Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rumsfeld can Read!!

Check out the story in the WSJ, then go read Imperial Grunts. See if it isn't the same dang thing. Kind of makes you proud to know that no matter how hard headed he is, Rummy can still learn.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Where are the Heroes?

Sen. Coburn certainly seems to be one. There are some great quotes in here:
I'm going to keep on digging the tunnel under spending." Because, he says, large deficits reverse the American tradition of making sacrifices for the benefit of rising generations: "I'm an American long before I'm a Republican, and I'm a granddad before I'm either one of them."

"If I don't get reelected? Great. The Republic will live on."

When Coburn disparaged an earmark for Seattle -- $500,000 for a sculpture garden -- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) was scandalized: "We are not going to watch the senator pick out one project and make it into a whipping boy." She invoked the code of comity: "I hope we do not go down the road deciding we know better than home state senators about the merits of the projects they bring to us." And she warned of Armageddon: "I tell my colleagues, if we start cutting funding for individual projects, your project may be next." But Coburn, who does not do earmarks, thinks Armageddon sounds like fun.

Since Ted Stevens went ballistic over the cancellation of his damned bridge, I have had some hope that he would penalize all of the other senators who wanted their pet re-election projects, I mean their earmarks entered.

Read the whole thing. With luck, our only professional criminal class may be forced into doing the right thing. It may be for all of the wrong reasons, but it is still the right thing.

Friday, February 10, 2006

How bad is the economy?

As noted in the article, right now, 43% of the public believe that the economy is in a recession. How can that be, when there is significant growth?
The answer seems to be that the reportage of the economy is decidedly biased. So, if we are to have an informed debate on a subject, how can we debate if we are not properly informed?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My, My, My

So, the Abramoff business is not so clearly one sided as claimed. The problems for the Democrats are the public's perceptions that all politicians regardless of party are crooked, and the amusing habit the Democrats have of being contradicted on point blank issues.
First, Howard Dean and Harry Reid were screaming that this is a Republican issue, that no Democrats had taken any money form Abramof. Then it was amended to no Democrats had taken money personally from Abramof, just his lobbying firm. Then it was that no Democrats ever took money from Abramof's clients at his directions. Click on the title to see that Reid took $68,000 from Abramof's clients. So, we have a difference without distiction.
So, I went back to the link that showed where the Abramof money went to. Just looking at individual giving by Abramof, $9000 went to Rep. Barney Frank, and $5000 went to Debby Stabenow. So, it seems as if the public perception is correct. They are all bums.
What is needed though is not cutting out free lunches or trips. What we need are ethical people who would be able to accept campaign contributions, but still vote in favor of their constituents. As the old saying goes, "Hell if you can't drink their whiskey, sleep with their women and take their money and still vote against them, you are not much of a politician."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Proof that the FBI is watching you

Click here.

Iraqi WMDs?

Okay, we all know that Bush lied about WMDs, or that he didn't lie, he was just misled by the Neocons, or if not that, that Saddam had peacefully closed his WMD programs years before, and just wanted everyone to think that he had them. At least that would be the conventional wisdom.
But what if, as the article posits, Saddam recognized that after 9-11, Bush was a crazy man who would invade even though he had bought off the French and Russians on the Security Council? The Germans were a freebie, since Schroeder was toast without an outside boogeyman.
Now, a paranoid would say that Bush is getting ready to release all of this information to slap down his critics who said that he lied. After all, what would they say if there is proof that the weapons were there, but removed? The trouble with being called a liar (unless you are a Republican, in which case it is automatically assumed) is that your credibility on everything becomes suspect.
Curious turn of events if it pans out.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Racism and Cartoons

So, the Boston Globe weighs in saying that the publication of cartoons that the Muslims find offensive should never have occured because we need to show respect for other people's religion. Hmm, what about "Piss Christ" or the Madonna in Elephant Dung?
Well, that's okay, because they are offending Christians, and what the Globe really meant was that we didn't want to offend those nut jobs that burn down the Danish embassy while holding signs (in English mind you) that those who offend Islam need to be beheaded.
Too many on the Left seem to be more offended by Christian fundamentalists than Muslim fudnamentalists. If you looked at the body count, the Muslims present a greater threat. The reason I don't think the Left is as worried about Muslim fanaticism are their own blinders. "We can't criticize them because they are a different color than we are, and we don't understand their culture." I'm sorry, but if sommeone is running around wanting to behead me and my family, I tend to want to take them seriously as a threat, even here in Montana, which most Americans couldn't find on a map, much less Islamic terrorists. The risk of someone beheading me, versus having my grandchildren taught that there was a master plan to evoulution are not co-equal in my mind. But hey, I may just be backwards in all of that.
I am finding it harder and harder to take seriously, those who seem to have an inability to be serious, no matter how pompous they act (the Globe and Julian Bond for example). But still, there they are.
What a country!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Good news from Iraq

I had earlier asked my Democratic friends for what their priorities were, and almost universally they were for the immediate termination of our presence in Iraq. Most called it an unmitigated disaster that created more terrorism than it controlled. While their answers were helpful, I don't necessarily believe that they are right. The article in the above link shows another perspective on what is happening in Iraq that should give us hope.
Why isn't this sort of information being reported with wider dissemination? One theory could be that it is isolated and anecdotal, and another is that it does not comport with our preconceived notions of what is happening. In any event, it is still interesting. It kind of reminds me of the Summer of 2001 when the news was filled with shark attack stories. Not that there were more actual attacks by sharks than before, but the news media grabbed ahold of story, and it was blown out of proportion. Popular belief in the immediacy of the reported problem swamped common sense, and everyone was freaking out, at least until 9-11.
While I don't agree with some posters on Matt's site Left in the West who believe that we are the worst country in the world for our treatment of people, I am still an optimist who believes that we are capable and are doing good. The only problems that I think we suffer from is our desire for quick and/or immediate solutions, and our lack of patience. That, and our lack of perspective about the rest of the world.
I remember in our local free paper, someone once commented that we are the most racist, sexist and homophobic country on earth. I was thinking at the time that the commenter should get out in the world beyond Canada. Most of the world is messy, but I have never found a place where you can get more opportunities than here.
But back to the reason for this post. The attitudes of the Iraqis are pleasantly surprising. They are starting to take responsibility for their lives, which is no small achievement. After April of 2003, the Iraqis looked to us to solve all of their problems, while we were standing there waiting for them to step up to the plate. This mismatch of perceptions was probably the greatest cause of resentment on both sides.
Now, the Iraqis are actually taking control of their country. There is always something inspiring when you see someone do something that they did not believe that they could do before. Their sense of pride in their accomplishments can be overblown, but it is always better than waiting passively for someone else to change their lives. We are witnessing this change, but we should be aware that we are on a timetable to get the job done.
In the Fall elections, I fully believe that the Democrats will retake one or possible both houses of Congress. Should that happen, I don't doubt that their first order of business will be to terminate our involvement in Iraq. If the Iraqis are not stable enough, this could be a disaster for the Iraqis and us. I do think that the Iraqis are making remarkable progress though, and even if we are prematurely pulled out, give them a 50-50 chance of making a go of it.
We will have to wait and see.