Having caved in to the Republican base on taxes and religion, McCain now panders on immigration, as well, and abandons his principles on campaign financing. The old guy is giving Romney a run for his money on who can be the least principled. Or maybe Old John just can’t remember what he used to think. He’s still my choice for president of Del Boca Vista, Phase II.
Monthly Archives: December 2007
The war against Bin Laden and his allies has been lost. Because of the criminal assault on Iraq.
The United States supports reconciliation talks with Taliban fighters who have no ties to al-Qaida and accept Afghanistan’s constitution, the U.S. ambassador said Thursday.
William Wood said the U.S. is in favor of a “serious reconciliation program with those elements of the Taliban who are prepared to accept the constitution and the authority of the elected government” of President Hamid Karzai.
Let me be clear about one thing: ALL elements of the Taliban sympathize with and support al Qaeda. That’s their whole purpose. They are both Sunni extremist groups that share the same goal of enforcing medieval Islamic law on whomever they can.
So if I hear another word about how Republicans are “strong on security,” I’m going to ralph on my keyboard. To illustrate what I’m talking about, let’s take a trip in the ol’ wayback machine to September 15, 2001. That’s when the tough-talking, cheerleader-in-chief set the stage for future irony by telling us all:
We will find those who did it; we will smoke them out of their holes; we will get them running and we’ll bring them to justice. We will not only deal with those who dare attack America, we will deal with those who harbor them and feed them and house them.
Make no mistake about it: underneath our tears is the strong determination of America to win this war. And we will win it.
I guess when he said that, his definition of “deal” meant to engage in half-hearted, indecisive military operations for six years, followed by a “serious reconciliation program.”
Famously and consistently wrong pundit Bill Kristol, recently booted by TIME magazine, somehow gets a gig at the NY Times.
if the Peter Principle were true, George Bush and Bill Kristol would be the street-cleaner and dogcatcher in Crawford, Texas.
via Glenn Greenwald:
…the annual survey of worldwide privacy rights conducted by Privacy International and EPIC has been released for 2007, and the U.S. has been downgraded from “Extensive Surveillance Society” to “Endemic Surveillance Society,” the worst possible category there is for privacy protections, the category also occupied by countries such as China, Russia, Singapore and Malaysia. The survey uses a variety of objective factors to determine the extent of privacy protections citizens enjoy from their government, and the U.S. now finishes at the bottom for obvious reasons.
Evidence that we are becoming a lawless surveillance state is abundant. But let’s forget all of that and figure out how we can best micro-manage the internal affairs of Pakistan and Iraq and Russia and Iran so that we can preserve Freedom and Democracy for the world.
on my way into the office, I stopped by my mail slot, where a book lay in wait. It was called “Secrets of 24: The Unauthorized Guide to the Political & Moral Issues Behind TV’s Most Riveting Drama.”
One of my Times columns on “24” was included in it. So I spent the rest of the morning re-reading the piece five or ten times, and happening upon the table of contents, where I’d accidentally find my name.
I also read interviews with Joel Surnow, “24”’s co-creator, with Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays Chloe O’Brian, with Shohreh Aghdashloo, who played the anguished wife, Dina, in the terrorist sleeper cell family featured in Season Four. I read some “Reflections on 24 and the Real World” by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, assertions that “The Threats Portrayed on 24 Are Quite Realistic” by former CIA Director James Woolsey, an interview with former FBI Director William S. Sessions (“I Sleep Well at Night”) and a surreal account of how the dean of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point plus three experienced military interrogators traveled to Hollywood to meet with the “24” creative team to try to beg them to tone down the show’s use of torture for the good of the American viewing public – and for our troops.
I learned how some of the young American military interrogators in Iraq, in places like Mosul, Fallujah and, of course, Abu Ghraib, used “24”’s screenplays as a guidebook when trying to figure out the right way to extract information from detainees. Lacking leadership from the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush, they turned instead to Jack Bauer for insight and inspiration.
“All the people who were actually conducting interrogations were privates or specialists who had no idea what they were doing,” Tony Lagouranis, a former U.S. Army interrogator at Abu Ghraib, said in an interview. “[The Bush Administration] said the Geneva Conventions don’t apply, so we had no idea what the rules were. They took away our rules and our training, so we really had nothing to fall back on, and the only role models we had were from TV and movies.”
There is much that can be said, pro and con, about “24.” But contemplating the inner lives of troops who, devoid of guidance, education, and consistent training, turned to a sadistic action adventure series for direction, leaves me speechless.
What kind of country produces this kind of person and ships him – or her – overseas? What kind of military leadership would leave such people unattended to run sensitive operations in the nightmare hours when “24” goes dark?
I’ve always considered “24” to be pure fluff and fun. But it is time, I think, to widen out the gaze to the periphery, and let it dwell there for an uncomfortably long time.
This is one sick era.
Will Smith stars in this unfortunate film, which makes me think of a collage of old movie plots, none of which I liked very much…horrible virus, war of the worlds, road warriors, zombies, Twilight Zone, Rin Tin Tin. It’s a rather shocking horror flick, but also a psychological thriller, a loud sci fi chiller, close encounters, a computer graphics wonderland, and a plot that seems half baked. The ending is limp.
Don’t waste your time unless you really, really like expensive popcorn. 1 out of 4.
hmmm…..I guess they don’t teach about astronomy, biology, zoology, botany, genetics, paleontology, geology…or telling the truth…..
Science teachers are not allowed to teach creationism alongside evolution in Texas public schools, the courts have ruled. But that’s exactly what the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research wants them to do.
The institute is seeking state approval to grant an online master’s degree in science education to prepare teachers to “understand the universe within the integrating framework of Biblical creationism,” according to the school’s mission statement.
Last week, an advisory council made up of university educators voted to recommend the program for approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, sparking an outcry among science advocates who have fended off attempts by religious groups to insert creationism into Texas classrooms.
“It’s just the latest trick,” said James Bower, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas at San Antonio who has publicly debated creationists. “They have no interest in teaching science. They are hostile to science and fundamentally have a religious objective.”
Critics of evolution — the theory that life forms morphed slowly over time into their present forms — have ignited heated debates over the teaching of science in K-12 public schools.
The Institute for Creation Research, which recently moved to Dallas from Santee, Calif., says it teaches its graduate students “more typical secular perspectives” alongside creationism.
But students and faculty must profess faith in a literal translation of Biblical creation — that God created the world in six days and made humans and animals in their current life forms; that the Earth is only thousands of years old; and the fossil record is the result of a global flood described in the Bible, according to the Web site.
2005 is the warmest year in recorded history. Through November, NASA reports that 2007 is looking like it will be the second warmest. This at a time when solar activity is at a minimum. According to NASA, we would be even warmer but for the El Nina phenomenon.
The Senate rejects effective action on climate change because its members are bought and bound by the companies that stand to lose. When you study the tables showing who gives what to whom, you are struck by two things.
One is the quantity. Since 1990, the energy and natural resources sector – mostly coal, oil, gas, logging and agribusiness – has given $418m to federal politicians in the US. Transport companies have given $355m. The other is the width: the undiscriminating nature of this munificence. The big polluters favour the Republicans, but most of them also fund Democrats.
….Until the American people confront their political funding system, their politicians will keep speaking from the pocket…
Twenty years ago, Hansen kicked off this issue by testifying before Congress that the planet was warming and that people were the cause. At the time, we could only guess how much warming it would take to put us in real danger. Since the pre-Industrial Revolution concentration of carbon in the atmosphere was roughly 275 parts per million, scientists and policymakers focused on what would happen if that number doubled — 550 was a crude and mythical red line, but politicians and economists set about trying to see if we could stop short of that point. The answer was: not easily, but it could be done.
In the past five years, though, scientists began to worry that the planet was reacting more quickly than they had expected to the relatively small temperature increases we’ve already seen…
The rapid melt of most glacial systems, for instance, convinced many that 450 parts per million was a more prudent target.
But the data just keep getting worse. The news this fall that Arctic sea ice was melting at an off-the-charts pace and data from Greenland suggesting that its giant ice sheet was starting to slide into the ocean make even 450 look too high. Consider: We’re already at 383 parts per million, and it’s knocking the planet off kilter in substantial ways. So, what does that mean?
It means, Hansen says, that we’ve gone too far. “The evidence indicates we’ve aimed too high — that the safe upper limit for atmospheric CO2 is no more than 350 ppm,” he said after his presentation. Hansen has reams of paleo-climatic data to support his statements (as do other scientists who presented papers at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco this month). The last time the Earth warmed two or three degrees Celsius — which is what 450 parts per million implies — sea levels rose by tens of meters, something that would shake the foundations of the human enterprise should it happen again.