Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Jeff Davis He Ain't

A few years ago John Ashcroft gave an interview to Southern Partisan, posing as some sort of pro-states rights, Southern conservative. I guess it depends on which states are involved and what rights are at issue. His Justice Department is challenging the right of California and several other states to allow people with cancer, AIDS and other diseases, to use pot for medical purposes. On this issue, the Bush administration is in agreement with the Clinton administration. A few years back, the late Peter McWilliams wrote about having federal agents invade his home and business after he spoke out in favor of medical marijuana: "Most disturbing to the DEA, I would guess, was my strong criticism of it in a two-page ad I placed in the December 1, 1997, Daily Variety . I denounced Administrator Constantine's threat to criminally investigate the creators of Murphy Brown for Murphy's fictional use of medical marijuana. Having made comments such as, "The DEA gives the phrase 'ambulance chasing' a whole new meaning," I'm surprised it took the DEA 17 days to find my house -- but, then, they are part of the government."
McWilliams lost his battle with the feds and subsequently lost his life.
William Watkins looks at some of the constitutional issues, along with the suffering that the plaintiffs in the case now before the Supreme Court, have alleviated with pot: "Angel Raich suffers from paralysis, an inoperable brain tumor, seizures, chronic pain, life-threatening weight loss, and many other ailments. Diane Monson is afflicted with chronic back pain and muscle spasms caused by a degenerative disease of the spine."
If they lose the case, perhaps they will lose their lives as well. At least that will solve their problem, but I don't see how having the feds interfere in a state's decision to allow the sick and dying relieve their suffering qualifies as either compassionate or conservative.

What became of conservatives?

Paul Craig Roberts asks a good question.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Duck & Cover!

With 138,000 U.S. troops occupying Iraq, is now a good time to start saber-rattling and blustering at Iran? Apparently. Gen. Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command told interviewers via the USA Today, "Why the Iranians would want to move against us in an overt manner that would cause us to use our air or naval power against them would be beyond me." Don't forget all of those nukes and nifty missiles General! "We can generate more military power per square inch than anybody else on Earth, and everybody knows it . . . If you ever even contemplate our nuclear capability, it should give everybody the clear understanding that there is no power that can match the United States militarily."
Should we be concerned about stirring up the Shiite population (a mere 15 million or so) in Iraq after we have unloaded all those missiles on Shiite Iran? Apparently not.
Should we worry about the military being overstretched in the coming years? Posh! Fiddlesticks! According to the USA Today, Abizaid pointed to the U.S. victory in Fallujah with 10,000 troops. And Iran can't have more than three, four cities at the most. Right?
With the President safely reelected and that pansy, Colin Powell on his way out; It is time to get ready for a second Bush term. I'm building a fallout shelter.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Federal Breast Inspector

How does the U.S. protect its homeland security? By controlling immigration at home and minding our own business abroad? Don't be a fool!
We do it by feeling women up (registration required) at the airport as the New York Times reports: "Lu Chekowsky, an advertising executive from Portland, Ore., said her cosmetics case set off the alarm at the airport there a couple of months ago. Since then, she says, she has been patted down so many times that she has taken to wearing baggy trousers, flip-flops and a big sweatshirt to make the procedure less onerous.
'Routinely, my breasts are being cupped, my behind is being felt,' Ms. Chekowsky said. 'And I feel I can't fight it. If I were to say anything, I picture myself being shipped off to Guantánamo.'"

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Imagine That

Is it possible that Rolling Stone still exists? This self-important publication, just announced their choices for the top 500 Rock-and-Roll songs of all time. Don't they know that the only reason to look at their rag is when the cover resembles that of Maxim?
The top of the list shows how silly the whole enterprise is. "Like a Rolling Stone," at no. 1 is a great song, but I wouldn't even make it Bob Dylan's best; which I would probably give to "Tangled Up In Blue." At no. 3 is John Lennon's execrable, "Imagine." The list is obviously tilted towards the tastes of 60's generation types.
One also notes how often they seem to have picked songs that readers will recognize even if they don't have the album that they came on. That helps explain no. 1, as well as the appearance of the Rolling Stone's "Wild Horses," a Classic-Rock cliche from Sticky Fingers, but not "Dead Flowers, from the same album."
There are numerous other problems with the list. Glen Campbell makes the list twice, the infinitely superior Merle Haggard, not at all. Ac/DC, but not Little Feat.
No such list can satisfy every taste, but this one was obviously drawn up to cover all the bases. Most songs on the list are standard issue Rock. But the list includes a smattering Blues, Punk, Country, Rap, etc. It's kind of like one of those WWII films that includes a hillbilly from Tennessee, a Jewish kid, an Italian from Brooklyn and a fair-haired midwesterner.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Our Second Black President

After praising President Bush for having a "post-racial management style" in his relationship with Condi Rice, Andrew Sullivan makes a bizarre statement. "You know, Bill Clinton was celebrated for his progressiveness, and ease with African-Americans. But it's inconceivable that he would have given so much power and authority to a black female peer."
Clinton, in fact, never appointed a woman to run the State Department, and will never have the chance; but how does Sullivan know such a thing is "inconveivable?"

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Uncle Sam Wants You, forever .

I keep hearing that recruiting and retenion in the military is just fine, but the pentagon keeps calling up people who have been out for years. The New York Times (registration required) reports on several such cases, including that of Rick Howell: "'I consider myself a civilian,' said Rick Howell, a major from Tuscaloosa, Ala., who said he thought he had left the Army behind in 1997 after more than a decade flying helicopters. 'I've done my time. I've got a brand new baby and a wife, and I haven't touched the controls of an aircraft in seven years. I'm 47 years old. How could they be calling me? How could they even want me?'"
That's a good question Rick. He doesn't sound like somebody you would want to be flying missions in a combat zone, unless you were desparate.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Powell Resigns

With Colin Powell out of the way, the nuts are in complete charge of the asylum. The good news is the Powell is able to speak freely. The bad news will forthcoming invasions of Syria, Iran, France, etc.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Saving Private Oprah

Because of a stray boob at the Superbowl halftime program Americans are now assumed to be children. ABC is showing "Saving Private Ryan" tonight as a Veteran's Day tribute. Several affiliates, including Knoxville's WATE are not showing it because it might bring the FCC down upon them. Young Broadcasting, which owns the Knoxville station released a statement which I quote in part. "This has been a difficult and agonizing decision for us. However, we have a responsibility to operate in accord with the law, and until the FCC or the courts clarify what the broadcast legal standards are for programs of this type, we will continue to be confronted with these difficult choices." WATE is showing Oprah instead.
A few years ago, NBC showed "Schindler's List." Former House member, and now Senator-elect from Oklahoma, Tom Coburnsaid that the network sank "to an all-time low, with full frontal nudity, violence and profanity being shown in our homes;" and said that the tv ratings system "only encourages more sex and violence." Apparently this half-wit can't tell "Schindler's List" from Commando.
Advice: build your video libary, while you can.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Marine Father, Marine Son

In the November 22 issue of the American Conservative(not on line), former Marine Leon Knauer laments the disservice that the Bush administration is doing to his son, serving in Iraq. He is especially disturbed that the President has refused to seriously address the troop shortage in that country. "During the campaign, President Bush discounted our troop shortage and asserted that the Iraqi militia would soon replace our military . . . Neither candidate had the political courage to suggest reinstating the draft because that would run the risk of losing votes . . .few in our society are feeling any pain. Few are really participating in this war. If the draft is not a viable option, we are clearly not committed and should prepare for an orderly withdrawal."
I don't favor a draft, but Knauer has a point. The president, knowing all along that he was going to invade Iraq, didn't even call on patriotic volunteers to join up when his moral authority was so high in the aftermath of 9/11. So today; our military is stretching the reserves to the limit, calling up members of the Inactive Reserve, holding people in the service after their contract has expired and sending the mothers of young children into harms way in order to maintain troop levels in Iraq.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Limited Terms, Unlimited Offices

I was just looking at Robert Novak's introduction to former class of 94 Repubican Representative Tom Coburn's book, Breach of Trust. In it, Novak praises Coburn as a real "citizen legislator" who abided by his self-imposed three term limit and went back home. Coburn, of course, was just elected as a senator from Oklahoma last week. I guess he got tired of being just a citizen.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Reading Is Fundamental

Is basic literacy a requirement to publish a weblog, or be a fancy-pants law professor? Maybe not. Glenn Reynolds interperets the quote below from Daily Kos as "hoping for our "defeat in Iraq." But if you read the part emphasized, you see that Kos is assuming that defeat is a likely outcome of our policy, as opposed to a wish for such result.
For the last two years, people who have resorted to history instead of wishful thinking, have worried about the outcome of war in Iraq.
Of Course, it is possible that Reynolds didn't bother to read the original post at all, since he links to a post from Belgravia Dispatch which characterizes those who don't trust the Pollyannaish war talk from the Bush administration as "noxious, irresponsible, morally defunct, defeatist, lazy and indulgent."

"The big silver lining, and it's significant, is that Kerry won't be tarred for cleaning up Bush's mess. Had Kerry gotten us out of Iraq, he would've been blamed for "losing the war". Now Bush will ineptly lose it for himself. Kerry would've been forced to make sense of a mess of a budget. Now Bush will be responsible for his own half-trillion dollar deficits."--Daily Kos

Wilson & Bush

Jonah Goldberg is correct, Woodrow Wilson was a "terrible man," or at least a terrible president. Of course, what Goldberg fails to mention is that his political heir is George W. Bush.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Is It Safe?

The election is over, I think. It looks like Bush one this time, although when I checked National Review's "The Corner" early this morning, you would have never guessed, judging from the bitter and nasty comments coming from the likes of Mark Steyn:
"Edwards, who was a disastrous pick as V-P, was mega-lame in Copley Square. How can you trot out that "make every vote count" line - which is Democratic code for "lawsuits" - when Bush is ahead by four million votes and heading to break President Reagan's 1984 record as the most votes ever stacked up by any President? Didn't their man Michael Moore demand that both Kerry and Bush agree that whoever wins the "most votes" should become President? These guys have no class, and, while Andrew Sullivan was certainly gracious, his candidates are graceless to the end."

Geez, give the guys a chance to think things through. It was better for Kerry to wait a few hours, and make sure, before conceding, which is what he did, than to retract it a few hours later, like Al Gore in 2000. It gave them time to assess the situation, where Bush still had not gone over 270 votes, and it also gave his crazier supporters some time for the inevitable to sink in. But I wouldn't try to tell that to Hugh Hewitt, who went schoolmarm on Kerry. "Contrast that with Tom Daschle, Tony Knowles and Betty Castor, and of course John Kerry. No reasonable interpretation of the data in any of these races can give any of these candidates a win, but they are hanging on.
This is not the conduct of a great party, but it is also not surprising for the party of Michael Moore. What an example for the new democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq. . ." What was Kerry doing, passing notes in study hall?
Some Kerry supporters, who at least had the excuse of having backed the loser, were worse; as a couple of intemperate posts by South Knox Bubba shows. SKB espies a military draft and an epidemic of incest related pregnancies resulting from Bush's victory. I'll take a wait-and-see attitude on both concerns.
Bush is a disaster as president, but I see the bright side of his reelection. From here on out, Republicans and their media camp followers have no one to blame for anything. Need more troops in Iraq? Seniors revolt over the new drug benefit? Iran pointing nukes at us? What to do now Mr. President?

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Talking Heads

Something Bugs me about this quote from Jonah Goldberg: "That is how Europe will read it. That's how the United Nations will read it. That is how the New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and the entire chattering class will read it."
Can you guess what it is? Yes, that's right -- Jonah is himself a member of the Chattering Class. One might assume from his derision aimed at the haughty editors of The New York Review of Books that Mr. Goldberg spends his days rebuilding carburetors or plowing the south forty out in the Real America, instead of composing his syndicated columns before dashing off to appear on CNN. But one would be wrong.

Update: Paul Krugman(registration required), on the other hand, owns up to membership in said class: "Far from being discouraged by what happened in 2000, they seem to realize more than ever - and better than those of us in the chattering classes - what a precious thing the right to vote really is. And they are determined to exercise that right."

Subvert, Undermine, Destroy!

Last week, William Tucker called for Republicans to behave themselves should John Kerry win the election. The initial response from Spectator readers is not encouraging(scroll down).
My favorite quote: "If Kerry wins, I will do all that is humanly possible to subvert, undermine, malign and destroy his presidency. . ."