Thursday, August 31, 2006

Those damn fascists

From Talking Points Memo:
Back to Iran. Talk of a unified Qaeda/Iran/Hezbollah/Syria menace is nonsense as a casual scan of actual Sunni jihadist views will make clear. As Fred Kaplan notes, if Churchill and FDR had operated with the Bush mentality, "they might not have formed an alliance with the Soviet Union (out of a refusal to negotiate with evil Communists), and they might have therefore lost the war."

It's worse than that, though -- they might have proposed attacking the Soviet Union in the middle of the war because Bolshevism and Nazism were both species of Eurofascism.

-- Matthew Yglesias

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. keep blathering on about fascism and about not negotiating with terrorists. But they don't understand what fascists really are. They don't really understand the factions involved. And they try to use history to show they have a noble cause. But they are not really listening to the lessons of history. If we'd been so insistent on our supposed moral high ground, would we have worked closely with the Soviet Union during World War II? And if we hadn't, would we have a drastically different world now?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." -- Samuel Johnson

Johnson was purported to have been referring to those who use patriotism falsely or as a crutch. Patriotism in and of itself isn't necessarily bad. It may be silly, though, since none of us really own anything. We're just temporary stewards. In a thousand years, will it really matter whether we were patriotic? How we cared for our planet and each other will end up being a lot more important than whether we cared about some arbitrary border.

To be sure, Johnson's quote is an often misused one. But I thought it fitting to describe the ridiculous posturing of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld this past week. Anyone that criticizes our administration's handling of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars are "self-defeating pessimists". Rumsfeld compared the Iraqi war to the war against Nazi Germany. Those that would critize now are just like those that appeased Germany, he intimates.

In an unintentional bit of candor, he complained of the "real problem" being that the media tells "lies" and "myths" when reporting the war. Now that's not very nice, Donald ... criticizing FOX News like that.

Some other tasty nuggets:

"What bothers me the most is how clever the enemy is ... "

"They are actively manipulating the media in this country ..."

"They can lie with impunity ..."

"The enemy lies constantly — almost totally without consequence ..."

"Actively manipulating the media", "lie with impunity", "lies constantly ... without consequence" -- Wow. If that is not the pot calling the kettle black, then I don't know what is. I think those three are the first three chapters of Karl Rove's political playbook.

Rumsfeld complains ...

The secretary's ghastly speech ...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Last Star Wars Supper

I'm not sure if this may be saying something profound about Christianity or is just the artist's intellectual exercise, but in either event, I thought it was kinda cool and funny.

I'd like to credit the artist, but could not locate his/her name. The image is courtesy of Giant magazine.

Thanks to Josh at Schulzone for the link.

Friday, August 25, 2006


A fine example of the wheels of capitalism being greased with some good old-fashioned, "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" corporate partnering, McDonald's is offering toy Hummers with their Kid's Meals. It works perfect for them ... fat, happy ad-driven kids turn into fat, docile adults that consume what's fed to them, literally and figuratively. McDonald's and Hummer, the perfect marriage of corporatism and excess. I'd never go to McDonald's but unfortunately I think all kids of this generation are born with a McDonald's gene and Alex would protest. If McDonald's cared about anything but making a buck, maybe they'd have Prius toys. :-)

Wouldn't have been more useful for McDonald's to use that insanely recognizable name recognition (I think McDonald's was my son's first word) to encourage healthy eating, conservation, charity, volunteerism, etc. ... or at the very least just push the usual movie tie-ins? It's mindless but at least the kids aren't being encouraged to kill the planet and guzzle gasoline.

In that vein, here's a very funny parody of Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA (gag) called God Bless My SUV by the Capital Steps, a political satire group.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


"... And the sign said long haired freaky people need not apply" -- Signs by Five Man Electrical Band

I don't generally like to talk about work but today was mildly amusing and life affirming at the same time.

The first instance was my exchange at the front door of a client I had not seen in about a year. I arrive. Ring the doorbell. Door opens. He comments that I must be growing my hair out (it's about 5 inches longer than the last time I saw him) and I make the same comment as it appears that his had done the same. But he killed me with the follow-up. I paraphrase what he said, "Yeah, after the '04 elections, I started growing my hair out. I didn't want anybody thinking I was a Republican. If you're a Republican, then I'm sorry." I said, "Don't apologize, you have nothing to worry about." I don't mix my work and my politics, so he had no way of knowing. But it was a refreshing exchange since the majority of my client visits are at houses with Hummers with NRA stickers and with clients that tell me what a good job the Minutemen are doing. I do a lot of nodding my head and cursing under my breath.

The second instance is not poltical at all. It was merely cool. A client that I had done computer work for in the past called with panic in her voice. She needed a DVD video of her speaking (about 10 minutes worth) to send to a job she was applying for out east. And she needed it by tomorrow (Thursday) morning. She wanted to know if I had a video camera and had the capabilities of getting the video to DVD. Though I'd never done the task before for a customer, I've shot hundreds of hours of footage with my digital video camera, edited them and created a lot of DVD's that I've sent to family. But it's just been a hobby and something that I enjoyed doing. So, to be paid to do it was sweet. My directorial debut! OK, more like my videographer debut. Whatever ... I still felt like Scorcese. :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bush's Fondness For Fundamentalism ...

I found a recent article by by Karen Armstrong (of the Guardian) that sheds a little light on a question that I had -- Who is driving Bush's policy(foreign and domestic) and what is he hoping to gain?

Bush's Fondness For Fundamentalism Is Courting Disaster At Home and Abroad: Affinity with the Christian right has led to banning stem cell research and turning a blind eye to civilian deaths in Lebanon

Some excerpts from the article

" ... the president zealously champions the rights of the unborn, he is less concerned about the plight of existing American children. The US infant mortality rate is only the 42nd best in the world; the average baby has a better chance of surviving in Havana or Beijing; infant mortality rates are unacceptably high among those who cannot afford adequate healthcare, especially in the African-American community. And, finally, at the same time as Bush decided to veto the stem cell bill, Israeli bombs were taking the lives of hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians, many of them children, with the tacit approval of the US."

This inconsistency gets me every time. I can understand and respect people that are against abortions for religious reasons. I just don't understand those that don't extend the "culture of life" to their beliefs on war, health care and social justice.
"Is there a connection between a religiously motivated mistrust of science, glaring social injustice, and a war in the Middle East?"

If you believe in the Rapture, it sure looks like there is.
"The fundamentalists' rejection of science is deeply linked to their apocalyptic vision. Even the relatively sober ID theorists segue easily into Rapture-speak. ... They all condemn the attempt to reform social ills. When applied socially, evolutionary theory "leads straight to all the woes of modern life," ... homosexuality, state-backed healthcare, divorce, single-parenthood, socialism, and abortion. All this, of course, is highly agreeable to the Bush administration, which is itself selectively leery of science. It has, for example, persistently ignored scientists' warnings about global warming. Why bother to implement the Kyoto treaty if the world is about to end? Indeed, some fundamentalists see environmental damage as a positive development, because it will hasten the apocalypse."

I don't know which is worse -- those that believe in the Rapture and welcome global warming for that reason or those that believe there are "positive" aspects of global warming.
"This nihilistic religiosity is based on a perversion of the texts. The first chapter of Genesis was never intended as a literal account of the origins of life; it is a myth, a timeless story about the sanctity of the world and everything in it. Revelation was not a detailed program for the End time; it is written in an apocalyptic genre that has quite a different dynamic. When they described the Jews' return to their homeland, the Hebrew prophets were predicting the end of the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BC - not the second coming of Christ. The prophets did preach a stern message of social justice, however, and like all the major world faiths, Christianity sees charity and loving-kindness as the cardinal virtues. Fundamentalism nearly always distorts the tradition it is trying to defend."

This is an important distinction. It is not all Christians that are the problem. It is fundamentalism in all its forms that threatens our world. It is important for Democrats to not forsake the large percentage of Christians that truly understand the teachings of Christ and are for social justice.
"This strange amalgam of ideas can perhaps throw light on the behaviour of a president, who, it is said, believes that God chose him to lead the world to Rapture, who has little interest in social reform, and whose selective concern for life issues has now inspired him to veto important scientific research. It explains his unconditional and uncritical support for Israel, his willingness to use "Jewish End-time warriors" to fulfil a vision of his own - arguably against Israel's best interests - and to see Syria and Iran (who seem to be replacing Saddam as the "enemy of the north") as entirely responsible for the unfolding tragedy."

There it is, in a nut shell. Be afraid.

"To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance." -- Eric Hoffer

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Bush Must Negotiate to Make America Safer, Say Former Generals

by Aaron Glantz

SAN FRANCISCO - Twenty-one former generals and high ranking national security officials have called on United States President George W. Bush to reverse course and embrace a new area of negotiation with Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. In a letter released Thursday, the group told reporters Bush's 'hard line' policies have undermined national security and made America less safe.

Of particular concern for the generals was increased saber rattling between Washington and Tehran over the development of an Iranian nuclear program.

"We call on the administration to engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions to help resolve the current crisis in the Middle East and to settle differences over an Iranian nuclear program," their letter read.

"An attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences for security in the region and U.S. forces in Iraq," they argued. "It would inflame hatred and violence in the Middle East and among Muslims everywhere."

In a telephone news conference Thursday morning, the former security officials took particular aim at the Bush Administration's policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists or with states that support them.

"That seems strange since Ronald Reagan was willing to negotiate with the Soviets even though they were the 'Evil Empire," said retired Lt. General Robert Guard, who served as special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War and now works at the non-profit Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. "One wonders why George Bush can't negotiate with the Axis of Evil."

The generals further argued that the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq is at least partially responsible for Iran's drive to develop a nuclear program.

"When you announce an axis of evil of three countries and invade one and then say that Iran should take that as a lesson, it does seem that it may give them an incentive to do precisely what they don't want them to do," Guard said, "develop a nuclear weapon."

Former director of Policy Planning for the State Department, Morton Halperin, said the same goes for North Korea. The more belligerent the Bush Administration behaves, he said, the faster North Korea will work to develop nuclear weapons.

"The North Koreans want to talk to us directly," said Halperin, who now works for the Washington, DC-based Center for American Progress. "Their concern is about getting security assurances from us and about getting diplomatic recognition. We should not be afraid to talk to our opponents."

At the White House, Bush's spokesperson Tony Snow dismissed the letter.

"In a political year people are going to make political statements, including retired generals, and they're perfectly welcome to," Snow told reporters at his daily briefing. "It's an important addition to the public debate. But we're also--the president is a guy who has got real responsibility here. Now, I've got to tell you, just given to what I response to the sort of ongoing cost of promoting freedom around the globe, do you not think a president will do everything in his power to succeed? And the answer is, yes. He's not sitting around saying, boy, I'm stubborn, I'm going to stick with it.

"That's not the way the president is," Snow said, insisting the Bush administration is planning policy changes while declining to offer specifics.

But the generals who signed the letter say Bush has been stubborn, and a poor student of history.

General Joseph Hoar, the Commander in Chief of U.S. Military Central Command under presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, said the George W. Bush administration would be advised to remember the French occupation of Algeria, which lasted 134 years.

Nationalist rebels launched an insurgency against the French in 1954. After eight years of insurgent bombings and counter-terrorism operations, France was finally forced to quit Algeria in 1962.

Hoar says like the Battle of Algiers the current war on terror is a war of ideas.

"Until we get away from the idea that we can solve these problems through the use of military force and begin to change the political problems causing discontent by providing security and services, we're not going to win this war," he said.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lists, Lists, Lists ...

"... what really matters is what you like, not what you are like..." -- John Cusack as Rob Gordon in High Fidelity

What's thrown out there as a tongue-in-cheek comment to impress the Lisa Bonet character in High Fidelity may have more truth than you think. I had just re-watched the movie (great movie!) a week or so ago and then our book memes came up. Cusack's character spends a good part of his life making lists that define his tastes in music, women, etc. And those lists probably say more about him than anything he does. And maybe our own lists do the same. Taking a not very in-depth look at some of the books in our lists gives a scarily accurate portrait of what each of us are about. So as to not offend too much, I'll take a stab at myself first. And just remember, I kid because I love.


  • All the President's Men, Rush Limbaugh ... -- has an unhealthy like for politics
  • Lord of the Rings, Dune -- probably grew up a nerd and read sci-fi instead of dating
  • Walden, Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Bury My Heart ... -- typical godless liberal -- lol

jewish atheist

  • He's all over the place. I can't draw anything from his except that he's smart and well-read ... but we already knew that.


  • Mere Christianity, Bible -- devout Christian
  • Dark Tower -- just a little bit of nerd there, but I'm pretty sure Sadie dated in high school unlike me
  • Broken Prey -- but she has a dark side ... cool!


  • 1984, Selfish Gene, Che Guevera book -- he's got definite liberal street cred
  • His Dark Materials trilogy, The Magic Goes Away Collection, book on network security -- oh yeah. Definitely nerdy. But he has a British accent, so he probably dated in high school.


  • No Compromise -- Christian
  • Devil in the White City, Fountainhead -- with a taste for architecture
  • Fountainhead, Adventures of Jonathan Gullible, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis -- Couldn't be more obvious unless he had libertarian tattooed on his forehead. Or perhaps a Scarlet Letter? You don't, do you? lol

Monday, August 14, 2006

Book Meme

Jewish Atheist tagged me with this book meme. Enjoy:

1. One book that changed your life? All the President's Men by Woodward and Berstein. -- read as a junior in high school. I think my mistrust of government and my interest in politics began with this book.

2. One book you have read more than once? Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

3. One book you would want on a desert island? Dune by Frank Herbert, 1984 by George Orwell

4. One book that made you laugh? Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot by Al Franken. I think even conservatives would find this one funny. Doesn't take itself too seriously.

5. One book that made you cry? Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

6. One book you wish had been written? My own, from any of the false starts and scraps of the last 20 years.

7. One book you wish had never been written? Atlas Shrugged -- Ayn Rand fascinates me but she is unbelievably overwrought and full of crap. An amazing book in that it was so popular while simultaneously pissing off some conservatives (for being atheistic and having controversial views on sex) and liberals (for promoting no government intervention in anything and for the godlike adulation of the free market). Individually, some of the concepts might have some merit, but as a whole, it reads like a pompous, poorly written manifesto for neo-cons and libertarians.

8. One book you are currently reading? Walden by Henry David Thoreau -- my reading this is long overdue.

9. One book you have been meaning to read? The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Jay Gould -- Have you seen this book? It's freakin' huge! I could use it as a leg for my table. I don't know if I'll ever have enough ambition to read it.

10. Now tag five people: Eric, Great White Bear, Sadie, Josh and Scott

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Better Way of Fighting Terrorists

"Nothing is as terrible to see as ignorance in action." -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

From Cenk Uygur on Huffington Post:
There are two schools of thought in the country right now. One is the Republican idea that we are fighting against Islamic fascism (whatever that is) and that we need to go on the offense against Muslim states that support the Islamofascist terrorists. It's hard not to laugh as you say it.


The second school of thought is that we can fight terrorism better by isolating the terrorists from the rest of the Muslim population, finding them and neutralizing them. The idea here is that instead of fanning the flames of hate and helping the Muslim fundamentalists spread their ideology to others, we work with the majority of Muslims in rooting out the extremists in their midst.

I can see Republicans reflexively getting ready to shout now - you can't work with Muslims, they're all Islamofascists looking to destroy our way of life. Other than being painfully stupid, that is incomprehensibly wrong. A great majority of Muslims have nothing against our way of life. They have no desire to take over Kentucky or to make sure the people of Alaska don't have freedom.

The idea that Muslims are looking to take over the world and are on the precipice of dominating militarily as the Nazis did is so laughable that I can't quite believe they're saying it out loud. Nazi Germany took France in five days. Are Islamic fundamentalists about to roll their tanks in to Paris and Prague?

These conservatives want to pick a fight - not just with the Muslim terrorists - but with all of Islam. Hardly has there been a more dangerous idea. A majority of Muslim countries have absolutely no intention of taking over the West, even if it was remotely possible. But they will fight to the death if you needlessly invade them.

But there is a better way. And ironically, we are implementing the better way right now in Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that probably has more Muslim fundamentalists than any other nation on earth. They don't just have a WMD program, they have nuclear weapons. And they have spread their nuclear weapon technology to other countries. And to top it all off, Osama bin Laden is sitting comfortably in northern Pakistan.

If the Republicans were honest and they actually believed in their own so-called principles, the most ideal country on earth to attack would be Pakistan. They have a thousand times more WMD than Iraq and Iran combined (which is pretty simple, since that number is just about zero). And they shelter the biggest terrorists in the world. On the other hand, they don't have much oil and they are not a direct threat to Israel.

But the reality is our strategy in Pakistan, while lacking in intensity and focus, is roughly the correct one. We are trying to isolate the Taliban and Al Qaeda sympathizers in northern Pakistan while working with the Pakistani government. If we invaded, we would have nuclear war with a country that has hundreds of millions of Muslims. Instead, we cooperate with them and they help us to foil the bombings in the London airport.

If we had chosen the route of "going on the offense" against Pakistan, there is an excellent chance we would have lost ten airplanes full of passengers this week.

This strategy has its clear downsides. We have to put more pressure on Pakistan to find and turn over Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. We have to have tighter controls over their nuclear technology. But at least, this path is smart and doable.

And ironically, it is being pulled off by the very administration that is touting this nonsense war against Islamic fascists. It is clear that the administration doesn't even believe its own talking points. Otherwise, the 101st Airborne would be in Waziristan right now. So, why don't they apply this smarter strategy with the rest of the Muslim world?

I'm afraid it's because there are hardliners inside the administration that want to invade Iran - no matter what. So, they paint them as Islamic fascists and try to stir up more war fever. Just look at this ridiculous clip from Hannity and Colmes. It appears that Sean Hannity believes there is only one strategy for fighting against a couple of thousand terrorists spread out throughout the world - start a war with a couple of hundred million Muslims in select countries.

But, of course, there is a better way. The Democrats need to explain to Americans that war is not the only answer. The smarter strategy is to isolate the extremists and build up our relationship with moderate Muslims. Enlist the moderates to help us locate the terrorists and neutralize them - just like we did in the London plot we just foiled.

The American people are sick of war, just as the conservatives plot for even more wars. Democrats have to realize that pursuing the "isolate and neutralize" strategy against terrorists is not only sound policy but, at this point, also sound politics. People are eager for a better, smarter way of fighting terrorism. This is the time to finally offer it as an alternative to the endless wars the Republicans promise instead.

"A people who's primary aims are driving, shopping, and television are subject to terrorism at any time." -- Stephen Dietz

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals opened their new stadium today with an impressive pre-season victory over the World Champ Pittsburgh Steelers. Alex and I walked over to check out the festivities:

We'd have loved to have actually gone to the game but all games (including pre-season) sold out fairly quickly. Hopefully we'll be able to pick up some tickets here or there during the season.

The Westgate retail/entertainment/residential area adjacent to the stadium and the Glendale Arena is well on it's way. Hopefully, the movie theaters, book store and restaurants will be open by Christmas. It will be nice when everything is done as just about everything we do normally will be within walking distance of home.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

1% Doctrine

From Campus Progress:

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Virtuous Circles and Fragile States

"Democracy don't rule the world, You'd better get that in your head; This world is ruled by violence, But I guess that's better left unsaid." -- Bob Dylan

From Jeffrey Sachs in the latest issue of Scientific American:

If U.S. leaders better understood the politics of impoverished and crisis-ridden countries, they would more effectively protect American national security by advancing the causes of economic development and democracy. Although the administration of George W. Bush has often stated its commitment to the spread of democracy, partly to combat the risks of terror, it relies excessively on military approaches and threats rather than strategic aid. Timely development assistance to places hovering between democracy and disarray can yield enormous benefits.

For nations in a deep crisis, the greatest danger is a self-fulfilling prophecy of disaster. Consider Liberia, just emerging from a prolonged civil war, and Haiti, which has suffered decades of intense political instability. Both nations have recently elected new democratic governments, but both face continuing possibilities of internal violence and disorder.

When the public thinks that a newly elected national government will succeed, local leaders throw their support behind it. Expectations of the government's longevity rise. Individuals and companies become much more likely to pay their taxes, because they assume that the government will have the police power to enforce the tax laws.
A virtuous circle is created. Rising tax revenues strengthen not only the budget but also political authority and enable key investments--in police, teachers, roads, electricity--that promote public order and economic development. They also bolster confidence in the currency. Money flows into the commercial banks, easing the specter of banking crises.

When the public believes that a government will fail, the same process runs in reverse. Pessimism splinters political forces. Tax payments and budget revenues wane. The police and other public officials go unpaid. The currency weakens. Banks face a withdrawal of deposits and the risk of banking panics. Disaster feeds more pessimism.

By attending to the most urgent needs of these fragile states, U.S. foreign policy can tilt the scales to favor the consolidation of democracy and economic improvement. To an informed and empathetic observer, the necessary actions will usually be clear. Both Liberia and Haiti lack electricity service, even in their capital cities. Both countries face massive crises of hunger and insufficient food production. Both suffer from pervasive infectious diseases that are controllable but largely uncontrolled.

But if each impoverished farm family is given a bag of fertilizer and a tin of high-yield seeds, a good harvest with ample food output can be promoted within a single growing season. A nationwide campaign to spread immunizations, antimalaria bed nets and medicines, vitamin supplements and deworming agents can improve the health of the population even without longer-term fixes of the public health system. Electric power can be restored quickly in key regions. And safe water outlets, including boreholes and protected natural springs, can be constructed by the thousands within a year.

All these initiatives require financial aid, but the costs are small. Far too often, however, the U.S. response is neglect. Rather than giving practical help, the rich countries and international agencies send an endless stream of consultants to design projects that arrive too late, if ever. They ignore emergency appeals for food aid. After a few months, the hungry, divided, disease-burdened public begins to murmur that "nothing has changed," and the downward spiral recommences. Pessimism breeds pessimism. Eventually the government falls, and the nascent democracy is often extinguished.

By thinking through the underlying ecological challenges facing a country--drought, poor crops, disease, physical isolation--and raising the lot of the average household through quick-disbursing and well-targeted assistance, U.S. foreign policy makers would provide an invaluable investment in democracy, development and U.S. national security. Liberia and Haiti are two important places to begin to make good on the Bush administration's pledge to spread democracy.


Jeffrey D. Sachs is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and of the U.N.’s Millennium Project.

If you discount for a moment that the Iraq war is an unjust war (which it is), then you would think that those who planned it would at least foresee the aftermath. Some plan that would encompass re-building the infrastructure, employing people, taking care of basic needs, etc. would be your first step. This was a step that was forgotten or ignored and we are seeing the results now. Why do we keep making the same mistakes? Because we don't learn from the past and always think we are smarter than those who came before us.

"The true democrat is he who with purely nonviolent means defends his liberty and, therefore, his country's and ultimately that of the whole of mankind" -- Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Wrap-up

Not by any plan, I found myself listening to Paul Harvey on the radio the other day. Because of a rain-out the previous day, the D-backs and Cubs were playing a doubleheader. Between the games, the local affiliate of the D-backs put on Paul Harvey's sindicated program. Growing up in the midwest and having two parents that had liked Paul Harvey, I was well-acquainted with his program from my youth. Either through my not being politically active then or by Paul Harvey being different then, I was greatly surprised by how out-of-touch he is. I would feel better if it was just senility that taints his views. But a little research indicates that he has always been like this. From listening to his show for only 5 minutes (sad, I know ... kinda like watching a car crash scene), I learned the following:

- the economy is doing great
- patience in Iraq is important (comparing our fight there to the Cold War)
- Donald Rumsfeld is a great man and doing a stand up job
- global warming is not important because the government says it isn't

He caught his breath long enough to break for a commercial and to shill for Wal-Mart and a pharmaceutical company. It's scary how many millions of people listen to him. But then again, they listen to James Dobson and Sean Hannity also. It does not give you a lot of faith in the sanity or judgement of some of us.

GWB has documented some of Harvey's nuttier statements in the past: SO WHAT DO THESE GUYS HAVE IN COMMON?

I'm not sure which is weirder: the fact that I don't agree with a single thing that Paul Harvey says or that I agree with something that Pat Robertson says:

Heat makes Pat Robertson a global warming "convert"

So, I'm faced with the unenviable position of criticizing someone my parents considered iconic or being on the same side of an issue with someone that I consider to be one of the most unhinged public figures of the last 20 years. It's a weird world we live in.

That Robertson has come to this conclusion (of which I'm not completely convinced he will hold to) is not as surprising as you may think. A large percentage of evangelicals have been leaning this way for awhile:

The Greening of Evangelicals

Many see the stewardship of the Earth as a sacred responsibility. Unfortunately, too many others will ignore the issue because they cannot stomach being on the same side of any issue with left-leaning environmentalists. For a nice refutation of the evangelical global warming doubters, see Calling a Bluff.

That is the problem for both sides. On these issues that affect all of us, we need to get away from the politics as much as we can.

Then you have the following brain surgeons leading our country:

The current energy panel chairman, Texas Republican Joe Barton -- "I cannot imagine any objective finding that CO2 is a pollutant," he said. "If that's true, God is a polluter." -- Congress and global warming

God's a polluter alright. He polluted this Earth with the likes of Barton and Roy Blunt:
Today in Energy and Environment Daily (sub. req’d), House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) said that if he remains in power after the November elections, there will be no action on global warming for the entire 110th Congress:

Continued Republican House and Senate majorities would likely mean more of the same on climate. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said he would oppose global warming mandates if Republicans control the 110th Congress. “I think the information is not adequate yet for us to do anything meaningful,” he said.

Or that bastion of accuracy and open-mindedness, FOX News:

Summary: On Fox News' The Beltway Boys, Fred Barnes again denied the broad scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to global warming.


One of Mr. Harvey's heroes, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, was in the limelight this week. It's hard to decide whether he is just an incredible idiot or the most pompous ass ever. Donald Rumsfeld's performance at the Senate hearings on Iraq this week showed incredible gall. From Think Progress:

Testifying before the Senate today, Donald Rumsfeld told Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) that he has “never painted a rosy picture” about Iraq. Rumsfeld insisted that he has been “very measured” and told Clinton “you would have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I have been overly optimistic.”

Here’s just a few of the “overly optimistic” comments made by Rumsfeld (and no, we did not have a “dickens of a time” finding them):

Dec. 18, 2002: KING: What’s the current situation in Afghanistan? RUMSFELD: It is encouraging. They have elected a government through the Loya Jirga process. The Taliban are gone. The al Qaeda are gone.

Feb. 7, 2003: “It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”

Feb. 20 2003: “‘Do you expect the invasion, if it comes, to be welcomed by the majority of the civilian population of Iraq?’ Jim Lehrer asked the defense secretary on PBS’ The News Hour. ‘There is no question but that they would be welcomed,’ Rumsfeld replied, referring to American forces.”

Mar. 30, 2003: “It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”


And finally, a recent law in Arizona, House Bill 2583, requires that every room in every community college display an American flag:

Maricopa Community Colleges has to come up with as many as 1,220 American flags made in the United States to comply with a new state law by next July.

The cost would be $18,300 if early cost estimates of $15 are accurate, the district's spokeswoman, Nicole Greason, said.
... The Bill of Rights and the Constitution also must be posted alongside the flag in every classroom, according to House Bill 2583, recently passed by the Legislature.

With more than 280,000 students, 10 colleges and two skill centers, the district is one of the largest in the nation and makes up about half of the community college classrooms in the state ..."

If the goal is education, it would be an admirable goal. But from the history of our local legislature who feels it's an inalienable right to carry a concealed weapon whereever you want, one gets the feeling it's more about indoctrination. And from many of the legislators' stances on current issues, you could probably assume that they have never actually read the Constitution or Bill of Rights. If people really loved their country, they would fight for the rights that are inherent in those documents instead of making bullshit token gestures that look good on the frontpage of their local papers.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pug Bowling

I don't normally post links to videos (or pass ones on in e-mail) but I couldn't resist with this one because we have a pug:

Pug Bowling

The Spanish rendition of Hotel California is a nice added touch.