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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Thursday, July 31, 2003
 
Bad Music

The Viking Pundit compiles his top ten worst songs over the past twenty-five years. I'm not sure why, but I kind of liked his fourth selection.

He links to the Outside the Beltway contest / symposium on the same subject, so let's have a look, or a few good laughs.

Believe it or not, this subject requires more thought than fisking a Boston Globe columnist; otherwise I'd post my own Bottom Ten.

Top ten metal songs, sorta-same time frame (hey, gotta work the classics in there somehow). Now that's a bit more interesting...

1) Man in The Box, Alice in Chains
2) Highway to Hell, AC/DC
3) Outshined, Soundgarden
4) One, Metallica
5) Living After Midnight, Judas Priest
6) Tom Sawyer, Rush
7) War Pigs, Black Sabbath
8) Voodoo Child, Jimi Hendrix
9) Prison Sex, TOOL
10) Runnin' with the Devil, Van Halen

Honorable Mention - Cat Scratch Fever, Ted Nugent

There's more of that here, if you're into it.


 
Site Of The Day

Kevin Schmidt has set up a blog called The Nine Dwarves. Given Kevin's dimensions (6'5"), this is an accurate assessment. He's a resident of Iowa and has been getting his picture taken with all the Democratic presidential candidates whenever they swing by, including Howard Dean, John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Lieberman and Al Sharpton. At the time of the photos, no one knew that Kevin's actually goofing on these guys, not being aware of his blog.

Until now. Here's his effort to bag the elusive John Kerry photo:

When I arrive at John Kerry's campaign headquarters Saturday afternoon for a "Kerry Country BBQ," the candidate's staff is buzzing about a tall young blond man who has arrived for the event. They want to prevent him from getting anywhere close to the candidate. . . .

What's all the fuss about the blond guy? I ask Kerry's Iowa press secretary, Laura Capps. "He takes pictures of himself with the candidates and posts nasty comments about them," she says. I'm not sure, but this may be a historic moment for the Iowa caucuses: The Kerry campaign is terrified of how their candidate will be portrayed by a blogger.


Lord knows I've tried, man...


 
Happy Trails

Derrick Jackson capitalizes on Lance's fifth Tour victory to paint a lack of funding for bike paths as the fault of Republicans in the House of Representatives. Creative, if nothing else...

Bike trails' roadblock

By Derrick Z. Jackson, 7/30/2003

WHEN HE WAS merely the three-time winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong came to the White House. President Bush said, ''Lance Armstrong is a vivid reminder that the great achievements of life are often won or lost in the mountains, when the climb is steepest, when the heart is tested.''

After his fourth straight victory, Armstrong returned to the White House when Bush announced new funds for cancer research. Armstrong is a celebrated cancer survivor. Bush said: ''Regular exercise is another way to prevent illness and add years to your life.... Exercise is a really important part of my life. And I urge all Americans to make it an important part of your life, as well.''

Armstrong has now won the Tour de France for the fifth time. Tyler Hamilton of Marblehead finished in fourth place despite a broken collarbone. ''When you worked that hard, you don't give up too easy,'' Hamilton said.

Even as we praise the heart of Armstrong and the grit of Hamilton, even as Bush tells us to exercise, Bush's allies are making it harder for average Americans to get out their own cycles, strollers, rollerblades, and jogging shoes. Last Thursday, as Armstrong knocked off 112 miles to get to Bordeaux, a House subcommittee knocked out funding for bike paths and pedestrian trails.


Seems that problems with bike paths predate this administration. Try again, Derrick.

The Transportation and Treasury subcommittee, chaired by Republican Ernest Istook of Oklahoma, voted practically to kill a decade-old program that required states to set aside 10 percent of US transportation funds for ''enhancement'' projects such as exercise paths and historic preservation. The program has given out $5 billion, $77 million to Massachusetts.


I remember when the initiative back in the late 1980's was for allotting one to two percent of said budget to make existing roads more bike accessible, and it failed then, too.

Those funds have helped states convert abandoned, unsightly railbeds into scenic paths. In Washington, D.C., and Boston, bike trails are a new source of commuting. On warm weekend days, the paths are a strip park of parents and grandparents pushing infants, small children trying out training wheels, teens rollerblading, and adults running, cycling, and conversing while walking.


OK, Derrick. Let's throw commuters and kids on training wheels on the same bike path. Watch the lawsuits fly. I'm willing to bet that Derrick doesn't regularly run or ride down the Lexington Trail, where I ran only once (about four miles) and saw at least eight potential accidents between pedestrians and cyclists.

In an obesity epidemic,


Speak for yourself, rotund one...

it would seem obvious that bike trails are an important way to inspire Americans to get up from the couch or get out of the car. Trails offer a safe way for small children and seniors to enjoy cycling in metropolitan areas like Boston where drivers show no mercy even if the cyclist resembles Mother Teresa.


If the cyclist resembles someone like me, on the other hand, no one fucks with them.

The national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy says there are about 1,200 trails totaling 12,500 miles. There are plans that would give the nation close to 30,000 miles of trails. Those plans are in jeopardy because of Istook.


While I support these types of initiatives, I also realize that these measures also need popular support, which I have never seen, even with Lance Armstrong's popularity.

Also, isn't Istook in a previous paragraph reputed to have 'practically' killed it off, as opposed to being 'in jeopardy'? There's a difference...

Istook is such a huge supporter of highways that a quarter of his 2001-02 political contributions came from transportation and petroleum interests. He also gets contributions from interests that benefit from massive concentrations of cars, such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot. In the current $90 billion spending plan, Istook would boost highway spending to $33.8 billion, $4.5 billion more than even President Bush wants.


Maybe Wal-Mart and Home Depot can (and do) build large parking lots to accommodate those massive concentration of cars? Does Derrick's comment make sense to anyone, or is he just in corpo-bashing mode?

Conversely, he is such a critic of Amtrak that he tried to slash funding over the last few months to $580 million, only a third of what Amtrak says it needs to keep up its infrastructure and two-thirds of what even Bush was willing to provide.


Uh, maybe that's because Amtrak loses lots of money?

Istook originally wanted to kill outright the 10 percent rule for enhancements. After an outcry by rails-to-trails proponents, Istook said he would leave the 10 percent up to the states. John Olver of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on Istook's subcommittee, proposed an amendment to preserve the 10 percent. The amendment narrowly lost before the full Appropriations Committee.

Olver said he will try again to save the program in September. Micah Swafford, Istook's press secretary, said Monday on the telephone that the cut was necessary during the national budget crunch and at a time when roads and bridges badly need repairing. Nicole Letourneau, Olver's press secretary, dismissed that rationale, saying that Istook ''wants to pave the world with concrete.''


Next time you travel on an interstate, the system which was built between 1950 and 1965 with federal money, take a close look at those overpasses and tell me if Swafford's wrong.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently noted that obesity costs the United States $117 billion a year. He said, ''The best way to be healthy is to exercise and to watch what you eat and to lose some weight and stop smoking.'' But at a time when states are raiding tobacco settlements for basic services, giving states the option to spend on bike trails and other transportation enhancements effectively ends the program.


This is why governments should be on extremely short leashes when it comes to collecting taxes. The tobacco settlement money was supposed to go largely to antismoking initiatives, and it hasn't. Surprised?

Lance Armstrong cheated death and now has five Tour de France victories. For many Americans a bike path offers a way to cheat death every day. Perhaps the advocates of rail trails should get Armstrong to appear on their behalf. Armstrong once gave Bush a bike and said, ''We expect him to ride it.'' An Armstrong who expects Congress to get behind cycling paths for average Americans just might force Istook to come along for the ride.


Three to six feet of decent road shoulder is all a cyclist needs, novice or expert. Federal handouts won't fix this, and the roads in Massachusetts (for cyclists and otherwise) will suck just as much when I'm sixty as they do now regardless of that money.

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

This story ran on page A15 of the Boston Globe on 7/30/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Tuesday, July 29, 2003
 
Tour de France - Requiem

Lance Armstrong wins his fifth Tour in a row, equaling Miguel Indurain's record, Tyler Hamilton comes in fourth overall (with a fractured collarbone, no less) and the biggest surprise (to me, anyway) is Jan Ullrich coming in second once again, even though he rode competitively for all of a month or so.

Rob Hartsock sends me this beautiful piece of French whining:

I was reading the Merde In France site, and I read that Didier Rous was calling out Tyler Hamilton for faking the broken collarbone. Can you believe this? Didier "ain't-ever-won-shit-in-the-tour" Rous. Can you believe this? Didier "1998-Festina-Tour-Member-Kicked-out-and-given-a-year-suspension" Rous. The same guy from Bonjour/Brioches... A team that is flat out awful, and is only in the tour because of frenchie affirmative action/quotas? The same team that has won exactly nothing outside of a few national championships, and at this point the French Nat's look more like a Thursday night crit. (This is not a compliment - Ed.) The same Bonjour/Brioches squad that flogs away on the early break almost every day, only to be swept up when the screws are turning.

Didi Rous, drug user, needs to shut his f#(%ing pie hole and let his legs do the talking. Damn Frog.

Rob.


Wouldn't put it past them, Rob. By the way, the only thing I could find on Merde's site is this link that instead has other Frenchmen accusing Lance & Co. of doping.

Same shit, different year...


 
Hey, You Guys Playing Cards?

Tom Oliphant is. Stacking the deck nicely.

The Republican House of cards

By Thomas Oliphant, 7/29/2003

WASHINGTON - STRANGE and entertaining doings these days in Tom DeLay's House of Representatives.


Never mind that Dennis Hastert is the Speaker of the House. Let's instead dump on the leading conservative firebrand who gave this tour de force speech last week. No wonder he's Oliphant's bogeyman. Them's the breaks when your nickname is "The Hammer".

Discipline-fixated majorities based on both ideology and occasionally blind loyalty to a sitting president depend on a certain aura to function. Take a chink or two out of that armor of aura and the discipline can break down, which is precisely what has been happening lately.


He could be describing Clinton's 1992 - 1994 tenure here. Not likely, but he could...

One chink has been a confused performance by the House Republican leadership in recent weeks. Another has been the return to earth in political standing by President Bush in the unsettled aftermath of the war in Iraq and the drift of the US economy.


Yes, the old shrinking President routine. That's original.

For image purposes, the popular metaphor was last week's sobs on the floor by Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas of California as he sort of apologized for the inanely imperious act of calling the cops to evict committee Democrats from a room they were meeting in during the early hours of July 18.


I guess we won't talk about Peter Stark's intemperate threats and gay baiting.

It was half-decent theater of the absurd but not as revealing as what has been going on substantively in committee and on the floor. Consider:

A heavy-handed move by the Federal Communications Commission to expand the local reach of Big Media was largely overturned as part of a spending bill that passed with 400 votes, despite the veto-threatening opposition of President Bush. A similar provision has been approved by a key Senate committee. Bush and some of the similarly inclined crony capitalists of the House were outmatched by Republicans more interested in local control, which used to be a conservative cause.


That's because 'compassionate conservatism' costs a lot more, much to my chagrin.

The House's approval of an insurance and drug industry-friendly bill establishing a bribe to senior citizens prescription drug benefit for senior citizens was by a single vote. In political effect, it failed to pass because the margin was arranged by side deals with opposed Republicans. The result gave the House measure little if any oomph for a showdown with the Senate, which took a bipartisan route to secure an overwhelming margin for its own measure, which treats Medicare and private insurance customers more evenhandedly.


Personally, I hope the whole issue dies a painful death. Bush ran on a platform of reforming or eliminating at least one major pyramid scheme entitlement program (Social Security) but instead we get a whole new one? No thanks.

The final side deal was with a GOP congress woman from Missouri, JoAnn Emerson, who held out for a written promise from Speaker Dennis Hastert and majority leader DeLay of a vote on a measure permitting the importing of less expensive prescription drugs from Canada. When the vote was arranged for the widely popular measure, DeLay then went to work to defeat the measure, with Bush's quiet help and the drug industry's frantic lobbying.


Nope, can't have drug companies making a profit. That would be bad.

House members are taking severe heat for passing the latest Bush tax cut - part of whose core was supposed to be the immediate taking effect of cuts that would not have occurred until years later - without including 6.5 million families in the enriched child tax credit who make $10,000 to $27,000 a year.


This is the group of taxpayers who pay no federal income tax.

Members keep pressing for resolution, DeLay keeps resisting by included a sweetened credit in otherwise unenactable tax cuts for the wealthy, and the result is stalemate that keeps the heat on.


Hey, I got a tax cut. That must make me wealthy...

The Republicans' current margin is a historically thin 229-206, but there is nothing about recent events that suggests the leadership is crumbling.


Much to his chagrin.

These almost unanimously rubber-stamp Republicans will cut any tax or increase any tax credit as long as the major beneficiaries of this mind-boggling largesse are not families who depend on paychecks to survive. In addition, the rubber-stampers will tolerate no significant foreign policy dissent, and now that Bill Clinton is comfortably in retirement they have abandoned investigative and oversight vigor.


Funny, weren't you just bitching about the evil, mean-spirited Republicans not giving that tax credit to low income people? Don't I (or any one of you) kinda, sort of, you know, depend on your paycheck? I think I do.

However, what is interesting about the recent events is the extent to which they show how many hoops the leadership has to jump through to keep producing these narrow majorities. One result has been to erode the political significance of these ''victories'' for extremely conservative measures for which several moderate Republicans have stuck out their necks.

It is one thing for the House leadership to tell its band of a few dozen moderates that House bills will provide leverage with the Senate to produce marginally less extreme final measures they can then sell to their constituents as ''accomplishments.'' It is something else again if they are left to defend more ideological votes that don't produce substantive results.


The only thing that makes sense in the above 'graphs is that House legislation gets watered down in the Senate.

Before Thomas's tearful apology, there had to be some very strong pressure on the arrogant and mean-spirited chairman from DeLay and Hastert.


Wasn't it 'ol Starkey who was being the 'arrogant and mean-spirited' one? This isn't his first time, either.

And his apology only occurred after Republicans tried lamely and vainly to sell the lie that Thomas called the cops to break up a name-calling circus between two committee members that in fact took place after he had tried to break up the Democrats' meeting.


So, Stark flips out, threatens another Congressman, Thomas has the sergeant-at-arms haul Stark away, the cops (not Thomas) got the other Democrats out of adjacent rooms, and it's somehow the Republican's fault? Tom's redefining lame here, methinks.

That bit of phony excuse-making shows how little has really changed. It is a fact, however, that by imperious behavior that includes blocking alternatives and amendments from even coming to a vote, the Republican majority is becoming the very thing it used to detest during the final years of the Democrats' 40-year reign before the Gingrich revolution of '94.


Sour grapes. I shudder to think of how many times Republicans got legislation hosed by Tip O'Neill or Jim Wright, and I'm only going back to the 1980's.

In the end, one of the lessons of that revolution was that ossified majorities whose purpose becomes more self-perpetuation than public policy making are actually writing the first paragraph of their own obituary.


That's fine. Keep whining about "Bush Lied", fights started by Democrats and other non-policy matters and the Republicans will be writing an 'obituary' the size of which only Tolstoy could appreciate.

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

This story ran on page A15 of the Boston Globe on 7/29/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Friday, July 25, 2003
 
Better Off Dead

It seems that most people are glad that the murderous Iraqi thugs known as Uday and Qusay Hussein have taken the dirt nap. Except for Derrick Jackson, that is.

Noble act or political assassination?

By Derrick Z. Jackson, 7/25/2003

UNDER ABSTRACT notions of war, our killing of Saddam Hussein's sons was acceptable. Uday and Qusay Hussein carried out their father's wishes as genocidal murderers, torturers, and rapists. Their damnable lives made it so easy to praise their deaths.


So what's the problem, I mean, besides the fact that a Republican is in the White House?

Paul Bremer, the head of civilian restoration in Iraq, said, ''It's a great day for the Iraqi people and a great day for the American military, who once again showed their astounding professionalism.'' Tom Daschle, the Senate Democratic leader, said the deaths were ''a big win for the people of Iraq, our troops, and the world.'' The headline on a Washington Post editorial proclaimed it was ''A good day in Iraq.''


Even Tom Daschle agrees that this is a good thing.

President Bush said that this day reaffirmed that American soldiers are ''serving a cause that is noble and just and vital to the security of the United States.''

All this forgets the ignoble fact that this unprecedented first-strike war sold by Bush to Americans under the so-far phantom threat of Iraq's biological and nuclear weapons. Bush was so hungry for this war that he continues to twist the truth or lie before our eyes. Last week, in blaming the war on Saddam, Bush said: ''We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.''


Funny, I recall our soldiers wearing chemical suits in the desert in response to this 'so-far phantom threat of Iraq's biological and nuclear weapons'. Remember those chemical suits and Cipro injection units found near Karbala in an Iraqi school? Jackson doesn't.

The fact was Saddam, with 200,000 American and British soldiers surrounding him, did let weapons inspectors in.


And were promptly jerked around for six months by Saddam's 'handlers'.

They were forced to evacuate after Bush said the war would commence. At the beginning of the war, the UN's chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said, ''I do not think it is reasonable to close the door on inspections after 31/2 months.''


Try 12 years, on and off.

This is too much to leave to the abstract. With the stated foundation for a just war lying in ruins, the killings of the sons looks more like a zealous political assassination than a noble act. In 1976, President Ford issued an executive order banning assassinations. This was after the CIA was exposed and embarrassed by schemes to kill world leaders in developing countries.


"Uday and Qusay, we have you surrounded. Come out with your hands up!"

"Rat-at-tat-at-tat-at-tat-at-tat-at-tat!"

"Hokay. Have it your way..."

RepublicanAmerican presidents have skirted the order ever since. In 1986 under President Reagan, American forces bombed and killed the year-old daughter of Libya's leader, Moammar Khadafy.


Which was in response to two GI's getting blown up in a German disco by a group directed by Khaddafi a few days prior. He's not been heard from a whole lot since then, but Derrick expects us to do... nothing.

In the first Gulf War of the first Bush administration, Robert Gates of the National Security Council, a future director of the CIA, said officials at the White House ''lit a candle every night hoping Saddam Hussein would be killed in a bunker.'' In a ceremony for that war, Defense Secretary Richard Cheney, now the vice president, signed a 2,000-pound bomb, ''To Saddam, with affection.'' Colin Powell, then chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and now the secretary of state, signed the same bomb, ''You didn't move it, so now you lose it.''


Ah, but now we're fighting a war. That's different, isn't it?

Under President Clinton, NATO forces bombed the bedroom of the Serbian despot Slobodan Milosevic. After the bombing of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, Clinton ordered a cruise missile attack on Osama bin Laden's camp in Afghanistan. Clinton said, ''Unfortunately, we missed him.''


Why isn't Clinton a warmongerer?

Last October, when reporters asked how much the current Iraq war would cost, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said, ''The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi people take it on themselves, is substantially less than that.''

Bush took on the responsibility of delivering the bullets at an unforeseen cost. There is no doubt that many Iraqis are happy that Saddam's sons are gone. But how it came to be may lower the standard even more for lethal force.


Some lower standard. It's important to realize that fighting terrorists, who don't follow the rules of civilized combat, takes a different strategy than hitting the beaches of Normandy. Is this really that difficult a concept to grasp?

The ground force commander, General Ricardo Sanchez, was asked by two reporters highly biased similar questions Wednesday if the operation was indeed professional. The first reporter asked whether the mission was something of a failure given the value of the sons and the fact that they were armed with light weapons. Pentagon officials say they stormed the house of the sons only after the sons resisted.

Sanchez said, ''I would never consider this a failure.''


But the press corps would...

The second reporter said, ''The Americans are specialists in surrounding places, keeping people in them, holding up for a week if necessary, to make them surrender. These guys only had, it appears, AK-47s, and you had immense amount of firepower. Surely the possibility of the immense amount of information they could have given coalition forces, not to mention the trials that they could have been put on for war crimes, held out a much greater possibility of victory for you if you could have surrounded that house and just sat there until they came out, even if they were prepared to keep shooting.''


Oh, yeah, like these guys were going to talk.

Sanchez said, ''Sir, that is speculation.''

The reporter said, ''No sir, it's an operational question. Surely you must have considered this more seriously than you suggested.''

Sanchez said, ''Yes, it was considered, and we chose the course of action that we took.''

The reporter asked, ''Why, sir?''

Sanchez said, ''Next slide - or next question please?''


Should have responded with the "We didn't want to endanger civilians in the area with a protracted struggle" answer. Gotta brush up on these things, Ricardo.

Once again, America, right or not, answers to no one.


We now have two dead pricks that are responsible for tens of thousands of murders, assassinations and torture sessions, and Derrick Jackson somehow pins the blame on America. Un. Fucking. Believable...

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com. Join Jackson today for a live online chat at 9 a.m. on www.boston.com.

This story ran on page A23 of the Boston Globe on 7/25/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Tuesday, July 22, 2003
 
File This Under Obvious

Today's the second rest day of le Tour. The Man came by and got blood samples from the top riders, including Lance Armstrong.

Lance declared fit to continue following blood test

PAU, France -- Overall leader Lance Armstrong and the rest of the top six riders in the Tour de France passed blood tests in their hotels Tuesday, the second rest day of the race, organizers said.


That's because there were no Frenchmen in the top six...

Armstrong, Germany's Jan Ullrich, Kazakhstan's Alexander Vinokourov, Spain's Haimar Zubeldia and Iban Mayo, and Italy's Ivan Basso were tested with their teammates.


I was going to throw the Italians in there, too, but Basso's showing balls and class in this race.

The tests found that the cyclists' level of hematocrite -- red blood cells -- was below the 50 percent legal limit and they were all declared fit to continue the Tour.


EPO is the favored drug for those who want to boost the red cell count. Just ask this reformed user, currently leading in the King of the Mountains category in this year's Tour. It's too bad he fell prey to the seemingly immense pressure to use this shit when he was riding for Festina.

As far as French riders go, I respect this guy, Cedric Vasseur, Christophe Moreau (currently 8th overall) and Sylvain Chavanel, who almost bagged yesterday's stage win up Luz Ardiden.

During a 21-month investigation that was completed last year, French investigators found no proof that Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team used banned substances during the 2000 Tour de France.


And they came up empty once again. Now fuck off, pissants.

The investigation was launched after a French TV crew filmed U.S. Postal officials disposing of medical waste far from the team hotel during the 2000 Tour.

Armstrong, 30, has never failed a drug test and denies taking banned substances. He is trying to equal Miguel Indurain's record of five straight Tour victories.


The color yellow never looked so good as it does now, has it?


 
Ankle Biters Of The World, Unite!

Tom Oliphant tries to pull his head out of his ass, and fails once again.

A dwindling case for going it alone

By Thomas Oliphant, 7/22/2003

WASHINGTON

THE ONCE MIGHTY unilateralists around President Bush - Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld - are in the process of losing another fight against a broadly international response to the mess in Iraq.


Do you mean this mess, Tom? I'm sure they'll be finished scraping their remains off the walls by the time you write your next column.

A year ago they lost a bizarre argument about whether to invade Iraq without special authorization by Congress and without a last-chance effort to forge a workable consensus through the United Nations.


I don't recall either one of them saying anything remotely like this. Must be nice to have a full time job slandering Republicans...

The current struggle, however, pales in comparison to the one a year ago. The hearts of the vice president and defense secretary are not in this one. Facts on the ground have obliterated their case that a quasi-revival of colonial administration with the United States running the show is feasible or even desirable.


Which is why they have an interim council, numbnuts.

Facts at the Treasury - $4 billion a month for an American-run occupation at an absolute minimum indefinitely - have eroded domestic support. There is simply no case to be made for unilateralism after three months of avoidable mistakes that are costing lives, treasure, and international standing.


International standing. Right. With 'friends' like these, who needs enemies?

A year ago - most likely via the gentle nudging of Bush's father - the case was made that the United States should not go to war with narrow domestic support and virtually nonexistent support from the rest of the world.


Nice cheap shot there, Tom! A majority of Americans in fact supported the war, and there were a bunch of people in the Washington, DC area who gave congressional approval for this war, but somehow Poppa Bush gets the blame?

In Tom's WorldTM, virtually nonexistent means Britain, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Japan, Norway, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, etc...

It was a rare example where President Bush appears to have actually made a decision after participating in a detailed examination of the options. The more common and accurate picture of a disengaged, incurious, passive receptacle for his advisers' machinations is so widely accepted around here that even the administration officials desperately defending themselves over the crude manipulation of prewar intelligence have in the process depicted Bush himself as little more than a ventriloquist's dummy.


Well, that's a new twist on the very old 'Bush is a Dummy' gag, isn't it?

A year ago Bush saw the merit of expanding domestic support via a congressional authorization for the use of force against Iraq, even at the price of going back to the UN and securing Security Council endorsement (ultimately unanimous) for a last-chance round of diplomacy and weapons inspections. His position won over a great many Democrats, and it solidified the position of Britain as an ally.


Which basically contradicts his contention that we went to war 'with narrow domestic support'. How did it win over 'a great many Democrats' then?

At the same time, however, his henchmen made a colossal blunder in selling the case. They had the high ground available - the unacceptability in the post-9/11 world of a rogue state directly flouting the specific requirements of the UN. But they abandoned it for the cheap and dirty trick of building a false facade of spurious claims - not just about alleged inquiries about purchasing uranium in Africa - supposedly adding up to an imminent threat to the United States from unconventional weapons.


This is complete and utter bullshit. Anyone who wasn't asleep at the last State of the Union address knows that there were multiple reasons for us to go to war with Iraq. Hussein's flouting of 17 UN resolutions was first and foremost on the list and was repeated ad nauseum just to drive the point home.

The cheap and dirty route often works in the short term, especially when the cooking of intelligence books is involved. The administration's position was also bolstered by the stance at the UN of France, Russia, and Germany - which let their opposition become blind and unyielding.


So we told them to get bent. What'd you expect, for Bush to say 'Pretty please with sugar on top'?

In the longer run, however, cheap and dirty tends to boomerang, which is what has now happened. As it turns out, the manipulation of intelligence was accompanied by an equally outrageous manipulation of what planning there was for the war's aftermath.


"Outrageous, I tell you!"

In keeping with its unilateralist vision, the Cheney-Rumsfeld clique put all their chips on an American-run Iraq, joyous in its embrace of American liberators, financed by quickly restored oil revenues and built around their favorite Iraqi exile, the occasionally honest and isolated Ahmad Chalabi.


'occasionally honest' because he's the 'favorite Iraqi exile' of 'the Cheney-Rumsfeld clique '?

That vision, always suspect but never examined critically (least of all by a passive president), is in tatters. For the last several days especially, it has gradually become clear that only the nature of its abandonment is in question. The first major clue was not so much the refusal of the French to send nation-builders and peacekeepers to Iraq without a fresh UN resolution internationalizing the occupation as it was the turndown from India (long a mainstay of peacekeeping and a magnet for other countries).


As Patton once said, "I'd rather have one German division in front of me than two French divisions behind me'.

The second clue was a truly pathetic overture to Turkey - until now a consistently bad actor in the Iraq mess, particularly in relation to the self-governing Kurds; only the truly desperate would even talk to the Turks.


Once or twice in a column, he's right. Then again, this could be the good cop / bad cop ploy again.

Now the preliminary diplomatic work is more in the open, and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is proving an adept, helpful figure. He has mixed cooperation with the occupation regime and a willingness to legitimize the infant interim ruling council with targeted criticism of the occupation's mistakes and a call for a clear timetable for the withdrawal of American military forces.


Great idea, get the UN involved. That worked well last time we wanted their support, didn't it?

The poles in this mess still have their adherents - Cheney-Rumsfeld's ongoing message to the world (butt out) and the French-oriented riposte (no, you butt out). Good will is in the air, however, and there exists a way to make postwar Iraq the showcase for determined, aggressive internationalism it could have become last winter.


So let me get this straight - France, Russia, China and Germany, Security Council members, did not want to enforce 17 UN resolutions against Iraq, yet it's somehow Cheney and Rumsfeld's fault for enforcing them?

There needs to be debate as well as investigation about how so much could have gone wrong and how so much baloney could be fed to the public. This period of reckoning for those who misled the world, however, cannot block or slow the vital task of helping a broken country heal.


There needs to be a debate, all right - How can Tom Oliphant conveniently ignore 17 UN resolutions, two of which explicitly authorize the use of military force, the UN then fails to act on them, and still insist that the UN has any sort of relevance on the world stage?

Discuss...

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

This story ran on page A13 of the Boston Globe on 7/22/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.



 
What A Day!

Uday and Qusay Hussein are now fitted with toe tags and I will soon get to use the following word to describe the place where I live - mine. No easy feat in this ass rape Boston housing market. That's the primary reason my blogging has been reduced of late.

Did I mention Lance Armstrong is leading the Tour de France and looks likely to win his fifth title? (No, you haven't, blog slacker)

Good times, good times...


Friday, July 18, 2003
 
Double The Fun

Derrick Jackson accuses the Bush administration of lying and the Republicans of double standards. Let's see if the shoe fits...

GOP's double standard on presidential lies

By Derrick Z. Jackson, 7/18/2003

AMERICAN SOLDIERS continue to die in Iraq, and the Republicans do not want us to know why. In a 51-45 vote, the Republican-led Senate this week rejected a proposal for an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the claims Bush used to justify his invasion of Iraq. The senator who made the proposal, Democrat Jon Corzine of New Jersey, said, ''Each day, we have failed to have an accounting ... of what really happened.''


One thought that occurs to me is that if this is done, the administration may inadvertently reveal how intelligence is gathered or, worse, who is supplying this information. I don't think this is wise, lest it hinder such efforts down the road.

In the latest Pentagon count, 224 US soldiers have died in combat or accidents in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Soldiers are dying at a rate of one a day 77 days after President Bush declared an end to major combat operations. The number of soldiers who died in noncombat accidents after the invasion has surpassed the number prior to it.


It's unfortunate that our armed forces have yet to reach that stage of perfection where the loss of life is prevented on the battlefield. It's also unfortunate that the likes of Jackson use such to imply 'quagmire / another Vietnam' in its quest to discredit our war against terrorism or to dissuade us against the use of military force regardless of the justification.

As the dying goes on, Bush has yet to prove the existence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. He now admits to using bad intelligence in his State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein was trying to purchase uranium in Africa for nuclear weapons.


Someone else in a better position then Derrick is thinks it's a matter of time before such WMD are found. Bush also never admitted to using bad intel. In fact, he quoted the intelligence as 'darn good'. Why, then, do the British stand by their original statement?

Yet Ted Stevens of Alaska, the Republican chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said: ''I'm tired of making a mountain out of a molehill. This is not Watergate. It's not even truthgate.... This is an attempt to smear the president of the United States.''


Exactly right.

His complaint was but another in a round of Republican efforts to resist a full inquiry and keep the stench rising from Bush's empty claims behind the closed doors of congressional intelligence and armed services committees.


That's because we don't want to reveal our sources and methods of intelligence gathering. Remember this revelation?

Federal prosecutors spent hours laying out hundreds of intercepted calls for a Manhattan jury, using transcripts and call records to sketch the web of conspiracy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Karas dubbed one London cellular telephone that often called the satellite phone in Afghanistan "the Jihad phone," used to coordinate bin Laden's jihad, or holy war, against the United States.

"That's the phone that bin Laden and the other co-conspirators [used] to carry out their conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals. ... It is the phone that gives you a window into how it is that Al Qaeda [the Base, bin Laden's network] operates," he told the jury.

That window evidently has narrowed considerably since 1998, though it might not have closed completely. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, a Utah Republican, said after Tuesday's attacks that the United States had intercepted a call between two bin Laden associates suggesting their involvement.

Such information is highly classified, and intelligence officials were furious that Hatch had disclosed it, fearing the targets would be warned not to use telephones, the Chicago Tribune reported.


And that's exactly what happened. Osama bin Laden's trail grew cold shortly after that revelation. Idiots Morons Columnists like Jackson simply want us to make the same mistake again.

Pat Roberts of Kansas, the Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in June, ''I found, at least in the information that I have as chairman, no evidence of manipulation.'' He blasted a formal investigation as being ''a pejorative that there's something dreadfully wrong.''

Five years ago the Republicans found President Clinton's lying about sex to be so dreadfully wrong that they voted to impeach him in the House. Clinton survived, but not before the Republicans hurled all kinds of pejoratives at Clinton's perjuries.


It wasn't the 'lying about sex', Derrick. The impeachment charges were based on lying under oath and perjury. I'm pretty sure that "President Clinton lies' was established well before that.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida said: ''Lying under oath is an ancient crime of great weight because it shields other offenses, because it blocks the light of truth in human affairs. It is a dagger in the heart of our legal system and indeed in our democracy. It cannot, it should not, it must not be tolerated.... All that stands between any of us and tyranny is law.''

Representative Sam Johnson of Texas said Clinton's actions ''have made a mockery of the people who fought for this country and are fighting for this nation today.'' Henry Hyde, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said: ''If the president calculatedly and repeatedly violates his oath, if the president breaks the covenant of trust he has made with the American people, he can no longer be trusted. And because the executive plays so large a role in representing the country to the world, America can no longer be trusted.''


Did President Bush lie about anything here? Did president Bush's actions make a mockery of our country? Did President Bush violate his oath? Unless you're a hyper partisan DemocRAT, the answer is no. The worst that can be said is that he relied on questionable intel (emphasis on tense - ed.).

Now it is a Republican president who increasingly appears to have lied to the American people to justify a war. There is hardly a peep out of Republicans over whether Bush has broken the covenant of trust he made with Americans and made a mockery out of the men and women who are dying in Iraq. Troops and even some officers in the field are openly grumbling that they no longer know why they are there. (emphasis added - ed.)


We're stretching the truth really thin now. The troops in Iraq are pissed mainly because they're not being sent home when they thought their tours of duty. It's their nature to bitch about such things.

Meanwhile Bush's claims continue to crumble. A Washington Post story this week reported that United Nations weapons inspectors found nothing to back up Bush's claims last October that Saddam Hussein had a revamped nuclear arms program. Yet on March 16, just three days before the war, Vice President Dick Cheney declared about Saddam, ''We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.''


Even though the discovery of uranium centrifuge parts may look harmless, would a rational person take such a chance that these components were in fact buried? Let me restate that - should the President of the United States, in the light of 9/11, take that chance? Clearly not.

To be clear, Clinton indeed did a lot of bad things in his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. I wrote before the impeachment that he should resign.


Derrick Jackson, fair and impartial...

The Democrats were wrong to downplay Clinton's sins in the Lewinsky scandal. Any other CEO in the country would have been canned had he or she been found to have used their office to have sex with a decisively powerless intern.


A few paragraphs ago it was Clinton 'lying about sex'. Now, in order to don the fake veneer of impartiality, Jackson calls them 'sins'? Can Jackson bring himself to use the phrases 'perjury' and 'obstruction of justice'?

But it is a far more grave matter if we discover that a president's claims in effect claimed the lives of 224 American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi civilians. Five years ago Henry Hyde said, ''The president is the trustee of the nation's conscience.'' It is time to lay bare the conscience of the White House with full public hearings. The way his claims are crumbling, hearings may be the only thing that will stop Bush from plunging his dagger of deceit right through the heart of our democracy and the hearts of our soldiers.


That's rich. Derrick Jackson, the moral arbiter, calling on 'full public hearings' he knows will never happen due to national security concerns. Smug and self-righteous barely begin to describe this man.

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

This story ran on page A13 of the Boston Globe on 7/18/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Thursday, July 17, 2003
 
Man Without Qualities

Captain Hairdo continues to unravel as a serious presidential candidate.

Kerry speech cites Bush credibility 'gap' on national security

Massachusetts Democrat running for White House

Wednesday, July 16, 2003 Posted: 10:50 AM EDT (1450 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry says President Bush hasn't matched tough rhetoric with strong actions and is suffering from a credibility gap on national security.

"The gap between America's national security and this administration's deeds is widening every day," Kerry said in remarks prepared for delivery at a veterans' memorial hall in New York City Wednesday.


We haven't had a major terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11/2001, yet Kerry sees some type of problem with our national security. What of the shortcoming of Bush's deeds?

"Americans have a right to ask: Are we safer today than we were on September 11?" Kerry asked. "Are our nation's firefighters and police officers better prepared to wage the war on terror?"


I suppose that depends on whether police and firefighters are taking such steps. Mass. State Police now walk around Logan International airport with semi-automatic weapons, and other agencies are tasked with harbor patrols and the like. So far, so good.

The Massachusetts senator said the Bush administration has shortchanged police and firefighters by denying them "the equipment and support to defend America from danger."

"We cannot afford to leave the front lines of home security without the money resources they need any more than we can afford to leave our soldiers vulnerable to attack in Iraq," he said.


He wants federal funding for local activites? Not surprising from someone that votes in virtual lockstep with Ted Kennedy, when he bothers to vote at all.

Appearing on NBC's "Today" show in advance of the speech, Kerry was asked whether he thought the United States was more safe than before the September 11 terror attacks.

"In airline security and a few other things we are," he replied, "but we haven't done what we need to do for what the president and others have said is inevitable. They say there's an inevitability (of) attack "


National Review describes the interview as a John Kerry commercial, or batting practice.

Kerry and other Democratic presidential candidates have stepped up criticism of the president since the admission last week that a line in his State of the Union address alleging Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa should not have been included. Other questions have been raised about prewar claims about Iraq by the administration.

Kerry criticized Bush on several fronts, accusing the administration of:

• Going to war with Iraq without a "plan to win the peace."


An Iraqi council has been established earlier this week and will establish a war crimes court for Saddam and his henchmen, and the councilwilll also draft Iraq's first constitution, among other things. Hard to argue that this isn't progress.

• Stalling investigations of the September 11 terrorist attacks.


Not too smart, practically or politically. Then again, Mark Steyn thinks these critics are barking moonbats.

• Failing to throw federal money at invest enough in the police, fire and emergency workers responsible for the safety of the homeland.


Supporting local police and firefighters is not part of the federal government's job. Well, at least under Republican administrations.

"We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad while closing them in Brooklyn," Kerry said.


Talk to New York City's Mayor Bloomberg. At least try to correctly score points on Bush on legitimate issues.

Americans should trust the intelligence that guides them into war, he said.

Calling the Bush administration "big on bluster and short on action," Kerry said combative rhetoric not matched by stronger homeland security is dangerous. And he called for more international help in policing Iraq.


Like they're giving us now? Here's Steven Den Beste:

But there can be no common strategy if there is no consensus about goals, and there isn't one. In the last year, it's become apparent that the primary Franco-German goal was to hobble American international power and influence as much as possible, while the Anglo-American goal was to eliminate the threat from Arab/Islamic extremism.

Fischer says that debate is needed if there is to be a common strategy. He doesn't explain why there needs to be a common strategy, however. And simply to admit that such a thing is required amounts to giving Berlin and Paris a heckler's veto over American foreign policy. Which is what Fischer is after. After all, if we can only follow a "common strategy" then it means we can't do anything without their permission.


"It is a long way from 'speak softly and carry a big stick' to a president who says 'bring 'em on' and 'dead or alive' -- then leaves front-line defenders without the numbers and equipment they need to wage the war on terror," he said.

Kerry proposed a new initiative to put 100,000 more firefighters on the job, while restoring a program to put 100,000 additional police on the streets.


Where have I heard that one before? No doubt destined to have the same measure of success.

An entire Kerry column and not one mention of his service in Vietnam? He needs to be better prepared...


Wednesday, July 16, 2003
 
Windows Users

Please read this and get the patch right away at Microsoft for your OS.


 
Pot, Meet Kettle II

Is it OK for one racist to intimate someone else is racist? Sure thing!

Limbaugh brings baggage with his ESPN blabber


Sorry to hear about your luggage, Rush.

By Derrick Z. Jackson, 7/16/2003

IT IS A TOUCHDOWN at the old-boy network when ESPN hires Rush Limbaugh for pregame blabber about pro football. It is an extra point when the media think nothing of this event. They both should be penalized for roughing the past.


If it's just blather, why are you commenting on it?

Mark Shapiro, ESPN's executive vice president of programming and production, claimed that the move was made to ''give fans a voice.'' Shapiro said: ''Rush is a great communicator and a fan's fan. His acute sense of what's on the minds of his listeners combined with his ability to entertain and serve as a lightening rod for lively discussion makes him the perfect fit for this new role.''

Limbaugh himself said, ''Football is like life, and I know life.''


Off the top of my head, I'd have to say this will be as successful as bringing on Dennis Miller as a Monday Night Football commentator, but that remains to be seen.

The Associated Press noted Limbaugh's hiring for ''Sunday NFL Countdown'' in a short story by repeating the quotes provided by ESPN. The AP referred to the Limbaugh merely as ''talk radio's'' Rush Limbaugh. Most major newspapers used the AP story. The New York Times and Reuters referred to Limbaugh as a ''conservative'' radio host. The Washington Post and Bloomberg News called his show ''politically based.''


Which are all true statements. Why the "scare quotes", though?

A handful of newspaper columnists and notes writers briefly made light of the hiring. The Boston Globe said, ''bet he'll espouse conservative game plans.''


Wow! A real knee-slapper there!

The Orlando Sentinel said, ''for those who like conservative football ...'' In taking a mildly dim view of Limbaugh, a columnist in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asked, ''Do ESPN's demographics show a paucity of Dittoheads, Feminazis, and antiliberals watching?''


Yes. I don't think they're pursuing the Brie & Chardonnay crowd with this move.

An Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist who called Limbaugh a ''blowhard'' said, ''I'm going to step out on a limb here and assume that not many so-called feminists hunker down to ESPN's `Sunday NFL Countdown.'''


That's Mike Tierney, in case anyone's wondering.

The fascinating thing is that on the first day of the news about Limbaugh's hiring by ESPN, no straight news stories went out on a limb to remind readers about Limbaugh's past. The past would seem significant, since he is about to pontificate on the NFL, where well over half the players are African-American.


Classic Derrick Jackson. Create a racial angle where none existed before...

Limbaugh has feasted off berating idiots feminists, gay men and women, and people of color. African-Americans have come in for supercharged blasts of his hot air. In the 1970s, Limbaugh told an African-American caller, ''Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.''


And Derrick Jackson once remarked that he watched Deep Space Nine because Avery Brooks, the lead actor, is black. Nope, no hypocrisy here.

Limbaugh has always had crime and black people on the brain. He once said, ''Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?'' He said, ''The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.'' When Spike Lee said that African-American children should be allowed to skip school to see his movie on Malcolm X, Limbaugh said: ''Spike, if you're going to do that, let's complete the education experience. You should tell them that they should loot the theater, and then blow it up on their way out.''


Never discussed by Jackson, naturally, is the propensity of African-Americans to commit crimes in greater proportion than the rest of the population. Unfortunately, it seems to be a function of class, another argument for tearing down housing projects so real integration can occur.

What connections Limbaugh has made between people of color and sports are dubious at best. When a Mexican won the New York marathon, Limbaugh said, ''An immigration agent chased him the last 10 miles.''


Maybe that was a joke, Derrick? Bad taste can still be funny, on occasion.

Speaking of Mexicans and other Latinos, as bad as hiring Limbaugh for football is, think of the public relations disaster it would have been had ESPN hired him for baseball. Complaining about American jobs lost to NAFTA, Limbaugh said, ''Let the unskilled jobs, let the kinds of jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do - let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.'' Limbaugh's popularity is symbolic of a United States that still quietly buys into his stereotypes. He remains popular because other than a compilation of many of the above quotes in the mid 1990s by the group Fairness and Accuracy and Reporting, or FAIR, the media treat him as more friend than foe. He was even a guest in the White House of the first President Bush (an invitation that mysteriously has not been offered to Louis Farrakhan).


The actual title of FAIR is Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (great research Dept, guys - Ed). I'd have used the economic argument that Mexican workers aren't as productive as their American counterparts, but that's just me.

Also, maybe the reason Rush was a White House guest and Farrakhan was not has to do with the now infamous phrase 'blood-sucking Jew'.

ABC considered hiring Limbaugh for ''Monday Night Football'' three years ago. After a flurry of protests, the network selected someone else.


That would be Dennis Miller, mentioned earlier (Your welcome, Derrick - Ed).

Also, I don't recall much discussion about a 'flurry of protests' outside of the usual suspects and a polite disagreement with it, even though the disagreement was based on the opinion that Rush Limbaugh would let politics seep in somehow.

Now, it appears that the Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, is trying to slip Limbaugh through the old-boy back door into brother cable network ESPN.


"brother network"? So, it's OK for you to use derogatory language but not Rush Limbaugh? What a hypocrite.

If Limbaugh's words were unacceptable for a broader TV audience then, they should remain so now.


Curious how not being selected for MNF, with no reason given, all of a sudden morphs into Limbaugh's words being "unacceptable" to Disney / ABC. That's pretty shoddy logic, even for a race baiter like Derrick Jackson.

Limbaugh once complained about African-Americans: ''They are 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?'' ESPN and Disney should be made to care about hiring someone to cover a majority black sport who does not care about black people. Most important, newspapers should care, even if ESPN and Disney do not.


I wonder if that quote's as old as the '70's quote from earlier, or how out of context it is. Makes me wonder what other doozies of Derrick's can be dredged up...

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

This story ran on page A19 of the Boston Globe on 7/16/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


UPDATE - Speaking of Jesse Jackson and felons...

Friday, July 11, 2003
 
Gettin' The Knives Out

The Democrats, completely devoid of ideas and alternatives, seize on a single erroneous intelligence report in order to take pot shots at President Bush, claiming he was instead lying about it.

"Now clearly it's time for the president to step forward and tell the truth, that the war is continuing and so are the casualties," said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, one of nine Democrats seeking his party's 2004 presidential nomination.

In a critical speech, Kerry -- who supported giving Bush the authority to go to war -- criticized the administration for what he said was its neglect of diplomacy and planning.

"It's time for the president to tell the truth -- that we lack sufficient forces to do the job of reconstruction in Iraq and withdraw in a reasonable period," he said.


Senator Kerry lecturing people about telling the truth is like Jenna Jameson lecturing people about abstinence.


Thursday, July 10, 2003
 
25 Years Ago...

...the movie Animal House was released. Test your knowledge of Animal House trivia here.

 
Captain Hairdo Update

Virginial Postrel (via Instapundit) notes that Esquire Magazine isn't too keen on the Massachusetts Senator:

Kerry is on the phone in the photo, looking away from the camera, while his wife faces forward and gestures as though she's throwing something at us. Compared even to the awkward-looking Howard Dean, it's not a flattering picture. Kerry seems self-absorbed, and his wife seems weird. As Mickey Kaus has often said, people just don't like that guy.


That's it, man...

I found a nice recap of Kerry's votes and positions via the RNC's website.



 
Yup, That's My Hometown

Check out the Charles Manson lookalike:

JULY 3--Meet Raymond White. The New Hampshire dope, 44, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly battering Lisa Smith, his girlfriend of two weeks, after she beat him in an arm-wrestling contest--and then jokingly called him a "wimp." According to a Manchester Police Department affidavit, White became enraged when Smith, 41, teased him about the defeat. He allegedly responded by knocking the woman down, punching her several times, and slamming her head on the pavement. White, who is free on $1000 bail, has been charged with misdemeanor simple assault and ordered to stay away from Smith. Court records show that White's rap sheet includes prior convictions for robbery, burglary, larceny, drug possession, and criminal mischief.


Guess the engagement's off...


Wednesday, July 09, 2003
 
Livin' In The Past

Die-hard Americans like Derrick Z. Jackson repeat past mistakes.

US repeats Vietnam-era arrogance

By Derrick Z. Jackson, 7/9/2003

WITH ATTACKS continuing to claim the lives of US soldiers, a reporter last week asked President Bush what the White House was doing to get France, Germany, and Russia to join the American occupation of Iraq. Bush did not discuss France, Germany, or Russia.

Why should he? They tried to screw us over and align themselves with Saddam Hussein.

He chose to brag that he was the fastest gun in Western civilization.


The stupid arrogant liar 'cowboy' references will never get old...


''There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us,'' Bush said. ''My answer is, bring 'em on! We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation. Of course we want other countries to help us ... but we've got plenty tough force there right now to make sure the situation is secure.... The enemy shouldn't make any mistake about it. We will deal with them harshly if they continue to try to bring harm to the Iraqi people.''


One man's arrogance is another man's confidence:

While engaged in the very difficult business of building a democracy in Iraq -- the first democracy, should it succeed, in the entire history of the Arabs -- President Bush has also, quite consciously to my information, created a new playground for the enemy, away from Israel, and even farther away from the United States itself. By the very act of proving this lower ground, he drains terrorist resources from other swamps.

This is the meaning of Mr. Bush's "bring 'em on" taunt from the Roosevelt Room on Wednesday, when he was quizzed about the "growing threat to U.S. forces" on the ground in Iraq. It should have been obvious that no U.S. President actually relishes having his soldiers take casualties. What the media, and U.S. Democrats affect not to grasp, is that the soldiers are now replacing targets that otherwise would be provided by defenceless civilians, both in Iraq and at large. The sore thumb of the U.S. occupation -- and it is a sore thumb equally to Baathists and Islamists, compelling their response -- is not a mistake. It is carefully hung flypaper. . . .

Hizbullah itself (the "Army of Allah" -- Shia, and ultimately financed and armed by Iran's ayatollahs) are directing their attention less and less towards the "Little Satan" of Israel, and more and more towards the "Great Satan" of the U.S., as events unfold.

This is exactly what President Bush wants. To engage them, away from Israel, in mortal combat. To have an excuse for wiping them out -- a good, solid, American excuse, from which Israel has been extracted. The good news is, Hizbullah's taking the bait.


I submit that President Bush has a better understanding of the Iraq conflict then Derrick Jackson does.

Echoing Bush was General Tommy Franks, who just retired as the commander of the liberation invasion of Iraq. Franks told ABC's ''Good Morning America,'' ''The fact is, wherever we find criminals, death squads, and so forth who are anxious to do damage to this country and to peace-loving countries around the world, I absolutely agree with the president of the United States: Bring 'em on!''


Tommy Franks gives President Bush a ringing endorsement. So, what's wrong with that?

Such arrogance harkens back to Vietnam and the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967 that Americans were ''strange liberators.'' We say we are there to liberate the people, but then we turn around and try and taunt Saddam's remnants out of the saloon so they can all show off in high noon showdowns - wild firefights that are sure to result in yet more civilian deaths. We bragged ourselves literally to death four decades ago. According to King in his speech ''A Time to Break Silence'':


Before Jackson mails in the rest of his column by quoting King, let me point out something obvious: In a previous column Jackson bemoans the Army and Marine casualties of the Iraq war. Such concerns are now conspicuous by their absence. This and other logical inconsistencies lead me to believe that Derrick Jackson simply hates Republicans in general and Bush in particular.

Also, the Vietcong were actively backed by the Soviet Union and China during the height of the Cold War. While we can't determine where we are with the War on Terrorism, suffice to say that Iraq no longer enjoys state sponsorship. Throw in the turmoil in Iran and Assad's recent anti-Baath party declaration, and it's fairly clear that we're talking apples and oranges when attempting to equate Iraq and Vietnam.

''It should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over....

''As I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula.... They must see Americans as strange liberators.... Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not `ready' for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long....

''The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs.... They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees.

''They wander into the hospitals with at least 20 casualties from American firepower for one `Vietcong'-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them - mostly children. They wander into towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers....

''We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators!

''Now there is little left to build on - save bitterness.... If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony, and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play....

''If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.''


We are acting. We're just not bending rolling over, as Derrick Jackson would apparently like us to do...

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson@globe.com.

This story ran on page A15 of the Boston Globe on 7/9/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


Tuesday, July 08, 2003
 
Tour Updates

...courtesy of the unofficial TdF site on Blogger.


 
Suckers

Headline for this article - Whispers starting about Armstrong’s strength

This morning’s edition of the Spanish paper AS includes a story about whispers within the peloton that the Lance Armstrong of the centenary Tour may not quite be the same all-conquering athlete of the last four Tours.

AS reports that riders finishing yesterday’s stage were whispering about the American’s apparent difficulty in following the attacks made on the final hill of the day by Paolo Bettini, Brad McGee and David Millar. "Did you see Armstrong? Did you see his face during those final attacks?" one rider muttered to another. "I don’t know if it was down to the pile-up the other day, but he wasn’t going well."

To be fair to Armstrong, other contenders such as Jan Ullrich and Gilberto Simoni weren’t exactly conspicuous on that hill either, and none of them could have been expecting an attack at that point from a number of highly placed riders. But AS evokes ‘riders’ intuition’ to add substance to the story: "Cyclists spend so much time together, always surrounded by the same riders, that they have an intuitive instinct as to what is happening both to themselves and each other."


I've been searching in vain for a similar article from the 2000 Tour which said the same thing as above. Armstrong was asked about it a few days later and issued an unconvincing denial that it wasn't a ruse / deception. I can't believe these guys are falling for the same gag again.


 
Two Tough Dudes

Tyler Hamilton crashed two days ago during the sprint to finish Stage 1 of the Tour de France and breaks his collarbone in the process. He stays in the race. So does Jimmy Casper (same crash), who's been wearing a neck brace the past two days.

Idiots like Ron Borges of the Boston Globe will continue to insist that professional cyclists aren't athletes, though.


Wednesday, July 02, 2003
 
Dumb Dems

Howard Dean shows why Democrats aren't taken seriously on national security issues:

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, a prominent opponent of the war in Iraq (news - web sites), called Wednesday for dispatching U.S. troops to Liberia to head off a human rights crisis.

"I would urge the president to tie our commitment to assist in this multilateral effort to an appeal to the world to join us in the work that remains to be done in Iraq," Dean said.


Dumb bastard still hasn't figured out we have 16 divisions between the Army and Marines, with at least 10 of them deployed in full and more National Guard and Reserve units being called to active duty. This clusterfuck of an interview with Tim Russert last week shows other deficiencies as well. That, and with the more obvious point that our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have infinitely more to do with the quaint notion of national security than another hopelessly dictatorial African nation, leaves him thoroughly unfit to lead us. He makes John Kerry look like Clint Eastwood.



 
Tour de France Picks

Entered at Bicycling.com:

1) Lance Armstrong, USPS
2) Tyler Hamilton, CSC / Tiscali
3) Joseba Beloki, ONCE
4) Alexandre Vinokourov, Telekom
5) Levi Leipheimer, Rabobank
6) Jan Ullrich, Bianchi
7) Iban Mayo, Euskaltel-Euskadi
8) Gilberto Simoni, Saeco
9) Ivan Basso, Fassa Bortolo
10) Jose Azevedo, ONCE