Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bullshit for Bullshit's sake

I hate it when I see someone on the right just say something that has absolutely no merit at all. I mean, they just say it maybe because that is their experience. Yet, they don't take into account that possibly, somewhere beyond their realm, other people might have different experiences. Its just narrow-minded, idiotic and beyond the pale.

It's a double-bind for the military. When there's a draft, it's evil. When there's not a draft, they're mercenaries. It's almost like the game is rigged so that the military is always wrong . . . .Kennedy's idea of mandatory national service seems pointless, even on his terms. It's been done in Europe, and certainly hasn't produced the results he seeks.
I do agree that the "distance" of the military from American society is really a distance from left-leaning American society. Perhaps we should bring back mandatory ROTC at universities...

I'd like to see some empirical evidence for that last statement Glenn. I'm sure that if you asked 95% of people on the left they would mimic this idea: We support our military whole-heartedly and recognize them for being the heroes they are, we however, do not support the leadership of this country at this time. I wonder if you asked military people who lean to the left if they feel that distance.

Maybe Glenn was talking about that small percentage of leftists who don't support the military? Ok, point taken. Maybe he should take a look at the College Republicans who when asked why they don't enlist gave a myriad of answers including "I got into my first choice grad school" and "I can help more from home." Thats a pretty big 'distance' if you ask me. Glenn, stop, bend over, and please remove your head from your ass.

An Important Post

Environmental Republican links to a story that has been gaining some momentum--from right here in our backyard.

A pregnant woman has been missing from Philadelphia after not turning up for a her shift from work. My sister and I were just talking about this yesterday.

I generally can't stand when the MSM give 24/7 coverage to these missing women and when I turn on the Today Show, Katie Couric asking the most asinine questions (What do you want (insert name here) to know?). Having said that, if you are going to cover these stories, they don't get more compelling than the Figueroa case. Its very hard for me to think of one reason that this case hasn't been getting the coverage other than the fact that she isn't the (white) girl next door.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Flippin 'em the bird

This is why I have no problem believing that I would like George Bush if I met him and we had a few drinks. Way to go buddy...sometimes you just gotta express yourself.

However, unlike 50% of the country, that plays no part in who I would vote for...sorry.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Obligatory Disclaimer

My 'counter' at the bottom of my page apparently crashed the other day, so I'm letting everyone know that the last number I remember seeing was 862, so that is where I re-started the count at. Ok, obligatory dislaimer over!

The Ineptitude of Bill Frist

If I was a Republican, the ineptitude of Bill Frist would anger me to no end. I can't think of one thing he has done this year that could be seen as something OTHER than cow-towing to his own special interest groups (meaning those groups whose votes he hopes to garner).

It started out with his staggering video diagnosis of Terri Schiavo who, according to Frist, appearing to respond to visual stimuli. It was later found out that she was blind. This, my friends, from a doctor. The only thing that trumps this was when George Stephanopolous asked him if AIDS could be spread through sweat and tears, a statement he refused to deny.

Then we have his failure to bring about the 'nuclear option'. I can't criticize him for this as I feel the compromise struck was a good one and that the nuclear option would have been very bad for our government. But, it was seen as his failure to keep his Republicans in line.

Now, oh Bill, now you've gone too far.

The Senate's Republican leader on Tuesday derailed a bipartisan effort to set rules for the treatment of enemy prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other military detention camps by abruptly stopping debate on a $491 billion defense bill.
The unusual move came after senators, including several leading Republicans, beat back an effort by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to block amendments setting standards for military-prisoner interrogations and delaying base closings scheduled for approval later this year. The White House had threatened to veto the defense-spending legislation if it contained either of those provisions.
Rather than risk debate and votes on those amendments, Frist, R-Tenn., simply pulled the bill from consideration. The bill would have set defense spending levels for fiscal year 2006, which begins Oct. 1, and it includes authority to spend $50 billion on military operations in Iraq.

Why would he do this you ask? Because the White Hourse doesn't want these amendments. They don't want to hamper Bush's ability to conduct the war on terror. HUH? Setting up humane interrogation techniques would hamper his ability to conduct the war on terror? Regardless, Bill Frist was tasked with not letting these amendments through, and when that failed, because AGAIN, he could not keep his Republicans in line, he simply pulled the bill. For what? The NRA and those pesky millions of voters he needs to court and keep. To start debate on a gun bill.

Keep in mind that the defense bill that was pulled was for fiscal year 2006, which begins in October. I'm pretty sure that witholding the $50 million in that appropriation would hamper Bush's ability to conduct the war on terror.

Bill Frist is a complete and utter mockery. He can't even put up a good front on his attempts to cow-tow to special interests.

These amendments are necessary to the war on terror. I don't care if you like McCain or not, you think he's too far right, too far left or a grandstanding fool. If there is ONE ISSUE that his words should have more value than others, it is the humane treatment and interrogation of prisoners. This bill had bi-partisan support and in efforts to again keep the President above the law, Frist continues his impossible streak of idiocy.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sports Update

Is there anything more to say about Lance Armstrong? I was discussing it this weekend and I personally can not think of a more unparalleled athletic achievement than what he has done.

Not only did he win the most grueling cycling race in the world, he won it after beating cancer, which had spread throughout his body. Not only did he win the race, he won it SEVEN times. Not only did he win the race SEVEN times, he won the race seven times IN A ROW.

He did it with class and with the respect of pretty much every one of his rivals, who escorted him to the finish line.

Nothing has ever been done more physically and mentally challenging that that; at least nothing that I can think of.

Anyone else?

SCOTUS update

So I've been reading all the news on John Roberts and I have to say I haven't seen anything that stands out and says 'REJECT'. The Democrats appear to be paving the way for a tough confirmation, but a confirmation none the less. It is their job to make their opposition to some points known, so I grant them that.
Having said all that, this is one of the first things I've read about Roberts which really gives me pause.

The exchange occurred during one of Roberts' informal discussions with senators last week. According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion. (Pope Benedict XVI is often cited as holding this strict view of the merging of a person's faith and public duties).

Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

Let me start off by saying that I don't think this is reason to reject Roberts. I also don't agree that this is a 'Catholic test'. This is an extremely important question and the answer Roberts gave was wrong.

When you are a judge, you take an oath. Not an oath to uphold your religion, but an oath to uphold the Constituation of this great nation. No one is saying that Roberts can't hold true to his Catholic beliefs. But if you can not make the distinction between your own morality and the law of the land, then you should choose another occupation besides 'judge'. If you have to recuse yourself because you can not be impartial, then that is a problem.

Some of our tougest moral dilemmas come to the Supreme Court--abortion, death penalty, assisted-suicide. Roberts is entitled to his personal views on all of those issues. However, to not be able to take part in the case because of his religious beliefs is borderline useless. Roberts has shown every indication of being a follower of the Constitution and if he can't hold that track when it comes to cases having deep moral implications, then he should not be on the Supreme Court, and really, on any court.

He will have to decide for himself if he has chosen the correct career path. This is an important question and I expect to see it raised several more times, as it should be. Roberts should explain himself and his view on this pressing issue.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Warning..broken promise ahead

I know I promised I would focus on more reasoned discussion here, and I think I've done a pretty good job so far, but this one was just too easy.

Michelle Malkin slams the WashPo Style section for their critique of John Robert's family fashion the other night. I find it a bit tasteless and pointless to bother critiquing the family, but, this IS the Style section.

For God's sake, a mother and her children just wanted to look nice for the most historic moment in her husband and their daddy's life--and the Style attack dogs turn it into an opportunity to sneer at and dump on a loving family. Read the whole thing if you can stomach it.

She's a couple notches up on the anger meter eh? But there is only one way to respond to something she describes as 'a new low'. How? By going even lower and linking to the picture of Alexandra Kerry and her unfortunate see-through dress choice.

That is some good logic there Michelle. How tasteless for the WashPo STYLE section to critique a family', style. It's much better done on a political blog where you can actually show pictures of a woman's breasts. Show 'em how its done Michelle! You are the master of 'new low's'.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Daily Show is the best show on TV

For anyone that doubts this, I just challenge them to watch it every night for a week. It is smart, hysterically funny and Jon Stewart and the 'correspondants' are just deadpan. From claiming that during the Rove questioning of McClellan that 'we've secretly replaced the White House press corps with real journalists, lets see if anyone notices' to 'Harry Potter terror', it is consistently on the mark.

From last night:

Stewart: So after yesterday's announcement of Bush's pick for the Supreme Court, how is the left wing reacting?
Rob Corddry: Well, Jon, they're outraged over Bush's pick, and they have been for weeks."

and showing the video of adorable son Jack doin' his thang...

Stewart: Thats Roberts wife Jane, and his two kids Josie and Jack. Jack, of course, is the one who appears to be on his way to losing the case Family v. Ritalin.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Those Darned Kids

Michelle Malkin posts a photo of what was causing Bush's smirk last night...Robert's son apparently broke into a round of 'top that' breakdancing. At the very least you gotta love the kid. I think I can be fairly sure that at the moment he was saying "Yeah, boooyyy!".

Saddle shoes and Mother would be so proud. The picture of 'class'.

I guess some wackos out there with too much time on their hands thought "what if the kid was gay". I mean, WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON YOUR HANDS.

No Michelle, they aren't sick. This is what happens when you wonder if your kid is gay. This is sick.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

SCOTUS Nomination

I'll have plenty more to come on the nomination of John Roberts after I learn more about him. Of course, I've been trying to read both sides, and more than that, educate myself on his decisions. So far, I see some that I have some problems with such as filing discretionary amicus briefs on behalf of those blocking access to abortion clinics and also filing a brief that said that schools can sponsor prayer at graduation ceremonies because students who don't agree can skip their graduation, as it is voluntary. However, I haven't read anything that would make me say 'No way!'.

Stay tuned.


I hate to be Ms. Manners, but I have to agree on this one. Let me preface this by saying that my level of casual-ness hovers right around 'obsessively casual and comfortable'.

A photo of Northwestern University's national championship women's lacrosse team, taken during the athletes' visit to the White House last week, shows four of the nine women in the front row wearing flip-flop sandals along with their dresses and skirts.
The choice of footwear has prompted a mini-controversy — a flip-flop flap, if you will.

You wouldn't in your right mind where flip-flops to a job interview. Why would you think you could pull that off meeting the leader of the free world? I don't care if they are diamond studded, you don't wear flip-flops to anything other than a casual occasion.

Completely and utterly inappropriate.

A good point

John Cole makes a good point today in highlighting some on the left slamming Mehlman and the GOP for apologizing for the 'Southern Strategy'.

Despite all that, it is still profoundly unfair to even attempt to portray this White House as racist. Bush may be wrong on a lot of issues, but it is a stretch to claim that racism is one of those sins, and Herbert is simply trying to keep hate alive.

Political division is as essential to this administration as a knife and fork at the dinner table, but it is simply wrong to say that race is one of the factors that they use to divide. President Bush has appointed more minorities than any President and has made history with some of his appointments. Thats not to say they weren't for political capital, but nonetheless, he deserves the credit for them.

With so many points to make about division, Herbert invents one that doesn't exist.

Sports update

A quickie update. Lance Armstrong maintained his overall lead in the Tour de France. I was watching CNN last night and I saw a special on Lance. It focused on studies conducted on him in Texas as a sports medicine and training lab. Did anyone else see this special. Of all the amazing things about Lance Armstrong two things stood out.

First, after undergoing chemotherapy and testing his body, not just physically, doctors were able to compare that to his baseline tests, which began at age 21 at that lab, and determine that the chemotherapy had absolutely no negative effect on his body.

Secondly and perhaps a bit more amazingly, studies show that Lance Armstrong's body, with no training at all, is at a level equal to the average person's body after years of intense training. Think about that for a moment and just realize what that means. He truly is, Superman.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Snark not needed

I was trying to think of a funny way to describe the jack-assery of this comment, but I thought, the comment doesn't need it.

I mean, are there any intelligent people out there who DON'T think that part of the War on Terror is to win the war of present freedom and democracy to people who don't have it and show them that we don't want to change their religion and change their morals, we just want them to be free.

Or ya know, we could just bomb the shit out of their holy lands.

Talk show host Pat Campbell asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.
"Well, what if you said something like -- if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.
"You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.
"Yeah," Tancredo responded.

I'll give everyone one guess which part of the above exchange ends up on the front page of the Terrorist Post-Gazette? I mean, I thought Durbin's remark was equally idiotic, but at least he was trying to make a point.

I'm starting to think their should be an IQ requirement for Congress. This would take many Republican and Democratic Congressman out of the running thankfully.

More than anything, this is a war of ideas. We need to show the world and citizens in the Middle East (and other oppressed countries for that matter) that freedom is the best way. No matter how much force we use, democracy will not 'stick' unless people embrace freedom. The above is just another roadblock in getting Iraqis and Muslims in general to trust our motives; something we have not yet accomplished.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Which Sci-fi character are you?

I'm Gandalf.

A wandering spirit caring for a multitude of just concerns, you are an instrumental power in many of the causes around you.

And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever
meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord.

Go see who you are (via Powerline).

Friday Cat Blogging

Its all over the blogosphere, so why the hell not right?

Cali says, "I prefer warm autumn tones as those look best on me".

The Schmidt Report and prisoner abuse

I can't say anything more than Andrew Sullivan does in his excellent wrap-up of the report (just keep scrolling and reading). Why oh why would any American want to abuse prisoners, apologize for that abuse and make excuses for it. And, as Andrew says, this policy is a direct line from the Gitmo and Abu Ghraib to the President as most military and civilian officials were against the change in policy.

Stunning. I think history will show this to be a low point in the history of America.

Just when I thought...

I had a handle on the story.

Chief presidential adviser Karl Rove testified to a grand jury that he talked with two journalists before they divulged the identity of an undercover CIA' officer but that he originally learned about the operative from the news media and not government sources, according to a person briefed on the testimony.

If this is true, then it makes my earlier questions, about why Novak's sources aren't being doggedly pursued and who Judith Miller is protecting all the more important and relavent.

Then, Joe Wilson said this last night:

My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity

So what exactly is Fitzgerald investigating and why is one reporter in jail? Its possible that I'm not understanding the law aspects of the case. I'm wondering if it has to do with her 'cover' company's name and maybe the whole she-bang has to do with not exposing Plame, but possibly her co-workers? If Fitzgerald has spent this much time, effort and political capital investigating this, one would assume there must be a target or crime as Fitzgerald has been working on it for two years...I'm only more intrigued now, not less!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ever get that feeling...

that everyone hates you? That everyone is secretly talking about you behind your back?

Like, maybe your wife? Like maybe your stepson?

Nah, its just paranoia right?

Special Report

Philly's NBC10 ran a special report notifier at the bottom of the screen a couple of minutes ago announcing that Rehnquist was not retiring. I mean, is that Special Report type news?

My God, they've gone crazy

I'm not lawyer, but TPM points out a new bill on the floor that seems a bit wacky:

Any federal officeholder who makes reference to a classified Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the floor of the United States Senate,

Ok, I'm with you so far...classified being the operative word to me in that statement...

or any federal officeholder that makes a statement based on a FBI agent's comments which is used as propaganda by terrorist organizations thereby putting our servicemen and women at risk, shall not be permitted access to such information or to hold a security clearance for access to such information.

This seems to me to be a bit ridiculous. First of all, does that mean a federal officeholder could make a statement NOT based on a FBI's agent's comments, that is subsequently used for propaganda? Additionally, wouldn't that prohibit speaking about anything the FBI finds that shows that America did wrong since, ostensibly our enemies could use that as propaganda? Isn't this basically an Orwellian 'don't criticize the government' type thing because our enemies could use that as propanganda?

Its called the 'Frist Amendment'. I don't know if its Frist or if TPM made up that moniker, but whoever it is needs a quick blow to the head with the reality stick.

The way to cut off the supply of 'propaganda' to the enemy is to hold the moral high ground, acknowlege mistakes when they happen, make sure they don't happen again and overall conduct ourselves beyond reproach, as much as it is possible during war times. There is always propaganda, the way to limit it is NOT to limit our criticism and speech.

Santorum is the thinking mans idiot

Remember when I posted about Atari and described my favorite game Combat? Little did I know that this post was a 'boop' and today happens to be the 'bang'.

Today, finally word is catching on about Rick Santorums idiotic claim of liberalism contributing to the sex abuse scandal in Boston.

I'd like to thank Rick Santorum for providing a topic that right wingers and left wingers can finally agree on. His idiocy.

More comments from Malkin, the Bull Moose, and Cap'n Ed. There are thousands of other posts out there today about his comments, which miraculously, he refused to back away from.

Here is a little advice for Santorum, start cleaning out that desk. Pennsylvania went Democrat the past two presidential elections, and though you are a long time incumbent, you are up against the son of a hallowed PA politcian who is pro-life. You could have a long career at Liberty Univesity with Jerry Falwell who blames liberalism, abortionists and gays for 9/11.

Cat Bloggers

In deferance to Sadly No, The Poorman, Environmental Republican and other cat lovers/bloggers out there, here is a cool kitten rescue from CNN. Try not to cry when you hear his little meow.

Update: having troubling linking to video...go to CNN (link provided above) and under the 'Watch Free Video' Browse/Search option, choose 'kitten rescue'.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Good Question

Environmental Republican brings up in my comments section a question which I think is definitely worth wondering about... Exactly who is Judith Miller protecting? If Rove gave the go ahead to reveal his interviews, one assumes if it was Rove, Miller would be cooperating by now. He thinks maybe Joe Wilson, I think thats a stretch, but I'm very interested to find out.

Anyone else want to commend Fitzgerald for keeping such a tight ship in this day and age??

Encouraging News

This is an encouraging story.

Now, Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish is striking back, saying fanatics have no right to deprive Palestinians of beauty in their lives. "There are Taliban-type elements in our society, and this is a very dangerous sign," Darwish told a gathering of artists and intellectuals this week.

Concluding with this quote:

Hassan Khader, a cultural affairs commentator for Al Ayyam, said Hamas is powerful enough now to impose its beliefs, but that he believes such attempts will eventually backfire at the polling booth. "If Hamas wants to be a political power, it can't force people to adopt its ideology," he said.

Perhaps the cultural community will be the first ones on the front lines in the battle of ideas and of ideology. If they stay strong, their voice will continue to be heard by more and more people.

Ya gotta love The Poorman

A little comic relief amongst all the seriousness.

Out of Focus

Powerline, like everyone else, has been commenting on the Plame/Rove affair. Today they take their well-trained radar and focus it where the story really is...the New York Times editorial page.

But the Plame "leak" is different, somehow:

But it is something else entirely when officials peddle disinformation
for propaganda purposes or to harm a political adversary.

Yes, we certainly agree with that. That's why our opinion of Joe
Wilson is so low. He leaked the contents of his own report to the CIA--in the
pages of the New York Times!--only he lied about his own report. He "peddled
disinformation," falsely claiming to have found no evidence of an Iraqi effort
to buy uranium from Niger, in order to "harm a political adversary," President
Bush. The Times didn't mind that particular disinformation, however, since it
fit the paper's political agenda. In fact, the Times has never issued a
correction of the misstatements in Wilson's op-ed. On the contrary, today's
editorial links to Wilson's 2003 piece and repeats its central allegations,
without even mentioning that Wilson's op-ed has been found to be fraudulent by
the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee!

I'm not going to get into the argument about whether the claims above are right or wrong, because to take the bait and talk about Joe Wilson's credibility is not the issue in this investigation. That is what Powerline is missing. Its not a crime to publish an op-ed piece, even if it is chock full o' lies. It is a crime however to expose an undercover CIA agent. But Powerline has this covered too:

In all of the liberal huffing and puffing over the supposed "outing" of Valerie
Plame--as though she might be in danger as she drove to and from her desk job in
Langley, and as though she hadn't posed for a photo shoot in Vanity Fair,
dressed up as a spy...

Oh, that old canard. You see, Powerline, Tucker Carlson and other conservative outlets feel as though they have a handle on Plame's CIA status. Not only that, they feel that have a better handle on Plame's CIA status then say, the CIA. As I stated before, the CIA referred the case to the Justice Department for investigation. A crime is only possible if Plame was undercover. If she wasn't, there is nothing to refer.

But don't take my word for it. How about the word of a retired CIA officer and classmate of Plame's:

Valerie Plame was a classmate of mine from the day she started with the CIA. I entered on duty at the CIA in September 1985. All of my classmates were undercover--in other words, we told our family and friends that we were working for other overt U.S. Government agencies. We had official cover. That means we had a black passport--i.e., a diplomatic passport. If we were caught overseas engaged in espionage activity the black passport was a get out of jail free card. A few of my classmates, and Valerie was one of these, became a non-official cover officer. That meant she agreed to operate overseas without the protection of a diplomatic passport. If caught in that status she would have been executed.

You see, at issue here is not the credibility of Joe Wilson. It is not whether Joe Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife. It is not whether Joe Wilson lied in his op-ed piece. It is whether or not a person exposed an undercover CIA agent. You could add 'in efforts to discredit Joe Wilson' or 'to correct an untruthful story', but those things are not relavent at all to the investigation.

Even without criminal charges, if it turns out that someone, Rove or not, did expose an undercover agent, there should be consequences. One wonders whether Republicans actually know when to use the word 'treasonous'.

UPDATE: Bush has no comment. I'm fine with that. I wish he wold have stuck to that theme since the beginning since now it looks a bit hypocritical, but he's right. He should wait until the investigation is complete until commenting. Why comment on something that isn't known at this point.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Interesting new bill

As much as I hate to do it, I'll link to Michelle Malkin this morning because she is following a uniquely interesting bill that isn't getting much press at this time.
Native Hawaiians have proposed a bill that would give them self-governance, similar to Indian tribes.

The bill would allow native Hawaiians - defined, in part, as anyone
with indigenous ancestors living in the islands before the kingdom fell - to
elect a governing body that would negotiate with the federal government over
land and other natural resources and assets. There is a lot of money and
property at stake, including nearly two million acres of "ceded lands," once
owned by the monarchy; hundreds of thousands of acres set aside long ago for
Hawaiian homesteaders; and hundreds of millions of dollars in entitlement

While I can't understand how Native Hawaiians must feel about the overthrow of their ancestors , I feel that this bill is a slippery slope. Who will be the next ethnic group to claim the right of 'self-governance? While Native Americans retain these rights, many were negotiated and settled during and immediately after their 'defeat'. What would the repurcussions be if we began to go back into history and examined 'conquered peoples'? Would African Americans be able to claim that they are a distinct and separate peoples, not indigenous, but 'stolen' from their indigenous lands and sharing a common ancestry, therefore being worthy of self-governance?

Scarier still is the feelings of young native Hawaiians:

As he sees it, Hawaii's cultural renaissance has exposed the unhealed
wound in the native psyche. He has witnessed it in young people, more radical
than their elders, as they adopt a tone of uncharacteristic hostility and
resentment in sovereignty marches. He has noted a wariness that is at odds with
the conciliatory mood struck in 1993, when President Bill Clinton signed a
resolution apologizing for the kingdom's overthrow.

While Native Hawaiian's history and current status have many similarities with Native Americans, I wonder if self-governance is really the best way for them to achieve exactly what they are looking for. That being said, a conquered people of distinct heritage longing for their own governance, rather than the government of their conquerers, has a long history throughout the world, trending towards self-governance. Those in places like Ireland still seek this. European countries have been leaving their colonies to self-rule over the past century.

American history doesn't contain much 'conquering', but when it applies, should we allow the self-governance that we so rightly fought for over 200 years ago? I'm starting to think if we stay true to our ideals, we must. Could the 50th star come off the flag? Should it?


Monday, July 11, 2005

Some changes on the way

I recieved some good feedback today about my blog and I'm going to try and make some changes, or rather focus my energy a bit better.

It is going to be hard because I started this blog as a way to 'let off steam' and get things off my mind...and boy does my mind wander! I guess most readers can see that. I don't want to change that too much as I enjoy things as varied as politics, sports, domestic issues and comedy. I like interspersing serious stories with fun things and things to laugh at.

That being said, I'm going to try and focus on commentary (my own craziness) rather than pointing out the...faults (for lack of a better term) of others. That's not to say that I won't link to posts and disagree with them, but that is what I'm going to focus on, the merit of the disagreement rather than just showing how wrong someone might be. Its gonna be hard and I'll expect I'll lose my way, but hopefully this will make the blog a better read.

Still expect sports and comedy from time to time and interesting tidbits here and there.

Good story

If this is true, what a great story.

Afghan villagers sheltered a U.S. Navy SEAL wounded in a battle last month with the Taliban until they could get word to American forces to rescue him, a military official said Monday.
An Afghan villager found the SEAL and hid him in his village, the
official said. According to military accounts, Taliban fighters came to the
village and demanded the American be turned over, but villagers refused.
The SEAL wrote a note verifying his identity and location, and a villager carried it
to U.S. forces, the official said. The note indicated to U.S. troops that they
wouldn't be entering into a trap. The commando was rescued July 3.

Conservative recipe for liberal media bias

One cup 'its not that big of a story'
One teaspoon of 'discrediting' accusors
A pinch of 'it doesn't matter anyway'

Blend ingredients with prediction that 'liberal mainstream media will be all over this'. Bake at 350 degrees and watch as your perfect prediction comes true!

If liberal mainstream media bias is not evident after baking, please add two pounds of 'its not that big of a story' and 6 cups of "discrediting accusors".

I'm patiently waiting to see what the outcome of the Rove/Plame/Wilson story will be. However, the claim that this isn't that big of a story and that, as Powerline predicts, there is not 'serious' claim of violation or perjury, is wishful thinking.

The media feeding frenzy will, indeed, be massive. But absent a serious
claim of a statutory violation or perjury, it's questionable whether anyone
apart from liberal bloggers and other pre-existing Bush haters will partake in
the media's dog food. This isn't a top presidential aide accepting an expensive
gift, or engaging in lewd sexual conduct.
It's a top aide providing
truthful information to journalists in response to lies told to embarrass the administration and our government.
And, as John suggests, Valerie
Plame isn't very convincing as a covert agent of the United States,
although she did fairly well as an agent of her husband and the president's other enemies.

You know, because nothing is more American than attacking someone's wife as revenge for an op-ed peice. Forget about 'facts' and all that...this was much more effective.

Here is the problem with the 'Plame was not really a covert agent' arguement. A crime is only possible if the agent is covert. If the CIA feels that a crime may have been committed, they refer the case to the Justice Department for investigation...WHICH THEY DID. As Josh Marshall noted, I think I'll trust the CIA's opinion of Plames status rather than the usual talking heads.

Rather than go around and start asking why many conservative commentators had plenty of opinions about who was a 'traitor' or 'treasonous' or 'un-American', I'll just wonder aloud what they will think if Rove is found guilty of exposing a CIA agent working on WMD's. Or what they think, even if found not guilty, of his dirty political tricks.

This story has absolutely nothing to do with Wilson's op-ed, his political leanings, Plame's contribution to Al Gore's campaign or politics in any way.

It is a crime to expose a covert operative. The CIA was of the opinion that she was covert. END. OF. STORY. Lets give Fitzgerald his leeway in investigating the claims and see what comes out of it for crying out loud.

Of course, you can always count on Scott McClellan for some revisionist answers:

Question: Do you want to retract your statement that Rove -- Karl Rove was not
involved in the Valerie Plame expose? -- involved?
McClellan: This is -- no, I appreciate the question. This is an ongoing investigation at this point. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, that means we're not going to be commenting on it while it is ongoing.

After some minor bickering, a reporter actually does his job and calls "BULLSHIT"!

Question: But you did -- you did discuss it while it was an ongoing
You stood there and told the American people Karl Rove
wasn't involved.

McClellan: I've said all I'm going to say on it.
Go ahead, April.

Of course, this might be a little harder to run away from:

Question: Scott, without commenting on the investigation, you said in
September of '03, if
anyone in this administration was involved in it,
they would no longer be in this administration. Does that standard still hold?
Mr. McClellan: Again, I appreciate all these questions. They
are questions relating to an ongoing investigation, and the President directed
us to cooperate fully with that investigation. No one wants to get to the bottom
of it more than he does and --
Question: -- the standard then still
Mr. McClellan: The investigation is ongoing, Peter, and we're just not
going to -- we're not going to --

and just for kicks, this comment over at John Cole's post linked to above:

If Karl Rove did disclose information inappropriately, he did it for
America. If people doubt the Administration, the terrorists win.

I wonder if that is actually Karl Rove trolling the blogosphere defending himself.

Who'd a thunk it?

A town a scant 20-25 mins from me is the 'best town in the country'. Thats a shocker. Moorestown is a neat little town, if a little bit traffic congested at this point...what a pain to get around anywhere in that town or the neighboring towns. Environmental Republican lives right next door!
Seems like finally, South Jersey is getting a little respect dammit!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Top 5 "new" things that suck

All apologies to Horatio, the master of top 5 lists, but alas, I've had it.

Top 5 'new' things that suck:

5. the new Dave Matthews Band CD (it pains me to no end to say that)
4. of course, new Coke
3. the new Jeep Cherokee
2. the (relatively) new Burger King french fries
1. 'now better tasting' Doritos (was something wrong with the old awesome Doritos?)

Worth Wondering

Via Andrew Sullivan, one wonders why no Muslim clerics or other Muslims in high regard don't do more to condemn these terrorist attacks and others, while having raised such a fuss over Salman Rushdie.

I'm not cynical enough yet to think its because they really support these attacks, but I do think it might be a case of, for lack of a better term, partisanship. They don't want to condemn their own. Well, they should and they should be much more vocal about it. If they don't want people to think that this is what true Islam is, which I don't, then more condemnation is needed and a harder response to those that would tarnish Islam in the name of their God.

Someone else wants to know too...

Over at Huffington Post, someone else is wondering why the hell we don't go and get bin Laden (and simulataneously explaining why exactly Pakistan won't let us in there as Dave Justus pointed out in my comments).
I tend to agree, why is Pakistan deserving of the diplomacy when they could be harboring the terrorist mastermind?

I think people still care

When Porter Goss first uttered the following statement, it made me angry and it made me think. However, I didn't comment as I really thought there wasn't much to say. But after yesterday's terrorist attack, I was really thinking about that statement and I got even angrier.

Asked whether that meant he knew where bin Laden is, Goss responded: "I
have an excellent idea where he is. What's the next question?

It is my contention that the majority of Americans are still extremely interested in finding Osama bin Laden and bringing him to justice. Yesterday, there were calls to bring those who perpetrated the attacks in London to justice. I got to thinking about why the CIA chief is so blase about OBL.

Does he think Americans don't care anymore? That we are more focused on Iraq than to worry about OBL? Does he think OBL is irrelevant?

Basically that statement amounts to telling a father or mother or husband or wife whose family members were killed, 'of course we know where the murderer is, but we can't go after him.'

Bringing the mastermind of 9/11 to justice should have been and should still be priority number one. Goss goes on to say:

"We are making very good progress on it. But when you go to the very
difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're
dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair
"We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in
unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international

Our 'sense of international obligation, fair play'? WTF does that mean? Agree or disagree, our government thought that Iraq was a danger and we responded. Yes we went to the UN, but they didn't agree with us and we really only did that as a ploy for more support. I guess our senses were pretty dull at that point. I mean, when the thoughts of the international community were found to have influenced the SCOTUS on the decision of whether to execute juveniles, people were up in arms, ready to do battle. NOW, we are worried about the international community when it comes to finding the mastermind of more than 3,000 murders of Americans, on American soil??

Have we stretched our military so thin that to go after OBL in a sovereign nation would be tricky at best, dangerous at worst? If he's in Pakistan, aren't they our allies in the War on Terror?

Exactly who in the 'international community' would object to us going after and capturing OBL? I would venture to say that even France would be behind us on that. I would go out on limb to say international support for that mission would be around the levels of support for the actions in Afghanistan, rather that the levels of support that we recieved for the actions in Iraq.

As relevant as it is to Britons to find out who murdered more than 50 people yesterday, Americans still want to bring OBL to justice. To think of that man still at large makes me sick to my stomach. I don't care if he's doddering, blabbering, hurt, dying, without limbs, brain dead or in a persistant vegetative state, he IS still relevant and if we have an 'excellent idea' where the f&*k he is, we should have him in custody. Hell, I'll take his cold, dead body dug from a months old grave, but I won't take sitting on intelligence that tells us where he is and not acting on it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Heard from my friend in London, thankfully she is safe.
She had a small report and promised some more details:

i am ok, and so are my other people here. work was chaos though--we were
in accident and emergency all day, dealing with major burns and blast trauma,
and there were swarms of press everywhere. we have been waiting for

Echoing the common theme from most Britons that it wasn't 'if' but 'when'. Will update more as I recieve.

No Time for Politics

I don't really even think that needs to be said, but of course, for some people, anytime is a time for politics.

Michelle Malkin, talented in bringing politics into any discussion, highlights the lunatics over a Daily Kos on the comments board, calling them and others 'the American Left'. But of course, while simultaneously highlighting this post at The Belmont Club which contains this statement (not to metion the looney fest going on in their comments section):

Liberals may believe that accommodation, appeasement or flattery can
change this correspondence.

They are not the American Left anymore than Jerry Falwell is the American Right. The 80% of people in between those two extremes would beg to differ while still considering themselves 'left' or 'right'.
Could we just get past today before we start worrying about the political repurcussions of the attacks? We all agree there is a war on terror, we might disagree about how to fight it, but Terror attacked today, lets stand together to show that our disagreements are really what makes us strong instead of tearing people down and talking about who will politically benefit.


As usual, Instapundit has the best roundup of links. Some bloggers are there and live-blogging coverage.

Andrew Sullivan has more commentary.

Press conference just said no advance warning of the attacks. My question, why hasn't our terror alert been raised. Seems appropriate to me at this time. NJ Transit, Amtrack, Chicago and Atlanta public transportation on extra alert.

UPDATE: our terror alert level for transportation systems only has been raised.

I remember the fear of thinking something else still might happen. I hope that it doesn't. Many foreign countries are going to be affected as one explosion was on a double decker bus, and it isn't Britons who ride those tourist buses. Pics of the bus are horrendous and I'd be surprised if many people survived that blast. News conference just said they couldn't confirm casualites on the bus, 33 in the other 3 explosions.

More here.

Update: Andrew Sullivan has a great roundup of truly 'British' responses. Its a great read.


My prayers and thoughts go out to all Londoners and the people of Britain. I hope that things won't get much worse than initial reports for these terrorist attacks.
I have a very close friend who lives and works in London and is a doctor in the emergency room. Any information I recieve I'll be glad to pass on; right now I'm just waiting and hoping to hear she is safe.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I've been trying to find a post at all the blogs I read that encapsulates my position on who the President should nominate to the SCOTUS. I haven't found one so I decided to just write my own.
I have no preconceived ideas about who should be the nominee but I do have some about who shouldn't.
First and foremost, I would oppose Alberto Gonzales. I feel that nominating someone who is the architect of a legal justification of torture is a disgrace. That is my opinion and I realize it has nothing to do with his qualifications and his experience. I find it morally reprehensible and I think it has cast a pall of shame on this country.

After that, I have no specific feelings. I wouldn't necessarily oppose a pro-life nominee. I would most likely oppose someone who consistently judged against abortion rights. That is not to say someone who ruled against late term abortions or the like. But someone who didn't make exceptions for the life of the mother or someone who, through their rulings, created a wall of legality through which it was very hard to obtain an abortion (like Texas), I would have a problem with.

I'm trying to keep an open mind as much as I can. I feel the President has a real opportunity to lead. That is not to say he should 'pick a moderate' or somesuch nonsense. I feel he should consult with the Judiciary Committee. I don't think that is out of bounds. I think everyone in this country is gearing up for a fight and wouldn't it be refreshing if there wasn't one. Democrats will be just as responsible for that outcome. I hope they keep an open mind as most have said they will.

My fear is that the President will see this nominee as a 'give away' to the far right and choose someone who would easily be seen as 'activist' were his or her rulings found to lean to the left. He can almost guarantee there will be at least one more nomination during his term, if not two. He could very well view this nominee as a way to shore up the base and finally pay off that debt to the far right, while viewing subsequent nominees as his 'legacy' nominees. I hope that won't happen. That would be the definition of judicial activism.

Monday, July 04, 2005

I'm Back

Well, I'm back from my long weekend at the parents and with so much news happening and with the frequency which I read blogs, its overwhelming how much there is to catch up on. So, I'm going to pretend like I wasn't gone and just start off fresh. I'll try and catch up on posts as I have time so if I say something you or others have said, I apologize if it seems old. This is the problem with being addicted to news and then going on vacation!

PS: Happy 4th of July!!

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