Above the Fray

Friday, May 28, 2004

Quote for the Day [Ouch}

We knew this remark was coming:

President Bush is going to establish elections there in Iraq.
He's going to rebuild the infrastructure.
He's going to create jobs.
He said if it works there, he'll try it here.
— David Letterman

Progressive Review

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Compassionate Conservative Alert

This twit applies a cost benefit analysis to our schools. It reminds me of Swift's 'Modest Proposal'.

Educational triage would acknowledge that there are black youngsters who cannot benefit academically no matter how many educational resources are spent on them. They have little or no family support. Their very presence in school, through disruptive and criminal behavior, makes education impossible for others. Spending resources on these youngsters is the educational equivalent of medical practitioners spending resources on disaster victims who'll die even if treated. These youngsters should be removed and not allowed to take resources from and make education impossible for those who do have a chance for academic achievement.

Some might suggest that the idea of educational triage represents a callous lack of concern for students most in need. But would that same argument make sense when there's a terrorist or battlefield disaster? In other words, would it also be seen as callous for doctors not to treat victims most in need -- those who're going to die anyway? Efficiency criterion dictates that resources be allotted to those who can best use the resources as opposed to those who best need it.

Just a few thoughts here:

1] Logical Fallacy alert.. can you find it? [school:war as school:surgery, true or false only]
2] This is an operational definition of 'compassionate conservative': ROI Uber Alles
3] When you hear the word 'efficiency', set threat level at def con 2. And check the source: This guy is an Economics professor! I doubt he has ever read Dewey or Jefferson on public education.
4] He doesn't use the E word, but WOC asks the question:
What do we do with those kids we remove from our schools? Well, doctors do sometimes perform mercy killings on those who have no hope of survival. And since we are in terrorist disaster, I guess we might consider euthanizing the unfit, for the good of everyone else... Read rest here

BTW: For excellent satire, put WOC on your daily read.
er Managing a disaster

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Duh Speech

I was asked whether I had listened to the speech on the new, new plan for resolution of the war. My response was NBL.

Repeated communication with no change in data is a form of hypnotism. There is a pattern to communications from our leader. It parallels his official policy on toxic waste. Matt Yglesias has a short description:

..I'm consistently shocked by the ability of conservative commentators to attribute magical properties to the president's rhetoric.

Time and time again, from the diplomatic lead-up to the war right to the present day we've seen the same pattern.

A series of screw-ups, combined with rampant infighting within the administration which produces a paralyzing policy drift, starts leading people on the right to get worried.

The president then unveils his new plan: Give a speech. During the speech the president emphasizes that Saddam Hussein is a bad man, that Osama bin Laden is a bad man, that the United States is a good country, and that we should be strong and stay the course.

Next, conservatives praise the speech to the sky, and all the worries disappear. Then the same thing happens all over again...

It doesn't really matter what the president says, the question is what's he going to do...


This sums it up nicely doncha think? Waste or Hazardous Waste.. You decide, Fair and Balanced all the time.. but I digress.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Am I psychic?

In October, I outlined an idea that the gang would be taken down from the inside for having treated the civil service folks with contempt, and in the case of the Wilson revelation and the war, have exposed some of them to extreem danger.

Essentially, a violation of the unwritten rules in DC.

There have been incidents that I felt indicated that what we had was payback 'by a thousand cuts". Now, with a major incident to allow for a less nuanced approach, major 'cashing of wolf tickets' will start. It appears that I am not the only one with this perspective:

...new allegations have emerged putting Stephen Cambone, the first Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, firmly in the crosshairs and bringing a new wave of allegations cascading down on the head of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when he scarcely had time to catch his breath from the previous ones.

Even worse for Rumsfeld and his coterie of neo-conservative true believers who have run the Pentagon for the past 3½ years, three major institutions in the Washington power structure have decided that after almost a full presidential term of being treated with contempt and abuse by them, it's payback time.

Those three institutions are: The United States Army, the Central Intelligence Agency and the old, relatively moderate but highly experienced Republican leadership in the United States Senate. [there are a couple of other groups not identified here; news at eleven!]

None of those groups is chopped liver: Taken together they comprise a devastating Grand Slam.

Army, CIA want torture truths exposed

Release the Hounds..

Friday, May 21, 2004

Another Moderate Speaks

The prose here has a little more of the hot sauce.. It is long, but suggest you go and read the whole article.. [from 'up the road a piece', Orange County!]

"A lot of so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means," Barry Goldwater said in 1994, when the current cult of right-wing radicals and "neocons" had begun to define and assert themselves. Goldwater was my first political hero, before I was old enough to read his flaws. But his was the conservatism of the wolf--the lone wolf--and this is the conservatism of sheep.

..Am I polarized? I've never been a registered Democrat, I'm sick of this two-party straitjacket, I wish to God it didn't take Yale and a major American fortune to create a presidential candidate. The only current Democratic leaders who show me any courage are Nancy Pelosi and old Bob Byrd--Hillary Clinton has been especially cagy and gutless on this war--and John Kerry himself may leave a lot to be desired. He deserves your vote not because of anything he ever did or promises to do, but simply because he did not make this sick mess in Iraq and owes no allegiance to the sinister characters who designed it.

..If the Pentagon ever thought Saddam had "weapons of mass destruction," it was only because the Pentagon gave them to him...

..These are facts, not partisan rhetoric. Do any of them even make you restless? The cynical game these shape-shifters have been playing in the Middle East is too Byzantine to unravel in 1,000 pages of text. But the hypocrisy of the White House is palpable, and beggars belief. If there's one American who actually believes that Operation Iraqi Freedom was about democracy for the poor Iraqis, then you, my friend, are too dangerously stupid to be allowed near a voting booth....

..All it takes to make a Bush conservative is a few slogans from talk radio and pickup truck bumpers, a sneer at "liberals" and maybe a name-dropping nod to Edmund Burke or John Locke, whom most of them have never read.

Sheep and sheep only could be herded by a ludicrous but not harmless cretin like Rush Limbaugh, who has just compared the sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners to "a college fraternity prank" (and who once called Chelsea Clinton "the family dog"--you don't have to worry about shame when you have no brain).

I don't think it's accurate to describe America as polarized between Democrats and Republicans, or between liberals and conservatives. It's polarized between the people who believe George Bush and the people who do not. Thanks to some contested ballots in a state governed by the president's brother, a once-proud country has been delivered into the hands of liars, thugs, bullies, fanatics and thieves. The world pities or despises us, even as it fears us. What this election will test is the power of money and media to fool us, to obscure the truth and alter the obvious, to hide a great crime against the public trust under a blood-soaked flag. The most lavishly funded, most cynical, most sophisticated political campaign in human history will be out trolling for fools. I pray to God it doesn't catch you.

'Worst president ever...

Jaw drop fatigue

I wish I could say that "I never thought that conservatives would turn off on 'W'", but that wouldn't be accurate. I assumed that they would, but not so soon and not so 'out in public'. Charlie Reese is one pundit that stays 'reasonable', in his comments, that is why I post him today:

By Charley Reese, King Features

Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war — Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers.

I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a frontman, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory.

It's no wonder the president avoids press conferences like the plague. Take away his cue cards and he can barely talk. Americans should be embarrassed that an Arab king (Abdullah of Jordan) spoke more fluently and articulately in English than our own president at their joint press conference recently.

John Kerry is at least an educated man, well-read, who knows how to think and who knows that the world is a great deal more complex than Bush's comic-book world of American heroes and foreign evildoers. It's unfortunate that in our poorly educated country, Kerry's very intelligence and refusal to adopt simplistic slogans might doom his presidential election efforts.

But Thomas Jefferson said it well, as he did so often, when he observed that people who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never was and never will be.

People who think of themselves as conservatives will really display their stupidity, as I did in the last election, by voting for Bush. Bush is as far from being a conservative as you can get. Well, he fooled me once, but he won't fool me twice.
It is not at all conservative to balloon government spending, to vastly increase the power of government, to show contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law, or to tell people that foreign outsourcing of American jobs is good for them, that giant fiscal and trade deficits don't matter, and that people should not know what their government is doing. Bush is the most prone-to-classify, the most secretive president in the 20th century. His administration leans dangerously toward the authoritarian.

It's no wonder that the Justice Department has convicted a few Arab-Americans of supporting terrorism. What would you do if you found yourself arrested and a federal prosecutor whispers in your ear that either you can plea-bargain this or the president will designate you an enemy combatant and you'll be held incommunicado for the duration?

This election really is important, not only for domestic reasons, but because Bush's foreign policy has been a dangerous disaster. He's almost restarted the Cold War with Russia and the nuclear arms race. America is not only hated in the Middle East, but it has few friends anywhere in the world thanks to the arrogance and ineptness of the Bush administration. Don't forget, a scientific poll of Europeans found us, Israel, North Korea and Iran as the greatest threats to world peace.

I will swallow a lot of petty policy differences with Kerry to get a man in the White House with brains enough not to blow up the world and us with it. Go to Kerry's Web site (www.johnkerry.com) and read some of the magazine profiles on him. You'll find that there is a great deal more to Kerry than the GOP attack dogs would have you believe.

Besides, it would be fun to have a president who plays hockey, windsurfs, ride motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry and speaks French. It would be good to have a man in the White House who has killed people face to face. Killing people has a sobering effect on a man and dispels all illusions about war.

'Vote for a man, not a puppet'

Jaw Dropper 203

This is a twofer day:


A READER RECEIVED the following spam block notice from the government of Arlington County, VA:

"The Mail system has marked your message as possible SPAM due to an attached file, a key word, or a phrase in the subject line. You may remove the attached file, or change the identified key word, and resend your message. The specific attachment or key word is noted below:

"Subject: Freedom conference / Spy Museum exhibit on terror

"Matching Subject: free*"


CYNTHIA L. GARZA, FT WORTH STAR TELEGRAM, TX - A wooden baseball bat, no longer than 8 inches and visible through a car window, spurred Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School officials to call sophomore Cory Henson out of class Monday in order to search his vehicle. Under the Fort Worth school district's zero-tolerance policy, Henson was immediately suspended, pending a conference with administrators today. Officials will decide whether the bat is considered a weapon that would merit punishment, including placement in an alternative school or expulsion for up to a year.

"First I was stunned," said Cory's mother, Sheila Henson. "I thought, I'll go up there and investigate this a little further.". . . Henson describes the bat no bigger than the souvenir bats available at professional baseball games. The piece found in Cory's car broke off a trophy, he said. He does not know how it ended up car but said someone was probably playing with it and left it in the back seat. . . What's more confounding to Henson is that it was the small bat, and not the full-sized aluminum bat that was in the trunk with other baseball equipment, that was confiscated as a weapon.

Progressive Review

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Arnie Follow up

Way back in November, I wondered if Arnie would follow through on the legal battles with the energy companies to get back some of the money they 'aquired' during the energy crisis.

It had been said that he had promised those companies he wouldn't go after them if elected. Looks like he kept his promise.

I understand one thing quite clearly and that is the Bush/Cheney-orchestrated Enron rip-off of close to $45 billion in California was accomplished with incredible ease and alacrity. Now California has a Republican governor, The Terminator, who is easily suppressing all litigation which was seeking to recover billions of dollars for California consumers and rate payers. Once again California is being bombarded with Republican-sponsored legislation to deregulate electricity and give it over to the privatizers and profiteers. Coming soon to California: another energy emergency.
Caution, harsh words in the rest of this article..
The dupe of oil

Friday, May 14, 2004


I haven't posted much lately since there has been way too much said on current subjects by better writers than I. Go to any blog and there you are.. However this remark is noteworthy

But here you have Jim Inhofe lumbering out of his cave and on to the stage, arguing that we can do whatever we want because we're America.

Inhofe's America is one that is glutted on pretension, cut free from all its moral ballast, and hungry to sit atop a world run only by violence. Lady Liberty gets left with fifty bucks, a sneer, a black eye, and the room to herself for the couple hours left before check out.

Josh is often noteworthy. Of late he has been adding more than a dash of tobasco to his musings. I really advise you to put him on your 'daily read' list

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall