Atrios had a link to a poll today, which posed the following question:
"Do you approve of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq?"
Here's the response. 57% do approve, which blows my mind. The situation is obviously going pretty badly, and if Afghanistan is any indicator, they're not going to get any better before we get bored and move on to the next invasion.
But, here's the first question that came into my head: How would the numbers have come out if the question had been changed so that it didn't include Junior's name? As in:
"Do you approve of the way the situation in Iraq is being handled?" or "Do you think things are going well in Iraq?"
I'd feel fairly safe betting that the numbers would drop considerably, were the question to be rephrased. I'm not accusing CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll if bias, but it makes me think that respondents are considering Junior himself rather than his actual policies or handling of Iraq when answering. And since Junior's approval ratings on individual issues (pretty much all individual issues) are consistently lower than his overall approval rating, it makes one think that this odd thinking pattern extends to other areas as well.
So, to overstate the point a bit, everybody likes Junior, but nobody likes any of his actual policies.
I can see why he's such a popluar president (note: reelect numbers at 43%-43% are not good for Junior).
Who'd A Thunk It?
Well, while I've never been a Clinton apologist, I still take a great deal of pleasure from this:
Turns out, according to the Washington Monthly, he's the most honest president we've had in the last twenty years!
Anyone care to guess who came in last?
Warning: Irony Overload Ahead!
From today's Star Tribune:
"Barring the unlikely possibility of a stay, a former Presbyterian minister who shot and killed an abortion doctor will next week become the first American executed for violence against abortion providers."
This is little more than a rumor just now (which means I can't find a decent link for it--sorry), but I've heard that Parliament just might ban kosher butchering in Great Britain, on account of it being inhumane.
Well. Here's a leftist's nightmare. Religious freedom versus animal rights.
I'd love to comment on this ad nauseum, but I'm really tired, and I've been doing some other writing tonight, so I'm kind of tapped. Talk amongst yourselves.
(note: I'm trying to sign up for Haloscan comments, but their sign-up process is currently down, so I can't just now. If they get it back up, I may have a comments section soon, but I can make no promises. let's all hope, yeah?)
What Is Wrong With These People?
It's too hot to think in this house right now, and I'm tired, but I had to pass on this and this which, together, comprise one of the sickest thigns I have ever heard. I'm not going to quote these pieces--you have to go and read them yourself.
Why don't some people just stop to think before they act? Could they really have been so miguided to think that this is what God wanted?
Sick mother fuckers. That's all I have to say about it.
Galactus for President in '04!
It's clearly the case that Galactus' presence in the California gubernatorial is merely a precursor to his ascendancy to President and, eventually, Supreme Ruler of the Cosmos. It's inevitable, and The Most Powerful Blog Currently On Your Screen endorses it fully.
It brings to mind another question, however.
What if Junior doesn't win the GOP nomination for the next race?
I know, I know! That's crazy talk! He's popular! He's Bold and Daring (in Capital Letters)! He's got an admirable military record! He's got his own action figure!
Nevertheless, indulge me for a moment, dear reader, if you will.
If you looked at the links above, you'll realize that Junior's popularity is on the wane. It's certainly much lower than George H.W. Bush's was st this point. More importantly, there doesn't seem to be any major cards Junior has left in his hand to raise it.
While most Americans would not, I'd imagine, say that we should get out of Iraq of Afghanistan (and at this point, I'd certainly say that just packing up our things and leaving would be ill-advised), they're still going to be hesitant about supporting another war, when the aftermath of this one is clearly going to be expensive, and last for several years. So, another "quick" war to boost popularity is pretty much out. In fact, the continuing deaths of American soldiers will only continue to hurt Junior in the polls, and soon enough, all the dirty little truths about the Iraqi war will come out. As Kos says here, foreign policy could very easily turn against Junior. His AWOL past will likely come back to haunt him with the level of military activity America has been involved, and with both Kerry (an actual veteran) and Clark (a freaking general) in the race on the Democrat's side.
Side note: I've been hearing rumors that Dean and Clark are having private talks, which might mean that Clark'll sign on as Dean's VP. This would be a winning ticket. Period.
So, on to the other major issue: The economy. It's possible that the economy will turn around by '04, but Junior's three tax cuts haven't helped thus far (and one's had a few years to work at it). Any competent contender will be able to at least challenge him on this platform. It's worth noting that many actual Conservatives (not just right-wing folks, or Republicans, but actual Conservatives) are starting to turn their back on him. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, CATO, a conservative economic think tank gave Junior low marks on his spending habits. Here's the short version:
At this point in his administration, Clinton had increased total spending by 3.5%. Non-military discretionary spending had actually been decreased by 0.7%. So, how is Junior doing on these two? Total spending has increased by 15.6%, and non-military discretionary spending has increased by 20.8%. That's non-military, so, no blaming this on war and such. Some of Junior's base will no doubt be pleased that he's throwing tax cuts out to the rich (and scraps to the poor), but responsible economic policy would dictate cuts in spending as well. Which we're not getting. I'm not saying I endorse massive spending cuts, but I didn't endorse the tax cuts either. Democratic candidates are going to be resurrecting the old question, "Are you better of now than you were four years ago?" and many people simply won't say yes. Junior's lost more jobs than any president in decades. Hell, only one other president in the last hundred years or so has actually lost jobs on his watch. Even Carter grew jobs during his turn in office.
Look, everyone's talking about how whether or not Junior is going to be unbeatable in '04. Well, he won't be. He may win, but he won't be invincible; not when polls are showing that more people want someone else to be president than him. Not anyone in particular, mind you. Just someone else. Given the dramatic drops this president has suffered in popularity, and his piss-poor handling of the economy, the GOP has to wonder whether this is really the guy they want to put forward.
Of course, there's no doubt in my mind that he will get the nomination. Just something to keep in mind, though.
Anything's possible, ya know?
Now That I've Made It Down To The Gym...
What's wrong with this country?
Apples in the Garden
I like spicy food. Quite a bit, actually.
Several years ago, Brian and I walked into the store in the Mall of America that is dedicated to the sale of various spicy sauces and such. I can't remember what it's called. Anyhow, I tried a small amount of something called Da Bomb: Ground Zero there. I knew it'd be hot, because the guy at the store had sort of worked me up to it, having me sample different sauces of varying degrees of hottness to see how I'd react. After he'd determined I could handle Da Bomb, it seems, he decided to unleash it upon me. He dipped a toothpick into the bottle, and put a small drop on a chip. Somewhat wary, I turned the chip in an attempt to keep the drop from actually making contact with my tongue. I'm not certain it I succeeded, but I can tell you this: I was praying for death for the next thirty minutes.
Last Christmas, Brian bought me a bottle of the stuff. Occasionally, when the two of us have gotten ourselves somewhat inebriated, we'll dare each other to try some. And the result is always quite unpleasant. You wouldn't believe just how hot this stuff is. A Jalapeno pepper is 5,000 Scoville units (that's how they measure hotness. Don't ask, because I don't know). Da Bomb: Ground Zero is 234,000. I thought that had to be the hottest thing ever made.
Until I came across this. I was tempted to purchase a bottle, but I know full well that if I did, sooner or later I'd end up trying to eat some of it straight. And there are any number of warnings about not doing that. This isn't even supposed to be a sauce. It's a food additive, and eating it straight can burn your esophogus. 1.5-2 million Scoville units.
Then, I saw this.
7.1 million Scoville units. Kind of makes my 234,000 look a little...well, inferior.
I've just unintentionally deleted a post that was probably about 1,100 words long. I'm quite angry with myself at the moment, and not patient enough to attempt to retype it just now. Perhaps I'll give it another try tomorrow.
Money Well Spent.
Atrios tells us that 4.4% of the GDP is spent on health care administration.
It took a minute for this to really sink in for me. 4.4% of all the money spend ever in the whole country (excluding foreign payments, etc.) is on paperwork relating to healthcare.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. We need need need to get the fuck away from a for-profit health care system. Doctors should certainly make a good living--they're providing an invaluable service. Likewise to nurses. But health insurance companies (especially the large salaries to CEO's)? Why do we need a for-profit, market-driven health insurance system? Who benefits, aside from a relatively few number of well-paid executives?
(yeah, I know, Kucinich has this as a top priority, and I don't think Dean does--at least, not in as meaningful a way--and if I were as serious about this as I say I am, I'd throw my weight, such as it is, behind him. Well, he talks a good game, but he simply will not be able do the things he says he will. He can't just change the system all by himself, and not enough people will go along with him. Maybe he'd be the first rubber band in the ball, and others would follow to make a truly powerful weapon, but I just don't see that happening. This is going to take something bigger than Kucinich. This is going to take something damned near a revolution. I'm not trying to be overly dramatic. Politicians simply will not give up the health care/prescription drug money until they're made to, and I don't think Kucinich alone will be able to make step one toward this goal. Also, he's too much on the fringe to gather enough support to win. But this is all beside the point. Health care was the issue. Not Kucinich)
Pro Kids, Pro Jobs, Pro Hope, Anti Bad Stuff!
All these, and more shocking positions of Arnold Shwarzenegger! Here, at We Love Arnold!
(link via Kos, Atrios, and Tom Tomrrow)
Does anyone else have a problem with the media constantly refering to Arnold Schwarzenegger as Arnold, rather than Shwarzenegger? First names are how friends reference you, not newspapers. The other candidates in the election aren't called Cruz, Gary, or Larry. Galactus may occasionally be refered to by his first name, but, to be fair, he's only got the one.
This seems wrong to me because it imlpies that friendship. It makes you feel chummy with Arnold, as if he'd invite you over for a beer if he saw you on the street. There's nothing wrong with this, per se, provided it doesn't lead to watered down coverage of the man. I'm not sure if I think this is or is not happening, by and large, however. He's getting heat for not having any clear strategies, etc., but there's plenty of other skeletons in his closet that would be getting dragged out if he weren't Arnold (or, if you prefer, Ahnold).
But, it sure is annoying having to type out Schwarzenegger every other line, isn't it?
This pretty much sums the whole situation up.
That's all I have to say about it. Humor aside, California gets what they deserve at this point. I just hope they don't export their insanity.
For what it's worth, the official position of this half of The Most Powerful Blog Currently On Your Screen is...
No on the Recall.
Yes on Galactus.
And I don't see anything contradictory about that.
The e-mail connection that I've got through Road Runner operates on Microsoft Outlook Express, a program of which I'm quite fond. I like the format of it much better than web-based e-mail formats. The only drawback is that if I wanted to use the Road Runner account as my primary, I'd be unable to check my e-mail from anywhere other than home.
However, after the Time Warner fellow was finished installing everything, he asked me if I had a Hotmail account. I said I did, and he said that he thought so, because it Outlook had tapped into it.
I didn't tell the installation chap my Hotmail account user name, nor did I tell him my password. I certainly didn't input this information into Outlook--I hadn't even touched the computer yet. Still, when he opened up Outlook, there it was. My Hotmail account. Outlook had accessed it.
I thought this was perhaps because I have a bad habit of not logging off, and just closing the window. I'm not sure how long you have to remain dormant before Hotmail logs you off automatically. That's not it, however. I've tried logging out several times, and I can still access my Hotmail account from Outlook.
Now, I'm very happy I can do this. I've used Hotmail because of the convenience web-based e-mail can offer, and I'm pleased as punch that I can maintain that flexibility, while still being able to do use the vastly superior (in my opinion) Outlook Express at home.
But...how in the Hell did this happen? Why can Outlook just reach in to my Hotmail account, sans password? It kind of creeps me out a little.
Oh well. Maybe I should just be happy that, at least for now, I've got my cake and I'm eating it too.
Because I Said So.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is still refusing to remove the Ten Commandments monument from his courthouse, even though the Supreme Court has refused to delay the order to remove it.
"Moore's lawyers told justices in a filing that Moore should be allowed to 'establish justice by acknowledging the guidance and favor of Almighty God, placed upon him by his oath of office and the Constitution of Alabama.'"
Now, my own views on religion don't fit conveniently within any specific denomination, though I call myself a United Methodist. My religious views aren't terribly relevant here, however, as this doesn't have anything to do with religion, per se. It has to do with the relationship of religion, especially its establishments, to the United States Government. And, of course, we all know that there can't be any.
This isn't some Liberal Plot to run Christianity out of America. It's something our Founding Fathers made sure was in the constitution because persecution was a very real thing to them. Some may say that this example is somewhat harmless, and they may be right. I can't help but worry that someone who doesn't share Justice Moore's faith may find themselves subjected to harsher punishments, however, because he feels they don't have the same moral code that he (and, Moore might argue, the larger part of America) does. One may argue that, though Justice Moore feels he has the right to display the Ten Commandments in his courthouse, there's no indication that he can't separate his faith from his profession. It seems to me, however, that his actions--his seeming insistence that this display is not only a good idea, but a requirement, and his refusal to accept any legal interpretation of the Constitution other than his own--have soundly put that argument to rest. Justice Moore feels that he's entitled to mix his faith with his judicial decisions. That much is clear to me.
This suddenly struck me as a foil, of sorts, to the Gene Robinson/Episcopalian Church issue. One group insists that there is no contradiction in a person holding an office because of a belief/attitude said person holds. Which, it would seem, would make me a hypocrite for defending Robinson, and denouncing Moore. I do not agree, however.
First of all, the Episcopalian Church is a self-governing organization, with no power over anyone who doesn't accept (indeed, search for) said power. If they had rejected Robinson, I would have been disappointed, but I wouldn't have been outraged. It is, after all, their prerogative.
The Federal Court system, however, is a just a bit more...shall we say, insistent, in its assertion of power over people.
Second, it's up for debate whether the Bible is a guidebook or a book of laws (i.e., how much of it do we need to take literally, what do various passages mean, etc.). And either way, again, no one can force you to abide by it. You do, or do not, at your own risk, essentially.
It's fairly clear, however, that the Constitution of the United States of America is, in fact, a series of laws, stated in really simple words that anybody ought to be able to understand. It's vague and open to interpretation on some points, but not so much on this one, as numerous other Justices have now pointed out to Moore. And, since it is enshrined in the very law that Justice Moore has sworn (in God's name, I'd wager) to uphold, he has a duty to abide by it.
And even if all this doesn't mean anything to you, here's an idea that's been thrown around in the Blogosphere lately:
What if you went to court (for whatever reason), and was a monument with the Five Pillars of Islam up on the wall? If you knew the judge was a hard-core fundamentalist Muslim, and he knew you were a Christian (of Jew, or Atheist, or Zoroastrian, or whatever), would you feel just as certain that you'd be treated fairly be said judge?
Something I Didn't Want To Know...
...But, I'm sure you will.
Did you realize that your skin accounts for 18% of your body weight? According to Michael Sims, author of Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, it does.
That seems kind of gross, for no particular reason.
Mothers are the Necessity of Invention
It's Saturday night. It's the Saturday night immediatley following my obtaining a high speed connection. I feel a need to post, for those few who're paying attention. But, alas, I have nothing to say. Really. Nothing. Go somewhere else. I may not have anything better to do on a Saturday night, but you should. So, go do it.
Leave me alone for one night.
Seriously. Go away. I'll post again tomorrow, or Monday. Leave me alone for one night.
Well, okay, fine. I bought The Litany of the Long Sun today, which comprises the first two books of the Book of the Long Sun. Those who know me may know that the Book fo the New Sun, by Wolfe, has occupied the number two spot in my list of best sci-fi books ever (and, since sci-fi is my primary interest, this would rank very very high on my all time list of top five books). The Book of the Long Sun isn't, as I understand it, a sequel, really. It's a book that occurs in the same universe, many thousands of years later.
Anyhow, I've purchased said book, and I'll read it as soon as I finish the Book of the New Sun for the second time.
I'm going to sleep now. I'm sure this is filled with errors, but I'm tired.
So, I've now got my Road Runner high speed internet connection. It pleases me. I've also added a hit counter.
It occures to me that it may be possible that people I don't know have actually managed to stumble across this site, somehow. I'd love to hear from any such person, so I think I'll put out some contact information here. I can be reached at either of the following:
clbosch78 at hotmail.com
cbosch at mn.rr.com
(at used instead of @ because I don't want some program catching the address and filling my e-mail boxes with advertisements for...well, you know)
Anyhow, I can now surf/post in style. And, I can tell MSN where to stick it.
I don't think I've mentioned this before, but Audrey Tautou is one of the most attractive women ever to have lived.
While We're On The Subject...
[Edit--hackers may not be exactly the correct term, I've been told. Call them what you will; a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. I'm talking about the people that write viruses, worms, etc.]
Okay, now, as I understand it, in a general sort of way, these are the two primary stated goals of hackers:
1. To bring attention to flaws in commonly used software in a manner which demands attention, but causes no serious harm. This is done, presumably, so that the company can fix said weakness before someone decides to exploit it in a genuinely harmful manner.
2. To attack a company which is viewed as, say, holding a monopoly over an area which hackers view as improper. This, presumably, is done to make it apparent that said company is not invincible, and to persuade consumers to look elsewhere. Also, to screw with a company that, in the hacker's view, is just plain evil.
On both of these concerns, I've come up with the following irrefutable (and, if I say so myself, rather eloquent) response:
Go fuck yourselves.
Seriously. You're not fooling anyone but yourselves. If your goal is the former, you'd bring the concern directly to the company, and not force it upon innocent consumers (such as myself). This, I think, would not be overly difficult. If your concern is the latter, well, you're also attacking regular consumers. Consider: I was able to download the fix, as well as the patch to prevent this from happening again, with little difficulty, because I know several other people with internet connections. However, if I didn't, I would have had to call, say, Geek Squad, to fix the problem. They charge $250 for this service. I do not blame them for charging--they make house calls to fix computers, which so few other organizations do. But, hackers, you are hurting consumers whose only crime is not understanding the Linux option, or not being able to afford a Mac. While said hacker may question the wisdom of such people (probably 90% or so of everyone who owns a computer, including myself and, probably, you), it seems rather foolish to actually suggest that such people deserve to have their computers turn against them.
So, yeah. That's my opinion on the issue. Hackers may have noble stated goals, but I have a difficult time taking them at their word. I can't help but suspect that they're really out there to cause mischief, and annoy people. At which, they've succeeded beautifully with the Microsoft Blaster virus.
By the way, if you've got Windows 2000 or Windows XP, go here, now. Seriously. This worm can get on your computer, without your doing a damned thing (which is why it's a worm, not a virus), and it's very annoying. Every time you go online, something called an RPC will fail unexpectedly, and your computer will start a 60 second countdown. When the countdown has expired, your computer will reboot. Which, basically, makes it impossible to do a damned thing online. It does not damage your computer in any way, but, as I said, it's damned annoying. Damned annoying.
Yesterday I purchased Norton Internet Security, because I'll be getting Road Runner High Speed Internet Access on Saturday. With a cable connection, you really need a fire wall. Anyhow, this means I'll be dumping Microsoft Network (MSN). Let me make this point very very clear: The Most Powerful Blog Currently On Your Screen does not endorse MSN (I'm assuming Joe will agree. If you don't, Joe, feel free to ship in...). In fact, it does quite the opposite. MSN is as bad as AOL, which is to say, very bad. Inconstant connections, and overly difficult times getting connected, especialy considering the price. So, I'm not making any comments about Road Runner (which is a part of Time Warner) just yet, but I've used it at my folks' place often enough to know it's both fast and reliable.
That's it. That's the story.
I'm not posting just now because my computer's caught that worm that's going around. Right now, my opinion of hackers is quite low. Not that it was every high, but I'm ready to kill one at the moment. I'm posting from someone else's house, because my machine reboots every time I go online. I think I've got the fix, but until I find out for sure, no more internet for me.
The Nature of God
So, I'm in a mood to rant a bit about the appointment of Gene Robinson as an Episcopalian Bishop. Obviously, I think it's a good thing, in principle. I don't know the man, so I'm certainly not fit to judge whether or not he's of the proper disposition to hold the position, but it seems that his fellows certainly believed he was; I don't believe that was ever in question.
So, the question, of course, is whether or not an openly gay man can hold any sort of position in the church. My post a few days ago about Deuteronomy 23.1 was clearly intended to poke fun at the idea of focusing on a few of the Bible's laws, while ignoring the point of the whole book. Also, to indicate that there are lots of laws/passages in it that just don't make any sense. Some of them once did, perhaps, but many are quite obviously wrong. I cannot imagine that, at any time, having crushed testicles was considered a moral failure (get those Bibles out, kids! That's actually what it says). Likewise, I cannot believe that being a bastard is a hell-worth trespass (not producing one, mind you, but being one). That's in the next chapter, however. Not only is being a bastard immoral, but being the child of one is, and the child of the child, down to the tenth generation. Now, I know that there are passages (I believe in Elijah, but I'm not certain) that say that the sins of the parents shall not be visited down upon the children. These two are simply contradictory. Irreconcilably so. And, since homosexuality, by every all accounts, is no more a chosen condition (so to speak) than being born a bastard is, and being a bastard is certainly not something widely considered to be a moral failure, it seems odd to condemn homosexuality. To those who complain, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," I'd reply that God made homosexuals as well, so if you're invoking God's will, try following the thought to its logical conclusion.
There's also the argument that it's not about homosexuality so much as it is about his having sex outside of marriage. I reject this as well, and here's my reasoning: There's another passage, which I'm sure most people have heard before, about something Jesus said when asked what God had to say about paying taxes. Jesus' reply was, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Render unto God what is God's" (or something quite similar. I'm afraid that I don't know the verses of most of the Bible quotes with which I'm roughly familiar). I've always thought that this statement was about more than just taxation; that it signaled that one's relationship to God can be separate from one's relationship to Government. Robinson has been in a committed relationship for fourteen years, longer than a large percent of straight marriages last. I'd be so bold as to say that his marital status was a result of obsolete laws; that he was married in any meaningful sense, in any way that God would recognize. His marital status is the fault of society. It's a dirty trick to tell someone that they can only have sex while married, but that they're not allowed to get married.
So, I'm certainly not a literalist when it comes to interpreting the Bible. Actually, I think pure literalism on the book is quite impossible. The question that follows is, "So, you pick and choose which laws to follow, depending on which ones you like?"
Well, no, not exactly. To some degree, yes, I'm sure I do. But anyone who tells you differently about him or herself is either a fool or a liar. My method for picking, however, is not mere madness. I don't go about picking those laws which I find convenient to obey.
Why does one worship a divine being? Because Said Being is all-powerful? I would say no. Or at least, not only for that reason. Power, in and of itself, commands obedience only as long as it can do so through fear, and fear is an ill-conceived basis for a religion.
The Anselmian conception of God holds that God has three primary qualities:
1. God is omnipotent.
2. God is omniscient.
3. God is omnibenevolent.
Number three is the important one. There are debates to no end on just what perfect goodness means, but most of this debate can be summed up as such: Is God perfectly good because anything he does is, by virtue of his omnipotence, automatically good? Or, does God adhere perfectly to an outside definition of Good? Is it good because God did it, or did God do it because it is good? Both have their problems, but I come down strongly on the side of God did it because it is good. This means that I believe there is a definition of Good that is separate from God. While God must surely know Good better than I do, it seems incredible to say that I could have no concept of it whatsoever. Certainly, I feel as though I do. So, this is the filter through which I look at Christianity; I look for the parts of it that I feel are...well, that adhere to this thing called Good. How could I give praise to a Divine Other who I felt was behaving in an immoral fashion? Power alone is not sufficient to merit praise.
The whole point here is that condemnation of homosexuality doesn't pass the test for me, on any level. So, since I cannot imagine it as being a moral thing, I cannot imagine God condoning it.
Of course, people who disagree with me on things probably do so believing that their way is moral, as strongly as I do. And while I suspect that some of them simply haven't spent the time examining morality that I have, there are doubtless many who have. I don't have an answer here, and I've been struggling with it for quite some time. Certainly, you can't just get rid of laws, and say to people, "Do what you think is right." Even if everyone did, their ideas would vary to an absurd degree.
So, I guess there's no perfect answer to all the questions the issue raises. But, I firmly believe that objections to Robinson's appointment based upon a few passages from the Bible are ill conceived, and, ultimately, unsupportable.
Another Puzzle For You
It seems importnat to me that you see this. I can't explain it.
(linkvia Atrios, as you may have guessed.)
I'm Sorry, What Was That You Were Saying?
So, I've always thought highly of Colin Powell. Highly, at least, for a Republican. He seems to be, however, to be a staunch moderate, more concerned with policy than politics, or his own image. That's what a politician should be, in the end.
Anyhow, I was always a little torn about how I should regard the "thick" file Powell presented to the UN several months ago about all the things that Iraq has done wrong. It seemed pretty reasonable at the time, and I lacked both the expertise and the resources to fact-check it (well, the marvelous Internet could probably have provided me with both, to be honest, but I also lacked the initiative).
It seems someone else finally got around to checking the file out. And in a fairly point-by-point basis. (link via Atrios)
So, what should I think of Powell now? There's a story that was circulated a few months ago about Powell practicing the speech a day or two before he actually read it. Apparently, there's footage of him, somewhere, throwing his hands up and saying "This is bullshit!" So, he obviously knew that there was something less than kosher about the brief. Score one for Colin.
But, he still read it. He still pushed it as God's Own Truth, though he didn't say anything about a nuclear program, if I remember correctly. Nothing about the whole Uranium In Africa thing, anyhow. So, score several against Colin. He was the one person in this administration that, to some extent, I trusted. Now, I find that I can no longer say this about him.
I have a feeling that many other left-wingers might feel the same.
Junior & Co. should hope that it hasn't alienated too many centrists who stood by them for the war because of Powell. If Powell leaves (and it looks as though he is not sticking around for another term), it's a decent bet that a good deal of centrist support for Junior will leave with him. Especially if one of the Democratic candidates promises Powell's job, or even the VP position, to Gen. Clark. And I'd be willing to bet whomever gets the Democratic nomination will do this, provided Clark agrees, as a counter to claims that Democrats are soft on defense. It should be an effective move, though we'll have to wait to see.
You're not going ot believe this.
I can't even describe it. Just go look.
Where Are The Flying Cars?
I once saw a commercial, featuring Avery Brooks, asking this question, but I feel the need to pose it again.
Seriously. It's the year 2003. This is the Future (capital F). We were promised androids and flying cars.
So, where in Hell are the flying cars? I was promised flying cars!
On a related note, how many of you find yourselves, just every now and then, sitting around, looking at a glass of water or iced tea, or whatever, just trying desperately to use the Force (or something) on it?
Damn it, I've grown up on Science Fiction, and now I desperately want some of it to be true. I want to be able to make the water rise, or at least ripple, just by thinking it. I've probably wasted hours of my life trying, all to no avail. All I want is one little ripple.
Is that really so much to ask for? Just a little telekinesis?
Well, since the future doesn't seem to be all it's cracked up to be, maybe I'll just sign on with Gene Ray, and the Time Cube Theory.
(there is no chance in Hell of that actually happening, in case you're curious.)
Things You Just Don't Even Want To Know About...
Is it just me, or should the question of whether or not to develop new kinds of nuclear weapons just be a no-brainer?
I've heard this issue discussed a few times recently, and, even from a technical standpoint, these things just don't make much sense. The idea here is that these missiles can burrow deep underground and detonate a nuclear weapon, to destroy any possible chemical/biological weapons that may be buried there. First of all, missiles can't burrow that deep under ground. I mean, they're pushing rock away, and it has to go somewhere. You can't compress it, really, and if there's a missile pushing it down, it can't go back up, out of the hole the missile's supposed to be making. So, the missile will explode in short order, and you're not going to reach the underground bunker. Also, if you don't neutralize every last drop of said chemical/biological weapon, you're just going to spread it around; you're going to disseminate the very thing you were trying to contain. And then, of course, there's the whole radioactive bomb thing. Last year, more than 5,000 people died in Japan because of long term illnesses due to our bombing fo Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to the Star Tribune (no link, sorry. It was a few days ago, and the Star Tribune's search engine for finding old stories is really crappy). So, they're not just these harmless little giant bombs. Just in case you didn't know.
(The Mighty Reason Man involved himself in a discussion about the idea of using nuclear weapons now, possibly on the moon, as a deterrent to terrorists. It was at a very right-wing site, and he was somewhat outnumbered by people who simply do not understand that nuclear weapons are, in fact, something more than just a very large bomb.)
This, of course, is to say nothing of the massive political backlash that would almost certainly occer, against us, if we were to develop new nukes, let alone start using them.
This just makes one wonder all the more if there's anything this administration actually cares about, other than itself. Not the American people (with the possible exception of the rich). Not the workd community. Not other nations. Nothing but the all-might dollar. Remember the First Commandment? Money can be a god as well, Junior.
Precisely The Thing You're Not Expecting.
So, Brian and I went looking for an old car for him today. We looked at the '68 GTO, and we went to a dealershp called Hooked on Classics, which deals, obviously, in classic cars. Brian wound up getting the GTO. It's not in showroom condition, but it's nice.
Anyhow, while in the showroom for Hooked on Classics, we saw a car we weren't expecting to see: a Delorean. That's right, the stainless steel bodied beauty featered in the Back to the Future Trilogy. Neither of us had ever actually seen one before; they're quite rare. John Delorean was arrested or deported for drug trafficking, which kind of killed the company. Pity.
This was odd enough as it was. As we kept walking, however, we soon found another Delorean. Two, under one roof. We wouldn't have guessed there were two in the whole freaking state.
Anyhow, that's all I have to say just now.
Bored To Tears
I'm trying to work myself into a fervour about something, so I can make an impassioned post. I'm just having difficulty.
Okay. Well, here's one thing. All those comics who've actually had to work for a living since Clinton and Ventura took to the private sector have finally found a new source of endless material: Ahnold for Governor!
Of course, you all know that by now.
Curiouser and curiouser.
And here's something even scarier.
That's all I have the patience for just now. I'm taking tomorrow off to bring a friend car shopping (he's looking for a '68 GTO). Maybe that won't take too long, and I'll be able to muster up something after we're done.
So, what do conservatives--actual conservatives, and not Neocons--think of Junior's economy?
Here's what CATO, a conservative economic think-tank has to say (link found via the fabulous DailyKos).
"Sadly, the Bush administration has consistently sacrificed sound policy to the god of political expediency. From farm subsidies to Medicare expansion, purchasing reelection votes has consistently trumped principle. In fact, what we have now is a president who spends like Carter and panders like Clinton."
Whoa. I'm sure plenty of conservatives right nwo would call these two just about the worst presidents we've ever had, because of the former's spending, and the latter's pandering. And, according to a group dedicated to focusing on the economy, a group that's supposed to be on Junior's side, he's got the worst of both.
Anyhow, go read the article, then read Kos' commentary on it. Then, read everything else on Kos' site.
Me? I'm going to sleep.
Oh, and Team Watermelon just whiped the floor with Team Black. 15-6. To be fair, they were missing several of thier best palyers, but there's not much we could have done about that.
In the matter of Watermelon v. Black
The regular TCUL season has ended and the enchanting Watermelon team is ranked 7th of 24 teams.
|Tuesday Rec League Rankings After Week 10|
|Pool||Rank||Team||Won||Lost||Differential||Points For||Points Against|
This puts us in the A bracket as one of the top 8 teams in the league, and sets us up for a first round game against Black tonight, weather permitting. In the table above I've noted the teams we've played in yellow and the teams Black's played in blue (green = both). I think our seasons haven't differed too much in difficulty, though theirs looks to have been slightly more challenging. The trouble is that Black is the 2nd-ranked team, with the best point differential in the league and two 15-2 victories! It also has even more SW-related members than Watermelon, including plenty of young, energetic, and swift players. It'll make for a tough game, with bragging rights at stake ... and hey, isn't the annual SW alumni/student game coming up?
Regular season schedule
I thought I should mention a difference I see between PETA's Holocaust comparison and Fred Phelps' activities. PETA is trying to convince people to modify their lifestyles to prevent what PETA sees as harm to others. Phelps and his followers are trying to convince people to modify their lifestyles to prevent what Phelps sees as harm to the people themselves.
Emily should be back in town today. :)
Here's an article from the Star Tribune. No link, sorry. It's not on the main page anymore, and I'm too lazy to look for it. Luckily, I've got the type edition right here, so I can just do it manually. It's a little extra work, but, gosh darn it, I'd do just about anything for my loyal fans (both of you...). I may have gotten a few of the details wrong, as my typing abilities aren't so hot, but I think I've got the gist of it.
Controversy shook the Spanglican Church yesterday when Steve Bobinson, a man whose testicles were crushed in a tragic accident when he was 11, was narrowly confirmed as the newest member of the Klergy.
The Rev. Randall Barmon, a South Carolina theologian and editor of the Spanglican Digest, said he was "incredibly heartbroken" by Sunday's vote.
"A major line was crossed today," he said. "The church is now formally heretical in its teaching about the family."
The Rev. Geoff Parx, a delegate from Collierville, Tenn., said he was disappointed. "This changes what we teach about men with crushed testicles," he said. "He thinks men who are not whole can be admitted into the assembly of the LORD. As I tell teenagers all the time, Deuteronomy, chapter 23, verse 1, specifically says, 'No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD.'
"It's vitally important that, while preaching the messages of Love, Tolerance, Charity, and Peace, that we not get so bogged down in the message of Christianity that we don't stop to observe the literal letter of a book that was written aeons ago. Every word of it is still one hundred percent relevant."
Bobinson defends himself, by claiming that his commitment to God "really has nothing to do with the fact that my testicles have been crushed. It's just not something I have any control over. "This is a bittersweet moment," Bobinson said at a news conference after the vote. "God is doing new things in the world. Something is happening in the church, but it involves pain for a lot of us. I rejoice with my brothers with crushed testicles and amputated penises, but I'm also very aware it's a troubling decision for many."
Opponents argued that Robinson's election would send the wrong message, that having crushed testicles is all right. They said that the Bible is unambiguous in its condemnation of crushed testicles and that elevating a man with crushed testicles to the church's highest office would be tantamount to saying that sinful behavior is OK.
"If he were truly a man of God, he'd have known better. No true Christian man gets his testicles crushed," said one conservative Klergyman.
Of those who would leave the church, Bobinson said, "I pray daily they won't go. I want those people in my church. What binds us together is our faith in Jesus Christ. We shouldn't put any one issue over our commitment to him."
Let me just go on record as saying that I fully support the conservative element of the Spanglican Church. If there's a law in the Bible prohibiting the ascension into heaven of a man with crushed testicles, than who are we mortals to question? Religions do not evolve as societies do; once a rule has been set down, it should be considered set down in stone. I mean, if God had wanted Bobinson in Heaven, he wouldn't have crushed his testicles in the first place, right? What arrogance, for Bobinson to think that he knows better than the Bible. I'm so mad, I just don't know if I'm going to be able to sleep.
I Order You To Read The Following:
1. DailyKos' piece on Dean.
It's worth noting here, as Joe would likely point out, that Dean is not the die-hard Liberal that some would claim him to be. While he is somewhat socially progressive, he's certainly no where near Kucinich, say, in progressiveness (so to speak). If I were to just pick a guy and say, "you're going to be President next," I might prefer someone a little further to the Left, but since other people have a say too, I'll sticking with Dean, because he's the one that's going to bring in the votes. There is one potential problem I see in him, however. A great number of the "grassroots and netroots army" probably have no idea of just how centrist he actually can be. Unless Dean morphs into the progressive candidate he seems to be (and to some extent, I think this might actually happen, but I'm not betting on it), they're going to become disillusioned Democrats who, unless they see the party tilting their way, are going to go third party. We've already got enough of those, thank you.
I suppose this could lead to the rse of the Green Party as a consistent major party, but, again, I'm not betting on it. More likely, it'll lead to a leftward shift in the Democratic Party. Of course, it could just as easily lead to Greens just stealing (as it were) votes from the Democrats, and aiding the Republicans. But I'm just going to block that possibility for now.
2. Talking Points Memo on Clinton-Hating vs. Bush-hating.
He link on this one is a little off--the story I'm trying to get to is actually just above the one I've linked to, so scroll up to the next story. That's the one to read, but I don't think there's a perma-link for it yet. I'll check back later. I've never been, nor will I ever be, a Clinton apologist, but, as I've said before, and will say again, I'll take the Hillbilly over the Good Ol' Boy ten times out of nine.
I have more, but I don't have the time to get to them now. Maybe later tonight, or after Ultimate tomrrow.
Go, Team Watermelon!