Saturday, May 28, 2005

Busy as hell

I apologise for not posting more, but I still don't even have a phone hooked up at my house yet.

As I've been told by many other soldiers down here, there's US Army time, meaning when you say 0900 hrs., you mean 0900 hrs., and then there's Puerto Rican time, which means if you say 0900 hrs., you mean "Maybe sometime today, but most likely a few days from now."

Yeah, my little type "A" personality ass is having a grand old time.

Other than that, things are going well. I'm enjoing all the fresh fruit down here, and I've lost an inch off my waist from all the excersize I've been doing. Once I have my own damn internet connection, I'll be back to posting on a regular basis. I just don't want you guys to think I've forgotten you.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I have some good news and some bad news

First the bad news: Despite earlier reports to the contrary, the New York Times now says that Zarqawi is feelin' fine. Now the good news: There is still a good chance of his capture and agonizing death by Bubba.

Update: According to this report, Zarqawi has limped across the border to Iran. Hmmm....What to do....

Iraq 'Human Shield' Challenges Fines

As well he should.

A peace activist who went to Iraq to serve as a "human shield" against the U.S. invasion is challenging $8,000 in federal fines. Ryan Clancy, 28, filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department in federal court Thursday.

The department alleges Clancy went to Iraq in violation of sanctions and offered his services to the Iraqi government to shield its facilities from possible military action.
The charges seem like bullshit to me. To the United States Attornies I say "Drop the charges!"

I'm sure Ryan is positively itching to get back there and shield the markets and police stations.

Go get 'em, Tiger!

Yahoo! News

Onward, Christian Soldiers!

Or, at the very least: Prepare to Riot !!! *** So, if you think your Liturgy is bad

*** Incitement is figurative, not literal.

NBC clashes with Tom DeLay on Law & Order


U.S. House of Representative Majority Leader Tom DeLay accused NBC on Thursday of slurring his name by including an unflattering reference to him on the NBC police drama "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

DeLay's name surfaced on Wednesday night on the show's season finale, which centered on the fictional slayings of two judges by suspected right-wing extremists.

In the episode, police are frustrated by a lack of clues, leading one officer to quip, "Maybe we should put out an APB (all-points-bulletin) for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt."
As I said: Heh.

But that's not the really funny part.

In a letter to NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, DeLay wrote: "This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse."

The Texas Republican went on to suggest the "slur" against him was intended as a jab at comments he had made about "the need for Congress to closely monitor the federal judiciary."

NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly responded in a statement that the dialogue in question "was neither a political comment nor an accusation."
You got that?

Yahoo! News

It looks like The Onion...

...but it's not.

I remember when banning steak knives was a sneering and pointed joke trotted out by gun nuts to make a corollary point during gun control debate. Not no more.

Al Sharpton... (safe for work).

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why there cannot be an old fashioned filibuster

I'm sure you've heard it suggested that we should "force Democrats to read from the phone book". That isn't going to happen.

It is important to understand that the old-fashioned filibuster of the '50s and '60s went by the boards when the rule to invoke cloture – the process of ending debate – was changed in 1975, from requiring a vote of two-thirds of those present, to a vote of three-fifths of all senators.

In the old days, if the Senate was held in session around the clock, the party wishing to block a vote had to be present because 51 senators are necessary to constitute a quorum. However, now that three-fifths of all 100 senators (60) must give their approval to end debate, it is no longer necessary for those wishing to hold up a vote to even be present.

Nobody said that breaking this filibuster would be easy. The way Senate rules are written, it is next to impossible to break one without some backroom deals – and Democrat leaders are not willing to deal.
So when you see someone suggest that Republicans could force Democrats to do this, show them that they cannot. This has always been about Democrat Obstruction. Any debates that have transpired since they began their unprecedented use of the filibuster is soo much smoke and mirrors. The filibuster is THE obstructionist's tool and the Democrats have been employing it with impunity.

[UPDATE - Tim:] Speaking of 1975, here are two quotes from the Congressional Record:

"It seems to me that a not-so-subtle difference, a profound different [sic], between 66 2/3 percent and a simple majority could be the different between an active, responsible U.S. Senate and one which is dominated by a small minority."

"May a majority of the Members of the Senate of the 94th Congress change the rules of the Senate, uninhibited by the past rules of the Senate? I firmly believe that the majority has such a right — as the U.S. Constitution, the precedents of this body, the inherent nature of our constitutional system, and the rulings of two previous Vice Presidents make clear."
Who uttered those two nuggets?

Walter Mondale

And the funny thing is that where the filibuster is concerned, they were against it before they were for it.

Pathological Liar Harry Reid

Democrat Minority Leader Harry Reid (moments ago) after a failed cloture vote to end debate on John Bolton (President Bush's nominee to be Ambassador to the U.N.):

Democrats are "not here to filibuster Bolton..."

Followed by Bill Frist calling the failed cloture motion a filibuster (because it is).

"This is the first filibuster that's been conducted in this Congress"


What is a filibuster?

The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action.

When a bunch of Democrats vote against a motion to end debate of Mr. Bolton it's a filibuster. Reid later admits as much. How many filibusters do you think there have been in the 109th congress? Take bets. I'm hitting the congressional records.

Contstructive Critisism

Do I feel Republicans are above critisism? Nope. In the case of the recent compromise on the unprecedented filibuster of judicial nominees, there are seven of them deserving of wrath not just critisism. Then there are the other 48 Republican Senators that have done their best, stood on principle, and fought for a strong conservative agenda during their time as our elected representatives. Our elected representatives have limits set forth by the rules of the institutions in their charge. The good ones work within the rules to reach goals, the bad ones make up the rules as it suits them (like filibustering judicial nominees as a way to prevent them from attaining a vote on the Senate floor). If we spend all of our time tearing ourselves down because a small number of our elected representatives blew it for the whole all the while Democrats continue to tear our society apart at the seams, then we will not only get the electoral failure some (on our side) are predicting/hoping for, they will be responsible the damage that is done to our nation as a result. Advocates of the former as a means of punishing Republicans as a whole for the transgressions of a few should keep that in mind.

Dems Won't Take Part in Medicaid Panel


Democratic lawmakers said Thursday that they would not participate on a commission that will recommend how to trim Medicaid by $10 billion over the next five years.
What a cadre of babies. They sure do make it easy on the cartoonists.

Yahoo! News

Pentagon says detainee retracts Koran allegation

Rove must've gotten to him. Guantanamo Detainees Full Coverage on Yahoo! News


There Howard Dean Goes Again

Newspaper union leader: U.S. military targets journalists

Flag in a Trashcan

Have a nice day.

Strange Coincidences in Madrid

Readers remember, no doubt. 11 March 2004: a series of ten explosions aboard four commuter trains at the height of the Madrid rush hour, 101 dead, over 1,800 wounded. Find a compendium of information here, if you wish.


Moving images here.

Al Qaeda, right? That's what they say.

Yet a new theory is emerging.


The cellphones used in the bombing came from a cellphone shop owned by Mausilli Kalaji, a Spanish police officer of Syrian descent, and a former member of Al Fatah, with strong ties to Palestine, [who was] trained in Russia as an intelligence agent, [and] whose sister is a police translator [who] was responsible for translating wiretaps on the terrorists before the attack. Kalaji's ex-wife is also a police officer, [who] was one of the first on the scene of the bombing, and [who] found the 13th backpack -- which had the disconnected wires and the easily traceable phone.
Hmmm. Who had more to gain by bombing train stations in Madrid in 2004? Al Qaeda? Or Spanish Leftists?

Black helicopter stuff? Maybe.

Read on: The Adventures of Chester: Strange Coincidences in Madrid

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Pearls of Wisdom from the German Ambassador, and a Response from a Right Wing Wacko

Wolfgang Ischinger, German Ambassador to the United States, says: "As older societies, we tend to think of ourselves as more experienced in the way societies evolve, and we tend to be skeptical of Americans who seem to think that if you believe hard enough, and you muster enough resources, you can change the world...In the last year or so, as we've engaged in discussions about the transformation of the Middle East and democracy, I have told my American friends that the region in this world that has seen the most transformation and change is Central and Eastern Europe--without shedding a drop of blood. So don't preach to us. And don't think transformative change will work according to mechanistic rules. This is very complicated. Changing the way people think often has to do with religious and cultural issues--we tend to think of them as long-term, and Americans think, Let's solve the problem in the next four years!"

I would like to respond:
You, Mr. Ischinger, must be the most hypocritical man on the planet. “Four years?” “Without shedding a drop of blood?” What the hell are you talking about? Was it not Germany that invaded Poland and launched the world into war, requiring the Americans to destroy the vile and cancerous national socialist (i.e., Nazi) movement in Europe? Come to think of it, wasn’t it Germany that started both World Wars? If Germany hadn’t, in its great experience and wisdom, invaded every country in its vicinity, those poor eastern and central European countries wouldn’t have had to exist in a Soviet slave state for the ensuing 50 years, but because of Germany, they did, and more than a few drops of blood were shed. Millions of human beings in these central and eastern European states were butchered (and not just Jews) thanks in large part to the “experienced” Germans. And do you actually believe that it was the Germans that caused the U.S.S.R. to splinter, allowing the eastern bloc states to regain their identities and become free nations again? Hilarious! It was the U.S. that provided the sustained military and political pressure that caused the end of the Soviet Union, and it was the U.S. that provided economic assistance both to Russia and the eastern bloc countries in their transition towards democracy. The Cold War may not have had many spectacular battles (though the Korean and Vietnam Wars do ring a bell), but it was expensive and the United States bore its financial burden almost exclusively. The Europeans as a whole couldn’t even handle that bloody little spat in their backyard, in Bosnia and Kosovo. You had to call on the Americans to fix things. Why should we Americans shed our blood in Bosnia and Kosovo, we asked? Because Europe is a tinderbox and the conflict in this tiny part of Europe could spread. At great cost, both financially and in blood, Americans spent their treasure and continue to do so to protect European interests. Now, not after four years but after 60 years, the US has plans to finally pull its military out of Germany itself and guess who is kicking and screaming about it… the Germans! Talk about changing people’s minds! Guess what, ass-wipe, we Americans have been changing the world through blood, sweat and tears for a very long time now, not that you would give a damn. Don’t lecture us, Wolfgang.

[UPDATE FROM TIM]: I reckon one of the measures by which we can gauge "evolving societies" is how well they receive those who come from other societies. Insofar as Arabs are concerned (I suspect Ambassador Ischinger's remarks are based in part in what is happening in the Arab World) let's see:

In general, Muslims living in Europe—of which Arabs constitute a significant proportion—are poorer, less educated, and in worse health than the rest of the population. In the Netherlands, the unemployment rate for ethnic Moroccans is 22 percent, roughly four times the rate for the country as a whole. In Britain, the Muslim population has the highest unemployment rate of all religious groups. The failure of Arabs in Europe is particularly worrisome given that 10 of the states or entities along Europe’s eastern and southern borders are home to nearly 250 million Muslims—most of them Arabs—with a birthrate more than double that of Europeans.
So the Enlightened Evolving Societies of Europe really aren't handling Arab immigration well at all, are they. Golly.

And racist violent jingoistic hegemonic imperialistic capitalistic America?

How do we receive Arabs into our filthy and degrading culture?

Click to find out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Define Extraordinary Circumstances!

Of these 14 Senators that signed on to the "compromise" we should be asking one question: How do you define "Extraordinary Circumstances". For if it is vague what the hell were they fighting for? It wasn't the nominees because the Democrats agreed to let some of the "radical" ones pass. It wasn't the principle because they have no principle to support their unprecedented filibuster of judicial nominees. So if it isn't these mysterious "extraordinary circumstances", then what the FUCK were the Democrats fighting for? Make them answer in specifics! Oh! And somebody inform Senator Warner that the only thing that happens when you end the unprecedented use of the filibuster to deny votes on judicial nominees, is that we return to the usual business of the Senate. Imagine that! As this great unknown was Mr. Warner's guiding principle (as stated) in this affair, his way should then be clear to vote in favor of ending the unprecedented obstruction by the Democrats.

Revenge of the RINOs

Could someone please explain to me what the repubs get out of the judicial filibuster compromise agreement? (See Roger L. Simon for the text. The comments are interesting, too.) What we seem to have here is seven RINOs selling out their party for a little media praise. "Good doggie." Fifty-five republicans in the senate and they have to get the 45 demonrats' permission to vote on a judicial nominee? Bah! So much for democracy. When it's 60 repubs in '06 will it make a difference you think? I wonder. How badly do the demonrats want to die as a serious political party? Do they honestly believe they can continue as the Party of No? Their media support isn't working anymore (more on that later). I'll tell you one thing, I am officially joining Patterico in his pledge: The next time John McCain runs for any elective office, I pledge to support his opponent. I know how scary that sounds, but I have had enough. If it's him against Darth Rodham in '08, I'm voting libertarian. I've had it. Any other republican, fine, but not McCain or any of these other seven RINOs (John Warner, Mike DeWine, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Lindsey Graham, and Lincoln Chafee) who gave the demonrats what they wanted and got nothing of substance in return. Who are they to decide that these three judicial nominees get a vote and the rest do not? And Frist, he sure demonstrated what a leader he is, didn't he? What a hero. NOT. I wish I had written this letter. At any rate, tons of info and commentary on today's bit of political suicide out there in the blogosphere. I'll post a dozen or so links in the comments. Even Steven Den Beste is talking.

Update: Thomas Sowell nails it, again: "The most fundamental decision is: Who is to decide? Democratic self-rule is what Americans have fought and died for, for more than 200 years." It is depressing, but we need to face up to what just happened, and stop it from happening again.

Monday, May 23, 2005

In case you missed it

450 Economists on Reforming Social Security:

"More than four hundred-and-fifty of America's top economists, including Nobel laureates Milton Friedman, Robert Lucas, Robert Mundell, Edward Prescott and Vernon Smith, are calling for the nation's troubled Social Security system to be reformed by giving workers the option of shifting all or part of their payroll taxes into privately invested accounts."

Hey! Private accounts are one of the key ingredients in The Ryan-Sununu Bill. Ryan-Sununu also satisfies the recommendation of President George W. Bush. It's the Republican answer to the issue of Social Security solvency.

"Democrats should have a plan and they should talk to the president and Congressional Republicans about it." - Bill Clinton on ABC's Good morning America

Back to work...

Our media is selling hopelessness

Hi. This is my first post here, and I’ve been traveling a lot lately so this first post will just be some thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain for a few days. I am currently posting from the beautiful Pacific Ocean (I am literally on the beach right now), but one week ago I was in Potter County Pennsylvania for a funeral – no cell phone connectivity, no internet (Wi-Fi or otherwise), almost no TV. After an incredibly long day (two days with almost no sleep thanks to greeting and grieving with nearly every single resident of small-town, USA, and thanks also to the incredible wideness of this country of ours), I finally relaxed in my motel room (one of the two motels in Potter County, PA) and turned on the idiot box, and flipped through the channels (all 5 of them) and the only thing even mildly interesting on the boob tube is this See-BS evening “News” story on, I kid you not, “BS” (I was pretty tired at the time, but I think they used the actual word “bull-sh*t” and bleeped out the profanity about a thousand times). I’m not really surprised that no one in the blogosphere picked up on this event since the only people who still watch CBS News are those who have no other alternative, like the residents of Potter County. At any rate, this was Sunday evening, 5/15/05. Was this a self-parody, I wondered? Apparently not. This story seemed the absolute pinnacle of hypocrisy, but maybe I should not be so quick to judge. The upshot of the story seemed to be that we are, all of us, swimming in a sea of BS and those in power tend to be the best BSers (using as examples Clinton & Bush – Bush being the worse of the two because, get this, he actually is stupid enough to believe his own bull-sh*t). The implication was that there is nothing but bullsh*t in our modern world at least as portrayed by politicians and the media, nothing of substance, no truth, no reality, no hope of any kind, so we should just sit back, relax, and enjoy the bull-sh*t. Personally, if I want BS I’ll watch Comedy Central, but hey, maybe CBS producers have a plan. Perhaps See-BS is attempting to cement its position as America’s ultimate King of bull-sh*t, and defending itself from stiff competition from the likes of Newsweek magazine. Maybe there is still time for the New York Times or CNN to catch up. Who will win this race for the bottom of the port-a-potty? Has CBS become the official church of bull-sh*t? Is it any wonder that nobody is watching anymore?

Update: Oh, and speaking of Newsweek, just in case there was any misunderstanding or doubt whatsoever about Newsweek's duplicity, check out this Japanese edition of Newsweak. On its front cover, the American flag is proudly displayed in a trash-can and the headline, roughly translated from Japanese, states that America is dead. Get it? Koran in the toilet - BAD, American flag in the garbage - GOOD. Nice of them to clear up any lingering confusion for us. No?