Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Sayonara

I've been officially inducted into the Political Strategy family. From now on, I will be doing my blogging there (under my real name, Drew Johnston).

That leaves the question of the fate of this site. I've been thinking about keeping it. Why? Well, the name is kickass, for one. Also, I won't be posting as frequently at Political Strategy as I did here. They have some posting rules, one of which is that we don't just post stories and call that blogging (AKA the Glenn Reynolds method). So I'll only be writing about the most important and/or ridiculous stories that I find. I admit that in the past I've indulged in my fair share of Instablogging, something I won't be doing any more.

Getting to the point: I've had a few ideas for this site. Stay tuned . . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Little Blogger In The Big City

Will be blogging on Political Strategy until next Wednesday. In all likelihood, nothing will be posted here during that time. Go to that site and check out Drew's posts.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Respectfully Yours

The image of the moment:



Ah, sweet maturity.

Things I Think About

Why is it that the right-wing moralizers seem to associate enjoyment of sex with "uncontrolable animalistic behavior"? Is non-procreative intercourse really so awful? Obviously AIDS is a problem, but is wagging your finger at people and telling them "Don't do it!" really the solution?

I hate to fling around Orwellian references, but it does occur to me that the "absolutely abstinence only" crowd seems to have some similarities to the "Junior Anti-Sex League" from 1984.

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After a reporter for the Chicago Times erroneously referred to Instapundit as a liberal blog, Glenn responded thusly: "Some readers are amused at seeing InstaPundit called "liberal," when so many journalists have called it "conservative." One's just about as accurate as the other, I'd say." Excuse me? If Glenn isn't a conservative, just what is he? More importantly, if Glenn isn't a conservative, who is?

Why is it that so many high-profile conservatives deny their own affiliation? Our most visible celebrities and pundits (Michael Moore, Al Franken, etc.) are more than willing to identify themselves as liberals. So why won't Bill O'Reilly admit to being a conservative? Do these people think by pretending to be independent (or liberal, in Mickey Kaus's case) they gain some journalistic superiority? It just offends me more. In fact, I think that if Roger Ailes would just admit that Fox News has a right-wing tilt and drop that "Fair and Balanced" BS, I wouldn't be so pissed off with them.

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I watched part of "The Grid" last night because the advertising made it look like it little more than propaganda. As it turns out, that's not true; it's just really, really boring. Two things that aren't entertaining: boardroom meeting sequences and keeping a list to remember the names of the 10,000 main characters. Also, one word of advice - having Middle Eastern characters switch back and forth between English and Arabic isn't clever. It's annoying.

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I think the GOP needs to have a press conference or issue a memorandum on just what exactly counts as obscene language. I'm somewhat confused.

Governor calls a reporter an "asshole" on national TV when he thinks his mike is off: not obscene

Senator says "the F-word" in a Rolling Stone interview: obscene

Vice Prez tells a senator to "f--- off": not obscene

Dennis Miller swears and generally acts like an ass at an event: never, ever obscene

Margaret Cho makes repeated use of profanity at a fundraiser: obscene enough to warrant a flood of racist e-mails

Whoopi Goldberg makes a joke about Bush's name at an event: obscene enough to warrant an apology

I need some clarification.

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This has been a trip through my scattered thoughts. Thank you.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The "W" Stands For "Washington"

You probably don't pay too much attention to that banner at the top of my page. I'd suggest you do. For the non-bloggers among you, let me explain: in order to run this blog for free, I submit to having that banner placed on my site. The Blogger computers read my site and place ads on that banner that conform to the material I publish. However, because computers are responsible for those ads and not human beings, the ads aren't always spot-on. For instance, if I mention Bill O'Reilly, I might end up with a link leading to the Conservative Book Club, which carries O'Reilly's book. The ads are usually political, but they are also pretty bipartisan.
 
Why am I prattling on about this, you may be asking yourself? While I was checking the site (which I do after every post so I know that I haven't screwed something up, which I have done), I noticed this site being advertised on my banner. I followed the link, and here's what I found:
 
You don’t support Democrats.
Why should your ketchup?

W Ketchup™ is made in America, from ingredients grown in the USA.
 
A portion of every sale is donated to the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for the children of active duty service members killed in the line of duty.

W Ketchup is America’s Ketchup™
  
Yep.
 
So, is there anything else we need to know about "W"?
 

W Ketchup™ is made in America, from ingredients grown in the USA.

The leading competitor not only has 57 varieties, but has 57 foreign factories as well. W Ketchup comes in one flavor: American.

In side-by-side taste tests of five leading brands, we found that W Ketchup is second to none. You'll never go back to Heinz again!

 
The taste of America, complete with such unique ingredients as: Tomato Concentrate (Water and Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Salt, Dehydrated Onion, Spice and Natural Flavoring. Wow
 
Choose Heinz and you're supporting Teresa Heinz and her liberal causes, such as Kerry for President.

Choose W Ketchup and you support the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to the children of our brave heroes who have fallen in battle.
  
Choose George "W" Bush and you support policies that have resulted in cutting back pay and benefits for our brave heroes, including schools for their children. Word.

UPDATE: I thought that "57 factories" canard sounded a bit familiar, so I hit Snopes:
 
Heinz is a U.S.-based global business which sells its products in dozens of other countries, and like other food companies it has to localize some of its production at factories located in its foreign market areas. (It makes little sense from either an economic or a freshness standpoint to be shipping fruits and vegetables and/or finished food products halfway around the world rather than producing them locally.) One wouldn't expect, for example, every can and bottle of Coca-Cola sold anywhere in the world — whether it be Australia, China, or Portugal — to be produced by U.S. bottlers.)

Varmints

Mike S. Adams writes a lot of columns. Perhaps I should clarify that - he produces a lot of columns. Lately, his columns have been comprised mostly of "letters" he "received" (except, of course, the "Too Hot for TownHall" bit he did on his own site). Today, however . . . was not much different. Instead of discussing, you know, politics, today's piece was on the joy of buying guns:
 
Ruger 10/22 rifle-This was not the first gun I bought, but it should have been. The .22 is cheap and fun to shoot. There is nothing more fun than picking up an economy pack of 550 Federal hollow points (for less than $10 at Wal-mart) on a boring Saturday afternoon. But beware: you can empty the whole carton in less than half a day, if you get carried away. Also, if you know a really strident anti-gun liberal, see if you can get him to fire a few rounds through your 10/22. If you can, chances are he’ll be voting Republican by the end of the year.

Remington 870 Express shotgun-This is another fun gun to shoot and it is versatile. I bought my first 870 with an 18-inch open choke barrel for home defense. My second 870 came with a 26-inch barrel and a modified choke, good for varmint hunting and well-suited to deliver buckshot. The 870 can also be purchased with a 20-inch fully rifled slug barrel for deer hunting. Whichever version you purchase, extra barrels can also be bought, ready for quick interchange. It should only take a novice about 30 seconds to change barrels. Needless to say, I recommend this gun in 12-gauge.
Yes, that really is from his column. At least he's not a red mister.
 
Let's skip to the bottom:
 
Well, thanks for listening to my opinions. I have to go read the hundreds of emails from hunters and gun owners who have different ideas about brands, calibers, and ammunition. I also have to read all of my hate mail from PETA. There’s nothing quite like a little Second Amendment diversity.

So, to wrap up, here's what Mike is looking for (remember, his e-mail is adams_mike@hotmail.com):
 
1. Pornography
2. People calling him an "@$$hole" to give him an excuse to buy more guns
3. People who disagree with him on his gun selections (hey, he needs material for his next column!)
4. PETA people
 
Feel free to contribute.

Elevating The Public Discourse

Right now
  
A bumper sticker being circulated in Louisville that reads "Kerry is bin Laden's Man/Bush is Mine" was applauded by a Republican leader yesterday but decried by Democrats.
Jack Richardson IV, chairman of the Jefferson County GOP, said he didn't know the bumper sticker's origins, but agreed with its message.
"If bin Laden could vote based on Kerry's voting record in the Senate -- where he has decimated our national security and defense -- is there anybody that can honestly say bin Laden wouldn't prefer Kerry over Bush? Of course he would," Richardson said in a telephone interview.

March 18:
 
The statement tells American voters that Abu Hafs al-Masri supports the re-election campaign of President Bush: "We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections."
The statement said Abu Hafs al-Masri needs what it called Bush's "idiocy and religious fanaticism" because they would "wake up" the Islamic world.


Discuss.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Ten Habits Of Highly Effective Lunatics

It's Sunday, and that means it's time for Douggie Giles's weekly sermon. This week, the Dougster found a topic so expansive he had to do it as a two-parter. That's right: politics.
 
Let's get the ridiculous analogies out of the way first:
 
. . .so we don't end up knocking on the pearly gates castrated, in a Star Trek uniform wearing Nikes and asking where the hell the Hale-Bop comet went. 
 
. . .eternally roasting on Dante's Viking Grill. 
 
. . .dole out clich├ęs like an over-medicated Oprah Winfrey[.]







Now, to Doug's thesis. It's a big list of religous politics, of which only the first three entries are shown this week. (He didn't even do a ClashPoint! *shudder*) Number the first:
 
If you purport to be a man of "the cloth", then your regard for God and his opinion must trump the trepidation of the creature he created from spit and mud. Come on, man of God . . . don't fear us.  We're ants with cell phones who'll shoot Botox into our foreheads.  We're friggin' weird and fickle weather vanes of the modern media.  Lead us . . . don't just follow us! 

 
So, number one is: laws of God trump laws of man. In context, it's basically a call for preachers to talk about politics instead of issues of faith. Of course, if they do that then they'll have their tax-exempt status revoked, but my guess is that Doug doesn't want them to pay taxes either. I'd suggest that preachers discuss this with the congregation, because my guess is that most people don't want to get killed or arrested because their pastor had an ego trip.
 
Number the second:
 
Most people are not bold in areas where they are ignorant ... always excepting Michael Moore, of course.  I know keeping up with all the pressing political issues is maddening but that's life, Dinky, and if you want to be a voice in society and not an echo, you have got to be in the know.  Staying briefed, running each political issue through the gauntlet of the scripture and determining God's mind on a certain subject is par for the course, for the hardy world changer.  It's the information age.  Get informed and watch your boldness increase.


 
Number two: be informed (read: check everything against the Bible). My only question is how Doug would handle situations in which the Bible seems to contradict itself. For instance, death is mandated for adultery in the old testament (Lev. 20:10), but in the new testament, Jesus stops a mob from slaying an adulteress (John 8:3-11). I wonder how Doug would handle something like this? My guess is that he'd support the death penalty for adulterers, because based on his previous columns, he apparently doesn't think that the teachings of Christ are all that important to Christianity.
 
All I can say is that I'd find his beliefs more palatable if he was consistent enough to call Red Lobster on their abominable sins.

Number the third:

I hate the current non-essential divisions in the church as much as the next acerbic Christian columnist.  Squabblin’ over the color of the carpet, who’ll play the organ next Sunday or who the Beast of Revelation is?  Puhleese! 

Number three: The Church shouldn't be divided. Normally when someone refers to the division of the Church, they are talking about Protestants vs. Catholics, or Old Vatican vs. New Vatican, or any of the factions of the Protestant church. In this case, it sounds like Doug didn't like the choice of carpet the congregation chose for the Children's Church room. Don't worry Doug: next time, you'll get your way.

That's Doug for this week. Next time, he'll have the last seven rules for pastoral politics. As we conclude, I'll take a half-assed stab at guessing what they will be:

4. Return to Basics. Recapture the spirit of the wild man. See if you can survive in the wilds of the cities of Texas, like Doug did.

5. Stop praying for peace. Start throwing around imprecatory prayers. Pray that John Kerry gets inoperable cancer and that John Edwards dies in a tragic street sweeper accident.

6. Put a leash on your church women. If 1 Corinthians was followed and women were made to know their place, we wouldn't have to worry about all those lesbos telling kids that women are equal to men when they clearly aren't.

7. Form groups to watch mosques and deal out righteous punishment if those Islamicists step out of line. After all the Koran is a violent book - I've never read it, but Jerry Falwell and Ann Coulter assure me that it's horrible.
 
8. Spice up your sermons with nonsensical and over-extended idioms, metaphors and similes. Let's face it: the only reason people read my column is to see how I've managed to mangle pop culture this week.
 
9. Forget all that garbage about 'love' and 'compassion'. The Old Testament wasn't a book of love! And if you must preach about that one guy who's name escapes me, point out that he was a real manslayer Himself. Pat Robertson told me that.
 
10. Ten? Geez, this list is longer than Pinnochio's nose would be if we put W's brain in it and shot it full of cocaine.


Friday, July 16, 2004

Blogination

Starting Wednesday, I'll be competing with fifteen other bloggers for a writing position at Political Strategy. Check out the site next week and see if you can guess which one is me.

Non-Political Friday - Spamination Edition

-Greasnin at Something Awful reviews "Speed Demon", a flick about obscure racing deities. Yes, you read that right. Be sure to read this one twice - the plot holes will make your head spin.
 
-Matt at X-E has not one, but two features on commercials from the '80s. That's ten whole minutes of lunacy featuring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, the Power Glove, Andre the Giant, the Fry Guys, and the legendary McRib.
 
-Have you ever wondered how many times something has been referred to as the "new black"? Well, now you know.
 
-If you really want to feel insignificant, contemplate Viagra and all the ways spammers can alter the name. Have a number in your head? It's even higher than that.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Penance

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't done a take-down of Ann Coulter in a while. This is because I can't stand her. You also probably noticed that I didn't blog yesterday. That's because I was lazy. Now it's time for penance, and what better way than by reviewing a column by a woman who makes me want to flog myself with a length of chain?

Let's get this over with:

Another high-profile John Kerry supporter was outed as a nutcase this week: Joseph C. Wilson IV, the Walter Mitty of conspiracy theorists.

[. . .]

Wilson was shocked because, in 2002, he had been sent on an unpaid make-work job to Niger to "investigate" whether Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium ore from Niger. Wilson's method of investigating consisted of asking African potentates questions like: Did you commit a horrible crime, which, if so, would ruin your country's relationship with the United States? I have no independent means of corroborating this, so be honest!


And of course, Ann knows this, because she used her secret powers of remote viewing to sit in with Joe Wilson.

But let's not dwell on the petty. Instead, let's focus ont he miraculous - Ann Coulter used facts!

I'm not sure we were waiting for any more evidence on whether Wilson was an idiot, but this week we found out he's a liar, too. The Senate report on the CIA's intelligence gathering concluded that, contrary to Wilson's statements about his own report, his findings had bolstered rather than undermined the case that Saddam had sought uranium from Niger.


The cynic in me wants to ask why Annthrax believes this claim from the Senate report when she denies the rest of it, but I'm not that petty. OK, I am that petty, but I have facts, too. You see, that claim from the Senate report appears to be based largely on the British equivalent. Here's what they had to say (courtesy of Matt Yglesias):

a. It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999.

b. The British Government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium. Since uranium constitutes almost three-quarters of Niger’s exports, the intelligence was credible.

c. The evidence was not conclusive that Iraq actually purchased, as opposed to having sought, uranium and the British Government did not claim this.

d. The forged documents were not available to the British Government at the time its assessment was made, and so the fact of the forgery does not undermine it.


OK, so the British report is a bit wishy-washy, but it still affirms Satann's claims, right?

Maybe not. Let's see what Laura Rozen has to say:

One observation I share with Matt: as helpfully searchable as the Butler report is (unlike the version of the report the Senate released), the Butler report sheds little light on what were the Brits' actual sources on the Africa uranium issue. Indeed, the sourcing seems deliberately obscured. [Of course, intelligence agencies try to protect sources and methods; but our Senate report did at least indicate if sources were "a foreign government," Curve Ball, INC defectors, etc., without naming them.]

Why would the sourcing be obscured? I suspect for three reasons. A possible one, as I have mentioned, is to protect sources. Secondly, because it seems there was an echo chamber among four governments at issue: Britain, France, Italy and the US. In other words, what seemed like multiple independent sources for the Niger uranium claim actually turned out to be the echo of one source multiple times, plus perhaps another source [but the Butler report, frustratingly, won't make this clear.] And then it turned out that the one source that echoed through four governments was content in documents that were later deemed counterfeit. And three, the sensitivity for the British government that it was the named source of the information the US president cited - and later his staff recanted - on the Niger uranium issue.


Therein lies the problem. The British report claims the forged documents weren't available to the government, and were therefore irrelevant. However, it appears that the intelligence agencies all cited each other to each other, so if anyone had the forged documents, it might have thrown off the whole system.

Sorry Ann. You were so close that time.

What The &$%#ing Sh!t?

Can't you guys take a joke?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comedian Whoopi Goldberg will no longer appear in ads for diet aid maker Slim-Fast following her lewd riff on President Bush (news - web sites)'s name at a fund-raiser last week, the company said on Wednesday.

Florida-based Slim-Fast said it was "disappointed" in Goldberg's remarks at last Thursday's $7.5 million star-studded fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

[. . .]

Republicans have expressed outrage over the fund-raiser for presumptive Democratic nominee John F. Kerry and his vice presidential running mate, John Edwards (news - web sites), in which entertainers lined up to skewer the president.
(Emphasis added)


Excuse me, outrage? Are your memories that short? Less than a month ago, the Vice President stood on the floor of the Senate - one of the most dignified forums in these United States - and uttered the most vile curse word in the English language. Do you remember what happened? Was there any outrage from your side of the aisle? No, you defended him. And now you're feigning outrage because Whoopi Goldberg used the President's name in an inappropriate manner? &$%#ing great.

Changing The Rules

Apparently, the GOP is so desperate to stop the horror that is gay marriage that one of them has drafted plans to rearrange the government to push it through:

Realizing that a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage faces little chance of passing soon, if ever, House Republicans yesterday discussed alternative approaches, including stripping federal courts of jurisdiction over the issue, passing a federal law to define marriage and using the appropriations process to ban gay marriage in Washington.

All the legislative action on gay marriage is currently in the Senate, but the House GOP is rapidly developing its own tactics. Leaders will take their first step next week when they take up Rep. John Hostettler’s (R-Ind.) “jurisdiction stripping” bill. This would bar federal courts from hearing lawsuits related to gay sex and marriage.


It's interesting how the Republican mindset is when it comes to homosexuals. Can't pass a law that bans gay marriage? Change the Constitution to allow it. Courts not allowing you to change the Constitution? Change their jurisdiction. Can't do what you want? Change the rules!

But wait - there's more . . .

Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) told reporters yesterday that he plans to use “jurisdiction stripping” measures to achieve other social policy goals as well.

For example, he will push legislation to stop federal courts from hearing lawsuits related to the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.


At this rate, there are only going to be two branches.