Monday, February 28, 2005

Constitutional Amendments

One of my friends on LiveJournal had a birthday a few days ago, and gave a list of things that had happened on his birthday, including:
1922: The Supreme Court unanimously declares the 19th amendment constitutional, defending women's right to vote.
This sounded a little strange. As one commenter asked:
Isn't an amendment to the constitution, by definition, constitutional?
So I did what any well-informed seeker after truth does in such circumstances: I asked Google.

The case is Leser v Garnett. Only successful amendments to the constitution are, by definition, constitutional. There have been plenty of proposed amendments that never made it, and Leser et al claimed that the so-called '19th amendment' was nothing of the sort, that its alleged ratification and incorporation into the constitution 1.5 years earlier was a hoax perpetrated on the nation. The Court unanimously rejected their arguments.

Whether Leser was a good decision is another question. If all you care about is that, as a result of Leser, women could now vote, then it was a good thing. But the case had nothing to do with women's rights, and everything to do with how amendments to the constitution are adopted. Leser says that:

  1. Congress and 38 state legislatures can amend the constitution any way they please, and the other 12 states have to go along; there is no amendment so sweeping that a state can say 'no'. If the House, the Senate, and 38 state legislatures decide that Bush is president for life, then that's the law and nothing can be done about it.
  2. State legislatures voting on constitutional amendments are fulfilling a federal function, and are not bound by their states' constitutions. So even if the voters of MA amended their constitution to say that the legislature shall not vote to amend the federal constitution in such a way, legislators are free to ignore that.
  3. If the Secretary of State receives notice from a state legislature claiming that it has ratified the amendment, she's bound by it whether it's true or not; and when she informs the courts that she has received 38 such letters and the amdendment is now law, they must accept it, and may not inquire into whether it's actually true.
I'm not at all sure that this is a good thing.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Remember when Baghdad hold 'em was fun?

I think FoxNews started the game. The idea was to come up with the best poker hand using the captured members of the 55 most wanted list. This game became pointless as soon as everyone got a Saddam-high royal straight flush. So the news that the 6 of diamonds was captured yesterday is interesting because he had a lead role with insurgency, but otherwise (yawn!).

So I propose that the rules of the game be modified so that you have to make the best poker hand with uncaptured baathists. I've got a full-house Jacks over Kings. Anybody got that beat? Or has Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri been captured?

Correspondent Kang: Live from Davos

I'm in Switzerland on business next week, so I decide to fly in early and go skiing. Unfortunately, I still haven't found the missing Eason Jordan tape. Of course that would make sense unless it's current whereabouts are 1) on a mountain, 2) in a bar, or 3) in the casino. In fact, many people mentioned all the celebrates that were in town for the conference, but no one seems to have heard of Mr. Jordan. Oh well, they'd probably think he's great anyway.

Also - they sure do love the Clintons here. They even named a ski run after Hilary. The locals say it's a real bitch to get down. Heh.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Must Read: Tim Blair Uncovers Rove's Secret Plan

Democrat congressman Maurice Hinchey, speaking on CNN, persists with the idea that Karl Rove devised the fake Rathergate memos...

Is Karl Rove truly that brilliant? Using contemporaneous reports and several eye-witness sources, this site is able to reconstruct the events of last August at Evil Rove Headquarters, located many miles beneath the earth’s surface...

CLICK HERE for the rest. Hee hee hee!

UPDATE (Milhouse): from a comment on Tim Blair's post:

Karl Rove is a frickin’ evil supergenius, dude. He should, like, have his own comic book and shit.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Gates

Cristo's 26 year project, which was recently unveiled in Central Park, has inspired another work of art, the Somerville Gates (hat-tip New York Times). Heh!

Since the actual Gates are actually just a bunch of orange-colored steel posts, the art must be in the symbolism. And for once I agree. The Gates, to me, symbolizes the Western elitist class.

For years and years these self-anointed progressives have distanced themselves from the core principals and traditions of our founding fathers. Whether it's multiculturalism, globalism, or relative moralism, the theories of the elitist class tend to disavow the notion that Western civilization generally, and the United States specifically, are preferable to, for example, radical Islam as practiced by a totalitarian state. So in one sense, the Gates represent the elite's long journey from the myopic Western mentality to the progressive global community. Each gate representing a racist, sexist or otherwise oppressive western traditional overcome, such as the pledge of allegiance.

And though the elite always trumpet their tolerance, their tolerance is not extended to people who disagree with them. Accordingly, these retrograde fascist imbeciles and their extremist propaganda are defeated with character assassination in lieu of ration argument. For example: most modern art is so undefined and ambiguous that it could truly mean virtually anything to anybody. But inevitably, only a handful of elite-approved interpretations immerge to be regurgitated over and over again. You have an alternate theory? Instant proof that you are not sophisticated enough to be "one of us". So the uniformity of the Gates parallels uniformity of the "tolerant and diverse" elitist views.

And lastly, this work of art is a grand self-parody of the elite mentality. Elites will flock to see it while plagiarizing the review they read in the New York Times art section to demonstrate their sophistication. Syllables and syllables will be thrown around breathlessly to describe, what amounts to, a very simple exhibit.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Bush Tapes

Note: this blog really needs cut-tags, and I'm going to implement them Real Soon Now, but until then I apologise for the length of this post.

Shock! Surprise! According to the NYT,

The private Mr. Bush sounds remarkably similar in many ways to the public President Bush.
Imagine that! A politician who is exactly who he says he is! How twisted is that? He's pandering to the Booboisie, who naïvely think that a politician really is who he pretends to be, while wickedly deceiving the people who matter, the opinion makers, academics, and political junkies, who know from experience to look for the real person behind the mask. They've tried this on Bush for years without any real success, and now the reason is revealed: there's no there there! There's nothing behind the mask, because there's no mask.

But wait! I've got it! Bush is a moron, aseverybodyknows. He's so stupid that he can't keep his lies straight, so in desperation he simply has to resort to not lying. His veracity is proof of his lack of intelligence. That's the ticket.

Bush the homophobe

Aseverybodyknows, Bush is a terrible homophobe, his re-election, fueled by anti-gay hatred, was the biggest disaster for USAn gays since Bowers v Hardwick, and the 23% of self-identified gay voters who supported Bush are delusional self-haters ¹. Now hear the Real Bush ™ :
I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?
Of the Christian Coalition:
This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however.
And told of reports that he had pledged not to hire gay people:
No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays.
But, like most USAns who support gay rights but are not ideologues on the matter, he draws the line at marriage:
Gay marriage, I am against that. Special rights, I am against that
Whether marriage is an 'equal right' or a 'special right' is a debatable question, but there can no longer be any serious debate about where the President stands.

Drugs

During the 2000 campaign, rumours circulated, and were reported in the national press, including the NYT, that Bush had used cocaine as a young man. What was remarkable about these claims was that they were all completely unfounded. What I mean by that is that none of them came from anybody who would have been in a position to know, had they been true. A book containing this claim was actually printed and ready to be released, when it was revealed that the author, who claimed to have known Bush at the time of his alleged cocaine use, was lying about that; the publisher cancelled the release, and pulped the book, because the claim could no longer stand up. Contrast that with Gennifer Flower's claim that she had seen Clinton use cocaine. When she said this, Clinton was still denying that she was ever his lover, but now we know that she was. That doesn't prove she was telling the truth about the cocaine, but she might have been. It's a plausible allegation, and deserved to be taken more seriously than it was. The claims about Bush and cocaine, on the other hand, have no foundation whatsoever, and it was irresponsible of the press to have reported them in the first place.

The only thing that kept them going was Bush's refusal to dignify them with a denial. I always thought that was the right attitude for him to take, that he had no business addressing any allegation until it had some sort of foundation. Now we know some of what was going on in his mind at the time:

He worried, though, that allegations of cocaine use would surface in the campaign, and he blamed his opponents for stirring rumors. "If nobody shows up, there's no story," he told Mr. Wead, "and if somebody shows up, it is going to be made up." But when Mr. Wead said that Mr. Bush had in the past publicly denied using cocaine, Mr. Bush replied, "I haven't denied anything." He refused to answer reporters' questions about his past behavior, he said, even though it might cost him the election. Defending his approach, Mr. Bush said: "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."
This is a bit cryptic. Asked about cocaine, why is he talking about marijuana? I think this is what he's saying, between the lines: "I never did any blow, but I did some weed, and if I start addressing the whole drug issue in public, eventually they're going to ask me about that. What will I say then? I don't want to publicly acknowledge having done something like that, because of the message it would send to kids who are as immature and wild as I was back then. But if I deny the cocaine, how can I suddenly get on a high horse and refuse to answer any more personal questions? Refusing to answer will be as good as an admission. The better policy is to stand on principle from the beginning, and not answer unfounded allegations about my personal behaviour." And he's right. I disagree with him on the whole drug issue, I don't think there is anything wrong with his having used marijuana, nor that there would have been anything wrong with his using cocaine. But given his position on the issue, and the fact that as president he is personally responsible for throwing thousands of people in jail for using drugs, the attitude he takes here is perfectly reasonable.

While on the topic, here's something that bugged me during the 2000 campaign, that I would have blogged about had I had a blog then. At first, when asked about drug use, Bush said he wouldn't answer it, because his personal life before he entered politics wasn't anyone's business. So some reporters found a way to make it their business. He served in his father's administration, and therefore had to get a security clearance. One of the questions he had to answer, under oath, to get that clearance, was whether he had used any illegal drug in the past (I think) 7 years. While his actual answer was, of course, confidential, the fact that he presumably got his clearance implies that he answered in the negative; if this wasn't true, then he perjured himself, which is very much the public's business ². So he answered the question, but only to the extent that it had become the public's business. He said that he had answered the drug question truthfully, and that he had indeed not used any illegal drug within 7 years of the beginning of his father's presidency, i.e. 1982. The press immediately took this as an implicit admission that he had done so before that date. Otherwise why did he word his denial so carefully? Why not just say "I've never used an illegal drug"? I never thought this claim had any merit. His drug use (or lack thereof) after 1982 was the public's business, so he addressed it; what happened before 1982 was nobody's business but his own, and there was no reason for him to comment on it at all.

1. Question: why would self-hating gays voluntarily identify themselves as such to pollsters? Only 4% of voters said they were gay; the actual percentage is probably considerably higher.

2. Yes, I'm one of those who insisted right through the Clinton affair that the only relevant issue was perjury. I honestly didn't and don't care how many dalliances he had, in the Oval Office or outside it, nor do I care what lies he may have told the public about it. The finger-wagging "I never had sex with that woman" didn't move me; it's none of the public's business, and there's nothing wrong with lying to them about it. But I take perjury very seriously. It undermines the entire system of justice, and for a sitting president to perjure himself, particularly on his own behalf in a civil lawsuit, is to me about as 'high' as a 'crime or misdemeanor' can get.

Pot calls kettle black

As discussed below, the Dems opening salvo against Social Security reform met a humiliating rebuke at the hands of the maestro, Alan Greenspan. No doubt, the Dems will have more to say and this debate is far from over. But the magnitude of Greenspan's testimony can be measured by the vitriol it generated. Enter Paul Krugman:
One last point: a disturbing thing about Wednesday's hearing was the deference with which Democratic senators treated Mr. Greenspan. They acted as if he were still playing his proper role, acting as a nonpartisan source of economic advice. After the hearing, rather than challenging Mr. Greenspan's testimony, they tried to spin it in their favor.

But Mr. Greenspan is no longer entitled to such deference. By repeatedly shilling for whatever the Bush administration wants, he has betrayed the trust placed in Fed chairmen, and deserves to be treated as just another partisan hack.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Krugman called Greenspan a partisan hack.

Based on the childish (and ironic) name calling, it's obvious that Krugman wants to avoid serious debate with a man that has forgotten more about macroeconomics and monetary policy than Krugman will ever know. Greenspan is in his fifth term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve and served 8 1/2 years under Republican presidents and 8 years under Bill Clinton. Usually partisan hacks get to hang around no matter who wins, right?

Krugman, by contrast, has never entered the private sector or public service. He just casts down his infinite wisdom from the ivory tower of academia. Those who can - do. Those who can't - teach.

And Greenspan's integrity is sooo compromised by his political allegiances. Just look at his past. His handling of interest rates in 1992, while fiscally sound, probably cost HW Bush the election. Then in 2000, he waited until the lasted possible moment to raise interest rates to finally slow down an overheated economy. Whatever his motives, this helped the incumbent Democrats and allowed Al Gore to cost Al Gore the election. Only then, after the election, did the recession hit.

By contrast, how many times do "integrity" and "New York Times" collide in the same sentence without "has none". Lastly, why can't the N.Y. Times get up-to-date photos of their featured columnists? The pictures on their website are obviously pre-2004. Here's what Krugman & Dowd look like today:

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I wonder who she voted for?

There are many hazards and challenges to Survivor: cut-throat competition, malnutrition, physical exhaustion, sunburn, insects, moonbat freakshows...

It's not fair to judge a book by its cover, so here is her bio:

Jakusz currently works as a bartender while creating her art (she paints watercolors and uses found objects in her creations). She previously worked as an ink lab technician and has also worked in a tattoo shop. She currently has 11 colored tattoos. She describes herself as vivacious, gracious and anomalous. Her favorite hobbies include painting, reading and heckling. Her hero is a co-worker who, after 20 years at the bar, decided to return to school to study marine biology.


Jakusz lives with her boyfriend, Keith, and their three cats, Sweetpea, Roscoe and Igor.


I'm guessing that for Angie, the toughest part of Survivor is not the lack of food, shelter or contact with loved ones, it's the lack of DailyKos.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Interesting Contrasts onThe Post's Op/Ed Page

The new meme from the Left is that the Iraqi elections have produced a new, Islamic, Iran-friendly government, that will eventually prove our efforts worthless. At least, that was the point of Robin Wright's WaPo "analysis" piece earlier this week. The article is mypoic and ready to assume the worst about the Shiites, yet it displays a massive ignorance of the history of the Shiites, the kind of government they have pledged to build, and the realities of a relationship between a Shiite-led Iraq and a Shiite-led Iran. In today's Post Op/Ed page, Robert Kagan takes on "Shiites and Stereotypes" and shows just how close-minded the left has become on Iraq. That closemindedness is then perfectly on display in the column just below his by David Ignatius.

In "Allwai's Vision" Ignatius gives us the departing thoughts of the "US-backed" interim Prime Minister of Iraq(who has done a great job). Allawi comes off sounding like a bit of a sore loser and Ignatius uses his sore-loserness to paint the picture of an Iraq taken over by a theocratic regime. Ignatius parses his words, never actually saying "theocracy", but he calls the new government "religious-backed", and says that Allawi will be the secular oposition. Ignoring the stated intentions of the Shiite religous leaders who claim, rather convincingly, that they don't want an Iranian model government. Ignatius shows the close-mindedness that Kagan demolished in the space just above. It makes you wonder if the editor of the Opinion page actually has a perverse sense of humor, or just has it in for Ignatius, who comes off looking like a bit of a defeatist, and Allawi, why, he sounds just like any other politician who just lost. How American of him. Ignatius doesn't get it. Kagan does. Read 'em both at the same place to find out.

Dem's first wave of attacks pretty inept

Initially, the Democrats decided to fight social security reform by comparing private accounts to roulette and even criticizing President Bush's assertion that:
The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy.
Well that's seems to have backfired. During his prepared remarks, Greenspan said this:

Beyond the near term, benefits promised to a burgeoning retirement-age population under mandatory entitlement programs, most notably Social Security and Medicare, threaten to strain the resources of the working-age population in the years ahead. Real progress on these issues will unavoidably entail many difficult choices. But the demographics are inexorable, and call for action before the leading edge of baby boomer retirement becomes evident in 2008. This is especially the case because longer-term problems, if not addressed, could begin to affect longer-dated debt issues, the value of which is based partly on expectations of developments many years in the future.

Then when the economically-challenged senators "grilled" him on social security, he endorsed (as much as he can endorse anything when speaking in Greenspanese) private accounts. Opps! Regardless of you position on private accounts, it takes an act of willful ignorance to not see that Social Security is imminently headed for fiscal disaster.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Reason #253 to learn a new language

Speaking of the west side stadium...

I think we should kick out the current tenants and covert this to a football stadium and convention center:

Bloomberg gives us another reason...

...to oppose the West Side stadium. According to Hizzoner, if the stadium isn't built NYC won't get the Olympics. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Well, someone had to say it.

Day By Day cartoon

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dowd With Love

There's a great new blog up, titled, rather elegantly for a blog these days, "I Disagree with Maureen Dowd". The author simply takes each Dowd column, starting in January, and demolishes it in the most pleasant way possible. I almost hate that I got the link from Wonkette, but a)she(Ana Marie) is a hottie, and b)it's not even the real Wonkette this month. It probably SEEMS like too much work to demolish a Dowd colulmn every time she publishes one, but she's so dull-witted that the author probably has the thing written in the time it take MoDo to come up with what wierd sexual fetish she's going to apply to the administaration this week. She's running low. I think something like this on Krugman would be nice, but trying to decode the bizzare, twisted, pretzel logic that Krugman has to use to write his columns so that he can claim he's being intellectually consistant would probably take down a fleet of super computers. Better to have Kang do it.
Update (Kodos): Fred Reed's latest column find her "so achingly tedious that men find themselves thinking of moldy bath sponges". Ugh.
And Monty, Wonkette? Hot or Not, I am sickened by her exposure (and paycheck). I saw her on Charlie Rose last night with Sullivan, Trippi & Reynolds. Yeah, that makes sense.

Update: (CM Burns) Yeah, she came off as the weak link next to those three. But she seemed less awful than her blog, though she's never, you know, actually done any REAL reporting. Still hot, though! But she doesn't even get Kos level traffic. How does Nick Denton pay her that much?

Update: (Kang) Young hottie gets rediculously overpayed for some "job" by an older male(yawn). Gee that's hard to figure, I'm perplexed at that arrangement.

The hits keep on coming...

The USS Jimmy Carter, it's not a submarine in service to the United States, its service is to the "global community". It's also equipped with less-than-lethal torpedoes and an eco-friendly reactor which allows it to "run shallow, run loud" as opposed to those nasty unilateral attach subs that run silent, run deep. Ok enough fun at the expense of an ex-peanut farmer.

Time for some fun at the expense of a moonbat columnist. After taking a month off after the election and then basically limiting his rants to fiscal matters (Bush's budget, private accounts, etc.), Krugman is back and loonier than ever. Here are some particularly daft portions from his last opus on Chairman Dean, titled the The Fighting Moderates.

It doesn't represent a turn to the left: Mr. Dean is squarely in the center of his party on issues like health care and national defense. Instead, Mr. Dean's political rejuvenation reflects the new ascendancy within the party of fighting moderates, the Democrats who believe that they must defend their principles aggressively against the right-wing radicals who have taken over Congress and the White House.

When you are too liberal for your party's congressional leadership, governors and the Clintons, but DailyKos loves you, you're not a the center of your party. Nor are you a 'fighting moderate'.

It was always absurd to call Mr. Dean a left-winger. Just ask the real left-wingers. During his presidential campaign, an article in the muckraking newsletter CounterPunch denounced him as a "Clintonesque Republicrat," someone who, as governor, tried "to balance the budget, even though Vermont is a state in which a balanced budget is not required."

Got that? If an extremist, who thinks that balanced budgets are evil tools of the Republic party, calls you names - you automatically qualify as a moderate. No review of policies or positions necessary!

But in 2005 it takes an act of willful blindness not to see that the Bush plan for Social Security is intended, in essence, to dismantle the most important achievement of the New Deal.

Achievement? He's kidding, right?

In fact, by taking on Social Security, Mr. Bush gave the Democrats a chance to remember what they stand for, and why. Here's my favorite version, from another fighting moderate, Eliot Spitzer: "As President Bush embraces the ownership society and tries to claim that he is the one that is making it possible for the middle class to succeed and save and invest - well, I say to myself, no, that's not right; it is the Democratic Party historically that created the middle class."

Did he just call Eliot Spitzer a moderate? This is were Krugman artfully takes us from op-ed column to pure satire. And the Democratic Party created the middle class? Must have been that Al Gore fella, what with all his other inventions.

Try the following if you would like to read a sober wrap-up of the low-wattage drama of the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. It was penned a few weeks ago, but has all the pertinent details on how this gutsy 'fighting moderate' because head of the DNC. I'm going to return to moronically salivating on my pajamas now.

The USS Jimmy Carter -An ATTACK Sub?

That wacky Drudge has a decent sense of irony. It seems that the newest Seawolf-class Nuclear attack submarine the Navy is going to commission is named the USS Jimmy Carter. Please stop laughing. No, really, they're naming a fast-attack sub after the man who once asked his advisers if the troops on the ill-fated mission to rescuse our hostages in Iran if they could use non-lealthal weapons, like darts or something(this was before today's age when you can actually do that. It was like SciFi back then). Now, I know Carter was a Naval Academy grad, and I know he served on a Sub, but seriously, isn't life too strange? Carter should have gotten his name on a medical ship or something. Or a big troop transport, or one of those ships we only send to help in disaster relief, like a scow or something. Well, Reagan got a flattop, as did Kennedy. Mondale got a Laundry Ship(OK, not really, but you've seen that Simpsons episode). Good Presidents get carriers. For God's sake, the man gutted the military! If, in fact, Sub warfare like that imagined when the Seawolf was initially proposed actually ver happened, would the words "Sir, the Carter is tracking us!" ever send a chill down anyone's spine?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Diplomatic Incident

I missed this story when it happened. (Hat tip: Silent Running) Condoleezza Rice visited Belgium last week, and an altercation between a USA Diplomatic Security agent and the Head of Protocol at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which Mijnheer Ambassadeur assaulted the DS guy and got away with it, was shown on Belgian TV. Think back to the incident in Chile last year, and you get the picture, sort of. Now the inside scoop. Someone claiming to be the agent involved has posted his version of events.
I initially just blew him off. Remember, I never met this guy. I don't know who he is. The press is where I want them so I could care less. I am not getting paid to negotiate press access on the Tarmac when the Secretary of State is coming down the ladder. Remember that was done days ago. All I have to do is delay this guy long enough for her to get in the limo and I am done. No harm, no embarrassment. Now he starts pushing me. This is where a Secret Service agent would have put him on the ground. I however understand that this guy is probably someone important so I warn him. One more time and he's gone. It's all on tape. Watch it again if you missed that part. In the US I would have arrested him. In Belgium apparently it's ok to assault someone and have it shown on TV. And we Americans are supposed to be the violent ones? [...] It wasn't till after I got back that I found out who he was. Interesting, I thought. So that was Belgium's highest-ranking diplomat. Odd way to conduct diplomacy, pushing and shouting, nicht war? But who am I? I am nobody.

The Eason-Jordan story, er, The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob prevail

We knew that if Eason quit, the big media would have to report the resignation. And the readers, for whom this news, would want to know why. So predictably, the big media (example #1 - the NY Times) has answered because those evil right-wing bloggers got him.

BUT, the readers are still going to want to know what got the this angry hoard of 'salivating morons' going in the first place. Eventually the media will have to layout the history of Jordan's slander against our military. And when they do, the readers will have another question for the big media that has no answer: Why did I find out about this only after the resignation?

Also, I still think he should have been fired for hiding Saddam's atrocities. Seriously, he goes live with unfounded accusations that our troops are committing assassination, but he has detailed accounts of Saddam's horrors that go intentionally unreported. And the Post, Journal and Timeses go out of their way to defend this conduct and blame the unwashed masses of the blogosphere. Shocking obtuseness by the elites. Me thinks it's 1789 all over again. Now, where did I put that guillotine.

Valentine's Day Is for Suckers

When I was in college and dateless on Valentine's Day(that would be all FOUR years, thank you), I would send bitter, sarcastic emails out to friends about how "Love" was a false concept invented by the Hallmark corporation in the 50's in an effort to sell cards. Now that I'm older, I don't feel bitter about Valentine's Day when I'm alone. Last year and this year I've had a girlfriend on Valentine's Day, but two years ago I was about the only person in my circle of friends who didn't, but I didn't feel sorry for myself. I felt sorry for them. Becuase Valentine's Day, the way it is practiced in the US at least, is a perfuctory, mechanical, loveless holiday that at it's best simply reassures us that someone likes us, and at worst can cause people to become very depressed and lonely.

There are certain rituals most couples partake in on Valentine's Day. At my office, my female co-workers are sent flowers/chocloates/combinations of the two, etc. It's all the same. A tiny little card and an AWWWW! from the lady. The guys, meanwhile, are obsessing over details because it has to be JUST PERFECT, or they or their girlfriend/wife/lover/escort/whatever, will be crushed. I've witnessed brakdowns by people who couldn't get the right time reservation at a resturant. Normally, people don't freak out if Morton's of Chicago is booked at 7, but on Valentine's Day, it's a disaster that rivals the Hindenberg for sheer awfulness. The worst of people is usually on display, and the "love industry", ie the cardmakers, candy shops, jewlers, hotels that charge by the hour, etc. all make it worse. It's all "if he REALLY cares about you", or "this Valentine's day, take your special someone special", as if it's the only day of the year that you should treat your lover with any kind of class. Why is it that this one day should be so special for "love". If you really love someone, you don't need a special day to tell someone. Sending flowers because you want to surprise someone is nice. Sending them on Valentine's Day is neither nice or a surprise. It is simply expected, and when things become expected, they lose any hint of real romance.

Valentine's Day is a pretty stupid thing for kids, too. Unlike the "I Love Lisa" episode of the Simpsons, in which no one gives poor Ralph Wiggum a card, the kids are literally forced to give everyone a card, so no one feels left out. But what if little Davy doesn't like little Wendy? What if she said mean things to him on the playground, or vice versa? Is enforced false kindness going to help these kids get along? I think it breeds resentment. It may seem cute to dress Junior up like Cupid, but what do kids know about love, anyway? And shouldn't we teach them to get along and love their classmates every day, not just this one?

Valentine's Day at the High School level seemed like hell when I was there, and I doubt much has changed. Hearts, flowers, glee club songs, singing telegrams were all the rage where I went to school. It divides the school down the middle, the loved and the unloved, and it turns people like me into cynics about love in general and Valentine's Day in particular. The kids not getting the flowers or cards sit around and bitch and complain and become bitter, like me.

So by college, you're inventing conspiracy theories about love being invented for profit and stewing in your ouwn self-hatred. That's not very healthy. And when you finally DO find someone, you have no clue how to act on Valentine's Day to your new lover, and the stunts get bigger, which is probably why in college people were renting Limos like it was the damn prom to go to a semi-decent resturant dressed up in a $500 suit or dress. All for one night only. Looking back, though I was bitter at the time, I had more fun bowling and drinking beer with the rest of the singleton's my Junior year in college on Valentine's Day than on all the Valentine's Day dates I've had, ever. I was actually LUCKY not to be dating at the time because I would have freaked out and spent a fortune on on night that means nothing in the grand scheme of things and is more stressful than it should be all to prove I "love" someone. What kind of a sucker invests all that time and money stressing?

Now, the last two years I've been dating I've been with women of similar attitutdes towards the day, that being-let's have it be nice and all, but nothing insane. Which I like. I "celebrated" with a card and a nice dinner that could have happened any other night. In fact, it did. Saturday night. Not tonight. Tonight, when people are getting too dressed up to eat overpriced food and are stressing about whether the right floral arrangement made it or not, I'll be curling up on he couch with a beer watching Jack Bauer kill terrorists and a nuclear power plant melt down. Frankly, I think I've got the better plans. If I knew that my totally rejecting Valentine's Day's trappings I could shed my bitterness towards it, I might never have moped around in college. Of course, I wouldn't have learned the terrible secrets of the diamond/greeting card industry either. But that's a story for another time. I'm busy guessing the death toll from fallout on tonight's "24". I'm thinking 50,000 dead by the end of the day. Happy Valentines!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god

I've turned into a hysterical (not-so-liberal) blogger because ...

Eason Jordan Resigned!!

Here it's at 7:25pm EST and the news head of the Clinton News Network is out per the L.A. Times and others. Heh!

Jack Chalker RIP

I just got the news that Jack Chalker died this morning. I didn't know him very well, just to say hello to, but I consider his son Dave a friend, and my condolences go to him as well as to Eva and Steve. May they be spared any further sadness for a long time.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Senate Passes Overhaul of Rules for Class-Action Lawsuits!!

And somewhere John Edwards is crying. Ok, I'll admit I haven't read the particulars, so this could just be a watered-down, ineffective bunch of bi-partisan legislative compromises ...
The Association of Trial Lawyers of America issued a statement calling the bill "a shameful attack on Americans' legal rights."

... never mind, if the Trial Lawyers hate it, the bill must be a gigantic leap in the right direction!

More later, as Tort reform is my favorite domestic issue. For what it's worth the measure passed 72-26, with 18 Democrats voting in the affirmative including Dianne Feinstein?!?!?

Davos Story trying to get legs, trying to get legs...

Finally the Davos story is being (sort of) reported. Of course the blogs "over-reaction" is the driving force, not the actual slander of our troops by CNN's Eason Jordan. In the WSJ, Bret Stephens says he was there and "Mr. Jordan deserves some credit for retracting the substance of his remark, and some forgiveness for trying to weasel his way out of a bad situation of his own making." Huh?

Further, Mr. Stephens muses that "Whether [or not] CNN wants its news division led by a man who can't be trusted to sit on a panel and field softball questions is another matter." Ok, Bret scores points for that one! Don't fire him because of his defamatory innuendo towards U.S. soldiers, fire him because he can't even hide his liberal bias while fielding questions from his adoring, America-hating fans. Image the disastrous things that would come out of his mouth if he were being grilled by Ingraham or Hewitt. Priceless!!

Another newspaper article was spotted by Powerline. And it was discussed on FoxNews. And Scarbourgh commented on it. And Chris Dodd (one of the Davos attendees) is calling for Davos to release the tape!!

In case you haven't been heard about this story, and judging by the amount coverage in the MSM you haven't, here is a link to a blog devoted to the story: Easongate.com.

Media Matters for America: What, Exactly, Is Their Point?

In a duel attempt to answer a pressing question and satistfy my own ego, I would like someone, somehow, to explain the point of

Media Matters for America, the "media watchdog" group started by former Conservative attack dog, now Liberal attack dog and self-proclaimed liar David Brock. Brock fessed up in his book that not only had he made up his attacks on Anita Hill back in '91(or was it '92?), he gave Stephen Glass esque make-'em-ups to teh American Spectator for years. He was fired when he admitted it. Now, he's "repented", and is a "hero" to the left. And he's got this group that essentially thinks that BRAIN WILLIAMS(!) is a GOP shill. So, what's their point? Is it comedy, because their media critiques essentially boil down to "Rush Limabugh is a Conservative and that makes me angry"? Their message boards are funny, and the criteria they apply to "news" personalities is hysterical. You'd think Sean Hannity was a major anchor and that O'Reilly is a straight news program, not a discussion program not usually presented as "fact". Someone, please, explain them to me, because I don't understand. Also, just read it and gape. I think many right-wing media critics like the Media Research Council to to relax sometimes, but these people are hysterica.

By the way, they went after Brian Williams for calling Rush Limbaugh a success. Well. Limabugh is, isn't he? I mean, you can disagree with him, but you can't deny he's been immensly successful. What's the matter with these people? Of course, the answer may be obvious, but I still want one.

Salon.com Actually Ads Positive Thing to World

I rarely have anything good to say about Salon.com, being that they are as close to me politically, as, say, your average Deaniac. But they are good for a few things, usually intersesting arts reviews, a great TV column, and laughs whenerver Sid Blumenthal or Joe Conason don teir tin-foil caps and screech out a coulmn.

Today, though, they give me a reason to consider reading them all the time. It's a new project they've launched called "THE DAOU REPORT", a sort of Instapundit without commentary that lists what the major left and right wing blogs are posting on, as well as giving links to not quite left or right plotiical bloggers and media critics on both sides. It's a fun read, and it's well put together. I think it's terrific, actually, and worth sitting through the short Salon Day Pass thing. If you want to know what the various areas of the blogosphere are talking about today, the Daou Report is, frankly, the best resource out there. Cheers to them.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Rummy Kicks Russert Around a Bit

Recently it was revealed that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld offered twice to resign in the wake of the Abu Gharib prisoner abuse scandal. The President said no. Well, whether Rummy should have gone at the time is up for debate, but since he's not gone, we great great moments like this one from "Meet the Press". Russert was going to go after Rumsfeld for his "heartless" remark to the poor, brave soldier who dared question him about the lack of up-armored Humvees in Iraq. Russert cliped just two lines from Rumsfeld's lengthy response, the two most damning, of course, and tried to get him on it. Rummy turned it around on him, and read the whole, three paragraphs worth of stuff that Rumsfeld actually said to the kid. Now, I remember when this "story" broke. All that the news showed was the two lines Russert quoted. I read the full exchange on the web, but the MSM echo chamber turned it into just two lines. Yesterday, Rumsfeld go payback, and it was sweet. Too bad no one will correct it. But I'm glad Rummy knows how to stick up for himself.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Which system do you prefer...



That's what I thought! Remind me again, why are we starting with Social Security Reform instead of Tort Reform?

(Thanks to: Ken Catalino & Clay Bennett)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Wait, I've got it!

We greatly regret that the circumstance of the occupation has forced us to resort to so drastic a measure as to oblige Mr Adam to enjoy our hospitality. We desperately hope that the Great Satan will comply with our demands, so that we will feel able to leave Mr Adam's head on his neck. But in the meantime, he is our guest, and we are treating him with true Moslem compassion and hospitality. He lacks for nothing that we can provide. And out of consideration for his feelings and his right to privacy, we did not want to force him to pose for the traditional hostage photo. So we let a doll stand in for him, and staged a photo representing the photo we would have taken had we been infidel torturers such as reign at Abu Ghraib. Behold the mercy of Allah, and of those who submit to Him and to His holy Qur'an!

In other words, the photo is fake but accurate...

This just in...

As of yet unconfirmed reports indicate that the Insurgents’ abduction of private-first class GI Joe has backfired. Less than 72 hours after photos of the captured soldier were made public, an ultra-nationalist militant wing of the animated actors guild have captured Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.



Sources familiar with the situation say that the two terrorist masterminds are being held in an undisclosed location near the Syrian border. Although the militant platic figures have made no public statements since the alleged capture, major-general Buzz Lightyear is rumored to have established contact with Al Quada representatives to negotiate a prisoner exchange.

The capture of Bin Laden and al-Zawahri comes on the heels on the successful election voting and is seen by analysts as a significant setback to the militant Islamists’ hopes of derailing a democratic Iraq. A spokesperson for the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots program fears this incident will only serve to escalate the growing cycle of violence between Islamic terrorists and children’s toys.

Developing...
And then there's this:
19 January 2005: The Slinky betrayed us. I should have known. I never trusted him. [...] And the gentlest one of us all lost it completely. "Elmo is thinking about genocide!" he screamed, as he unleashed a hail of foam darts upon our adversaries. "Elmo is Death, destroyer of worlds!" War does awful things to toys.
(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

Main stream media (MSM) reports a story and the blogs prove it false in about as long as it takes to do a load of laundry. This time, it was a picture of a U.S. soldier held hostage at gun point under a menacing black flag. Except the U.S. soldier was G.I. Joe (the toy).

Whether Al Quada is getting desperate for good press or a 'fun-with-photoshop' type is having a good time is IRRELEVANT, though it makes for good speculation. The media should not be reporting hoaxes, no matter who the perpetrators are!! The National Guard memos and the GI Joe photo aren't even that professional.

The always hilarious Jonah Goldberg fires back with this volley (from the Corner):
If reports are true and the terrorists have murdered one of our dolls, we must stand firm. We will destroy ten of their dolls. We will smash their rock-em-sock-em robots. And we will leave the lids of their Play-dough until it grows dry and flaky!

We cannot tolerate this aggression.

Also, speaking of fun-with-photoshop, here's Kerry on the Meet the Press talk about our captured hero.

Thanks For Nothing, Phil!

Well, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today. Way to ruin my Birthday, you rodent! Yes, I turn 128 today. Smithers, prepare some special birthday ether! I think the groudhog is kind of cute, for a rat, though.