Friday, January 26, 2007

Admission Error

"CHAPEL HILL, N.C. | An admissions department e-mail sent from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill congratulated 2,700 prospective freshmen this week on their acceptance to the school.

The problem is none of the students have been admitted yet to the school. They are merely applicants who won't start finding out until March whether they've made the cut."

Whoops! This is cruel!

Ritter Was Right, So Now Listen

Scott Ritter, famed WMD inspector, Marine and Republican, was thrown to the dogs when he tried to stop the war in Iraq. He held a news conference in Bagdad before the war calling on US restraint until the inspections could be finished. Our government's response was indignation and Ritter eventually was charged in a trumped up internet sex scheme. You'd think I was making this up, or that we lived on Animal Farm, but this is the state of our government today. Here's part of what Ritter had to say to Republican leaders during the run-up to war with Iraq:

"The conference room was packed with more than seventy Representatives and their staffs. I provided an opening in which I stressed that the case being made against Saddam Hussein and Iraq, centered as it was on the issue of WMD, did not hold water. I chastised the Republican lawmakers with a warning: If they continued to support the policy of confronting Saddam's Iraq over a trumped-up charge, they would not only get America involved in a war it could not win but would end up destroying the credibility of the Republican Party, and turn control of the Congress, and eventually the Presidency, to the Democrats. There were questions asked, and answers given, and in the end most thanked me for what they called an "illuminating" meeting.

Then they proceeded to do nothing."

And here's what he has to say to Democrats today:

"If I were to address a Democrat Theme Team equivalent, I would focus my effort on trying to impress them with the issue that will cost them political power down the road. This issue is Iran. While President Bush, a Republican, remains Commander in Chief, a Democrat-controlled Congress shares responsibility on war and peace from this point on. The conflict in Iraq, although ongoing, is a product of the Republican-controlled past. The looming conflict with Iran, however, will be assessed as a product of a Democrat-controlled present and future. If Iraq destroyed the Republican Party, Iran will destroy the Democrats.
I would strongly urge Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, to hold real hearings on Iran. Not the mealy-mouthed Joe Biden-led hearings we witnessed on Iraq in July-August 2002, where he and his colleagues rubber-stamped the President's case for war, but genuine hearings that draw on all the lessons of Congressional failures when it came to Iraq. Summon all the President's men (and women), and grill them on every phrase and word uttered about the Iranian "threat," especially as it has been linked to nuclear weapons. Demand facts to back up the rhetoric."

After Bush's State of the Union speech, I think it's clear that Bush & Cheney think they can do whatever they want, Congress and the American people be damned. It's time to make them change their minds. I hope we can do it without "waterboarding".

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cougar Country

Direct from John Cougar Mellencamp on songs in advertising, via the New York Times:

“The bottom line is, I’m a songwriter, and I want people to hear my songs,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not suggesting it for anybody else. This is just what I did this time to reinvent myself and stay in business. Sometimes I get sad about it really. I still don’t think that people should sell their songs for advertising.”

Uh, this from the guy who's "This is Our Country" song is the backbone for all the Chevy Truck ads for crying out loud. Well, Mr. Mellencamp, if you really "...still don’t think that people should sell their songs for advertising.”, maybe you should take your own advice. Talk about Hypocrite!

He continues:

“People say I sold out,” John Mellencamp said, explaining his decision to license a song for a Chevrolet commercial. “No, I got sold out. Sometime during the ’90s record companies made the decision that us guys who had been around for a long time and had sold millions of records and were household names just weren’t as interesting as girls in stretch dresses.”

Oh yeah, it's the stretch dresses that made you sell out. That must be why you licensed the formerly classic "Jack and Diane" to Jessica Simpson.

As for Mellencamp's American pride, he plants his anti-Bush song at the tail end of his new CD, and without listing the track on the CD sleeve:

"Though Mr. Mellencamp opted to avoid a more overtly politicized album, he couldn’t resist including “Rodeo Clown,” a harsh attack on President Bush and the Iraq war, with lines about “blood on the hands of the rich politicians” and “blood on the hands of an arrogant nation.” The song isn’t listed on the packaging and appears several minutes after the album’s last track."

Ooooh! How brave! Thank goodness we have real artists like Mellencamp to stand up for their beliefs, yeah, right. Go make another ad you pink house loser!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Walter Jones' Joint Resolution

Pat Buchanan talks more truth than most people can bear, and the article linked here is another brilliant piece:

"Asked if he had sole authority "to put the troops in there no matter what the Congress wants to do," Bush replied, "In this situation I do, yeah."

Is Congress then impotent, if it does not want war on Iran?

Enter Rep. Walter Jones, Republican of North Carolina.

The day after Bush's threat to Iran, Jones introduced a Joint Resolution, "Concerning the Use of Military Force by the United States Against Iran." Under HJR 14, "Absent a national emergency created by attack by Iran, or a demonstrably imminent attack by Iran, upon the United States, its territories, possessions or its armed forces, the president shall consult with Congress, and receive specific authorization pursuant to law from Congress, prior to initiating any use of force on Iran."

Jones' resolution further declares, "No provision of law enacted before the date of the enactment of this joint resolution shall be construed to authorize the use of military force by the United States against Iran."

If we are going to war on Iran, Jones is saying, we must follow the Constitution and Congress must authorize it.

If Biden, Kerry, Clinton and Obama refuse to sign on to the Jones resolution, they will be silently conceding that Bush indeed does have the power to start a war on Iran. And America should pay no further attention to the Democrats' wailing about being misled on the Iraq war."

Yes, this is the same Walter Jones who popularized the "Freedom Fries", folks. It's time to save the country with the Constitution. It's clear that we are way off the path....thanks Mr. Jones and Mr. Biden for stepping up here, we need more representatives like this!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Meredith Medusas?

From Mr. Tudor at the N&O:

"Never heard of the Medusas?
Well, that's because they used to be called the Meredith Angels.
Actually, they still are -- for a while at least.
Meredith, a private women's college in Raleigh, is stepping up its athletic profile.
In the USA South Athletic Conference, Meredith's teams will battle the Averett Cougars and Ferrum Panthers, among others.
And you have to admit, a team going by the name of Angels doesn't sound very intimidating.
Hey, it's a jungle out there. What's an innocent Angel to do except change her persona?
That's why the school has launched a campaign to find a name that will throw a scare into opponents."

Well, here we go. Is this political correctness gone amuck or something even worse? What's the matter with "Angels"? Even a pro baseball team is called "the Angels". Does a girls' sports team need a "scary" name? Was the name offensive to Angels?

We have all sorts of teams with "bad" names (think "Blue Devils", "Demon Deacons"), and some with politically incorrect names (think "Redskins"), and every now and then the idea pops up to change these team names, and I've generally been against changing team names just for the sake of political correctness. This name change seems to go against the grain, but I still don't like it!

Meredith is a girls school, and was/is affiliated with the Baptist Church. I ask, what is the matter with "Angels"? Why do these upstanding girls desire a "bad" name when they had such a "good" one? This does not bode well for these young ladies. I think they need some new role models if they prefer "Medusa" to "Angel". For shame, I say!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

War Power

The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress, and the power to fund (or not fund) a war. Watts the best way for Congress to act given our current circumstances? John Edwards and most others have concentrated on withholding funds (or at least threatening to withhold funds), but I don't think that is the best solution for our troops, or for political reasons. Slate has an interesting article where they argue four ways Congress could stop the war, and the #1 way is tops on my list, too:

1. Unauthorize the war. Or reauthorize it.
In October 2002, Congress authorized the use of force in Iraq. It could repeal that resolution and pass another one saying no more war. Or it could reauthorize the use of force on a different and more limited basis. Sen. Robert Byrd argues for reauthorization. The idea is that the reasons we thought we were going to war—Saddam's supposed weapons of mass destruction and alleged operational relationship with al-Qaida—have nothing to do with the current conflict.

Two questions would follow from a de- or reauthorization of war resolution, as they would from any flexing of congressional war-power muscles. Would the president accept Congress' judgment, and which branch of government would the courts side with if he didn't? If Congress spoke clearly enough to repeal the authorization of force, it's hard to imagine the other branches wouldn't listen, no matter what the president's commander-in-chief powers are. As law professor Neil Kinkopf of Georgia State University writes, "When Congress, acting in the vast areas of overlapping power, tells the President 'no,' the President must comply."

the article ends:

"...presidential commander-in-chief powers appear to trump congressional war powers in large part because presidents say they do and lawmakers let them get away with that claim. Congress will only find out what it can do about Iraq by trying to do something."

C'mon Dems, do us a big favor and put the war power back where it belongs! In the long run that will save more lives and help our country more than anything we can do to/in Iraq/Iran. This is a great opportunity.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Manly Surge in Iraq

Should we go with a manly "long and large surge", or "fixate on withdrawl"? No, this isn't a Viagra commercial, but they're selling "the surge" like a ED pill:

"Frederick Kagan of AEI, the chief architect of the Surge Theory for Iraq, has made it clear that the only kind of surge that would work is a big, fat one. Nearly pornographic in his fondling of the surge, Kagan, another of the neocon crew of armchair strategists and militarists, makes it clear that size does matter. "Of all the ‘surge' options out there, short ones are the most dangerous," he wrote in the Washington Post last week, adding lasciviously, "The size of the surge matters as much as the length. … The only ‘surge' option that makes sense is both long and large."

Ooh -- that is, indeed, a manly surge. For Kagan, a man-sized surge must involve at least 30,000 more troops funneled into the killing grounds of Baghdad and al-Anbar Province for at least 18 months. President Bush, perhaps dizzy from the oedipal frenzy created by the emergence of Daddy's best friend James Baker and his Iraq Study Group, seems all too willing to prove his manhood by the size of the surge. According to a stunning front-page piece in the Times last Tuesday, Bush has all but dismissed the advice of his generals, including Centcom Commander John Abizaid, and George Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq, because they are "more fixated on withdrawal than victory." "

Uh, what a flaccid argument!

Update: Even Ollie North thinks this surge is a bad idea!

Check the President

Roscoe C. Born of the Baltimore Sun has a good idea for Congress:

"Whatever motives led the president to ask, and Congress to grant, authority to use the U.S. military to invade Iraq, the justifications stated in whereas after whereas are not true today. Yet they remain on the books, still the official position of Congress. So the vital decision is not President Bush's alone, and Congress should not wait to proceed on its own.
Congress is morally obligated - now - to review its outdated joint resolution authorizing force against Iraq, and to undertake a new joint resolution declaring, in essence, "Whereas the purposes of the original authorization have been served; whereas the stated reasons justifying the authorization no longer exist; whereas the objectionable Iraqi regime has been removed and the new Iraqi regime poses no military threat to its neighbors or the United States; that, therefore, U.S. military forces are no longer authorized to remain in Iraq."
Far-fetched? Not in the least. Congress used this very procedure in 1993 to withdraw U.S. troops from Somalia."

Yes, mission accomplished, let's see Nancy & Co. grow some, er, get some backbone and do the job they were elected to do. Check the President.

Shoulda Been Jeb 43

Eleanor Clift goes off on the Bush family nightmare:

"The family’s grand design had the No. 2 son, Jeb, by far the brighter and more responsible, ascend to the presidency while George, the partying frat-boy type, settled for second best in Texas. The plan went awry when Jeb, contrary to conventional wisdom, lost in Florida, and George unexpectedly defeated Ann Richards in Texas.
With the favored heir on the sidelines, the family calculus shifted. They’d go for the presidency with the son that won and not the one they wished had won.The son who was wrongly launched has made such a mess of things that he has ruined the family franchise.
Without getting too Oedipal, it’s fair to say that so many mistakes George W. Bush made are the result of his need to distinguish himself from his father and show that he’s smarter and tougher. His need to outdo his father and at the same time vindicate his father’s failure to get re-elected makes for a complicated stew of emotions.
The irony is that the senior Bush, dismissed by Junior’s crowd as a country-club patrician, looks like a giant among presidents compared to his son. Junior told author Bob Woodward, for his book “Plan of Attack,” that he didn’t consult his father in planning the invasion of Iraq but consulted a higher authority, pointing, presumably, to the heavens. The father also consulted a higher authority: family fixer James Baker."

One can only imagine what shoulda/coulda been with Jeb instead of W. I imagine he would have listened to Colin Powell. Once again, we can thank the voters of Florida! Eleanor Clift really goes off in this short article, it's a goodie.

Mission Accomplished

Well, the only part of the Iraq War that worked, the toppling of Saddam, has ended. This is the best thing we have accomplished in our mission, and it didn't turn out pretty. How does America look now?

Joyce Marcel, Common Dreams:

"We Americans love our death. It's the star of most of our television shows, don't you know? And we love our death penalty even more. The civilized world long ago put a lid on revenge killing, but we flaunt it, don't we?

It's so barbaric. How, at the start of the 21st Century, did we suddenly find ourselves in the 11th? Did you know they used a new rope to hang Saddam?

The Daily News reported that at the beginning of this new, American-branded regime, they used Saddam's old rope. And one day it broke. It broke on the 13th man. And they had 14 more hangings that day. They hung 27 men in one day, imagine that. And these are the good guys.

Right after Saddam's neck snapped so loud the witnesses heard it, they hung two more men on the same gallows. The News didn't say if they used the same rope. The gallows? When was the last time those words appeared in an American newspaper? And those black ski masks on the hangmen? Could it get any tackier? O yeah, it could. The taunts and jeers. The dancing in the end zone. And the cell phone video of Saddam swinging by his neck, the one that made it onto Al Jazeera television."

I don't have any sympathy for Saddam, but this hanging did not serve our interests or justice.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Imagine Lennon's a Threat

The FBI has finally released some papers on John Lennon, and I feel soooo much safer now!

I found this part of an article from Harvey Weinstein quite interesting:

"Another document had been blacked out on the grounds of national security when Wiener obtained it more than 20 years ago through litigation brought under the Freedom of Information Act. It is now known that it said two prominent British leftists, Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn, had courted Lennon in hopes that he would "finance a left-wing bookshop and reading room in London."

But the newly released document adds that Lennon apparently gave them no money "despite a long courtship by Blackburn and Ali."

Then I noticed I'd just read an article by Tariq Ali, he's with the Guardian now? Funny how things happen that way.

But what really got me was the WND article by Rebecca Hagelin. This is the most superficial reading of "Imagine" that you can imagine, well worth the laugh.

Update: And then there's this one by Jon Wiener of the LA Times. Declassified does not mean like, available to read, that's for sure.