Wednesday, May 31

No post today

It's the first honest to goodness day here in Sun Valey and in all honesty, I'd rather be outside than writing a blog for you chumps. But fear not. With any luck, I'll get sunburned again and be stuck inside for friday.

Monday, May 29

Memorial Day blogging

On this day of days, there's much on the blogs about patriotism and what we should do as citizens of this great nation. I cannot come close to the eloquence of many of the writers I read, so out of vanity I won't try. I will however quote a line from pachacutec at Firedoglake that I thought was the absolute best thing to add to Patrick Henry's famous quote. Speaking of the fallacy of a 'War on Terror', he added:

Give me liberty or give me death. Take your "terror" and shove it.

Happy Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 25

I found a "Must Read"

I know it's a cliche for bloggers to post MUST READS, but I broke my own, oh so strict M-W-F blogging schedule to ask you to read a post. "Mutinyblogging Pours the First Drink" is a wonderful read about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, Iran, and well, Mystery Science Theater 3000. Here's the only paragraphs I want to post, because it is definately worth reading the whole thing:

As I was chatting with my Ukrainian friend on that lake 10 years ago, a little paddle boat came up. It was a grandfather and his grandson, and neither one spoke English very well. The older man was trying to say something to us in Finnish. We figured out pretty quickly he was drunk, but we didn't figure out he was blind until he stepped where the dock wasn't and fell into the lake. Even in the summer, it's still pretty fucking cold in a Finnish lake in the middle of the night. So we helped him out and built a fire.

For each of us growing up during the last days of the Cold War, myths were told and shattered, and we'd entered a new age when we could do our small part together to build a better future. It wasn't much, but a godless communist and a racist capitalist were warming up a soaking-wet, blind, drunken, old Finn, and we didn't need to win a war for that to happen. As we navigate a difficult situation with Iran, America needs leaders who are not afraid to acknowledge that the people of Iran are human beings, and that calls for isolating them are not a strategy for defeating them, but a way to preserve the myths that provide a clearer path to war.

Wednesday, May 24

Tehran


In your plane in the blue sky
You roam again
Words that echo in your mind
Make your heart beat faster
This is no Vietnam
We will win in Iran

The president said let it ride
Islam be damned
Make your last stand
In Tehran

Warrior, the time bombs
About to go
What will you feel
Will you ever wonder
If the man that's in your sights
Ever kissed his girl goodbye

The captain said kill or die
Islam be damned
Make your last stand
In Tehran

Great Satan
Our flags of burning

Soon America may find
Its young man in the sand
Where there casualty
Is just a number
In Iran

The president said let it ride
You will be damned
Make your last stand
In Tehran
Tehran
The Offspring
The Offspring

Friday, May 19

What do you get when you pack shit together?

A whole lot of packed shit. Tristero at hullabaloo takes a look at winger rhetoric:

In today's Times, Lauren Winner writes:
If we are truly to help our teenagers adopt the countercultural sexual ethic of abstinence until marriage...
This is all of a piece with modern rightwing propaganda style, to pack as much loopy nonsense as possible into every sentence. This makes it exceedingly difficult to confront and rebut, but not because there's a solid argument to "engage."

[...]
Firstly, the sheer amount of garbage that needs to be cleared away all but requires, as it does here, a response longer than the original winger passage. Secondly, the whackiness of many of the secondary assertions makes it extremely easy to get distracted onto tangents - for example, into a debate on exactly what is meant by "countercultural." Thirdly, the effect is literally paralyzing and intimidating. To read the word "we" in this context stops us (heh heh) dead in our tracks - huh? - and then "we" wonder what's wrong with us that "we" aren't focused on helping us make our kids' teen years as miserable as they possibly can be.

Finally, notice the appropriation and inversion of liberal/lefty rhetoric. We wish to help our teenager. We are the counterculture, sticking it to The Man. This is very common and very old. The early pro-coathanger activists would adapt Beatles songs and old 60's protest chants ("All we are saying, is give life (sic) a chance") and Lauren Winner is steeped in that tactic. And what are "we" gonna do in retaliation? It's not as if there are that many compelling rightwing songs around to rip off ("The Ballad of the Brie Ballet," maybe? Nah...).
I see this everywhere. By burying a shaky argument in a pile of crap, you force anyone looking for the point to dig through that shit to get to the nugget at the middle. And you know what? It's such a lame point, that most of the time, you don't feel vindicated at the end. I've about given up on trying (for the time being) just because it takes so much effort to figure out what I already know: The winger is an idiot.
This packing tactic was, if not pioneered by him, surely brought to a new level of obnoxiousness by Robert Novak many, many years ago, when he would ask a Democrat a trick question filled with screwy righty assumptions that simply would have to be dealt with before the question even could be addressed, thus enabling Novak to accuse the hapless Dem of wimpiness and evasion.
In formal debating, you need to be able to pick out and dispute the point of your opponent. In formal debating, you are both arguing from the same field as well. Yet in the real world, people have different world views (sorry right wingers, not everyone sees the world in black and white). When we start debating with someone arguing from a completly asinine frame, we can lose our way, especially when they're blowing as much smoke out their ass as they can.

I'm trying something new: Ignore these pieces. There is no point in going in when all you get is shit on your hands (so to speak). When I come across an honest to goodness rational piece about differences between those of us in the real world and those stuck in Manichean- land, I'll give it a try. Until then, good luck with all that shit.

Wednesday, May 17

A Rose by Any Other Name....

The creation of the Plumbers Unit (officially: the White House Special Investigations Unit) was just one of a series of semi-legal or flat-out illegal steps taken by the Nixon cabal to investigate leaks of classified information.

...

The original goal -- or at least, the stated goal -- of these efforts was to plug leaks. But the program quickly metastasized into an all-purpose domestic spying/political dirty tricks operation, beginning with the burglery of Ellberg's psychiatrist's office in an effort to find dirt that could be used to blackmail and/or discredit him. The entire operation was eventually transferred to CREEP (Nixon's 1972 reelection committee), where it generated an increasingly bizarre array of schemes -- like G. Gordon Liddy's idea of luring delegates to the 1972 Democratic convention onto offshore prostitution barges, again for blackmail purposes. The plan failed, however, after the Kennedy family insisted on a group discount.

But seriously.

I Love Billmon's writing. Well, at least when he gets around to it anyway (But that's just the pot calling the kettle black). He has an eloquence about his writing that is mirrored by a growing number of writers, such as Digby and the wonderful bloggers at Firedoglake. What I like most is how succinct Billmon's application of history repeating itself is.
My point is that the progression from national security leaks to leak investigations to political dirty tricks to an all-out assault on the Constitution is a movie we've already watched before. True, the remake is playing out a little differently -- the Cheney White House didn't have to create its own Directorate of Dirty Tricks because the official organs of state security are all on board, even if some of them had to be press ganged. And the neoplumbers haven't had to worry nearly as much about Congress finding out, or doing anything to stop them it even if it did. Liddy's "love boat" idea may not have been so crazy after all.

But basic pattern still seems to hold -- small crimes (or at least, less egregious ones) lead to bigger crimes. Indeed, the big crimes can quickly come to seem imperative, if the earlier crimes are to be kept secret. Bud Krogh, the original plumber, has speculated that the Watergate coverup might never have happened if Nixon hadn't known that the Ellsberg break in (and all those other abuses) were also out there waiting to be discovered. And of course, having given the green light to the cover up, Nixon and company had to commit even more crimes to try to cover up the cover up. Once you get on that particular express train to hell, there's no getting off.

It's a hard correlation to ignore. The only big dfference here is that the administration as a whole is behind this one, despite the best efforts of the President. I find it hard to think that anyone presented with even the most bare- bones of basic frames of this administration's schemes in the grey area of legality wouldn't connect the dots. And yet, after watching MSNBCBSFox for a couple of days, there is hardly anything about our own Watergate. I see two reasons for this: Either we haven't had a hotel to name the scandal after yet, or there's been a willing omission of it from the traditional media.

There is an interest in it. Just read over the liberal blogsphere for a day (Or just firedoglake for an hour for a quick hit of it all) and you will find millions of people interested in what the media is not telling us. Perhaps that's the problem, or at least the solution: What we want to hear is not covered by the traditional media. They'll claim lack of a market for the story most likely. They're worse than a child when it comes to attention span. Give a story a day or two, and it's gone. Unless of course a young white female is in trouble, then the story will last for weeks on end.


But anyway, let's get this rant back on track:
The real lesson of Watergate is that the two phenomena -- national security absolutism and good old-fashioned political ratfucking -- are joined at the skull, like inseparable Siamese twins. You can't have one without the other, particularly in a system that is otherwise designed to prevent the kind of radical accumulation of power the Nixon and Bush II White Houses represent.

That's why it's so easy to suspect that the current drip drip drip of revelations will eventually show the Cheneyites indeed have followed in Tricky Dick's criminal footsteps -- if not to the very end, then at least past the point of no return. And the ABC News story just might point the way.

So there may be salvation yet. The traditional media may get out of that funk of non-admission of government wrongdoing its been in for the last 5 1/2 years (what an odd number for it to be... I wonder what happened in January 2000...). But my gut sends a signal telling me not to hold my breath. And if Stephen Colbert has taught me anything, it's that great people listen to their gut.

Friday, May 5

Idaho is good for small businesses

According to Inc.com ("The Daily Resource for Entrepreneurs"), Idaho is quite the place for small businesses to start up. In a recently released survey, many of Idaho's major cities made the list. Our star player is Cour d' Alene at #5. Not to be outdone, Idaho Falls is #10. Further down the list is Boise- Nampa at #48, Pocatello at #66 and Lewiston is rocking #277. Remember that this is a national survey, so even 277 is nothing to sneeze at.

What does this mean for the Gem State? It's good news. Their methodology "puts the focus on job growth, which we believe is the best measure of a region's economic vitality." This shouldn't be a suprise to anyone living in Idaho, especially for the last 5 years or so. I know my humble home town of Hailey has seen houses go up faster than Knapweed in an open field. That is one of the most obvious signs of the job growth our region has been seeing, and I'm sure this is emblematic of the rest of the state (Or at least these cities and their surrounding communities).

More on Inc.com's methodology:
To compile the rankings, Inc. measured current-year employment growth, as well as average annual job growth over the past three years and compared job growth in the first and second halves of the period comprising the past 10 years.
So despite our Idiot- in- Chief's best attempts to screw the little guy (which just goes to show you how resilient the economy is to the bumbling of fools), Idaho is doing all right.

Thursday, May 4

I just know there's a "Godless Liberal" behind this one

I was reading me some good ol' Firedoglake this morning, taking in a post that quotes digby again tearing apart the meme about a liberal media when I came across this little gem:

...On 6/6/06, Ann Coulter will release her new book...

Umm, exsqueeze me? Did you just say that Ann Coulter's new book is going to be released on the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year of this millenium? Oh pinch me, oh pinch me...

Availability: Will ship week of June 6th - just in time for Father's Day.


Please say I'm not the only one who thinks this is funny...

Tuesday, May 2

"Priests and imams to play ball in a game of two faiths"

I couldn't think of a better title than the one of the story.

With just over a month to go before the World Cup, a team of imams will play a team of Christian priests. “It’s been difficult to find a rabbi who will referee on the Sabbath,” sighs the Rev Christopher Jage-Bowler, “but we are trusting in God.”

The first thing that came to this blogger's mind was "This is Rad." In this crazy, dyadic world of cultural sensitivity with a bit too much outright religious bigotry, it's refreshing to see something like this come across our radars. Not to mention the author's addition of some good old tongue- in- cheek humor that the British are so good at.

Switching the game from next Saturday to Friday has been ruled out by the Muslim side, since this is their day of prayer. The Christian clergy, meanwhile, have a problem with Sunday. The 44-year-old vicar, mastermind of the seven-a-side match, is confident that the problems will be resolved before kick-off.

The imams are ready to abandon their Kufi hats and the vicars will leave their cassocks in the vestry in favour of orthodox football kit.

I wish I could be in Berlin to see that game, just for the off the wall nature of it all. Here are men of two religions --two religions which have not had the most "friendly" of relations for the last 1400 years-- playing a game of Fußball. Not trying to kill the other for heresy is a good start to building some bridges, especially if the losing team is good sports about it.