Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I liked this

Haven't been leaning Hillary lately -- but had to post this because its great...and true.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Some quick hits


"This is where I get to be honest and I hope I'm not out of school here. I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you're anti-Israel and that can't be the measure of our friendship with Israel. If we cannot have a honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we're not going to make progress. And frankly some of the commentary that I've seen which suggests guilt by association or the notion that unless we are never ever going to ask any difficult questions about how we move peace forward or secure Israel that is non military or non belligerent or doesn't talk about just crushing the opposition that that somehow is being soft or anti-Israel, I think we're going to have problems moving forward. And that I think is something we have to have an honest dialogue about."

More, please. Its not that Hillary Clinton believes or doesn't believe this. I have no idea. What I do know, is that she would never say it. I'm tired, so tired, of having politicians who are afraid of speaking the truth, because it might not sit well with certain constituencies.

Have we all successfully formed opinions on Obama and his dressing in traditional Kenyan attire? As if it matters? No, you haven't? Well, good. Because Hillary's flacks are here to help you form one:

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones: "I have no shame, or no problem, with people looking at Barack Obama in his native clothing, in the clothing of his country." Hmmm, last time I checked, Obama was born in the USA.

As I said to my mother and aunt the other day, for God's sake Hillary Clinton's team does nothing but make her look bad. So either she has horrible judgement skills on who is spinning for her, or she's really trying to pull the wool over people's eyes and yell "boo...Kenya...muslim" and hope people vote for her. Sad. Better put by Christopher Orr:

"At this point, it seems to me there are really only two plausible interpretations: Either Stephanie Tubbs Jones is an imbecile, and the Clinton campaign is enormously unlucky that it keeps looking as though they're trying to paint Obama as an exotic, probably Muslim foreigner. Or the Clinton campaign is trying to paint Obama as an exotic, probably Muslim foreigner, and they think they can get away with the smear as long as they add, "not that there's anything wrong with that."

One of the reasons I lean towards Obama is that try as everyone might, he never seems to take the bait. He never pulls the typical, Democratic, tail-between-the-legs, bullshit responses. As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, he responds exactly as he should. On the holier-than-thou flag lapel pin controversy, intead of insulting my intelligence and telling me how much he loves America and hates The Terrorists, he said:

"A party that presided over a war in which our troops did not get the body armor they needed, or were sending troops over who were untrained because of poor planning, or are not fulfilling the veterans' benefits that these troops need when they come home, or are undermining our Constitution with warrantless wiretaps that are unnecessary?
"That is a debate I am very happy to have. We'll see what the American people think is the true definition of patriotism."

Exactly right. Obama has been taking some ugly attacks. So has Hillary. One has responded in the way that I have been wanting people to respond to these right-wing attacks for the past 7 years -- since 9/11, and thats Obama. The pickup of the Dodd endorsement today only strengthens his case, in my mind. Chris Dodd has not been very popular on the campaign trail, but he's been doing the unpopular work on the FISA debate and is not afraid to stand for something that others will mischaracterize as "giving the terrorists our rights"!

There are plenty of reasons to vote for Hillary. She is just not making her case very well, in my opinion and trying to scare people into thinking Obama is some exotic Muslim foreigner only makes her seem like a right-wing hack.

Things that Piss Me Off

You're pro-choice. Does that interfere with being an evangelical?

Well, I don't like the [pro-choice] label. I guess the reason I wrote about abortion the way I did in the book is because I have serious moral concerns about abortion, but I don't believe that it should be illegal. And that puts me in the vast majority of Americans. But unfortunately, there's no label for us.

Yes, there is. You are PRO-CHOICE.

This is the crap that pisses me off -- when right-wing nutters who want to change the debate start using the phrase "pro-abortion" it makes people believe that if you are pro-choice, that must mean you just love abortions.

Abortions are just awesome, aren't they? When my sister got pregnant, I told her I was pro-choice (meaning pro-abortion, natch) and suggested she get an abortion. She didnt...alas, that must make her pro-life.

This is stupid. If you are pro-choice, it means you do not think that it should be illegal to get an abortion and that if a woman wants to get an abortion, that option should be available to her. END of STORY. Women who allow others to change the definitions of what "pro-choice" means, only demonize other women and allow those that would take that choice away from you more power. Get a clue Amy.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Its a mysterious phenomenon, thankfully explained by XKCD in one picture:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In case anyone was wondering...

Just a few words from Silvestre Reyes to counter the fear-mongerers on the right:

"First, NSA can use its authority under Executive Order 12333 to conduct surveillance abroad of any known or suspected terrorist. There is no requirement for a warrant. There is no requirement for probable cause. Most of NSA's collection occurs under this authority.

Second, NSA can use its authority under the Protect America Act, enacted last August, to conduct surveillance here in the U.S of any foreign target. This authority does not "expire" on Saturday, as you have stated. Under the PAA, orders authorizing surveillance may last for one year - until at least August 2008. These orders may cover every terrorist group without limitation. If a new member of the group is identified, or if a new phone number or email address is identified, the NSA may add it to the existing orders, and surveillance can begin immediately. We will not "go dark.

Third, in the remote possibility that a new terrorist organization emerges that we have never previously identified, the NSA could use existing authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor those communications. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the FISA Court has approved nearly every application for a warrant from the Department of Justice. In an emergency, NSA or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may begin surveillance immediately, and a FISA Court order does not have to be obtained for three days. The former head of FISA operations for the Department of Justice has testified publicly that emergency authorization may be granted in a matter of minutes."

Hat Tip.

Shall we re-visit how right-wingers are trying to scare you? Sure...why not.

Andy McCarthy: "In today's article, I catalogue some of the problems with the Senate bill which would overhaul FISA — while explaining that the bill absolutely must be passed by the House or our foreign intelligence collection is going to collapse."

Michelle Malkin: "The frenzy over FISA is a stark reminder of basic party differences on the War on Terror. The Republicans put security first. The Democrats put trial lawyers, terrorists’ rights, and election campaigns first. The Republicans are acting to prevent another 9/11. The Democrats are stuck in a 9/10 world. "

Republican Leader John Boehner: "Delaying action on a long-term modernization bill puts our national security at risk"

President Bush: "The House's failure to pass the bipartisan Senate bill would jeopardize the security of our citizens. As Director McConnell has told me, without this law, our ability to prevent new attacks will be weakened. And it will become harder for us to uncover terrorist plots"

As Kevin Drum says: "Look, if it's that important, there's a simple answer: pass the bill without telecom immunity. Then come back and introduce immunity in a separate bill. If you've got the votes for it, fine. If not, too bad. "

Do we really need to answer that?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Is there Anything Better?

Eat it, Eagles fans.

Find an Attorney