Thursday, March 30, 2006

Evidence Concerning the Existence of God

From, "Miracle Miner Heads Home to Miracle Road" (that's the name of the link on the homepage).

In other news...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Islam: Peaceful or Non-Peaceful

You've probably noticed that I'm often complaining about the fact that--even in the age of the information super-duper-highway--it's sometimes ridiculously hard to find a straight answer to fairly important and fairly straight-forward questions. This is often because so many of the experts in question have a dog in the fight and so can't be trusted to be sufficiently objective. So it's not a lack of information really, it's rather that filtering the information that's out there itself seems to require an expert.

So here's a question I'm really interested in: is Islam a peaceful or a violent religion?

That is, is the doctrine per se a doctrine that is intrinsically more peaceful than, say, the other Abrahamic faiths, intrinsically more violent than them, or about the same? As I've said here before, I mouthed the religion-of-peace mantra for several years before I realized that I didn't know what I was talking about. So now I'm going--in my copious spare time--to try to figure this out.

Reading suggestions will be very much appreciated.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rumsfeld: Iraqis Now Capable of Conducting War Without U.S. Assistance

Ah, The Onion. There's more truth in some of their parodies than in most of Rummy's press conferences. This one hits so close to home that it's actually a bit painful.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Tom DeLay, Russian Bribes, and How Not To Rally Behind the President In Wartime

Want to know why I'm not a Republican, and why at this rate I might just never vote Republican again? Well, check this out at Kleiman's digs: Tom DeLay as Proto-George Galloway. I guess I've made it clear that I'm far from wild about the Dems...but any party that would allow someone like Tom DeLay to rise to such a position of power is simply not going to get my vote except under the most bizarre of circumstances.

There's almost no way to concoct a more despicable character in American politics than Tom DeLay. If you put a character like this in a novel publishers would laugh you out of the house. Despicable, anti-democratic, authoritarian, avaricious...a flag-waving demagogue when the cameras are on, but--if these new charges are true--something very like a traitor in actual fact...

What's perhaps most bizarre about all this is that it's all so transparent. There are no real secrets here. The abject awfulness of Tom DeLay was apparent to anyone who was in any way willing to be even minimally honest about their political observations and reasonings. The Texas redistricting scheme revealed everything anyone ever needed to know about this man...but the Republicans not only tolerated it but promoted and defended it. None of these new revelations in any way diminishes DeLay in my eyes, since none of them tell me anything about the man's character that I didn't already know. These are irrelevant details in that respect. Republicans will eventually cut DeLay loose and defend themselves by arguing that they just didn't know how bad he was. That will either be a lie or it will be worse: it will show that they don't understand how nefarious DeLay's fully public sins really were.

The Republican party faces a crisis of almost unimaginable proportions. If they don't face this fact and face it soon they are lost.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Liberals and the Iraq War (I)

Folks who reside toward the right end of the political spectrum frequently assert that liberals have not whole-heartedly supported the war in Iraq. They also claim that this lack of support has harmed the war effort in various ways--demoralized our troops, given aid, comfort, and hope to our enemies, and so forth. Most liberals deny these charges.

My own guess--rather more than a guess, actually, but not much more--is that conservatives are right about the first claim. Liberals have not whole-heartedly supported the war. I believe that I have supported it more than most liberals I know, and I have certainly not supported it whole-heartedly. Rather, I've been torn virtually every step of the way. I do not want America to lose, and I do not want our troops (nor innocent Iraqis) to die. But I have to admit, I can never muster a degree of support that could reasonably be called "whole-hearted." I hope that it goes without saying that if I had two magical switches in front of me, EASY VICTORY and DEFEAT, I'd flip the former in a heartbeat. Nevertheless--and this isn't easy for me to admit--there's part of me that would have been a bit angry had we actually achieved the easy victory we were promised.

My guess is that many liberal bloggers feel the same. Many of them seem inclined to accept bad news from Iraq more readily than good news, to strain to qualify or spin good news downward, to focus more on the failings of the Bush administration than on Saddam's brutality, and to have decided long ago that withdrawal is the only option, despite the fact that experts are clearly divided on the issue. There are other explanations for these phenomena--for example, they may to some extent represent an effort to counter-act the administration's relentless propaganda. But my suspicion is that a failure to fully and enthusiastically support the war is at least part of the true explanation.

Some conservatives have argued--reasonably--that despite any anger or regrets about how we got into Iraq, the rational thing for liberals to do would be to bygones be bygone and focus on making the best of a bad situation. Liberals have had no very good response to this argument that I know of. Sometimes they suggest that bitterness about the run-up to the war has not, in fact, colored their thinking about how to conduct it, but such claims are only marginally plausible to my ear.

Since failure in Iraq now seems to me to be approximately as likely as success, it seems likely to me that we will spend much time in the future analyzing and explaining the failure. Conservatives have already begun looking for scapegoats--to explain failure if that comes to pass, and to explain the difficulty of the victory otherwise--and liberals and the "liberal" media are, unsurprisingly, at the top of their list. Many liberals will defend themselves by denying that their support for the war was half-hearted. I could not honestly employ that defense. And I'm not sure how many of my fellow liberals can honestly do so, either.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Just For the Record: I Don't Get It

So, um, apparently I'm an evil person on account of believing that people who come into this country should do so legally. It seems really weird to me that this is somehow supposed to be reactionary or something.
"The Biggest Corruption Scandal In History"???
Or: Why Does Andrew Natsios Hate America So Much?

If you're like me, every now and then you'll start patting your pockets distractedly, thinking where the heck did I put that $250 million [er...that's BILLION, of course. Thanks, Rilkefan]? I mean, I know that we spent a lot of it killing people--some of whom deserved killing, and some of whom didn't--but what about the rest of it? What did the CPA do with all that cash? As far as I can tell from my extensive observations of the television from my couch, all that shit in Iraq is still broken. So where'd the money go?

Well, via Kevin Drum (here's his synopsis), we're directed to this Newsweek story about Andrew Natsios, development expert at USAID and life-long Republican, who explains what a cluster-fornication CPA rebuilding efforts were. This all might end up being--according to Transparency International (quoted by Drum)--"the biggest corruption scandal in history."

The suggestion is that what Republicans really fear from a Democratic takeover in Congress is not impeachment--but, rather, an actual investigation into the Iraq contracting debacle.
Dissent Crushed in Belarus

Shit. Lukashenko sent in the troops.

God-damned Soviet dead-ender SOB.

(via Instapundit)
Some Islamic Insanity

Many American liberals--myself included--tend to be harder on Christianity than we are on Islam, whereas it is Islam that actually seems to deserve criticism more. Case in point: death sentences for apostasy.

As I've said before, I used to parrot the "Islam is a religion of peace" mantra...but, well, let's just say that I don't do that anymore. In the past we've discussed the difficulties involved in making judgments like this. It's unclear whether we're to judge solely on the basis of the content of the doctrine (about which I know very little), on the basis of the actions of the adherents (which, let's face it, in the case of Islam is currently non-stellar), or on the basis of both.

But there's one thing everyone but the loopiest cultural moral relativist must admit: slaughtering apostates counts against any doctrine in a profound way.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Dangerously Incompetent"

Wow, the Dems have actually managed to hit on a phrase to describe Bush that's both accurate and kinda know, in a dry, wonky kind of way.

The Republicans are just better at and more dedicated to this kind of rhetorical maneuvering, so it's good to see the Democrats finally putting a little thought into it.

I kinda prefer "all hat, no cattle," or "born on third base and thinks he hit a triple"...but "dangerously incompetent" will do just fine.
It Does Not Matter Whether Or Not There Were WMDs In Iraq

In what passes for our public political discourse, every issue gets reduced to preposterously simplistic sound bites. It is clear that in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration deceived us about the strength of the evidence concerning WMDs. The debate about that point is over: it is clear that we were deceived.

Now, I--like many people--believed that there were chemical (and possibly biological) weapons in Iraq before the war started. I objected to the administration's rhetorical tactics not because I thought that their conclusion was wrong, but, rather, because it was so obvious that they were lying about the strength and clarity of the evidence. I also objected to the fact that they vilified those with the temerity to object to their deception.

Since there apparently were no WMDs in Iraq--and since it is an invariable law of American political discourse that even the most easily-understood details must not be allowed to complicate our public discussions--people have come to speak as if the absence of WMDs in Iraq is what proves the dishonesty of the administration. That is false. It is the administration's distortion of the evidence that proves their dishonesty. Even if there had been WMDs in Iraq, this would not have made the administration honest. It would have made them lucky. If I trick you into believing that there's gold in them thar hills by, say, fabricating or distorting geological data, then I am a liar--even if, by sheer luck, you do find gold there.

Now, I've said all this many times, and you may think that I'm just being pedantic. But I'm not. It's important to make our claims accurate primarily because, well, accuracy is important. But even those who can't be bothered to worry about such niceties on principle might be convinced on pragmatic grounds. Say after reading this.

Now, I don't know Sada from Adam...and neither does Professor Reynolds. The difference between professor Reynolds and myself, however, is that I'm not desperate to believe one side or the other here, I just want to know the facts. Insty is obviously eager--as are so many of his readers--to believe Sada. (He suggests that Sada is credible on account of his being on The Daily Show, a desperate lunge if ever there was one.) Me, I don't much care.

As I've made clear, before the war I did believe that Saddam had chemical weapons, so it would come as no real shock or surprise to me if he did. Now, however, if I had to bet money on it, I'd bet that Sada is full of it. But I don't have a dog in this fight. Even politically, it just doesn't matter to me, since I've never thought that the actually presence or absence of WMDs was relevant to questions about the dishonesty of the administration.

But--American political discourse being as it is--if it were to turn out that Sada is telling the truth, the administration's deceptions would probably be forgiven and forgotten by most people. Though I think this unlikely, it might be avoided if we are very precise in formulating our claims against the administration--that is, if we make it clear that we should object to their use of evidence, not to the fact that their conclusion was false.

There's a similarity between the intelligence dispute and the dispute about the election of 2000. It's too tempting and too common to simplify in the latter case as well. Specifically, it's hard to resist the urge to claim that Bush stole the election. But that isn't clear since the outcome is so close that it depends upon which criteria for counting the ballots we use. Actually, there may be no fact of the matter. The crime of Bush & co. during the recount debacle of 200 was not that the stole the election; rather it was that they tried to steal the election. It may have already been theirs, or it may have been nobody's. What we should object to, however, is that they tried to seize it before they knew whose is was. Such an act may or may not constitute theft, but it is the moral equivalent of it. Even if subsequent counting of the votes had shown Bush a clear winner it would not have exonerated him.

Both these cases show that accuracy is important in these matters.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dole on CNN

(Note quotes below)
[That's supposed to say 'NOT quotes below'; i.e. it's just the gist.]

Blitzer reads a statement by Ted Kennedy saying that Bush is "dangerously incompetent" (the Dems' new mantra...a pretty accurate and rhetorically potent one, IMHO) and pointing out that more than 2,000 Americans have died in the war.

Dole: Well, what he forgets why we're there because over 3,000 Americans died on 9/11

Blitzer: What a minute, everybody agrees that there was no Iraq-9/11 link

Dole: (stares blankly for a second, apparently realizing that he's just inattentively said something stupid) Well, I don't know that everybody agrees...(obviously just trying to change the subject)...but anyway I'm a skeptic...I still think we'll find WMDs in Iraq...traces that show that he moved them.

Blitzer: But I just want to be clear on this: you don't think that Saddam was involved in 9/11.

Dole: (Regaining his senses) No.

This kind of thing will keep the Saddam-9/11 myth alive--people caught in a rhetorical bind, flailing about for something to say... To Dole's credit he backed out of it. But Blitzer had to call him on it twice before he did.
Physics Question

I can't believe I didn't think of this question myself, dammit. But I just saw this elsewhere and didn't buy the response:

So: as we all know it's supposed to be true that if A leaves in a spaceship that travels near the speed of light and B stays on Earth, A will be younger than B upon his return. But wait: how can the laws of physics tell the difference between A and B? They are travelling at the same speed relative to each other, right? And there's no privileged third frame of reference, right? So WTF?

Rilkefan? Little help?
What's Wrong With The President?

No, this isn't a trick question. I was standing in the parts department of the Honda dealership yesterday, waiting for an over-priced part that I could only get there, and watching the tv they had going. As I stood there watching Mr. Bush switch back and forth between (a) lame attempts to be jokey with reporters and (b) weird flashes of anger, I started thinking "there seems to be something wrong with this man." In fact, I found that by the time the press conference was over, I was fairly alarmed. More alarmed than I was before, that is, about the fact that this is the most powerful man in the world.

Um, anybody else get this? Did he seem a Or was I hallucinating this?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Homeland Security Can Freeze Large Credit Card Bill Payments

Check this out. Turns out that if you make an unusually large payment on your credit card bill, Homeland Security must be contacted, and they can hold the payment up. In case, you know, you're paying off your credit card bill in order to help international terrorists.

This is of particular interest to me since I just made a larger-than-normal payment this month to pay off the large balance I accumulated at Christmas.

Maybe FBI snipers should just start taking out everybody who uses a credit card. You know, just in case.

[HT: Statisticasaurus Rex]

Monday, March 20, 2006

Carnival of the Conspiracies: 9/11

Here's the zaniest collection of conspiracies since Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

(Incidentally, I read a good bit of HBHG years ago at the urging of my conspiracy-theory afficienado friends Peter and Ann. What a hoot. HBHG is way, way more fun than the super-suckful DaVinci Code, which I got stuck reading on vacation once. Incidentally, when I read DVC, I thought "this is a rip-off of Holy Blood, Holy Grail." I think it's a riot that the authors of HBHG tried to foist that crap off as fact, and that (somehow) prevented them from making much money. And, since they said it was factual, I don't see any way for them to object that Brown stole their story for his book, which he at least admitted was fiction. Maybe they could argue that HBHG is such obvious BS that nobody could possibly take it for non-fiction.)

Personally, I think that 9/11 was a mass human sacrifice perpetrated by the Illuminati in order to raise the Great Old Ones.

Pass it on.

[via Metafilter]

[Incidentally, you'll note that there some not at all crazy stuff in there, too. E.g. the stuff in section 6.]
Empirical Evidence re: Conservative Crybabies
For Psychology, That Ain't Half Dumb

I guess I don't have to tell you that the conclusions of psychological research generally have to be taken with a hefty dose of salt. (Wittgenstein: "In psychology there are empirical methods and conceptual confusions.") But this one sure does explain a lot. These findings purport to show that whiney kids tend to grow up to be conservative. I'd dismiss it out of hand except that the study wasn't done with any eye on political affiliation at all, it's just something that turned up later.

This kind of evidence has to be treated very carefully. So long is we're just having fun with it, or using it as a springboard for future research, that's fine. We just can't take it too terribly seriously.

Though, of course, if the whiney kids had turned into liberals we'd never have heard the end of it...

(via Atrios)

Good News from Iraq via Instapundit

Iraq is not as bad as Vietnam! Heh! Indeed! Heh indeed!

This from the people who brought you:

The Contras are not as bad as the Soviets
Pinochet is not as bad as the Soviets
The Shah is not as bad as the Soviets
Abu Graib is not as bad as Saddam's prisons
and, of course:
We are not as bad as the terrorists

File under: damning with faint praise.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Carolina's Out


I really love these Tar Heels. They've got a really fantastic spirit and great chemistry. A bunch of excellent guys. It was a real joy getting to watch 'em play this year. It was a privilege. It was especially fun given that everyone predicted that we'd be terrible this year after losing 97.5% of our scoring last year. The whole ACC was said to be gearing up to give us the ass-whuppin' they all seem to think we've earned over the last 40 years or so... (As if they didn't get enough payback during the Dougherty years...) But it was not to be. So it was a really great, fun, surprising, rewarding year.

Needless to say, none of us expected them to win it all (though you can never completely rule Carolina out...), but the smart money was on them making it at least to the Sweet Sixteen. I wish they'd at least have gone out on a high note by playing a good game, but that's the thing, of course, with a young team: inconsistency. Their last three games have been decidedly uneven and fairly lackluster. So that was kind of disappointing--we really wanted to see them come together and put out one of those stellar games they played toward the end of the season. Unfortunately they don't seem to do well against rough teams like BC and GMU that bump and grind and slap and hand-check a lot. Needless to say, I do wish the refs had called this one just a bit closer, but it was within specs and that's the way it goes. Carolina did themselves in by coming out and throwing the ball away six times in a row on their first six posessions of the second half, giving up the lead more-or-less for good. Very, very ugly, exactly the kind of thing you get from such a young team--especially a team without an experienced, effective point guard. They never recovered from that. Too bad, also, given that Wichita State beat Tennessee, opening up an even easier road to the final eight than we already had. Ah, well. That, as they say, is why they play the games.

But Mason did what they had to do, they didn't get intimidated, didn't give up (even when down 16-2), didn't back down, and somehow forced us to play their game. They shot an astounding field-goal percentage in the second half, neutralizing Carolina's fast break, and basically triple-teamed Hansbrough every time he touched the ball.

So, anyway, big congrats to GMU.

Man, I sure hate it that I won't get to see this team play anymore, and I'm especially going to hate to see David Noel--one of my favorite UNC players of all time--go. What a great story. Had scholarship offers from lots of other schools, but wanted to play for Carolina, so he came in as a walk-on, but eventually earned a scholarship for himself, and became the team captain this year . We've got an astounding recruiting class coming in next year--#1 in the country--and that'll be nice. Nice, but not the same. These guys just had amazing heart.

Ah, well. At least it means that I can start getting some work done again instead of watching basketball all the time.

Um, how long 'til November?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

In Case You Had Any Lingering Hopes That America Was Sane... this. It'll crush those foolish fantasies.

It's about the DEA's efforts to bust a peaceful pro-marijuana activist and pot seed vendor from Canada named Marc Emery. The most chilling quote:

"Emery is 'one of the attorney general's most wanted international drug trafficking targets,' the DEA in Washington crowed on July 29, 2005, announcing an extradition request for Emery and two employees. Emery's bust, the DEA said, was 'a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade but also to the marijuana legalization movement.'"

Think about that: the DEA is now not only harrassing and trying to imprison (morally) innocent marijuana users...but they are trying to destroy the marijuna legalization movement. This absolutely cannot be legal, can it????

Um, and this peaceful stoner is "one of the attorney general's most wanted international drug trafficking targets"???? I guess it's easier to snag guys like this, who are armed only with bongs and Oreos, than it is to nab Columbian drug lords.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Things You Need To Know
For the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse

No doubt you've wondered about zombie deterioration rates, but you probably never got around to learning anything about the matter. "When am I ever gonna use algebra or history or zombology?" you probably asked in that pimply, insolent tone of yours back in high school as you passed a reefer back to your good bud Todd or Dwayne or Skeeter. Well, lucky for you that the good folks at Metafilter have formulated and evaluated some important zombological hypotheses so you don't have to, you slack-ass stoner. You make me sick.

I do have some thoughts of my own to add, and I'm sure you'll be fascinated by them:

1. Move North. If there's one safe bet about zombies, it's that they ain't endotherms. When winter comes, they probably just freeze up like slimy, icky popsickles. 'Course they probably just thaw out again in the Spring, but at least you've got the winter to go around finding them and killing them at your leisure. You could, no doubt, train dogs to to sniff 'em out.

1'. In the summer, move to Missouri, where the 95-100 degree temperatures and eleven gazillion percent humidity will cause the zombies to rot and cause the foetid flesh to slough off their bones into disgusting little pools of crap.

2. Contrary to what dr. stein says in the comments, forget about the Ruger 10/22 and the Ruger mini 14. You probably can't hit the broad side of a barn with a bass fiddle, and you especially can't do it while shrieking like a girl and crying for your mommy while the ooey gooey animated corpse-thing that used to be your neighbor is trying to eat your face off. What you want for a zombie attack is a shotgun. Then you don't have to worry about details like aiming. Everybody always immediately thinks "12 guage," but a nice little 20 guage will probably do the trick just fine, and you'll be glad for the lighter recoil as you're blasting your fiftieth zombie of the day. I recommend 3 or 4 buck.

O.k., now don't say I never have anything useful on this site.

Um, can anybody explain to me what professor Reynolds is 'heh'ing about here?

I mean I had a guess, but then I looked at the dates, so that can't be it.

So, er, what is it?
Conservative Prophesies Come True

Well, first their predictions of class-action suits against fast-food chains came it looks like predictions of nutty anti-smoking bans are also turning out to be accurate.

Wonder how long before some town in CA makes it illegal to smoke in your own backyard...or illegal to, say, not be enrolled in a yoga class.
Lawrence Wilkerson on CNN

Lawrence Wilkerson--who obviously hates America a great deal--is on CNN right now. He says:

* Colin Powell and the State Department had little to do with the planning for Iraq. The administration elected to put the Pentagon in the drivers' seat. Defense only contacted the State Department to demand

* The decision to invade was a strategic mistake. The #1 winner in the Middle East has been Iran.
Its biggest enemy, Iraq, has been eliminated without firing a shot, and it basically owns southern Iraq.

* Eliminating Saddam was a plus, but the way he was eliminated made the U.S. and Israel less safe.

* Having been involved and having spent the time since doing academic research on the question, there is "no question in [his] mind..." that certain members of the administration distorted/cherry-picked the evidence about Iraq. Specifically: Feith, Cheney (who continues to assert a link between Saddam and 9/11). I think he said Rumsfeld didn't so much.

* Powell tried to filter out the bad "evidence" before his UN presentation. We "threw out the packet that the White House had given us" almost immediately. There was still bad information in it.
Operation Overblown?

That's what Chris Albritton at Back to Iraq 3.0 thinks about "Operation Swarmer."

I was hesitant to believe this, but he does cite some rather suspicious facts.

I'm hesitate to believe it in part out of fear of following in the footsteps of Republicans in '98 who falsely accused Clinton of "wagging the dog" by attacking al Qaeda. If they had been rather more rational and less rabidly anti-Clinton, it might have been feasible to use more force and, just possibly, 9/11 might not have happened. As it is one still hears people say that Clinton "bombed an aspirin factory."

But, sadly, Bush is not Clinton.

Incidentally I don't remember the Republicans apologizing to Clinton after 9/11.

Probably just an oversight...
Saddam and al Qaeda: The Missing Link
Or: Here We Go Again

There is, as you know, a group of people who continue to hold out fervent hope that we will some day discover the missing link, evidence that Saddam as secretly involved in 9/11. Given that our best evidence before the invasion indicated no such link, the discovery of evidence of a Saddam-9/11 link at this point would, of course, not justify the invasion. It would, however, give those who have kept the Saddam-9/11 myth alive some new rhetorical ammunition with which to baffle the unwary, the ill-informed and the dim-witted.

As you probably know, the Bushosphere is abuzz (note: Powerline: not an actual news source) over this, which they trumpet as proof of a Saddam-al Qaeda link. I want to keep an open mind on this matter, but this is about the flimsiest evidence yet. The Iraqi intelligence service produced a document claiming that an unidentified (or semi-identified) Afghan informant told them that Afghani Consul Ahmed Dahastani claim in his presence that... Whew. About the only way to make the output of this little game of telephone less reliable would be to get Peggy Noonan in the loop somehow. Could be true, but no sane person would bet the farm...or his lunch money, for that matter...on it.

So, we've already got reason to doubt most of this, and we've got virtually conclusive evidence against some of it--as NTodd points out, one of the claims is "that the U.S. has proof the Iraqi government and 'bin Laden's group' agreed to cooperate to attack targets inside America." Now, we know that isn't true, since the administration has never said it, and they undoubtedly would have if they'd have had such "proof." Since they threw everything but the kitchen sink at us in an attempt to prove that invading Iraq was necessary, even making much of it up, they clearly would have told us this if they had actually known that Iraq was planning to attack us. Rice even at one point said that the administration had no additional evidence too secret to make public; they had, she said, given us everything they had. Not that there would be any reason to keep this evidence secret...

It's virtually futile to discuss this with the Bush dead-enders, though. It's becoming more and more like trying to discuss evolution with creationists--they don't care about the facts, nor about the weight of evidence, nor about intellectual honesty. They just care about assembling a case that provides a rhetorical smokescreen to "support" a belief that is dear to their heart, and which they have no intention of ever giving up, no matter what.

I suppose it's too obvious to note that the date of this document is 9/15/01 anyway. So even if one were so epistemically rash as to accept this stray document as evidence of an operational relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda, it could still not constitute the missing link, evidence of Iraqi involvement in 9/11.

Unless Saddam was, perhaps, developing a time machine along with that nuclear bomb of his...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pre-emption vs. Prevention

So today the Bush administration released a new national security report. Many discussions of the report--and, apparently, the report itself--contain the same confusion we spent a lot of time discussing around these parts before the invasion of Iraq.

Now hear this: everyone recognizes that pre-emptive strikes are justified. It is explicitly permitted according to all the versions of Just War Theory with which I'm familiar. A pre-emptive strike is a strike that country A makes against country B in order to prevent an imminent attack by B against A. The principle is the same as the following common-sense moral principle: if I see you hauling back to punch me, I am entitled to punch you first in order to stop the attack.

But it is not pre-emption that is at issue, and our attack against Iraq was not a pre-emptive one. What is at issue is preventive attacks, preventive war. A preventive war is a war instigated in order to eliminate a non-imminent threat. Pre-emptive attacks are attacks that aim to thwart attacks that are very likely to happen very soon. Preventive attacks are attacks that aim to thwart attacks that might happen some time or other in the future. To use an analogy concerning individuals again: I attack you preventively if I punch you because I suspect that you might possibly decide to take a swing at me some day.

To summarize: Pre-emptive attacks are obviously justified. Preventive attacks probably are not. Our attack against Iraq was preventive attack at best. Bush's doctrine does not assert that pre-emptive attacks are justified, because everyone already acknowledges that. Bush's doctrine asserts that preventive attacks are justified--if we are the attacker, that is. This is probably false.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sphericality, Sphereology, Sphere-icity...

What sphere do I belong to?

I'd say the craposphere, just like almost everybody else.

Wonkosphere? Wankosphere more like it...

Not that 'wonkosphere' doesn't have a nice ring to it. But I like accuracy, too.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Analytic Philosophy Gets Dumber

Well this is just great. I just came across this, so I'm not going to say much about it right now. But any semi-competent grad student in philosophy should be able to explain what's wrong with this IF they're really doing what it sounds like they're doing.

Extra special bad news: UNC seems to have hired one of these guys. Sigh. Don't get me started.
Hilary Rosen and Ed Rogers on Hardball

Rogers is a slimy one. Aside from monopolizing the "conversation," he basically just uses the following strategy: he says things that entail that we're winning in Iraq. Rosen challenges that. Then he say, in a shocked voice "oh, so you think we're losing in Iraq, eh? That means you're a defeatist."

To review: if we're losing a war and the president lies to us and says that we're winning, then if you point out that he's lying, then you are a defeatist.

Got that?

As I've made clear here, I've had a rather more optimistic view about how things were going over there than many liberals--until recently. I'm certainly no defeatist about Iraq. But this strategy is slimy beyond belief. If the American people allow it to work, they'll basically set things up so that it's never permissible to point out that a war is going badly. This is like putting blinders on when you go into a war--insulating yourself from crucial information that would allow you to make needed course corrections. Brilliant.

Rogers did have one good point, but it doesn't exactly take a genius to glom onto this one: if the Democrats run Hilary Clinton they're screwed.
Feingold: Crazy?

Well, so sayeth Senator Frist.

You'll note that the Republicans are pulling out their usual weapons here. Their opponents are crazy. Their opponents are playing politics. Their opponents are giving aid and comfort to our enemies.

Feingold's resolution is certainly not crazy, expecially in light of Republican resolve to prevent a real investigation of unwarranted wiretaps. It's certainly not politically motivated, because (a) that's not how Feingold operates and (b) this move will probably be politically unpopular. This move is not giving aid and comfort to our enemies, because BITE ME YOU F*#$ing FASCISTS. I am so, so very sick of Republicans responding to every bit of reasonable criticism of this demostrably unprincipled and incompetent president by playing the patriotism card. Apparently ANY criticism of the president gives aid and comfort to our enemies...except, of course, criticism of him for being insufficiently conservative. That's o.k.. You know what I think is giving aid and comfort to our enemies? Not killing them at Tora Bora, that's what. Pointing out that Bush didn't get them when he had a chance, on the other hand: not giving aid and comfort. Pointing out that he is acting like a king rather than a president: also not giving aid and comfort.

I cannot see myself voting for another Republican for a very, very long time. (Johnny Quest has, incidentally, made it clear that if I vote for McCain in 2008 there will be hell to pay. She used to like him, but somehow that's changed since he became a Bush lapdog.) This is about half because of the way Republicans have run the country into the ground since the virtually siezed power in 2000 and about half because of the way they deal with criticism. These people are despicable. By God do you know what a miserable pack of liars, crooks and authoritarians it takes to make the Democrats look good????? The Democrats!!!! There are people who have advocated Bush's policies with whom I can have intelligent discussions. Those people I'm basically o.k. with. The people who I want to see hit by a meteor are the ones who question our sanity and patriotism for pointing out what is demostrably obvious to everyone with eyes to see--that the chimperor has no clothes.

O.k. That's it. I have nothing to say, really. I'm basically just yelling at the t.v.

Monday, March 13, 2006

WMD, IED, Whatever...
[Iran, Iraq, whatever: edited]

So now Bush says that that our intelligence says that Iran is making IEDs that are being used against us in Iraq. Now, this of course sounds plausible...but, then, it sounded plausible that Saddam had WMDs. This time I think we should demand, you know, evidence. Call me a member of the reality-based community... The time for trusting Bush is, of course, long past.

Also: if this is true, then we're f*cked, right? I mean we can't attack Iran, too...but we can't not attack Iran either. Right?

See, this is one of the many reasons I try to avoid doing stupid things. Even if you manage to survive the stupid act itself, you end up in a bad position. And then all it takes is a bit of mischief or bad luck or another mistake to put you in a terrible position.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Let's Go D... Ahem. Let's Go De.... O.k., I Can Do This...

Let's Go Devils!

Whew. Haven't had to say that since '90 when Dook played the despicable UNLV for the championship... Dook's just annoying...BC are, well, let's face it, kinda thuggish. I know, they came out of the Big East and they haven't had time to become civilzed yet, so maybe we should cut 'em some slack. On the other hand, I haven't forgotten the '94 NCAA tournament when they basically threw elbows the whole game and finally won it after the evil @#*& Danya Abrams intentionally fouled Derrick Phelps, sending him out of the game with a concussion. (Incidentally, he wasn't even called for the intentional foul.)

It was bad enough that Carolina went to sleep yesterday and let the game get away...but for BC to come down and win the ACC tournament in their first year...shudder...too awful to contemplate.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Slobodan Milosevic: Dead

CNN just announced it. Good goddamn riddence. I had been rooting for a painful, lingering illness, but, heck, I'll take just dead.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Battlestar Galactica--Not Firefly--Contains a Republican Message [spoiler alert]

After Serenity came out, there was a lot of talk on right-wing blogs about how Firefly had a conservative/libertarian message. They were probably--though not definitely--wrong about that. But Republican themes--harkening back to the election of 2000--have just turned up in Battlestar Galactica. Laura Roslin has just won an election as a result of ballot shenanigans.

On the other hand, Roslin's the good guy.

So that's different.

Though maybe now she'll order an attack on Stargate: Atlantis to retaliate for the Cylon attack on the colonies...
Anne Coulter: Evil or Insane?

I just got done watching Anne Coulter on Fox News. This, as you might expect, is not something I do very often, so I haven't seen her in a long time.

My verdict: she really does seem to be kind of insane. (Note: not a an actual medical diagnosis. I'm not being Fristian here.)

I don't have a transcript in front of me, but the following are very, very close to exact quotes:

9/11 showed us that containment (of Saddam) was not working
(Um, Earth to Anne: Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.)

Iran could "put a missile in Hugo Chaves's country" and threaten us from there

Thank God there's a Republican in office during this crisis with Iran

At least we'll be able to fly over friendly airspace (Iraq) when we attack Iran.

(John Gibson asks: Isn't there any non-military option in Iran? Coulter laughs a little maniacally and then says:) if there is I'd like to hear it.

The recent cartoon controversy showed us that we can't allow a lunatic to remain in power

It's a little hard to tell whether shes:

(a) Insane
(b) Radically epistemically incontinent
(c) Brimming over with hate
(d) Playing a part in order to pump up her stock with the radical right (and, hence, pump up her income)
(e) All of the above

So it's hard to tell whether she's a very bad person or merely a nut. But it's fairly clear that she's one or the other or some mish-mash of the two.

Footnote: Fox is just now showing a Republican convention-type-thing in Texas. It's interesting to note that they are still selling and wearing "Bush won: get over it" tee-shirts, seemingly indicating that they realize that Bush didn't clearly win (in 2000), else they wouldn't feel the need to keep frantically insisting that he did. Interestingly, though, they just talked to one Republican there who claims that the Bush administration is the worst one in his entire life. So reality may be seeping in on even some of these folks.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Is Iraq Showing Signs of Civil War?: Albritton on Peters

This from Back to Iraq 3.0 is worth a read, especially if you, like me, wondered how much truth might be in Ralph Peters's recent piece.

I'm not familiar with Peters, but his piece was extremely sloppy, so I gave it a low credibility rating (note his completely unsupported dismissal of the claim about 1,300 dead). Still, there seem to be enough Peters-like accounts coming out of Iraq to make me think that we've got one of those blind-men-groping-an-elephant cases. It seems like there are better areas and worse areas, and each area has better days and worse days. Even journalists who are actually on the ground are seeing only a small piece of the puzzle. The real question is: what are the overall patterns and trends like? I think everyone has to admit that it doesn't look good, though I'm disinclined to think that disaster (er, greater disaster, that is) is inevitable.
Tricking the Troops: The Moral Consequences of the Administration's Saddam-9/11 Lies

According to a blurb in a hardcopy of Newsweek (can't find it online, though), EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT (85%!!!!!) of American military personell in Iraq say they are there in order to defend America in response to the 9/11 attacks.

We usually think that the administration is morally bankrupt because it lied to us about the Saddam-9/11 link...but we should remember that they've also done something far, far worse: they tricked us into sending people to Iraq, but they also tricked people into going to Iraq.

There are people--many of them kids, many of them very idealistic, many of them intent on doing what's right--who are over there fighting and dying for a lie. We can talk all day about whether there might be good consequences (e.g. the promotion of democracy) unrelated to our real reasons for being there, but the hard fact of the matter is that the people doing the killing and the dying for us are there because they were lied to--and, perhaps, because we didn't put our collective foot down about it.

Every now and then I feel like I have what you might call an out-of-party experience, in which my partisan commitments and suchlike seem to fall away, and I feel like I'm able to think about what's going on with great clarity. You might think that I'd find myself looking at things from an even more centrist position, a position from which things seem less clear, and from which this administration seems less terrible. But it isn't so. At these times it seems that the real awfulness of this administration comes into even clearer focus. Away from all the hype and rhetoric and gotcha politics, these guys seem even more despicable than most of us seem to realize. A group of crooks and liars and idiots and idealogues that could not deserve the American presidency less.

If that 85% figure doesn't make you want to scream and break things and weep, then we probably have very different ideas about what the great American experiment is intended to accomplish.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Church Arsonists Caught

So sayeth

Wonder whether they'll turn out to be radical atheists or something? (Oh, man...if so, we are in for some amazing pronouncements by the Christian right.)

Criminal Interpretive Negligence

Right here.

You don't need me to explain it to you.

I'm fascinated by the attempts by Atrios and several others on the left to make Matthews into a raving righty. Even a casual acquaintence with Hardball reveals that to be false.
The UNC Attack: Wingers and the Loony Left in the Aftermath

Well, that title is probably a bit too inflamatory, given that it's tough to tell what's going on down there. The DTH reveals that Taheri-azar planned the attack for two months, and carried pepper spray and a knife with him.

According to this report from the LA Times, there has been political bickering between the left and the right in the aftermath of the attack. If I had to reconstruct what happend from the scanty evidence available, here's what I'd guess:

The Republicans went to the Pit, handed out flags, and, I'd guess, said a bunch of things that pushed in the direction of their general line. They say they were just handing out flags and urging unity, but we all know that that's ambiguous. The flag has, sadly, become a symbol of nationalism and conservatism--it shouldn't be that way, but that's a fact. And appeals for unity from Republicans these days are thinly-veiled appeals to support Bush as often as not.

These guys might have really been doing something non-partisan and completely innocent, of course. I put the odds of that at about 2 in 5, the odds of them doing something fairly blatantly partisan at about 1 in 5, and the odds of them doing something obviously ambiguous at about 2 in 5. This unclear-but-possibly conservative message drew out the campus loony left, which is way present but usually mostly under control at Carolina. My guess is that most of the folks standing around were just listening and trying to figure out (a) what was going on and (b) who was right.

According to the story, the lefties objected to the use of the term 'terrorism.' This objection is, of course, idiotic--but such idiocy is par for the course for campus (far) lefties. Spend any time on a major university campus and you have to get used to the lefties making objections that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. That's what makes them so infuriating. There's nothing like aggressive incoherence to piss one off.

According to the Times:

Mann's group was met at lunchtime by a boisterous, impromptu group of counter-demonstrators who argued that the rally wasn't helping to heal wounds. Especially insensitive, they said, was the insistence on calling the incident terrorism.

"This isn't community building!" a man shouted.

Jonathan Pourzal, an Iranian American, said: "You're strengthening the prejudices people have against Muslim people."

Sara Aghajanian added: "I am an Iranian American, and [the suspect] does not represent me at all, OK?"

Mann, surrounded by about 100 people and a number of news cameras, stood his ground firmly and politely. But in the end, he seemed exasperated:"OK," he said to the opposing group. "If we don't call it terrorism, what do we call it?"

Such sparring over the semantics of identity politics has long been a staple of life on U.S. college campuses, including UNC-Chapel Hill, one of the nation's top public universities.

Yup, those are the lefties I remember. Egad. It's like a flashback. My favorite part? "This isn't community-building!" That's the kind of bullshit one encounters from the campus left. One could go on and on about what an idiot it would take to make a comment like that under these conditions, but I'll limit myself to a couple of quick comments:

(A) Community-building is not the only good. Just because you're not accomplishing one particular good at one particular time doesn't mean you're doing something wrong. Telling the truth, for example, is at least as important as "community-building."

(B) 'Terrorism' is a perfectly reasonable description of what happened.

(C) So running people down with an SUV is community-building?

(D) Does "community-building" require that we refuse to accurately describe crimes?''

(E) Bite me.

My God...think about that first criticism: "this isn't helping to heal wounds!" Jesus H. if this was--or should have been--the point! That criticism is so deeply stupid that I can't even write about it without throwing stuff across the room... When women point out that they have endured oppression for all of human history should we respond "that's not going to heal wounds!" Oh, the stupidity...

Sorry...flashbacks to graduate school...must calm down...

Some of you may not be familiar with the tone of vicious self-righteousness with which such claims are almost invariably you're probably missing an important component here.

But, look, you can't reason with campus lefties. Most folks who frequent this blog know that I'm way more liberal than conservative...but take it from me: the most unreasonable people I've ever met bar none have been campus lefties. Jeez, they're even a little worse than fairly serious christian fundamentalists. They're not liberals--they're no closer to me on the political spectrum than is, say, Rick Santorum. They're largely illiberal, irrational, intellectually dishonest ideologues who read a little Foulcault somewhere and like to play the radical.

And, incidentally, they're responsible for making conservatives out of a large number of college students who'd otherwise end up liberal.

Anyway, I should probably note that these folks are an aberration at Carolina which is, in fact, surprisingly reasonable for a major research university. I'd guess that most student there know what's what with regard to this incident.

Also anyway, it's good to see everybody, er, coming together in Chapel Hill's first real act of terrorism since those toothless mutants in the Klan marched through back in the late '80's.
Another Entry for the American Winglish Dictionary: Checks and Balances

The NYT reports today--though not in so many words--that Senate Republicans have decided that the President has the power to do whatever he wants. In particular, if he wants to run a warrantless domestic spying operation, there's no need for an investigation into its legality. Just like there was no need for a 9/11 commission, there's no need for an investigation into the administration's misuse of pre-war intelligence, and there's no need for an investigation into Katrina mismanagement. We can have an investigation into the Dubai ports deal if we want, but King George XLIII hath decreed that the deal will go forward regardless of its outcome.

Which brings us to:

Checks and Balances \ n. \ * The American constitutional principle according to which the power of the president is unchecked. See monarchy.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What Does It Mean To Say That A Religion Is Peaceful Or Violent?

Since we keep coming back to this issue in comments, I guess we ought to deal with it explicitly. As usual, once I get into actual conversations with people, I find my own position shifting around. Conservatives seem to be more prone to claiming that Islam is a violent religion, liberals more prone to claiming that it's a peaceful one. (Note: whenever I make generalizations like this--even though I'm careful to qualify them--somebody gets pissed. But try to pay close attention to the tentative and attenuated nature of my claims.) When I'm around liberals who are inclined to defend Islam, I find myself being more willing to indict it, and when I'm around conservatives who criticize it I find myself being more willing to defend it.

But recently I've recognized that I have little right to do either of these things because I don't know a damn thing about Islam.

I tried to read the Koran once, but couldn't really make much sense of it--less sense, say, than even the old or new testaments or the book of Mormon--three books that don't make a particularly great deal of sense in my opinion. But that was a fairly half-hearted effort. There's no doubt about it: I don't know anything about Islam. Funny thing is, I can tell that most of the people one hears talking about it these days know no more about it than I do...but that doesn't stop them from pontificating about it.

So I've got a couple of books and--in my CST (copious spare time--an acronym I picked up from Bill Lycan)--I thought I'd try to become rather less ignorant about it.

But there are important theoretical questions floating around in the background that I don't know how to answer. Such as: what makes a religion peaceful or not so? One can easily think of a couple of reasonable answers right off the bat, of course:

1. A religion is peaceful to the extent that its practitioners are peaceful.

2. A religion is peaceful to the extent that its practionioners have historically been peaceful.

3. A religion is peaceful to the extent that its official doctrine (holy book, whatever) encourages peace.

I think one can make a case for any--or all--of these. Christianity, for example, fares pretty well on 1, not well at all on 2...and 3 is complicated. As I understand it, the old testament is fairly violent, though the new testament is fairly peaceful. Christians seem to care more about the new than the old testament, so I'd say that swings 3 rather in their favor.

Buddhism seems to fare well on all three criteria.

So what about Islam? Well, I don't know enough about it to say. My fairly uninformed inclination is to think that it doesn't fare so well on 1. I've read some things that make me think the same about 2 (though Islam might fare better than Christianity on that one). I have some inclination, though, to think that 3 is the really important criterion...and about that I just don' t know. I've seen stuff that seems cherry-picked to try to show opposite things about the matter, and I just can't say. This should actually be a fairly easy question to answer, and if you know where I can find good info, please to let me know.

I've just been given Bostom's The Legacy of Jihad, though I've heard that it may not be objective.
Islamic Hit-and-Run Attacker at UNC was in Johnny Quest's Class

No kidding. She hadn't heard his name until just now. One can't discuss the grades or in-class performance of one's students publicly, of course, though other facts might be publishable. Possibly more soon.

European Court of Human Rights: No Forced Reproduction

The European Court of Human Rights apparently got this one right, ruling that a man can't be forced to reproduce simply because a woman wants to have his baby. If I'm not mistaken, American courts have made the opposite ruling in recent years. But the principle here seems straight-forward: it's his genetic material, and nobody else can have it just because they want it really, really bad.

Looks like South Dakota has something to learn from these folks.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Too Bad Sex is the Only Way to Fulfill Our Holy and Socially Useful Role as Breeders

One of the things that I just can't understand about The Conservative (i.e., a cartoonish paradigmatic representation of the average American conservative which is inevitably inaccurate, but way too accurate for comfort) is his weird-ass attitude about sex. Sex is, of course, dirty...filthy...disgusting...which is apparently why he spends so much time obsessing about it, and why it plays such a central role in his view of the world and his politics. Anyway, now it turns out that those of us who are not being reproductively correct are social free-riders.

To review:

> The real problem the planet is having is that there are not enough people using its resources.

> Sex is filthy and disgusting, but God commands you to hold your nose and do it. Think about England or whatever.

> To maintain our preposterous standard of living, we must increase our population forever and ever. This strategy is sure to succeed. What could go wrong?

> If you don't have kids, who's going to use up all that oil? You childless slackers are basically driving the executives at ExxonMobil into the poor house.

> You childless atheistic liberals make me sick.

(Note: the above is a pretty unfair caricature. The really weird thing is that it isn't entirely unfair...)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

UNC Attacker Says He Did It To Avenge Muslim Deaths

Lovely. Let me just point out that UNC got in big trouble a couple of years back for choosing a book (for their freshman reading program) that argues that Islam is a religion of peace. Lots of folks, including the state legislature, hit the roof.
Go Tar Heels

Carolina over Dook, 83-76, despite trying really, really hard to give the game away in the last two minutes. Dockery channels Christian Laettner, smacking Hansbrough in the face at the end of the game. You know, those guys invite dislike...
Weird Violence at UNC--Apparently Islam-Related

You've probably heard about this (story from the Daily Tar Heel). An Iranian student (or graduate--not clear which) drove a jeep through "the Pit," a sort of gathering place more-or-less in the middle of campus, injuring several people. The DTH reports that UNC DPS caught him soon thereafter.

See, now, the Pit has always been a magnet for religious crazies...tho usually of the Christian fundamentalist variety. When I was there it was common to see "Pit preachers" out there with some frequency, telling us all that we were sinners and sodomites (correct!) and, consquently, going to hell (incorrect). One of them was always ranting about the "comm'inists, the feminists and the HO MO SEK'SHULS!" We just ignored them or made fun of them. If we were bored we'd actually argue with them and humiliate them.

Harder to do that with folks who try to kill you with a jeep.

Anyway, yet a another little bit of evidence that our domestic religious crazies are not, as a rule, as crazy as Islamic religious crazies. I mean, I prefer no religious crazies at all, of course...but if I get a choice, I prefer our mostly domesticated variety that mostly just say stupid things to the feral variety that actually, you know, try to kill you.
Interesting Links from Kos

Make sure you caught these links at Kos.

Some really bizarre and scary news here. The scariest may be that my home state of Missouri is apparently pondering whether to make Christianity the state religion. Yes, that's as patent a violation of the Establishment Clause as one could imagine.

Note that Kos's description of the piece on Blair is misleading. The Independent piece contains nothing to suggest that Blair thinks that God led him to invade Iraq. He rather just says that God will judge the decision. I mean, once you start talking about invisible supernatural beings, it all sounds pretty crazy to me, but somehow the latter seems a little less batty than the former.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Weird Berlusconi-Related Shenanigans

U.S. Congress as prop?

Wassup with this? Is this as bizarre as it sounds?
Democrats Vow Not To Give Up Hopelessness

I was holding forth to Taylor the other day on the fascinating subject How will the Democrats screw this up? Today she sends us this from The Onion.

Ugh. A little too close to the facts to even be enjoyable, no? The GOP has had total control of the government for five years, during which time its leadership has shown itself to be riddled with corruption and utterly incompetent. And yet the Democrats can't capitalize on this.

So how are the Dems going to screw up this gimme in '08. My current guess: a Clinton/Kucinich ticket making gun control its flagship issue. Or maybe a Kennedy/Biden ticket stressing honesty and personal, not that that issue would fly very well with the Democrats...

On a more serious--by which I of course mean 'paranoid'--note, I sometimes think that the Dems can't win because the Republicans have developed a completely new approach to politics and government. The president is just a front man for the Republican machine now. Ronald Reagan and Dubya were just amiable fools, backed up by the real powers in the party, the Men Behind the Curtain. This is fiendishly efficient, because the front man only has to be likeable. In the old days, the presidential candidate had to be both reasonably likeable (so he could get elected) and pretty damned competent (so he could actually run the country if he did). The Democrats are still operating under the old system, so they have to sacrifice some likeability for competence (since candidates who are maximally likeable and maximally competent are rare). The Republicans now just focus on likeability, since it is the guys behind the scenes who run the show.

And, of course, though presidents can only serve two terms, the guys behind the scenes can just move from one administration to the next, a kind of perpetual governing cabal. That's why there are so many Reagan--and even Nixon--folks in the current administration.

The vice presidency, incidentally, would make a decent place to install one of the guys who really run the show. Reagan had Bush '41, Bush '43 has Cheney. There's a glitch in this system, though: since these guys tend to be less likeable, it makes it harder to get them elected after the front man has served his two terms. That's why it doesn't matter that Cheney is both too unlikeable and too old to be president--there were never any plans to even try to get him elected. The GOP'll just re-load with some other amiable-seeming moron--e.g. George Allen--and start the whole thing over.

I don't really believe all that...but I don't exactly not believe it, either. I worry about it is what I do.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lou Dobbs: Kicks Ass

That's right. I said it. What about it?

Everybody seems to hate him. Not me.
Who the Heck is Sher Zieve?

I don't know. But check out the headline here, and then check out the "evidence" provided in support of it.

Whew. That is a non-sequitor of biblical proportions.