Archive for February 2005

A Mideast Makeover – Courtesy of Bush

Those who claimed that U.S. intervention could never produce such events have reason to reconsider.

Source: Jackson Diehl – WaPo

Thank you President Bush!

The Case for Condi

Condoleeze Rice

Could America elect it’s first woman president and its first African-American president in one quick shot?

Within three years we will have the answer to that question, but the answer at this point of the game is yes.

There is no doubt that Condoleeza Rice is a strinking figure, and an attractive one for a Republican party that wants to retain power while driving the last nails into the coffin of the Democratic Party. What better way than putting forward Ms. Rice – an African-American with Civil Rights credentials (born in a segregated South to parents of limited means) who rose above her station through hard work and sound judgement to occupy some of the highest offices in the land. She represents the libertarian, self-made ideal that runs through the Republican Party and has been strained by the dynastic Bush legacy of the past generation. The talk of Jeb in ‘08 is enough to make many under the “big tent” call their therapists to boost their Zoloft dosages in horror at the notion. Two Bushes are enough – even for those of us who voted for the last one.

She has experience at foreign policy. But does she have substance at domestic affairs?

This is where the dream of President Rice conflicts with reality – since her only experience at governing was as Provost at Stanford University, which isn’t exactly in the “requirements section” of the job description of President.

Condi has style. There is a JFK-like quality about her, a bigger-than-life persona that has grown with her tenure in the Bush Administration. Style can go very far; after all, Reagan had it in spades (although he also had experience running the biggest state of the Union too). She has a no-nonsense approach that may have come about by hanging around with Donald Rumsfeld, but she also is an intellectual – a thinker or policy-wonk like Clinton.

Social Security trouble may not be her bag, but does anyone seriously doubt she can’t grasp the issue? Compare domestic policies with waging war in the Middle East or dealing with Europe, and her inexperience in domestic issues seems less of a problem. Her biggest difficulty would be dealing with the egos in Congress – and that’s where a good arm-twister and horse-trader aka “Chief of Staff” comes into play. With a Rove-clone behind her, there is nothing that would prevent her from doing an adequate job as president.

Foreign policy-wise she would have more experience than any other president since Bush I or possibly even Nixon.

As Iraq stabilizes, the wisdom of the invasion will boost Rice’s stature at home and abroad. Plus, symbolism goes a long way in foreign policy and what better symbol could America have as its face to the world than Condi Rice? Just imagine her meeting with Prince Abdallah in Saudi Arabia – a place where she couldn’t drive because she’s a woman and couldn’t worship because she’s a Christian.

Another important factor in choosing Condi as the Republican Candidate in 2008 would be to force the Democrats to run Hillary against her. Race and sex matters to the Democratic Party which has been fixated on both issues for the last 140 years – and there is no way that they would run a white guy against Condi. That would leave either a black man or a white woman, and of the two the Dems would believe America is more open to a female president than it is to an African-American male one.

There are only three strong women in the Democratic Party today: Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary. Of the 3, they would choose Hillary as the most electable as they chose Kerry against the more popular Dean in Feb 2004.

And here’s the rub: Hillary energizes the Republican Base in a way that no other Democrat does.

So Condi presents a win-win-win for the Republicans: An intellectual African-American woman to snag the progressives, a Christian – to keep the Religious Right happy, and the anti-Hillary vote for those who can’t say Hillary’s name without spitting it.

I believe that I have presented a valid and rational case for selecting Condoleeza Rice as Republican Party candidate in 2008.

USA: Global Troop Deployments

Have you ever wondered how many troops the US has stationed abroad and where?
I have, and after some searching I found just what I needed from the good (libertarian) folks at the Heritage Foundation: Global U.S. Troop Deployment, 1950-2003 (link)

There is also a link to an Excel spreadsheet there with all the data – should you want to parse it yourself.

So being a statistics junkie, I did, and here’s what I found:

Who would have thought that the USA would have 93 troops deployed in France? And more telling is the fact that it went up by 19 from the year before – a 26% increase.

Some more fun:
The USA withdrew all troops from these countries in 2003.
Uzbekistan
Kuwait
Gabon
Grenada
Guyana

The USA sent troops to the following countries in 2003 (number sent):
Iraq (183,002)
Latvia (6)
Congo (formerly Zaire) (9)
Malawi (1)

The guy in Malawi must be pretty damned lonely – kind of like the Maytag repairman of the US military. Do you think he dreams of an invasion by Zambia? Or how about an amphibious assault from Mozambique? I hope he goes snorkeling at least; some of the most beautiful freshwater fish in the world are found in Lake Malawi.

Do you think he faces US out of Malawi protests on the way to work?

American Infidel

Sung to the tune “American Idiot” by Green Day

Don’t wanna be an American infidel.
I want a nation under Islamic rule.
Can you imagine Paris Hilton in a Burka?
The Islamic Republic of America.

Welcome to a new kind of religion.
All across the Left Wing spectrum.
Now hating Jews has become okay.
All our dreams are now meccan.
Martyrdom attacks now beckon.
Where is the nearest pizza shop?

Well maybe I’m the jihad America.
I’m now part of a Bin-Laden agenda.
Now everybody read the Koran and shari’a.
But don’t sing ‘cuz music is now banned.

Welcome to a new kind of religion.
All across the Left Wing spectrum.
Now hating fags has become okay.
All our dreams are now meccan.
Martyrdom attacks now beckon.
Where is the nearest disco?

Don’t wanna be an American infidel.
One nation controlled by Saudi mullahs.
Convert the Christians, close the girls schools.
I’m calling out to Islamic America.

Welcome to a new kind of religion.
All across the Left Wing spectrum.
Now hating fags has become okay.
All our dreams are now meccan.
Martyrdom attacks now beckon.
Keep your bomber belt handy.

A Doctor’s Schedule & Death Sentences

This morning an oncologist team breezed into my father-in-law’s room at the hospital, gave him a death sentence, and left the room. My father-in-law was alone, and is a scientist by training, so he took it well enough. He called his wife…

It took over an hour for my wife to stop her mother from screaming.

A few months ago, my wife was rounding at a hospital in Lancaster County. She met a nurse who was absolutely furious with a doctor.

It seems this doctor, a Chinese, visited one of her patients, a woman on a ventilator, told her she had stage 4 lung cancer, and left the room.

Tears rolled down the woman’s face as she choked back sobs on her breathing tube.

Could the doctors have waited until visiting hours to sit down with my wife’s family before dishing out this death sentence? Could that Chinese doctor had waited for the woman’s loved ones to have arrived before telling her she was going to die a very painful and senseless death?

No – because making a doctor’s schedule around the family members of a terminally ill patient isn’t convenient.

But it is the right thing to do...

Bastards…

More on Terri Schindler-Schiavo

Let’s get this straight: on a good day I’m an agnostic and on a day like today even that seems a stretch so I’ll stick to good old fashioned, Karl Marx-brand “Atheism”.

So while people may think that only Christians can be pro-life and are the only ones interested in saving Terri Schindler-Schiavo’s life, they’d be wrong – because I am interested, and I want to see her live.

Now don’t think I know what I’m talking about. The man I looked up to as a kid, a man who could rewire a house without breaking a sweat is now confined to a wheel-chair and forced to communicate using one word.

My family has just learned that another brilliant man, my wife’s father, may have one of those cancers that you hear about: “Yeah, they diagnosed him with it, and he was dead within 12 weeks.”

Yeah, one of those. This guy knows everything about everything – a true humble genius – and he’ll soon be dead.

He’ll be dead while the truly evil continue breathing and tormenting the living. What sane God would allow this? Or any of the other billion other examples of injustices we witness on a day to day basis on this planet? I spit on God, and the supernatural entities that we have invented over time to help us face death and explain the impossible.

Nevertheless, even in the deepest pit of atheism I still believe that Terri Schindler-Schiavo deserves to live. So while you may read this and see the term “God” in every other sentence, don’t think for a moment that it’s only the Righteous fighting to prevent the execution of Terri.

The Ministry of Propaganda is on a roll

More cool stuff…
Ministry of Propaganda Ministry of Propaganda Ministry of Propaganda

Saving Terri

Update: My Wife, a physician to be, takes issue with my defense of Terri. We spent about 45 peak minutes discussing this, but my position remains firm. It boils down to this:

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.

While there may be a range of autonomic responses that don’t involve the higher cognitive processes, these responses constitute life and should be treated as such. Just because Terri can’t voice her own opinions, or communicate as she once did does not mean that she should be executed. After all, there are people alive today who exhibit few higher cognitive functions, yet we don’t kill them.

As for her quality of life, who are we to judge? If she is as brain dead as the pro-execution side would have you believe, where’s the harm in letting her body remain alive? She’s not locked in – buried alive in her own body as many people wrongly assume when the imagine themselves in her position.

Yes my position places me on the opposite side of the courts; perhaps it also puts me in conflict with medical authorities – but you know what? I’ll survive it. I’ve always danced to my own drummer. I may live in my own world but it’s okay, they know me here.
——-

Sometimes I don’t go looking for an fight, but one manages to find me somehow. The story of Terri Schindler-Schiavo is a long and complex one. It is also a private one that complete strangers should not be involved in, and I include myself in that group. Yet this story has escalated into a brawl of sorts between those who want to execute her and those who want the life or death decision to remain out of Man’s (and the State’s) hands.

I wrote about Terri here a year and a half ago. Dean has an article here and here that I have commented in.

My position is this:
If we were considering the fate of a prisoner, there would not be enough evidence to condemn him to death. In the case of Terri, there is more than a “reasonable doubt” that she is alive and prefers to stay that way. I want Terri to be given the same rights that a condemned killer receives from our judicial system.

Abuse of the System Part 4

Last posting on this subject is here. It’s a daisy-chain of links that you might want to follow backwards to the beginning first before you continue reading. I’ll have to mess with the links so that it displays chronologically – someday.

Apparently everyone knows the dirty little secret about the Protection From Abuse (PFA) order, and everyone seems to agree that there’s nothing that can be done about it. One retired attorney has said that the system is filled with injustices, and this is just one more.

As a conservative, I understand that; as a progressive that attitude drives me freakin’ nuts.

The sister-in-law remains sober. I’ve told her that if she can make it through this, she can make it through anything. I felt the same way after 9-11 early in my sobriety. I figured that if I could survive the pain and fear of that event sober, there was nothing that would drive me back to the bottle. So far, I have been right.

Her soon-to-be ex has had to find a new attorney, since his old one has been forced to resign amid a sex scandal. Keep in mind this is Wilmington Delaware, home of the Du Ponts – so scandal and secrets are old hat around here.
He has also completely cut off sis-in-law from any support whatsoever, and has filed for child support.

This from a man who earns $87,000 a year and who shacks up with his shiksa in front of the kinder.

But Girly-man has never been the brightest bulb in the pack, and sis-in-law’s attorney is confident that justice will prevail.

It may run its course, but the PFA will stay on the books to wreck another life – and that is plain wrong. The world is indeed filled with injustices, but it is also filled with people who fight them.

Raising Romero

My kid’s class assignment was to draw how he would look in 100 years.

He drew a tombstone with his arm reaching up from his grave.

George Romero should be so proud…

Corrupt Newspaper in the Heartland

What happens when a town is left with only one newspaper? Toynbee’s adage still holds with the media: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Nowhere is this more evident than in Tulsa, where a lone blogger is being bullied by a corrupt newspaper (link)

Ministry of Propaganda Updated Merchandise

Looks like the good people at Ministry of Propaganda have updated their CafePress store.

Check out their other Right-Wing merchandise…

Free Lebanon

It appears that Syria has overplayed its hand by assassinating Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri (Mob Blames Syria for Hariri Assassination (link)). As one opposition pol reports, nothing happens in Lebanon without Syria knowing about it.

Just Can’t Get Enough of Intelligent Design

Via Spiced Sass…
Butterflies and Wheels critiques a Michael Behe NYT Commentary explaining ID. Note that I use the word “critique” instead of the more apt term “opens a can of whoopass on“.

I can summarize Behe’s “argument” in two words: Blind Watchmaker. Anyone who’s read Richard Dawkin’s book titled that will know how to refute Behe’s position.

Mausoleum of Modern Art

Robert Locke has an excellent piece on modern art, Mausoleum of Modern Art (link).

But they will have to face the truth sooner or later. Grandpa’s Weimar-era clichés are not going to be able to pretend they are the latest thing forever. Worse, the great pretender to the modernist throne, postmodernism, has utterly failed to take up modernism’s banner as the essential cultural expression of advanced humanity. Despite launching wildly histrionic gesture after gesture in the sphere of architecture, in art it has only managed to endlessly recycle technically hypertrophied later mannerist neo-Dada, to use the precisely correct art historical terminology. The Shock of the New has given way to the numbing familiarity of the ceremonial Violating of the Taboos, as if art were an angry pagan god needing an endless supply of sacrificial virgins to be palliated.

I don’t know about you, but I like my art (link) to be (link) beautiful (link)to look at (link). Yes, I know, I know… I am such a traditionalist.