Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dowd Dishonesty
by Lee

About three weeks ago I wrote this post about Matthew Dowd, one time die hard Bush supporter and now… not so much.  Here’s how National Review (subscriber only, unfortunately) covers the story.

In 1999, as he prepared to run for president, George W. Bush came to rely heavily on the services of pollster Matthew Dowd. Dowd was, and is, a sharp and savvy political operative. And he was, and apparently is, a Democrat. Now, years later, the president has learned the hazards of admitting the opposition party into your inner circle. In a splashy, front-page interview with the New York Times, Dowd denounced the war in Iraq and what he called the president’s “my way or the highway” approach to governing. From what we can tell, Dowd never particularly believed in Republican policies, but rather admired Bush’s potential to unite Democrats and Republicans. But when things get tough — and they always, at some point, get tough — Democrats tend to support Democrats and Republicans tend to support Republicans. It’s just the way things are, and it’s too bad Bush didn’t realize that in the first place.

A few points.  First, let’s jump in the Wayback Machine and revisit some of Bush’s past presidential debates.  All emphasis below is mine.  From 2000:

I mean, look, I fully recognize I’m not of Washington. I’m from Texas. And he’s got a lot of experience, but so do I. And I’ve been the chief executive officer of the second-biggest state in the Union. And I’ve had a proud record of working with both Republicans and Democrats, which is what our nation needs.  … Now they may blame other folks, but it’s time to get somebody in Washington who’s going to work with both Republicans and Democrats to get some positive things done when it comes to our seniors.  … I think there was a good opportunity to bring Republicans and Democrats together to reform the Social Security system so the seniors will never go without.  … believe we ought to give seniors more options. I believe we ought to make the system work better. But I know this: I know it’s going to require a different kind of leader to go to Washington to say to both Republicans and Democrats, “Let’s come together.” … Let me make sure the seniors hear me loud and clear. They’ve had their chance to get something done. I’m going to work with both Republicans and Democrats to reform the system. All seniors will be covered.  … And I’ve been the governor of a big state. I think one of the hallmarks of my relationship in Austin, Texas, is, is that I’ve had the capacity to work with both Republicans and Democrats. I think that’s an important part of leadership. I think of what it means to build consensus. I’ve shown I know how to do so.  … Testing is the cornerstone of reform. You know how I know? Because it’s the cornerstone of reform in the state of Texas. Republicans and Democrats came together and asked the question, “What can we do to make our public education the best in the country?” And we’ve done a long way working together to do so.

All of those quotes are from ONE DEBATE with Al Gore.  And lest we forget, here he is in 2004 debating Kerry.

I will work with Republicans and Democrats. It’ll be a vital issue in my second term. It is an issue that I am willing to take on, and so I’ll bring Republicans and Democrats together.

My point is that this is a president who made working together with Democrats one of the cornerstones of his entire campaign.  He made it one of the main reasons people should vote for him, because of his demonstrated ability in Texas to work together wit both Republicans and Democrats.  Given this, it’s the height of dishonesty for NR to try and spin this as Down being “the enemy” invited into Bush’s inner circle, when Bush did everything possible to make him feel welcome—including hiring him.

How quickly we went from “Democrats and Republicans working together” (a lie) to “My way or the highway” (the truth).  Not that I think the two parties working together is necessarily a good thing, I’m a big supporter of do-nothing gridlock.  But Bush ran on this platform, and a lot of people made the grave mistake of actually believing they could trust a word which came out of his mouth.

As for “when things get tough,” that’s putting it mildly, to say the least.  A far better phrase would be “When a president becomes the polar opposite of the man he claimed he was when you began supporting him, when he displays incompetence unparalleled in contemporary presidential history, when he shows a total lack of respect for the Constitution, the law, and the customs of the United States… .” When Bush started doing these things Dowd reverted back to being a Democrat.  I became a Libertarian.

I guess, according to NR’s standards, I was never a “real” conservative to begin with.  After all, the litmus test for true conservatism these days is unwavering loyalty for and worship of George W. Bush.  Anyone who dares question Dear Leader is counterrevolutionary, and runs the risk of being declared an America-hating liberal turncoat.  To paraphrase NR, it’s just the way things are, and it’s too bad Bush wasn’t honest about that in the first place.

Anyone remember the good old days, when National Review wasn’t the punchline to a bad joke?

Posted by Lee on 04/25/07 at 12:19 AM in The Press Machine  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pigs In Space
by Lee

We’ve discovered a new world.

This remarkable discovery appears to confirm the suspicions of most astronomers that the universe is swarming with Earth-like worlds.

We don’t yet know much about this planet, but scientists believe that it may be the best candidate so far for supporting extraterrestrial life.

The new planet, which orbits a small, red star called Gliese 581, is about one-and-a-half times the diameter of the Earth.

It probably has a substantial atmosphere and may be covered with large amounts of water - necessary for life to evolve - and, most importantly, temperatures are very similar to those on our world.

It is the first exoplanet (a planet orbiting a star other than our own Sun) that is anything like our Earth.

Of the 220 or so exoplanets found to date, most have either been too big, made of gas rather than solid material, far too hot, or far too cold for life to survive.

“On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X,” says Xavier Delfosse, one of the scientists who discovered the planet.

“Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life.”

I’m going to make one of my completely unverifiable yet deadly accurate predictions.  When the technology evolves to where we are able to study this planet’s climate, there will be periods of significant warming and significant cooling, clear and convincing proof that there are aliens living on this planet and they all drive Escalades.  And I bet they wipe each of their seven anuses with more than one sheet of toilet paper. 

Posted by Lee on 04/24/07 at 11:11 PM in Science and Technology  • (6) TrackbacksPermalink

Groundwork for Victory™
by Lee

I just received an email from, of all people, George W. Bush, the President of the United States.  It was entitled “Laying the Groundwork for Victory.” I assumed that this was going to be some mass mailing from the RNC talking about how those meanie poopiehead Democrats are the only thing standing between victory and humiliating defeat in Iraq.  My first, snarky response was, “Perhaps they should have laid the Groundwork for Victory™ a few years ago, before they invaded.” But, surprisingly, the email had nothing to do with Iraq.

No, it was boilerplate fundraising bullshit.

Your commitment to our Republican principles and ideals is helping build a stronger, more prosperous future for every American.

As we enter a new election cycle, it is important to remember that we are the Party of ideas. We are results oriented. To gain our majority in Congress back we must stand by our principles and act on them.

In the battle of ideas, we stand with the American people. We believe in a strong national defense. We believe in less government and lower taxes. And we believe in the values and good judgment of the American people.

I have set a big agenda for our nation. But my political agenda is this: electing more Republican governors, taking back control of the U.S. House and Senate, and making sure we keep the White House in 2008.

Lee, it is crucial our Party prepares now for the 2007 state and 2008 national elections by recruiting good candidates to run for office who share our core principles—and by providing them with the early organizational support they need to run effective campaigns.

Will you stand with me and help lay the groundwork for Republican victory by making a special contribution to the Republican National Committee (RNC) today?

Allow me to make this short and sweet:  “No.” The Republicans need to spend a few years suffering the consequences of what they have wrought upon the nation.  Then, when they decide to be the part of individual liberty, rigged individualism, states rights, a strong defense, and the pursuit of excellence, rather than the part of Christ, morals, treating blastocysts as babies, irrational fear of evil homosexuals, and Intelligent Design, then maybe they’ll get my money and my vote. 

Until then they can go piss up a rope.

Posted by Lee on 04/24/07 at 02:01 PM in Election 2008  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Toilet Storm
by Lee

My God, could our planet get any warmer?

A storm system piled more than a foot of snow on the Colorado foothills on Tuesday and hit the Plains with heavy rain, hail and violent thunderstorms.

Evergreen, in the foothills west of Denver, reported 16 inches of snow, and other foothills towns had up to 14 inches.

“There’s cars sliding off the roads everywhere,” said Rick Olde, owner of Olde’s Convenience Store in Evergreen.

Some schools were closed in the area. Interstate 25 was closed about 14 miles north of the New Mexico state line by a downed power line, but it was not immediately clear if that was caused by the storm.

Sheryl Crow knows what caused it.  Too many Coloradans wiping their asses with more than one square of toilet paper.  Those smug, Earth-hating bastards.

Posted by Lee on 04/24/07 at 01:07 PM in Celebrity Idiots  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Chickenfry Update
by Lee

I just spoke to her and her mom.  They’ve got her BP under control.  They’re going to keep the tube in until tomorrow.  Once they take it out they’ll see how she does, and if all goes well she’ll be out tomorrow night. 

I passed along all your well-wishes to her, and she asked me to thank all of you.  “Thank you!”

Posted by Lee on 04/24/07 at 12:47 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Heroes
by Lee

Say what you like about me, but the people in the Bush administration are pure scum.  It turns out that in death Pat Tillman was pimped out like a whore to drum up support for the war.

An Army Ranger who was with Pat Tillman when he died by friendly fire said Tuesday he was told by a higher-up to conceal that information from Tillman’s family.

“I was ordered not to tell them,” U.S. Army Specialist Bryan O’Neal told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Ostensibly this was to protect the family and his brother, who was nearby.  And in the short term that would have been a reasonable and justifiable thing to do.  This, however, is the Bush administration, where decency and respect mean absolutely nothing when compared to politics and spin.

In earlier testimony, Kevin Tillman accused the military of “intentional falsehoods” and “deliberate and careful misrepresentations” in portraying Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan as the result of heroic engagement with the enemy instead of friendly fire.

“We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family but more importantly the American public,” Kevin Tillman told a House Government Reform and Oversight Committee hearing. “Pat’s death was clearly the result of fratricide,” he said, contending that the military’s misstatements amounted to “fraud.”

“Revealing that Pat’s death was a fratricide would have been yet another political disaster in a month of political disasters ... so the truth needed to be suppressed,” Tillman said.

Which is exactly what happened.  The administration (i.e. Rumsfeld) needed to whip up some rah-rah support, and nothing does that more than a dead hero.

Pat Tillman’s mother, Mary Tillman, said she believed former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld must have known. “The fact that he would have died by friendly fire and no one told Rumsfeld is ludicrous,” she said.

Which is absolutely true.  If you think for a second that this wasn’t intentional spin by Rumsfeld and his gang then you’re a gullible moron.  Oh, speaking of heroes, Jessica Lynch also testified.

“The bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes and they don’t need to be told elaborate tales,” Lynch said.

Absolutely true.  The problem is that honoring heroes wasn’t what any of this was about.  It was all about cementing political power for the Bush administration.

Support the troops my fucking ass.  These people disgust me.

Posted by Lee on 04/24/07 at 11:20 AM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Origin of Chickenfry
by Lee

In the comments to the post about my girlfriend being in the hospital a few people asked where she came up with the name “Chickenfry.” It comes from a Burger King commercial.

I haven’t talked to her yet today but I’ll pass along all your best wishes to her when I do.  Thanks, gang.

Posted by Lee on 04/24/07 at 10:22 AM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Showing Some Ankle
by Lee

Let’s hope Iran keeps this shit up.

The police force were facing increasing criticism on Tuesday for their handling of a nationwide crackdown aimed at making women abide by Iran’s Islamic dress code.

Thousands of women have been warned and hundreds arrested for wearing overly loose headscarves or excessively tight coats, prompting warnings in the press that the authorities should be focusing on other economic priorities.

Even the overall head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged police against heavy-handed actions against women found to have broken the rules.

“Hauling women and young people to the police station will have no use except to cause damage to society,” the reformist Etemad Melli newspaper quoted Shahroudi as telling a meeting of local governors.

“Tough measures on social problems will backfire and have counter-productive effects,” he warned.

Witnesses have said that the drive, launched on Saturday, has not been universally popular on Tehran’s streets, with parents of the women apprehended in particular unafraid of making their feelings clear to the police.

Reformist newspapers and the ISNA student news agency reported that 2,000 students at a prestigious university in the southern city of Shiraz staged a protest on Sunday night over new restrictions on conduct and clothing.

The protests were triggered by a new code of conduct banning the students from wearing shorts and sleeveless vests outside rooms in their strictly segregated dormitories and an extended curfew.

I often hear people speaking of Iran as “pro-American.” This isn’t exactly the case.  They’re not pro-American, they’re pro-Iranian.  They’re just as fiercely patriotic as any other nation.  They just want Iran to be more open and tolerant and western and modern, to be Iranian in tone but American in theme.  And Iran is full of people like this, with one of the youngest demographics in the Middle East.

This is why the Iraq issue is of such vital importance.  Through our astonishing ineptitude there we have damaged the reputation of the US to the point where even ostensible allies like these now view us with distrust.  We have, in essence, confirmed everything they’ve been told about America by the hardliners but had thus far never believed.

You know what’s fascinating?  That the Iranian government is being criticized for focusing too much on stupid morality issues when there are far greater problems which need to be solved.  Gee, does that sound like anyone else (porn, drugs, gay marriage, Terri Schiavo, stem cells, etc.) you know of?

Posted by Lee on 04/24/07 at 09:00 AM in The Religion of Peace™  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, April 23, 2007

Canada’s Most Married
by Lee

Behold the power of the internets.

A five-year hunt for a man accused of killing a police informant in Phoenix ended in Toronto’s west end this weekend thanks to a “courageous” young woman who turned in her boyfriend.

Mikhail Drachev, 24, who has been on the run since the “horrific” slaying of Konstantin Simberg in December 2001, was arrested by police Friday in the Rexdale apartment the pair had been sharing for more than five years.

“About a week ago, he decided to come clean and give her his real name because they were thinking about marriage,” Staff-Sgt. Paul MacIntyre said yesterday. “She Googled his name and learned he was in fact on America’s Most Wanted.”

The fugitive’s girlfriend, whose name was not released, was initially “conflicted,” MacIntyre said. Although it took her a week to tell police, she eventually “did the right thing” and should be commended, he said.

“She was with this fellow for a long time, and obviously they were very close,” MacIntyre said. “The fact that she came in to a (police) station and told us who he was, I think, showed tremendous courage on her behalf.”

Luckily I have the name of a professional athlete, so anyone who Googles me has to go through 147 pages of info about him before they come to a word about me.

Posted by Lee on 04/23/07 at 11:25 PM in Those Wacky Canadians  • (12) TrackbacksPermalink

Nostricular Exsanguination
by Lee

No more blogging today, I have a little family emergency I have to deal with.  Details later.

Update: So I just got back from the hospital.  Chickenfry (my girlfriend) has been having bad nosebleeds for about 5 days.  She went to the doctor, but they came back.  She went to the urgent care unit, where they cauterized her nose, but they came back.  So today she went to the emergency room, because she had blood pouring out her nose.  Her blood pressure was really high, 200+.  They first put these long tampon-like things down her nose but those didn’t work, so now they’re doing essentially a nasal angioplasty.  They insert these hoses in through the nostrils, then inflate them with saline.  Apparently this procedure is so uncommon that doctors were just stopping by all day to check it out, since they’d never seen one before.  At any rate, she’s on IV meds to lower her blood pressure, and she’ll be admitted inpatient until Wednesday.

She asked me if her nose was big.  I said, “You don’t know who Karl Malden is, do you?” (She’s only 25, too young for The Streets of San Francisco or those old American Express commercials.) Let me put it this way.  When my dad was in the hospital getting his artificial heart they had him on a nasogastric feeding tube, and this thing up Chickenfry’s nose is about twice as thick as that one was.  I can’t begin to imagine how uncomfortable this is.

But they gave her some stuff to calm her down and help her sleep, so now she’s getting some rest.  As am I, I’m off to bed.

Posted by Lee on 04/23/07 at 06:35 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Johnny Walker
by Lee

Reason has an interesting post about Jihad Johnny.

In his New York Times legal column, Adam Liptak notes that the plea deal struck by John Walker Lindh’s lawyers, admired at the time because it spared him a potential life sentence, is looking crappier every day. Although Lindh joined the Taliban’s war with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, he did not fight Americans or participate in terrorism. Yet he is being punished much more severely than men captured in Afghanistan around the same time whose offenses were as bad or worse. Yaser Hamdi, who also was accused of helping the Taliban, was held in military custody without charge from 2001 until 2004, when he was released and sent to Saudi Arabia after the Supreme Court ruled that he had a right to challenge his detention. David Hicks, the Australian who recently admitted providing material support to Al Qaeda, received a nine-month sentence from a military commission (on top of the five years he had already been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay) and will be free by the end of the year. In effect, Hamdi got three years and Hicks got six, while Lindh, probably the least culpable of the three, got 20. With credit for good behavior, he has 13 more years to serve. Since he signed a plea agreement, his only hope of getting out sooner is commutation.

Clearly, due process, which Lindh got but Hamdi and Hicks did not, is not the same as lenience.  In fact, judging from these cases, the conservatives who insist on military detention for people like Hicks and Hamdi are soft on terrorism.

Lindh had his day in court, he had legal rights and representation, he made his deal, and he should do his time.  End of story.  That being said, how pathetic is it that one of the main prosecutions the Bush administration can point to as evidence of its unrelenting war on terror is some dickhead teenage kid from Northern California.

Perhaps we should have tortured him.

Posted by Lee on 04/23/07 at 04:30 PM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Guns or Other Stuff
by Lee

Things aren’t so hot in Philly.

A bloody, bullet-filled weekend left 11 people dead across the city, where drugs and disrespect have trumped brotherly love and the murder rate is on pace to be the highest in a decade.

Philadelphia has seen more than one killing a day this year, totaling 127 as of Monday afternoon. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles — whose populations are much larger than Philadelphia’s 1.5 million residents — have had fewer homicides this year.

The spike over the weekend was partly blamed on the first warm weather of the season. But rain or shine, Philadelphia police say the chronic problems remain the same: poverty, lax gun laws and a culture of intimidation that keeps witnesses silent and leaves shooters on the streets.

Let’s take a look at those chronic problems.

1) Poverty
2) Lax gun laws
3) Culture of intimidation that prevents cooperation with police.

Of those three, which do you think is least important when contributing to Philadelphia’s problems?  Say they passed tough gun laws, but kept the poverty and the intimidation.  Does anyone seriously think the murder rate would drop significantly?  Of course it wouldn’t.  Conversely, if they enacted business-friendly policies to create jobs, ended the cycle of dependence on welfare programs, and gave residents a reason to take pride in and care about their city, do you think the number of guns in society would matter one whit?

Posted by Lee on 04/23/07 at 02:05 PM in 2nd Amendment  • (5) TrackbacksPermalink

All I Wanna Do Is Wipe My Buns
by Lee

Seriously, folks, you can’t make this shit up.  Or, in this case, wipe it off.

Singer Sheryl Crow has said a ban on using too much toilet paper should be introduced to help the environment.
Crow has suggested using “only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required”.

The 45-year-old, who made the comments on her website, has just toured the US on a biodiesel-powered bus to raise awareness about climate change.  … “I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming,” Crow wrote.

“Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating.

“I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting.”

What kind of a fucking asshole could come up with something as asinine as this?  Let me get this straight.  We’re supposed to believe that the polar ice caps are melting, that sea levels are going to rise 100 feet, that some of the world’s major port cities are going to be underwater, that animal life is going extinct… and Sheryl Crow thinks that the solution to the problem is for us to wipe our asses less?

Update: I think Demolition Man has the solution.

John Spartan: [whispering to Lenina] Look, I don’t know if you guys know it, but uh… you’re out of toilet paper.
Alfredo Garcia: [confused] Did… did you say toilet *paper*?
Lenina Huxley: Um… they used handfuls of wadded paper back in the 20th…
[Lenina, Alfredo, and Erwin all laugh]
John Spartan: I’m happy that you’re happy, but the place where you’re supposed to have the toilet paper, you’ve got this little shelf with three seashells on it.
Erwin: He doesn’t know how to use the three seashells!
[Erwin continues to laugh, then calms down]
Erwin: I can see how that could be confusing.

Posted by Lee on 04/23/07 at 12:04 PM in Celebrity Idiots  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Lack of Planning
by Lee

We went in to Iraq without a plan.  Now, it seems, we’ll be leaving Iraq without one, too.

It’s almost impossible for the military to seriously plan for a contingency—withdrawal—that the commander-in-chief won’t even discuss, Sinnreich noted. “The probability that it would leak to the press is too high, and no one in uniform wants to take that chance,” he said. “Yet only with deliberate planning will we be able to take some of the sting out of what will surely be seen as a U.S. retreat. My point is, there are defeats—and then there are defeats.”

Knowledgeable Pentagon sources say that some planning for a possible drawdown in Iraq is in the “conceptual” stage, but they concede that the vast majority of the military’s energy and effort is focused on implementing the troop surge and Petraeus’s counterinsurgency campaign in Baghdad. If the campaign is successful, it will certainly set the conditions for a more orderly withdrawal. Yet some experts recall a similar lack of serious advance planning for “Phase 4” stability operations in Iraq, even as the 2003 invasion loomed.

We didn’t plan for the worst because the administration’s ideology wouldn’t permit them to do so.  We ended up getting the worst.  Now the administration’s hubris won’t let the Pentagon plan for a withdrawal. 

Oh yeah, this is going to to turn out real well.

Posted by Lee on 04/23/07 at 09:07 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Drink Yourself To Death
by Lee

If you have Boris Yeltsin in your dead pool, you chose wisely.

Former President Boris Yeltsin, who engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, has died, a Kremlin official said Monday. He was 76.

Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov confirmed Yeltsin’s death, but gave no cause or further information. The Interfax news agency cited an unidentified medical source as saying he had died of heart failure.

The spokesman’s name is “Smirnov.” That’s fucking priceless.  When I die, I want the announcement to be made by a guy named Jack Daniels.

Posted by Lee on 04/23/07 at 07:48 AM in Europe and the UK  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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