Thursday, December 01, 2005

Iraq and Roll, pt. 2

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch told reporters that suicide bombings fell to 23 in November, which he attributed to successful U.S.-Iraqi military operations against insurgent strongholds in the Euphrates River valley west of the capital.

Link to AP article

Pat: Well, that's very nice, Mr. Lynch, but 85 soldiers--almost 3 a day--died in November, which is the second-highest total since January. Plus, sectarian strife grows more and more deadly, and bombs grow more audacious--one car bomb is more deadly than five vest bombers. Meanwhile, insurgents Have taken control of parts of Ramadi. Oh, and hostage-taking has returned. But because the number of suicide bombers--the least common type of foreign insurgent (and foreign insurgents are no more than 3-7% of the resistance)--is dropping, we're winning? Well. Another victory for stay the course. Mission accomplished. Bring 'em on. Now watch this drive.

And Bush's bold new strategy released yesterday? His grand plan for winning the war? You guessed it, "stay the course." Because that's been working so fucking well. Why, we're positively spiraling out of control...towards freedom! And we have three groups of people we're fighting. Good he acknowledges that it ain't just al-Qaida. But he thinks they're "rejectionists," "Saddamists," and AQ. I'm wondering what the vast majority of the insurgents--the nationalists who just want us out--are to him?

"The rejectionists are by far the largest group. These are ordinary Iraqis, mostly Sunni Arabs, who miss the privileged status they had under the regime of Saddam Hussein. And they reject an Iraq in which they’re no longer the dominant group."

Whoops. Wrong already. Most insurgents don't so much reject an equal Iraq, they reject the twin spectre of American presence and Shi'a dictatorship. Seeing as the Iraqi government is more or less propped up on Shi'a militia, and given the recent allegations by Allawi--a Shi'a, no less--that the current government is worse than Saddam, their fears aren't unjustified.

Then we have the Saddamists. But they'll lose because "They lack popular support." Okay. Good to know that they lack popular support. But you know what the funny thing about Iraq is? If they have support among just 10% of the nation--that would be half the population of the four Sunni-majority provinces--they have more than enough support to last as long as they want to. Ain't that a kick in the head, George? I know that in the US if you don't have popular support you lose (yourself excepted, of course) but Iraq is a different place.

Then we have "The third group...the smallest but the most lethal: the terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al-Qaida."

You mean the smallest but most flashy, George. We're the most lethal group in Iraq; the insurgency--that is, all groups combined--has caused only 8% of Iraqi civilian deaths. Interesting, though: They're the group least likely to cause a civil war, and yet he talks more about them than about the other two combined.

Hey, George? You know, you've talked a lot about Iraq. Why don't you talk about something utterly unrelated?

The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan

Sweet! Sept. 11th! Way to link Iraqi nationalists to international terrorists! Now can we claim that Baghdadis would be shootin' up Disneyland if we hadn't invaded them?

This is an enemy without conscience, and they cannot be appeased. If we’re not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders.

Awesome! George, you did it again. Now let's imply we can never leave Iraq by setting impossible-to-achieve victory tactics!

We will never back down, we will never give in, and we will never accept anything less than complete victory.

That's our president folks! Give him a hand!

Free Tookie vs Fry Tookie

A cell-phone call from convicted killer-turned-gang peace activist Stanley Tookie Williams interrupted a Los Angeles rally on his behalf attended by actor Jamie Foxx, rapper Snoop Dogg and dozens of students..."I'd like to thank all you youngsters," Williams said. "I am honored, truly honored, and regardless of what happens to me, whether I am alive or executed, I know you all will remember me."

Foxx gave the phone back and turned to the crowd.

"If that don't move you, I don't know what it takes," the Oscar-winning actor said.

The event at the downtown library was one of several held around the state Wednesday to urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to spare Williams. The co-founder of the Crips street gang was convicted of murdering four people in 1979.

Link to Seattle P-I article

Tim: Um, Mr. Foxx? What it would take to move me would be for the man we're talking about to be anyone but a felon convicted of murdering four in cold blood--a man who founded the Crips, who ruled L.A. so violently the Bloods rose to defend themselves from the Crips and in doing so started a gang war that claimed tens of thousands of young men. A man who has never apologized for the murders. A man who think writing a few children's books asking kiddies not to join the gang he's never officially left makes him a hero.

Oh, and another nice one: "We're all remaining optimistic, we're all remaining prayerful," said Bonnie Williams-Taylor, Williams' ex-wife and mother of one of his sons. She said her ex-husband was convicted to be a "fall guy" for out-of-control gang violence. Um...a "fall guy" for gang violence? I'm pretty sure that as the leader of a gang, he isn't so much a fall guy as the man responsible. Fall guy? Come on. That's like if Timothy McVeigh were to claim "I'm just the fall guy for all the death of all the people I murdered."

Pat: You have to look beyond revenge to what he's doing now. I don't doubt he's a murderer. He might still be slime, but even if he's only doing good things to keep his ass alive, he's still doing good things. Grant him a stay, but leave him on death row. Let him do good things.

Tim: The death penalty here is the law. It's what the court asked for. Nowhere in the law is "...unless he's a nice guy" written. I'm sure the people he killed were nice guys too. And yet he didn't grant any of them clemency, now did he?

Pat: You're still thinking revenge. Will killing him save anyone's life? Or will letting him speak against gangs and prove redemption is possible save lives?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Day

Tim: I'm thankful the election was held Nov. '04 and not Nov. '05.

Pat: And I'm thankful for the '06 ones.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Special

One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting...Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits -- which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States...Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.

Link to Simpering Handwringer

Tim: Oh, dear God. See, this is why people don't like liberals. Everyone's sitting around, gathering their families, offering heartfelt thanks for the blessings and love that God has granted them, and then some cold-hearted ranting PC-bot comes raving in, spits in the mashed potatoes, slaps Grandma and calls her a religious nut, kicks Grandpa in the face and calls him a racist, calls Dad a chauvinist and Mom a sex traitor, then tears the animals' collars off and "frees" them into the cold night, and then leaves, congratulating himself on another family enlightened. Thanksgiving isn't about celebrating a genocide, fucker.

First of all, the "genocide" was by and large caused by smallpox and cholera, diseases for which the Indians had no immunity. Secondly, at no point were the first Thanksgivings related to genocide; the "genocide" happened hundreds of years later. Thirdly, the first modern Thanksgiving was declared by Abraham Lincoln as a day for solemn thanks to God for what the war had not yet taken from America.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Do you see "And in celebration of the genocide of the Indians which we so rightfully extinguish so the supreme Aryan race may rule the globe with an iron fist anywhere?" No, no, not so much. The only links between U.S. - Indian relations and Thanksgiving are those insane leftists like this guy insists on seeing. Yes, Thanksgiving was based on earlier Thanks-giving festivals. Harvest festivals. Which exist in every agricultural society. Would you bitch at a black family celebrating Kwanzaa because it's based on a harvest festival, and the Tutsis stole land from the Hutus--on which they then used to farm, and then harvest? Is this acceptable? Shall we hector a Jew at Passover, because God damn it, that was the start of the campaign that led to them stealing the Canaanites' land! And I better not hear a Frenchman celebrate Bastille day, because goddamn it, the land that prison was on belonged to the King, and they stole his land! Do Italy, Germany, and Greece have to break into nation-states that nasty war and forced assimilation pulled together? Should we bemoan the Gallic wars that forged the modern-day France out of tribes of Gauls and Celts? Guess what? Massacres happen. All the time. Constantly. Nations are forged in genocide-assimilation campaigns. Always. These things happen, they're terrible, they're tragic. And then the world picks itself up and moves on.

But that's beside the point. Thanksgiving has nothing to do with junior-year US History class. It has to do with families coming together. And if you have a problem with that, you can just stuff it...and wonder why Americans vote for the Republicans who celebrate Thanksgiving instead of trying to throw the nation on a guilt trip.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bush Plotted to Bomb Al-Jazeera

PRESIDENT Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a "Top Secret" No 10 memo reveals. But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash. A source said: "There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it." Al-Jazeera is accused by the US of fuelling the Iraqi insurgency. The attack would have led to a massacre of innocents on the territory of a key ally, enraged the Middle East and almost certainly have sparked bloody retaliation.
Link to Mirror article

Pat: Oh...kay. I'm at an immediate loss for words. You know, I thought The Onion's prophecy was only a one-off, but no, it seems they managed to do it again. For God's sakes, why?

Tim: I don't exactly buy into the "bin Laden's Mouthpiece" bull some guys on my side try to throw at us, but Al Jazeera is harmful. They show the Arab world the dark side of our war--images of dead bodies, Iraqi and US, designed to make us look alternatingly evil and weak. They trump up our failures, they give the Arab world a negative view of us. They undermine Arab views of America, and in doing so undermine the war, and therefore undermine the United States of America. And as enemies of the United States, I'm not so sure this would have been an immoral thing. Now, it would have been a bad idea--I don't want to imagine the reaction--but it would have been justified.

Pat: You mean they dared to report the truth about this war, without the War Is Fun spin we throw on it? They dared to show that war has negative consequences? And this makes them enemies of the United States? When was it that truth-tellers became our enemy--to the point that we would massacre innocents in a friendly nation for not repeating our lies? When was it we decided to show the world that torture was an American value? When was it we declared that we had no use for our historic allies, that 'Old Europe' could go f*ck itself? When did we decide White Phosphorus, a chemical weapon burning at 5000 degrees, was fit for use on civilians? When did we decide the Geneva Conventions did not apply to us? For God's sakes, we repeat "freedom, democracy, hope!" over and over again and then commit brazen atrocities over and over again, all in the world's eyes. And this wasn't the first time we bombed Al-Jazeera for reporting the truth. In 2001 we made a direct hit on the channel's Kabul office in Afghanistan.

In April 2003, an Aljazeera journalist died when its Baghdad office was struck during a US bombing campaign. Nabil Khoury, a US State Department spokesman in Doha, said the strike was a mistake.

In November 2002, Aljazeera's office in Kabul, Afghanistan, was destroyed by a US missile. None of the crew was at the office at the time. US officials said they believed the target was a terrorist site and did not know it was Aljazeera's office.
(same article)

And it is attacks like these--attacks not on terrorists but on the people of the middle east and the institutions of freedom and liberalism like Al Jazeera (which, by the way, is a major force pushing for Westernization, transparency, reform, and freedom in the Mideast, as anyone who pokes around their website for a few minutes would find out), it is attacks like these that turn the Iraqi people against us.

A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. (link) and Iraqi political leaders, in a joint statement, declared the "fundamental right to resistance" of the insurgency.

It is because of attacks like this that we have lost the war in Iraq, and have unwittingly embroiled ourselves in the coming Iraqi civil war.

Tim: Yes, sometimes in order to win a war you have to do unsavory things. I don't think that's new or surprising. If Vietnam taught us anything, it's that you can't fight a war with a hand tied behind your back. If the terrorists use selected truths as weapons, you have to disarm them. If they won't talk, you have to torture them. That's the way war goes, and simply pretending like this is new and shocking is just juvenile.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Temporary Hiatus

Personal situation such that blog updates have not been easy to come by. Blog likely back online after this week.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Pre-midterm quiz

Pat: So, in Virginia and NJ, Democrats chalked up another pair of victories--and try as you might to spin it away, it's at least in part a referendum on Bush. Back in Minnesota, Bush-endorsing Democratic mayor Randy Kelly was thrown out on his ass. Ahnuld, after having spent $50M of the state's money, $300M of advertising spending (accounts for both sides' spending), and $7M of his own money on his bizarre "special election because the legislature won't do what I want" referendum, was dealt a defeat on every single issue he put to referendum, thus proving that the system of "elected representitives" does indeed have merit. Only in New York was there a Republican victory, with liberal Republican mayor Mike Bloomberg winning it after outspending Ferrier nearly ten to one. I would say this would be an unqualified success for the Democrats. Too bad we couldn't do-over all the '04s too; it seems the chimp took a nosedive once the massive "WE LOVE W" money machine shut off.

Tim: Okay, first of all, it was understood in the creation of this blog that I would never say Demoncrat, Demonicrat, DemocRAT, Democrap, Dim-ocrat, John Skerry, Shrillery, Hellery, LIEberal, or anything similarly juvinile, and in return you would never say Chimp, Chimperor, Chimpy, any other "witticism" involving a monkey and George Bush, you would not tack names like "McCokespoon" or "McFlightsuit" or "O'Deficit" onto either "George" or the aforementioned "Chimpy," nor would you say Rethuglican, Repuke, Repunk, Repugnantcan, Dumbya, Shrub, or any other tired middle-school insult. Next, the Democrats already held those seats, so I wouldn't get too excited. No seats changed hands, except for the all-important posts of Mayor of Saint Paul and Attorney-General of Virginia--and there it was a Dem for a Dem and a Rep for a Dem, respectively. Yeah, Arnold failed, but he should have seen it coming; it was a bad idea from a man who is no more the future of the Republican party than Teddy Kennedy is the future of the Democrats--they're fun sideshows.

Oh, and this is fun: Morons who believe Kerry won '04 and Bush stole it wondering why Bush didn't steal it this time.

Choice quotes:
sucking us in for the next big one
KKKRove is preoccupied
Whoever runs the big show has penciled in a shift in the script, in my opinion.
They let the Dems win the small elections this time to avoid suspicion, and make it look like their machines aren't rigged.
Hello!!!! Who says they didn't try?

You can't make this stuff up, folks! Yes, we even steal the ones you win. Fear us.

And here we have a multiple-choice Why didn't they steal it? Note that "Republicans Don't Actually Steal Elections; We Simply Lost '04 By Ourselves" is not on there. Right now They are trying to throw us off the election fraud scent is winning by a slim margin over The rigging operations and crooked players only in selected states And to think they call themselves "reality-based."

Pat: Um...I'm not sure what Democratic Underground dolts have to do with the Republicans losing two elections that at one point were supposed to go there way (especially in VA) until Bush's poll numbers dropped, but if that makes you feel better, go for it. You seem to have addressed every point peripherally related to the election without actually talking about the election. You lost, it bodes poorly for you for '06, especially since you lost in large part due to distate for Republicans.

Tim: Look, there's nothing to talk about here. You held on to seats you already owned. It would have been a feather in our cap had we won, but we didn't, and so nothing happened. Yeah, we're in a rough patch, but we'll come out. You did pick up governorships in '03, I recall. And that wasn't exactly a bellwether, now was it? It was overall a non-event. An opportunity we missed to bounce back, but since we didn't, everything's the exact same is if there was no election.

Pat: Right, losing two major elections is a "non-event" that makes you have to change the subject every time it comes up.

Monday, November 07, 2005

"US does not torture," Bush says

"We do not torture," Mr Bush told reporters during a visit to Panama..."Any activity we conduct is within the law."

Pat:


US general concedes abuse was torture
One year after Abu Ghraib, torture continues - Amnesty International
Letter shows Guantanamo torture
Cheney, Senate split over ban on torture
Red Cross: Iraq abuse "tantamount to torture"
Justice department memo says torture may be justified

Of course we don't torture, Mr. President. Because that's what Karl told you, and Karl doesn't lie, oh no, sir, everything's just fine in Iraq and in Cuba and everything's wonderful and lovely and everyone loves you despite what polls say and they're just polls and you're the most brilliant man I've ever met.

Tim: Okay, so perhaps he was a bit out of line on that one, but what do you expect him to do? "Yeah, we torture because we have to" doesn't go over very well.

Pat: You know, there's a reason torture doesn't go over very well, and that's because it's despicable. Heck, it's not even efficient. It's just torture. I thought he was supposed to be the ethical, straightforward guy. Just come clean--say "yeah, we torture, and we have to." None of this, "Oh, no, ignore all eyewitness accounts and photo evidence to the contrary, we never torture" crap.

Oh, and amusingly enough, on FoxNews:

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bush Urges Latin America on Democracy

President Bush on Sunday urged Latin Americans to reject efforts to reverse democratic progress in the region while choosing representative governments and building constructive ties with other nations...Bush's speech in Latin America's largest nation, which has immense influence on its neighbors, did not mention any leaders by name as heading up an anti-democracy charge. But it was clear his remarks were aimed at Venezuela's leftist leader Hugo Chavez.

Link to AP article

Pat: Chavez won the 1998 presidential election on December 6, 1998 by 56.2% of the vote. After adopting a new Constitution, Venezuela re-elected Chavez with a 59.7% vote. Chavez survived a briefly-successful 2002 military coup because of massive popular opposition to the coup. A 2004 recall referendum was defeated by a 59.25% "no" vote. All elections were declared free and fair by the Carter Center or the United Nations. He's left-wing, yes, but I'm not sure how you can claim a leader who's been voted into office three times is somehow against democracy. And yes, Human Rights Watch has criticized him, but they've criticized Bush for Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Finally, I think a man who experiences widespread rioting and massive protesting whenever he enters a South American nation has more to worry about when it comes to "building constructive ties with other nations" in South America than does the popular Mr. Chavez. And yes, per-capita GNP has declined under Chavez, but that's mostly because the super-rich aren't making money any more, and the money is going towards improving quality of life for the poor majority--and the WHO, UNICEF, and UN have all praised his policies. Which is better than Bush has had. And Tim isn't here today, so he'll just have to complain to me about it later.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Birthright Lost?

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- House Republicans tackling illegal immigration were reported looking closely at ending birthright citizenship..."There is a general agreement about the fact that citizenship in this country should not be bestowed on people who are the children of folks who come into this country illegally," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
Link to UPI article

Tim: Well, since the article doesn't actually seem to contain any relevant information excepting the snip, that does slightly hinder debate. But anyway, I fully agree with this. American citizenship should belong to the children of those who America lets in its borders. That was the original purpose, I'm sure, of whatever poorly-conceieved law allows this travesty. American citizenship should be allowed to Americans and those who America allows in, and no others.

Pat: The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, Section One: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. This law is a political stunt. It's not even constitutional. And yes, illegals are under United States jurisdiction when in the territory of the United States. US law has jurisdiction over all US territory, regardless of nationality and citizenship (excepting diplomatic immunity, of course). Something should be done about illegal immigration, yes. But violation of the Constitution should never be done.

Tim: Yeah, now you care about the Constitution.

Pat: I always have.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The protestors are coming! The protestors are coming!

More than 1,000 protesters gathered in the Federal Plaza in the Loop on Wednesday, calling for an end to the Bush administration.
Link to Sun-Times article

Tim: You...you all do realize that we have a document called a Constitution, right? And in that Constitution, it nowhere states that a presidency can be revoked merely because people wish it to be? The conditions under which he can leave:

1. He resigns.
2. He is incapacitated or killed.
3. His term ends and he has not been re-elected.
4. He is impeached and removed from office.
5. The Constitution is changed so as to add a new rule here, or is no longer the law of the land.


Now I've seen nothing from him implying that he intends to leave merely because his approval rating is (according to today's CBS poll) 35%. Presidents don't resign because their polls hit a low spot. And since his approval rating is higher than either congressional Republicans' or Cheney's, his resignation would severely hurt his party. So 1. isn't going to work. 2. is treasonous, and I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and state that they were not advocating assassination. 3. will happen regardless of his popularity; he could have 0% or 100% approval and he'd step down the exact same day. 4. is ridiculous with 55 Senate Republicans. And 5. has the same answer as 4. or 2., depending on the conditions surrounding it. So therefore, I can only conclude that once again, these liberals are merely sad, misguided people wasting a day that could otherwise have been spent at work or at study.

Pat: First of all, protest isn't actually designed to remove the President, but rather to solidify the opposition to the administration. People who were merely leaning against him might identify with these people, and become solidly anti-Bush. But these particular protestors I don't identify myself with. Mostly I think protest is useless, especially when it's for causes as hopeless as early removal of a President.

Tim: Have you seen their flyers? They leave them all over Hutch. They say "the Democrats aren't willing to do what it takes to remove the President," and they have links to some radical communist party advocating violent overthrow of the government. Makes this quote: "It seems like there are more police here than there are people," said Leslie Staniszewski, 23, of Chicago. "I don't know what they're expecting from a bunch of pacifists. It's almost like they're trying to provoke something." seem kinda ironic, doesn't it? But from their website:

Link to site

If you help make it happen. November 2 can and must be a real beginning — the day that marks the beginning of the end of the Bush Regime. This CAN be done — if you join in.

The will of the people means nothing to the Bush regime. The people's will must be forged into an organized political resistance which repudiates and reverses the whole direction of society, and forces Bush himself from office.

But here's the scary thing:
"If we drive out the Bush regime, what will replace it?"

What is the point of the question? Are you saying that if we don't have a full vision of where society needs to ultimately go that we should not go anywhere? Are you saying that people should not unite broadly on a great need that desperately calls out to be done, by millions of people all around the planet, because people disagree about what to do once that need is met?


They refuse to answer. Why? Because their answer isn't what people want. "World Can't Wait" is a front for the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party USA. Pacifist my ass. These people have nothing but the destruction of the Constitution as their aim. And it's not just me who discovered this: SF Gate article. If you haven't seen the flyers, Pat, here's why: They're in the copies of Revolution that they leave on the steps of the Reynolds Club and Hutch. Look, if I could find this out just by doing a few Google searches of the names of the organizers, a Whois search, and a few more seconds of poking around their site, why can't the media? Why does the Sun-Times make them seem like mere protestors, not hopeful revolutionaries?

Pat: These marchers aren't communists. Their leaders might be, but just like most Republicans aren't in favor of the deficit or torture, most Democrats aren't in favor of idiot communists.

Tim: That may be, but Jesus, these people are stupid. Revolution? Overthrow? Come on, guys, it's the 21st century. Take off your Che shirts and give it up. Fortunately, in Chicagoland--a metropolitan area of 9.65 million people--they could only find 1,000 people, many of which, like that "we're just pacifists" moron above, didn't even know what they were protesting for. That leaves...ah...9.649 million against the communists, .001 million in favor of them. Yes, the destruction of capitalism is at hand!

Heckuvajob Dressin' Yerself, Brownie

From the mouth of Brownie:

*I'm not answering that question, but I do have a question: Do you know of anyone who dog-sits?
*"Can I quit now? Can I come home?"
*"Please roll up the sleeves of your shirt, all shirts. Even the president rolled his sleeves to just below the elbow...On TV you just need to look more hard-working."
*"Tie or not for tonight? Button-down blue shirt?"
*If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god.
*"Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do?"

Link to CNN article

Pat: Worst FEMA director ever.

Tim: No argument. He should have been canned and was.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Okay, no decent news today.

Pat: Really, nothing interesting today. More on Alito, but nothing new. DeLay got a new judge, but we saw that one coming. Dems forced a special meeting on Iraq, but the new investigation will only report back to the parties, so that's a wash. So here's something else:

What we don't like about our own parties. Three things. Me first.

1. We don't stand for much. I know the Republicans say it and we deny it, but really, all our policies are either "Go along with the Republicans" or "Go against the Republicans." We don't have an agenda.

2. "Together, we can do better" is a terrible slogan. Apparently "America can do better" fizzled with Kerry because we didn't say how we could do better. Togetherness is key, apparently.

3. Partisan dumbasses. No, idiots, Kerry didn't win the election. And no, Bush did not personally order 9-11.

4. We can't frame a debate to save our lives. The Republicans could call tax cuts and deficit spending "Freedomnomics," and we would immediately start talking about how "Democrats disagree with Freedomnomics."

5. Bush bashing. Seriously, positioning ourselves as the Anti-Bush party won't exactly work as soon as the guy's out of office.

Tim:

1. The Religious Right. Yeah, I'll go along with them on abortion; I can't really see how killing babies can be legal. But I don't really care. And their intelligent design is outright stupid. Yes, let's cripple our next generation of scientists. Who needs technological dominance when we've got the Lawd??

2. Okay, I admit it, Bush is stupid. He's surrounded by bright guys, but personally, while his heart's in the right place, he's a dolt.

3. Partisan dumbasses. Liberals are not persecuting us, we're the majority and we have all the power. And every car bomb in Iraq is not automatically good news, and 2000 deaths in Iraq and 250 billion are not good news because WW2 killed more and cost more.

4. Yeah, the deficit scares me, and Bush really needs to start using his veto, God damn it all. Read those fucking bills, man! Notice those quarter-billion-dollar bridges to nowhere!

5. Stop commiting random crimes. Yes, they really aren't as important as the media's trumped them up to be, and yes, I agree, they may not actually be crimes (but merely actions that, if the law was sensible, would be crimes) but really, guys, you have to expect after Clinton's felonious fellatio that the media will be looking to crucify our leaders. Just keep yourselves clean, dammitall.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito Bandito

Link to article, in case you somehow missed out on it.

Tim: Finally. After that embarassing Miers mess, we finally have a judge who actually deserves nomination. He's argued 12 cases on the Supreme Court, been a federal judge for 15 years, has a solid record of respect for the constitution...this is the man Bush should have suggested first. This is not some lightweight, fluff-headed personal friend of Bush, this is a dynamic conservative powerhouse who is set to get things fixed.

Pat: "Of course, he's against abortion," 90-year-old Rose Alito said of her son, a Catholic. We're not even trying to do this Miers stealth-attack. He's laid out the groundwork for a war. And now the Democrats better give him a war. This isn't about putting a good nominee on the court, this is an in-your-face display of conservative dominance after months of pathetic weakness on the part of the White House.

Tim: So what if it is? Bush can hardly operate effectively if he's seen as a lame duck. There's no better way for him to regain his ground than for him to regain his base, and once he has an operating base again, he'll be able to regain traction in the media war, and thus repair his numbers.

Pat: So you admit this is just political grandstanding.

Tim: Of course, it's "just political," it's politics. And grandstanding is part of politics.

Pat: I know grandstanding's part of politics; don't patronize me. But grandstanding is also a failure to do right by America. That Rosa Parks display, that was grandstanding at an opportune time. Praise a good woman and link yourself with her in peoples' minds. But a Supreme Court nominee is not time for grandstanding. It's a time for sobriety, and the giddy response Alito belies more an atmosphere of confrontational partisanship than anything else. And it's time Democrats expose confrontational partisanship for what it is.

Tim: You were complaining that Bush was "pulling the wool over our eyes" with Roberts, and we agreed that Miers was a vacant question mark. And now you're complaining about Alito's record. Talk about partisanship.

Pat: It isn't partisanship, it's recognizing a partisan attack when you see one. Bush has neglected his base for too long, and they're getting upset. He realized with Miers that he couldn't get anything moderate past you guys, and has decided to take his chances with a battle. But he didn't want a battle. And so we'll give him a battle.

Tim: "Give him a battle?" Oh, yeah, Bush's the partisan one here.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Do sportswriters really get paid?

Tim: I'll take this one, you usually seem to be the one who complains about terrible writing when it comes to the Sox. So let's look at David Schoenfield from ESPN on Oct. 25 about Game 3 of the World Series:

My head started spinning around the top of 11th with all the second guessing to do off this crazy, wild, unpredictable, beautiful game...hell of a game, though. This may be the most epic four-game sweep in World Series history.

Now let's look at him just the next day, on Oct. 26, after the four-game sweep was complete.

But I'm afraid we also watched a lot of bad baseball, especially in the World Series. Yes, the games were close, but they weren't exciting. I'm calling it the third-worst World Series of the ESPN era...Game 3 reminded me of a bad Little League game from fifth grade...it ranks as a stinker. I mean, who didn't predict the Astros would get shut out tonight? I should have called Shoeless Joe to put some money on that one.

Link to moron

So it was crazy, wild, unpredictable, beautiful, a hell of a game, and an epic world series...and, at the same time, a stinker, predictable, a bad Little League game, and the third-worst World Series of modern times. And just how "predictable" is a game decided by one run? There was only a 6-run difference over 4 games. What that means is that if four pitches had been different, it would have been a four-game Astros sweep. How predictable.

And, once again, the games "aren't exciting" because they don't involve the Red Sox - Yankees subtext, but rather subtexts from histories in other cities. Newsflash: Red Sox - Yankees romance bores the hell out of everyone who isn't from the Northeast. At least the Cubs have a history lazy sportswriters have heard of.

Jesus, who pays for these people? Do people take them seriously?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thank you.

Pat: I celebrated last night, jumping, laughing, and cheering. This morning on the Red Line, reading the Sun-Times, I cried. At almost every article. I cried reading the RedEye. Reading the recaps online. It's all so incredible.

These men: AJ the gritty center-of-controversy, the team mascot by the end of it; Crede, the shaky batter who turned into a Gold-Glove fielder whose bat made sure any Sox deficit was temporary; Konerko, who joins the pantheon of great sluggers with a a clutch grand slam; Jermaine, who quietly became the most consistant, solid player on the team; Garland, Buehrle, Garcia, and Contreras, a four-ace hand; Podsednik, the zero-HR speed-stealer who knocked a walkoff blast in Game Two; Iguchi, the consistent fielder whose WS batting slump only made his ALCS and ALDS heroics stand in sharper relief; Uribe, who I'm surprised still has ribs after the spectacular foul catch in the last inning of Game Four; Rowand, the tiny Gold-Glove-worthy center fielder who never blinks about throwing himself headfirst into walls; The bullpen of solid Cotts and Politte, standby Viscaino and Hermanson, October phenom El Duque, Jenks who suddenly matured into a hundred-mile-an-hour ace, and even Marte who nearly blew it earlier but proved himself world-caliber--as did every single one of these pitchers--in the 5-hour-41-minute marathon game 3; and even the scrubs: Widger, Ozuna, and Perez, Harris and Blum, oh, Harris who crossed the plate for the game 4 winner and oh, the mighty Blum, whose only WS at-bat was the game 3 winning home run; and even Everett, who I desperately wished to be traded away all year, and who finally woke up when it counted, batting .500 in the Fall Classic; heck, possibly even Man Soo Lee, the bullpen catcher. These men are no longer men. They are a team; they are heroes all; they are legends. They will grow old, their careers will close. Some will be traded, some will go free-agent, all will eventually retire, in Sox hats or otherwise. But this team--the team that gave Chicago a world series crown after 88 years--will live on forever. They are gods now, their names will flow together for years. They will be remembered 20 years from now, 40 years from now, 60 years from now. In this city, cursed with eternal sports mediocrity, winning teams are titans, and the 2005 White Sox have just joined the 1985 Bears and the Repeat-Threepeat Bulls in the pantheon of champions.

Thank you, Ozzie, thank you, Williams, thank you, Reinsdorf, thank you, all the players. Thank you.

She Gone!

Controversial U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination after weeks of criticism over her qualifications for the role...Bush blamed her withdrawal on Senate pressure on the White House to release internal documents concerning Miers.
Link to CBC article

Tim: Oh, thank God. Finally. But that isn't the reason, Mr. President. The reason is that she was perhaps the least-qualified person ever to consider wearing the black robes.

Pat: Oh, and don't forget this gem that came out yesterday: Miers said 'self-determination' should guide decisions. You try to claim people should be able to choose, you lose the right, and you don't get confirmed. The Senate had nothing to do with this. She might not have believed it, but it proves that she at the very least is not a strong supporter of conservative ideals, at the very most is against them. The documents are a flimsy excuse; the White House certainly knew that it would either have to give them up or send a complete unknown for confirmation. I'm slightly saddened that a potential moderate voice is gone, but, more than that, relieved that the Senate actually did its job and prevented an unqualified candidate from attaining a high office.

Tim: Hopefully the next nominee will be a good, smart constructionist in the mold of Roberts.

Pat: Nah. Hopefully the next one will be just as empty-headed and poorly-qualified as this one, will suffer the same fate, and Bush will break down and support a moderate.

Tim: Unlikely. They've learned their lesson on this: a nominee by a Republican does not automatically garner Republican support. The next one will have a paper trail, and will be pro-life. There's no way around it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cheney doing "Great Job," McClellan says

Pressed about Cheney's knowledge about the CIA officer, McClellan said: "I think you're prejudging things and speculating and we're not going to prejudge or speculate about things."

McClellan said Cheney — who participated in a morning video conference on the Florida hurricane from Wyoming, where he is speaking at a University of Wyoming dinner tonight — is doing a "great job" as vice president.

Link to AP article

Tim: Well, I'm inclined to agree. There is no evidence that he committed any sort of crime, and--

Pat:

The infidel prosecuters will be roasted in their own juices! I swear to you now that Dick Cheney has committed no crimes, and just like DeLay, Libby, Frist and Rove, he will have his vengeance if the foolish partisans attempt their fraudulent tricks!

Tim: Come on now, seriously, an indictment is not a guilty verdict. An indictment means nothing. All an indictment means is that a prosecuter became a persecuter and threw some charges at the wall. They won't stick.

Pat:

The Democrats' pathetic indictments mean nothing to us! They will be thrown out of court just as their pitiful bodies will be thrown out of Congress after the glorious Republican victories in 2006! Cheney is doing a great job, just as Brown did 'a heck of a job' at FEMA, just as George Tenet gave us 'darn good intelligence' on Iraq, and just as Harriet Miers is an 'extremely qualified woman.' All the things the infidels have told you are lies, and any so-called 'case' is only prejudgement and evil speculation.

Tim: Would you stop that?

Iraq's Constitution Adopted by Voters

Iraq's constitution was adopted by a majority in a fair vote during the Oct. 15 referendum, as Sunni Arab opponents failed to muster enough support to defeat it, election officials said Tuesday. A prominent Sunni politician called the balloting "a farce."
Link to ABC article

Tim: Good. Victory is indeed at hand. With this constitution, a legitimate government will be elected, and, more importantly, the Iraqi people will see that politics are a positive, empowering alternative to terror.

Pat: Just like they did last time. Look, we're a step closer to the point at which the administration figures it's politically acceptable to leave, and I appreciate that. Especially since only 34% of Americans believe the war was the correct thing to do now. So now we're just counting the days until we declare victory, pull out, and cross our fingers that nothing bad happens over there while we have a Republican in office.

Tim: It's unfortunate that the American people are growing frustrated with the war, but this news will bolster their support. This is real progress. And even if they don't come around, every day we get closer to the point where we can leave a stable Iraq.

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's not really Something Completely Different if we keep going back to it

Pat: So the Sox are up 2-0 in the World Series. Now, bigger leads have indeed been blown (New York, I'm looking at you) and as the sportswriters love to say, Houston plays well in Minute Maid park. They aren't used to playing in Chicago. It's chilly. And there was rain. They might catch cold. Now, the Sox are the best road team in the league, and we already went through the "but the other team has amazing home-field advantage" story with the Angels/Rally Monkey and the Red Sox/Fenway, but it's possible the Astros will actually start playing better at home. And since we only won this last game in the unlikeliest manner (2-out grand slam? Podsednik with a walk-off home run?) that would mean losses. But all we have to do is take 1 of 3 in Houston and take 1 of 2 back in Chicago to win it. And I do hope we take 2 of 3 in Houston (or preferably 2 of 2). But overall, a 2-0 series lead is a very good thing.

Tim: Hey, all luck to you. Red Sox last year, White Sox this year, Cubs next year. Red, White and Blue. The Three Curses lifted in reverse order of length. It'll be awesome.

Bush Won't Release All Miers Records

President Bush said Monday that he will not release any records of his conversations with Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers that could threaten the confidentiality of the advice that presidents get from their lawyers...."People can learn about Harriet Miers through hearings, but we are not going to destroy this business about people being able to walk into the Oval Office to say, Mr. President, this is my advice," Bush said after a meeting with his Cabinet.
Link to AP article

Pat: I believe you can add "releasing information that would allow the Senate to determine the qualifications of a Supreme Court nominee" to a list of the things 'President' Bush is utterly unable to do.

Tim: As much as I dislike Miers and pray every day that her name be withdrawn, confidentiality is important to the Presidency. You can't very well operate a White House with everyone looking at what goes on. Lawyer-client confidentiality holds.

Pat: And if we were talking about Bush's private life, I'd agree. But we're not; we're talking about two issues here. First is transparency in government. It's not only insulting to the public to tell them that they can't have a clue about how the government works, it's reminiscent of totalitarianism. But more importantly is the issue of the nominee herself. If all the work a nominee has done is unable to be released to the public (or even the Senate), then the public and Senate have no means of determining the qualifications of the nominee. He might as well outright refuse to release her name.

Tim: I admit that Miers is a terrible nominee and should be withdrawn. I agree that he should have picked a nominee whose records are releasable. But they can't release her records, and so we can just hope that the Senate will not merely take the President's word that Miers is qualified, but base the vote for confirmation on only what they have seen.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Background Chatter

President Bush, jarred by investigations of White House officials and congressional leaders and an uproar over his Supreme Court nomination, said Thursday there was "some background noise here, a lot of chatter" complicating the work of his administration. But he said, "The American people expect me to do my job, and I'm going to."

Link to CNN article

Pat: You mean...he's going to start actually doing his job? Or does he mean he'll continue to be as utterly ineffectual as he's been since he managed to bungle his way into launching a war? I mean, he's managed to get nothing done since his reelection. Nothing. What job does he talk about? He can't find a Supreme Court justice nominee who didn't come from down the hall, we have no Iraq strategy save "hope things somehow get better," and all his aides are going to go to jail. Actually, if he were this "unable to do his job" all 5 years he's been in office, things would be better. We wouldn't be worrying how to get off the back of the Iraqi tiger, for example. Incidentally, "background chatter" is a pretty good description of his mental processes.

Tim: Seriously, this is the kind of statement he needs to make. He needs to try to put himself above the fray, and appeal to Americans' sense that this is all just a bunch of complicated chatter. But it's a lie. His over-ambitious Social Security proposal took the wind out of his then-full sails; it was a good plan, but he didn't sell it right. And he lost initiative, and had to spend late-summer reorganizing for a second attack, but that was hampered by the Plame investigations. He gained a bit of ground with Roberts, but then Katrina (somewhat unfairly) knocked him out entirely. Now his two biggest Congressional allies, Delay and Frist, have been respectively indicted and put under investigation. I highly doubt Rove did anything illegal, but there's a chance he could be gone, and that would be very harmful to this administration. Libby's not so much of a loss, but it could turn Cheney into a political liability, and that's the last thing we need. His administration has to focus on damage control and contingency plans at the moment—they need to find ways they can be back on their feet for '06. But he still needs to say this. He can't show weakness; Democrats and the press (right now practically the same thing) will tear him to pieces. He needs to distance himself from this, and I think this is how he'll do it.

Pat: He won't be able to. He's a lame duck already. He was a lame duck when Social Security failed, everything else is just icing on the cake. He's got nothing. And a party that's got nothing to give will get nothing in the elections.

Tim: You do realize that in order to get anything, the Democrats will have to get a platform other than 'the Republicans are bad'? I mean, we have a bigger base than you do. If all you do is make both parties look awful, you'll just keep the non-base voters away from the polls and hand us an advantage. And Democrats quite simply put are incapable of having a positive message. Bush has left you all incapable of doing anything but hating him. And hatred of the other guy, while wonderful for motivating your base, does nothing for motivating the middle.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The truth is out there

From Fox News: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday accused China of understating the scope of its defense spending, and he said this is sowing suspicion about how China intends to use its growing military might.
Link to Article

From Xinhua: Rumsfeld expressed pleasure over the current growth of US-Chinapolitical and economic ties. He hopes that the two countries will enhance cooperation in anti-terrorism and bird flu control, and further improve bilateral ties. Rumsfeld said he closely follows the growth of US-China military ties and hopes that the two sides will further increase mutual understanding, narrow differences and promote development.
Link to Article

Fox News: It's interesting that other countries wonder why they would be increasing their defense effort at the pace they are and yet not acknowledging it"

Xinhua: He regarded Sino-US military ties as a very important part of bilateral relations, saying that China holds a very positive attitude towards pushing forward bilateral military ties.

Tim: Just thought it was a bit interesting the way we both go about the same thing.

Pat: At least the Chinese state-run media is trying to calm down popular sentiment. Fox News goes the warmongering, alarmist route.

Tim: Or we could call that the realistic route, you know. I wouldn't hold China as a bastion of journalism.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The media probe the important issues

Pat: Here, no kidding, no fooling, no joke, is an ABC article on the Plame investigation:

Karl Rove's Garage Proves to Be Typical
Can Karl Rove organize his own garage? Can the master of Bush's political planning figure out where to put the ladders, paint cans and cardboard boxes? Rove's wife, Darby, raised the white garage door one morning last week...there was no car in the garage. And the stuff left behind turned out not to be much different from what gathers dust inside most American garages.

Pat: Yes. There we go. Karl Rove's garage. We now know that Rove's garage is typical. Now that's journalism.

Link to ABC "article". Also contains exciting, in-depth inventory of objects immediately visible, including "What appear to be paint cans stacked alongside a folded, folding chair" and "Another cardboard box."

Tim: I told you the public would never understand this scandal. The media's really stretching now.

Pat: "Some cardboard file boxes stacked one on top of the other, labeled "Box 6," "Box 4" and what appears to be "Box 7." No sign of boxes 1, 2, 3 and 5." But wait? What's in those boxes? Uncounted Kerry ballots? Iraqi WMD to be planted later? 9/11 info? CIA Kennedy / UFO files? Jimmy Hoffa? Why aren't the media goin further in depth here?! We're down the rabbit hole now!

Pulling our Cheney?

Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Link to US News and World Report article

Pat: He gone!

Tim: He's not leaving, Pat. He won't leave. That's ridiculous. You think they rode out all those scandals just to leave now, now that a scandal that most Americans can't begin to understand might implicate him? All he has to do is just say, "I am innocent of all wrongdoing" and go on with his business. This is just Washington overexcitement. Some staffer goes, "Oh, I bet Cheney might think about resigning!" Next goes, "Oh, I bet Cheney's going to resign on this! Then it becomes "Oh, Cheney's gonna resign! And Bush will too, and we'll all be happy forever!"

Pat: Hey, the investigation is now centered on him. He was the one with the CIA feud, the one who was "leaning on" the CIA for Iraq info. He was the one. And, surprise, surprise, he's the one who ordered the leak.

Tim: Either nothing will come of this or Libby'll take the fall. That's the way the White House operates. Cheney will get through unscathed. And if he doesn't, we'll have Condi as VP, and that would be a drastic enough change that the scandal-talk will be settled. But it's important to remember that the investigation is ongoing. Nothing might come of this.

Pat: Yeah, and that "nothing" is getting laser-focused on Cheney's office.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Let's go, go-go White Sox.

Pat: There are two rules. There are only two rules.

1. Go White Sox.
2. If at any point in your life you have ever put on a blue hat, do not ever say "Go White Sox."

We don't need bandwagon jumpers. We didn't put up with your superiority "we're the real lovable losers here" shit for decades just to welcome you aboard once we started winning. You cannot be a "Chicago Fan." You are either a White Sox fan or you are not. If you are not, you are welcome to be a Cubs fan; they take anyone. But you can't say, "Oh, boy, the White Sox are my second favorite team after the Cubbies! Go White Sox and go Cubbies '06!" No. You cannot. You. Can. Not. You cannot be a fan of the ChiSox and have one ounce of affection in your heart for the stupid Cubs. You are a stupid Cubs fan, and we neither want nor need you. I can't wait to see how many shiny new black hats show up on the Red Line tomorrow.

Tim: ...Hey, like my new hat?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Iraq the Vote

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunni insurgents determined to derail this weekend's constitutional referendum attacked the largest Sunni Arab political party Friday, bombing and burning offices and the home of one of its leaders after the group dropped its opposition to the draft charter.
Link to AP Article

Pat: Wait, Tim...you picked bad news out of Iraq? What, you've come over to our side? I thought we were supposed to be disagreeing.

Tim: Bad news? Oh, no. No, no, no. This is the best news that's come out of Iraq in a while. The Sunnis are deciding between violence and politics, and now the violent have turned against everyone else. The terrorists won't be able to gain much support among Sunnis by blowing them up, now will they? They've officially just gone from "crafty" to "idiotic" in my book. Their only hope for success was to curry favor among the Sunni populace at large. But attacks like this will lead to a united Sunni-Shi'a-Kurd front against them. Iraq's success is virtually assured now.

Pat: Yeah, yeah, we've turned the corner, light at the end of the tunnel, honorable peace, whatever. It's really quite twisted when you have to claim that your "good news" from a country you're rebuilding is that the people are so fragmented that they've begun to kill themselves. You have the Shi'a Badr Brigade and Mahdi Army shooting each other in Baghdad, you have the Sunnis blowing each other up, you have Sunni bombs and Shi'a semi-state-sponsored violence against each other...and we claim this will lead to stability. Perhaps this will accelerate the pace of the killing until there is only one Iraqi left alive, who will then vote for himself as President, and we will have a stable democracy.

Tim: This is a good sign. Seriously. The political parties will stand together against the violent threats against them, and this will lead to a constitution passing in a landslide, which will do wonders for the legitimacy of the government in Iraqi eyes.

Bush Approval 2% Among Blacks

In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.
Link to WashPost article

Pat: Well, no wonder George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People. We can see that obviously, black people don't care for George W. Bush. 2%. Wow. 98% of blacks do not like George W. Bush. There went the much-vaunted outreach Republican.

Tim: This worries me, honestly. I can take some solace in that his approval among Hispanics is 36%; while not great, it's at least salvagable, and that's important when it comes to the largest and fastest-growing minority. But man, I can't see that being good for us. We need to fight this battle, guys. Come on, we're the smart party. Let's not f*ck this up for '06 and '08. Jesus Christ, meet with the NAACP already! I know they're full of shit, but just meet with them. Any organization with "African-American," "Black," "Negro," "Colored," whatever in the title, meet with them! Expand funding for inner-city schools, bring more token blacks, talk about how much you love that ghetto booty, come on! This is unacceptable!

Pat: Now, now. Bush doesn't care about polls. Because polls are stupid. And of course, since polls are reflections of what the public thinks, I would say that means Bush doesn't really give a damn about the public. Or, you know, black people. Because he therefore doesn't care that literally 98% of blacks do not like him.

Tim: ...wait a minute. This latest poll included 807 people nationwide, and only 89 blacks. Never mind. Panic mode...turn off. This "poll" was like asking a black co-worker if he likes Bush, and then reporting "0% of blacks like Bush" or "100% of blacks favor Bush!"

Pat: The Pew Research Center is just out with its latest poll, which has a larger sample, and it finds Bush's approval rating among blacks at 12 percent. Okay, fine. 12%. Still abysmal.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

US Al Qaida Letter Faked?

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's wing in
Iraq on Thursday rejected as a fabrication a letter by top group leader Ayman al-Zawahri which was issued by U.S. officials this week, according to an Internet posting.

Link to Reuters article

Tim: Oh, an Al Qaida letter we intercepted uncovered the shocking information that Al Qaida does not have the best interests of the Iraqi people at heart, and now they're denying it? Wow! Surely the people who blow innocent civilians up for fun have no reason to lie about it!

Pat: Oh, a purported Al Qaeda letter we claim to have intercepted has Al Qaida outright repeating Bush talking points? Wow! Surely the Pentagon would never engage in information warfare and fake a letter to win public support!

Tim: First, I could see this going either way. You know, it is possible that Bush said the terrorists wanted to take control of Iraq not because his speechwriters are compulsive liars, but rather because they do, and it isn't shocking to think that perhaps they wrote to each other about how to best do it. But even if we did make this up, it was a good idea. Surely you wouldn't suggest it would be a good thing if Iraqis were sympathetic to Al Qaida. So what if we made it up?

Pat: No, hold on. Do you seriously think that Al Qaeda would write a letter saying, "Hey, look here. Killing innocent babies and children and women, as we do for kicks, turns the Iraqis against us and towards the steadfast leadership of George Bush, who is like the Prophet, God be with him. We should rather join the glorious constitutional process and cast our votes for the constitution!" Seriously. The Zawahri letter warned Zarqawi the killing of Shi'ite civilians and hostages risked alienating Sunnis at a time when al Qaeda in Iraq should be seeking popular support for a new religious state. Do you really believe that?

Tim: It doesn't matter. Either way, it works in our favor, and that's all that matters. Stop getting so hung up on the tiny points.

Bush approval ratings down dooby doo down down, comma comma.

For the first time in the poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.
Link to MSNBC Article

Pat: You know, sometimes...sometimes there's just nothing to say. I mean, I don't really know why 28% think the country is headed in the right direction, and I don't know why 29% think Harriet Miers is qualified to be a Supreme Court justice, and I don't know why "28 percent...say the [Frist insider trading] charge has little merit," and I have no idea how "25 percent think the worst is behind us" on gas prices. At least we now know that one quarter of America will never, ever, ever, ever, ever admit that Republicans have ever done anything wrong. We've found the magic number, and it's kinda shocking that it's so consistent. Which of course means his approval rating still has 10 points to drop before he's done.

Tim: Eh, it's not so bad. It really isn't. Other presidents have gone through worse, and Bush is just having a rough time. Once the Constitution is settled over in Iraq and we can start working on bringing peace to Iraq, and people start forgetting about Katrina, and gas prices drop on lower demand, he'll go back up above 50%. And long-term, it's not so bad. The fact that we have a quarter to a third of the voters so blindly locked to us is wonderful. After 9/11 and before Iraq, we learned that 10% of voters will always oppose the Republicans, so that looks like an advantage for us. So it'll recover. The numbers are eventually on our side.

Pat: Yeah, and once he's balanced the budget, caught bin Laden, won the wars on terror, drugs, poverty, and lame television, secured an honorable peace in Vietnam, once talentless, attractive women longer get free passes to become singers, once the Cubs win the World Series, and once the the Magical Pink Unicorn brigade comes and brings rainbows to America's skies, then yes, his approval rating might go up. But I find it unlikely.

Tim: No, seriously. It'll work out. It always does. Things go up and down, but fundamentally the Republicans have the majority.

Pat: Like hell they do. 9% more Americans want a Democratic congress than a Republican one.

Tim: Yeah, but Congress always has about a 35% approval rating, but yet over a 90% retention rate. Everyone wants a change of government, but just not their guy. And since everyone votes for their guys only, we're pretty safe.

Pat: And what the heck was this quote: And while McInturff thinks that Bush’s approval rating actually may actually hover between 40 and 45 percent, he says that’s still problematic terrain from which to govern. Where on Earth did he get that number for? I haven't seen a poll above 40 in two weeks. Well, Mr. McInturff, I think Bush's approval rating actually may actually [sic] hover between 10 and 15 percent, and that's rather problematic terrain from which to govern indeed.

Tim: Hey, can I play that game, too! I think his approval rating hovers around it doesn't f*cking matter because he can't run for re-election!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Miers is religious, no really.

Link to AP article
"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."

Pat: So either he did have a religious litmus test, or...

Tim: He picked her because he's only comfortable around people of the same religion.

Average Age of Newspaper Reader Rises to 55.

Link to Minneapolis Star Tribune article

Newspaper readership is down. Fewer young people are picking them up, and the average age of a newspaper reader is now 55, according to a Carnegie Corporation study. Many papers have been losing circulation at alarming rates across all age groups.

Pat: Wow. And imagine what it would be if we didn't read papers either. This is sad. A paper is such a great deal. .50 for a Tribune or Sun-Times, $1.00 for a NYT—why wouldn't you? It's all the information you could want, interesting stories, mental ammunition, provocative viewpoints, diverting cartoons, and then, when you're done with that, a crossword or sudoku puzzle. Why is it that our young, dynamic generation doesn't read these?

Tim: I'll tell you why. First of all, bias. And no, I'm not about to go on some "LIBRULZ ARE STUPED" rant, though believe me, I'd love to. Instead, I'll just instruct stuped librulz so maybe they'll become intelligent ones. The problem is people who like to go on said LIBRULZ rants (or NEOCONZ rants, if you swing that way). Everyone is in one of two camps: they give a damn about the world or they don't. If they don't, they're not reading a newspaper, period. It's mental work for no payoff—like studying for a test they don't have to take. And for people who do give a damn, if they're at all "young and dynamic," they have a viewpoint. A bias. Partisans see everything as being "My Viewpoint" or "The Enemy," and newspapers, having generally moderate viewpoints that are statistically unlikely to satisfy the majority of partisans, become "The Enemy" rather easily. And so partisans much rather get their information from people who agree with them and will present news they find palatable. Fox News. Blogs. Talk radio. People pretend to watch the news, but actually just watch their own viewpoints flavored with current events. And it's so much easier to watch than to read.

Pat: Yeah, but you leave off a huge group: non-partisan people with a vague political interest. Of course, these people watch CNN, which is not so much news but rather "People magazine, only with elected celebrities." But I found something else interesting in the article:

Except during recessions, the advertising revenues of newspapers have continued climbing long after newspaper penetration started declining and even since the absolute number of readers started heading south.

And that's the other thing. Newspapers are almost abusive towards their readership. Seriously. When I open a Sun-Times, and each page is quite literally 60% advertisement, I feel ripped off. When the Minneapolis Star Tribune makes Doonesbury half-size so I have to squint to read it, I feel ripped off. Because it's cheaper, newspapers just buy AP and Reuters reports, print bland commentary, and then fill the thing with ads. When I could assemble the same god-damned thing myself with 15 minutes of browsing in Google News or Yahoo! News, newspapers seem like much less of a deal. I mean, whatever happened to having journalists? Sportswriters? Editorials? Anything? Do you remember those Downing Street Minutes? You may claim they just weren't important news, but the reality—as I recall the Star Tribune saying—was 'Well, we waited for a wire report about them to show up, but none ever did.' What, you think Woodward and Bernstein waited for an AP report? Deep throat was actually a Reuters fax machine? Now that they've figured out they can get away with it, newspapers are lazy. And so only people in the habit of buying them will do so. And so newspapers will get lazier and more ad-filled, and more and more profitable, and then the "buy a paper every morning because I have for the last 40 years" crowd will die, and then papers will be screwed, because they've been screwing the younger generation.

Tim: And here we have this gem: Compared to the electronic media, newspapers have held up fairly well, said Mark Fitzgerald of Editor and Publisher magazine. The audience for network news on TV has dropped faster than for newspapers, he said, and radio news has almost disappeared.

You know, dummy, network news and radio news are basically newspapers on TV. Same thing. Moderate viewpoint, actual information reporting. Nobody wants that. People want to be told that they're right. Network news isn't your competitor, your competitor now is on the Internet and in cable.

Pat: And then this: Many newspapers say that if you count their total readership -- print and online combined -- there is no decline.

Well, yes. But that's dangerous ground. Because people will fall out of the habit of going to the hometown newspaper site. If I want information on Iraq, why would I go to the Tribune's page? I'll go to the Guardian, to Al-Jazeera, to AP reports. I can assemble a much broader news experience myself. As long as papers are just composed of wire reports, papers will die as the masses slowly realize what we have--you don't need a newspaper. Now, I still love newspapers and wish people would read them, but when I realize I've already read the entire paper yesterday afternoon online--and more--I don't feel like I've gotten such a great deal.

Tim: You know, we need to get back to arguing. Stop finding articles we fundamentally agree on. Look, I think it's because newspapers don't appeal to bias, you think it's because newspapers don't have good exclusives. In reality, it's probably like 75% my point at maybe 10% yours, with the rest being "assorted." But they aren't exclusive points. Nobody wants to read two guys agreeing. Next time, I'm going to pick something like "Harry Reid Eats Homosexual Fetuses" or "George Bush Is Factually The Greatest Man Of All Time" or something. This agreement has to stop.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Fixing a Hole

Pat: And also from the Miers article in the previous post, which apparently decides 2/3 of the way through that it actually wanted to be a Katrina follow-up:
Bush rejected criticism from Democrats that his visits to the region -- this was his eighth -- were largely picture-taking opportunities for publicity and that his administration lacked a coherent reconstruction plan. "I don't think Washington ought to dictate to New Orleans how to rebuild"

Tim: What? He goes down because he cares, and Washington shouldn't dictate how to rebuild. No more story here.

Pat: Well, first of all, it implies that he shouldn't actually do anything besides from getting his picture taken on his visits to New Orleans, because doing things is apparently no longer the President's job.

Tim: No, that's not at all what that means. He's addressing the complaints that the federal government isn't telling New Orleans how to go about its business.

Pat: You know, I think New Orleans has had quite a bit of time to go about its own business without any commands from the Feds. For example, the first week after Katrina hit. But, you see, there isn't much business to go about. This is what the government exists for. If his plan is, "Well, I don't think I should have to make any sorta plan at all," he doesn't have a coherent plan, and therefore he's not rebuffing criticism, he's agreeing with it.

Tim: Look, that is his plan. Let the city fix itself. If your house burns down, you don't wait for the government to come in and tell you how to build a new house. You collect the insurance money and build it yourself.

Pat: A house and a city are different, you know it, and the president knows it. It's why he has such an "ambitious" reconstruction plan (which boiled down, essentially, to tax cuts for Southern businesses and tax cuts for refineries.)

Tim: And that's what we should do, and nothing more. The market will take care of everything else.

Laura Bush Joins President's Defense of Miers

Link to WashPost article
Joining her husband in defense of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, Laura Bush today called her a "role model for young women around the country" and suggested that sexism was a "possible" reason for the heavy criticism of the nomination.

Tim: No, lady. First of all, regarding sexism: People only pretend to listen to you because you are the woman that the man we elected decided he wanted to have sex with. If your dumb ass had been born a man, nobody would listen to a word you say.

Pat: I'm going to let that slide, if only to create a united front here. As an aside, shouldn't you be opposing me on this one?

Tim: Why, so I can get this lightweight crony in a lifetime office? No. I want to see her go down in flames, and an actual intelligent conservative lawyer on the bench.

Pat: Great. Do go on. I'm not about to start defending sexism.

Tim: And "a role model"? What kind of crap is that? "Look, girls, you too can glom your career onto a man's, and then he'll reward you! Remember, girls, don't be a bad old Priscilla Owen or Janice Brown--they made something of themselves by themselves. It's much easier to just do things for a man and hope he gives you a promotion! Bring him coffee! Be a loyalist! Give him a blowjob! Maybe he'll make you a Supreme Court Justice!"

And what's this? "I think people are not looking at her accomplishments." What accomplishments, Laura? "Well, *giggle,* she really likes Georgie, and so do I. And she makes the best coffee, and always gives really cute birthday gifts."

I mean, come on. Sending Laura "Dimbulb" Bush--perhaps the only woman in America who loves the president more than Miers does--to defend the woman is unimpressive. Now, Laura seems like a lovely woman, but when it comes to constitutional law I'd say she would be impressed with anyone who doesn't think Warren Burger is a Crawford drive-through.

Pat: You know, there's not a whole lot of dramatic tension if we agree on this.

Tim: We could argue about the reasons why we don't like her. I mean, I want a decent constructionist nominee, you just like to oppose things George W. Bush does...

Pat: Hey, I gotta have something to do once baseball season's over.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

And now for something completely different, part two.

Pat: let me just certify the next induction into the idiot bandwagon-jumper hall of fame. You northsiders who decided you really always wanted a new Sox hat just as October started, you only wish you could be this man.



This man is Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN's senior sports columnist, who said right after the White Sox blew the Red Sox out 14-2, Any talk of a White Sox sweep is the result of one too many spoonfuls of cough medicine. (link)

And then, after the White Sox completed the sweep, reversed positions and said The better team not only won, it dominated...How can you doubt a team that forced the Red Sox into a playoff 0-fer, that pitched better, fielded better, managed better, ran better and, pardon the grammar, clutch-hit better? (link)

Go take a nice, big, celebratory swig of cough medicine.

Friday, October 07, 2005

ACLU sues over conditions at local jail

Link to AP article

Pat: Well, I can see that. I mean, the government still has a responsibility to inmates to keep them alive and healthy. Abandoning them, under any circumstances, is unacceptable.

Tim: You cannot seriously believe this. You--and the ACLU--are complaining that when our resources were stretched to the limit, that when we were working as hard as we can (and it was barely good enough) we spent what manpower we had...working to save Louisianans who hadn't recently robbed, raped, or murdered anyone? From the article: It took three days to evacuate more than 6,000 inmates from the lockup after the storm hit Aug. 29. We didn't even have the Superdome fully evacuated that early. I'm surprised we got it done that fast. I wasn't aware it was a "civil liberty" to get first dibs on evacuation just because you murdered some old lady for the $250 in jewelry in her bedroom.

Pat: Both the jail and the Superdome were tragedies. Yes, these people are by and large reprehensible (though I suspect quite a few are in for nothing worse than drug charges) but nowhere in their punishment was it written "and you will, from time to time, be locked in the worst conditions nature can throw at you, perhaps until you die."

Tim: Yes, of course--nowhere in the idea of prison is it implied that it might be unpleasant. Come on, the government was working as hard as it could, and the fact that it got people out of this jail at all while there were still non-felon (though perhaps utterly stupid) citizens who needed to be rescued is impressive. Overflowing toilets? No food and water for days? Yeah, we had those everywhere in New Orleans. You don't get a special lawsuit just because you killed someone. That isn't the way it should go.

Pat: Look, this was a failure of government, as was the Superdome and Convention Center. And even though this is just one small way to hold the people in power responsible, any responsibility is a good thing--even if these people were somehow "more deserving" of their fate than other innocents were. The problem isn't that they weren't evacuated first, it's that nobody was evacuated for days.

Tim: Look, I'll accept an inquiry on behalf of those who experienced unpleasant conditions and didn't have any options to escape, but not on behalf of those who committed crimes. Law-abiders get first consideration when it comes to evacuations. And complaining that law-breakers weren't evacuated before law-abiders is insane.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bush's speech on Iraq

Link to AP article on speech

Pat: We're going to have some fun now.

"There's always a temptation in the middle of a long struggle to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder..."

Which is why I always head off to Crawford first time things start lookin' kinda spooky!

"The militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region and establish an Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia"

Rally the Muslim masses? I thought they were on our side, right Bush? But we can't let Muslims be rallied and form the governments they want to. So now we must take up the cross and sword and secure the Holy Land for His Holiness the Bishop of Rome through Christ our Lord in this magnificent Crusade.

"Bush likened the ideology of Islamic militants to communism."

Yes, I can clearly see how hardline right-wing religious fanatics who want to overthrow their secular government and impose a religious dictatorship to appese God are exactly like hardline left-wing political partisans who want a secular, atheist government designed to adequately care for all citizens equally. What a cutting mind, Mr. President.

"Against such an enemy, there's only one effective response: We never back down, never give in and never accept anything less than complete victory."

Actually, Mr. President, such a response has never worked ever in history, as the Russians in Afghanistan and Chechnya, the British in Ireland, the British in Afghanistan, the Israelis in Palestine, the Kuomintang in China, Batista in Cuba, the French and Americans in Vietnam, and the Americans in the Phillipines will tell you, if they weren't all dead or evacuated because that strategy does not actually work against a popular insurgency.

"We are facing a radical ideology with immeasurable objectives to
enslave whole nations and intimidate the world."

Strike "facing," and I agree.

"Bush said the terrorists are aided by corrupt charities that direct money to terrorist activities and nations, such as Syria and Iran, calling them "allies of convenience" that back terrorists."

Unlike our terrorist-funding allies in Saudi Arabia and our nuclear-secret-selling allies in Pakistan, of course.

"Countering claims that the U.S. military presence in Iraq is fueling radicalism, Bush noted that American troops were not there on Sept. 11, 2001. He said Russia did not support the military action in Iraq, yet a terrorist attack in Beslan, Russia, left more than 300 schoolchildren dead in 2004."

1. Sept. 11th was done by Wahhabi terrorists, not Iraqi seperatists. You might as well blame the Northern Irish for Sept. 11th.
2. That would be Chechen seperatists, not Iraqi seperatists. You might as well blame the Contras.

Bin Laden, Bush said, grew up in luxury but now inspires poor Muslim radicals to go to their deaths in suicide bombings. Bin Laden, Bush said, "never offers to go along for the ride."

Bush, who grew up the son of the wealthy, connected George H.W. Bush, dodged the draft, and then sent 2000 lower-class American boys off to die, said this statement without a hint of irony. Also, just as a by-the-way, the average terrorist is actually middle class.

"The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in the war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror."

What terrorists? Dumbass, only 2-3% of the insurgency is foreign. The rest are Iraqis who don't appreciate foreign armies. I'm pretty certain that "Wanting the foreign invaders out of your country because they've killed thirty thousand innocent people" and "Wanting the death of humanity at large" are not quite the same thing.

"With every random bombing, and with every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots, or resistance fighters,"

Um, sir? I think that since only 8% of Iraqi civilian deaths have been caused by the insurgency, I think with every bombing and funeral, it becomes more clear that they *are* patriots and resistance fighters, as there's a 92% chance that it was done by either the US, the Iraqi army, or some street thug who can rape and kill with impunity because we still haven't managed to assemble a police force in almost three years.

Tim: Of course, this speech has, I'm certain, galvanized American support for the war. Seriously. You can nitpick all you want to, but the general message--we need to stay the course--is true as ever. And sometimes, you have to simplify things for the people to understand. And this nitpicking, gotcha-game you're playing is childish. That's all I have to say.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bush on Miers.

Link to CNN Transcript

Tim: Oh, great. Don't tell me we get to "discuss" her again.

Pat: Oh, no. You can sit back, relax, and pretend it's 2002 again and you have a politically strong president.

Tim: As opposed to your perpetual-minority party?

Pat: Whatever. Here we go. I took the liberty of editing a few words here and there.

Yesterday, I nominated an outstanding crony to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Over the past three decades, Harriet Miers has built a stellar record of accomplishment in serving me.. She's been a model of service to me.

I've known her for more than 10 years. I know her character. She's a woman of principle and deep loyalty to me.

She shares my philosophy that judges should strictly be picked from my inner circle.

I appreciate the reception that Harriet's gotten among me. I expect the Senate to conduct fair hearings and to do the next best thing to putting me on the Supreme Court.






Tim: Look, Rehnquist wasn't a judge either. Nearly a third of the appointments this century have been from inside the inner circle.

Pat: I wonder how much she knows about Arabian horses?

Monday, October 03, 2005

More US Kids Eating Fast Food

Link to AP Article

Pat: You know, all the things in the news, and you pick this. Fine, I'm game. Obviously this is sick, obviously this is bad for America's youth, and obviously we need to do something about this. Parents simply are unable to fight the massive amount of advertising funding enticing children to eat this crap.

Tim: Kids are eating fast food. Big deal. Did you know that my second word was "fruh-fry?" No kidding. (My first word was "appa joos," if you were wondering.) I now weigh 160 and stand 6'0. And I'm in pretty good shape. Kids eat McDonalds, yeah. But I don't buy that "advertising funding" business. A seven-year-old can't drive himself to McDonalds, now can he? And he can't pay for his cheeseburger himself. Parents buy their kids that crap. If Americans thought unhealthy eating was a problem, they'd stop their kids from eating at McDonalds.

Pat: I don't think it's so much "parents agree McDonalds is good for kids" but "parents realistically have no time to cook any more."

Tim: You aren't even taking a consistant position. Are parents overworked, or are they unable to fight the ads?

Pat: Both.

Tim: Okay, fine. That's a weak position, and you know it.

Pat: What was the point of this, anyway? It's not even news.

Mier-ed in Waste

Tim: Well, personally, I get a good feeling from her. Now, I admit there's not much of a record on her, but--

Pat:
"She can't separate the forest from the trees," says one former White House staffer.


Tim: Now, hold on.

Pat:
"She failed in Card's office for two reasons," the official says. "First, because she can't make a decision, and second, because she can't delegate, she can't let anything go. And having failed for those two reasons, they move her to be the counsel for the president, which requires exactly those two talents."


Tim: Dammit, I don't even know anything about her. This isn't fair. Look, as soon as there's anything that comes out about her, I'm posting it up here.

Pat:
After Bush was elected governor, she represented him in a title dispute over his East Texas fishing house. In 1995, Bush appointed Miers to a six-year term on the Texas Lottery Commission when it was mired in scandal...
She then went on to hold the supremely qualifying position of staff secretary, then as Bush's private legal counsel.

Link to Pat's quotes about Miers

Pat: Sorry, Tim, but there's not a whole lot you can say about this. She's just lame. She's a member of the inner circle, she has no experience, she shouldn't even be in the White House--forget the Supreme Court.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Moon Discovered Orbiting Distant 10th Planet

Link to VoA article

Tim: As interesting as this is, Pat, I don't really understand what the hell this is doing in the blog.

Pat: You know, as a conservative, I thought you'd be interested in this. You know, because it gives you a new place to search for Iraqi WMDs!

Tim: Jesus, don't tell me that's it. Don't tell me you're already putting lame jokes in here, and I have to be your damned straightman. Dammit, I walked right into it. Fine. I'll let you do it this one time, but only because it makes you look petty. And the WMD-looking jokes grew old back in mid-2003.

Pat: Or Bush's Social Security plans! Or the money to finance the war and Katrina rebuilding!

Tim: Or a few million liberal voters so maybe—just maybe—you might win an election one of these decades?

Bali Bombing Suspects Linked to Al-Qaida

Link to AP article

BALI, Indonesia - Indonesia said Sunday it suspected two fugitives linked to al-Qaida had masterminded the suicide bombings of crowded restaurants in tourist resorts on the Indonesian island of Bali which killed at least 26 people and injured more than 100.

Pat: So lemme guess: Whereas no terror attacks prove the war on terror is being won, terror attacks like this prove we must back Bush's war on terror. You know, I don't think you get to declare a policy successful whether it works or doesn't. If there's terrorism, you haven't yet won the war on terror. And if terror attacks increase every year—as they have been doing—then you're losing the war on terror.

Tim: We're moving the front. America was the front on Sept. 11th. We moved the front through Europe, Afghanistan, and we're working on Iraq. Of course there are terror attacks. Terrorists are under threat, and are responding. They're attacking because their backs are against the wall. Surely you wouldn't claim that WW2 was being lost in 1943 because more Americans were dying than before we got involved with stopping Hitler.

Pat: Terrorism isn't Hitler. That's ridiculous. There is not a hierarchy, there is not a regular army, there is not a nation-state to stop. There is no Luftterror. There is no Reichsterror. There are not generals and supply lines. There are not bases and factories, save tiny ones that can be packed up and moved in half an hour. You can bomb a regular army into submission. You can bomb a regular nation-state into submission. But you cannot bomb a guerilla front into submission, as Vietnam showed and Iraq is showing. And you cannot shoot a terror network into submission, as Israel showed and Al-Qaida is showing.

Tim: I didn't say we just had to bomb them, I said we had to fight them. All I claimed was that it was going to get worse before it got better. But it will get better, and abandoning the fight while it's at its worst part is like abandoning repairs of a car right after you take the engine out to fix it.

Pat: Well, that's an awkward analogy if I've ever read one. But the War on Terror as the Bush White House fights it is little more than bombing terrorists. Sure, we pay lip service to actually fighting terror, and we fund a few governments here and there to get them to police themselves, and we cut off a few lines of funding every few months--but mostly we spend our time and money bombing terrorists (and the civilians who live near them). And it isn't working. Terror attacks come faster and faster. And don't give me that "on our soil" shit either: People are people, American or not. And if you really do think American lives are more worthwhile, I got 2000 American soldiers I can point to who didn't get their lives saved by this War on Terror.

Tim: Everything you've mentioned has uses. This is bleeding into the last argument. We're winning the war on terror, and that's all that matters.

Pat: Are you blind, deaf, or both?

Tim: Blind and deaf only to ignorant prattling.

Pat: Then how do you watch Bush speak? Is he a silent black hole on stage or what? Do you ask people next to you to recap or something?