Wednesday, June 29, 2005

He's "Cruising" Alright

Even Tom Cruise's belief in aliens and his acts of kindness may not prevent a box office stumble.

Hail Mary?

Lord only knows how Vladimir Putin got his own Super Bowl ring.

Some Understanding

For what's it's worth, the President did actually meet with a widow of a soldier killed in Iraq before his speech on Tuesday.

Hopefully he'll do more of this with future speeches.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

TNH Recap

Well, it's over and all I can say is: "Andrew Bogut?" Good luck, Bucks!

Meanwhile, back on the, base: The President gives his post-major combat operations pep rally speech. It's also known as: Mission Accomplished: 2005. In it, he acknowledges that people have died, praises the remaining Iraqis who aren't shooting at our troops, begs TV viewers to enlist, and essentially blames Saddam Hussein's regime for 9/11.

I'm pleased to hear that he acknowledges that people do die in wars, and curious about his stance on military advice: he's only going to listen to the generals and leaders on the field. These same generals didn't know about the abuses at Abu Ghraib until after the fact, by the way.

The multiple references to 9/11 (at least five) were expected, but the attempt to link it to what's going on in Iraq was just plain pathetic. Why? Because Saddam was a dictator, not a terrorist. He ruled a country with a cruel iron fist; he did not orchestrate hijacking planes to fly into U.S. buildings. Like I've said before, it's like comparing Dr. Doom to Magneto.

There a few things to note about his speech. One: if things in Iraq were really going as planned, this wouldn't have been necessary. Two: it should have been a radio address because his body language (the smirking when talking about death and sacrifice) betrayed his message. Three: if he wasn't going to set a timetable, he should have just said he can't because that's a military decision, not the old "it empowers the bad guys" excuse.

Did I learn anything new? Only that the President believes that we can't leave until the Iraqis can stand firmly on their own two feet. So we're not taking off the training wheels until they learn to ride the bike without them, basically. Read that last sentence again.

I just hope this buys the President enough time to come up with something comprehensive and realistic.

Crash Course

For those who decide to watch the President's speech, please make sure you're up on what's been going on: check your local and national papers and media outlets, converse with your family and friends, and yes even use the internet.

If you want a more visual representation of what's been happening in Iraq -with regards to those who've given their lives - then check this out.

Tuesday Night Hustle

While some of you will be watching Batman Begins, Land of the Dead, or even the NBA Draft tonight, others will be tuning in to see President Bush's speech on how things are going in Iraq.

Well, I got the inside scoop!

It was easy really: I just checked out yesterday's Press Briefing. Odds are there won't be anything said that differs from what Scott McClellan mentioned. But if you are a fan of our President's bumble n' stumble oratory style, be my guest.

I'll be switching back and forth between the speech and the Draft, all the long playing my "drinking" game. I do this not to belittle the people who are bravely fighting for us overseas, but to undermine how the Administration keeps giving us the same message over and over again while trying to make us think it's new. The purpose of this speech is not to support the troops; it's to keep the public in favor of the President's decisions and policies.

With that said, feel free to play along; you can substitute you favorite edible vice (candy, chips) for a beverage. I'm debating between candy corn, chicken nuggets and Kool Aide.
Just let a "hit" = one swig OR one bite of your "vice".

So, for every:

"9/11" reference = one hit

"9/11" reference that links those attacks to going to Iraq = two hits

time the word "insurgents" is mentioned = one hit

time the word "terrorists" is mentioned = one hit

time the word "troops" OR "soldiers" is mentioned = one hit

"men and women" = two hits

"war on terror" = one hit

"Saddam Hussein" = one hit

"Osama bin Laden" = five hits

"Iraqi people" = one hit

"exit strategy" = two hits

"this is our exit strategy" = eight hits

"mistakes" without the word "no" in front of it = three hits

"free Iraq" = one hit

any mention of the dead or the wounded in either Iraq or Afghanistan = ten hits


Role of the Minority

For those who ask why the Democrats seem to complain or fight on every issue, instead of presenting "new ideas,” I offer you this quote:

"When you're the minority, you need to fight. When you're the governing majority, you need to produce."

This doesn't come from Harry Reid or Howard Dean. It comes from Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker.

The minority party fights because it has no other option. It does not have enough votes to pass anything relating to its agenda, it doesn't get to have a representative chairing the committees, and it has few opportunities to voice its side of an argument.

The majority produces because it has to. It can override a veto, its agenda becomes national news, and polls/opinions/commentaries are based on its actions (or inactions).

From this prospective, the actions we've seen in Congress make more sense. House Republicans had to attack Clinton during the Lewinsky Scandal because they were in the majority and their constituents demanded it. The product was impeachment. By the same token, it should be no surprise that Senate Democrats were threatening to filibuster the President's more controversial judicial nominees; they're in the minority and fighting was their only weapon of choice.

So please, no more talk about "being obstructionist" whenever a Democrat (the current minority) decided not to bend over and accept what the Republicans (the current majority) are doing. Their role is to fight, and we should hope that we'd act no differently if someone in power was attempting to do something we thought was wrong.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Biggie's Killer....Are we any closer to finding them?

The search for the killer of the late Christopher Wallace better known to fans (including and especially me) as the Notorious B.I.G. goes on. It gets no better that a key eyewitness and former FBI informant Kevin Hackie recanted his testimony, thus dealing a huge setback to Biggie's mother Voletta Wallace and his ex-wife Faith Evans. He also denied remarks that he made in a June 2004 declaration prepared by the plaintiffs' attorneys including the assertion that former police officer David who wore the same red suits as Suge Knight, apparently pledging his allegience to the the Piru Bloods street gang.

For eight years, the mystery of who gunned down Notorious B.I.G. — and why — has frustrated and fascinated the hip-hop world and fueled media interest. With FBI and police investigations failing to net even a suspect, numerous theories implicated corrupt cops, gang hits, bicoastal beefs — or all three at once. None have been provable, so far.

A party Biggie attended at the Petersen Automotive Museum after the "Soul Train" music awards March 8th, 1997 was shut down due to over crowding. Bigge and Puffy were in a convoy of SUVs that left the are. Biggie, Lil Cease, and others were in one Suburban, Puffy and his entourage in others were in another. As they came to a red light about a few hundred feet away, a dark-colored late model Chevy Impala pulled alongside the SUV Biggie was in and fired 7 shots into the passenger door of the truck. The dirve-by shooter sped away and Biggie was rushed to Cedars-Sinai hospital a mile away from the scene. At 1:15 A.M. March 9th 1997, Christopher Wallace, The Notorious B.I.G. was pronounced dead. He was 24 years old.

The lawsuit claims LAPD officials covered up Mack's involvement in the slaying and ignored a systemic problem of potentially dangerous moonlighting. The family claims a number of off-duty officers associated with gang members while providing security for Death Row Records, home of Wallace's West Coast rival, Tupac Shakur.

Shakur was slain on the Las Vegas Strip in 1996 — six months before Wallace was killed, and the two are forever linked in hip-hop culture.

In Wednesday's testimony, Hackie said that Death Row security chief Reginald Wright wanted to retaliate against B.I.G. following the slaying of the label's star, Shakur. Hackie was an FBI informant while serving as Shakur's bodyguard for three years.

Hackie testified that Wright told him after Shakur was killed, "We were going to get those (people) who downed 'Pac — Biggie and his crew."

Hackie also said he saw Mack at numerous Death Row events, sometimes speaking with the record label's leader, Marion "Suge" Knight. But under cross-examination Hackie acknowledged that he only saw the officer with Knight and associates at large parties or "social functions."
Both Mack and the alleged shooter, Amir Muhammad, have been dropped from the family's lawsuit and have never been named as criminal suspects.

When Hackie took the stand, he explained that he didn't want to be in court because "this is all going to be on the 6 o'clock news" and he feared "retribution by the Bloods, the Los Angeles Police Department and associates of Death Row Records."

Attorneys in the case have said several witnesses are refusing to appear because they feared retaliation.

Beam Me Up, Scotty...

Gotta love the Press Briefings:

Q Does the President agree with the Vice President that the Iraqi insurgents are in their last throes?

MR. McCLELLAN: He agrees with -- I think you should put his comments in context, because the President agrees that there is significant progress being made by the Iraqi people on the political front. And that's what the Vice President was talking about in his remarks. He was talking about the significant progress that's being made, and he was talking about how the terrorists, the ruthless enemy that we're working to defeat, along with the Iraqi security forces, has not been able to stop that progress.
Every step of the way, the Iraqi people are meeting their objectives. I just went through those objectives that they're meeting. The political process is moving forward. It's moving forward on schedule. And the Iraqi people have shown that they want to live freely. Democracy is taking hold.
There are real challenges that lie ahead, and the Vice President talked about that in the context of his remarks. The stakes are very high. That's why it's important we continue to support the Iraqi people as they move forward.
So I think you have to look at the context of his remarks, as I've talked about over recent days.

Q Do you think that the insurgency is growing weaker? Or is it getting stronger?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the commanders on the ground were just briefing on that, Terry. You should look to General Abizaid's comment, and he talked about that. Look at exactly what he said. There is a determined and ruthless enemy that we face in Iraq. They have made this a central front in the war on terrorism. The stakes are very high. That enemy recognizes how high those stakes are. We recognize how high the stakes are. And the Iraqi people recognize how high the stakes are. A free Iraq will be a powerful force for change in a dangerous region of the world, a region that has been a breeding ground for terrorists, a breeding ground for people who have hijacked airplanes and flown them into buildings and taken the lives of thousands of innocent people.
And that's why it's so important that we succeed in Iraq. And I think the American people recognize, no matter where you stood before, that it's important that we succeed for those very reasons.

Q So stronger, not weaker?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, the commanders are briefing right now, and they are the ones who are on the ground. They are in the best position to give you that. General Abizaid just spoke about it a short time ago and talked about the determined and ruthless enemy that we're facing. Foreign terrorists are coming to Iraq because they recognize how high the stakes are. Well, we do, too. That's why we're fighting them in Iraq and that's why we're going to defeat them in Iraq.

Q But he seems to have contradicted -- Abizaid seems to have contradicted what the Vice President said, on the face of it.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think you have to look at the context of the Vice President's comments.
Q I did, I looked.

MR. McCLELLAN: And you don't point them out. What did he talk about?

Q He said there are more foreign fighters coming into Iraq than there were six months ago.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we can selectively quote people or we can look at the context of the comments, and I think that's what is important to do. That's why I was stepping back and pointing out to you what the Vice President was talking about.

Q So he was talking about the political process moving forward, not -- let me ask you this. What is the Vice President basing his -- where is he getting his evidence? What is he basing his claim on, if the commanders on the ground are saying --

MR. McCLELLAN: It doesn't appear that you've looked at the context of his comments, and I would encourage you to do that. And I just addressed this question when you asked it.

Q I was there in this -- when he said, "in the throes of," --

MR. McCLELLAN: You were in the interview?

Q He did not mean political, he meant the whole situation in Iraq.

MR. McCLELLAN: You were in the interview? I think you should look --

Q You can't change his meaning. You guys are trying to step back now, and I don't blame you.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree with you.
Go ahead though, Jessica.

So let's get this on the record: According to the White House Press Secretary, Vice President Cheney was talking about Iraq's political progression, not their military progression, when he said "last throes." He was referring to the citizens of Iraq electing their future leaders and working on their constitution, not the fighting going on outside.

But I could have sworn I read:

"I think we may well have some kind of presence there over a period of time," Cheney said. "The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

He's a General now...

...But this guy might not have all his stars tomorrow.

(Current) Gen. John Abizaid says the insurgency is in the opposite of "last throes."

Well, paint me green and call me "Gumby."

The "Frasiers" Strike Back!


I couldn't have put it any better than Michael Moore's website:

"So George W. Bush wants to privatize Social Security because it is the only way to save Social Security from its long-term insolvency. He spends months wandering around the country trying to convince rooms full of carefully chosen already convinced people that his plan is a good one. No one buys his story. He says there is no lockbox and that there never was. He says that people should invest their Social Security money. The idea is an all-around failure but he keeps pushing it. GOP congressmen, facing mid-term elections next year, start to take heat from their constituents. The voters tell the congressmen to give up on this stupid idea. The congressmen, eventually, tell George to give up on this stupid idea. George won't give up (he's a hard worker) and so the congressmen cave. They come up with a compromise. The compromise allows for privatization of Social Security but does nothing to address Social Security's long-term insolvency. We're not sure what these GOP folks are thinking, but it is entertaining to watch."

Frasier vs The Terminator

Karl Rove believes that liberals (Democrats) wanted to talk to the terrorists behind 9-11, while conservatives (Republicans) wanted to defeat (read: kill) them.


Are the poll numbers for the President that low? When's that last time Rove had to give a speech or make a remark to get the media back in line?

Maybe it's comments like this that tick Rove off:

"Well, I think they ought to look at us as a country that understands freedom where it doesn't matter who you are or how you're raised or where you're from, that you can succeed. I don't think they'll look at us with envy. It really depends upon how our nation conducts itself in foreign policy. If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us. And it's -- our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power, and that's why we have to be humble. And yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom. So I don't think they ought to look at us in any way other than what we are. We're a freedom-loving nation and if we're an arrogant nation they'll view us that way, but if we're a humble nation they'll respect us."

Were these the words of a "liberal?" Nope. They came from George Bush, 2000 Presidential Candidate for the Republican Party.

Funny how things change when you're in charge in the public is mad at the way you're running the country.

Runaway Feedback

JBlaze did a piece on the Runaway Bride earlier. Just like to share Doc Love's take on the whole thing. Diagnosis: she's crazy and he's a fool.

Justice: A Long Time Coming

Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader, got convicted of manslaughter in the 1964 murders of 3 people in the deeply segregated state of Mississippi. Rita Schwerner, the wife of one of the slaying victims Michael Schwerner, gave an account of a day when she got threatening phone calls, one in a whispered voice that said "The Jew-boy is dead". Mr. Schwerner had been branded a conspirator in the downfall of white people by building a school for colored people. Mrs. Schwerner broke her silence of 41 years in hopes of convicting Killen. 41 years to the day after Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were kidnapped and killed under the cover of night, she got her wish. It's anyone's guess what Killen but if it were me I'd subject him to what he did to those 3 brave men back in 1964, or maybe gently shock his withered balls with a car battery 3 times a day. I'm evil right? lol. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

...Stage Right

It was deemed a relatively partisan agenda for awhile, but now it can no longer be denied: Congress wants an exit strategy.

Now I realize that there are arguments against doing this, so let's address the big one: Empowering the Bad Guys.

Before I start, let me go out on a limb and say I think your average person just wants an idea: here's how we are going to reduce our forces, here's how we're going to put the Iraqis back in charge of securing their own country, here's what needs to stay and what needs to come with us. Dates aren't crucial right now (although they could help). Just a sense that some thought has been put into this; that this isn't being planned like someone plans their commute to work.

That said: if there is a plan in place, how is that making the terrorists stronger? Everybody knows there will be an exit strategy; the President and the military have admitted that much. By staying in Iraq after saying mission accomplished, saying things like "bring 'em on," ignoring having problems like the one at Abu Ghraib, that's what's "empowering the bad guys."

Having an exit strategy isn't saying "We give up. You win." It's saying, "We've done our job; you've lost." It's confirming that we did what we came to do; whether that was evicting Saddam, free Iraq, or promote democracy in the Middle East.

Of course, if you didn't believe those are the reasons we went there in the first place (I remember something about WMDs being the primary issue) then an exit strategy exposes the doubts about going to war. Because if the reason we went there is truly unknown or unacknowledged, how can we determine if our endeavor has been successful? How can we have a competent exit strategy when our entry strategy was so questionable?

If a war is justifiable, then an exit strategy should be a formality, not a debate.

Poll Position

A follow-up to my findings about support for the President's plan to save/destroy/change Social Security: The Washington Times and CNN had their own takes. Trust whatever polling group and method you want.

Hot Potato

While President Bush gets a Republican in the Senate to help him strike back at Democrats on Social Security, the Democrats refocus on criticizing him for what happening (or not happening) in Iraq.

I've said before that the Bush Administration doesn't seem to be good at multi-tasking, and this news doesn't change that feeling. It's a bad idea to try fight a battle on Social Security -a battle he's struggled to gain ground in - when the issue of "who, what and where" in Iraq hasn't been sorted out.

Besides, up until recently, Iraq was an issue people supported the President in. I remember a time when Democrats didn't even want to mention the word "Iraq" beacuase Bush had such a command on the issue. Now he has to go around and remind people why we went there in the first place (and trust me the reasons have changed over time).

Point is, the President's strength is handling one issue at a time. With Republicans staring to break ranks, Democrats getting bolder and the media waking from their hibernation, the last thing Bush needs to do is try something he's not good at: juggle more than one major issue at a time.

Nevertheless, it'll be fun to watch him try.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A River in Egypt

Whether through the White House or his own accord, Scott McClellan doesn't want to see the truth.

From today's Press Briefing:

(The Topic: John Bolton's nomination to the U.N.)

"Q Scott, it's not just the Democratic leadership or members of the Democratic Party -- it's members of the President's own party, some of which are calling for him to withdraw the nomination. So is he going to heed those calls or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's not correct, Jennifer. It's a minority of Senate Democrats that are preventing this nomination from moving forward. It's very clear that he has --

Q Senator Voinovich is a Republican.

MR. McCLELLAN: It's very clear that he has majority support. You're talking about one individual who has expressed his opposition to his nomination. But it is a minority Senate Democratic leadership that is preventing this nomination from moving forward and that is preventing from [sic] John Bolton getting about, doing the important work of reform at the United Nations. "

The vote was 54 (yeas) to 38 (nays) with 8 not voting.

I suppose the 3 Republican Senators who did not vote (John Thune, Norm Coleman and Conrad Burns) don't count as being against Bolton. And Lincoln Chaffee's wavering must not count either.

But if you add those guys to Voinovich, you get 5 Republicans who have some issues with Bolton's nomination.

P.S.: If 36 of the 44 Democrats voted "nay," that isn't a "minority of Senate Democrats that are preventing this nomination from moving forward." That's a majority (81%).

The Terrorist and The Dictator

Porter Goss, Director of the CIA, had an interesting conversation with Time Magazine. The 1st question out of the gates was about the guy who planned the 911 attacks: Osama bin Laden.

The response raised questions itself (bold by me):

"WHEN WILL WE GET OSAMA BIN LADEN? That is a question that goes far deeper than you know. In the chain that you need to successfully wrap up the war on terror, we have some weak links. And I find that until we strengthen all the links, we're probably not going to be able to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice. We are making very good progress on it. But when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play. We have to find a way to work in a conventional world in unconventional ways that are acceptable to the international community."

So Saddam Hussain's problem wasn't he was an evil ruler; it was that he was a dictator. If he was a terrorist like bin Laden - with no permanent home and an amorphous army - he would have been able to go his merry way and continue to torture and maim and kill. Because as a terrorist, he can go to a friendly nation that the U.S. wants to keep good relations with and hide without having to worry about soldiers blowing him up.

Instead, he was a dictator (living in his own country) who liked to torture, maim and kill. And that made him an easy target. And because he was an easy target, we went after him instead of bin Laden. I like to think of it as going up against Dr. Doom instead of Magneto; both are evil men, but you know where Doom is and outside his own country not as much as threat.

Marvel anaolgies aside, as long as bin Laden hides out in countries we don't want to tick off, he and his posse can recruit members to be insurgents in places like Iraq.

Microsoft's "Freedom Wizard"

Microsoft helps the Chinese government from exposing it's citizens to "harmful" words like "freedom" and "democracy". As disturbing as this is, I just hope China isn't the beta group for the U.S.


Save the Sitcom

For those of you who love TV and don't want your favorite show to jump the shark, check out this list of 10 worst TV cliches. Lord knows I've witnessed my share of "a very special episode..."

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Importance of Being Joe Biden

Senator Joe Biden confirms what many of us already knew: he's seeking the Democratic presidental nomination.

Sen. Biden has been on various Sunday morning news shows over the past couple of weeks, and at his current pace, he'll be a household name way before people start thinking about the 2008 election. I expect his his future appearances to be increasingly more hostile towards the Bush Administration, and we might start hearing a semblance of a message.

But it says here Biden can play a bigger role for the Democratic Party, assuming he's willing to do so: decoy.

The Bush Administration, despite having a "businessman" at the helm, has been poor at multi-tasking. They pick one issue or problem, pay as much attention to it as they deem necessary, and then move on to the next one. That's why they say things like "move on" or "this has already been discussed." That's why anyone bringing up past actions/bills/initiatives are labeled as obstructionists. That's why anyone with long-term memory gets frustrated when a speech given in May completely contradicts one that was given in November.

Biden, if he feels up to it, can use this to his advantage. When Howard Dean was attacking the Bush Administration about going to war with Iraq, how many stories did you read about "No Child Left Behind" or the Tax Cuts? Where was the follow-up to the President's mission to Mars?

Instead of delegating a group to "deal with Dean" they focused at least 99% of their time and energy to sqwashing him and any other high-profile anti-war pundit.

And I think if Biden picks up the slack and starts attacking now, the same thing will happen. The focus will not be on getting armor for the troops, or approving judges or "saving" Social Security. It will be burying the guy who has the nerve to question the White House. And in the meantime, the "actual" candidates can get their game plan rolling.

But it's not going to happen. Biden actually wants to be President, not a sacrificial lamb.

Silence the Critics!

The Slate's take on San Antonio Spurs power forward Robert Horry (disclosure: Slate is not known for their sports writing).

And then, three days later, the results of Game 5 of the NBA Championship between the Spurs and the Detroit Pistons. Or there's always ESPN's point of view.

The moral: sometimes the best way to silence the critics is to just play your game.

Friday, June 17, 2005

A Few Good Answers

I have question: what is the purpose of the White House Press Secretary?

Are they suppose to answer the media's questions in the name of the President? Are they to clarify the President's views and positions on various issues? What about the views of other White House staff, like the Vice President or the Cabinet? Is it O.K. to explain things, to elaborate, or should you just say, "Well, So-and-So already made a remark on that. Refer to them?"

After a press briefing, aren't you supposed to come out feeling somewhat satisfied and/or informed?

In trying to discover if Vice President Dick Cheney was still backing his statement about how we're kicking butt in Iraq, the Editor&Publisher had a very interesting exchange with Press Secretary Scott McClellan, where McClellan gave his best Rasheed Wallace "both teams played hard" impression.

Also in the same briefing, McClellan dismissed questions about the Downing Street Memo as an attack by "an individual who voted against the war in the first place and is simply trying to rehash old debates that have already been addressed." This individual also goes by the name of John Conyers, Jr.

Going by these recent events, as well as the entire briefing, the Press Secretary is supposed to only answer the questions they want to. And, if someone asks something unfavorable to the President's agenda (no matter who the President is), the PS can dodge it or refer the reporter to some statement made long ago.

Can someone please let me know when they start answering the questions people ask?

Medicinal Forecasting

Having family and friends of varying physical ailments, I know how important a proper diagnosis is when determining and treating infirmities. If the illness is new, or has many symptoms, it becomes the medical equivalent of investing on Wall Street, with the notable exception that this is literally life-or-death.

So I have to say that I'm surprised when I heard that instead of any type of apology for making (or endorsing) unsubstantiated claims, there’s interest in a probe on Terri Schiavo to see how she suffered her horrific accident. Apparently John E. Bush ("Jeb" is his nickname), thinks there is foul play at work. Considering how the autopsy records have debunked any claim that Ms. Schiavo was in a typical coma, I supposed that jumping the gun to blame her husband for something else is easier than saying "My bad. I'm sorry that my posse tried to demonize you and use politicians with doctor's degrees to make the public think that Terri was basically taking a really long nap."

Also, as the Washington Post summarizes, and as Slate elaborates on: Ms. Schiavo's body showed no sign of abuse, she had become blind, and her brain was about half the size of a normal brain.

So like others, I'm not looking for a re-definition of what was an obvious inference (also known as lies). I'm waiting for an apology. Ms. Schiavo deserves that much.

Model for Democracy?

President Bush is not happy with Iran's voting process. The other day he said that it "ignores the basic requirements of democracy."

Democracy, according to Webster, is:

1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections

2 : a political unit that has a democratic government

3 capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the U.S.

4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority

5 : the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges

Obviously, President Bush seems to believe in Definition 1a fully, and is insisting that Iran is ignoring Definition 1b. One can argue that the President himself has some issues with Definitions 2 thru 5 (I think I can see why he wouldn't be too keen on Definition 3 so let's skip that for now). I say that because The White House (read: Bush through his staff) is blasting Democrats in Congress for being combative. Maybe his definition of "democracy" is different because in his attack on Democrats, (which he'll most likely continue as he tries to re-energize public support for various ideas/programs) he claims that they are getting in the way of his work.

But last I heard his party has a good foothold in all three branches:

President of the United States: George W. Bush, Republican

US Supreme Court:
7 Justices chosen by Repubilcan Presidents (from Nixon to George Bush Sr.)
2 Justices chosen by Democrat President (both by Bill Clinton)

109th Congress (2005-2007) Senate
Total Seats: 100
Majority Party: Republican (55 seats)
Minority Party: Democrat (44 seats)
Other Parties: Independent (1 seat)

109th Congress (2005-2007) House of Representatives
Total Seats: 435
Majority Party: Republican (232 seats)
Minority Party: Democrat (202 seats)
Other Parties: Independent (1 seat)

Most would look at these numbers and conclude that the Republicans have a majority and could get alot of what they want done (especially with public support). And in a democracy, majority rules more often than not, even with opposition. I'm sure the people of Iran know this.

So why complain how one nation isn't promoting democracy and then turn around and complain about your own is using it too much? Methinks the recent poll numbers do tell the tale.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Dean Rips Fox News

Admist all the Howard Dean bashing a comment he made over the weekend my have been lost. In response to Vice President Dick Cheney's "Stop being mean to the GOP" remarks, Dean said the medium he used to express this view, Fox News, is basically a front for the GOP agenda.

Make no mistake: the main story there was about the GOP's curious non-endorsement of the Voter's Rights Act, but this jab at Fox News will undoubtedly resurface. With everyone still hanging on Dean's words, it's only a matter of time before the mainstream media picks it up. Then people will begin to say"Well, is it true?"

If Newsweek can be presented as being biased, then why can't Fox?

If I Were A Rich Man

Check this out: we have a new generation of blue-collar people emerging. They're being dubbed "gold-collar." It includes people between 18-25 who have the tastes of Paris Hilton but the income of Kelly Bundy. And like that famous blonde (Kelly, not Paris) they typically live with their parents and don't pay for things like, say, rent or utilities.

Mom and Dad want them to have the opportunity to get the material items that they couldn't obtain in their youth. The credit card companies don't care, and with the new bankruptcy rules, why should they? Oh, and the income for a typical 9-to-5 (assuming the GCs work one) don't quite cover the excesses of the elite.

I had hoped that the creation of bank check cards would curb this type of behavior. It looks like I was mistaken.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Fair? Hardly. Double Standard? You Bet!

Now, as many of you who have seen my last post, a lot of times I write about relationships and things related to that. Now then, today's topic of discussion is whether women get unrealistic advantages when it comes to many things in life. All of you have heard by now about the runaway bride. In case you haven't, read my first post here. Women have the advantage in many, many ways including but not limited to: custody cases (if it's man Vs. woman, the chick has to be on crack not to get the kids), sexual harassment cases (who'd believe a guy if HE said he was harassed by a chick?), and physical advantages, meaning a woman can get paid as much as a man but for doing less physical work. But if you complain, she'll just respond "I can't do it cuz I'm a girl". But if you tell a woman she can't do it because she's a woman all hell breaks loose! They call you pretty much everything in the book, including being a chauvinist. How fair is that, huh? Sucks to be a guy sometimes, because while you can't tell a woman she can't do something because she's physically weaker than a man, women fully enjoy the benefits of these double standards. Now, my question to you is is this fair? What do you think?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

War Situation, Take 2

I was all ready to do a piece on DC Comics movies versus Marvel Comics movies when I heard that Vice President Cheney said "We have a long war ahead of us, and our enemies are waiting for us to let our guard down." So may response is "Whaaaa?" Didn't he say about a week ago that we were winning? Which is it: are they running for the hills, or do we have to prepare for the long haul? Did something drastic happen over the last 12 days?

BTW, don't let the new Batman movie fool you. Marvel is kicking DC's butt.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I Need A Hero

Remember the "Minutemen?" The guys who patrolled the Arizona border because (apparently) Homeland Security wasn't tough enough for them? Well, they may be gone (kinda) but they sure won't be forgotten. Especially when an guy who makes Leatherface look like a Care Bear manages to cross the Canadian-U.S. border...bloody weapons and all.

So two questions I have for you (ok, no more Yoda-speak). One: how long until the new Patriot Act includes 500 Minutemen at each border making McMinimun Wage; and two: how can you let a guy with bloody clothes and weapons pass through the border, considering what we've been doing to people who just "look like" terrorists? Or are the suspected bomb makers more important than the chainsaw-welding maniacs?

Where's Batman when you need him?

Natalee Holloway vs. Howard Dean

The media has been covering a story about someone who has gone missing; someone who is apparently more important now then they were a year ago. The media is also covering a story about a person who may have said the wrong thing and gotten in trouble because of it.

The problem I'm having is which of these stories is about Natalee Holloway and which is about Howard Dean.

Let me explain:

Mr. Dean, current Chairman of the Democratic Party, is accused more or less for not being who he is "supposed" to be: a quiet fundraiser who stays out of the public limelight. As head of the DNC, he isn't supposed to say or do anything that Joe Biden or John Edwards might have to defend while they're not-so-subtlety campaigning for President in '08. They have "tsk-tsked" him for joking that Republicans can afford to stand in line all day to vote and for saying that the face of the Republican Party is white Christians.

My thing is: didn't they know this was Howard Dean? Didn't the DNC realize what they were getting by making this guy their Chairman? Did they really expect him to "conform" like the Borg? It's like thinking Rasheed Wallace wasn't getting any more technical fouls because he's with the Detroit Pistons instead of the Portland Trailblazers. These "how dare he!" reactions are really silly.

[As for his two comments: I can't think of anybody who works for a living (Republican, Democrat or Independent) wanting to stand in line all day, even to vote. But people do it anyway. And considering that the President, House Majority Leader and Senate Majority Leader (who are all white) invoke religion (specifically Christianity) in their speeches and actions almost constantly, I can see why someone would make that statement. I don't see many prominent Asians, Blacks, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Latinos or Atheists in the Republican Party. Do you?]

Then there is Ms. Holloway. The poor young lady has disappeared over the past few days. I can't help but think about what she, her family, her friends and the good people at Aruba are going though. Not too long ago there was a similar missing-person-last seen-at-the-club-incident. The difference being this particular incident happened in the US and that there aren't any answers as to how he died.

It's been suggested that in Mr. Sharma's case, he may have said the wrong thing to the wrong person because of the area he was in. Now with all respects to Aruba -a nice place by the looks of it- what makes it less dangerous than D.C.? All of our politicians work here; how dangerous can it be? Why hasn't anyone suggested that Ms. Holloway may have said the wrong thing to the wrong person? I'd like to think that if a young white woman from Alabama and a young Maryland man of Thailand descent both went missing under similar circumstances, they'd both be treated the same way. I'd like to think the same questions would be asked about their behavior and the environment they were in. I'd like to think that the officials who represent the Metropolitan area of D.C., Maryland and Virginia would come out with a statement similar to that of Aruba's Prime Minister.

So there you have it. One of these people is missing; and one may be in trouble for saying the wrong thing. But who is who? In either case, let's hope both stories end on a positive note.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Too Successful?

I'm beginning to think that maybe we are too successful in our "ventures" in Iraq.

Just recently, Vice President Cheney claims that the insurgents in Iraq are in "the last throes," which is I guess is his way of saying that they're about to call it quits. He also alluded that the increased violence and level of attacks were a result of the insurgents losing this conflict. So, to translate: more American soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians are dying -and dying more violently- because the bad guys are close to defeat.

Which got me thinking, maybe that's why recruiting has been going down for the past few months. We're doing such a great job people don't feel the need to enlist! I mean, why bother if we're "winning," right? Those stories of recruiters lying to high school students about what they can expect, or making them think war is like a Tom Clancy video game, or telling potential recruits how to get fake diplomas and cheat drug tests and physicals have nothing to do with it. Oh, and neither does the fact that we've yet to find one weapon of mass destruction.

I'm glad the VP cleared things up. To paraphase the Great Biggie Smalls, it's a case of "mo' victories, mo' problems."