The Angry Cyclist

A fleeting grasp of civil, well reasoned discourse.
This blog will comment on topics of interest like politics, business, taxation, the War with Islam / Islamofascists, road cycling, football, and others.


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Tuesday, December 31, 2002
 
New Blog Feature

Not like it'll get noticed unless I point it out, but I copped some JavaScript code from Lynxx Pherret's site that gives you the option of opening up a link on the left-hand side of the page in a new browser window (by checking the check box) or not (leave it alone).

Thanks, Lynxx!


 
New Flash - Update

It looks like the water main break near Boston Common / Downtown Crossing was quickly contained.


 
Now That's Dedication!

Incoming Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healy will both work for nothing for the next four years to help with the state's fiscal deficit. A bit over $1 million in combined salary will be foregone by this gesture, some of which will go to aides who used to make a lot more in the private sector.

That's putting your money where your mouth is, isn't it?


 
What's In A Name?

A lot, if you're freakin' dumb enough to change your name to Jack Ass. Mr. Ass is suing Viacom Corp., producers of the series and movie Jackass for giving him a bad name.

Sorry, Jack, you've made an ass of yourself well before the movie came out.

The suit asks for damages of $10 million or more. Jack Ass is representing himself.
"Anyone who represents himself in court has a fool for a client."


 
Tag Team Idiots

First it's Joan Vennochi, now it's Tom Oilphant.

'Policy' of ironies on North Korea

By Thomas Oliphant, 12/31/2002

WASHINGTON:THE BUSH administration's ''policy'' toward North Korea poses unusual challenges to a would-be supporter.


Such as?

How, for example, does a country (even a superpower, even the superpower) go about isolating another country that is more isolated from us than from the rest of the world? Or how can an official foreign policy crisis (as North Korea was termed nearly three months ago) become an official foreign policy noncrisis (Colin Powell's latest description) without anything good happening?


First point - by ignoring said country, furthering the isolation? Second point - maybe this is more of the infamous 'rope-a-dope' strategy that's been used by the Bush administration?

Better yet, how can a country with no known nuclear weapons but an alleged ambition to possess them (Iraq) be more dangerous (and thus more appropriate for invasion and conquest) than a country that already has them?


Uh, because Iraq is known to possess biological and chemical weapons and has used them on the Kurds a few times? Because we've geared up to handle Iraq before North Korea admitted to their nuclear program, moved machine guns into the DMZ and made a series of provocative, belligerent statements?

The administration's lame attempts at answers to these questions, and the correct answers that the administration is not prepared to give, reveal a ''policy'' that cannot stand even cursory examination and thus will have to be changed.


Tom's lame attempts at analyzing the situation, and the fact that the administration has likely anticipated such an action by North Korea as war with Iraq is imminent, reveal a shocking ignorance that's barely worth an examination and thus will have to be fisked.

North Korea is a classic rogue nation, whose unacceptable behavior deserves the attention of the UN Security Council for its explicit violations of nonproliferation norms. In dealing with it, though, the United States should pay more attention to the views of its allies - especially the South Koreans.


Oh yes, let's listen to the South Koreans, who want to continue a failed policy of appeasement with North Korea. At what point does anyone reach the conclusion that negotiations with a regime that never abides by signed treaties are pointless? Freakin' brilliant idea, Tom.

The urge to isolate North Korea makes sense until the reality of its position in the world is analyzed. North Korea is a lot more isolated than, say, Belgium, but it still trades with other countries, notably China and increasingly South Korea. It hosts tourists, more than a half-million of them last year; it also exchanges nuclear weapons technology and data with other countries and sells a cheap ballistic missile, the Scud, to any nation with cash to pay. In other words, North Korea is isolated from the United States but increasingly connected to other parts of the world.


Increasingly connected to terrorist states. Is this Tom's idea of economic development?

The administration indulged its ideological urges instead of our country's best interests last summer when irrefutable intelligence became available that North Korea was trying to enrich uranium to obtain bomb-grade material. The truth is that the efforts by Pyongyang did not come close to constituting a crisis. In fact, in creating a crisis where none existed, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld threw away the one restraint on the country's nuclear weapons program that was working. Secretary of State Powell has now declared that there is no crisis, but in his judgment there never was one.


What 'restraint' would that be, Tom? The UN inspectors that just got tossed out of the country?

Over the weekend, the Iraq-fixated Bush White House really did contact journalists to try out the argument that Saddam Hussein is more dangerous than Kim Jong Il because Kim has never formally declared North Korea's status as a nuclear power, much less used the two weapons he is believed to possess. By contrast, it was noted that Iraq had already used chemical weapons on its own citizens and Iran's soldiers in the 1980s.


Which journalists would that be, Tom? We've known about North Korea's nuclear program for years, which looks like another problem President Blowjob Clinton left unresolved.

The second phase of the argument was that possessing the bomb gradually makes a country more predictable and stable than one that has never produced one. This point is not absurd, just not one the administration had previously been willing to make because it was unwilling to acknowledge how useful the 1994 deal proved to be.


Tom, we're talking about a known psychopath called Kim Jong Il. There's no predictability here. Are you forgetting that, technically speaking, we're still at war with these people?

This was the agreement that put North Korea's plutonium genie back in the bottle by putting under intrusive international inspection the reactor and its byproducts. In return, Pyongyang got aid in importing heavy fuel oil to generate electricity as well as assistance in building nuclear reactors that would not generate plutonium.


It's called bribery.

At the time, the country was warned not to try to build bombs by other means, namely uranium enrichment, and there was strong suspicion that it was seeking to. However, hard intelligence that a serious effort was underway was not developed until the last year or so, though the program was still in relative infancy.


So, to quote Otter in Animal House, "You fucked up. You trusted us."

By this time, Bush had already changed the hated Bill Clinton policy of appeasement and bribery that might have led to normalization of relations and created an umbrella under which relations with South Korea improved significantly. First, the demands made on the North were escalated, Next, the South Korean government's ''sunshine policy'' with the North was subverted. Pyongyang was then declared part of the ''axis of evil,'' and finally an attempt was made to influence the South to elect a more anti-North government.


Nothing has worked in fifty years to make North Korea less belligerent or threatening to its neighbors. It's high time something different is attempted at reducing or eliminating such a threat.

Facing all this, somebody in Pyongyang decided some more nuclear bombs and missiles for protection might be a good idea. We caught them at it and stopped the aid.


Protection, my ass. Would Tom care to explain, then, why the North Koreans violated yet another treaty by moving machine guns into the DMZ?

Now that Colin Powell has declared there is no crisis - basically because the United States has no military options short of a destructive war on the Korean Peninsula - he nonetheless raises still another intriguing policy challenge.


The 'crisis' is North Korea's, not ours, and is entirely of their making.

US policy opposes talking directly to the North now so as not to ''reward'' its outrageous behavior. On the other hand, Powell assures us that we are in fact communicating with the North through Asian intermediaries. Does this mean we are punishing Pyongyang or rewarding it?


Tom, put your thinking cap on for once - Good Cop, Bad Cop.

Thomas Oliphant's e-mail address is oliphant@globe.com.

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 12/31/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


UPDATE - The best way to describe this situation - Clinton's Legacy.

 
Pointless

That's the only way I can describe most of Joan Vennochi's columns.

At the brink of war and bills

By Joan Vennochi, 12/31/2002

HOLD THE credit cards and pass the ammunition.


Uh, oh. Joanie's got a gun...

As one year ebbs into another, war may loom, but gold still rules.

The United States is amassing forces, weapons, and vehicles for possible fighting in Iraq. Why Iraq? And why now? The Bush administration's argument for war with Saddam Hussein is ever more complicated and ever more diluted by the unfolding war of words over a very real nuclear threat in North Korea.


Uh, because Iraq has been in violation of various UN resolutions, because they keep shooting at coalition aircraft, because they support terrorism in general and send $25,000 cheques to Palestinian suicide bombers, because they've threatened Israel on numerous occasions...

Meanwhile, under the shedding Christmas tree, year-end holiday chatter focuses on West Virginia's $314.9 million lottery winner, not on Secretary of State Colin Powell's latest pronouncement about what the United States will or will not tolerate from North Korea.


It will soon be yesterday's news, Joan. Would you care to focus on the big picture?

Retailers are lamenting that average Americans didn't spend enough of the money they don't have on fashions and gadgets they don't need. Don't they get it? The fantasy is to wake up as rich as Powerball winner Andrew ''Jack'' Wittaker of Scott Depot, W. Va. Then we can shop until we drop, just as the retailers want. But reality is much grimmer. Right now, average Americans need job security more than digital cameras - and they are beginning to realize that, as holiday retail sales indicate.


Oh, yeah, that's realistic. Everyone's going to win a lottery. Maybe people shouldn't spend money on Powerball tickets because, you know, it's money they don't have?

Someone inside the Bush White House must realize it, too. That would explain why the Bush economic team was swiftly dumped and a new one put in charge of making sure the second Bush administration does not meet the fate of the first one.


Sounds like an excellent reason to push a massive tax cut, doesn't it?

Even at Camp David, a place of blissful escape, the parallels between the 1992 presidential election and the approaching presidential election cycle in 2004 must be getting scary: father and son, two popular presidents, seemingly secure in their quest for a second term, propped up by patriotic zeal and threatened by a stubbornly weak economy.


Maybe the son knows a little bit about history and doesn't plan on repeating it?

In the end, Bush adviser Karl Rove knows the most important question will not be, What about Saddam? It will be, What about me? What does the future hold for me and my family?


Yep. it's all about Karl. Is this another feeble attempt of Joan's to 'get inside someone's head' and deign to know their every thought?

At the start of this new year, the future is as unpredictable as ever and more worrisome than usual.


News Flash, Joan - the future has always been unpredictable and as worrisome as it's ever been.

Religious fanatics, political dictators, and oil combine to make a dangerously combustible brew. The most skillful diplomat cannot stop suicide bombers and the explosions they set off far from the bodies they blow to bits.


That's why we blow them to bits before they have a chance to do the same to us. That's why diplomacy doesn't always work, Joan.

At home, corporate America, already wounded by the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001, was further hurt in 2002 by high-level scandal, high-profile bankruptcy, and their ripple effect. The country's CEOs spent the past four quarters begging Wall Street to forgive short-term loss in favor of long-term performance. Now they must begin to make good on their argument by improving their numbers in 2003.


Wow! A paragraph that actually makes sense!

How do they do it? By cutting costs, which means cutting jobs. The result: Corporate books stand to improve at the expense of the average family budget. That is obviously not good news for the average family. Consumer spending, which propped up the dragging economy over the last year, cannot be sustained if family income declines. A cacophony of saber-rattling echoes in Washington; it may stir patriotism, but it will not pay January's bills.


Alas, Joan's lack of business knowledge and economics leads her to believe that economic activity is a zero sum game; hence the throwaway line "Corporate books stand to improve at the expense of the average family budget.". Cutting costs does not necessarily mean cutting jobs; capital expenditures and other expenses can also be reduced, both of which help to improve profit margins.

That is the political challenge for George W. Bush and the political opportunity for those Democrats seeking to oust him from the presidency.


It's too bad for the DemocRATS that their economic platform consists of Bush BashingTM and tax and spend policies.

But the country faces a bigger challenge than who ultimately wins the petty war of partisan politics. Peace and prosperity are always preferable to war and economic uncertainty; today, peace and prosperity appear threatened by forces difficult to comprehend and mostly impossible to control.


That's bullshit on two counts. The major identifiable belligerents in the world today are Iraq and North Korea, neither of which are 'difficult to comprehend'. Taking care of Hussein, which puts North Korea on major notice, controls one, and perhaps two, situations.

At war's brink, the one thing Americans can control is their spending. This may be bad for the economy, but it is good for the psyche. In uncertain times, it is comforting to cling to certain basic values.

In theory, family and community should win out over the lure of camera-equipped cellphones. But the pull for continuous acquisition runs deep In this land of excess and convenience. Today's resolution gives way to tomorrow's temptation and the insatiable desire to own the latest in cars, clothes, and other miscellaneous stuff.


What the hell is this supposed to mean? Is there a point here?

It is cliche, but it is true. It's the economy, W.


I've had all the cliches I can handle today, thanks, Joan.

Joan Vennochi's e-mail address is vennochi@globe.com.

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 12/31/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


 
News Flash

From Channel 7 - a huge water main in the Boston Common broke, flooding and shutting down the Red Line from South Station to Kendall Station.


 
Boston Housing Market Update

Conclusion: It's cooling quite a bit.


 
Enron Accounting

It has arrived in Quincy, MA.


 
John Lee Malvo Update

His defense team will receive his statements to the police. The prosecutors have until January 8 to comply with the judge's ruling


 
I Stand Corrected

Uh, about the Iraqis worst / funniest rhetoric? I have to give the award back, for the time being, to the North Koreans, who seem hell bent on a death wish:

North Korea accuses United States of plotting war as U.N. nuclear monitors leave country


Is this about Iraq? Are we giving Sammy too much attention at the Great Leader's expense?

By Paul Shin, Associated Press, 12/31/2002 10:10

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) North Korea accused the United States on Tuesday of planning an invasion and vowed to fight ''to the last man,'' hours after it expelled two U.N. monitors, leaving its feared nuclear program shrouded in secrecy.


Damn, they have the Iraqi invasion plans!

Fanning the flames Escalating the crisis, North Korea's ambassador to Moscow was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying that because of U.S. pressure Pyongyang could not make good on its commitments under an international treaty designed to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.

Ambassador Pak Ui Chun said Washington had threatened North Korea ''with a pre-emptive nuclear strike,'' the Interfax news agency reported.


Really? Is that what you'd call this?

''These conditions also make it impossible for us to abide by the treaty, whose main provision bans nuclear powers from using nuclear weapons against countries that do not have them.''


Since when have you guys abided by a treaty's provisions? Like, NEVER?

Meanwhile, both South Korea's president and president-elect urged doing nothing, again negotiations to end the standoff over their communist neighbor's nuclear ambitions, and warned that pressure from Washington for economic sanctions might not work.


If I was you guys, I'd be warming up the tanks, just in case...

The U.N. inspectors a Lebanese man and a Chinese woman arrived Tuesday in Beijing after leaving North Korea, which is preparing to reactivate its suspected nuclear weapons program in defiance of world opinion.


I saw a report (on NRO) that these inspectors had to sit around for a few days because there are two (count 'em, two) flights in and out of North Korea each week. Economically speaking, they seem ready to fall apart. This is where sanctions might actually work.

''We cannot comment on anything at this stage,'' the man said, mobbed by reporters at Beijing's Capital Airport.

An official with the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one inspector would remain in Beijing for a few days but the other would return to IAEA headquarters in Vienna on Wednesday.


What's the report going to contain?

North Korea ordered the expulsion of the monitors on Friday, depriving the U.N. atomic agency of its final means of monitoring a nuclear program Washington fears will be used to produce atomic weapons.


Because they want to make plutonium, that's why.

In Vienna, an IAEA spokeswoman said the expulsion of the two U.N. inspectors had blinded the ''eyes of the world.''

''We were the eyes of the world,'' said Melissa Fleming on Tuesday. ''Now we virtually have no possibility to monitor North Korea's nuclear activities nor to provide any assurances to the international community that they are not producing a nuclear weapon.''


Uh, I wouldn't worry that much. We have these things called spy satellites.

Fleming said the expulsions left the agency reliant on satellite imagery.

''It's a position this agency does not like to be in,'' she said. ''We need to be on the ground at the facilities directly, in order to be in a position to verify a given country's nuclear declaration.''


It would help if I bothered to read ahead, wouldn't it?

U.S. officials said they were considering using heavy economic pressure on the communist North, and North Korea blamed Washington for raising tensions.

''The U.S. is stepping up preparations for a war against (North Korea), persistently turning aside the latter's constructive proposal for concluding a nonaggression treaty,'' said the North's official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun.


This is shorthand for "We need food and fuel. Please provide them or we start processing that uranium."

''If the enemy invades even an inch of the inviolable territory of (North Korea), the people's army and people of will wipe out the aggressors to the last man,'' the report said.


Whatever you say.

South Korea's President-elect Roh Moo-hyun raised doubts about a possible U.S. strategy to contain North Korea. He worries that pressure could backfire and trigger armed conflicts on the world's last Cold War frontier. More than two million troops are massed on both sides of the Korean border.

''I am skeptical whether so-called `tailored containment' reportedly being considered by the United States is an effective means to control or impose a surrender on North Korea,'' Roh told reporters.


And the "Sunshine Policy" has worked well to defuse the situation, hasn't it?

Roh, who begins a five-year term in February, supports outgoing President Kim Dae-jung's ''sunshine'' policy of bribing engaging North Korea. They believe that dialogue is the only viable way to resolve the North's nuclear issue peacefully.

Roh requested that the United States consult South Korea, a close ally, before forming a new approach in its policy toward North Korea.


The North Koreans spit in their face constantly, and his response is to put on goggles. What a freakin' moron...

The outgoing president, Kim, stressed the importance of a strong alliance between South Korea and the United States in dealing with the nuclear issue, said his spokeswoman, Park Sun-sook.

''The United States is by far the most important ally for us,'' the spokesman quoted Kim as saying at a dinner meeting with Cabinet members Monday night. He also told the Cabinet members that economic pressure would not necessarily work against the reclusive North Korea.


That's why we have 35,000 troops over there.

South Korean officials are alarmed at signs that North Korea may withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, a move that would drastically escalate the nuclear crisis.

Fleming said the nuclear agency had heard of such concerns but that as of noon Tuesday, North Korea had not declared to the IAEA that it was abandoning the treaty.


They never adhered to it in the first place, so how do you abandon it?

In recent weeks, North Korea removed monitoring seals and cameras from its nuclear facilities at Yongbyon that were frozen under a deal with the United States in 1994.


There you go.

North Korea says that it is willing resolve concerns over its nuclear program if the United States signs a nonaggression treaty. Washington rules out any talks before the North changes course.

The Koreas were divided in 1945. The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice agreement, not in a peace treaty.


 
Tim Blair's 2002 Predictions

They can be found here. Always a worthwhile read.


 
Pretty Stupid In Pink

A group calling themselves Code Pink are, naturally, protesting the War on Terrorism by going on a hunger strike. I suppose that's fine, after they've fattened up over the holidays, maybe this is a new dieting technique.


 
Hide And Seek, Iraqi Style

Not that I needed much convincing, but the more I read about things like this, the more I'm convinced we'll reject any UN report that gives Iraq a clean bill of health with respect to all the hidden weaponry he's hiding.


 
More From The Great White North

A poll of Canadians indicate that they feel the United States is acting like a bully:

It makes clear Canadians are conflicted about how supportive and friendly they want to be with Americans, an ambivalence some analysts say Prime Minister Jean Chrétien reflects in his reserved approach to the Bush administration.


That must explain why his subordinates feel free to label President Bush a moron, eh?

Indeed, the survey lands as the Canadian government grapples with big issues: how to repair and enhance relations with the security-obsessed United States, the country's largest trading partner; and if and how to support Washington in a probable U.S.-led war on Iraq.


One man's security obsession is another man's self-preservation...


Monday, December 30, 2002
 
World's Worst / Funniest Rhetoric

Both awards go to Iraq, in the same article. Well, maybe until North Korea issues its' latest denunciation of U.S. imperialism and / or bourgeois running-dog capitalism. Does anyone even remotely buy this crap anymore, besides human shields? Maybe it's the sound of their voices they like to hear?

They're fuckin' goons who can't be shut up fast enough for my satisfaction.


 
Why Too Much TV Is Bad For You

I think this guy was watching the Godfather trilogy last week.


 
Elvis Sighting

Well, sort of...


 
Dumbest Senators

We have a winner! Her name is Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), she of the recent "Osama builds day-care centers" fame. She tops the list of mental defectives list, beating out Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rick Santorum (R-PA), the last of which really surprised me, having heard him in a few speeches.

The smartest Senator? It's newly elected Senate Majority leader Bill Frist. No wonder the bucketheads smeared him right away.


 
Great White Northern Idiots

A pair of publicity hounds activists thinks the Great Satan should be subject to the same rigors as Saddam Hussein's regime, and the Boston Globe doesn't miss a single opportunity to take weak potshots at the Bush administration:

Weapons 'inspectors'


Insert laugh track here...

Canadian activists plan to spotlight US research on germ, chemical warfare


I hear Michael Moore might be free to do the documentary.

By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff, 12/30/2002

Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist Jonathan King argued for years that the United States should welcome international inspectors to look at programs involving chemical and biological weapons here.


That's a crock of bullshit interesting, Farah. Did you bother to look at his home page? How about a list of published articles? How about his faculty bio? This looks more like a recent infatuation concern of the good doctor's.

But 25-year-old Christy Ferguson was not exactly who he had in mind.

Ferguson, a Toronto-based peacenik, plans to travel to this country in February with a group of Canadian activists to inspect laboratories the group says are developing weapons of mass destruction. Never mind that Ferguson studied philosophy, not physics. Never mind that she wouldn't know weaponized anthrax if it wafted under her nose. No one - not even Ferguson herself - thinks the group will be allowed inside labs that conduct US military research. Indeed, she's banking on that, since her group can't afford protective suits or fancy germ-detectors anyway.


So the relationship between King and Ferguson may not be, shall we say, purely professional...

''We might just be able to plant a sign saying, `This facility is suspected of containing weapons of mass destruction,''' said Ferguson, an organizer with the Center for Social Justice, the Canadian organization spearheading the ''Rooting-Out-Evil'' inspection initiative.


Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...

But, at a time when America is pushing to go to war over Iraq's alleged stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, the publicity-seeking Canadians have struck a chord with a group of US scientists who worry that the United States is secretly developing its own chemical and biological weapons program in defiance of international law. These scientists, some of whom are based in Boston, have quietly begun circulating the activists' e-mails to their colleagues for discussion.


It's the dreaded Fifth Column TM in action.

''There is justification to be concerned that we are getting back into the business of ... hostile exploitation of biotechnology,'' said Harvard biologist Matthew Meselson, who recently received an e-mail about Ferguson's group and was once a close adviser on biological warfare to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The United States officially shut down its biological weapons program in 1969 and led the world in the ban on germ warfare by helping to draft the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention of 1972. Congress ordered the destruction of US chemical weapons in 1986 and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997. The only research conducted now, the Bush administration says, is for defending against biological and chemical weapons, which is allowed by the treaties.


So, what's the problem, folks?

But, in recent months, American scientists have stepped up efforts to prove that the United States is conducting secret research that may violate the international agreements. Perhaps the most compelling and embarrassing evidence has come from the high-profile investigation into the weaponized anthrax found in last year's rash of terrorist letters, which led investigators to probe American researchers and conclude that the anthrax was probably made in a US facility.

''During the course of the anthrax investigation, it came out that the US has been weaponizing anthrax for years,'' said Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a member of the antiwar research and advocacy group, the Federation of American Scientists, who has conducted a detailed analysis of the terrorist letters. ''No one realized that and it has been done secretly. ... The view of this administration is that we can do it, but nobody else can do it. And therefore, we're going after Iraq.''


Did the Federation of American Scientists match those letters to anyone's handwriting? The FBI couldn't, although they supposedly found a scapegoat in Steven Hatfill. Fred Reed shoots that notion down. Did the Federation of American Scientists come up with anything more conclusive? What was that?

Scientists also point to the fact that just one month ago US officials shot down a last-ditch attempt to enact a new international agreement that would have sent inspectors to monitor biological weapons in all participating countries, including the United States.

The protocol, which more than 100 nations had been negotiating for seven years, would have added monitors and sanctions to the ban on biological weapons, which currently operates as a ''gentlemen's agreement.''


Oh, you mean all those international agreements people keep coming up with that no one ever abides by? Maybe we're not in the mood to play games anymore.

State Department officials said they rejected the proposed protocol because it would be too difficult for monitors to tell whether biological agents in labs were being researched for war or for defense. In testimony before Congress last year, officials also expressed concern that letting international weapons inspectors in US labs could provide rogue nations and terrorists with ''a road map'' of the kinds of defenses the United States has been able to create and the vulnerabilities that remain.


The concept is called spying.

A State Department spokeswoman said the issue is not the possession of biological weapons, but the willingness to use them.

''The US government does not kill its own people,'' she said. ''We have democratic values and open elections, unlike Iraq under Saddam Hussein, who uses gas and chemicals to kill their own people and their neighbors.''


In other words, greater accountability which doesn't always translate to giving away all our secrets.

Another point of disagreement between the State Department and many scientists is the definition of the term ''defensive.'' Government officials say to find cures or defenses for chemical and biological weapons, researchers must first manufacture the weapons, an act that some scientists believe violates the treaties.

Last year, The New York Times published an expose of three projects the government considers vital defensive research and advocates say raises alarm bells: a mock germ bomb, a dummy germ-factory, and plans at the Pentagon to genetically engineer a more potent version of the anthrax bacterium.


Perhaps alternatives, such as computer modeling, commonly used for nuclear weapons, only takes you so far. Any opinions, FAS?

''The question is not whether the US crossed the line'' on those projects, said Lynn Klotz, a Gloucester-based scientist currently unemployed involved with the Federation of American Scientists' working group on biological weapons. ''The more important issue is that we ought to be taking moral leadership in terms of the biological weapons. We shouldn't be anywhere near the line.''


We shouldn't try to develop possible vaccines? Do you have a death wish, Lynn?

In the cloistered hallways of the labs, the scientists have practiced their own brand of activism. King, the MIT biologist, once collected the signatures of 1,500 scientists on a pledge against the military use of biological research. Rosenberg and Klotz worked on a ''code of ethics'' for biodefense programs and started a grass-roots education program to warn biologists about the possible destructive uses of their work. Meselson was among a group of academics that drew up a new biological weapons treaty that would make violations a crime under international law, enforceable by any court in the world.


Glad to see these people so concerned about sovereign rights and the well being of the American people.

''This is a threat to the species,'' Meselson said. ''It rises above considerations of national security, important as they may be.''

But with all their efforts, the scientists acknowledge that they have never managed to raise much awareness among the public. That's why news of the Canadian activists has stirred intrigue and some support.


There's the rub - you can come up with idealistic notions, and then there's the task of selling it to the public. Good luck trying to convince Americans we shouldn't try to fight bioterrorism, or cripple those efforts to produce essentially the same result.

''Over the last year, the major force in the world weakening the biological weapons convention has been the United States,'' King said.


I think it had something to do with the World Trade Towers coming down...

Such sentiments have sparked news agencies from London to Japan to contact the activists behind www.rootingoutevil.org for interviews, and prompted the interest of at least one Canadian member of Parliament.


There's a surprise.

''You have to be prepared to actually go in, have a discussion, view what's taking place there, and be prepared to follow up,'' said Libby Davies, the Parliament member representing Vancouver East who once led a ''citizens' weapon inspection team'' to the doors of a Washington state nuclear submarine base.


You should be lucky your ass wasn't shot off, pulling a stunt like that.

But the group of activists who thought up Rooting Out Evil over breakfast one morning appear unaware of just how timely their protest is and unprepared for the avalanche of serious phone calls and requests for information. When Ferguson coined the term, she had no idea that she would be asked so many questions about chemicals, treaties, or germs.


"Christy, please pass the wheat germ!"

"That's not funny!"

David Langille, spokesman for Center for Social Justice and the main organizer of Rooting Out Evil, did not know that the anthrax in last year's letters is believed to be US-made, let alone the names or locations of the laboratories where it could have been manufactured. He had not heard that the United States rejected a bid just weeks ago that would have sent real inspectors to view facilities. ''I'm slightly embarrassed not to be on top of that,'' the 51-year-old activist admitted.


So, is this whole thing a sham, or are they just idiot publicity seekers?

Pouring over a map an American group gave him of US labs where work on biological and chemical weapons might be taking place, Langille said the activists are not even sure which sites they might seek to inspect.

''We're still collecting intelligence,'' he said. ''It has to be within driving distance.''


And a local Starbucks along the route...

This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 12/30/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

The level of popular support for such initiatives can, in part, be gauged here.



 
Useful Relationship Technology

When your relationship with that special someone enters the inevitable stalking phase, you can always rely on the latest in GPS technology to freak him or her out at the most inopportune moments.

Reader Larry DeVasto offers a better use: "Maybe they can use one of those GPS units to find Vin Baker's game and haul its ass to the stadium in time for the tipoff."

Excellent suggestion! Your mission, Larry, should you choose to accept it...


 
Uncle Sam Charles Wants You!

Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), who served in the Korean War, wants to reintroduce the draft, presumably to help fight in the war against terrorism.

"When you talk about a war, you're talking about ground troops, you're talking about enlisted people, and they don't come from the kids and members of Congress," he said.

"I think, if we went home and found out that there were families concerned about their kids going off to war, there would be more cautiousness and a more willingness to work with the international community than to say, 'Our way or the highway.' "

Gee, I wonder why Rangel was silent on this issue when President Clinton deployed troops 40 times during his administration, more then Reagan and Bush I combined? Does it have anything to do with the current occupant of the White House?

Nope, no partisan maneuver here...



Sunday, December 29, 2002
 
More On Democrats And Double Standards

Jeff Jacoby writes about the hypocrites DemocRATS who can get away with calling their opponents Nazis (note how many times 'Nazi' and 'brown shirt' are mentioned), but woe to the Republican who makes any criticism of the DemocRATS.

Jacoby mentions he does this column every year. He could do one every week, as I'll now strive to do as part of this blog.


 
NFL 2002, Week 17

Home team in CAPS:

Dal +6.5
HOU +8
Car +7
Gb +1
Az +11
Sea +3
Jax +8.5
CLE +3
CHI +7

Last week = 1-3
For the year = 39-32-3


Friday, December 27, 2002
 
The Boston Globe On Nation Building

Of course, it's always bad when attempted by a Republican president.

The folly of US nation-building in Iraq

By H.D.S. Greenway, 12/27/2002
Can someone out there possibly show me a more pretentious, pompous name for a journalist?

ONCE UPON A TIME the wind and the sun saw a traveler down below on a road, and they wagered on who could make the man more quickly remove his cloak. The wind blew and blew, but the traveler just drew his cloak tighter to him. Then the sun took its turn and beamed down upon the traveler ever more intensely, and pretty soon the traveler removed his cloak of his own free will.

It's not the wind that blows and blows, it's this column that blows. I hope this guy has a second / third gear.

There are suns and winds within the Bush administration right now arguing about what should be done with Iraq if war comes and victory achieved. And of all the post-Saddam scenarios being bandied about, the silliest and most dangerous is the concept that the United States take on the complete transformation of Iraqi society by a long-term American military occupation to foster democracy, much in the manner as we changed Japan after World War II under the visionary rule of General Douglas MacArthur.

What is silly and dangerous about it when it worked with Germany and Japan at the same time?

Iraq is the product of Ottoman and British map makers and lacks the homogeneity of most Arab countries with its competing ethnic and religious groupings. Kurds in the north long for independence, and the Shia Muslims in the South resent the control of the ruling Sunnis, to name only the most obvious schisms. Iraq's neighbors, especially Iran and Turkey, also have dogs in the Iraqi fight and their interests must be taken into account. As for the Iraqi exiles, they have shown themselves to be as divided as everyone feared. Democracy, as Americans know it, will not easily come soon to such a divided land.

Well, H.D.S. (May I call you H.D.S.?), isn't a point of a democracy making it secular? Turkey doesn't want their Kurds in southern Turkey to uprise, so let them opt for repatriation, as the Turks would be wise in insisting on in return for their cooperation with US (am I sounding like a Borg here?). I suppose Iran still has a bone or two to pick with Iraq, but what can they do other than make faces when 200,000+ US troops are in Iraq? Nothing.

The new imperial vision is all very admirable and well meaning, but the American occupation of Japan was centered on retaining its emperor, whose cult of personality rivaled that of Saddam. Retaining the supreme leader with god-like pretensions wouldn't work in Iraq. The homogeneity of the Japanese people was unique, with no parallel in the Middle East, nor were there Japanese-speaking, oil-rich neighbors in the region to bitterly resent, oppose, and sabotage MacArthur's triumphs. In short: Iraqis will never be Japanese in peace, and we better hope they won't be as tenacious as the Japanese were in war.

First, the Japanese Emperor, Hirohito, was not known for repressing his people using thug tactics like poison gas, kidnapping, torture and murder to keep his subjects in line. Second, aren't you forgetting our dominant military success in the First Gulf War? It was like Oklahoma vs. Alcorn State would be in football. They're at least 30% weaker now, by a few standards (troop force, tanks, munitions) and they have no Air Force (well, they won't after the first few hours of bombing).

But this grand imperial vision does not end with Iraq. Iraq would just be the base from which to spread democracy into the rest of the Arab world with its unelected kings, sultans, and emirs, as well as its dictatorships masquerading as republics. This view promises a new Wilsonian ideal.

It could also be Jacksonian (unconditional surrender) as well. Why don't we call it Bushian?

When members of the British delegation accompanying Prime Minister Blair to the United States cautioned that all this talk of imposing democracy on the region was worrying our Arab allies, Vice President Cheney snapped back: ''Are you saying we shouldn't promote democracy?'' And President Bush has put the view forward that ''if the values are good enough for our people, they ought to be good enough for others.''

You mean like Syria, who may be hiding some of Saddam's weapons? Or the Saudis, who seem to be financing a lot of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world? Or Iran, who's worried they're next?

There's nothing wrong with the desire for democracy in the Middle East, and there is no doubt that the fall of Saddam Hussein would have a beneficial effect on America's relations with Middle Eastern countries in the short run. But the long run is another matter. Democracy is best promoted by persuasion and not imposed, especially by American forces. The failure resulting in such an imperial overreach would be a major catastrophe. A long-term American occupation would be seen as an imperial grab to the secularists in the Muslim world, and a crusader assault against Islam to the fundamentalists. Relations with the Arab world and Iran, which we are going to need to fight Al Qaeda, would crumble, and the good that will come from deposing Saddam Hussein would be thrown away.

Any 'secular' Muslim who has bothered to read books instead of burning them may have drawn lessons from our relations with Germany and Japan after world War II. Which you haven't, given that you seemingly assume Bush is going to screw it up somehow. Democracy is best promoted by capitalism, which means people get to work instead of perfecting their aim with Kalashnikovs and screaming bloody Jihad all day. I'm sure Big Oil the present administration can help Iraq get on its feet very rapidly on the economic front.

Recently, New York's Council on Foreign Relations, together with Rice University's James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy, released an ''intellectual road map'' on Iraq's future that the administration would do well to read. Among the suggestions: After Saddam Hussein's defeat, the United States should move as quickly as possible from a US-led ''emergency transitional government with Iraqi advisers'' to an ''international and UN supervised Iraqi government,'' which would lead to a final ''sovereign Iraqi government'' later still. In other words, forget about being MacArthur and remolding Iraq in our image, and get out of the occupation business just as soon as possible. We are going to be perceived as oil hungry imperialists anyway, so make the transition as short as possible, and let the Iraqis ''maintain control of their own oil sector.''

Great suggestion. Get the UN involved. They sure handled that Oil for Food program without a hitch, didn't they?

Democracy can be a long-term goal to which America can provide example and encouragement, but not by long-term occupation and diktat. Twenty years ago I was able to witness first hand how Israeli tanks were at first welcomed into southern Lebanon with flowers by a population glad to be free of tyranny from the PLO. But I also saw the terrible tragedy that followed when Ariel Sharon's ambitions for transforming Lebanon overreached, and when the flowers were replaced by Kalashnikovs and rockets after Israelis stayed too long.

I looked at one rabid commie rag that hates Sharon, and from that I can only discern a two year occupation. We were more or less out of Japan by 1953, a span of eight years. H.D.S.'s comparison is bogus for this one reason - Japan surrendered unconditionally, the Palestinians did not. That's the difference between a new Marshall plan working or not working.

So let the sun bring democracy to the Middle East in its own good time. Betting on the wind is a good way to lose not only your money but the Middle East as well.
So what should we do, nothing and let the chips fall where they may?

"Dad? I believe those Kurdish crops need another VX pesticide dusting."

"OK, Uday"

OK, let's just call it Appease At Any CostTM. Another winning strategy from the Boston Globe editorial staff.

H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe.

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 12/27/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


 
My Deprived Childhood

I wish I had books by Barney to read when I was growing up...


 
I Don't Know...

You figure someone who claims they can clone humans ought to have a decent dentist:






I mean, come on now. What does she do, rinse her teeth with coffee?


 
The Brutal North Korean Winter

I'm sure this will somehow be blamed on the Bush administration's failure to appease deliver heating oil to the corrupt Stalinist regime as we've been doing for a number of years now.

Of course, our cutting off the oil has nothing to do with stunts like this and this, does it? Is the concept of cause and effect lost on these guys, or are they trying to deliberately piss us off?

And what does Saint Hillary propose in this situation? Dialogue. Great fuckin' call, Einstein - let's continue with proven, failed idiotarian diplomacy. That worked well for a certain Nobel Prize winner, didn't it?

 
The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

Uday Hussein, certified psycho son of Saddam Hussein, surprises us by this stunning revelation. He tortures people in his official capacity as president of the Iraqi National Olympic Committee.

Even if they're flogged with this information, there's still an unfortunately influential flock of idiots who have no problem with fascists like this father-son handchopping team running a country.


 
Time For Kerry To Worry?

Here comes Saint Hillary, ready to foam at the mouth respond to President Bush's weekly radio address.

If she wants to seriously win the Democratic nomination (as opposed to an Al Sharpton / Ralph Nader type run), I think she'd be better off waiting to run until 2008 instead of 2004, which I believe would mean certain defeat. Here's hoping for a sudden change of heart and a swift, merciful political death in 2004.


Thursday, December 26, 2002
 
Captain Hairdo Update

He wants to give you a cut, too:

Give America a payroll tax cut
What happens to the Social Security trust fund, Senator Keynes Kerry, or are you conceding that it's a huge off-budget scam this early in the campaign?

By John F. Kerry, 12/26/2002

IN THE LAST two years, nearly 2 million jobs have been lost, retirements have been postponed, and personal debt has increased. Long-term unemployment has doubled, the stock market has plunged more than 30 percent, we have seen the weakest level of economic growth and business investment in 50 years, and holiday retail sales are down 5.5 percent from last year.
Long-term unemployment has doubled? My god, we're becoming the next France!


The good news is that the Bush administration has finally acknowledged what Americans have known too well for too long: Our economy is hurting. But rather than change the policies that have led to us to slow growth, surging layoffs, a stagnant recovery, and a sliding stock market, President Bush has found a couple of new economic advisers - and swears that they will adhere to the same, tired economic policies of the previous regime.
Well, he did try to pass a bigger tax cut, no thanks to you. Feel free to look at the Senator's issues list on his site to gauge more precisely how near and dear taxes are to his other issues.

It's not enough to fire the economic team; we need to fire up the economy.
Do tell...

With private investment and jobs on the decline and joblessness at a new high, this sluggish economy demands real solutions - solutions that provide relief for middle-class families and businesses today and restore confidence for tomorrow. Instead, just in time for Christmas, comes this holiday present from the Bush administration. R. Glenn Hubbard, the chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, stated, ''The increasing reliance on taxing higher-income households and targeted social preferences at lower incomes stands in the way of moving to a simpler, flatter tax system.''
And the problem is?

What President Bush's main economic adviser said was pretty clear: The wealthiest Americans pay too much in taxes, and middle-class Americans get too much help in paying their mortgage, giving to charity, and helping send their kids to college.
Senator, we all pay too much in taxes when you have to work almost 1/3 of the year to do so. And look at what's coming down the pike.

In the meantime, ordinary Americans are struggling to make ends meet and build for their family's future. The fact is that nearly three-quarters of all taxpaying Americans pay more payroll tax than income tax.
Cool, let's cut payroll taxes!

Since only some Americans pay federal income taxes, those who work but only pay payroll taxes or state and local taxes are often left out at tax-cutting time. Even last year's tax rebate, which Democrats had to scrape and claw to pass, left out 31 million of the hardest-working Americans and gave only partial help to 17 million more because Republicans refused to make it fairer.
"Since only some Americans pay federal income taxes"? A more accurate statement is:
A lot of people aspire to join "the rich," and indeed longitudinal studies show that they do move up the income ladder. Anyway, the top half of taxpayers pay 96% of the income tax. Social Security reform, with recipients investing some of their tax money in stocks and bonds, has been tried successfully in Chile and also Great Britain.
Put another way, the bottom half of all taxpayers pay 4%, and any difference Senator Keynes Kerry might be able to honestly attribute to payroll taxes.

If we are serious about stimulating the economy and providing middle-class tax relief, we need a tax cut that would put money in the hands of Americans who are most likely to spend it quickly.


If you were serious about stimulating the economy, you'd also propose corporate tax cuts since "private investment and jobs on the decline and joblessness at a new high", so their cost of capital is decreased.

Unlike most so-called stimulus plans, a payroll tax holiday would help every working American
I'm confused, weren't you just arguing for "middle-class tax relief"?

That is why I have called for immediate action on a payroll tax holiday on the first $10,000 of wages. This proposal would give every worker a tax cut of up to $765 and every family with two income earners up to $1,530. Every working American would receive a tax break as soon as the IRS could mail the check. The plan would be paid for out of general revenues, so it wouldn't touch a dime slated for Medicare and Social Security.
Like I've discussed before, Bush's tax rebates were of the 'same difference' variety.

Middle-class Americans are working hard to pay for rising health care premiums, meet mortgage payments, and cover heating bills. They need government tax policy to be on their side, not on their backs. A waitress with two kids making $20,000 won't get any help from an extended Bush income tax cut because she doesn't pay any federal income tax. However, she pays more than $1,500 in payroll taxes every year, and she could sure use a break on that regressive tax.
Does this mean we'll be getting this tax break every year?

Her family - and middle-class families like hers - could use a boost and could help boost our economy. Does the Bush administration really believe that it is families like these that are getting the breaks from our current tax system? Judging by their own words, they really want our waitresses, teachers, and firefighters to shoulder more of the burden.
I find the waitress irresponsible for having two kids on a salary like that, but I suppose that's not the point here.

In the Christmas classic ''It's a Wonderful Life,'' Mr. Potter argues that ''the working class'' shouldn't receive any help from Bailey Building and Loan but instead wait and save before they could buy a home.

''Wait! Wait for what?'' asks George Bailey. ''Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're old and broken down?''

Americans need tax relief so they can pay for their mortgages, college tuition, and retirement. They need tax relief now to make ends meet in this sputtering economy. In turn, they will help the economy grow - they always have. As George Bailey also said, they ''do most of the working and dreaming and living and dying'' in this country - they're also the backbone of our economy. Let's help them. George Bush meet George Bailey.
Of course, I think this is a debate worth having. I'm sure President Bush would agree.

Senator John F. Kerry is a Massachusetts Democrat.
Redundant phrase if I've ever heard one...

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 12/26/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


 
Lance Armstrong Update

Lance beats Barry Bonds for the Associated Press 2002 Male Athlete of The Year.


Monday, December 23, 2002
 
Steven Seagal Update

Seagal's muscle connection agent Anthony Pellicano has pleaded innocent to a few federal charges involving explosives (no pun intended).

Hey, Tony, what's the C4 for?


 
"Shut The Fuck Up Already"

That seems to be the message Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is delivering to North Korea, in another pissy temper tantrum exercise in saber rattling.


Saturday, December 21, 2002
 
NFL 2002, Week 16

Home team in CAPS:

Det +11
JAX +3
Sd +3
Hou 6.5

Last week = 4-5
For the year = 38-29-3


Thursday, December 19, 2002
 
Making A List, Checking It Twice

Saddam Hussein's been naughty, not nice

Uncle Sam is coming to town.



 
Interesting Site

This is about our friends, the Saudis.


 
Advice To Bloggers

This helpful article on the do's and don'ts (mostly the don'ts) of blogging (link via InstaPundit).


 
Adult Temper Tantrum

North Korea, still cheesed at getting its shipment of Scud missiles intercepted on their way to Yemen, is now demanding compensation from the Great Satan. (link via Rantburg).

Here's my expected response.


 
John Lee Malvo Update

This punk can't stop bitching about anything. Last month he requested vegetarian meals, which was granted. Now he complains about being sick from these meals.

Mr. Malvo, let me suggest the following magic elixir.


 
Big Haircut

On the Phillip Morris lawsuit, where a single smoker was awarded $28 billion dollars. A judge cut the award down to a more manageable $28 million.

I think punitive awards ought to have some resemblance to the actual damages in such cases. Kudos to the judge for doing just that.


Wednesday, December 18, 2002
 
King Solomon Rules

This is the case of two guys who fought over Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball, which is expected to fetch at least $1 million. The judge in the case ordered the two litigants to sell the ball and split the proceeds.

I saw the tape a couple of times, and I think Popov (who actually caught the ball) basically got his head stomped on, where it eventually wound up in Hayashi's hands. I think Popov got screwed, since he was mugged in the process. The sad thing is the judge in the case had much the same sentiment, so why not give Popov more? I don't get it.


 
Political Vendetta Alert

This concerns Otto Reich, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs. He's been on the sidelines since Congress went into recess because his was a recess appointment. The Boston Globe editors can barely contain themselves.

Left unaddressed in the editorial is the instability this vacancy could contribute to problems in the region, and we have Senator Chris Dodd, in a raw act of political revenge, to thank for it.


 
Nice Sean Penn Call

Not a particularly tough call, but I'll take it.


 
This Guy's Got Some Nerve

That would be Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, who sued Microsoft (with a buttload of other state's AG's), won the basic argument (violations of the Sherman Act, a Federal law), got a few of the proposed remedies enacted and is now asking Microsoft to reimburse the state for the $2 million it cost to do all the gruntwork associated with bringing the case.

Fuck him. That's part of the territory, isn't it?

Methinks he could challenge Mitt Romney for governor in 2006 with this kind of record, regardless of this outcome.


 
If You Liked Senator Jim Jeffords

You'll love the next turncoat, Senator Lincoln Chafee, who is also calling on Sen. Lott to step down.

I see this as more of an announcement that he can be bought off by the DemocRATS if Lott resigns as a Senator as well, which would leave the Senate with a 50-50 split. Add the defection of Chafee, and you have the 107th congress all over again.

Liberal Northeast Republican Senators. How redundant.


 
Definitely No Bias Here

Right. Captain Hairdo Senator Kerry, who has called on Senator Trent Lott to step down as Senate Majority leader for his insensitive remarks, seems to have made a few impolitic comments himself.


 
No Bias Here

The Washington Post helpfully points out that Senator Nickles (R, naturally) belongs to an all-male golf club.

Of course, they missed this beauty on Bryant Gumbel's Real Sports show last night, where Martha 'Battleax' Burk wimps out on the chance to call Gumbel on his hypocrisy for belonging to the same freakin' country club.

Nope, no double standards here. Everybody move along...


 
More Anti-War Idiocy

From Human Rights Watch.

It reminds me of that line from Aliens when Sgt. Apone confiscates everyone's clips because they're in the area of a nuclear reactor (never mind how gunshots are going to cause a nuclear reaction).

"What are we supposed to use now, harsh language?"


 
Attack of the SUV's

More like the attacks against them, as reported by Jerry Taylor in today's National Review Online.

I was going to fisk a Boston Globe editorial that was extremely anti-SUV but was purportedly done as an opposing viewpoint on the Bush Administration's opposing next to impossible difficult to attain mileage standards. This article accomplishes much the same as a fisking. I will note that the tone of the article was more a rejection of the SUV on political grounds; as symbols of decadent bourgeois capitalism than as excessive contributors to global warming. If that were the case, we should all be riding bicycles and switch to being an agrarian society, turning the progress clock back a century.


Tuesday, December 17, 2002
 
More Useful Idiots

Besides Sean Penn, that is. (link via Damian Penny).


 
Quiz Time

At Ken's suggestion for a blog article, I took the Gore / Unabomber Challenge.

I kid you not; I got a 17.5% on this test, 2 out of 12 (questions 1 and 5). I read some of the Unabomber's crap, but I guess I forgot it. I didn't read Gore's "Earth In The Balance".

This is frightening...


 
The Mark Lenkei Challenge

He wants a comparison of Trent Lott with Drew Bledsoe.

OK. Both were promising, reliable players for a strong team. Due to circumstances completely within beyond his control, his team no longer wants him and is seeking to dethrone trade him, but might won't consider retirement as an option. He went on to fail miserably wildly surpass expectations about his play and how the team was going to perform, still mathematically in the majority playoff hunt as of this writing.


 
Get Your Left-Wing Paranoia

Right here. Tim Blair reports on a rare humor sighting on that otherwise self-pitying waste of server space.



 
North Korea Update

Steven Den Beste with the best North Korea update I've seen, well, ever.


 
Darwin Award Nominee

Another dead jackass.


 
Boston Globe Bootlick

It seems that the Boston Globe editorialists have a new idiot on the block.

A post-Gore foreign policy
To the degree that it ever existed...

By Suzanne Nossel, 12/17/2002

AL GORE'S CHOICE to drop out of the 2004 presidential race promises a new kind of Democratic primary season. Instead of a relentless focus on Gore's personal drama, the campaign will center on issues, including how to fill the foreign policy gap that was exposed by the party's poor showing in the midterm elections.
It's about time, isn't it?

Ironically, it was Gore who started to point toward the kind of hardheaded foreign policy that has been a Democratic staple. Rejecting both ''me-too'' Republicanism and peace party isolationism, Gore began to point to a third way, building on Democratic traditions of assertive yet responsible foreign policy. Now Democrats can have the best of both worlds: the chance to develop his nascent message without the baggage of its imperfect messenger.
When was the last time a Democratic candidate was able to credibly deliver the message of "assertive yet responsible foreign policy"? Longer than I've been alive.

To run credibly in 2004, Democrats will need a forceful foreign policy. This realization is flummoxing for party strategists who, for more than a decade, have run on the economy, Social Security, and Medicare. While those issues will matter, the absence of a strong foreign policy agenda, which wounded the Democrats in 2002, could prove fatal in 2004.
Corrections: did and will prove fatal...

Gore understood that only a no-holds-barred critique of key aspects of the administration's foreign policy, coupled with a muscular alternative vision, would earn the Democrats the credibility.
Which consisted mostly of disagreeing with President Bush and having absolutely nothing to say how the DemocRATS would do it differently, or better. Care to comment on this at all?

Moreover, Sept. 11, 2001, endures in ways that Democrats overlooked. Anthrax, the call-up of the reservists, shoe checks, color-coded alerts, and talk of a smallpox vaccine have created a distressing realization that that dangers abroad affect life at home. Another reason why foreign policy hasn't faded is that Bush won't let it. The administration has diverted attention from its economic doldrums by talking incessantly about Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, a tactic that will increase as the election nears.
Gee, Iraq seems to have some of the finest engineered weapons from our friends the Germans. Some Buffalo residents live near a guy with al Queda connections. Should we ignore this? I'll meet you halfway - which one do you do something about, and which one do you ignore?

Bush's strategy is good politics. When war looms, the public wants strident leadership. As a British politician put it on the eve of World War II: Caution ''in advancing an unpopular view, compromise and procrastination are the natural qualities - I might almost say, virtues - of a political leader in time of peace. They are fatal qualities in war. Vision, daring, swiftness and consistency of decision are the very essence of victory.''
We're at war, and this dope is writing it off as politics. Nothing like open, honest debate, is there?

The Democrats' problem is that they have honed peacetime political attributes to a T. The position that many congressional Democrats took on Iraq - support conditioned on congressional and multilateral checks and balances - was thoughtful, careful, and not kneejerk. To the country, however, it looked equivocal, confused, and weak-kneed.
Well, I could still argue against 'peacetime political attributes' too, but have you considered that 'multilateral' translates in some quarters to 'stupid'?

To vie against an administration that has won popularity on the warpath, Democrats must be seen as equally tough-minded as their opponents. First, Democrats must get over their own self-perception of weakness on security issues. They should take a page from Bush, who, during the 2000 campaign, did not worry about his party's weakness on health care, Social Security, and education. He simply asserted himself to be the party of education and Medicare, and despite the evidence many Americans believed him. The Democrats will need to suppress their self-doubt and muster the same confidence on foreign policy.
Uh, Suzanne? President Bush was the first Presidential candidate to run on a platform of partial Social Security privatization. To mangle a quote from Tip O'Neill, he grabbed the 'third rail' of American politics and lived to tell about it. We also rejected mushy HillaryCare health care reform already.

Gore understood that a country whose tone changed dramatically after 9/11 would require a candidate with a new tune. Before concluding that he was not the man for the job, Gore had parted ways with Democrats who dithered over whether bipartisan imperatives or the ''wimp factor'' were good reasons to support an Iraqi war they thought was premature. Avoiding the trap of seeming too dovish to support the war and too timid to oppose it, Gore attacked the administration for acting rashly in Iraq, stressing that its precipitousness would jeopardize the war on terrorism.
Care to read this, Suzanne?

Taking this further, Democratic hopefuls must fault Bush not for his aggressiveness but rather for misguided use of power. Building on the aggressive interventionist Democratic tradition of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy, Democrats must proffer a vision of American leadership by example that fits the national mood but is distinct from what Bush is offering.
There you go, folks. Military power is best exercised by Democratic presidents. What a completely revolting sentiment.

The Democrats can anchor their critque by pointing to the administration's disturbing tendency not to finish what it has started, even when it comes to the war on terrorism. They must also denounce its proclivity for antagonizing its allies by spurning ineffective international organizations, dismissing treaties, and taking other countries' cooperation for granted. These charges will resonate with a population that admires Bush's toughness, but wants to know that brute power is tempered by prudence and patience.
Some examples would be nice, or did that get edited out somehow?

To succeed, the Democrats will have to hammer home these themes, emphasizing that the methods by which the administration flexes American muscle are actually undercutting our strength.
It's Hammer Time!

While Gore has once again decided that it is time for him to go, the Democrats should make sure that the lessons learned through his bruising political battles stay behind.

Suzanne Nossel is a former deputy to the ambassador for UN Management and Reform at the US Mission to the UN.
Damn, this explains everything! Let me guess which 'multilateral' approach is her predisposition?

This story ran on page A31 of the Boston Globe on 12/17/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


 
Sean Penn, U.N. Weapon Inspector

He allows an Iraqi mouthpiece to quote him declare their country free of WMD.

Two things:

1) It should be painfully obvious by now that Sean Penn is getting used like a roll of toilet paper for Iraqi propaganda purposes.

He confirmed that Iraq is completely clear of weapons of mass destruction and the United Nations must adopt a positive stance towards Iraq.
2) I think he has no choice but to spin this assertion. If he doesn't, he's going to look very, very stupid when the truth comes out.


 
Navy Guy

Did you find anything interesting in your search today? Give me some dirt / ammo, if you have any...


 
Lott's Lump Of Coal

According to this link (via Drudge), he's gonzo by the weekend.

I wonder how Trent's feeling about his BET blowjob now?


Monday, December 16, 2002
 
Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What'cha Gonna Do?

Go to Iraq when they come for you...

Sean Penn Says War in Iraq Is Avoidable

Reuters
Sunday, December 15, 2002; 7:05 AM

By Alistair Lyon

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - If a U.S.-led war with Iraq smears blood on his hands as an American citizen, Sean Penn wants to know why -- and he has come to Baghdad to find out.
Uh, Sean? You're not doing any fighting, the 'blood on your hands' metaphor doesn't apply to you, OK?

"Absolutely I think war can be avoided, but obviously it's going to take enormous commitment on the part of the Iraqi government as well as the United States," the actor-director told Reuters television in an interview on Sunday.
Technically, we're still at war with Saddam Hussein, but why let facts get into the way of the argument?

"I will certainly do what I can to support that commitment to looking for other options," Penn said.

The former Hollywood bad boy and Oscar nominee paid for a $56,000 advertisement in the Washington Post in October accusing President Bush of stifling debate on Iraq.
Where he cried about his free speech rights getting squashed. And guess what? George Bush didn't throw your ass in the slammer!

He declined to renew his criticism of Bush on foreign soil, saying he would reserve political comments for his return home.
No political comments are being made here, fair readers.

Bush has threatened war to topple President Saddam Hussein if he fails to abandon his alleged doomsday arsenal.

Penn said it would "suit us all" if Iraq fully disclosed any banned weapons it still has, but questioned whether U.S. national security concerns about this justified war.
Well, we have 12,000 pages of bullshit to wade through, we ought to be done with it any year now...

Asked if his three-day trip to Baghdad might expose him to charges of lack of patriotism, Penn said he would be happy to debate anyone who made such accusations.
I'm off work the next few weeks, Sean. How's about UMass-Boston?

"I'm here for a simple reason, which is because I'm a patriot and an American who has benefited enormously from being an American, and because I had areas of personal concern and conscience that led me to come to Iraq.
For instance...?

"I believe, however I vote and whatever my perspective, that I do deserve the government I get," he said.
Bet he voted for Gore, heh heh heh!

"And if there's going to be blood on my hands, I'm determined that it's not going to be invisible. That blood is not just Iraqi blood, it's the blood of American soldiers."
Fighting for your freedom to speak, dickhead.

SMILING IN ADVERSITY

Penn's visit was organized by the Institute of Public Accuracy, a U.S. group of policy analysts.
...that tilts 'slightly' left

He has toured baby milk factories a Baghdad children's hospital, wandered the streets without an Iraqi minder and had meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz and Health Minister Umeed Madhat Mubarak -- who gave him a hard time for his smoking habit.

Penn said he had been touched by the warmth of ordinary Iraqis despite the tension and suffering of their daily lives.

"I do find it very moving, you know, the strength of a smile in those circumstances, and the smiles that I saw were abundant," he said.
"Please take us home with you, Mr. Penn!"

Penn's advertisement in the Washington Post took the form of an open letter in which he urged Bush to stop a cycle where "bombing is answered by bombing, mutilation by mutilation, killing by killing."
That's what war is all about, Sean.

"Sacrificing American soldiers or innocent civilians in an unprecedented pre-emptive attack on a separate sovereign nation may well prove itself a most temporary medicine," he said.
Not when Saddam is hanging from a lamppost and we do the modern-day equivalent of the Marshall Plan. Doesn't this guy read?

More than 100 other American celebrities, including Hollywood stars Kim Basinger, David Duchovny and Mia Farrow, signed an open letter last week which said rigorous United Nations inspections were the best way to disarm Iraq, not war.
Kim, you're really hot and all that, but SHUT THE FUCK UP!! We've been doing inspections for years, then Saddam booted everyone out in 1998. The critical mind would conclude, "What's he hiding?"

"HEIGHTENED DESPERATION"

Asked to explain his interest in Iraq, Penn said it was the "current headline" for the Bush administration's war on terror.

"It's a war that is going to affect the generation of my children," he said.
Would you prefer mustard gas over nerve gas, Sean?

"Because of the technology and the heightened desperation of the world today, I think it's very possible that we are facing the first century that will complete itself without mankind -- and that's not the future that I want for my children, or for their children," he declared.
You weren't this over the top when you acted...

Penn said his Iraq odyssey, by helping him to be aware of the times he lived in, could play into his professional life.
I can lengthen my career somehow from this...

"Whatever story you have to tell, you have to be aware of who you are telling it to and what the benefit of it is, whether it's limited to amusement or a political statement, because short of that it's simply what someone does alone in a bathroom," the 42-year-old Californian said.
That was coherent. Are we going to talk about your next bowel movement or something?

Did he hope to bridge the gap between American perceptions of Iraq and the reality?

"I have to start with bridging my own gap," he replied.

"Ultimately if I can do that in the way you expressed, that would be something I'd be very proud of."
Ultimately, if you could express yourself a bit more coherently, I'd be amazed proud of you, too...


 
A Ringing Endorsement for Captain Hairdo

From none other than the 'liberal lion' of Massachusetts politics, Senator Ted Kennedy:

Ted K gives support to Kerry in 2004 race for White House
What, no driving tips?

by Andrew Miga
Monday, December 16, 2002

WASHINGTON - Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a strong backer of Al Gore's presidential bid two years ago, is praising Sen. John F. Kerry as the early Democratic favorite in the 2004 race for the White House.
Naturally...

``He's certainly right up at the top,'' Kennedy (D-Mass.) told the Herald. ``He's clearly broken out of the pack. . . . John has moved out of the (starting) blocks and is making the strongest case.''
Official candidates include Kerry and Vermont Governor Howard Dean. A real tough call there, Ted.

Kennedy, who is friendly with nearly all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, has been largely silent about his Bay State colleague's White House ambitions.

But in the wake of Kerry's announcement earlier this month that he is forming an exploratory committee to run for president, Kennedy was willing to speak out.
Ted must have just got out of detox or something...

``He's doing exceedingly well,'' said Kennedy, citing Kerry's strong showing in early polls conducted in key primary states and the country.
In a two horse race, the losing horse can always say he came in second.

Gore, who yesterday said he would not run in 2004, had enjoyed wider name recognition but Kerry had been running close in a spate of recent polls.
Well, being a sitting Senator does lend itself to name recognition, although this could also be the result of name mangling, as in being confused with former Senator Bob Kerrey.

The senior senator, viewed as perhaps the most powerful liberal voice on Capitol Hill, said while he will not make any formal endorsement among Democratic presidential hopefuls until next year, he is fully behind Kerry's White House bid.
Hedging your bet already, Ted?

``I'm very supportive of his efforts,'' said Kennedy. ``He'd make a great nominee. . . . He's been an important voice for the American people.''
If you love tax and spend, indecisive, poll-tested politicians, you'll freakin' LOVE this guy.

Kennedy, who made an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 1980, has already served as an informal adviser to Kerry as he prepares to launch his national campaign.
"Er, ah, don't drink and drive, and you'll be fine!"

``I'm talking to him frequently,'' said Kennedy, adding that the pair chatted about presidential politics last week as Kerry was celebrating his 59th birthday. ``We talked about the challenges of national leadership.''
"George Bush is a freakin' MORON!! How the fuck did Gore lose to a Yale man?"

There was speculation earlier this year about whether Kennedy, who has forged a strong friendship with prospective 2004 Democratic presidential contender Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), would support Kerry's presidential bid.
I have trouble understanding how a freshman Senator, and a trial lawyer to boot, will do except sink like a rock.

But Kennedy clearly seemed eager to dispel those notions.

``I wish (Kerry) the best,'' said Kennedy. ``I hope he concludes he will run.''
"Because I want a nice, cushy position as Education Secretary when I finally retire from the Senate."

Kerry is expected to make a full-blown formal declaration of candidacy sometime this spring.
No, this is full blown.

Kerry's background as a Vietnam War combat hero, coupled with his 18 years serving on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gives him solid credentials to challenge President Bush's policies fighting terrorism and countering Iraq, backers said. ``At a time when the country is concerned about national security, he brings a unique perspective. He is an authentic war hero. He's talked about national security with great sensitivity and power,'' Kennedy said.
Sooner or later, he'll have to talk about other things besides his Vietnam days, and that's when the wheels will begin to fall off.

Kerry, meanwhile, has been busy in recent days traveling across the country, raising money for his fledgling candidacy in key states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
For Christ sakes, your wife's net worth is around $600 million. Just grab her checkbook!

Kennedy said he plans to sit down with Kerry sometime before the junior senator makes a final decison (sic) on running next year.

``Ultimately, running for president is a difficult personal decision,'' Kennedy said.
Ted knows of what he speaks:

Consider Ted Kennedy. His questionable conduct around the tragic drowning death of Mary Jo Kopeche at the Chappaquiddick bridge in 1969 damaged but did not destroy his chances for the presidency. Rather, as a 1980 presidential front-runner, Kennedy was unable, in a much-watched TV interview with Roger Mudd, to answer a simple question: "Why do you want to be president, Mr. Kennedy." After his feeble, stammering response, the public tuned him out.