Saturday, March 25, 2006
In Salon.com's War Room, Domenech is quoted as saying "The idea that the attack machine has gotten to the level where they dig back to your freshman year of college, when you’re 17, and say, 'Hey, this guy should have been thinking about the authority of what he was writing the same way that people do at the New York Times,' then, I mean, it’s idiotic," Domenech said Friday in an interview with Human Events Online.
That's BS, and he should know it. Plagiarism, as any self-respecting student knows, especially one working for a newspaper, is cheating. It's theft of another's intellectual property. Sure, it's widespread, because many students would rather cheat than have to do their own work, but if or when they get caught, the penalties often are severe. I've never failed a student in a class because of plagiarism, but I have given many a zero on an assignment, lab, or term paper, because, frankly, that's not acceptable.
I know that people on the right want to think that anything that has happened in the past, on their side at least, qualifies as a "youthful indiscretion" and should be forgiven. Sometimes, there are consequences to actions, and sometimes those are bad. This guy cheated, he stole, and now he's been disgraced. Everything else is just a distraction.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Cuba won't collect WBC runner-up prize money (Reuters)
Cuba's prize money from the first World Baseball Classic has become collateral damage in the four-decade battle between President Fidel Castro and the United States.
Castro said he wanted to donate the money to victims of Hurricane Katrina, but U.S. officials say Cuba isn't getting any prize money.
Cuba finished second in the 16-nation competition, and the runner-up was entitled to 7 percent of the tournament's profits. But under the 1962 U.S. trade embargo, Havana had to forfeit its cut to get U.S. approval to play.
Castro, welcoming Cuba's players home as champions despite their 10-6 loss to Japan in Monday's championship game in San Diego, said Tuesday that the Cuban prize money would be donated to Katrina victims.
The Bush administration, however, is not prepared to allow such altruism by the Cuban leader.
A Major League Baseball official said the deal that allowed Cuba to play in the tournament, which was reached in February with the U.S. State Department and agreed to by Cuba, made it "crystal clear" that Havana would not receive any share of the profits, even for charity.
"Cuba doesn't have a cut of the proceeds of the tournament, and there is nothing for Cuba to donate," MLB spokesman Patrick Courtney said by telephone from New York.
If there are any unassigned net revenues, MLB would consider a donation to an as-yet-undetermined charitable or humanitarian cause, he said.
So, in order to allow Cuba to play in a baseball tournament, they had to give up their rights to prize money which they weren't going to keep, but give to victims of a major natural tragedy? As utterly pathetic a failure as the 47 year long embargo has been, this is truly a high point.
Interior Minister Bayan Jabr announced on Thursday that only a few hundred foreign jihadis (he called them "al-Qaeda") are left in Iraq, down from as many as 2000 in late 2005. The foreign element in the Iraqi guerrilla movement has long been over-estimated. Most of the violence is committed by Iraqi insurgents.
The most common product associated with medicine shows is an elixir which is touted to cure diseases, smooth facial wrinkles, remove stains in clothing, prolong life, or solve any number of common ailments (also known as snake oil). Entertainment often includes a freak show, a flea circus, musical acts, magic tricks, jokes, and storytelling:
"And we have a strategy for victory in Iraq. It's a three-pronged strategy, starting with-it's politics, it is a-it's security, and it's economy. A free Iraq is important for the United States of America. It was important to remove a threat; it was important to deal with threats before they fully materialized; but a free Iraq also does some other things. One, it serves as an amazing example -- it will serve as an amazing example for people who are desperate for freedom. You know, this is, I guess, quite a controversial subject, I readily concede, as to whether or not the United States ought to try to promote freedom in the broader Middle East. Our foreign policy before was just kind of, if the waters look calm, great. Problem is, beneath the surface was resentment brewing, and people were able to take advantage of that, these totalitarians, like al Qaeda. So I changed our foreign policy. I said, freedom is universal; history has proven democracies do not fight each other, democracies can yield peace we want, so let's advance freedom. And that's what's happening.
Step right up, get your snake oil, get your miracle cures, good for what ails ya!
Thursday, March 23, 2006
He also was firing on our aircraft. They were enforcing a no-fly zone, United Nations no-fly zone
No, Your Chimpness, there was NO U.N. no-fly zone. That was a unilateral and probably illegal program set up by the U.S. and the U.K. (France was also in at first, but stopped enforcing it
He'd invaded his neighborhood.
Who is he, Mr. Rogers gone bad? Did he slap King Friday XIII around and take indecent liberties with Queen Sarah Saturday???
This guy was a threat. And so the world spoke. And the way I viewed it was that it was Saddam Hussein's choice to disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. And he made the choice
Correct, he made his choice--and you invaded anyway.
De Tocqueville, who's a French guy, came in 1832, and recognized-and wrote back-wrote a treatise about what it means to go to a country where people associate voluntarily to serve their communities.
That was the Taliban. If you were a young girl growing up under the auspices of the Taliban, you didn't have a chance to succeed. You couldn't go to school. If you dissented in the public square, you'd be in trouble. If you didn't agree with their dark vision, whether it be religion or politics, you were in trouble. In other words, they can't -- they couldn't stand this concept of a free society -- and neither can al Qaeda. See, we're dealing with ideologues. They have an ideology.
By the way, if the President says something he better mean it, for the sake of peace. In other words, you want your President out there making sure that his words are credible.
Another lesson of September the 11th, and an important lesson that really does relate to the topic I want to discuss, which is Iraq, is that when you see a threat now, you got to take it seriously. That's the lesson of September the 11th -- another lesson of September the 11th. When you see a threat emerging, you just can't hope it goes away. If the job of the President is to protect the American people, my job then is to see threats and deal with them before they fully materialize, before they come to hurt us, before they come and strike America again. [editor's note--does he get paid extra for each 9/11 reference?]
Iraq is a part of the global war on terror. In other words, it's a global war.
Three things. 1) Aren't there *always* external events, in everyone's lives, and aren't we still required to deal with them?
2) Didn't we invade Iraq? How is that an external event?
3) Isn't an "external event", namely 9/11, responsible for most of what Chimpy has interpreted as his mission from god?
I no longer fly to the West Coast or Hawaii. I haven't gone to a restaurant in Buffalo Grove since their smoking ban went into effect. I won't be eating in a restaurant in Chicago with their new smoking ban. I don't go to restaurants that prohibit smoking. Yes, airlines, towns, villages, and cities have lost business with their restrictions.
STOOGE: Mr. President, I have a son that's special forces in Iraq. And I have another son, I have another son that's in the Army. He left college to join the Army. He's out in Hawaii. He's got the good duty right now. But I thank God that you're our Commander-in-Chief. And I wouldn't want my boys --
PRESIDENT: Okay, thanks.
STOOGE: Again, I thank God you're our Commander-in-Chief. You're a man for our times. And I'm supporter of yours. And I think it's good that you come out and tell your story. And I think you need to keep doing more of it, and tell the story and the history of all this. And God bless you. And I thank you for your service.
"And God bless you. And I thank you for your service??" Doesn't it sound like the stooge was reading from the preznit's script?.
"I think we'll be here forever."
The second comes from a vile "think tank" called the Project for the New American Century. This group included familiar names, such as Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Bill Bennet, Dick Cheney and last but not least, Rummy.
"The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein....retaining forward-based forces in the region would still be an essential element in U.S. security strategy given the longstanding American interests in the region."
The kid's right.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
At work, I use Epic editorial. I tend to type "WorldCom" a lot, and the spellcheck suggests...
On my Juno e-mail, I had a response to the Chicago Tribune online, and for chicagotribune.com, it suggested
First of all, it is SEPTEMBER 11th, NOT September THE 11th!!!!
And fearless leader added that "you know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans"
BECAUSE OF OCEANS??? WHO ARE YOU? Phillip IV of Spain? OK, let's move ahead 400 years, are you Woodrow Wilson?
George, I know you were drunk and stupid during history classes, but have you ever heard of the Doolittle raid? Or maybe this thing called THE COLD WAR?
String of Warm Winters Alarms 'Sentries for the Rest of the World'
By Doug Struck
Washington Post Foreign Service
PANGNIRTUNG, Canada --Thirty miles from the Arctic Circle, hunter Noah Metuq feels the Arctic changing. Its frozen grip is loosening; the people and animals who depend on its icy reign are experiencing a historic reshaping of their world.
Fish and wildlife are following the retreating ice caps northward. Polar bears are losing the floes they need for hunting. Seals, unable to find stable ice, are hauling up on islands to give birth. Robins and barn owls and hornets, previously unknown so far north, are arriving in Arctic villages.
The global warming felt by wildlife and increasingly documented by scientists is hitting first and hardest here, in the Arctic where the Inuit people make their home. The hardy Inuit -- described by one of their leaders as "sentries for the rest of the world" -- say this winter was the worst in a series of warm winters, replete with alarms of the quickening transformation that many scientists expect will spread from the north to the rest of the globe.
Well, luckily for us, the rapture will save us from all that global warming nonsense.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
New Rule: Bluetooth headset users have to do something that lets me know you're just on the phone and not a dangerous schizophrenic. Right? We don't know if you're talking to your secretary or the evil leprechaun who lives in your head. You're not the chief communications officer of the Starship Enterprise. You're a shoe salesman asking your mom if you can bring over your laundry. If I wanted to overhear every tedious scrap of brain static rattling around in your head, I'd read your blog.
Discussing the Feingold censure resolution, Limbaugh's dumber brother Dave opined "At least with the Clinton impeachment, which many wanted to dilute to a censure and others to a mere verbal wrist-slap, there was no question that he committed multiple felonies."
The [fill in the blank] doesn't fall far from the [fill in the blank].
The "stirrings for the mainstreaming of polygamy (or, more accurately, polyamory) have their roots in the increasing legitimization of gay marriage. In an essay 10 years ago, I pointed out that it is utterly logical for polygamy rights to follow gay rights. After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as gay marriage advocates insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one's autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement--the number restriction (two and only two)--is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice."
Good heavens, is there a better textbook demonstration of the logical flaw of the slippery slope? A rational adjustment to a legal definition must necessarily invite the wholesale eradication of the concept?
So, the opening of marriage to two consenting adults throws open the gate to polygamy, and what else Chuck? Cross-species marriage? Please.
Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, your Cabinet officers, former Cabinet officers, intelligence people and so forth -- but what's your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil, the quest for oil. It hasn't been Israel or anything else. What was it?
BUSH: I think your premise, in all due respect to your question and to you as a lifelong journalist -- that I didn't want war. To assume I wanted war is just flat wrong, Helen, in all due respect.
BUSH: Hold on for a second, please. Excuse me. Excuse me.
No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true.
My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. When we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people.
Our foreign policy changed on that day. You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life.
And I'm never going to forget it. And I'm never going to forget the vow I made to the American people, that we will do everything in our power to protect our people.
Part of that meant to make sure that we didn't allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy, and that's why I went into Iraq.
Afghanistan provided safe haven for Al Qaida. That's where they trained, that's where they plotted, that's where they planned the attacks that killed thousands of innocent Americans.
I also saw a threat in Iraq. I was hoping to solve this problem diplomatically. That's why I went to the Security Council. That's why it was important to pass 1441, which was unanimously passed.
And the world said, "Disarm, disclose or face serious consequences." And therefore, we worked with the world. We worked to make sure that Saddam Hussein heard the message of the world.
And when he chose to deny the inspectors, when he chose not to disclose, then I had the difficult decision to make to remove him. And we did. And the world is safer for it.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Secretary Rumsfeld...
BUSH: You're welcome.
I didn't really regret it. I kind of semi-regretted it.
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."
Abraham Lincoln, 1862
And sometimes we start to see a glimmer. The President hasn't polled out of the thirties within his own family in ages, for example. He'd have to personally capture Osama bin Laden hiding in every person's closet to win another election. But he's not running ever again. As ZuZu's petals pointed out below, the party we'd like to support just hasn't stepped up. I don't really know why. I've heard talk that they're trying to play by the 1994 playbook, when the Contract on America didn't get released until September. But what the country desperately needs them to do is lead. I think what they're afraid of is if they try to lead, and fail, they'll lose seats in November. And that's probably true. But if they succeed, if somehow something gets better between now and then - whoa - they fill a void the country is begging for, and the elections go heavily their way.
Any bets on whether or not they have the guts to take that risk?
Monday, March 20, 2006
For Chrissakes, can you guys NOT see the parallels? Are you that scared shitless of the Religious Right that you dare not speak out against their idea of "God's chosen president", the closest thing they've ever seen as the "Second Coming"? Jesus, look at Iraq, look at the NSA wiretappings, look at the Gulf and how folks are still suffering from Katrina and the administration's incompetent response there....hell, look at the goddamed twenty to thirty cent rise per gallon of gas in the last week (I mention that, because even the FMR religious whackos get pissed when they have to pay more to fill up their SUVs). DAMMIT!! Look at his numbers!! The time is now. November ain't that far away.
A man in Afghanistan is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death after being charged with converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under the country's Islamic sharia laws, a judge said Sunday.
To date, every step laid out in the 2003 plan for success in Iraq has taken place. An Iraqi army is being trained and is increasingly effective. New Iraqi police are gradually assuming control of streets and neighborhoods, protecting their citizens who want no part of the insurgent violence. A provisional government was elected and assumed sovereign authority in 2004. This provisional government elected a president and drafted a constitution, as scheduled. In 2005, the Iraqi people turned out in overwhelming numbers to elect a parliament. This parliament convened this week, and is charged with appointing a president, Prime Minister, and cabinet. The probability that this process will fail is vanishingly small.
The plan was formulated two years ago, and is on schedule. The insurgency is strong, but cannot succeed because, like the Democratic Party, it has no rational objective.
To say "we" are winning is equally nonsense. The Iraqi people are winning, and will be the beneficiaries of their success.
Fred W. Dougherty
In the wake of the tragic shooting deaths of Chicago children resulting from gang crossfire, letters from gun control advocates and opponents flowed into the paper. The debate seemed to miss one basic and unalterable legal fact, however. Left unsaid or misstated was the fact that this is a political and a policy debate, it is not a federal constitutional one. Within the jurisdictional bounds of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, it is settled law that no individual right to gun ownership is protected by the 2nd Amendment and that there is no such "fundamental" right protected by the 14th Amendment. While that may change as precedents are revisited, the law on this question is clear.
The historical origins of the 2nd Amendment are far from conclusive on this question. Firearms in a pre-Industrial Revolution America were made by hand and were quite expensive. For example, individual rights advocates fondly quote Patrick Henry with well-placed ellipses, as he states "the great object is that every man be armed...every one who is able may have a gun." Unfortunately, the excised portion reveals that Henry is referring to the STATE purchasing weapons for militia use: "The great object is that every man be armed.--but can the people to afford to pay for double sets of arms? Every one who is able may have a gun. But have we not learned by experience, that necessary as it is to have arms, and though our assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavored to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case. When this power is given up to Congress without limitation or bounds, how will your militia be armed?"
The description of the "Magazine" at colonial Williamsburg states that "The night of April 20, 1775, Lieutenant Henry Collins stole toward the capital with a squad of royal marines from the H.M.S. Magdalen anchored in Burwell's Bay on the James River. Their orders, straight from Governor Dunmore, were to empty the arsenal and disable THE MUSKETS stored there. In 1715, the magazine "safeguarded shot, powder, flints, tents, tools, swords, pikes, canteens, cooking utensils, and as many as 3,000 Brown Bess flintlocks--equipment needed for defense against Indians, slave revolts, local riots, and pirate raids."
But the historical discussion is little more than an amusing diversion, because we have the reality of the law. The 7th Circuit, in a 1999 case left undisturbed by a subsequent decision in 2003, stated that "Whatever questions remain unanswered, [the 1939 Supreme Court decision in U.S. v.] Miller and its progeny do confirm that the Second Amendment establishes no right to possess a firearm apart from the role possession of the gun might play in maintaining a state militia." The Morton Grove case, which allowed a local ban to stand, remains good law on the 14th Amendment status of firearm ownership not being a fundamental right.
So the question remains where it should--in the legislative bodies of America, both state and federal. Make your case one way or another, but please, leave the 2nd Amendment out of it.
As regular readers know, I've long advocated cutting France out of any post-war Iraqi settlement. No oil contracts, no peace-keepers, no influence as far as we can help it. Charles Krauthammer makes the same point today. After what the French have tried to do to destroy American diplomacy, wreck Tony Blair, and delay a war until it might actually be more dangerous for American troops, they deserve more than indifference.
A clear majority of European nations - eighteen at the last count - support the war. From Australia to Poland, we have dozens of allies, large and small. Britain, one of the few remaining non-American military powers, is contributing most of its armed forces. We may not have unanimous global support for an attack but to describe the coming war as "unilateral" is simply false.
Now Andrew, like so many neocons, is trying to make the summer Olympic team in the 200-meter backpedal. In a Time piece, he describes his three "huge errors" in donning the cheerleader outfit and grabbing the megaphone for the cause of war.
First, he says that he did indeed "overestimate the competence of government, especially in very tricky areas like WMD intelligence. The shock of 9/11 provoked an overestimation of the risks we faced. And our fear forced errors into a deeply fallible system. When doubts were raised, they were far too swiftly dismissed. The result was the WMD intelligence debacle, something that did far more damage to the war's legitimacy and fate than many have yet absorbed."
What? The overestimation of the risk was PROVOKED by 9/11? Please, Andrew, you're a smart guy and that one doesn't even pass the laugh test. The only overestimation was the calculated posturing done by the administration to somehow justify a course of action it had long before committed to following. What next, Andy, are you going to complain that the former Nigerian oil minister didn't send you the $25 million?
He amazingly adds that "the miraculously peaceful end of the cold war lulled many of us into overconfidence about the inevitability of democratic change, and its ease."
DOUBLE WHAT?? The last time I checked, the "end of the Cold War" was brought about by the eventual collapse from internal decay of a corrupt and anachronistic imperial power (hmm, note that one for future reference), involving in many cases relatively homogeneous populations and developed economies, not within the context of a western invasion of a culturally, religiously and politically diverse "third world" country.
The next error, as Andy sees it, was "narcissism, as America's power blinded many of us to the resentments that hegemony always provokes." [editor's note: see Andy's disparagement of the French above]
Narcissism? I find that to be a stretch, as U.S. military might had failed dramatically in Viet Nam, and there was no reason to suspect that beyond the military objective of defeating Saddam's troops that it could deal any better at the far more complex questions involved with reconstruction. Not self-admiration, but self-delusion and willful ignorance was at play here--and those are the best of it.
The ultimate arrogance and idiocy is found behind Door #3, however. Behind that door we have "the final error was not taking culture seriously enough."
I am practically speechless. How inexcusable is it to not understand the culture when you plan to invade and occupy a country? Isn't that one of the first steps to prepare for conflict, to anticipate the possible scenarios on the ground? What makes it more shocking is that a college sophomore taking a Middle Eastern history class could have understood this "culture" and would have taken it "seriously."
Sunday, March 19, 2006
George Orwell, 1984
Well, I know that sounds disastrous, unless you happen to be...
Civil War? It's a GOOD thing!
It's true! It's true! The crown has made it clear, the climate must be perfect all the year.....
A law was made a distant moon ago here, July and August cannot be too hot.
And there's a legal limit to the snow here, in Camelot.
The winter is forbidden till December, and exits March the second on the dot.
By order, summer lingers through September in Camelot.
I know it sounds a bit bizarre
But in Camelot, in Camelot, that's how conditions are.
The rain may never fall till after sundown.
By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
In short, there's simply not a more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here in Camelot!
Who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew?
Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two?
The candyman, oh the candyman can
The candyman can 'cause he mixes it with love
And makes the world taste good
Lenny: Tell about that place, George.
George: I just told you, just last night.
Lenny: Go on, tell again, George.
George: Well, its ten acres. Got a little windmill. Got a little shack on it, an a chicken run. Got a kitchen, orchard, cherries, apples, peaches, nuts, got a few berries. Theys a place for alfalfa and plenty water to flood it. They's a pig pen
Lenny: And rabbits, George.
I'm encouraged to see that Iraqi political leaders are making good progress toward forming a unity government, despite the recent violence....I urge them to continue their work to put aside their differences, to reach out across political, religious, and sectarian lines, and to form a government that can confront the terrorist threat and earn the trust and confidence of all Iraqis. I also remain optimistic because slowly but surely our strategy is getting results. This month I'm giving a series of speeches to update the American people on that strategy. I'm discussing the progress we are making, the lessons we have learned from our experience, and how we are fixing what has not worked. This past week, I discussed the security element of our strategy. I spoke about our increasingly successful efforts to train Iraqi security forces to take the lead in the fight against the terrorists.
Tell me about the rabbits, George...