Steelers-Cards Open Thread

The game started off right, if you ignore the Cards linemen camped out in our pocket.

*** Update ***

Eers lose, Steelers lose, the weekend is now complete. /wrist (John wrote the update).








I’ll Take “Future Conflicts” For $500, Alex

Oy.

Taiwan’s ruling party passed a resolution Sunday asserting the island’s separate identity from rival China and calling for a referendum on Taiwan’s sovereignty, the latest in a series of moves aimed at strengthening the island’s de-facto independence.

The resolution — passed after heated debate at a boisterous party congress — calls for making the island’s formal name ”Taiwan,” without specifically abolishing its current official name, the ”Republic of China.” It also calls for the enactment of a new constitution, but gives no specific deadline for either that or the referendum.

China has grown a superpower’s sense of “backyard” (e.g., Burma) but it never had much interest in empire per se, preferring investment, trade and convenient vetoes at the Security Council to direct intervention. China hasn’t had a Vietnam war, an Iraq war or an Afghanistan, its first aircraft carrier remains years off at best. When it comes to territorial border security, however, China comes very close to fanatic. For many the bitterness at Japan, for example, remains fresh, vivid and raw.

While it is a relief to see that Chinese Taiwan policy has moved perceptibly from threats to diplomacy, don’t mistake that for a softened stance in general. If and when Taiwan pulls the trigger China stands ready to do everything in its considerable power to subdue the island. As I recall Lincoln took about the same position.

Maybe it’s a bad thing that Iraq has downgraded our military to the point that we could do little more than sit back and watch. Then again, at this point only our ground forces are broken and, after all, who in their right mind thinks that we should engage the Chinese army on the ground? From the start our only best option was to park a couple of carrier groups in the Taiwan Strait and hope the Chinese don’t show up to dance, and as far as I know we can still do that. Complicating a complicated picture, China and Taiwan both own sizable chunks of our national debt, which happens right now to be leveraged farther over a cliff than a NINJA loan. As a fun little bonus, bolstering the Taiwan Strait would force us to give up pretensions of threatening Iran. And in the best of cases we might still lose that carrier group if China wants to push the issue badly enough.

In general I see a bloody mess with no good options for us. But hey, that just means I’m plagued with non-neoconservative concepts like nuance and worst-case-scenario planning. How do you suppose moral clarity would deal with the situation?








Oversight!

Not.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s pursuit of criminal cases against polluters has dropped off sharply during the Bush administration, with the number of prosecutions, new investigations and total convictions all down by more than a third, according to Justice Department and EPA data.

The number of civil lawsuits filed against defendants who refuse to settle environmental cases was down nearly 70 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2006, compared with a four-year period in the late 1990s, according to those same statistics.

[…] EPA memos show that investigators also have encountered new obstacles to their long-standing practice of directly referring cases to federal or state prosecutors. A new policy distributed May 25 requires agents to seek prior approval from the head of their division and establishes new paperwork procedures. This has slowed agents’ ability to make referrals, congressional investigators said.

Just another day in our libertarian paradise.



Does It Get Any Better Than This?

So what if WVU lost. Notre Dame is 0-5.

I love it.








Doctoring The Transcript

It was bad enough when Rush Limbaugh smeared American troops who question the president as “phony soldiers.” Next, backtracking, Rush insisted that he only meant to describe people who fabricated their service like Jesse Macbeth and, not kidding, decorated Marine Jack Murtha. Never satisfied to make himself look ridiculous in only one way, Rush then defended himself by re-releasing a doctored video and transcript which spliced over a minute out of the original broadcast. Rushbots then redefined chutzpah by accusing everybody else of missing “context.” The wingnuts in this entertaining post, for example, are almost too precious.

The whole episode proves again why smart rightwingers write off Limbaugh as a blowhard with miserable control over his own mouth. Those who choose to stand behind the clown self-identify as the kind of chumps who deserve the ridicule that tying one’s credibility to Rush tends to bring.

***

Fixed a broken link.








Treating The Staff Like Family

The hits keep coming for State Dept. IG Howard Krongard:

Two career investigators in the office of State Department Inspector General Howard J. Krongard have charged that they were threatened with firing if they cooperated with a congressional probe of Krongard and his office.

Correct me if I have this wrong, but I think that the law discourages threatening employees for cooperating with an investigation.



WVU v. USF

We are getting our ASS handed to us.

This isn’t even close.