Best Comment In A Long Time

From the comments section at Ted Barlow’s joint:

I found it metaphysically distressing that, no matter how many Gibbs die, more Gibbs remain.

Blah Blah Blah

I only read about a paragraph of this bilge from Regis DeBray in the NY Times yesterday before I quit in disgust.

Now, thanks to James Lileks, you don’t have to read any of it.

Celebrity Update

In case you were curious, George Clooney has an opinion about Iraq.

Normally I would make a sarcastic remark, but I have granted lifetimte immunity to Clooney for his performance in O Brother, Where art Thou?, which I think may be one of the greatest movies ever made.

You, however, are free to flame away.

Shocked! Shocked, I Say!

Matt Yglesias quips:

Incidentally, at dinner the other day I remarked to a girl that Al Gore never acually said that he’d invented the internet. She was shocked.

Imagine how shocked she would have been if you told her the truth about Bush 1 and the grocery scanner. Why do I bring this up? Because when it suits Democrats, they will resort to using out and out lies- remember, the Bush1 grocery scanner incident served as the perfect fodder for a campaign running on “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” Funny how I never heard Carville debunking that story…

Incidentally, while Yglesias is dismayed by the treatment Gore got for his stupid and perhaps over-stated (but not deceitful) remarks, he continues to believe Oliver Willis’s hyperbole, rather than the military reports themselves.

Says Oliver:

In 2000, George Bush spit in the face of the military when he said “if called on by the commander-in-chief today, two entire divisions of the Army would have to report …, ‘Not ready for duty, sir.'”

That very same military beat the Taliban, is engaged in the global hunt on terror, deployed in the Phillipines, and will be used to invade Iraq.

But then, George has shown that he’ll say and do anything to be elected.

Matthew characterizes Bush’s remarks as one off his sleazier moments.

Here is the CNN Report on the issue:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The U.S. Army has rated two of its 10 divisions as unprepared for a major war, a move the Pentagon said reflects the strain of deployments for peacekeeping duties in the Balkans.

A recent classified assessment placed the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, New York — which has a brigade deployed in Bosnia — and the 1st Infantry Division, based in Germany — which has a brigade based in Kosovo — at “C-4,” the lowest level of readiness, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki said.

It marks the first time since the 1970s that any Army division has dropped to the lowest of four possible readiness levels, officials said. A C-4 rating means the units in question need additional manpower, equipment or training.

Shinseki said the problem for these units was mainly a shortage of military personnel. The two divisions each have about half of their troops involved in peacekeeping operations.

Asked whether he was worried about the slip in readiness, Shinseki said, “Sure, anytime a division commander reports C-4, we are concerned. We’ll see what corrections need to be made.”

Bush has a lot of things to explain for since he took office. What is amusing is that the left wants to re-fight the 2000 election, and they still can’t get it right.

Republicans and Gays

I will never understand the homophobia of some in the Republican party. I am not sure why, if two consenting adults love each other, it is any of the business of anyone else what they do. I know that is a simplistic gut feeling on my part- I can provide more nuanced arguments when I feel better, but when I read stuff like this, it just pisses me off.

Another Resolution

And this time we really, really, really mean it.


I am sick as a dog and grading papers, so I am not sure how much I will be posting. I have not felt well since Friday night-Saturday morning.

Norah Who?

I didn’t watch much of the Grammy show last night, but not because I was protesting it or afraid of what a few limousine liberals might have to say about Iraq. Basically, I didn’t watch because they never really nominate or reward the type of music I enjoy. I read the results with interest wondering, who the hell buys all this stuff. One strong reaction I do have after reading the results:

Norah Who?

I know I am profoundly uncool, but I have never heard of Norah Jones before yesterday. I am unsure how Bruce Springsteen did not win- I am even more confused how Nelly and Eminem were snubbed. When I listen to the radio, it is usually NPR, talk radio, or ESPN Sports radio- so I am not a music expert when it comes to new music. I can tell you one thing though- when I went to a bar, when I went to a clothing store, when I was in a friend’s car, or at the lake, I know what I was hearing- people were playing Nelly and Eminem. Not Norah Jones.

Is it possible that the Grammy voters are more out of touch than I am?

Cool Guide

An annotaed bibilography of sorts for the blogosphere.

I know, I have been ignored again. Mere words can not describe this blog, though.

Crime of the Century

I got my new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, and there was not one spread of Heidi Klum. I still love you, Heidi.

No Blogging Tonight

No bloggin tonight, as I am going to a friend’s birthday party. I will leave you with some options:

Go download and read the first two chapters of Oliver’s new book (Warning- it is a touch racy),


Go enter my Presidential Mad Libs contest (use the link or scroll down a few posts).

Another Outrage

I want to know more about this, but if this is true, I am not amused:

You might think that with the country gearing up for war this would be the wrong time absolutely the worst time to cut federal school aid for the children of men and women in the armed forces.

Nobody would do that, right? Right?


Undeterred by the anxiety and hardships faced by youngsters whose parents may be heading overseas, and perhaps into combat, President Bush has proposed substantial cuts in the government’s Impact Aid program, which provides badly needed funds to school districts that have a significant number of students from military families.

The program was established during the Truman administration. When a school district is in an area that has military installations or other types of federal property, it is cut off from a range of revenue sources residential, business and industrial property taxes, for example that would have been available if the land and facilities were privately owned and developed. The districts are still obligated, however, to provide schooling for children whose parents are stationed or work at such facilities.

Everything Bob Herbert writes must be taken with a Maureen Dowd sized grain of salt, but if this is true, and there is not more to this story than Herbert is mentioning, it is just wrong. And stupid. Did I mention wrong.

CalPundit talks about this…

I Want To Break Something

This is just too distressing for words:

The North Korean ship that last year delivered Scud missiles to Yemen transferred a large shipment of chemical weapons material from Germany to North Korea recently, U.S. intelligence officials said.

The ship, the Sosan, was monitored as it arrived in North Korea earlier this month carrying a shipment of sodium cyanide, a precursor chemical used in making nerve gas, said officials familiar with intelligence reports.

The same ship was stopped by U.S. and Spanish naval vessels Dec. 9 as it neared Yemen. It was carrying 15 Scud missiles and warheads. After a brief delay and assurances from the Yemeni government, the ship was allowed to proceed to Yemen with the missile shipment.

After unloading the missiles in Yemen, the Sosan then traveled to Germany, where it took on a cargo of sodium cyanide estimated to weigh several tons. The ship then was tracked as it traveled to North Korea. It arrived at the west coast seaport of Nampo on Thursday, the officials said.

The Germans and the French- our partners on the Security Council.

Off Target

TalkLeft and Oliver Willis link to this story as supposed evidence of a return to the ‘repressive fifities.’ I use the quotes of sarcasm because Oliver and I were not alive in the fifties, and I have seen Jeralynn on television numerous times and she doesn’t look nearly old enough to have been alive then. I don’t subscribe to the faulty hypothesis that you have to personally experience something to understand things, but I doubt most people living in the fifties felt that they were all too repressive- if they were, they would have done something about it- see the sixties. Most people probably thought it was, well, just normal. Who knows, in 50 years, someone may be pointing backwards talking about the ‘repressive 2000’s.’ At any rate, here is the story:

DEARBORN, Michigan (AP) — School officials ordered a 16-year-old student to either take off a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “International Terrorist” and a picture of President Bush and or go home, saying they worried it would inflame passions at the school where a majority of students are Arab-American.

The student, Bretton Barber, chose to go home. He said he wore the shirt Monday to express his anti-war position and for a class assignment in which he wrote a compare-contrast essay on Bush and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Schools spokesman Dave Mustonen said students have the right to freedom of expression, but educators are sensitive to tensions caused by the conflict with Iraq.

“It was felt that emotions are running very high,” Mustonen said.

Dearborn is the center of an Arab-American community of about 300,000 in southeastern Michigan. About 55 percent of the district’s 17,600 students are Arab-American.

Let’s think about this a little bit before we break out the mass hysteria. Schools, in most cases, are allowed to decide what kids wear (we usually informally and formally refer to this as a Dress Code- if I remember correctly a recent President seemed to be very much in favor of dress codes and school uniforms), and they are generally given a lot of latitude in this regard. Free speech is routinely denied to students in schools (for instance, I was never allowed to call my High School English teacher a stupid flaming asshole, even though she clearly was one- yes, Mrs. Cuomo- I am talking about you), and in many cases for things far less obnoxious and far less volatile than the t-shirt in this case, and many other basic rights are not afforded to children until they become legal adults. We all know this, so why are we being so hysterical?

I think that the t-shirt was stupid, the assignment was stupid, and the reaction- well, that is a judgement call. But schools simply should have the right to make these decisions. I am generally in favor of civil rights- but until we start treating minors like adults in all cases (and I am against that in the criminal system- minors should be charged and tried as minors, until they are 18- period), Jeralynn and Oliver are going overboard with the rhetoric- unless this is just part of the Ashcroft shutting down our civil liberties meme. If that is the case, then they are really making a mistake, because they are hurting us all by lumping things like this with some of the real problems that have been identified with Ashcroft and diluting their credibility and their charge.

Me- I guess I will leave it up to the judgement of the school administrators- and somehow I get the feeling that this is motivated more by the fact that someone tried mindlessly and provacatively to criticize Bush but didn’t get away with it. Again, I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me the school was within their rights.

I don’t think Jeralynn and Oliver want their kids going to schools where kids can wear shirts that say ‘Kill All Niggers’ with a confederate flag displayed proudly. Or ‘Build More Ovens for the Rest of the Jews’ with a picture of Zyclon B displayed. Or ‘Kill all Muslims and Wrap ’em in Pigskin’ with the hole where the Twin Towers used to be located displayed prominently. I certainly don’t want that kind of crap in public or private schools, and to hell with you if you think that I am violating someone’s civil rights for sending a kid home for wearing that t-shirt.

But that’s just me- I don’t yearn for the fifties, but I did always like Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

*** Update ***

When I mention the ‘repressive’ fifties above and said that most people thought it was normal, I think I am right- and I was not referring to racial issues, as Oliver takes me to task in the comments section. I was talking about free speech issues. Certainly there was the ugliness of Uncle Joe- but really, how does sending a kid home for a potentially volatile t-shirt ‘send us back to the repressive fifties?’ Everything isn’t about race, you know, although as a white man I am probably less sensitive than others on this issue. I spend enough time dealing with badmouthing because I am a awhite Republican- I can’t even begin to describe what many must have felt having to start and end every discussion defending something they had no control over- that being the skin color they were born with. At any rate, I still don’t think this shirt issue is any big deal.

The West Wing Hates the French, Too

I am watching the West Wing, and in this episode, President Bartlett sent in the military into a fictional African country to stop genocide during a ‘civil war’ (think Rwanda during the 90’s). At any rate, the French denied the Americans use of their airspace, and the last scene had the President shouting into his cellphone to ‘tell those pansy hairdressers I am going to shove a loaf of bread up their ass.”

Earlier in the show, everyone agreed that they hated the President’s daughter’s boyfriend, who is French, and spends all his camera time berating Bartlett.

The French- uniting Republicans and Hollywood.