Tuesday, August 30, 2005

My mistake

I'd mentioned previously that Arthur Chenkroff was not doing the Good News series anymore - but that was incorrect. He's still doing them.

Pretty funny stuff

The LA Times is complaining that the Cookie Duster threw in some last minute amendments to reforms that are supposed to be voted on in September - and it might derail the process. I will assume that the paper is speaking for Democrats who filibustered him for months. As for the substance of the amendments - the LA Times is funny there as well.

Monday, August 29, 2005

How to Win in Iraq

here is a well-written piece that is similar to ashley wilkes' article (before it's too late in iraq) in that it cites the bush administration's incompetence in dealing with iraq. the opening paragraph:

"Despite the Bush administration's repeated declarations of its commitment to success in Iraq, the results of current policy there are not encouraging. After two years, Washington has made little progress in defeating the insurgency or providing security for Iraqis, even as it has overextended the U.S. Army and eroded support for the war among the American public. Although withdrawing now would be a mistake, simply 'staying the course,' by all current indications, will not improve matters either. Winning in Iraq will require a new approach."

and:

"As President George W. Bush has stated, 'Our strategy can be summed up this way: as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.' But the president is describing a withdrawal plan rather than a strategy."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A day late and a dollar short

So does this mean the war is not over yet? Pretty much any valuable advice Ashley Wilkes has to offer in the post below is stuff that is already being done as part of the plan that, believe it or not, has existed and evolved since the occupation began – even during that “wasted first year”. You have to be blind or devoted to the NYTimes front page not to see a buzz of activity in Iraq that incorporates everything that the retired General is clamoring for. The strategy in place is operating on his three prongs and then some. His refusal acknowlege those efforts makes it virtually impossible to take him seriously. Setbacks? Yes, here and there and all over. No plan? Preposterous. I would suggest that anyone who sees Iraq as a downward spiral skim through just the last Chenkroff Good News in Iraq post (it’s a shame that Chenkroff is no longer doing these long posts – but that doesn’t mean the positive news has stopped). You'll notice winning hearts and minds and infrastructure repair and foreign commitments, et al. No doubt about it: Iraqis are steadily building a new and prosperous country.

And what’s with this line:
On the political side, the timeline[s] for the agreements on the Constitution are less important than the substance. It is up to American leadership to help engineer a compromise that will avoid the "red lines" of the respective factions and leave in place a state that both we and the neighbors can support. So, no Kurdish vote on independence; a restricted role for Islam, and limited autonomy in the south. And no private militias.
Is he not aware that the deadlines are postponed as we speak (though they are still relevent) while the three factions hammer out support and substance for the constitution? I don’t understand how Wilkes breezily makes the transition from we’re-moving-too- slow to timelines-are-less-important-than-substance. But regardless, the constitution appears to have many positives, including a prohibition of militias and and quotas for women in the Council of Deputies & much more that will hopefully stay in tact through presenting the draft and getting it ratified. Again, Wilkes seems unaware that most of what he’s calling for is in the process of happening or has already happened. Good thing that the Iraqis are taking the constitution more seriously than the retired general.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Before It's Too Late in Iraq

a must-read article from retired general wesley clark

Reenlistment well over forecast - again

What does Frank Rich think this means?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A very good, though very long, piece by Lee Harris

Take 2 on the Intelligent Design/Evolution debate.

A comedian with nards?

from the Washington Times:
NORWAY Gunmen target Muslim comic
OSLO -- Unknown assailants yesterday fired shots at an Oslo restaurant owned by the family of a Pakistani-born female comedian who has achieved prominence for lampooning conservative Islam.
Shabana Rehman, 28, whose sister owns the restaurant, called the incident "an appalling act of terror" and said it would not deter her from continuing her work. Miss Rehman has made a career of joking about the cultural divide between Norway's 4.5 million people and its 76,000-strong Muslim community.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Monday, August 22, 2005

ACLU: Effort to Marginalize Indians Succeeding

slightly old

Michael Barone discusses the changing attitudes in the Middle East

His summation:
Two generations ago, Americans, at the cost of hundreds of thousands of
deaths, changed minds in Germany and Japan. The Pew Global Project Attitude's
metrics give us reason to believe that today's Americans, at far lower cost, are
changing minds in the Muslim world.

Captain Ed is the go to place for details on Able Danger

he's been posting pretty heavily on it. Keep scrolling.

Sounds like the Israeli settlers borrowed from the Palestinian playbook

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

As Sharon is leading Israel through an extremely difficult period

and proving himself to be a tough, far thinking leader - the U.N. is funding Palestinian propoganda.

Earlier today, I decided to take the two tests

that Mat linked to and wondered at the criteria he used to prefer those to mine. I realize the bias in my test as well as the bias on the other two test. However, I noticed that of the two tests, there were 5 questions out of the 20 multiple choice that did not offer a correct answer at all, regardless of your political slant (#1 & #5 on Test One, and #1, #2, #5 on Test Two).

Consider this example:

1. The anti-war movement supports our troops by urging that they be brought home immediately so they neither kill nor get killed in a unjust war. How has the Bush administration shown its support for our troops?
a. The Republican-controlled House Budget Committee voted to
cut $25 billion in veterans benefits over the next 10 years.

b. The Bush administration proposed cutting $172 million from
impact aid programs which provide school funding for children of military
personnel.

c. The administration ordered the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to
stop publicizing health benefits available to veterans.

d. All of the above.

The question asks what the Bush Administration has done to show support for the troops, but then only offers choices that make Bush look bad. What’s more, "d" says "all of the above," instead of none of the above. Perhaps the test writers actually believe that the Bush Administration actions they cited do support the troops? To make this a legitimate question, a "none of the above" option should be included or an actual example of how Bush supports the troops should be added. There are plenty of examples the test writers could have offered – most soldiers know these, the test writers should, too. If the test writers were graded on answerable multiple choice questions provided, they would have a combined average of 75%.

Then there are several questions that were too steeped in subjectivity and chaff to have any adequate answer. The worst examples were #4, #9, #10 from Test One and #4, #10 from Test Two. For example, #4 asked what the al Qaeda threat today is and then offered 3 quotes saying its worse, with a fourth option of “all of the above.” Simple quotes are not facts, and in this case, the quotes did not provide any sort legitimate choice to answer the question. The question could have asked, which of the following are quotes from such-n-such critics of the war. Any college professor that’s not far to the left (I know I’ve narrowed the field quite a bit) would throw these questions out, bringing the test writers average down to 50%. If one were to grade the answer key, the score would be considerably lower.

Some of the questions confused me. Test One Question #7, which mentions that there was not mass slaughter in the Iraq war as in Dresden and Hiroshima, lists some troubling (but unprecendentally light as wars go) examples of Iraqi suffering (which I can’t vouch one way or the other for – accuracy-wise.). What was the purpose of the question? Surely the test writers do not believe that we fought a relatively delicate war that sought to avoid civilian bloodshed? I mean, I believe that, but I have hard time thinking they do.

Test One Question #9 did not stand the test of time too well. I’m sure the line of conspiracy theory has been redrawn a few times since then. Test Two Question #3 has “d” as the correct answer, but option "a" is incorrect. And there seemed to be plenty of that throughout both tests.

I could be wrong (and let me know if you think so), but after going back over the format of my test, I concluded that while admittingly projecting a hawkish view, at least all the questions had correct answers. It’s a shame that the other tests did not – especially since it seems apparent that those fellows spent a great deal more time writing their tests than I did mine.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

i like this quiz better

and here's another.

Take the War on Terror Quiz

For those struggling with the answers, they will be posted in the comments section.

Identify the party most likely to share the sentiment of each statement:

1) No WMDs were found in Iraq, therefore Iraqi WMDs do not exist.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
2) Invading Iraq was a diversion from the Global War on Terror; the London bombing was a result of the Iraqi invasion.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
3) America cannot endure a long and bloody conflict.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
4) America must not endure a long and bloody conflict
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
5) The Iraqi war was a war of choice.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
6) A free and democratic Iraq will promote liberty to the rest of the region.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
7) America can and will be successful in creating a representative government in Iraq with a prosperous economy.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
8) The abuses uncovered at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo have destroyed the US “moral authority” to wage a war on terror. (choose 2)
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
9) If taken prisoner, a warrior should falsely allege abuse.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
10) God’s language is Arabic and our Holy Book expresses His exact words.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
11) God’s voice is beyond human understanding and our Holy Book is a translation so that humans can understand Him despite their own limitations.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
12) God has no place in the town square.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
13) There are instances of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, therefore the war is unjust. (choose 2)
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
14) There is no difference between Saddam’s regime and Bush’s regime. (choose 2)
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
15) If an enemy combatant does not wear a uniform, is not affiliated with a state military, deliberately targets civilians and murders hostages, he is still entitled to POW status should he be captured. (choose 2)
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
16) Mother Sheehan’s authority to criticize the war is absolute, and those critical of her are part of a smear campaign.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
17) Iraq is the central front in the War on Terror. (choose 2)
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
18) Israel has the right to exist and we support that right.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
19) Saddam had no ties to al Qaeda.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
20) If the U.S. retreats from the Middle East and withholds support for Israel, terrorism will go away.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
21) If the war effort is not perfect, then it is an absolute failure.
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists
22) The U.S. should immediately pull its troops out of Iraq. (choose 2)
a. the Right
b. the Left
c. Islamofascists

Monday, August 15, 2005

This looks like it’s going to be difficult.

Here’s praying for a smooth pullout. Will the international community remember this Israeli sacrifice?

Dean wants to be first in line to paint the Iraqi constitution as a failure

His answer back in 2004 was to turn everything over to the U.N., because they would presumably protect women’s rights. Funny how he thought (and may still think) that there was a reservoir of international troops ready to go in once we said pretty please with sugar on top. It’s telling that the party that sees no future sees every bit of news, good or bad, as total defeat.

How’s the government supposed to provide aid to the Palestinians if Mother Sheehan won’t pay her taxes?

Friday, August 12, 2005

The 9/11 Commission omission does the following:

1) Reaffirms the need to tear down the intelligence wall (one of the main reasons to support the Patriot act). In fact, this story points to the possibility that the intelligence wall may have been directly responsible for keeping us from stopping the attacks.
2) Reaffirms my point that the 9/11 Commission is a bipartisan committee that negotiated a report based on facts they could agree on. That the commission would neglect evidence because it did not fit its pre-conceived conclusions makes clear just how unserious the commissioners were in approaching their job. The report may have been interesting because it compiled a timeline, but it was little more than that.
3) It makes me wonder anew what was in Sandy Bergler’s pants.

I say we need to have a commission to look into the commission to find out what they knew and when they knew it. And perhaps another commission to look at the general state of commissions. Why not create a new cabinet post – The Secretary of Commission Overviews, who will answer directly to the President. In turn, the President will answer directly to this secretary. Of course, there will be an independent council to oversee both.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Who's Watching the Watch List?

shouldn't all americans (including--or especially--republicans) be opposed to this secretive aspect of our government?

mission creep nos. 1-4

Why Are We in Iraq?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Itai!

A positive view of the negotiations over the Iraqi constitution

a couple good points from the article:
Sharia or Islamic family law, probably the most resilient aspect of the
Holy Law since it culturally underpins the highly stable Muslim home, may make
some comeback in Iraqi law and in the new constitution. In all probability, this
process will not be a Trojan horse, allowing for the subversion of democracy
itself. As long as women have the right to vote and the Iraqi Parliament remains
the supreme chamber for political debate--and neither is seriously in
question--then the inclusion of some aspects of Islamic family law into Iraq's
civil code may well reinforce democracy's chances.

...equal rights between the sexes is not a precondition for the growth of
democracy. If this were so, Western democracy never would have developed.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I'll be darned...Mike Malloy is in a rage about the Air America Scandal

After he convinced himself it was a rightwing conspiracy. A post on BoreAmerica which quotes Malloy:
"This was obviously all part of the Flying Monkey Right's secret plan to
undermine our network! Those Nazi fascist brownshirt bastards - they stole that
money and now they're trying to blame it on us! Damn them! Damn them to hell!"
I'm not sure about that. I'm thinking that Dr. Mabuse and the GOP leadership may recognize that as long as Air America is out there (along with the Daily Kos and Howard Dean) it only benefits conservatives. Unless Malloy thinks it's a triple-double switcheroo, in which case the evil doctor is playing some multi-dimensional mind games well beyond my brain capacity.

Steyn ties it all in with a devestating column

On Hackett's and the "victory":
It was "nearly the biggest political upset in recent history," which is another
way of saying it was actually the smallest political non-upset in recent
history. Hackett was like a fast-forward rerun of the Kerry campaign. He was a
veteran of the Iraq war, but he was anti-war, but he made solemn dignified
patriotic commercials featuring respectful footage of President Bush and
artfully neglecting to mention the candidate was a Democrat, but in livelier
campaign venues he dismissed Bush as a "sonofabitch" and a "chicken hawk" who
was "un-American" for questioning his patriotism.

On the Democrat "platform":
...After the Ohio vote, Dem pollster Stan Greenberg declared that "one of the
biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don't stand for anything." That
might have passed muster two years ago. Alas, the party's real problem is that
increasingly there's no doubt whatsoever about it.

On Bush's education "cuts":
Just for the record, "his cuts to education funding" are cuts only in the sense
that Hackett's performance in the Ohio election was a tremendous victory: that's
to say, Bush's "cuts to education funding" are in fact an increase of roughly 50
percent in federal education funding.

And alas, a point that I've mentioned here before: the need for two parties in a two party system:
Republicans may see the increasingly arthritic, corpulent, wheezing, flatulent
Democratic Party as a boon for them, but I don't. Two-party systems need two
parties, not just for the health of the loser but for that of the winner, too.
Intellectually, philosophically, legislatively, it's hard to maintain the
discipline to keep yourself in shape when the other guy just lies around the
house all day.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Read the whole thing.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Wretchard @ the Belmont Club deciphers a DOD press briefing

and ponders the size and scope of an apparently new operation we have going on the western border.

Lee Harris chimes in on teaching intelligent design and evolution in school

as always, Harris is most thoughtful.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My final thoughts on "Intelligent" Design...

Fucking hell... Intelligent Design taught in schools... why don't we also bring back phrenology as a means of social engineering?
"Well Mr B., due to this occiptal ridge crossing both your undersized eyesockets and merging in the center of your forehead, and the erm... outsized formation of your ears, I'm afraid that the only job we'll ever be able to place you in is sanitation engineer."

Good grief, the rightwing is getting stupider with every passing moment.

The Algerian Connection

good article about the web of affiliates between al Qaeda and Saddam. More investigation is needed.

Red Meat Special

Who’s going to protect minorities and the disenfranchised from Air America? Michele Malkin isn’t counting on Jesse. I'm sure Mike Malloy is beside himself with anger over the scandal.

Double shot of Tech Central

Lee Harris was never comfortable with spreading democracy in the Middle East and explains his reasons using the Iran election as an example.

Michael Fumento thinks Frist was wrong on expanding funding of embryonic stem cell research – and makes some good points.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

"No spin - the GOP is on the run"

one win at a time.

As an Oklahoma State football fan, I'm very familiar with moral victories - and that you can rely on them for years.

The myth of control

I've been passing comments on the nonfamous site

like old times here

I'm not sure how it happened

but Liverputty is on the blogroll for Radioblogger. Scroll down to "Ryan Newman Up 'N Comers". I'm guessing it may be because I've linked to Radio blogger in the past.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Austin Bay notices that our stance on human rights got us kicked out of Uzbekistan

Tigerhawk notes: “The next time somebody tells you that the United States
operates without principle, remind them that the Bush Administration walked away
from an important base in central Asia because it stood up for political liberty
in one of the most isolated places on the planet.”

I'm thinking Steve might agree with Krauthammer on this one....

at least partially?

Congrats to the cookie duster!

After months of anxiety, the recess appointment has finally happened. Sorry we couldn't get a vote for you, Mr. Bolton, but you know how it is. Now get in there and start cracking some heads!

Why Truman dropped the bomb

"I'll never talk to a reporter again!"

say's resident crank, Helen Thomas.
"We were just talking -- I was ranting -- and he wrote about it. That isn't
right. We all say stuff we don't want printed," Thomas said.

BTW - I never realized her resemblence to Ozzie Osborne.