Archive for May, 2006

Sidebar Update II

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Sidebar Update II

Today we are expanding our horizons with the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler blog. This is the place from which I shamelessly borrowed the touching Memorial Day tribute, or rather, pointed to it. This was deliberate. I didn’t want to write something original when so many other blogs were doing a better job of paying tribute to our vets, and this guy’s post filled the bill.

There is a healthy overlap of common interests here, in fact enough to pose a marginal danger of redundancy. Over there, as is the case with over here, what the opinion is, is a secondary consideration, with how the opinion is reached being the primary concern.

Foolishness ticks me off. But it has a worse effect over there. Makes the guy who runs the site act like a…well, an angry Rottweiler. Have a look around, you’ll be glad you did.

You Report It Or You Are It

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

You Report It Or You Are It

This post is unusual since it draws on, as a source, television. I don’t have television. My better half has the TV on, and it’s all Katie Couric all the time. Katie has been saying “goodbye” for nearly two months now, and gets a three-hour send-off tonight. Matt Lauer just said “our top story is Katie.”

An issue? Yeah, I think so. A conflict. You report the news or you are the news. Can’t do both.

Next time some woman starts whining about “men hogging the remote,” if I don’t bite my tongue hard enough this might come up. If this is, indeed, a man’s world — and I highly doubt that — television is a shelter from that, not a manifestation of it.

Here’s a question. If Iran blew up Tel Aviv with a 20-megaton nuke, during the Long Goodbye of Ms. Couric, would we even hear about it?

My Leanings

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

My Leanings

Someday soon I will have to write one of these myself (click on image to take the quiz and find your own leanings).

If memory serves, there are six-to-eight questions about regulating sex, pornography, abortions, smoking pot, and other things that people on the “left” don’t like to see regulated…and only a couple of questions about regulating the evil corporations, stealing money from productive people to give to lazy people, things people on the “right” bristle at seeing regulated.

This always emerges as a pet peeve of mine whenever I take such a quiz, especially with social issues, since my feelings about things are especially weak. If California were to consider an anti-sodomy law for example, or an anti-abortion law, or a new anti-pot-smoking law, I might be persuaded to vote “Yes” on those. I don’t really care that much about them. If you can make the case to me that they’re bad ideas, it would be pretty easy to persuade me to vote “No.”

If you were to try to convince me it was a bad idea to even have them on the ballot, it would be easy to do that, too. I’d even be open to some arguments that they’re unconstitutional, if you make ‘em good arguments. The only thing I’m going to stick to, like super-glue, is that assuming you can’t define some sort of constitutional indigestion with regard to such laws, the citizens of a state have a God-given right to vote on these things. The authority to strike down laws, popularly enacted laws, comes from nowhere else. Either a law encroaches on the Constitution, or it doesn’t. And if there is doubt on such a question, the popularly-enacted law enjoys the benefit of the doubt, and the notion of unconstitutionality labors under the burden of proof.

Is that an “Authoritarian” mindset? Some would say that is the very definition of same. I don’t share that viewpoint. I think you can achieve tyranny, easily, by making it easier to declare things unconstitutional — since that wrests power from the people who would otherwise be voting on those laws. To me, that seems to be just common sense. But with most social issues, as far as how I would vote on them when the time comes to potentially outlaw them, I have very few opinions and most of those opinions are pretty weak. I’m much more concerned with who is making the choice, than how the choice is made.

And when an authority says it is unconstitutional to outlaw certain sexual positions, or abortions, or whatever…I don’t think power has been restored to The People, I think it’s been taken away.

But it’s pretty hard to find one of these tests that actually reflects that.

If you did find such a test, it would reveal something that has until now been shrouded in obscurity: We live in a time when being on the “left” is melding with being “authoritarian,” and being “libertarian” is quickly becoming synonymous with being on the “right.”

I know of many “conservative” people who think it’s wrong to penalize those who make money. I know of none among them, however, who would address that by lifting the issue away from the public vote. Can’t think of a single one. Friend, acquaintance, peer on the “innernets,” politician, or pundit. How many issues are there that liberals would like to decide their way, and then chisel into the marble slab of unconstitutionality, lifting the question away from the public vote? I think the answer to that is up into the double-digits by now, and going higher.

Vote To Impeach President Bush Passes Two-to-One

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Vote To Impeach President Bush Passes Two-to-One

Aw, isn’t this cute

Brookline Town Meeting last night voted to impeach the president of the United States in a 104 to 52 vote that was greeted with an eruption of applause and cheers.

Jonathan Margolis, who sponsored the article, repeated the embittered claims of the left that Bush lied to the nation and picked and chose which laws his administration would obey.

Margolis was forced to defend his proposal against detractors who suggested he was pushing beyond the bounds of Town Meeting authority.

“While I understand your sincerity and patriotism,” Margolis told one opponent, “I respectfully suggest you go back and read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.”

Margolis then went on to specify exactly what it was he was parodying. Well, no he didn’t, or if he did it was left out of the story.

My Wine Club II

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

My Wine Club II

I do not usually like to spend lots of money on red wine. My palette is much more sensitive with white wines, and I’ve had some rewarding experiences from letting go of the purse strings and splurging for the sake of expanding horizons with dessert wines, table wines, Pinot Grigio, Muscat, etc. With red wine, I’ve noticed the cheap stuff works just as good. The entree has much more to do with making a good meal than the beverage.

Every rule has an exception, however, and this stuff is more than worthy of a sampling. Villa Mt. Eden Cabernet Savignon, last bottle I got I think was a 2000 vintage. You will notice the quality right away even if you’re not a red-wine-snob…looking at about $14 to $18 a bottle.

Ouch IV

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Ouch IV

Anything for the public safety, especially during the hazardous Memorial Day weekend…

Public Advocate USA set up a “Kennedy Sobriety Checkpoint” right in the ol’ beltway. Of course, we go about our daily lives under threat of life and limb from impaired drivers, no matter what the driver’s surname happens to be. But we have things like laws to protect us from the ones who aren’t named “Kennedy.”

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… VIII

Monday, May 29th, 2006

Couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself… VIII

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler says let us all take a break from politics and do what only makes sense…

Let�s turn to those truly worthy of our attention, the men and women at the sharp end of the spear to whom we owe the privilege of having a Memorial Day to celebrate in the first place.

While we�re all here safe at home enjoying the official start of summer with our families, we owe it to those fine men and women out there to recognize their sacrifice and to honor them for it, because without them, we�d be celebrating whatever our new masters would tell us to celebrate.

We are what we are and we enjoy the status that we, as a nation, enjoy because of those brave crusaders for freedom.

The author of this post, “Darth Misha,” has worded it in such a way that it lacks the tightrope-walking finesse necessary to comport with the “Support The Troops Not The Mission” template. You know the one I’m talking about, where you support the troops in this all-volunteer military, because they got duped by a lying recruiter, and then sent by a power-hungry lying President over to a “war for oil” and don’t know when they’re coming home again…blah blah blah.

No, Misha says we owe these servicemen and women our freedom, which implies that the mission is worthwhile after all. And that, perhaps, the members of this all-volunteer military aren’t a bunch of dolts, and maybe know what they’re doing. How politically incorrect.

That’s why I like it.

No effort to marginalize the left-wing anti-war peaceniks who hold the service-members in intellectual contempt, just a determination to do what’s right, and honor those who have made a choice out of love of country. Let the message marginalize whoever it must, no more and no less. Perfect.

Bush Signs Bill; Confusion Reigns

Monday, May 29th, 2006

Bush Signs Bill; Confusion Reigns

Thus sayeth Associate Press, by way of Yahoo News:

President Bush, marking Memorial Day with a speech paying tribute to fighting men and women lost in war, signed into law Monday a bill that keeps demonstrators from disrupting military funerals.

In advance of his speech and a wreath-laying at America’s most hallowed burial ground for military heroes, Bush signed the “Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act.” This was largely in response to the activities of a Kansas church group that has staged protests at military funerals around the country, claiming the deaths symbolized God’s anger at U.S. tolerance of homosexuals.

Obviously it is time, once again, to deliberate whether with our right to speak out, is entangled inextricably a right to be heard. Few are willing to assert the existence of such an inseperable package, yet many are willing to act as if there is such a thing.

Among those many, are the Bush-bashing liberals and the Westboro Baptist Church. The former bristles at being mentioned in the same breath as the latter — but mentioned side-by-side they shall be, everlastingly, as long as the issue comes up. Fred Phelps wants to protest anywhere he wants to, and so do the Bush-bashers. They are strange bedfellows, on this issue if on none other.

Should a lot of noise be made over this?

I hope there is. I hope people talk about it day and night…that among the reasons we have such a terrible president, is that he signed a law against protests at military funerals, by peacenik liberal loudmouths and, uh, and the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church. Those two. Which, of course, have nothing in common with each other.

Except that each of those two, by asserting their freedom-of-speech is incomplete if the rest of us aren’t compelled to listen to them anywhere and everywhere, is essentially advocating the position of the other. Unless they want to take a position of “I have a first amendment right to make sure you hear me wherever you go…but that other guy doesn’t have the same right.” Everyone upset about this new bill, does have that option.

And I can’t wait to see what they do with it. Let the hair-splitting commence.

Otherwise Good Typing Paper

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Otherwise Good Typing Paper

Quothe an unnamed professor, ostensibly from Ohio University, at what most certainly must have been a long time ago:

I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.

Scathing as it is, a comment like this wouldn’t be handed out by a college professor to just anyone. There is a not-so-subtle implication a great deal better work is expected from the intended recipient of the critique, compared with what passed under the teacher’s scrutiny. For that reason, I find it to be a more-than-a-fitting comment in response to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert’s editorial in USA Today Thursday:

There’s a right way

If the information we have read about the behavior of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., seems as obvious to a jury as it does to me, he deserves to be vigorously prosecuted. I do not want to do anything that will interfere with that prosecution.

The issue that has concerned me, as Speaker, since Saturday night is not if the FBI should be able to search a member of Congress’ office, but rather how to do it within the boundaries of the Constitution.

On Thursday, President Bush recognized that serious constitutional issues needed to be resolved. He wisely directed the Department of Justice to send the documents (taken from Jefferson’s office last weekend) to the Solicitor General’s office for safekeeping for 45 days. This was a meaningful step. The president also encouraged the Justice Department to meet with us.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and I directed the lawyers for the House to develop reasonable protocols and procedures that will make it possible for the FBI to go into congressional offices to constitutionally-execute a search warrant.

In more than 219 years, the Justice Department has never found it necessary to use a search warrant to obtain documents from a congressional office. These issues have always been resolved without the necessity of a search warrant, and prosecutions have gone forward.

Justice Department officials now insist that this specific case required them, for the first time, to conduct a search. I regret that when they reached this conclusion, they did not work with us to figure out a way to do it consistently with the Constitution. But that is behind us now. I am confident that in the next 45 days, the lawyers will figure out how to do it right.

Someone return this otherwise-good typing paper to the Hon. Speaker Hastert, for someone has covered it with gibberish and put his good name at the top. Where it most assuredly doesn’t belong.

Speaker Hastert is known to me, albeit with a good deal less certainty than to someone who might be personally acquainted with him, as a man of integrity. I come to that conclusion after observing the events that resulted in his elevation to House Speaker in the first place. The transition between the 105th and 106th Congresses, rocked as it was by the then-recent impeachment of President Clinton, was a crisis of leadership. It seemed to be an endless game of hot-potato, and endless progression of “Speaker, Speaker, Who Is The Speaker,” until the baton finally came to rest in the steady hand of Congressman Hastert. Since then, over seven years I’ve heard nary a peep. I don’t know too much more about how things work under that strange old space under the dome compared to the next fellow, but I know when credit is due. And our current House Speaker deserves credit. Institutional credibility, I’ve observed over time, is a far easier thing to sabotage than to restore.

But I’m sorry, I don’t intend any disrespect. The stuff that somehow found its way under his by-line, above, is sheer nonsense.

“Boundaries of the Constitution?” What constitutional conundrum is it that challenges us here? William F. Buckley has taken a wild stab at figuring out what the confounding passage might be, which is a question I would rather prefer be subjected to unambiguous resolution by the Speaker himself. Lacking that, Buckley postulates we are talking about Article I Section 6, and I’m inclined to agree with him:

If the Constitution’s rule separating church and state can be held to mean that a replica of the scene at Bethlehem cannot be constitutionally displayed on state property, then maybe Mr. Jefferson is indeed protected, giving credibility to the new Hastert-Pelosi exegesis of the Constitution.

But stare down hard at the language. The Constitution holds that lawmakers are “privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same.”

That provision was intended to protect legislators from arrest for statements made in the course of their legislative duties. This has nothing to do with Mr. Jefferson’s case. Which means that those who say that the FBI should not have had access to the congressman’s home or office are extending that constitutional provision to the point of immunity from search.

House Majority Leader John Boehner said something about the issue having to do with independence of the legislative branch and separation of powers. This seems to be a contradiction with Hastert’s editorial, since Hastert appears to be acknowledging that a search of congressional offices with a warrant may be necessary, and now that it’s being done for the first time, that it be done “right.” Is a warrant not sanction from the judicial branch, and by design, protection against the executive branch going off half-cocked, gathering dirt on hitherto-independent legislators for nefarious ends?

I once had a position in computer network security. It was my job to enforce rules, to figure out where rules were inadequate, recommend new ones, and bring infractions to the attention of those who could do something about them. I had a boss whom I respected a lot, whose mantra was “if ya know something, ya gotta do something.” Put another way, if skullduggery is going on under your nose and you get nailed on it later on, whatever hopes you have of successfully pleading ignorance vanish with your plausible deniability. You know something, and do nothing — trouble awaits. The issue is one of trust.

Our House Speaker, whatever impeccable moral credentials he had before and that he might still have, has created an issue of trust where one didn’t exist before. Well perhaps that’s unfair…he further cemeted a lingering issue of trust, that otherwise might have eventually dried out, shriveled up, and fallen away. No, I wouldn’t bet money on that but hope springs eternal.

To put it simply, I don’t trust a government that finds out about malfeasance and then draws on legal precedent, however enshrined that precedent may be by the legal experts, to find creative new ways to “not know” things they do in fact know. It seems a congressman has accepted kickbacks. Let us cease and desist in the pointless debate about whether we ought to know what we know about it, and instead deliberate what to do now that it is indeed known.

Yeah, separation of powers is important. But the case has not been made, to my satisfaction anyway, that it’s an issue here. Meanwhile, the issue of equal protection under the law cries out for more attention, as does the issue of trust in our public officials.

Rude Pundit

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Rude Pundit

In the FAQ (questions 7, 8 and 10) if you read between the lines you’ll pick up on my assertion that the way one goes about doing one’s thinking is important, because it affects the conclusions one reaches by doing that thinking. This is just common sense, a point that is so innocuous as to be useless, but we seem to have a lot of people who just don’t get it.

Or don’t want to get it, because it would be injurious to what they’re trying to compel themselves and those around them to believe.

Here’s just a golden textbook example of what I’m talking about. All who disagree with the assertions made by Al Gore’s new movie about global warming, are wrong, and we know this because Al Gore says they are wrong. So says the Rude Pundit (warning, the bold-type headline of the review is probably NSFW, it has the “F” word that rhymes with “truck”). This is a persuasive argument because, and only because, the critical barrier between fact & opinion has been erased. That which is intoned, so long as it is intoned by the right people, and intoned with a demeanor of sufficient certainty, is equivalent to that which is.

Essentially, Gore’s mission on global warming is rhetorically similar to George Bush’s mission in Iraq: revolution now so that the future can be secure. The difference, of course, is that Gore isn’t a liar, and he doesn’t have to hype the evidence. Gore approaches his subject the way every politician ought to lead: he knows he’s right, and he’s so right that others are wrong. When Gore was asked about scientists who say that climatic change is just part of ongoing natural cycles, Gore didn’t pander, didn’t offer that idiotic “well, good people can have differences of opinion” bullshit the Bush administration uses to paper over their lies. No, Gore just said that the questioner was wrong. That the vast scientific consensus says global warming is real and happening. And to believe otherwise is to believe liars. He said scientists who say otherwise are industrial “prostitutes” and “camp followers.”

Convincing stuff. Trouble is, as I indicated above, once the fissure is re-established between stuff that’s known and stuff that’s conjectured based on other stuff that’s known — everything changes.

“Gore didn’t pander…Gore just said that the questioner is wrong.” Is that a fact or an opinion? Does the reviewer know? Does Al Gore know? If I round up a hundred people who sign on to the notion that “the questioner is wrong” and take a poll from amongst them, am I going to get a single answer back on whether that’s a fact vs. an opinion?

Here’s another problem, and this one is a doozy. “He knows he’s right, and he’s so right that others are wrong” comes off more like grave criticism, than flattery, and there is a reason for this. There is a prevailing school of thought, well-represented amongst the souls sympathetic to Gore’s global-warming ideas, I infer, which lends enthusiastic support to the Barbeque Problem especially when criticizing, with varying degrees of etiquette, the forementioned President George Bush. This “Barbeque Problem” essentially says that correctness is manifested through doubt and contrition: It’s better to burn your whole house down during a barbeque so long as regret is expressed over the mistake, than it is to cause a slight delay in cooking the food by providing the wrong brand of charcoal, if the charcoal-error is not admitted. Correcting a mistake means nothing, and articulating the mistake means everything.

How come doubt-makes-right with our current President, and the rule doesn’t hold for the guy who lost the election and is reduced to making movies? It’s a fair question to ask, since the reviewer isn’t simply saying Gore’s right — what he’s saying, is we know Gore’s right because Gore knows he’s right.

Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind hearing some regrets and doubts from some of the officials responsible for leaving Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq, and relatively carefree in his tenure, all the way through the 1990′s. But I guess that’s a different topic.

Good post, though. Coriolanus, I’ll have to look that guy up.

Thing I Know #67. Some among us seem to think an election is the only time public opinion is important; others seem to think that’s the only time it isn’t.

Flesh! Oh, No! III

Friday, May 26th, 2006

There is a substantial amount of interest in the story of Sheri Doub, the former Vice President for Citizen’s Tri-County Bank of Chattanooga, TN, who was fired after she modeled a bathing suit in some local charity newspaper or something. She’s suing the bank for half a million dollars plus back pay.

Curiously, at this point I do not have a copy of the actual picture, nor do I have the vaguest conception of what the picture looks like, nor do I have any picture of Ms. Doub in any swimsuit or in any pose, nor do I know of anyone who can get any such thing.

I know you people clicking on my site from a Google search are here to locate exactly that thing, and I’m sorry you have to navigate away from here empty-handed. By the way, welcome. And here is a follow-up news story with a little more detail, so it won’t be a completely wasted trip for you. You’re welcome.

Sheri Doub modeled this swimsuit for an article that appeared in the Times Free Press last May. The two piece suit came from Proffitt’s, but the department store says it did NOT pay her to model it. Doub says she agreed to the spread for the paper as a favor, and thought nothing of it. But on the day the fashion piece came out in the paper, she lost her job as bank manager at the Tri-County bank on Signal Mountain.

Sheri Doub I WAS ASKED TO COLLECT MY BELONGINGS AND I WAS ESCORTED OUT THE FRONT DOOR AND ASKED TO RETURN THE KEYS. I WAS VERY EMOTIONAL, CRYING WHEN I LEFT.

Bank president Ann Smith wrote in this letter she wanted Doub’s resignation immediately. Smith wrote “The clothing or lack that you were modeling has caused great embarrassment to our organization. Doub says bank CEO Glenn Barker told her maybe she should pursue a career in modeling.

Sheri Doub I WAS DEVASTATED, I WAS IN SHOCK. DISBELIEF. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT BECAUSE I HAD WORKED FOR THEM FOR FIVE AND A HALF YEARS AND HAD DONE A GREAT JOB.

She filed this suit seeking 500 thousand dollars in damages. The bank responded this afternoon, reading from a prepared statement but answering no questions.

Ann Smith Citizen’s Tri Counties Bank IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT MS. DOUB’S CLAIMS ARE MORE SENSATIONAL THAN FACTUAL, THE BANK STRONGLY BELIEVES WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, WE WILL BE VINDICATED.

In its termination letter, the bank cites outside employment as a violation, but Doub says she received no compensation for this piece in any way.

Sheri Doub I WANT IT TO BE MADE KNOWN THAT IT IS NOT RIGHT TO DO THAT TO SOMEONE AND TAKE AWAY WHAT THEY HOPE WOULD BE THEIR CAREER FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

Ann Smith THAT DECISION WAS A CULMINATING EVENT THAT CAME IN THE CONTEXT OF THE BANK HAVING PRIOR ISSUES WITH HER JUDGMENT AND PERFORMANCE AS A BRANCH MANAGER.

Sheri Doub tells John, if a man did the same thing she did, she does not think he would’ve been fired.

That last line is very important, according to those more familiar with the law than me. An at-will employee may be dismissed for any reason, but discrimination is a big no-no. Ms. Doub is unlikely to win out in this thing because until a male employee of the bank poses in a thong, and is untouched by any termination or warning or reprimand, this is speculation.

You know what I’m thinking, though? Watch this one. Because she happens to be right; Women in skimpy clothing, bring out all kinds of irrationality in people, which men can’t bring out regardless of what they wear even if they want to. And I’m sorry Ms. Bank President Ann Smith, but there’s a challenge involved in giving this a luster of rationality. It doesn’t make sense when all’s said and done. Sheri Doub poses in a bikini for no money; Sheri Doub does her gardening in a bikini; Sheri Doub spends the afternoon at the lake in a bikini. What’s the difference amongst those three?

I mean yes there are some differences, but it’s difficult to argue that any of them are meaningful. Or that a man would be treated the same way for doing the same thing. Er…in swim trunks, that is, not a bikini.

But Then Again, Too Few To Mention?

Friday, May 26th, 2006

But Then Again, Too Few To Mention?

On Monday, I defined what we could call the “barbeque problem” which was my way of capturing the essence of concern of an insightful former colleague of mine:

Two years ago when the election was in full swing, a co-worker made an interesting observation in the form of a rhetorical question. His inquiry was, what is up with all this concern, lately, over admitting mistakes? What is the point? If you make a mistake and it results in a lot of damage you can’t fix, and you admit it, is that any better than making a mistake, correcting whatever damage resulted, and then keeping quiet on any regrets you might have about the mistake? In other words, when did admitting the mistake become any more important than actually fixing the problem that resulted?

Two neighbors have a barbeque. One buys the wrong brand of charcoal and has to make a quick run down to the store to get a better brand — thus correcting his mistake — but won’t admit he made a mistake! The other neighbor burns down his whole house but says “oops I made a mistake.” It’s better to burn down the house? The charcoal-mistake was a worse mistake because it was never outwardly confessed?

A neighbor presides over a household where hamburgers are eaten 45 minutes late, and another neighbor presides over no household at all. Nevermind that; to millions and millions of loud and angry people, eventual results decide nothing and contrition decides everything.

Well, at long last our current President has given you folks what you’ve been wanting. He admitted some of his regrets.

Bush uncharacteristically did not hesitate when asked about mistakes he had made since the March 2003 invasion.

“Saying ‘bring it on,’” he said, in reference to an ill-advised taunt to Iraqi insurgents in the summer of 2003.

“The kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people. You know, I learned some lessons about expressing myself in maybe a little more sophisticated manner…’wanted dead or alive,’ that kind of talk.”

He also said the U.S. has been paying for the 2004 Abu Ghraib prison scandal “for a long period of time.”

Now you can start liking him! Let the healing begin!

Yeah, right. Pfffft.

Scary Peace-People

Friday, May 26th, 2006

Scary Peace-People

If I’m afraid of any one class of people, it’s those scary peace-at-any-price, anti-war people.

Item!

Malcolm’s mom from “Malcolm in the Middle” gets in a little bit of a tiff with another female shopper during the holiday season. Video clip is safe for work, but your boss might decide to can your ass because you’re laughing so hard. Being a dude, I’m handicapped from understanding a social issue or two that I know is going on here, which has to do with that enigmatic wrinkle in the human condition, the female-on-female conflict. Boy howdee, when women don’t get along with other women, they really don’t get along. I am past the point where I’m even going to pretend I understand what’s happening here, or have a shot at someday understanding it. I don’t and I won’t.

A guy pisses me off, or else we get along great, or else we ignore each other. One of the three. In all three cases, I’ve forgotten all about him two minutes later, and he’s forgotten about me. In an extreme situation where I’ve had a verbal exchange with a complete stranger, or let’s say, flicked each other off on the freeway, the unpleasantness is purged from my memory with the audible announcement of: “What a dick!” The instant the plosive sound of “K” has clicked out of my mouth, I’ve forgotten about the asshole and I’m on to the next thing. And it’s mutual.

Ladies just aren’t wired this way. Smart women, dumb women, all women in-between. Two women having a conflict, within a heartbeat will become two Xena Warrior Princesses goin’ at it, in mind if not in body. I’ve never been able to understand it, and through the years I’ve joined the ranks of wiser men who see what’s about to unfold, stop in mid-sentence, take a step back, try to look inconspicuous, grab a beer if one is available, and watch quietly.

But getting back to the subject at hand: Check out the bumper sticker at 1:48. What makes this so funny? Because there’s a dark truth-of-life being subtly commented-upon, one which usually passes under the radar uncommented-upon. A policy of pacificism for those facing conflict, is very much like the principle of “giving back to the community” for those who are solvent. An appealing cause to champion, a principle ripe for activism, perhaps a lot of fun to promote, but always intended for somebody else.

Item!

Anti-war looney Brit sensationalist politician George Galloway wouldn’t object too terribly much if PM Tony Blair got blown up by a suicide bomber. You remember George Galloway don’t you? He’s the British anti-war MP who was shown by captured Iraqi documents, to have been paid-off by Saddam’s dirty Oil For Food money. A word on how that controversy turned out: He won a libel case against the Daily Telegraph for having reported on the documents, after huffing-and-puffing that the documents were fake. At this date, to the best of my knowledge and Wikipedia’s, nothing has emerged to even call the veracity of the documents into question, save for the Respect Member of Parliament’s theatrical outrage. The Telegraph had to fork over �150,000, essentially, for writing up something about Mr. Galloway that Mr. Galloway didn’t like, because Mr. Galloway has become exceptionally skilled at supressing genuine apprehension and guilt — to the extent he has any — and displaying instead a veneer of phony anger.

I do not understand Galloway’s sterling reputation for “debate.” He has a lot of performance skill, but when you’re in a debate, sooner or later you have to let the other guy talk. No matter how poorly his opponent would deliver the line, “excuse me Mr. Galloway, but with all due respect you didn’t answer my question,” that one riposte by itself would peel the Galloway I’ve been reading about, like a banana. I have not read one thing — not one — where this distinguished public servant allows someone else to establish the issue under consideration, and then turns in a satisfactory job of actually addressing it. Everything out of his mouth, that has been brought to my attention, has been smoke-and-mirrors.

But like most other anti-war people, he’s scary too. Mr. Galloway says that for a dynamite-belt-guy to blow PM Blair to smithereens, would be “entirely logical and explicable.” Such an event would be ” morally justified.” But don’t worry, he’s “not calling for it.”

For the past three years and eight months, anti-war people have displayed so much anger compared to the pro-war people. I’m frequently instructed I should have the opinion that pro-war people, like me, are lusting for war because we’re projecting some kind of unresolved emotional issue on world events. More and more as time goes on, it looks to me like it’s the other camp doing that. Perhaps the time has come to have a worldwide discussion about what, exactly, peace is. If it’s an absence of fighting, there is an unresolved conundrum because that doesn’t appear to be what the peace-people want. Not the ones who’ve taken the trouble to make their opinions known to me.

That’s About Right

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

That’s About Right

Let me start by saying Rex Babin has horrible taste. I don’t say that because I generally disagree with the tenor of the Sacramento Bee cartoonist’s work, although I do. I say that because I quite honestly fail to see what there is to recommend him. He draws far better than I do, but that says very little since I’m not a cartoonist. The illustrations are sub-par at best. Cartoonists can disagree with me, and still be counted on to produce illustrations that are pleasing to the eye. Babin’s drawings make me dizzy. As for content, his cartoons rarely adhere to reality, and where they depart from said reality, the disengagement seems to be a premeditated and deliberate attempt to deceive the people who will be consuming his product. Throughout the years, I’ve been forced to reject the possibility that Babin is simply ignorant of what he draws. I’ve come to the conclusion he’s a Democrat-party shill, knowing full well what he’s doing when he leads people astray. I decided that after looking at things like this and this and this and this.

He is to cartoonists what Howard Stern is to radio. Dancing on the edge, just asking to be fined or fired or both…except in Babin’s case it never quite seems to happen. This would be a compliment to him for his amazing finesse, his pinpoint precision in figuring out where the line is, but if Babin has style and grace here he manages to show it nowhere else. Everything about his work reminds one of the metaphorical bull in a china shop. When he goes over the line, he goes way over it. One gets the impression that his continued employment is not an indication of his discretion or his skill or his market value, but instead of some enormous favor someone owes him.

Having said all that, even a stopped clock is right every twelve hours. And in the cartoon at left he has managed to capture the situation perfectly. It’s still ugly to look at, but the reader is left to ponder on what exactly is wrong with this situation, and in so doing will unerringly echo my own thoughts if the reader has an ounce or more of working brain in his head. The comportation with the truth is perfect, or near-perfect.

I suspect Babin’s preference for what is to be done about this, is different from my own. But that’s okay. He’s built a picture around my thousand words: It is bull squat that two different standards of privacy should exist for two different classes of people, with some cock-and-bull excuse of “separation of powers” being used to legitimize such a stratification.

The Founding Fathers were pretty worried about the existence of an aristocracy before they got caught up in how our government was to be designed. Jefferson, alone, spent a lifetime crusading against aristocracy and in particular, primogeniture. We don’t have primogeniture in the Congress, but the folks under the dome seem to be working under a wholly different set of rules from us “real” folks, and the difference between those two sets of rules appears to have escaped everybody’s ability to measure.

President Bush, seeking to somewhat extinguish this escalating firestorm, has ordered a 45-day freeze on the documents in question. Any sixth-grader ought to be able to tell you that if you buy into the arguments about “independence of the legislative branch” — and that’s a huge “if” — a 45-day-freeze does nothing to address the issue raised. How stupid do they think we are? Like I said in the post linked above, to solve the problem Pelosi and Hastert are saying demands the attention, in fact to even begin to address it, you have to exempt members of Congress from the law. All laws. Any law. Anything that can be enforced, because they don’t like the enforcement. Nothing else will do.

Congrats, Babin. You got it right this day. I’ll mark the calendar; credit where credit is due, and all that. I’m sure you’ll tick me off pretty good tomorrow.

He’s Just Askin’

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

He’s Just Askin’

Neal Boortz, commenting on the William Jefferson thingamajig, has a great question. William Jefferson is a congressman who took bribes. The FBI raided his offices, and his house, and found the evidence they need which includes $90,000 in cash. Now a whole bunch of Congresspersons are protesting over how the evidence was collected, citing something about separation of powers. The theory is that this is injurious to the independence of the legislative branch.

I’m wholly unexcited about this argument. Story after story, as they are brought to my attention, inform me of the agitation felt by members of Congress about the loss of independence or their fear of loss of independence. As I understand it, when the executive branch gathers its dirt, we have nothing in place to force the executive branch to use that dirt for legal purposes — it could engage in blackmail. Very plausible, especially when you consider that probably 99% of the dirt would be unsuitable for prosecution anyway, but ripe for arm-twisting and dirty tricks.

The problem comes up when we consider remedies. Rules for gathering evidence, special warrants, 24-hour advance notice when the FBI is about to raid a congressman’s office — none of this would address the concern. The President knows something about Congressman Flibbertigibbit, and Congressman Flibbertigibbit’s vote is needed on a bill the President wants, evidence is gathered against Congressman Flibbertigibbit, and there ya go. Hasta la vista, Independence-Of-Legislative-Branch. I suppose the Congressman or his aid, would have to have lunch in a nice restaurant with a member of the FBI, and they’d reach an “understanding.” The bill would pass, and the incriminating nugget would pass through a paper shredder. No way could we ever allow such a thing to happen in America, could we.

I call shenanigans. Such a thing has always surrounded power, since Roman times. No of course I can’t prove that. That’s the nature of the thing under discussion, isn’t it? Vote my way, and nobody ever has to know? Can’t prove what I don’t know.

No, evidence-gathering rules will not fix this. There is only one thing that will fix this, and that is to put Congress above the law. Does anyone, anywhere, want to sign on to that one? That while you serve in Congress, nothing you do should be subject to prosecution by any lawmaking or law-enforcement entity, anywhere, because the threat of indictment would hurt the independence of the legislative branch? How about all the other things that a legal authority could do to a private citizen…how about subpoenas? Sexual harrassment suits? OSHA audits of congressional offices? Overdue library book fines? Parking citations?

The Constitution says you can be a congressman when you’re 25 and a senator when you’re 30. Now look how old some of those gasbags are. Do we really trust these guys enough to give them half a freakin’ century of exemption from the law?

No, nobody’s suggesting that. But my point is they need to suggest that. They have to. They’re concerned about independence and separation, and if they want it, they must have that exemption; nothing short of that will work. I know I’m not down with that, is anybody else? Like I said yesterday: It seems to be just a great way to lose a mid-term election.

Rambling a bit here. On to the wonderful question posed by Mr. Boortz.

Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a joint statement yesterday. It demanded that “the Justice Department must immediately return the papers it unconstitutionally seized.” I guess the FBI is supposed to give notice before they go poking around in a Congressional office. They need time to shred, you know…if the feds have to return the papers, will Jefferson have to return the $100,000? I’m just askin.’

Priceless.

Earth in the Balance? II

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Earth in the Balance? II

Earlier this month I commented about the whole Al Gore and Global Warming thingy.

It is lost to me, forever I fear, where I heard this. God forbid it was on Rush’s show, which I fear is the case, because digging into those archives and playing them back at double-speed is so time-consuming and tedious it’s out of the question. But it was a brilliant point.

It’s brilliant because all other attempts to address MMGW (our acronym here for the dubious concept of “man made global warming”) are met with what could best be described as existentialism: I can’t prove my stuff, you can’t prove yours, so let’s get in a shouting match about who should be awarded the benefit of the doubt. And, of course, it’s better to act as if the sky is falling when it isn’t, than the other way around, so game-set-match the watermelons win.

(Watermelon: Someone green on the outside and red on the inside.)

Enter the caller, who had a great question.

Since according to Mr. Gore the earth is definitely heating up and lives are hanging in the balance, and one of the things that’s supposed to happen is that the sea levels are going to rise — what is he doing to get everyone who lives within fifty miles of the coastlines, to relocate like yesterday? Since it’s definitely going to happen, someone should be on top of this right?

Yeeowch…that had to have hurt.

Update 5/25/06: In a world that is so crammed up to the rafters with moose feces, it really bugs me when someone says something sensible and doesn’t get credit for it. So I went ahead and sifted through the archives, which I can do as a Rush 24/7 subscriber. I found it at Hour #2 on Tuesday, 5/23. The caller is Cheryl and I’m going to make an assumption on how to spell her name. Her call begins at time index 20:58, without the commercials.

Mark Belling, substitute host: To Latrobe, Pennsylvania, it’s Cheryl; Cheryl, it’s your turn on E.I.B.

Cheryl from Latrobe, PA: Oh hi Mark, nice to speak with you. Hey Mark, I question the courage of Al “Google” Gore’s convictions. If he really believes what he’s claiming, you know, that the water’s going to come up on all coastlines, all over the earth — well, why isn’t he calling for all coastline states to vacate, immediately, all people and buildings, at least fifty miles inland? Why isn’t he calling for that? If this is really happening, and we can’t be sure it’s humans, but he’s sure it’s happening…

I’ve got an idea about how to make this even better. Since there is a whole lot of time, aggravation, money and trouble involved in relocating people away from coastlines, and even identifying them could cause a political backlash — what’s wrong with discussing this class in aggregate form? You know, like we do with the homeless; we don’t say “Bob’s homeless and Joe’s homeless and Frank is homeless,” what we do is estimate there are one point five million homeless people. Media outlets just love to do that. Three million people with AIDS, forty-seven thousand high school students who can’t pass their exit exams. Oh, the sensationalism-sans-responsibility, that goes with quoting numbers without citing specific cases. They just can’t get enough of it.

Why do I not know, and why can I not find out, how many thousands of people in my country live in daily fear of waking up to seawater in their living rooms, because of the looming danger of global warming? Why does this seem to be the one subject where the number-floating-game suddenly loses any appeal? The very least you could say about it, is that it’s a worthwhile question.

An Interesting Exchange

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

An Interesting Exchange

Almond and Rice, Rice and Almond. The major players in this story both have something to do with food. You could make a real cute title out of that, and I chose not to. You’re welcome.

Hat tip to Neal Boortz for this one. Steve Almond is the name of that Boston College professor who resigned his post in protest when Condoleeza Rice came to speak at commencement. He appeared on Hannity & Colmes, and Hannity cracked him like a — well, sorry. Read the transcript for yourself.

PROF. STEVE ALMOND, RESIGNED TO PROTEST RICE: I think actually morality plays a role. I just feel public officials shouldn’t lie to us, especially about matters that are as important as war.

HANNITY: I got that. But did you � but you are politically a Democrat. You’re politically lefty. You voted for John Kerry, right?

ALMOND: I believe that politicians shouldn’t lie to the American people.

HANNITY: I didn’t ask you that. Did you vote for John Kerry, sir?

ALMOND: And I’m telling you that I don’t believe that our public officials should lie, Democrat, Republican, or…

HANNITY: I got that. You’re a broken record. Now this is a simply question: Did you vote for John Kerry?

ALMOND: I don’t see what it has to do with Condoleezza Rice…

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: I’ll tell you what it has to do with it.

ALMOND: … lies to the American public. What does it have to do with it?

HANNITY: I’ll explain it to you. If you would give me an honest answer, I can explain why. Did you vote for John Kerry?

ALMOND: What is it that you want to say to me? Are you going to try to establish that I’m a lefty or Democrat? I believe that public officials shouldn’t lie, and Condoleezza Rice has lied repeatedly.

HANNITY: I already know you voted for John Kerry, but you won’t admit it. But you don’t have to. I’ll tell you why: Because John Kerry, in the lead-up to this very war, in your letter, where you say, “In an effort to build the case for war, then-National Security Adviser Rice repeatedly asserted that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear program.”

Well, I’ll quote John Kerry, the guy that I suspect you voted for. He says, “If you don’t believe Saddam is a threat with nuclear weapons or WMDs, you shouldn’t vote for me.” Is the guy that you voted for a liar?

ALMOND: The secretary of state, who has also been a part of prosecuting this war…

HANNITY: All right, you can’t even answer a question.

ALMOND: … incredibly ineptly is…

HANNITY: Is John Kerry a liar?

Now, I part company with Boortz here. You’ve seen one Hannity exchange, and for the most part you’ve seen ‘em all, and because Professor Almond refused to confess who he voted for the point wasn’t really made — nothing was proven — Hannity has done much better.

But he did take his pound of flesh. Almond ended up one step forward, and four steps back give-or-take. His only defense can be an assertion that Hannity’s thesis had some measure of meaninglessness to it, and instead the professor chose to stand on keeping the facts behind the thesis shrouded in doubt.

Ironically, because of this, Hannity’s premise seems to be correct — I have no logical reason to believe it isn’t. Even if the Professor did indeed vote for Kerry, he would have been in a much stronger position to say “yeah, I voted for him, what about it?” and pursue an argument about whether the Senator’s quote means much of anything. Of course, that would require some thinking-on-the-ol’-feet. An impressive amount. Honestly, I’m not sure I got it in me, so I can’t blame the Prof. for thinking he doesn’t have it in him, even though I assume he was doing that for a living.

So the situation ends up thusly: Hannity did not prove his point. But boy, he sure raised a lot of questions, and the Professor looks like an ivy-league snob who wants to tell everybody else what they’re supposed to be thinking. Condi is a liar, although I cannot say why, and you are not to wonder about who I voted for, and I won’t explain why not. Most damning of all, Condi’s lying is worth resigning my position so I can protest, and you won’t get a peep out of me about Kerry saying exactly the same thing.

Advantage: Hannity.

Race To Lose

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Race To Lose

Republicans don’t want to win in November, so now that the Congressman William Jefferson imbroglio has scuttled the “GOP Culture of Corruption” ship, which had been the only ship in the fleet that could carry Democrats to victory — they want to look as unappealing as possible. That’s the only explanation I can produce. Because, it seems, being a Republican means when the executive branch comes gunnin’ for you, it’s okay to let them search things, unless you’re a member of the legislative branch and then suddenly we have to worry about abuse of power, gathering dirt on potential enemies, etc.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert complained directly to President Bush about the FBI’s unprecedented raid on Rep. William Jefferson’s office on Tuesday, while officials said senior Democrats worked to ease the Louisiana lawmaker out of a powerful committee assignment, at least temporarily.

“Obviously we are taking note of Speaker Hastert’s statements,” said White House press secretary Tony Snow after the Illinois Republican spoke with Bush at the White House.
:
The search may have overstepped constitutional boundaries, House leaders said as the congressman under investigation pledged to stay in office.

House Majority Leader John Boehner of Ohio told reporters Tuesday that the Congress will somehow speak to “this issue of the Justice Department’s invasion of the legislative branch. In what form, I don’t know.”

“I’ve got to believe at the end of the day it’s going to end up across the street at the Supreme Court,” Boehner said.

Hastert said Monday the Justice Department had never before crossed a line that separates Congress from the executive branch by searching a congressional office while investigating a member of Congress.

The search warrant was issued by a federal district judge in suburban Virginia, based on an affidavit from FBI investigators outlining some of the evidence that have accumulated in the case, including video tape of Jefferson accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant, who agreed to have her conversations with the congressman taped.

Agents later found all but $10,000 of the cash � in marked bills � hidden in a freezer in one of the congressman’s homes, according to the affidavit.

His homes in New Orleans and the Washington area were searched by FBI agents last August.

“Nothing I have learned in the last 48 hours leads me to believe that there wasn doubt, the filter team will give the documents to a judge for a definitive ruling before giving them to case prosecutors, according to the affidavit.

Hastert said those protections may not be enough.

“It is not at all clear to me that it would even be possible to create special procedures that would overcome the Constitutional problems that the execution of this warrant has created,” he said.

Hey, that’s just who I want to elect. Someone who worries about the White House exceeding its authority when his own office is searched, and turns a blind eye to it when I’m searched. Great plan!

And here I thought Republicans want to win.

Well, it seems the Democrats aren’t wild about winning either. Hillary Clinton, whom I’m told is a moderate senator, wants to restore the 55-mph speed limit. And wait until you read about the rest of her plan.

In a surprise move yesterday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called for “most of the country” to return to a speed limit of 55 mph in an effort to slash fuel consumption.

“The 55-mile speed limit really does lower gas usage. And wherever it can be required, and the people will accept it, we ought to do it,” Clinton said at the National Press Club.

Before sounding off on the benefits of a lower speed limit, Clinton called for a combination of tax incentives, the use of more ethanol-based fuel and a $50 billion fund for new energy research to cut the consumption of foreign oil 50 percent by 2025.

She also pushed for half of all the nation’s gas stations to have ethanol pumps by 2015, and for every gas station to have them by 2025.

I’ve been noticing this about Democrats since I was a little kid. They’re constantly accused of “not offering a plan,” but there seems to be something mutually exclusive between being a Democrat, and even knowing what a plan is. Cutting consumption of foreign products in half by 2025 is a goal, not a plan. These are just numbers, no better or worse than any other number — until the $50 billion has actually been spent. She might as well have said to cut it by 75% by 2010, or by 99% by the end of next year. Who cares?

It’s as if Hillary is trying to sabotage her party. You could confound a conservative-libertarian guy like me, indulging in the superlative that “Bill Clinton never did anything good” by pointing out that the 55-mph national speed limit was eliminated on Clinton’s watch. It’s been done. You could do that…until Hillary opened her big mouth. And behold, today, the next great hope of the Clinton legacy, wanting the federal overlords to once again tell the states how to do their business. Behold the new agenda, for soccer moms in Trenton, NJ to once again tell cattle ranchers in Butte, MT how fast they should drive.

Nobody’s going to argue that people in New York City should tell people in North Dakota how fast to go — they won’t do that. They’ll just prattle on about “55 saves lives” and claim to know more, compared to the people who actually drive their own cars, about what speed is the best for that car’s use of gas.

So evidently, Republicans would like to remind us they don’t think “little people” have as much need to worry about their privacy, as legislative office-holders. Which may very well be true, but it doesn’t make them very appealing.

And Democrats would like to remind us that they know what’s best for us, and their “plans” will culminate in fuel conservation. And that may very well be true too, but it doesn’t make them very appealing.

Nobody really wants to win in November. They aren’t trying.

This Is Good V

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

This Is Good V

Spoiler alert. Movie spoilers, as many as you can think of, just stuck end-to-end for as long as you can stand it. Warning, some written language not safe for work.

And warning, uh…spoilers herein.

Pretty amusing in places.

What People Think

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

What People Think

The Dixie Chicks want & need a job wherein those who hold the job, can “speak truth to power,” and whatever everybody else thinks about it is irrelevant. There are jobs like this. There are even some jobs where what your boss thinks about it, is irrelevant, although those are a tad harder to find. But one thing is for sure, they’re in the wrong line of work.

What we have come to call “Show Biz” is all about what-people-think. Natalie Maines knew all about this, when she famously took back her previous apology to President Bush.

The Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines apologized for disrespecting President Bush during a London concert in 2003. But now, she’s taking it back.

“I don’t feel that way anymore,” she told Time magazine for its issue hitting newsstands Monday. “I don’t feel he is owed any respect whatsoever.”

As war in Iraq loomed, Maines told the London audience: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”

Yeah, you got it right. Nat bad-mouthed President Bush from the safety of another country, then apologized for it, and now she’s taking back the apology. It might arouse feelings of cynicism to note that the original bad-mouthing took place in a concert, and the apology was issued when someone pointed out this might have an effect on album sales, and now the apology is being taken back when — guess what? — a new album is coming out.

One of her band-mates helpfully put a “we meant to do that” spin on things.

For band member Martie Maguire, the controversy was a blessing in disguise.

“I’d rather have a small following of really cool people who get it, who will grow with us as we grow and are fans for life, than people that have us in their five-disc changer with Reba McEntire and Toby Keith,” Maguire said. “We don’t want those kinds of fans. They limit what you can do.”

Well, I’m not one to cast dispersions on this tactic, I use it all the time. That’s why I call myself “the blog that nobody reads.” Except I’m a blog, and they’re a band. I don’t release albums; they do. And I gotta think it’s going to cause some problems when they launch this project to winnow the fan-base down to something miniscule and snobby, and the project works out all too well.

The Dixie Chicks aren’t ready to make nice, and it seems the feeling is mutual.

With their new album, Taking the Long Way, in stores Tuesday, no Houston stations � country or pop � claim to be playing any of the trio’s new music.

“We got so many calls and e-mails asking us to stop playing their music that KILT hasn’t played it since the meltdown in London,” says Leslie T. Travis, host of the popular Texas Roadhouse on KILT (100.3 FM).

Travis was referring to the 2003 controversy that erupted after singer Natalie Maines told a London concert crowd that she was “ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.” At the time, the Chicks � Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison � were one of country music’s top-selling acts, with album sales of more than 20 million.

“I did get a couple people call and ask what I thought about the new material and if we were going to play it. Most of those wanted to make sure KILT wouldn’t,” Travis said.

This is an irreconcilable contradiction. You can’t be in the country music business, any show-business for that matter — and go around saying this politician or that politician is unworthy of any respect whatsoever, and you’re ashamed that he came from Texas. When you are in show business, you make people happy. That is THE JOB.

Sure it’s not for everyone. That’s why I’m not in it.

But the Dixie Chicks are in great company here. For the last several years we’ve had a number of people who are in show business — paid good money to make people happy — to make me happy — who like to go around pissing people off and being seen doing it. I guess they like to be in show business, but they want everyone who doesn’t have the right opinions, to disappear.

We should make it happen. Let’s separate the blue states from the red. Blue-staters appear to want this to happen more than anyone else, Dixie Chicks right along with them. They can have all the show biz airheads and the colleges, and the red-staters will have all the food. See how that shakes out.

Unable To Solve A Problem

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Unable To Solve A Problem

On Sunday, the most powerful man in American print media went to New Paltz, NY, and apologized to SUNY graduates. In so doing, he gave them a good education about the world into which they have just entered, namely, that if you have the right pedigree you can sail through life without accumulating the mental skills necessary to solve a problem, large or small.

Ha ha! No, that isn’t what he said. That message would only be received only by those among the 900 who can read between the lines a little. To those who think what they’re told to think, and nothing more than that, the message delivered by Arthur Ochs “Pinch” Sulzberger, scion of the Sulzberger dynasty and publisher of the New York Times, was this: A simple lamentation about how little the world has changed since his own college graduation, and how this lack of change is all his fault.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” Sulzberger said. “You weren’t supposed to be graduating in an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren’t supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to start a new life, the right of gays to marry or the rights of women to choose.”

Sulzberger added the graduates weren’t supposed to be let into a world “where oil still drives policy and environmentalists have to relentlessly fight for every gain.

“You weren’t. But you are and I am sorry for that,” Sulzberger said.

Referring to his newspaper, Sulzberger said that it has made big decisions lately.

“It’s important that those of us at the New York Times have the courage of our own convictions and defend the rights of our journalists to protect their sources or, after much debate and discussion, publish news that our government is bypassing its own legal systems to tap into phone calls made to and from the United States,” Sulzberger said.
:
“None of you wants to be standing where I am 30 years from now, apologizing to the next generation of bright and shiny college graduates,” Sulzberger said.

Simply amazing, isn’t it? Sulzberger sits at the helm of not only the New York Times, but arguably the entire newspaper industry in the United States. Terrorists attacked us, leaving an empty hole that remains to this day right in his own back yard. They’d piss rusty nickels for the chance to do it again. And in his mind, the problem that remains unaddressed, is that gays can’t marry, women can’t kill babies and illegal aliens can’t hop the fence.

Er wait it’s a little worse than that. What Sulzberger appears to have left unmentioned, is that illegal aliens can hop the fence just fine, and mothers can slaughter their babies as quick as they want thank you very much. Pinchy was bellyaching that there is some resistance involved in keeping those rights around. Not that the rights have been rolled back, just there are some among us who have reservations about them. That’s the most generous interpretation you could apply today to “graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights”: You’re fighting, Pinchy, because there is some debate going on about whether the human rights you mention, really are fundamental.

Women’s right to choose? Don’t apologize; take a bow. It has been unconstitutional to pass laws restricting this “right” since 1973, a year before you graduated from Tufts. The right of women to end their preganancies is intact, and unmolested throughout your sojourn in the real world — can’t say the same for the sovereign right of state residents to vote on their own abortion laws. Is that a “fundamental right”? No? Who says?

What any of this has to do with the problem at hand, though, is what I’d really like to know. There’s an enemy willing to crash a plane into a building, taking out themselves and thousands of innocent civilians, to make some boneheaded political statement. They’ve done it before; they’ll do it again. What, exactly, does homosexual marriage do to address that issue?

Oil drives our policy and environmentalists are fighting for yet more gains. Class of 2006, this is the biggest problem with the world into which you’ve just stepped. Envronmentalists artificially drive up the cost of commodities we must have in order to function in our daily lives, and whenever they impose a new hindrance on the rest of us, it’s never enough — they always want more. They make it hard to draw from domestic oil reserves, they make it hard to import the stuff, they make it super-hard to refine it, and they make it hard to ship gasoline between states. In my lifetime, it would be fair to say, no substantial victory, political or industrial, has been denied them. And the most powerful men in the communications business, piss and moan about how tough things are for the environmentalists.

Sulzberger’s great-grandfather bought the New York Times with borrowed money, and saved it from certain failure by identifying problems and coming up with solutions to those problems. His grandfather expanded the circulation yet more by adapting it to a changing world with newer technology — remote-control typesetting machines, facsimile transmission of photographs, again, identifying problems and then solving them. The quote “I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out” is attributed to him.

Pinch’s brains are falling out. His idea of solving a problem, would appear to be this: Terrorists want to kill us, so we should make sure illegal aliens can come streaming in wherever and whenever they want, and when someone in our country wants to talk to Al Qaeda, nobody should ever find out about it.

He’s to be congratulated for inheriting such a high position that his cognitive skills can atrophy this badly — and still he survives. One must marvel at the figures of history who enjoyed no such luxury. Like, for example, Adolph Ochs when he bought the New York Times 110 years ago.

Owned

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Owned

I heard them discussing this on the radio just this morning. Naked pedophile gets busted. Busted hard.

Video…technically safe for work, but maybe not really. I wouldn’t. Naked guy with his naughty bits blurred out, R-rated dialog with naughty words bleeped out, and the subject matter is…gyah. Sex with domesticated felines.

Happy viewing.

Websites

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Websites

No links in this post, but that’s okay. This blog isn’t really about links. It’s about the process of thinking things out logically, prevailing notions of current happenings within our culture, and the stark contrast between those prevailing notions and any process of logical thinking. It’s about the elites instructing the commoners on what opinions everybody is supposed to have, when a little bit of personal observation and rational cogitation would cause such opinions to implode — and how rarely that happens.

I’ve made some references here to the confession from Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the minority party in the House of Representatives: The Democrats have no position on Iraq. Refer back to my notes about this in December and you’ll see what I mean. I’m not saying “they haven’t gotten around to making one yet,” instead, what I’m saying is this: They don’t have a plan. They don’t want a plan. There is a plan to make sure they never have a plan. They are proud of the fact they have no plan. They intend to remain planless, and that is their plan.

So I was having a good-natured debate in a thread somewhere last week, and I made reference to the problem democrats have, that after they’ve made their case that Bush and Cheney are crooked and there’s a GOP Culture of Corruption, blah blah blah, and the time comes for them to make the pitch to the electorate which is asking “well what would YOU do” — they got nuthin’. And I wasn’t proffering an argument of “Democrats SUCK!” — although I do think that — the point I was trying to make, is that I’m not sold on the idea they’re going to win. I don’t think they will. In my lifetime there has always been a connection between the guy who wins an election, and a pre-election message of “if/when I get in, I’m going to do X.” If you don’t have the latter, the former won’t be happening. So I think they’ll lose.

It worked out that way two years ago.

And reliable as rain, someone piped up and said they do too have a plan, you can find out all about any issue you want, if you go to their website.

And maybe twenty others said something to the effect of “yeah, and Bush’s plan has gotten thousands killed, so what’s worse?” thus proving my point.

Well, the website-guy promptly went away. I posted a link to support my thesis — the Democrat’s lack of a message isn’t my opinion, it’s Minority Leader Pelosi’s — and I never heard from him again. No, I don’t believe I defeated him with the brilliance of my logic, I think he had something to do. So I’m inclined to doubt that he read what he would have found…

Pelosi said Democrats will produce an issue agenda for the 2006 elections but it will not include a position on Iraq. There is consensus within the party that President Bush has mismanaged the war and that a new course is needed, but House Democrats should be free to take individual positions, she sad.

“There is no one Democratic voice . . . and there is no one Democratic position,” Pelosi said in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors.

What my antagonist was saying, was inconsistent with the facts. You can’t go to the DNC website and find a position on “any issue.” Certainly not on Iraq, on which the DNC is pledged to be position-neutral. From where, I wonder, did he get the idea that you could?

This brought me a bit of deja vous because I heard the same thing during the elections twenty-four months previous. I was saying some liberal candidate was going to die on the vine, because it takes a lot for people to invest a leader with power, when they didn’t know what this guy was going to do. Some lefty woman protested that oh, he HAS said what he’s going to do, you can look it up on his website and everything will be explained.

I can’t remember who the candidate was. It might have been Dean, or Kerry, or that four-star general guy whose name nobody can remember.

What’s up with this bit we keep hearing about “look it up on his website”? If a candidate wants to win, doesn’t he want to get everyone talking about his bold new plan for such-and-such? Isn’t that where all the money is supposed to go?

When the field-marshals tell the buck-privates “just tell everyone to hit our website and all will be explained,” what is it that they have in mind? What’s this talking point look like? Is it “tell ‘em to go to our website,” or is it “tell ‘em to go to our website where they will find out we want to xxx yyy zzz“? If it’s the first of those two and not the second, then why would that be? Because the campaign strategists want the liberty of being able to change the position in mid-stream, simply by updating the website?

That would impress me as an ingenious way of providing information resources on a network, but a poor way to run a campaign. We live in a world where many things are dynamic, and a candidate’s plan for public office is NOT one of those things. Or shouldn’t be, anyway.

A strong candidate who is destined to be an effective leader doesn’t need a “website.” Not for definining what his positions are, anyway. Either someone is being paid huge money to decide campaign strategy for these races, and has yet to grasp that simple fact…or else the “website” ruse is formed purely for deceiptful purposes, to stifle the debate, and make the supporter look like he’s done a little more homework than the dissenter, even though that is not necessarily the case. I can’t think of a third possibility. And it’s been my experience, that people who are paid big money to know about things, in general really do know quite a bit about them.

We may disagree about whether President Bush’s plan is better or worse than no-plan-at-all. But I hope everyone would agree that an incumbent or challenging candidate taking extravagant steps to cloak his plans in secrecy about such important public issues, even magnifying his potential for defeat by doing so, knowingly, can’t be a good thing.

Return to Sanity

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Return to Sanity

Red-blooded men will be pleased to know that Erica Lee is being featured prominently, in a way I suspect she had not been featured before, on the National Bikini Team website. “Erica Lee” is the pseudonym of Erica Chevillar, who looks just freak-o-nature fantastic in a bathing suit, and got in trouble for posing for pictures. Wasn’t that long ago she was in such deep trouble, she was about to be fired from her job, and the Bikini Team website thought the whole matter was a little too hot even for them. So her pictures were taken down, and for awhile a lot of the other womens’ pictures were removed too.

Erica got in trouble with the school district, in her current capactiy as a teacher. Got in trouble…for pictures taken years before. Back when she was in college. Some busybody parent, whom so far as I know is still anonymous, was able to stir up a big ol’ crock o’shit after tripping across the old pictures on the “innernets.” Before calling the principal to stir up the big ol’ crock, I imagine, the parent did exactly what I did: Look at all 24 pictures, over and over and over again, just to make sure they were still really offensive.

She looks good. Smoldering. Even among swimsuit models, she looks crem da la creme good.

As a public service, since I know I owe half of my May web traffic to Google searches for Ms. Chevillar, I’ll take this opportunity to announce that the National Bikini Team website is back to showcasing Ms. Chevillar’s…you know, poses. And they all still look pretty good (warning, some of these have to do with “butt floss” and may not be safe for work, if your work includes a bunch of easily-startled sissies). Her pictures are up…she looks good…school district is keeping her, at least as long as she wants to be kept which won’t be for long. Anonymous parent has to disappear back into the shadows of anonymity, to circle around like a shark looking for the next good thing in life to screw up. All in all, we’ve returned to sanity. Good.

I’ve said it before…Thing I Know #55. Aside from providing one of life’s simple pleasures, young ladies in skimpy outfits are wonderful whackjob detectors. Anyone objecting to their presence or their attire, is someone I don’t want to know. I can think of several reasons for this objection and none of them are the least bit healthy, helpful or benevolent. What is up with all this negativity anyway? I can think of a few times a woman should not wear a bathing suit. When she’s ugly, when she’s ridiculously young, when she’s trying to sell me on a major financial commitment involving stocks or a car or a house…other than that, put a cork in your cakehole, you bikini-haters. Sure, some bikinis reveal an awful lot nowadays. You might think women are nuts for wanting to wear them, but you’re a lot nuttier for trying to force them not to.

All of the People?

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

All of the People?

Oldie but a beauty: Abraham Lincoln was supposed to have noted, a few years before becoming our 16th U.S. President, that “you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Alas, it appears he didn’t say it. Oh well. The quip has always been burdened by problems here & there, like the doubt I privately nurtured the first time I heard it: What business does “honest Abe” have making observations on how much you can lie to people, and still get away with it?

And does it really work? If Lincoln had said this, the best theory you could prove from it is that he didn’t have e-mail. Oh, how I’d love to watch him in the Oval Office in 1865, switching on the e-Machine and opening his Hotmail, only to be slammed with screenful after screenful of spam. All of it forwarded from friends and relatives, half of it about the guy waking up in a bathtub full of ice with his kidneys missing, the other half about free money from Bill Gates for testing out his mail-forwarding program. Can’t fool all of ‘em all the time, huh?

I’ve got something I’ve been noticing about people that fits into this pretty well…although not without, what we call in the software development biz, “a major re-write.” It’s way too long to fit into a “Thing I Know,” but I can probably make it work by borrowing from Honest Abe’s template here.

All of the people mean some of what they say, and some of the people mean all of what they say; but all of the people do not mean all of what they say.

Vague? A tad perplexing to try to untangle? Maybe even, bad writing? Sure. But with my fortieth birthday sneaking up on me, I look back on events up to this point — and this is probably the one lesson about my planet-mates I’ve had the greatest need to learn.

You Made A Mistake

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

You Made A Mistake

A few days ago, I made an observation that there is a repeated pattern of bovine feces and codswallop being pumped out about the current White House having done something really bad. I don’t mean to say things are being said which I find disagreeable; what I mean to say is, things are being said that subsequent events confirm to be untrue. Someone says the President did something, and then we find out it’s not true, and the person who says it gets a little embarrassed, but his embarrassment is eclipsed by his anger — and he blames his own screw-up on the “spin machine” of Karl Rove and President Bush. Life goes on, and before too long, it happens again.

It’s gotten to the point where we really don’t know much about anything anymore. Ninety-nine percent of what we’ve been told is either crap, or has been placed under legitimate suspicion of being crap. This is not good. The tightrope we walk between safety and liberty is all too real, and we need good information, not rumors.

Well, I must conclude that the rumors will keep on a-comin’. For the Jason Leopold/Truthout dealy-bob, Truthout has issued a “partial apology” that even the Bush-bashing Democrats find to be unsatisfying at best. Once again, there is a prevailing wisdom blanketing us that runs directly afoul of common sense, a notion of forgive-and-forget, next time they’re sure to do much better, let’s move on. Some of my conservative friends are frustrated by this; they wonder when-and-if this will be hung around the neck of the crap-spewers like the dead albatross it is.

Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys, I must agree. It won’t happen. Why? Because there is a good possibility that someday, Karl Rove will be indicted. Do you really want to see a bunch of loud liberals, each imbued all the maturity of a five-year-old, still smarting from the spanking they received over falsely claiming Karl Rove was indicted and then being embarrassed — after Rove has really been indicted, albeit just a little bit late?

But I sympathize with the conservatives. For now, the prediction has turned out to be false, the latest of many. The falsity impresses me, but not nearly as much as the lack of responsibility taken for the falsity. Things are spewed, and I’m supposed to take them seriously, but how can I take what is spewed any more seriously than those who spew? They put their crap out there, get nailed on it, shrug and move on to the next load of crap.

The way I see it, this is a case of throwing stones while living in a glass house. Even today, if you google the phrase “Won’t admit he made a mistake” it seems all of the results you get back are references to President George W. Bush — each and every single one of them (I stopped checking after the first page). This is quite bizarre. The phrase is used nowhere else, in the whole universe of googledom? No transcripts from puppet shows about marriage therapy sessions? No blogs written by angst-filled teenaged girls about their fathers? Just an endless river of crap about the President? Surreal.

Two years ago when the election was in full swing, a co-worker made an interesting observation in the form of a rhetorical question. His inquiry was, what is up with all this concern, lately, over admitting mistakes? What is the point? If you make a mistake and it results in a lot of damage you can’t fix, and you admit it, is that any better than making a mistake, correcting whatever damage resulted, and then keeping quiet on any regrets you might have about the mistake? In other words, when did admitting the mistake become any more important than actually fixing the problem that resulted?

Two neighbors have a barbeque. One buys the wrong brand of charcoal and has to make a quick run down to the store to get a better brand — thus correcting his mistake — but won’t admit he made a mistake! The other neighbor burns down his whole house but says “oops I made a mistake.” It’s better to burn down the house? The charcoal-mistake was a worse mistake because it was never outwardly confessed?

Well if we’re going to allow that, then I have to have it on my mind when I think about these “Truthout” people and their mistake. If “won’t admit he made a mistake” is such a paramount and all-consuming concern with the President…to the point where the leading search engine is persuaded by its content to hold the phrase virtually synonymous with his name…should this concern not apply to his critics, when it fits them so well right now? Whatsamatta with you guys, that you won’t admit when you made a mistake?

To which they would respond — and I’m quite sure of this, almost on a word-for-word basis — “when we made our mistake, nobody died.”

Very true. But don’t go there. Don’t go there, because when we compare the “mistake” of going into Iraq, versus the mistake of saying Karl Rove’s indictment was imminent when it really wasn’t, a whole fistful of differences emerge and the military casualties are only one among those differences. For starters, the admission of a “mistake” carries different ramifications with the two situations. In Iraq, this would mean a change in foreign policy — a change toward Neville Chamberlain appeasement toward those most threatening. A policy of doing nothing. This would be a change appealing to some, but it finds avid support from neither the electorate, the executive voted into the White House by that electorate, nor history. So besides putting a disenfranchised minority in charge of our foreign policy, it would fix nothing. Show me a million people who despise President Bush because he “won’t admit he made a mistake,” and I’ll show you a million people who would hate him just as much if he admitted it. No one’s ready to dispute I could do this.

Contrasted with that, admission of a mistake in the Rove indictment thing, would signal a new policy of simply getting the story right. That was supposed to have been the goal all along — to conservatives, to liberals, to people who just like to read stuff and don’t care who wins. We’re all supposed to want diligence and accuracy. Such an admission would show that someone, somewhere, is at least trying to get some good information out. That is what we need now. Accuracy over timeliness — and if you can’t show us some achievement, then at least show us some effort.

Right now, in the Bush-bashing world, we see neither.

Pretend

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

Pretend

Just something to chew on.

I’ve been trying to find a connection between the people who made “American Beauty” (1999) and the people who produced the ABC television show “Desperate Housewives” (2004). It’s a little strange that I can’t find one, and I’ll tell you why. A recurring theme in both of them — I would say a central theme in both of them — is that people who live in nice houses in everyday-suburbia, are pretending to be something they’re not. That these “everyday” people actually have secrets.

In the case of Beauty, if you take this theme out, you really don’t have much of anything left. Frankly, I found the whole thing to be a bit of a yawner. With Housewives, the product emerges from the assembly line as something much better-crafted, certainly more addictive, even for a dude. It impresses me as a well-built thing, something created by people who had real fun in the process of creating it. But all of the humor that is so enjoyable, is linked to a central hub-theme that people are pretending to be something other than what they are, that they are living a lie. And while perhaps they aren’t to be condemned for this, they certainly are not to be held up to praise.

Who is playing this game of pretend, and being held up to derision for doing so? People who own houses, have jobs, pay mortgages. Basically, “orthodox” people. Non-Hollywood people.

Who is holding those people up to derision and ridicule? Hollywood.

What does Hollywood do? It plays a game of pretend for a living.

So this is a cultural thing we’re seeing over and over again, a resentment being felt in more areas than just one…where people who play a game of pretend for a living, vent their spleens at other people, who are supposed to be real in everything they do, for the infraction of not being completely real in everything they do.

Kind of like the lifetime-felon picking on the Chief of Police for not returning a book to the library on time. Something terribly perverted about this.

I’ve become somewhat hooked on Housewives, but I do wish they would give it a break. People in houses have secrets. Yeah, I get it. You know it’s kind of strange; the people who make these shows, are paid big money for being in step with what the audience wants. Here they’ve got a hit, and it seems to be a lucky guess. After all, you go to the forums of real hardcore fans, and I don’t see anyone gushing about what a wonderful job the show is doing of finally spilling the beans about those people in suburbia living phony lives. I’ve never seen a comment like that anywhere, not even once. But that’s the business that the people who write the show, appear to think they’re in.

Ugh, please drop it. People in suburbia have secrets because people have secrets. Especially people in Hollywood.

Pithy and Rhetorical II

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

Pithy and Rhetorical II

Even though Marjorie Hromadka has not seen The Davinci Code, she’s going to protest the movie. Ha ha! That’s pretty funny, isn’t it? Silly Marjorie Hromadka! Go see the movie if you want to protest it, Marjorie Hromadka!

Friday’s premiere of The Da Vinci Code inspired a group of Catholics to protest the controversial film based on the religious mystery novel that purports Jesus Christ secretly married Mary Magdalene.

Marjorie Hromadka, 68, has neither read the fictional work nor has she seen the movie, which was being shown at the Tinseltown multiplex in east Houston off Interstate 10.

Really, I don’t think a day’s gone by since the movie opened, that I haven’t seen some news about someone protesting it. And I haven’t seen any news about someone protesting it, without that line inserted that one or two protesters, sometimes named, sometimes not, are protesting even though they haven’t seen the movie.

Well, three months ago, Europe was being swept up in a Muslim anti-Danish-cartoon craze. Muslim protesters were supposed to be oh so angry and upset about those Danish cartoons that actually depicted the prophet Muhammad, unable to control themselves, setting fire to embassies, throwing rocks, etc. etc. etc.

Now I’m taking it as a given that each of those Muslim protesters actually saw the cartoons that got them angry.

But that’s the point…I’m taking it as a given. That’s all I can do.

In fact, that in itself is purely an article of faith. Nobody ever stuck a microphone in the face of a Muslim protester, and published some words from that protester that actually found their way to me…asserting that said protester did, indeed, actually lay eyes on said cartoon.

In fact, I can’t remember anybody actually asking the question. Not even of one protester.

So my pithy and rhetorical question is, I guess, this: Is it the non-violence, that makes it relevant whether the protesters have actually sampled what they’re protesting? It seems when the first rock goes flying and when the first building starts burning, everybody loses their interest in finding out how well-informed the protesters are. Which is curious considering that violent and non-violent protests seem to be equally newsworthy.

Personally, I find it awfully hard to support a protest against something the protesters don’t know about firsthand…seems too much like “proxy” outrage. My reluctance holds no matter what the nature is of the protest. But it seems an awful lot more worthy of coverage when people burn down buildings and don’t have first-hand knowledge of why they’re doing it, compared to when people carry signs around and don’t have first-hand knowledge of why they’re doing it. Am I missing something here?

This Is Good IV

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

This Is Good IV

You’ll miss out on some of the comedy if you haven’t seen DeMille’s classic “The Ten Commandments” (1956) starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. What if it was a “teen” movie?

This video clip offers a possible trailer for such a movie, but has a dirty word in it, so don’t watch it at work. “The Ten Things I Hate About Commandments”. Very well-done.

Poisoning the Anthill

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

Poisoning the Anthill

This blog, which nobody reads anyway, usually refrains from tapping into the stream of e-mails and comments about articles, opting to much more often draw from the juice in the articles themselves. We maintain that habit because comments within forums tend to be just so much noise, and usually they’re anonymous anyway. “Flyboy” said the world is going to end at ten o’clock tomorrow — what would that mean? Nuthin’.

To put it more concisely, we live in a day & age where nothing is required of you to get on the “innernets,” create a forum account, and type in some crap. And I do mean nothing. So we stay away from what, in our opinion, can best be regarded as nothing more than static.

But that isn’t an iron-clad cardinal rule, because here & there you’ll see some thread/forum nonsense representing a groupthink viewpoint that prevails over many people, and is engaged in a somewhat-verifiable process of swelling to engulf even more people. When that happens, you have a message that persists in lacking any notability for its verity, but nevertheless becomes notable for the definition. When a growing number of people believe something, even if what they believe is unverifiable or even proven to be false, this is still worthy of comment. And here’s a great example, regarding the huge letdown over the last week where Karl Rove wasn’t indicted like he was supposed to have been. The poster’s forum-name is “Stu” and Stu’s comments in the Salon forum are recorded thusly:

My take on this is that it is classic Rove notwithstanding the implied embellishing from Leopold. Rove is a master at stopping the tide of a story by as, we saw with Rather, leaking/planting fake info , so his enemies can go leak, then it is discredited… and thus Joe Public then overrides the guilt in the story with the fake leak story.

So I believe Rove instigated a leak via subordinates ( aka leakers to Leopold ) who dutifully reported(leaked) on them. Then to underline the situation, Rove gives a rare smiley face upbeat performance at the AEI or wherever it was.

The bottom line is , if he does get indicted he has already got some defence ammunition with this .. ie being tried in the press etc etc… and if he does not get indicted ( which he may already know he won’t and maybe why he did this), then this can be used to witchhunt and prosecute or whatever the “leakers” etc..

Now for the reasons expressed above, let us take a pass on correcting “Stu,” since I don’t give a rat’s ass what deficiencies exist in the critical-thinking skills of some nameless-faceless Salon-forum-poster guy. But this is something we’ve heard a few times before, in fact, I daresay we heard it with each of the four items I was reminiscing about earlier this week, in which some Bush-basher jumped the gun on something that wasn’t true.

We WILL hear it again. Someone on KOS said exactly the same thing:

maybe Rove tried to hook the MSM thru Truthout and play on the strong desire of many of us to see hum get indicted, throwing the actual indictment into turmoil and blowing up Fitzgerald’s case.

I for one believe Leoplod when he says he had credible sources give him this story, but I also think Rove planted false info to try and do another ‘forged document’ ploy that would make the indicment story blow up in the MSMs face

So let’s deconstruct this. And although it might cause some pain, particularly to those who believe in it, let us take it seriously.

Rove has a tactic he likes to use. He poisons the well of his enemies by leaking stuff that is not true, so that his enemies end up embarrassed. When someone says something bad about the Bush administration and that bad thing turns out not to be true, what you are seeing is Rove’s tactic in action. He leaked something, taking steps to keep his name out of the leaking process, and he knew the thing he would leak was false. He slipped a grenade into the pig slops. He built a Trojan Horse. He poisoned an ant that went back to the hill.

Question for the Bush-bashing community: If I’m suspicious of this presidency and I form a habit of turning to some Bush-bashing source, be it on the “innernets” or in some paper form, to shine the light of truth on this weasely administration…isn’t a little healthy cynicism on the part of that source, just part of the job? I mean, the alternative would be to assert there’s some huge market of viewers and readers who want to suck in anything negative about President Bush’s White House whether it is true or not.

Well let me rephrase that. I know there’s a big “Hoover-Vac” market out there and everybody wants to be the first to know about this-or-that ugly rumor, regardless of how it ultimately pans out. I know Bush-bashers are more concerned about a story having legs, than about a story being true. I’ve said so. But my question is, is that a conscious thing? Do Bush-bashers really place value on some wad of crap just because it alleges something negative about Bush and his team? If they do, then the answer to the above question, about cynicism being part of the job, would be “no.” But if they only want to know about the stuff that’s true, which I suspect is the case with most consumers-of-news — tell me the sky is falling if it really is falling, otherwise shut your pie-hole — then, in effect, these Bush-bashing sites are driving away their audiences by saying this:

Karl Rove has a reputation for planting false stories to embarrass his enemies, and over here at XYZ blog/magazine, we fall for it faster than anyone.

On the other hand, if Bush-bashers have no regard for the truth and know they have no regard for the truth — they just want to show up to the next “X many deaths in Iraq” celebration, and say “yes” when a fellow Bush-basher asks them “Did you read the story about…” — then why is anybody getting mad at Karl Rove to begin with? By engaging in his well-poisoning tactic, isn’t he feeding them a few ancillary slices of the pie the Bush-bashing community wants to wolf down anyway? Where is the thanks to Karl Rove for bringing his Crock Pot o’Crap to the big ol’ neighborhood shit-potluck? I mean, if it’s a good story…and that is all you want.

Okay, that is Question One. The answer may come from a “Queen Ant,” or it may be gathered one at a time from each drone in the hill — I don’t care. Any answer to that, would be fascinating. I doubt I’ll see one.

Here is Question Two.

For the last several years, the Bush-bashing community has been putting a significant amount of heat and pressure on the rest of us to re-define what it means to “lie” to someone. The American Heritage Dictionary says it means “to present false information with the intention of deceiving” [emphasis mine]. Bush-bashers want it to mean you’ve made an assertion which is confounded by subsequent events, regardless of your intentions — so that they can say “Bush lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction.” Their effort to re-define the word has been met with success only within the Bush-bashing community; it’s been a failure outside of that camp. “Normal” people still think you have to deceive someone deliberately, or try to, in order to “lie.” We still think there’s a difference between taking an unlucky guess, and lying. But the “Galt’s Gulch” of Bush-bashing, is not going to give up. They’ll still persist in their own private definition of this word, using it several times a week, so they can say “Bush LIED!!!”

So Question Two is this. Since you guys have your own definition of the word, and it encroaches into situations absent of any willful intent on the part of anyone to deceive…aren’t the above-categorized blogs and news-sites “lying” by failing to adequately screen these bullshit-grenades coming from Rove’s office? I mean, you either believe in lying-through-your-own-gullibility, or you don’t.

Or is there another possibility: You’re actually willing to ‘fess up that words like “lie” carry different definitions when they’re applied to the President, than the definition of such words when they’re applied to you. Oh I know it really does work that way, but are you actually willing to come out and say so?

There are three conceptually possible answers to that question, but the way I see it only two of those answers work, and they’re the two that make your Bush-bashing community look…well, a little nuttier than usual.

Third Question. Assuming that eventually, as the slow wheels of justice turn, Karl Rove is indicted and he has to resign his position: Are you planning for your answers to Questions One and Two to significantly change? They would have to, wouldn’t they?