Saturday, August 14, 2004

The Sad State of American Political Debate, Part MCMXLIX

Wow. If you guys start requiring loyalty oathes at your round-tables, I might start to get upset.

I would have to agree with you, though, that the lack of civility in public discourse coupled with the complete lack of political knowledge is sad. But let's look at what's really going on:

issueBushThe Truth
the problem with Radical IslamThe problem with Radical Islam is not that it is Islamic. Some of our nation's greatest allies, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, and many others, are Islamic nations, nations of good people, strong people. Next question?Stop giving blank checks to the Saudi Royal family, who had determined that the way to maintain their position was through the use of religion. Stop propping up oppressive governments (Philipines, Middle East, etc. — notice that a lot of this isn't coming out of Malaysia, a mainstreamed Islamic country?). For the love of Allah, don't give support to religious "freedom fighters" as part of a larger global effort.
how to resolve the energy crisis to keep us out of the Middle EastWe need the people most familiar with the state of energy in charge. Several months ago, I began a hydrogen initiative. I have worked closely with Govenor Arnold Schwartzenegger. I believe that America can find all of the energy resources it needs once our hands are untied by environmentalists, as we recently did with ANWR, which has given us the independence we need on an energy front.ANWR only has enough fuel to maybe meet the energy needs of the United States for one day. On the other hand, the damage wrecked might never be undone. Kerry's talking about using corn and soy beans for fuel, which I think is a dead end, but he's doing more than just inviting Ken Lay, et al., to come write the rules.
how the Palestinians have any greater claim to Israel then the Jews doOur partners in Israel, the first democracy in the Middle East, I'd like to point out, have worked long and hard with their Palestinian neighbors. The Palestinians have continued to turn their backs on the road to peace, and for that they have, time and again, been sanctioned by the United Nations.Time and again, six nations (tops) votes against UN resolutions decrying Israel's actions. Israel might not be such a problem if they didn't go so far out of their way to perform genocide (there, I said it) against the Palestinians. If Israel wants to be secure, they need to start being nicer to their neighbors and nicer to the aboriginals.
which particular piece of the Patriot Act was being used in contravention to the ConstitutionThe Patriot Act has made Americans safer than ever before. It has given law enforcement the tools they need in order to make America safe. These tools have allowed us to foil many plots against the American people and continue to take the war to the terrorists.The Patriot Act, what with their roving wire taps, does go outside of the Constitution. But more than that, what good has it done? If the Patriot Act was so needed and so damn important, how the hell does Ashcroft have enough time left over to subpeona medical records to make sure that no one is having a prohibited medical procedure?
a plan [...] to win the warWe can't back down and show weakness to the terrorists. That's just what they'd want. If there were any changes in the government or our approach to the war on terror, it could send the wrong signal and then we could have a month of 9/11s.Get the entire world on board. Stop going after Moqtada Al Sadr, throw Chalabi in jail, and get as serious about winning the war as we are about winning the rebuilding contracts.

Does "Jerry" (ha!) know that you're Irish? Weird. I know you aren't German, and you don't sound like you're German. You do sound like you have your own point of view.

The big problem with Jerry that you've already figured out and that I am still learning is that in this election, the stalwarts will not change their opinions (you won't change yours, I won't change mine). The kook factor still doesn't count (sorry, Terry) and it's only the swing voters that count right now. Other than that, it depends on how many of the stalwarts are allowed to cast their votes.

Is there a solution to Iraq? Of course there is. There are several, including the Vietnam solution, which is all that I'm afraid would be done by this administration.

I do, however, have a great idea from my dad on why die-hard Republicans should vote Kerry this year: to save the Republican party. Since Bush won't get rid of Cheney, the Republican era would end in 2008, when a Democratic tide might push in — horror of horrors — Hillary Clinton!!!! The only way the Republicans can avoid that fate is to let Bush step down this year and then let Kerry screw up the country for four years. After that, a good Republican president can take the country over again. Brilliant, no?

We should focus on what we share: you hate Hillary Clinton? I hate Hillary Clinton! You like porn? I like porn! You rip MP3s? I rip MP3s! You think Ralph Nader's a nut job? I think Ralph Nader's a nut job!

The Sad State of American Political Debate, Part MCMXLVIII

Every Friday we have a small breakfast for area businessmen and professionals here in the red part of the map. A couple of attorneys, an accountant or two, maybe an elected official. Basically the Rotary Club without, well, rotating.

One of the members of this breakfast group is an area businessman, Jerry, who has spent many years being very active in the Libertarian Party. I think he's run for governor a few times. Once upon a time, he was the Democrat Mayor of Rhinelander. Generally, the discussion is along the lines of local county politics, difficult clients we deal with and the odd professional war story. Very friendly.

As readers know, I'm pretty easy going about my politics. I can take it, I can give it, but I ain't backing down. I'm holding my ground, I'm smiling, everyone is comfortable, but I'm about as likely to back down as I am to raise my voice.

Jerry has been baiting me for several months now - Bushitler did this, Ashkkkroft took away that, the whole damn show is coming to an end. Finally, he pulled everybody's favorite piece of bait - "Brian, you're an intelligent and reasonable man, how can you possibly support . . . " fill in the usual ad hominem attacks.

Well, I figure, this is it. Time to let Jerry have it straight between the eyes. I won't bore you all with my arguments - you've heard them, you can parrot them, you may even be able to counter (some of) them with logic and reason.

Something unexpected happened - this intelligent, reasonable successful businessman reverted to some whiny college freshman. It was actually fairly impressive to watch the meltdown, inside of twenty minutes I was being referred to as "a good German".

I wasn't told how to fix the problem with Radical Islam, I wasn't told how to resolve the energy crisis to keep us out of the Middle East, I wasn't informed of how the Palestinians have any greater claim to Israel then the Jews do. I was never told which particular piece of the Patriot Act was being used in contravention to the Constitution, I didn't hear how any candidate for president had a plan to his liking to win the war.

But I did hear that everybody in the right is a crypto fascist, I did hear that I was a "good German" for going along with the government and I did hear that we were losing the war in Iraq and there was simply no solution.

I should've asked him if he needed a carryout for his next dorm kegger.
The funny thing is, I'm sure he'll tell me next week that he still respects me despite my beliefs. What's funny is that I no longer respect him because of his lack of beliefs.

Friday, August 13, 2004


New York Daily News - Home - The other man
The best line in the whole article:
"He had little knowledge of New Jersey Jews but he clearly had the governor's ear."
Mozilla Firebug

Next Stop: Transparent Aluminum

Gizmodo : Metal Rubber

Bend it, shape it, anyway you want it — it'll remain conductive and snap back to shape.
No word yet on whether it could create a whale tank

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Our Next President Should Be...
Jon Stewart. Tonight, when talking about Jon's new kid, Tom Cruise remarked, "I notice you don't wear a wedding ring."

"Not on my hand."
All too true. That is how it should be. Most importantly, note how quickly and directly Jon replied.

Never underestimate the power of public opinion

NASA Chief: 'Let's Go Save the Hubble': "'Let's go save the Hubble,' O'Keefe said."

This whole HST debacle shows us once again that NASA manages via an on/off switch
Mozilla Watergoat

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Oh Shit it's Mr. Creosote

AP Wire | 08/10/2004 | Nebraskan trying to lose 770 pounds to stay alive: "A group known as the League of Human Dignity helped arrange for Deuel to be driven to a local livestock scale, where he could be weighed."

Where is the diginty in hauling a 1000 pound guy to a livestock scale?
Mozilla Lightningkoala

Getting Loopy.

Gonna have to run with Shawn on this one. I was initially uncomfortable about the whole carpetbagger issue, but I figured that since HRC did it, we might as well, also. Hey, it ain't an issue if they can't make it into one, right?

But then we hear from the man himself . . .

"I must leave the land of my forebears in order to defend the land of my spirit and my conscience and my heart."

[ . . . ]

"The battle is for us but I have confidence because the victory is for God."

[ . . . ]

"The very principles on the basis of which slavery was abolished have been abandoned by Barack Obama and others in the Democratic Party. And I think that that abandonment betrays the heart of many Americans who are deeply committed to the American creed. And that is the reason I have stepped into this race."

[ . . . ]

"I think I have addressed the issue of the very deep differences between what I am doing and Hillary Clinton. She used the state of New York as a platform for her own personal ambition. I had no thought of coming to Illinois to run until the people here in the state party decided there was a need.
Just as people faced with a flood, or people in the case of 9/11, would call on folks, firefighters and others to help them deal with the crisis that they were faced with." [More . . .]

I have always admired Alan Keyes for his adherence to strict federalism, I believe that he is one of the most brilliant constitutional scholars out there. But this is just loopy. All I know about Barak Obama I read in the Liberal Media, but at least he's an honest to goodness FIB.

We have just redefined the very notion of vanity campaign.
Bruce, the mechanical shark used in the movie, was named after Spielberg's attorney.

Eat the Rich

Dahmer hardly qualifies as a patriot. Consumption does not equal love. Trust me on this one.

On the other hand, I might've considered Dahmer patriotic if he'd eaten, oh say, Alan Keyes, who is out to prove that he is the blackest of the black and that the Democratic party is run by white people who want to return to slave-holding days. Why do I say this about crowd-surfing Alan? Well, ABC News actually reported it:

"I would still be picking cotton if the country's moral principles had not been shaped by the Declaration of Independence," Keyes said. He said Obama "has broken and rejected those principles he has taken the slaveholder's position."

Obama, who has been basking in national celebrity since delivering the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, suggested Keyes is outside the moderate mainstream of state Republicans.

Asked specifically about the phrase "slaveholder's position," Obama said Keyes "should look to members of his own party to see if that's appropriate if he's going to use that kind of language."[More (if you can tolerate it)]

Saw "Jaws" tonight on Bravo. Still scares the hell out of me. Oh, the nightmares I'll have tonight...

Monday, August 09, 2004

Bless his heart

Yesterday I noticed that the Opposing Retired Generals (ORG) in this election are throwing around the word patriot. They use it to describe the fellow on the other side of the debate.

As in:

"Tommy Franks is a great patriot but . . ." defines a patriot as: One who loves, supports, and defends one's country.

By that definition Jeffrey Dahmer was a patriot.

Jeffrey Dahmer, bless his heart, he should have never cutup those folks