The Daily Dump

Andrew decides to revisit his remarks regarding the President and faith that we discussed in detail yesterday, and given extra time to think (drink?), he gets it wrong again:

Did I over-react? It’s worth looking at the full quote as produced by the Washington Times:

“I fully understand that the job of the president is and must always be protecting the great right of people to worship or not worship as they see fit. That’s what distinguishes us from the Taliban. The greatest freedom we have or one of the greatest freedoms is the right to worship the way you see fit. On the other hand, I don’t see how you can be president at least from my perspective, how you can be president, without a relationship with the Lord.”

Now notice that Bush is explicitly qualifying his defense of religious freedom (or the freedom to have no religion at all) by saying that the presidency, in his view, should nevertheless be reserved for people with a relationship of a personal nature with “the Lord.” He isn’t simply saying that he doesn’t see how he could have endured the presidency without faith; he is asserting that he cannot see how anyone could be president without a “relationship with the Lord.” Now I can see how this might be simply a slip of the tongue: just a projection of his own experience with nothing more to be inferred from it. But given how this administration has consciously eroded the distinction between church and state – fusing the two with federal funds, using religious groups as its political base, incorporating religious leaders into policy-making, and defending public policy decisions on purely religious grounds (calling civil marriage licenses “sacred,” for example) – this is worrying. To put it bluntly, on the separation of church and state, I don’t trust these guys.

The President stated three things in that remark:

1.) He has a very strong relationship with his Lord.
2.) He believes a chief responsibility of the President is to protect the right to worship freely
3.) He does not understand how someone can be president without a deep faith.

He did not, as the jackass Sullivan asserts:

1.) Explicitly qualify his defense of religious freedom. He made it clear that the role of the President is to defend all those who wish to worship, and in whatever manner. Just a blatant lie on your part, Sullivan.
2.) He did not make a slip of the tongue, he meant what he said- from his perspective, he does not understand how anyone could be President without having a similar deep faith. He did not say they couldn’t or shouldn’t be allowed to, he said “I don’t see how you can be president.” Words mean thing, you silly Brit.

It all boils down to this, the only honest thing Sullivan has stated in several weeks regarding the President and this administration:

To put it bluntly, on the separation of church and state, I don’t trust these guys.

Which is why you are willfully misinterpreting this quote. Goodness, you have fallen.

Friedman’s Rules

These make sense:

Rule 1-Never lead your story out of Lebanon, Gaza or Iraq with a cease-fire; it will always be over by the time the next morning’s paper is out.

Rule 2- Never take a concession, except out of the mouth of the person who is supposed to be doing the conceding. If I had a dime for every time someone agreed to recognize Israel on behalf of Yasir Arafat, I would be a wealthy man today.

Rule 3- The Israelis will always win, and the Palestinians will always make sure that they never enjoy it. Everything else is just commentary.

Rule 4- In the Middle East, if you can’t explain something with a conspiracy theory, then don’t try to explain it at all – people there won’t believe it.

Rule 5- In the Middle East, the extremists go all the way, and the moderates tend to just go away – unless the coast is completely clear.

Rule 6- The most oft-used phrase of Mideast moderates is: “We were just about to stand up to the bad guys when you stupid Americans did that stupid thing. Had you stupid Americans not done that stupid thing, we would have stood up, but now it’s too late. It’s all your fault for being so stupid.”

Rule 7- In Middle East politics there is rarely a happy medium. When one side is weak, it will tell you, “How can I compromise?” And the minute it becomes strong, it will tell you, “Why should I compromise?”

Rule 8- What people tell you in private in the Middle East is irrelevant. All that matters is what they will defend in public in Arabic, in Hebrew or in any other local language. Anything said in English doesn’t count.

This does not:

For all these reasons, the least bad option right now for the U.S. is to forge ahead with the elections…

Otherwise known as the best option…

Food for Thought

As part of a series of lifestyle changes that I am undertaking to add to assist my healthy and longevity, I am finally breaking down and visiting a dietician/nutritionist. At any rate, whenever I discuss diets/dieting with my mother, she invariably mentions her favorite diet of all times, one that one of her co-workers always uses.

The diet? To eat only foods he doesn’t like. Works like a charm for him, and the lbs shed off. My problem is that other than Stuffed Peppers and Liver and ONions, there are no foods I dislike. I like everything.

At any rate, point ofthis post- What foods can you not tolerate?


In the comments of this post, Rick Lee asks:

Dude… what’s up with your spelling these days? Are you on pain killers or something?

A couple lame defenses:

1.) It ain’t my spelling, it is my typing.

I rarely make spelling errors (other than the occassional homonym mix-up, which appears to happen more often as I age) when I write with pen and paper. However, I have a confession to make- I type with my feet. Well, not really, but I use only my thumb and two fingers on each hand. I have taken typing classes, I have practiced for hours, and I have spent hundreds of hours with Mavis Beacon, but it all comes back to the same four fingers and two thumbs.

2.) Diet Rite + Keyboard = Mess

I dumped a can of Diet Rite in the keyboard about three weeks ago, and even though there is no sugar, caffeine, or flavor in the damned soda, it sure does work well as an adhesive. Actually, if memory serves correctly, this keyboard has also had a Newcastle Brown and a glass of cranberry juice dumped into it at some point, so maybe the Diet Rite just mixed with the others to create some toxic sludge. Shrug.

3.) I type angry and shiny objects distract me.

I am usually pissed off about something when I am blogging, and add to that I have ten open windows, each with something I want to read, so I forget to proof-read. Usually I come back two days later and wonder how the hell anyone understood what I meant, many times the comments section affirms that indeed they did not, in fact, understand what I meant. But I bet they could sense the hostility.

4.) Sometimes when I edit posts in mid stream, or add to them later on, I forget to go back and make sure the edit makes sense with what was originally written.

That leads to unfinished thoughts abruptly truncated in

I hope that explains my crappy spelling, comma splices, misplaced and dangling modifiers, and over-all crappy grammar.

Something to Mock

I am posting this Robert Scheer piece from the LA Times only because it has not received the level of derision and mockery that it richly deserves:

Is it conceivable that Al Qaeda, as defined by President Bush as the center of a vast and well-organized international terrorist conspiracy, does not exist?

To even raise the question amid all the officially inspired hysteria is heretical, especially in the context of the U.S. media’s supine acceptance of administration claims relating to national security. Yet a brilliant new BBC film produced by one of Britain’s leading documentary filmmakers systematically challenges this and many other accepted articles of faith in the so-called war on terror.

My head hurts already.

The Daily Dump

Andrew Sullivan, 11:41 am today:

I’m particularly worried that the blogosphere has become far more knee-jerk, shrill and partisan since the days when I first started blogging. Some of that’s healthy and inevitable; but too much is damaging.

Several hours later, Coy Andy reads this quote from President:

President Bush said yesterday that he doesn’t “see how you can be president without a relationship with the Lord,” but that he is always mindful to protect the right of others to worship or not worship.

Mr. Bush told editors and reporters of The Washington Times yesterday in an interview in the Oval Office that many in the public misunderstand the role of faith in his life and his view of the proper relationship between religion and the government.

“I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you’re not equally as patriotic if you’re not a religious person,” Mr. Bush said. “I’ve never said that. I’ve never acted like that. I think that’s just the way it is.

“On the other hand, I think more and more people understand the importance of faith in their life,” he said. “America is a remarkable place when it comes to religion and faith. We had people come to our rallies who were there specifically to say, ‘I’m here to pray for you, let you know I’m praying for you.’ And I was very grateful about that.”

Andy’s response, 2:54 pm:

So, out of his beneficence, he won’t trample on others’ religious freedom. But the White House? That’s for Christians only. No Jews? Or atheists? Notice also the evangelical notion of a personal “relationship” with the Lord. That also indicates suspicion of those Christians with different approaches to the divine. I must say this is a new level of religio-political fusion in this administration. To restrict the presidency to a particular religious faith is anathema to this country’s traditions and to the task of toleration. The president surely needs to retract the statement.

What an asshole. Where did the President says no jews or atheists need apply? What suggests suspicion? Where is he restricting the office to those of a specific faith? All he said was that he does not understand how someone could be president without having a strong reliance on faith and concomitant belief in God.

I am pretty areligious (a helluva lot closer to atheist than Andy is), and I understood his damned remarks. Do anti-retro virals make you nuts, or has Andy been this big of an asshole all along and his true colors are finally showing? All he does anymore is willfully distort what other people say.

And what kills me is he makes 100k a year through tips and donations. Maybe I should go insane publicly- might sell some blogads or get me tips.

The Torture Myth

Anne Applebaum discusses what should be the most salient issue regarding theuse of torture, particularly for the ends/means crowd-

There is little evidence torture works.

It seems to me the efficacy of an action should be debated prior to any ethical or legal argument, and rom what I have read from numerous sources, there is little evidence that torture works.

The End of The Road

Ifyou remember, the great hope of the Democrats in 2003 to demolish this administration was the Plame ‘scandal.’ Read this Washington Post editorial describing the scandal, which appears to have passed away calmly while sleeping.

Winning HEarts and Minds, Pt. 2


Mr Thammasaroj says the United States must take some of the blame for the number of casualties. He believes that if the Hawaii-based Pacific tsunami warning centre had acted quickly enough many lives could have been saved.
“I’m not angry at them for failing to warn Thailand, because at that time they did not know for sure, they merely said a tsunami was possible after the earthquake,” he said .

But after the giant waves hit southern Thailand the centre had more than an hour to alert India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, “and if they warned those countries, they could have saved thousands of lives.

“It’s their failure to do so that makes me mad at them,” said Mr Thammasaroj.

Workers at the Hawaii centre have said they tried in vain to warn Indian Ocean countries about the possible effects of the earthquake, but they were not equipped to monitor that part of the world and did not even have phone numbers for the right officials.

Discuss- I am verklempt. And this isn’t just some idiot who knows nothing- this is the newly appointed minister for natural disasters in Thailand. He knows better that there was nothing that could be done, yet blames us anyway. It’s like he has been hanging out with Andrew Sullivan or something.

Winning Hearts and Minds

Some things you have to read several times in order to make sure you understood what you read. This is one:

The aircraft carrier leading the U.S. military’s tsunami relief effort steamed out of Indonesian waters Wednesday because the country declined to let the ship’s fighter pilots use its airspace for training missions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Marines have scaled back their planned contribution to the aid operation after compromising with the Indonesian military and agreeing not to carry weapons or set up a base camp on Indonesian soil.


The Daily Dump

Two new forays into stupid from Adnrew today. Here they are in order.

#1.) THE FACE OF REPRESSION: Here’s a photo of an Iranian blogger, one of more than 20 detained by the theo-fascists for freedom of expression. Money quote: “My interrogator punched me in the head and stomach and kicked me in the back many times to force me confess to having illegal sex and endangered national security through my writings, Mazrouei said.” He was blindfolded for 66 days in solitary confinement. And yes, it pains me that now every defender of the Islamists can say that U.S. custody is just as bad as the Iranians – and, in many cases, far worse. We have squandered a part of the critical moral difference that justifies our fight.

No, petunia, ‘every defender of the Islamists’ CAN NOT ‘say that U.S. custody is just as bad as the Iranians – and, in many cases, far worse.’ Well- they can say it, but they are either lying or as stupid as you are choosing to be on this issue. I mean, you seriously are not going to compare years of unrepentant torture, to include stonings, mass executions, etc., with regrettable but seemingly isolated incidents of degradation and low-scale torture.

This is not condoning or white-washing the evil that was committed at Abu Ghraib, but how about some perspective. The last I checked, our entire nation was outraged, we were investigating the charges, and people were on trial. That would tend to point to some difference between us and the Islamists.


“WHERE HE PUT HIS WING-WANG”: This, apparently, is Glenn Reynold’s view of what being gay is. And Glenn is on the side of the angels in this. It’s enough to make you despair.

Apparently anything is enough to make America’s #1 gay advocate despair, because here is Glenn’s post:

WAS LINCOLN GAY? Andrew Sullivan cares, and so do the folks at The Weekly Standard. I can’t seem to, though. The guy saved the nation, and I’m supposed to care about where he put his wing-wang?

Pretty clearly, Glenn was stating that he doesn’t give a shit if Lincoln was gay or not, and given Glenn’s track record in favor of gay equality, it takes some work to find reason for despair.

Curiously, Andrew’s ‘despair’ seems to be centered around Glenn’s statement regarding Lincoln’s wing-wang. Glenn’s p[osition, from my standpoint is the only logical position to take. Andrew is consistently (and correctly) railing for equal treatemnt and equal rights, and the thrust (no pun intended) of his argument is that homosexuals are human beings, and therefore no different heterosexuals. Except for that little issue of where they (as the Instaprof so delicately stated) stick their ‘wing-wang.’

Unless there is something else that systematically makes homosexuals different from heterosexuals, I think Glenn’s position (ignore punb possibilities, please) is the enlightened one here- the only difference between the two collective groups is the placement of the ‘wing-wang’ during sexual activities.

Well- one group may have more fashion sense and a love of show tunes, but I learned that from Bravo!

The ‘Moon’nesota Vikings

So Randy Moss pretended to moon the fans. Big deal. After every Packer victory, their fans actually moon the opposition team busses. The world has not ended. This is not a sign of the apocalypse.

Yes, I preferred the way Johnny Unitas and Barry Sanders celebrated touchdowns- handing the ball to the official. But this whole Ranyd Moss bit is absurd. And Tom Jackson and Chris Berman, both of whom I normally love, have gone off the deep-end over this. I thought Tom Jackson was going to need a hockey puck sized valium he was so upset.

Good Grief

Here we go again.

In a previous post, I was jokingly pointing out to Matt that 24 was in fact a fictional series, as he seemed to be waging an argument against torture with the plot of 24 as the other end of the argument (not surprisingly, 24 was providing a pretty shitty argument for the case of torture). This seems to have upset Jim Henley quite dearly.

In a post that is almost too lengthy for me to summarize, Jim argues (and argues and argues and argues) that I should not mock Matt’s insistence on comparing the fictional 24 to reality, as- after all, this is fiction, and therefore ripe for esthetic criticism (why do I always want to put an ‘a’ in front of esthetic?).

If that were all Matt were doing, I would agree- because that is all Jim was doing in his post here and here, which were referenced in Matt’s post, and which I read. And surprise, surprise- I didn’t tease Jim for his posts. Why?

BECAUSE IT WAS CLEAR THAT JIM WAS MAKING ESTHETIC JUDGEMENTS ABOUT THE SHOW. In Matt’s class, it appeared as if he as viewing a real news report, or at least real torture policy, and providing counter arguments for any policy warranting or calling for torture. It appeared to me that Matt was taking the show a little too seriously. Check out these statements:

I watched the second season of 24 religiously, then rented season one on DVD, but somehow never got into season three. Watched the first episode of season four last night, and was a bit sorry to see the show making just about the most juvenile case for terrorism one can imagine. That’s about all the watching of this season I intend to do.


I’ll just add that Episode One’s portrayal of torture as an easy, moral method of rapidly acquiring accurate information from suspected terrorists sort of undermines the whole show’s plotting. If you can really get the bad guys to fess up in 90 seconds by putting a bullet in someone’s knee, then Bauer should be torturing people all the time and not pussyfooting around with all this satellite surveillance, deception, etc. But now all of a sudden what was a great idea Sunday night doesn’t even seem to be on the table. If only CTU would abandon these liberal pieties and start organizing some death squads, then we could lick this problem.

I doubt the writer’s were thinking of 24 as a vehicle for easing moral qualms about torture. In fact, I am willing to bet that the scene was written that way just to get to the next scene. They do have 24 hours to fill, you know?

Now, as I am not in favor of torture (unless it involves people whose children scream in public places or people who damage other peopel’s cars in parking lots), it is not my obligation to provide arguments *FOR* torture. And I won’t. Not even for fake torture in fake shows. But I will spend this time to point out that a fictional show that markets itself as ‘realistic’ has no obligation to be real, and that anyone who watched the first two seasons and was capable of swallowing the amazing exploits of Kim Bauer should be able to handle the fictional use of torture in season Four (I would link to all of Matt’s previous posts about 24, but about every 6 months he seems to lose his archive).

And, once again, Jim. I was just teasing Matt.

*** Update ***

See- I told ya so. And this heresy must be squashed.

Armstrong Williams/CBS

I haven’t commented on the whole CBS report/Armstrong Williams affair because, well, I haven’t commented on anything in a few days. My positions:

Williams- Stupid all the way around. Stupid for Williams to accept the money, stupid for the administration to offer the money. And probably illegal. This doesn’t outrage me that much, because I don’t think the money influenced Williams’s position- he has always been in favor of school vouchers. However, when the administration screws up such simple things like this- something that is so blatantly wrong, it makes me worry about how they really are handling the more important issues of the day. Like, say, Iraq.


Dear Matt,

I respect you, so I am sincerely asking you take a deep breath.

24is a fictional television series. That means it is made up, and is intended to be broadcast for entertainment purposes. This made me giggle:

If you can really get the bad guys to fess up in 90 seconds by putting a bullet in someone’s knee, then Bauer should be torturing people all the time and not pussyfooting around with all this satellite surveillance, deception, etc. But now all of a sudden what was a great idea Sunday night doesn’t even seem to be on the table. If only CTU would abandon these liberal pieties and start organizing some death squads, then we could lick this problem.

You know why Jack Bauer shot one guy and not another? Because it was in the fricking script.

I hate to have to say this, but based on the tone and tenor of your previous posts, it may be necessary. At any rate, I think you need to know- Kiefer Sutherland really didn’t shoot anyone. It was all fake- so when you get done analyzing 24, please don’t call the California State Police with information about some gruesome shootings you saw on television.

Up Next- Matt discusses the Grinch that Stole Christmas and the effectiveness of Neighborhood Watch Groups during the Holiday seasons.

BTW- Happy Blogiversary!