to what they have to say."

One of the producers is a friend of mine, and neither one of us would steer ya wrong. You can see a clip here if you don't believe us though.

And you thought your boss was an asshole

Halliburton subsidiary KBR has been submitting some of its employees in Iraq for the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart, the U.S. Defense of Freedom medal.

Aw, that's nice.

Except that in the medical records release paperwork, you'll find this:
. . . I agree that in consideration for the application for a Defense of Freedom Medal on my behalf that. . . I hereby release, aquit and discharge KBR, all KBR employees, the military, and any of their representatives. . . with respect to and from any and all claims and any and all causes of action, of any kind or character, whether now known or unknown, I may have against any of them which exist as of the date of this authorization. . . . This release also applies to any claims brought by any person or agency or class action under which I may have a right or benefit.

Yeah, you'll get your medal for being wounded in Iraq...if you promise not to sue us for sending you down that road we knew to be controlled by insurgents!

Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be Jesus freaks




Of all the things that are accused of being child abuse, surely this must qualify.

Christian music sales are up 300% in recent years, clear proof of impaired mental processes among the young.

Friday, September 15, 2006

#4 = "You have such a pretty face, why do you have to hide it?"

Spooney sent me this article on how people who drink alcohol are more successful than those who don’t. He has sent me similar things before.

I can’t decide if he devotes so much time trying to justify drinking because he secretly wonders if he drinks too much, or if he is countering my hyper-vigilance on the subject.

Because, you see, alcoholism runs in the family. My family, that is.

That phrase, “alcoholism runs in the family,” is #1 of the top 10 phrases most likely to be invoked at any family gathering. #2 is “I AM being careful, goddammit!” and “I don’t make monkeys - I just train them” is a distant third.

Yes, we have some issues with maturity. But the love is there.

Anyway, I read the article and noticed immediately that the researchers were assuming a causal relationship between drinking alcohol and career success. That’s not unusual. A lot of studies assume, or imply in their press releases, that causality exists where it has not been proven.

For instance, you could do a study of the rate of homosexuality in Catholic priests, and for sure you would find it would be above the national average. That doesn’t mean the Catholic priesthood causes homosexuality - although wouldn’t it be great if it did? They might finally get those outfits they wear updated a bit, huh?

But here, read for yourself:

The study published in the Journal of Labor Research Thursday concluded that drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than teetotalers, and that men who drink socially bring home an additional seven percent in pay.

"Social drinking builds social capital," said Edward Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University and co-author of the study with fellow researcher Bethany Peters.

"Social drinkers are out networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their BlackBerries that result in bigger paychecks."


Okay, let’s not even talk about the fact that whatever extra money you earn is totally eaten up by your bar tab, what concerns me about this is that they seem to be relying on some pretty questionable anecdotal-type assumptions. I mean, “adding contacts to their BlackBerries”? These guys watched way too much “West Wing.”

But where they really blow it is revealed at the very end of the article, where you uncover this little gem:

The researchers found some differences in the economic effects of drinking among men and women. They concluded that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and women drinkers earn 14 percent more than non-drinkers.

However, unlike men, who get a seven percent income boost from drinking in bars, women who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women drinkers who do not visit bars.

"Perhaps women increase social capital apart from drinking in bars," the researchers said in an effort to explain the gender gap.

What I love about the above is not only that they’re completely ignoring how a significant portion of their sample (um, women) disprove their theory of causality - but how they just don’t seem to give a fuck. They’re all throwing up their hands and saying “Eh, broads! Who knows WHAT they’re thinking?”

I’m thinking I could use a drink. But don't tell anyone. Because alcoholism runs in the family.

I yam what I yam

California-grown plot to kill red-staters?

Is Little Richard becoming Christopher Walken?












You watch this video of Little Richard as a judge on Celebrity Duets, and you tell me he isn't matching the magnificent Walken crazy for crazy.

I'm sorry, Little Richard, I know you invented being Christopher Walken, and then that little white boy Christopher Walken came along and stole your act...


(via VideoDog)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Too little, too fucking late


Ooooh, look at Colin Powell, disagreeing with BushCo. Could've used you at the UN, buddy.

Powell wrote a letter to Senator McCain (oooh, look at Senator McCain, being "maverick" again!) in opposition to BushCo's plan to establish military tribunals to try "terrorists." Note that the administration's proposed legislation would not allow the accused to see the evidence against him, if the government decides it is "secret." It would also allow for evidence obtained by the...how you say...the "persuasive interrogation."

Anyway, here's an excerpt from Powell's big snit:

"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. To redefine Common Article 3 would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk."

Yeah, it's pretty ball-less, huh? The world is BEGINNING to doubt? Please. Tell me Colin, I don't think you're stupid, so are you still on the BushCo payroll, or do they have your useless piece of shit son tied up in basement somewhere?

Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out



Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas and professional hellcat, died last night of cancer.

I saw her speak live in 2000 at the California Governor's Conference for Women, and let me tell you, she made the whole damn boring day worth it. Her hair was teased higher than any woman I have seen since Elvis died. She settled into the podium as if she had never stood anywhere else in her life. She held the room in the palm of her impeccably manicured hand.

Besides the above title quote, which she directed at George H.W. Bush in 1992, she also described #41 as "born with a silver foot in his mouth," and she opened her 1988 Keynote Address to the Democratic National Convention by saying "I am delighted to be here with you this evening because after listening to George Bush all these years, I figured you needed to know what a real Texas accent sounds like."

How could you not love such a woman?

Although the scuttlebutt is that it was Barbara Bush's intense hatred of Ann Richards that inspired her to force her reluctant son to challenge Ann for the governorship of Texas. So, if it were not for the big mouth of Ann Richards, Bush Jr. might instead be now enjoying his term as Commissioner of Baseball.

But you shouldn't lose yourselves, dear gentle readers, in the possibilities of a world unshaped by the ineptitude and greed of BushCo. Instead, enjoy some vintage Ms. Richards:

How to Be a Good Republican:

1. You have to believe that the nation's current 8-year prosperity was due to the work of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, but yesterday's gasoline prices are all Clinton's fault.
2. You have to believe that those privileged from birth achieve success all on their own.
3. You have to be against all government programs, but expect Social Security checks on time.
4. You have to believe that AIDS victims deserve their disease, but smokers with lung cancer and overweight individuals with heart disease don't deserve theirs.
5. You have to appreciate the power rush that comes with sporting a gun.
6. You have to believe...everything Rush Limbaugh says.
7. You have to believe that the agricultural, restaurant, housing and hotel industries can survive without immigrant labor.
8. You have to believe God hates homosexuality, but loves the death penalty.
9. You have to believe society is color-blind and growing up black in America doesn't diminish your opportunities, but you still won't vote for Alan Keyes.
10. You have to believe that pollution is OK as long as it makes a profit.
11. You have to believe in prayer in schools, as long as you don't pray to Allah or Buddha.
12. You have to believe Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde were really faithful husbands.
13. You have to believe speaking a few Spanish phrases makes you instantly popular in the barrio.
14. You have to believe that only your own teenagers are still virgins.
15. You have to be against government interference in business, until your oil company, corporation or Savings and Loan is about to go broke and you beg for a government bail out.
16. You love Jesus and Jesus loves you and, by the way, Jesus shares your hatred for AIDS victims, homosexuals, and President Clinton.
17. You have to believe government has nothing to do with providing police protection, national defense, and building roads.
18. You have to believe a poor, minority student with a disciplinary history and failing grades will be admitted into an elite private school with a $1,000 voucher.



Goodbye, Ms. Richards. If there is a heaven above for you, I just know that all the barbeque will be Texas-style, and the hair spray will flow like wine.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jagshemash!


Christ, I love Borat. And not just because he kicks ass in a man-thong, although he does.

If you haven't yet seen a preview of his new movie, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, you can see one here. You can also see Borat speaking live at the Toronto Film Festival here.

Apparently, the president of Kazakhstan is so upset about how Borat (a fictional character created by the dreamy Brit comedian Sacha Baron Cohen) is portraying his country that he is going to discuss the problem with President Bush when he arrives for a state visit later this month.

In an earlier public statement, the Kazakh government has reserved the right to take legal action in the matter, and hinted that they thought Mr. Cohen might be "serving someone's political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way."

Borat himself has responded "I fully support my government's decision to sue this Jew."

Crickets

Remember all those people who said that Lieberman's primary defeat was because of his support of the Iraq war only, and not because he's a BushCo-backside-licking ass clown?

Well, Iraq-war-supportin' Hillary Clinton won her primary yesterday. Handily. In leftie commie Jew New York City, even.

Hell, Susan Saradon supported her opponent and Clinton still won!

Hey, what does that say about the supposed takeover of the Democratic party by the "far left?"

I don't expect Tony Snow or the Evil One to take back their trumped-up spin - why should they? No one in the press is going to put their feet to the fire.

But George Stephanopoulos and Chris Matthews - you're "journalists," right? Got anything to say about how wrongity-wrong-wrong you were?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

In honor of Patriot Day

Okay, I'm a day late. But I just watched the rerun of Real Time with Bill Maher, and he's inspired me to new levels of patriotism:

Bad presidents happen to good people. Amid all the 9/11 anniversary talk about what will keep us safe, let me suggest that, in a world turned hostile to America, the smartest message we can send to those beyond our shores is, "We're not with stupid." Therefore, I maintain that ridiculing this president is now the most patriotic thing you can possibly do. Wait. Let the word go forth to our allies and our enemies alike. Let them know that there's a whole swath of Americans desperate to distance themselves from George Bush. And that's just Republicans running for re-election.

If I could - if I could explain one thing about George Bush to the rest of the world, it's this: we don't know what the fuck he's saying either! Trust me, there's nothing lost in translation! It's just as incoherent in the original English. George Bush just turned out to be one of those things that's very popular for a few years, and then almost overnight becomes completely embarrassing. Like leg-warmers or white people going, "Oh, no, you di-n't." Or invading Iraq.


Thanks, Bill! And readers, for inspiration on fulfilling your patriotic duty, see Slate's comprehensive list of Bushisms, featuring such gems as:

Bush on Oceanography
"I think—tide turning—see, as I remember—I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of—it's easy to see a tide turn—did I say those words?"—Washington, D.C., June 14, 2006

and

Bush on Medieval Weaponry
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."—Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

and

Bush on Supply-Side Economics
"Secondly, the tactics of our—as you know, we don't have relationships with Iran. I mean, that's—ever since the late '70s, we have no contacts with them, and we've totally sanctioned them. In other words, there's no sanctions—you can't—we're out of sanctions."—Annandale, Va., Aug. 9, 2004

and

Bush on Domestic Policy
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."—Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

and

Bush on Agriculture
"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."—Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

and

Bush on Transportation Infrastructure
"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"—Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000

and

Bush on Terrorism
"It's going to require numerous IRA agents."—On Gore's tax plan, Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000

and

Bush on Rene Descarte and Modern Philosophy
"I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions. I can't answer your question."— Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Oct. 4, 2000

and

Bush on Foreign Relations
"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."—Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

and

Bush on Self-Knowledge
"I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans."—Oprah, Sept. 19, 2000

and

Bush on Cardiology
"We'll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers."—Houston, Texas, Sept. 6, 2000

and

Bush on Economic Policy
"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it."--Reuters, May 5, 2000

and

Bush on Getting to Scotland Before Ye
"The senator has got to understand if he's going to have—he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road."—To reporters in Florence, S.C., Feb. 17, 2000

and

Bush on Breast Feeding
"How do you know if you don't measure if you have a system that simply suckles kids through?"— Explaining the need for educational accountability in Beaufort, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

and

Bush on Haute Cuisine
"We ought to make the pie higher."—South Carolina Republican Debate, Feb. 15, 2000



Jeez, I'm afraid I could go on all day. Readers, feel free to submit your own.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.

Five years ago, at a company far, far away, there was this guy I used to work with. He was a Doctor. Not like a medical doctor, but like a Ph.D. doctor. In reality he was a scientist whose career consisted of managing other scientists and taking credit for their work.

He was also a grade-A bonehead with bad breath, a roving eye and a condescending attitude. I remember hearing him complain once about the woman who did our purchasing, and I could tell immediately that his problem had nothing to do with the quality of her work, but his feeling that she wasn’t sufficiently deferential to him.

He was also an arch-conservative Republican, which just goes to show you that even people with an excess of education can turn out to be really fucking stupid.


On the morning of September 11, 2001, I awoke at 6 a.m. to Morning Edition on the clock radio, as usual. My then-husband wasn’t in bed, which meant he was already on the computer in the office. As soon as I heard them announce that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, I sat straight up in bed and turned on the television. I don’t remember what station it was on, because all they showed was the image of the burning tower, and the newscasters were in voiceover only, but they were speculating on the possibility that it might have been an accident. “Are you nuts?” I thought. “This is the World Trade Center we’re talking about. They’ve tried to bring it down before.”

I’d been watching the coverage for less than a minute when the 2nd plane flew into frame and into the 2nd building. Right in front of my eyes. I let out a wail loud enough to bring my husband running into the room. “What’s the matter?!” he yelled. I pointed to the screen. The newscasters had gone dumb as the import of what they had just seen was sinking in.

I was one of the millions of Americans who found out about the attack before our president did.

An hour later, I am still in front of the television with my husband.

The towers collapse.

I weep like a baby and say stupid things like “Why would they do this?”

My husband watches wordlessly, looking grim.

Our dogs pace the room anxiously, not understanding what’s wrong but understanding that something is very, very wrong.

My boss calls. She tells me to stay home. Los Angeles might be a target, she says, and it’s better not to get on the freeway.

I am relieved. I am a mess. I call work and reach one person in my department who is already at work, wondering where everyone else is. I tell him the news. He doesn’t understand. I tell him to go in the conference room and turn on the television. I hang up.

I spend that day and night watching the coverage on the television. Whenever any witnesses refer to bodies falling or jumping from the WTC, the networks cut them off or cut quickly to something else. What ridiculous ideas we have of decorum, I think.

Three days later, my company is having a meeting to discuss “security concerns.” A security bigwig from our parent corp. has come down to dictate some policy to us, and I am there representing my department. He mentions setting up a protocol for outside emergencies, such as earthquakes and power outages, and, well, planes flying into buildings. It is at this point that Dr. Science Asshole speaks up and says “Yes, we really do need a protocol, because on Tuesday some people did not come into work, or were told not to come into work, for whatever reason. A protocol should be established so that kind of situation doesn’t happen again.”

His voice was fairly dripping with disapproval. He clearly meant to communicate that as far as he was concerned, those who stayed home on 9/11 were hysterical drama queens, or looking for an excuse to slack off, or both.

Before the security guy can respond, I look at Dr. Science Asshole and say “Right, because thousands of people are dead, the country’s at DefCon 1*, they can’t guarantee that they’ve accounted for all the planes yet, and we’re living in the 2nd largest city in the United States, but by all means let’s all get on the freeways and make sure we get to work on time.”

There is a stunned silence. I am aware that I have definitely been way too sarcastic to someone who way outranks me. No doubt I have just made his “not sufficiently deferential” list as well.

But I wasn’t about to be made to feel bad about my grief and my emotional involvement in the events by this socially retarded, William F. Buckley-worshiping fuckface.

The security guy carries on with the meeting. He actually has some really good suggestions. I am taking notes so that I can brief my boss on what we need to do to implement an emergency plan that will “meet or exceed” corporate guidelines.

And then Dr. Science Asshole speaks up again! This time he goes off on how we could use some REAL security at the building, because we are in a marginal neighborhood, and there are a pair of sneakers tied together and thrown over the telephone line next to our building, and did the security guy know that that was a signal to others of a site where one could buy drugs?

I shit you not.

The security guy said no, he’d never heard that before, but it was an interesting possibility.

I say, out loud, without looking at either of them, “It’s a myth. The whole sneakers on the wire thing. It’s an urban legend.” I keep my head down and continue making my notes. Inside I am seething. I am furious that this one guy is trying to hijack a much-needed discussion to air his own personal prejudices.

Because it wasn’t so much that our neighborhood was “marginal,” but that even though we were in a lily-white area of LA county, there were black people frequenting a fast-food restaurant near us, parking their cars on our street and walking on our sidewalks. And apparently, that was enough to make the whole area “marginal,” and the sneakers on the wire were more than enough in his mind to justify invoking the “drug dealer” boogeyman, even though no one in the company had seen one “drug dealer” around our building, ever.

So where am I going with this?

It’s just that I am so so tired of people trying to use that day to further their own agendas.

We know why they hate us, and it’s got nothing to do with our freedom. And while I’m on that subject, let me just say that of all the lies Bush has ever uttered in his life, that one is the worst.

And if we had never used Saudi Arabia as our bitch in the first gulf war, Osama bin Laden, such as he is, would probably never have come into existence.

So thanks readers, for making it to the end of a post like this on a day when all anyone can talk about is that goddamn awful fucking day. I hope you never let fear rule your heart.




*Actually, I was speculating about our DefCon level, and I was wrong. The country was at DefCon 3, an event that has occurred only twice before in our country’s history: once during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and once when the Soviet Union declared its intention to enter the 1972 Arab-Israeli war. But still.

Friday, September 08, 2006

TGIF


I just want all my readers to know that, according to the Governator, I am a mix of the "snobby" French blood and the "stuffy" English blood, and that is why I am such a balls-out hardcore bitch.

Bad news for Catherine Zeta-Jones, Part 2



It's been a rough month for old sperm. A new study suggests Men over 40 are more than six times more likely to father an autistic child than men under 30.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hello? Is it me you're looking for?

Perhaps you heard recently that, just as Germans love David Hasselhoff, Muslims, especially Iraqis, love Lionel Richie.

What is it about Richie that Muslims love? I mean besides the infectious beat of mega-hits like "Dancin' on the Ceiling"?

Richie says: "The answer is, I'm huge, huge in the Arab world. The answer as to why is, I don't have the slightest idea."

I have a theory.

And it involves my study of ancient Egyptian art.

Stay with me. I know that ancient Egyptians were not Muslims. I think they worshiped kitties and, like a dog or something. Oh, and the sun. But anyway, there is a thread here, so hang on.

When I attended college, in the 80's, Richie was everywhere. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting that goddamn "All Night Long" video, for instance.

And one afternoon, during a slide lecture on ancient Egyptian statuary, I made an amazing discovery.

Lionel Richie bears a remarkable resemblance to 18th dynasty pharoah Akhenaten.













Right?

Not only that, but just like Richie in the 80s, Akhenaten was everywhere in the 18th dynasty, mostly because he would take the heads off of statues of previous pharoahs, and put his own head on instead.

Ringing a bell?



You're welcome.

Prepare to feel icky

I'm sure the ears of my very smart readers pricked up when Bush mentioned Zubaydah is his awful awful "We heart torture. Just kidding. But secretly, we do heart torture." speech yesterday.

Spencer Ackerman over at TNR spells out Bush's lies about what we got from "not" torturing Zabaydah.

ABC gives BJ to W?

Has Disney finally found the form of its mea culpa to BushCo for Disney's involvement in "Farenheit 9/11"?

Because former president Clinton and former secretary of state Madeline Albright, among others, are protesting the content of the upcoming ABC (owned by Disney) miniseries on 9/11, saying that much of it is, well, not true:
“ABC/Disney acknowledges this show is fiction and in direct contradiction of the 9/11 commission report and the facts, and it is despicable that ABC/Disney would insist on airing a fictional version of what is a serious and emotional event for our country,” Clinton Foundation spokesman Jay Carson said in a statement Thursday. “No reputable organization should dramatize 9/11 for a profit at the expense of the truth.”

Clinton is upset because the series apparently portrays him as too involved in the Monica Lewinsky thing to pay attention to terrorism.

Damn! The power of the blow job never ceases to amaze me.

James Bamford, famous chronicler of the NSA, had this to say about the show:
"It’s made-up. This is fiction. This is not real. One of my friends actually was a consultant to this production — an FBI agent who worked on 9/11. He quit halfway through because he thought they were making things up."

Richard Clarke, who's about the furthest thing we have from a moral coward, says yup, there's some made-up shit in there:

In particular, some critics — including Richard A. Clarke, the former counterterrorism czar — questioned a scene that depicts several American military officers on the ground in Afghanistan. In it, the officers, working with leaders of the Northern Alliance, the Afghan rebel group, move in to capture Osama bin Laden, only to allow him to escape after the mission is canceled by Clinton officials in Washington.

In a posting on ThinkProgress.org, and in a phone interview, Mr. Clarke said no military personnel or C.I.A. agents were ever in position to capture Mr. bin Laden in Afghanistan, nor did the leader of the Northern Alliance get that near to his camp.“It didn’t happen,” Mr. Clarke said. “There were no troops in Afghanistan about to snatch bin Laden. There were no C.I.A. personnel about to snatch bin Laden. It’s utterly invented.”

Mr. Clarke, an on-air consultant to ABC News, said he was particularly shocked by a scene in which it seemed Clinton officials simply hung up the phone on an agent awaiting orders in the field. “It’s 180 degrees from what happened,” he said. “So, yeah, I think you would have to describe that as deeply flawed.”


Disney doesn't exactly dispute that they are making shit up, either:

"The Path to 9/11″ is not a documentary of the events leading up to 9/11. It is a dramatization, drawn from a variety of sources including the 9/11 Commission Report, other published materials, and personal interviews. As such–for dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes-–composite and representative characters and dialogue–and time compression.

No one has seen the final version of the film–because the editing process is not yet complete, so criticisms of film specifics are premature and irresponsible. The attacks of 9/11 were a pivotal moment in our history–and it is fitting that the debate about the events related to the attacks continue. However, we hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast of the finished film before forming an opinion about it"


Yeah, high and mighty talk from ABC, who refused Clinton's and Albright's request for copies of the series.

Which is fine. They don't have to give copies to anybody. Except that they did release copies to several right-wing commentaters, including Rush Limbaugh, who apparently is a good buddy of series writer/producer Cyrus Nowrasteh.

So, will ABC cave, like CBS did when it was confronted with criticism that its movie about the Reagans was too harsh on his handling of the AIDS crisis?

And guess what? There never was.

The sublime Sidney Blumenthal on Condi (registration required):

This May, as the situation in Iraq drastically worsened, Rice directed the senior staff that she wants no more reporting from U.S. embassies. She announced in the meeting, according to one participant, that people write memos only for each other and that no one else reads them. She said she didn't and wouldn't read them. Instead of writing reports, the diplomats should "sell America," she insisted. "We are salesmen for America!"

On Tuesday, kicking off the midterm elections campaign, Bush delivered a speech that cited Osama bin Laden's screeds, Lenin's "What Is to Be Done?" and Hitler's "Mein Kampf," and promised "complete victory" in Iraq. Rice contributed her own comparison of the "war on terror" to the American Civil War. "I'm sure there are people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold," she said.

But the more delirious the rhetoric, the more hollow the policy. "There is no plan for Iraq," a senior national security official with the highest intelligence clearance and access to the relevant memos told me. "There is no plan. No plan."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

When does "homage" become "stealing"? - Part 2















At left, Linda McCartney's famous picture of her husband Paul and daughter Mary. The picture was the back cover to Paul's first solo album after the Beatles broke up.

At right, Annie Liebovitz proves once again that she is just plumb out of ideas when it comes to the whole celebrity picture thing.

Our poor power to add or detract

Christ, what WON'T Secretary of State Rice do for her pretend husband George?

Recently, she's compared those that wish to withdraw from Iraq to those who didn't have the guts to see the Civil War to its conclusion.

Hold on, I thought Iraq was NOT in the midst of a civil war???

Oh well, if Rice wants to compare the Iraqi morass to the clear moral obligation to free millions of brutally enslaved Americans with no human rights or priviledges, it's up to her.

Clearly being a black woman descended from U.S. slaves is no impediment to this comparison for her. So who am I to say it is disrespectful to that cause for which so many men gave the last full measure of devotion?

It's okay, Condi. When it comes down to doing your job, I find that a sense of history, not to mention common decency, really just gets in the way.

They're comfortable!

Thanks to alert reader Alex, who has tipped me off that in Mike Judge's new movie, Idiocracy, where Luke Wilson's character wakes up in the future to find that everyone has become an idiot, as in moron, what shoes do these future dimwits give him to wear?

Crocs.

This is a scarier vision of the future than Mad Max or Waterworld, y'all. I would rather fight mohawk sportin' leather-clad homocidal maniacs for gasoline -- I would even rather be forced to fall in love with a jet-skiing, mulleted Kevin Costner -- than face a future where Crocs are the footwear of choice.

(Read more about how much I hate Crocs here.)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Christ, what WON'T Secretary of State Rice do for her pretend "husband" George?

Recently, she's compared those that wish to withdraw from Iraq to those who didn't want to see the Civil War to its conclusion.

Hold on, I thought Iraq was NOT in the midst of a civil war???

Oh well, if Rice wants to compare the Iraqi morass to the clear moral obligation to free millions of brutally enslaved people with no human rights or priveledges, it's up to her.

Clearly being a black woman descended from U.S. slaves is no impediment to this comparison for her. So good for her. You know, I find that a sense of history, not to mention common decency, just really gets in the way of doing your job.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Rummy says "Thank you ma'am, may I have another?"

Apparently our Secretary of Defense is a glutton for punishment.

LATimes:

IN THE LAST FEW DAYS I have had the opportunity to speak at the annual conventions of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. It is always a humbling experience to be in the presence of those who have served and fought for our country during some of our darkest, most trying times — when it was unclear whether our way of life would prevail.
Even more humbling when you consider that Rumsfeld spent the Korean War in ROTC at Princeton.

We are again engaged in conflicts that are testing whether we believe that the defense of liberty is worth the cost. And again, there are those who disagree with the mission, who question whether it is worth the sacrifice. This is to be expected in a time of war.

I just want to point out that he’s cribbing from the Gettysburg Address a bit here. Nice try, Rummy.

Today, some think that World War II and the Cold War were black-and- white affairs: good versus evil. But there were always those who thought that we should retreat within our borders.

Yeah, and they were Republican.

In speaking to our veterans, I suggested several questions to guide us during this struggle against violent extremists:• With the growing lethality and availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that vicious extremists can somehow be appeased?
So we’re NOT trying to come to some sort of peace with them? Because, in a war, you either have to come to a truce with your enemy, or kill them.

Our goal then is to kill ALL of them?

Really?


• Can we really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?

Okay, I guess he really does plan to kill every terrorist, then.

• Can we truly afford to pretend that the threats today are simply "law enforcement" problems rather than fundamentally different threats requiring fundamentally different approaches?

What approaches? Invade Iraq? Because that has worked out so well.

• Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America — not the enemy — is the real source of the world's troubles?

It’s such an intelligent approach to assume every problem cannot be due, even a little bit, to your own actions.

These are the central questions of our time, and, as in all periods of conflict, we have no choice but to face them honestly.

Unless you work for Fox News.


The last question is particularly important, because this is the first war of the 21st century — a war that, to a great extent, will be fought in the media on a global stage. We cannot allow the terrorists' lies and myths to be repeated without question or challenge.

I’m not sure who you think is advocating the non-challenging of terrorist myths and lies, Rummy, but it’s no one in this country, no matter how many times you assert otherwise.

We also should be aware that the struggle is too important — the consequences too severe — to allow a "blame America first" mentality to overwhelm the truth that our nation, though imperfect, is a force for good in the world.
Notice the use of their 2006 election mantra: the “blame American first” crowd and how much they hate America. Remember, the Bush administration is opposed to the Blame Game.

Consider that a database search of the nation's leading newspapers turns up 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers punished for misconduct at Abu Ghraib than of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the global war on terror.
It’s not my fault if the giving out of medals has been cheapened.
Then there is the case of Amnesty International, a long-respected human-rights organization, which called the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay the "gulag of our times" — a reference to the vast system of Soviet prisons and labor camps where innocent citizens were starved, tortured and murdered. The facility at Guantanamo Bay, by contrast, includes a volleyball court, basketball court, soccer field and library (the book most requested is "Harry Potter"). The food, served in accordance with Islamic diets, costs more per detainee than the average U.S. military ration.
And you’ll have plenty of time to finish Harry Potter, since you’ll be held for years without counsel. When you’re not being waterboarded, that is.
With examples like these prevalent in the world media, I do worry about the lack of perspective in our national dialogue — a perspective on history and the new challenges and threats that free people face today. Those who know the truth need to speak out against the myths and distortions being told about our troops and our country. My remarks at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion conventions have generated much discussion. I encourage everyone to read what I actually said at defenselink.mil/speeches.
I encourage it, too. Because if you actually do go and read the speeches, then you’ll see right fucking through Rummy’s pathetic little attempt to make you believe his words are somehow being misrepresented.

Dear Jack Black,


It's over.