Saturday, June 09, 2007

Retired Gen. George Washington Criticizes Bush's Handling Of Iraq War

The Onion

WASHINGTON, DC—Breaking a 211-year media silence, retired Army Gen. George Washington appeared on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday to speak out against many aspects of the way the Iraq war has been waged.

Washington, whose appearance marked the first time the military leader and statesman had spoken publicly since his 1796 farewell address in Philadelphia, is the latest in a string of retired generals stepping forward to criticize the Iraq war.

"This entire military venture has been foolhardy and of ill design," said Washington, dressed in his customary breeches and frilly cravat. "The manifold mistakes committed by this president in Iraq carry grave consequences, and he who holds the position of commander in chief has the responsibility to right those wrongs."

Of course, Hannity has his comments, too ...

Ambrose Bierce defines "Mind"

MIND, n.

A mysterious form of matter secreted by the brain. Its chief activity consists in the endeavor to ascertain its own nature, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with. From the Latin "mens", a fact unknown to that honest shoe-seller, who, observing that his learned competitor over the way had displayed the motto "Mens conscia recti," emblazoned his own front with the words "Men's, women's and children's conscia recti."

Yeah. I know. The humor is lost on ya if ya never studied Latin. But, then, education ain't what it used to be. I, on the other hand, was fortunate to have taken four years of Latin in high school ... Latin I, Latin I, Latin II and Latin II.

So, look it up.

"Mens conscia recti"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Jon Stewart on the Republican "Debate"

"The only thing worse for these candidates than another terrorist attack would be a gay hero stopping it."

The reference is to the number of the Arabic speaking military personnel (and we NEED Arabic speakers desperately) who've been discharged for violating the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

By their fruits they shall be known

Tom Delay and the Upside of Adultery
Robert J. Elisberg

The difference between Tom Delay's adultery and that of Newt Gingrich, Mr. Delay told the New Yorker, "'is that I was no longer committing adultery by that time, the impeachment trial. There's a big difference.' He added, 'Also, I had returned to Christ and repented my sins by that time.'"

Reading the quote, I initially decided to move past it and refrain from comment. This was not because of any sense of moral superiority. Rather, my head was spinning so fast that I couldn't type correctly. However, after a week's respite, the pressure inside my head had built up so much I was sure it would explode.

You have to keep something in mind when reading about the Amazing Battling Adulterers. Tom Delay was the Republican House Majority Leader before being forced to resign. Newt Gingrich was Republican Speaker of the House before being forced to resign.

It's not like these were two Yooha's, sitting on the back porch, spittin' and swapping tales about who's the biggest adulterer of the womenfolk. (Okay, it is, but that's not the point.) These two fellows were who the Republican Party itself chose to lead them. They are who Republicans wanted to be its face. And apparently another body part.

The rest of the read here ...

(Robert J. Elisberg has been a commentator and contributor to such publications as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, C/NET and E! Online, and served on the editorial board for the Writers Guild of America.)

Now ... talk to me about Bill, if you would ... please ... Explain to me again how he was so much more morally bankrupt than those who were out to get him.

Did Roger Ailes just say what I think he said?

"Candidates who can't face Fox, can't face al Qaeda, and that's what's coming."

Okay, lemme get this straight. In order to take on the deadliest, most cunning and elusive terrorist network in the world, you must first be prepared to take on a sensationalist GOP sponsored news channel.

Hahahahahaha ...

Atheism is the absence of belief

a brief essay by Butch Bailey

Often when I hear atheism mentioned it's followed by the bewildered statement, "How can you be sure God doesn't exist?" I would like to attempt to clear up a few common misconceptions about atheism. Namely that atheism requires faith, that outspoken atheists are "fundamentalists," and that agnostics are weak or non-committal while self-professed atheists are arrogant.

Theism is an active belief in a god(s), so the lack of this belief is "a-theism." It requires no active belief, neither affirmative nor negative. It is simply the absence of a belief. In the same way Christians lack a belief in Zeus or Hindus lack a belief in Jehovah, the atheist simply lacks a god-belief in general. It is no active affirmation that a god(s) does not exist.

To quote Dr. Richard Dawkins, "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." I would add that we reject belief in your god(s), whichever it happens to be, for essentially the same reasons you reject all those others: because the onus is on the believer to provide proof for their assertion.

Read the rest here ...

A Quote on Theocracy by C.S. Lewis

"And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated."

C. S. Lewis

Don't know much Biology

by JERRY COYNE - a professor in the department of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, where he works on diverse areas of evolutionary genetics. He is the author (with H. Allen Orr) of Speciation.

Suppose we asked a group of Presidential candidates if they believed in the existence of atoms, and a third of them said "no"? That would be a truly appalling show of scientific illiteracy, would it not? And all the more shocking coming from those who aspire to run a technologically sophisticated nation.

Yet something like this happened a week ago during the Republican presidential debate. When the moderator asked nine candidates to raise their hands if they "didn't believe in evolution," three hands went into the air—those of Senator Sam Brownback, Governor Mike Huckabee, and Representative Tom Tancredo. Although I am a biologist who has found himself battling creationism frequently throughout his professional life, I was still mortified. Because there is just as much evidence for the fact of evolution as there is for the existence of atoms, anyone raising his hand must have been grossly misinformed.

I don't know whether to attribute the show of hands to the candidates' ignorance of the mountain of evidence for evolution, or to a cynical desire to pander to a public that largely rejects evolution (more than half of Americans do). But I do know that it means that our country is in trouble. As science becomes more and more important in dealing with the world's problems, Americans are falling farther and farther behind in scientific literacy. Among citizens of industrialized nations, Americans rank near the bottom in their understanding of math and science. Over half of all Americans don't know that the Earth orbits the Sun once a year, and nearly half think that humans once lived, Flintstone-like, alongside dinosaurs.

The rest here ...

And for those who don't know it, "The Flintstones" is a cartoon, not a documentary.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

D.C. Sex Blogger Not After Flynt's Cash

It's kismet! Last Thursday, Jessica Cutler, who was famously fired from her Capitol Hill job for blogging about her affairs with married government employees, filed for bankruptcy. Three days later, porn baron Larry Flynt offered a $1 million bounty to anyone who could provide proof that she (or he) had had "improper relations" with a senator, congressman, or other high-ranking government official.

Problem solved, Ms. Cutler? "I've thought about it," admits Washington's most famous other woman since Monica Lewinsky. "It seems pretty serendipitous."

Amid much giggling, however, Cutler says she's not about to cash in on her sexploits (again, that is—she's already written a book.)

More here ...

TB Guy Tops Bush in New Poll

Andy Borowitz

In the latest sign of erosion for President George W. Bush's job approval rating, a new poll released today reveals that Mr. Bush is now less popular among the American people than the so-called "TB Guy," Atlanta attorney Andrew Speaker.

While the president's approval numbers have been in a virtual free-fall in recent months, few political insiders expected him to be trounced by Mr. Speaker, who has been accused of exposing airline passengers to tuberculosis.

Additionally, the poll results are historic in another way, since they mark the first time that a sitting president has been deemed less popular than a quarantined disease carrier.

But at the White House today, official spokesman Tony Snow tried to put a positive spin on the numbers, saying that Mr. Speaker's poll numbers received an artificial "bounce" as a result of all of the press coverage he has received in recent days.

"If President Bush had been quarantined for spreading tuberculosis around the world, his numbers would be right up there with the TB Guy's," Mr. Snow claimed.

Read the rest ...

William Jefferson?

Well, a least we now know what a black man from New Orleans has to do to get the attention of the Republicans.

With a little luck, Jefferson could be out by 2242.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bush's Amazing Achievement

One of the few foreign policy achievements of the Bush administration has been the creation of a near consensus among those who study international affairs, a shared view that stretches, however improbably, from Noam Chomsky to Brent Scowcroft, from the antiwar protesters on the streets of San Francisco to the well-upholstered office of former secretary of state James Baker. This new consensus holds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a calamity, that the presidency of George W. Bush has reduced America's standing in the world and made the United States less, not more, secure, leaving its enemies emboldened and its friends alienated. Paid-up members of the nation's foreign policy establishment, those who have held some of the most senior offices in the land, speak in a language once confined to the T-shirts of placard-wielding demonstrators. They rail against deception and dishonesty, imperialism and corruption. The only dispute between them is over the size and depth of the hole into which Bush has led the country he pledged to serve.

Read the rest here ...

I bite my tongue and resist the urge to say to so many ... "I told ya so!"

The 'Mysteries' of Bushenomics

Yesterday I sent a piece titled "The 'Mysteries' of Bushenomics" around to a select group of friends. It read in part:

The 'Mysteries' of Bushenomics
by Larry Beinhart

Supposedly we are in a sustained economic recovery and have been since 2002.

Part of this is Bush hot air and the Republican Noise Machine, which the media quotes verbatim.

By a certain measure, however, it's real.

The economy has grown. Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Average income is up. There's lots of money around.

But the recovery has some really strange features. Oddities never before seen in a recovery.

-- Jobs: During Bush's first term the US actually lost private-sector jobs.

It finally improved in 2005, and now job creation is almost keeping pace with the increase in population. Still, over all, it's the worst record since Hoover, the fellow who presided over the onset of the Great Depression.

How do you have a recovery without creating jobs?

-- Income: Yes, average income is up during the tenure of the current administration.

The joke about average income is: Bill Gates walks into a bar. The average income of every person in the room immediately goes up 10,000 percent.

The full test of the piece is here ...

This morning's e-mail contained a response from a friend that adds to the thought:
He breaks it down much better than I do.

I've been arguing for many years that the measuring devices currently in use don't do anything to reflect the real state of the economy.

The United States has been giving away manufacturing for generations.

Eventually you cannot create real wealth if you don't make anything.

"American" cars have parts from all over the world now.

"American" computers are made all over the world, of parts from many more locations.

There are no American SLRs.

There are no American consumer audio companies.

Toshiba TVs have more American components than Zeniths.

Americans "invest" to earn money. But the "investment" doesn't stay here.
We're working and spending ourselves into a state where the country's debt is owned by countries like China. China has the cash to buy our debt, so they have.

Oh, boy!

There are lots of scenarios in which China could bankrupt the U.S. just for fun and grins.

While Bush has certainly made things worse, even Clinton didn't really buck the trend of losing real assets. The paper economy boomed during his years in office. But when the dot com bubble burst, much of that "profit" vanished. (The author might have mentioned that in his percentage readings.)

The jobs giveaway has been going on since the 1950s. I don't know why the decisions are what they are, but I have seen American business withdrawing piece by piece from all real manufacturing.

Until that's reversed, and we start bringing those jobs home, we're going to continue to be the whipping boy of the Third World.

Look what happened to Great Britain after they farmed out most of their manufacturing to the colonies.

We aren't far behind.

My friend is what some might call a bleeding heart liberal, by the way, but the comment sounds very conservative. I wonder why the conservatives don't seem to understand "economics" this way. Perhaps it has something to do with an inability to see beyond personal, short term interest. "If its good for ME then it MUST be good for the nation!"

Sunday, June 03, 2007

When Religion Rules

... and there is no separation between "church" and "state":

Man to die over insult

Posted Saturday, June 02, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — A Christian was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting Islam’s Prophet Muhammed, and a human rights activist Friday urged Pakistan’s president to spare his life.

Younis Masih, 29, was arrested in September 2005 on the outskirts of the eastern city of Lahore after residents told police he made derogatory remarks against Islam and Muhammad.

On Wednesday, a court sentenced Masih to death under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, which rights groups say have been misused against Christians since former President Gen. Zia ul-Haq enacted them in 1980s to win the support of hard-line religious groups.
Full article here ...

Oh, no! It can' happen here?

When fascism arrives in the America, it will not come goose-stepping in brown shirts with swastikas ... it will arrive wrapped in the flag and carrying a bible.