Monday, March 31, 2008


I watched a certain Republican strategist and UI Lecture series hecklee on C-Span’s Road to the White House this weekend. I’m reluctant to be specific here because I know that his name alone is enough to send some readers into a blind rage. Should I call him Rarl Kove? Does that make anyone angry? How about Snarl Stove? Gargamel? Maybe I’ll stick with his given name.

So, Turdblossom gave a lecture at George Washington University on Friday about the 2008 election. For the most part, he talked about Barack Obama and responded to several things that Obama has said in his speeches. Readers may be familiar with Obama’s repeated mentions of “Obamicans” – Republicans who approach him and whisper their support for his presidency. ‘He-who-shall-not-be-mentioned’ responded with, “What about the McCainocrats?”

Indeed, what about the McCainocrats? Certainly McCain has more support from Democrats than most Republicans, but he hasn’t given them a catchy name like Obama has for his Republican supporters. My sense is that we’ll see McCainocrats begin to surface in large numbers once the Democratic nominee is determined. I know many people who have declared their support for McCain if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, and I’m sure the same goes for many of her supporters if Obama secures the nomination.

McCain is in an interesting position right now. The media has practically ignored him, but that’s not a bad place to be while Obama and Hillary tear one another apart. He secured the Republican nomination early and hasn’t needed to lower himself to attacking his opponents. But not only has he not been on the attack, he’s gone out of his way to condemn recent attacks on Obama by Steve King and Bill Cunningham. He insists on having a civil campaign.

We shall see how that civil campaign strategy works out once he has a solid opponent, but McCain has nowhere to go but up. Conventional wisdom would suggest McCain needs to get back into the spotlight to gain support; campaigns rely on repetition and name recognition. The Democrats are getting the majority of the news coverage, and they may only hurt themselves if the smear campaigns continue. It’s still very early in the campaign, and I think McCain may have the right idea for now – Staying in the background, being a nice guy, and waiting for the McCainocrats to surface.

I also recommend Obama supporters watch the video of the Snarl Stove lecture. I realize how difficult that will be for you, but the majority of his talk is about Obama. It's a good indication of what's yet to come if Obama secures the nomination. Video can be viewed at C-Span's Road to the White House site.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Why Limbaugh is laughing

Amidst the countless political poles being thrown at us from all directions, one particularly disappointing one has recently taken hold of the Democratic spotlight. Despite the lack of any significant policy disagreements between the Democratic candidates, many supporters of each campaign have decided that, come November, it’s going to be all or nothing. That is, Democrats on both sides have made it clear that, if their candidate doesn't win, they'll either vote McCain, or not vote at all.

It has never been disputed that the policies of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have much in common. Nor has it been disputed that this lack of substantive difference is likely the reason for which the nomination race is rapidly becoming the largest, most expensive popularity contest in history. However, in allowing themselves to become so beguiled by the peaks and valleys of this ongoing personal squabble, these supporters have reached a level of obstinacy so unwavering as to put the success of a candidate before that of his or her party. Wasn’t the underlying objective of this Democratic nomination to cauterize the contemporary wounds that have been inflicted by Bush, Cheney, and the like? Perhaps the indisputable damage caused by the current administration left Democrats believing that a Presidential victory was all but certain. Very likely, though it may be, such is a prediction that can only be affirmed if Democrats actually go out and vote—and vote for the candidate of their own party.

Supporters on both sides would do well to limit their considerations to the four years after the Presidential election. Even the most stubborn Democrats will admit that the policies set to be put in place by the candidates are remarkably similar; that is, the things these candidates would actually do as President are nearly indistinguishable. Considering the obvious and widespread regret at having allowed George W. Bush to take office, it seems that these are the things Democrats ought to be considering. Because, without a doubt, most liberals would admit that a second-choice Democrat is greatly preferable to an extended conservative reign.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Our liberties we prize and our rights we....oh whatever.

Only in Iowa.

I'm in my car yesterday, doing deliveries for my "real" job. Windows down, it's in the upper 50's, and for some reason it feels like a summer day, likely because this winter has been the mother bitch of all winters. The sun does enough for me that I don't need a jacket, and I've got a Cubs spring training game on the radio.

Then it happens.

During a break, I'm brought back to reality. I say I'm brought back to reality, but I can't quite convey the force of this action. Let's just say it was something like having an intense itch in your netherregion, but instead of using your hand to scratch it you used a cheese grater.

What brought me back was the forecast, or more specifically the "winter weather warning" that the announcer was droning about for parts of Iowa. 62 degrees, sunny, and less than 24 hours from an ass load of snow.

That's Iowa! Joy!

I'm annoyed by having two sets of clothes to switch back and forth between; summer and winter. I miss the convenience of wearing flip flops everywhere, of never needing a heater, of burning my hands when I touch the steering wheel. I'd rather deal with humidity and mosquitoes than a shovel and an icy sidewalk. And I'll take a hurricane over a tornado any day. With a hurricane, you buy lots of liquor, lots of food, and have friends over for a few days. With a tornado, you hop out of bed at two in the morning to shut the weather alarm off and scramble downstairs. Which one would you rather deal with?

I need cheesecake from European Street in Jacksonville. I need macadamia-encrusted grouper at Gypsy Cab in St. Augustine. I want to watch the shuttle take off in Titusville, cruise the bee line in a hard rain, and watch armadillos scurry away from me on the back nine at Disney's Magnolia course.

So spring break didn't work out, but the week after the semester is over I'm headed to the keys for ten days. Ten days to recharge my batteries so I can deal with this place a while longer. Don't get me wrong, I love that the average IQ here is so much higher, and you guys have great state parks. And the girls here are damn cute and they can actually hold an intelligent conversation.

But I've gotta get out of this place. You guys are driving me nuts with your parking ticket obsession.

Just Think.....

Last week, this nation recognized the ignoble fifth anniversary of our engagement in Iraq. Earlier this week, the country was stung by news of the 4,000th U.S. combat-death in Iraq. Indeed, the toll of the war in terms of blood and capital has been devastating. 4,000 U.S. deaths palls in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's who have been killed, displaced or wounded in the conflict. According to the National Priorities Project,, the total cost of the war to-date trumps $505 billion. It's a staggering figure. Broken down, that sum delineates to:

$4,681 per household.
$1,721 per person
$341.4 million per day

Counterfactuals have recently become a flashpoint for liberals everywhere. Questions like "what if Bush weren't elected to a second-term?" and "What if he weren't elected at all?" loom large. If we were never involved in this protracted and senseless conflict, would we be thriving in a utopian land of milk-and-honey? What could we have done with the half trillion dollars we squandered? Better schools, newer roads, safer cities? The problem with counterfactuals is that they are open for disagreement; impossible to pin-down. But, as the economy sours and bank accounts everywhere crumble, it's tough to argue that the capital we have invested in Iraq wouldn't have been of more beneficial use domestically.

Through five years of conflict, the insurgency rages on. Iraqi infrastructure remains inadequate, its political structures are stained by corruption, ethnic tension and lethargy, and its people continue to suffer through an inept and whimsical occupation. If our fifth-year anniversary in Iraq were refined to mere symbols, it would be best depicted by a series of dollar signs and question marks. We still don't have a clear exit strategy, Iraq remains on the brink of an all-out civil war and the millions of dollars we spend in Iraq every day, far from helping reestablish broken infrastructure, seem to disappear into the untraceable desert sands.

The fifth may seem bad, but without decisive action, the sixth, seventh, and eighth will be even worse. Let's pray there won't be a tenth, fifteenth, twentieth.....

An addendum to Thursday's editorial

Our Voltairian stance on's right to exist notwithstanding, I personally feel that there are real arguments for seriously restricting a site like that.

Newspapers are guilty of libel if they publish libelous statements, period. Pretend for a moment that a major public figure was quoted in the Daily Iowan saying that "person x has sexually transmitted diseases because he or she is such a slut." (This hypothetical libeler is no sexist.) Assuming that this is untrue, person x can sue the DI for libel and win handily, even though nobody at the DI libeled person x. The DI published it and is therefore responsible. End of discussion.

Now, that said, it's pretty hard to win a libel case in this country -- especially against a newspaper -- because there are very strict standards that have to be met for something to be libel. Generally, unless whoever published it was breathtakingly careless or actively malicious, there's not much to be done.

To my mind, juicycampus is a fusion of those things. Their whole business plan is centered on publishing scurrilous crap. They encourage and promote it. The First Amendment was in no way created to protect harmful, malicious bilge like this. Please, stay free of this pestilence.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Break Job Search

It's an interesting feeling to know that you're going to graduate in less than two months and student loan repayment will begin shortly thereafter. Perhaps "Panic" is a better word to describe the feeling. In my entire college career I've never done anything for spring break other than stay in town and work. This year was different. This year I decided to go to DC and look for work.

I've never been to DC before but the city has everything I want. The thing I'll miss most about the U of I is all of the access that I have to student resources along with all the lectures and the general academic atmosphere. What city in the country could offer a more intellectually stimulating environment than DC? Not only do the think tanks, agencies and nonprofits have regular debates and speakers, but there's also Congressional hearings, Supreme Court oral arguments, and Smithsonian exhibits. (Plus, the Newseum is opening in April! This place is like Disney World for a nerd like me!)

So, I made arrangements and went to DC last week to talk to a couple of prospective employers, look for apartments, and generally get acquainted with the city and try to find my way around. After I finalized the arrangements, I received a plethora of advice like, "I wouldn't want to live there." or "Don't walk by yourself late at night. Make sure you're with a group of people." and other random warnings of crime and potential danger. At first, it made an impression as I thought, "What am I getting myself into?" But those hesitations quickly vanished as I realized - I'd much rather take my chances on meeting up with pickpockets and con artists than to stay home, safe and afraid of the rest of the world. The thought of living my entire life in the Midwest is far too depressing.

I went out there and it turns out, I love DC. I didn't even need to use my pepper spray once! I found the people in DC to be really nice, and everyone was helpful. When I talked to potential employers, they gave me tips about where to look for an apartment; When I looked at apartments, I learned more about how to get around and what neighborhoods to avoid. I loved it.

Perhaps the most convincing thing for me was not how much I loved DC, but how unimpressed I was with the few touristy things I did. I think I learned more about U.S. history from watching the John Adams miniseries on HBO than I did from touring the capital. The best part of my tourist endeavors was actually a walk in front of the capital. The lady in front of me was walking her dog in front of the reflecting pool, and the dog just ran off and took a flying leap into the reflecting pool and started swimming around, happy as hell to be in the nation's capital.

I'm with you, pooch.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

John McHalf-Wit

Oh, please. Does anyone really think that he just misspoke?

It's a good thing that the president doesn't need encyclopedic, precise knowledge of the difference between Sunnis and Shi'ites. Boy, then we'd really be in trouble!

It blows my mind that the presidential nominee, in this age of at-your-fingertips knowledge, are still so breathtakingly ignorant of such basic facts about the most explosive region on the planet. Oh wait, the last guy to be breathtakingly ignorant on foreign policy won two terms.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Hillary Clinton Experience

Clinton on her "experience." From Tuesday's Investor's Business Daily:

"You know," she said, "helping to support the peace process in Northern Ireland, negotiating to open borders so that (Kosovar) refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing would be safe, going to Beijing and standing up for women's rights as human rights and so much else."

First, she never played a key role in brokering peace in Northern Ireland, according to former first minister David Trimble (NASDAQ:TRMB) , who said she had no direct role in the talks. Her husband, the president, was engaged in the talks, yes, said Trimble.

Hillary also says she was instrumental in pressing Beijing on human rights. But she carried no official portfolio while speaking on women's rights there.
In fact, Hillary did not attend any National Security Council meetings. She never sat in the Situation Room during Desert Fox or the Kosovo war, or read in on presidential security briefings. Nor was she part of the Cabinet.

Too bad they won't have another debate to discuss all this "experience." Maybe Chelsea can live in the White House with her should she win the nomination. That way, by the end of Hillary's second term, Chelsea will have 16 years of "experience."

And by this logic, Roger Clemens' wife might be a good candidate for the Cubs' fifth starter spot, right? After all, she's been around a lot of baseball, she's won a lot of championships.

Red. White and Itchy

America- home of the free, land of the.......herpes? Results from a study released yesterday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that one in four American girls between the ages of 14-19 is infected with an STD. That's right, attend a women's basketball game at any high school in the U.S. and odds are, if the center doesn't have chlamydia, the guard's battling gonnorhea.

While it's true the survey's limited sample size (only 838 girls participated) and narrow scope (it only recorded the prevalence of the four most common STD's: HPV, chlamydia, herpes, and trichomoniasis) dampen the startling numbers, the core findings are impressive.

Over 3 million American adolescent females are infected. For females who reported being sexually active ( more than one partner) the results are even more shocking: A full 40 percent have at least one STD, many thousands have more than one.

Along with the new raw data has come a desperate search for answers. Why the explosion in the rates of STD's? Why, in 2006, did the number of teen pregnancies see its first jump in over 15 years? The effect isn't limited to females- males are feeling the burn also, with the CDC reporting an increase in their rates of STD's also.

Who's to blame? Is it the media, saturating our impressionable youth with sexually provocative images and smiling, promiscuous characters? Or, as many have argued, is it the manner of sexual education in our schools. The Bush Administration has flushed more than $1.5 billion into abstinence-only sex-ed programs, teaching youth about the dangers of sex and the importance of remaining pure.

The problem with this philosophy is that for so many hormone-swelled teenagers, keeping it in their pants isn't a practical option. The cultural taboo against casual sex is very much still in place, but damn Betty looks good. And, as evidenced by the surging rate of STD infections, America's youth isn't staying in to play monopoly or watch scary movies. Teens will be teens, and sex is an inevitability. STDs, however, aren't. By educating our adolescents on safe-sex practices and preventative techniques, the disturbing trend can be stopped.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Food for thought

Any predictions on the Clinton camps spin Wednesday?

-Spitzer's fault?
-Mississippi isn't important (Tried and true, I'd go with this one)
-The entire state is sexist (The "Swift" theory)
-We were outspent there (Only works if they didn't promote their fund raising amounts)
-Complete and total denial; "Clinton wins 93% of the vote in Mississippi" (Not too crazy for this campaign)
-Nader stole our thunder (The "Watson" theory)

Have a theory of your own?

Why the Cleveland Indians are the best organization in baseball

See, even if you don't give a hoot about baseball, you have reason to support the Tribe.

Isn't it nice when you can root for your teams not only because they're smart and intelligent baseball franchises, who employ only character individuals, but that they take their intelligence and use it to better their surroundings as well?
"In June 2007 the Indians became the first American League team to "Go Solar" by installing 42 GE solar panels in the upper deck of Progressive Field. The solar installation has provided 8.4 kilowatts of clean, renewable electricity to power more than 400 TVs in the ballpark and also introduce solar energy concepts to millions in Northeast Ohio.

The Indians are poised to continue supporting the environment during the 2008 season by launching the campaign "Our Tribe is Green...Are you in the Tribe?" This campaign will involve utilizing recyclable paper, vending corn starch cups for the first time in the concession stands that decompose in a landfill in only 30 days, introduce a fan services team called "The Indians Green Team" to focus on recycling during all gamedays, install special "Pepsi" recyclable containers for plastic and aluminum cans throughout Progressive Field and continue to recycle all paper and cardboard products."
Hah. Go Indians.

p.s. Grady Sizemore hit two home runs today.

Why David is Wrong

Okay, I've read several comments throughout the blogosphere expressing David Goodner's point of view about the Rove lecture, and I'm going to write this before I lose my cool. (You don't want me to lose my cool!) I'm going to start out - though I'm sure it will fall upon deaf ears on either side of Goodner's brain - by saying that I respect the opinions of the anti-war protesters, and their right to express it. Freedom of speech does not exist on a scale; there are no weights and measures involved. It is neither a punishment nor a reward, it's a constitutional right. I understand how the hecklers feel about Karl Rove, but the argument (directed toward me) "Your right to listen to a war criminal obfuscate the truth doesn't trump the rights of hundreds of other people to voice their opinions in the manner they deem fit" perplexes me. "In the manner they deem fit"? Who is setting the rules here? I, along with several hundred people, attended a lecture for its intended purposes. Others saw fit to set their own agenda, much to the displeasure of those of us who thought we were coming to a lecture. I suppose I could sit in my classroom and scream insults at my professors and claim I had the right to do it. I've paid thousands of dollars to this University, should I have the right to impede the education of others if I deem fit? [okay, technically I haven't paid thousands of dollars but I will be for the next twenty years or so.]

Better yet, can I go to the upcoming UIAC/IVAW event and scream insults at the Veterans as they speak out against the war? Perhaps the Lecture Committee should show up just to yell "Liar!" and "killer" to the veterans. Surely the UIAC wouldn't object if that's how they want to express themselves. Right?

Some people feel that Rove deserves their treatment toward him b/c of things he's done. This is where you're wrong. It is not for you to decide if Karl Rove is a war criminal or a murderer. Karl Rove may very well deserve any number of things; but you know what? Bull Connor and the Birmingham police deserved to have hoses and attack dogs turned on them, too. Look at any image from the Civil Rights movement and it is quite clear who is in the right and who is wrong. What is so amazing about Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement is that acts of civil disobedience exude such dignity and strength of character that the protesters never lowered themselves to the level of those they protest. A movement was built on raising awareness and rising above the situation. The minute the protesters act belligerent, aggressive or violent, it becomes difficult to tell who's who. David made the argument that Rove would've just lied and smeared the truth if they had allowed him to speak out. There's truth in that statement. But instead of allowing Rove to act in an undignified manner, the hecklers took it upon themselves to do so. I have no problem with the protests outside or before or after the event. (The Karl Rove with the giant check was entertaining & got everyone's attention.) My real complaint here is the interruptions throughout the lecture. And now I'm getting annoyed at these exaggerated comments being thrown around to defend them.

Another point I'd like to weigh in on is the supposed well thought out questions by the audience. A quote from David Goodner: "...he responded to a very reasonable and well-phrased question about iraqi civilian casualties by accusing the questionaire of libeling the troops. " Surely you're not referring to the question, "How many civilians do you estimate have died, and how many of those deaths are you responsible for?" The "questionaire" accused Rove of murder! You're upset b/c Rove accused him of libel? Please do not argue the point that it's okay b/c Rove IS guilty of murder. They are both accusations, and until you can prove it in a court of law, they are equally unwarranted.

Lastly, and this is the part that frustrates me the most, I can't believe I am defending Karl Rove. I understand that the UIAC always feels like they're on the defensive with the DI, but at the heart of this whole stupid, senseless argument about this unfathomable war - we actually all agree. We're arguing about methods of protest, what constitutes free speech, and what level of discourse is warranted. While we get upset and split hairs; there's a f-ing war going on. A war that - to the best of my knowledge - everyone on the DI opinions staff would like to be over tomorrow. We all hate this war. We disagree on when or how to leave, and we definitely disagree on how that sentiment is best expressed. Dammit. UIAC, I would love for there to be resolution the war in Iraq. I just can't get my head around your tactics. I attended the lecture not only to listen to Rove, but to observe. Sure, I didn't expect him to reveal any new information, but I would simply like a better understanding of the situation. Why is it more important to insult the guy than to let people watch him & make up their own minds if he's a liar or a killer?

Okay, Goodner - your turn. I have another question for you, too: What did you do before the War?

Women drivers

OK, so that made you think this was going to be a sexist entry, am I right?

A video protest was just released in Saudi Arabia, showing a woman behind the wheel.

Let's get a few things straight. Wahabbi-Islam is a bastardization of a wonderful, very beautiful religion (ever hear the call to prayer at dusk?) - and most of its tenets have no place in either the Koran or the Hadith. Its absurd restrictions on women have very little to do with Islam, and very much to do with the tribal upbringings that Wahabbi preachers first emerged from. Therefore, the neo-conservative view - held not just by neo-conservatives, however - that their democracy promotion will liberate women from the shackles of repressive Islamic customs is wholly inaccurate.


I have a problem.

After reading my last column - yet another piece bashing on the Clintons and praising our savior Barack Obama - I have come to the conclusion that I write way too much about the primary. I mean, I should have written about the end of The Wire - now that's gonna have to wait until the Monday after Spring Break.

I refresh here and here about every 14 seconds, get noticeably angry while reading coverage online, and have seriously othered Hillary Clinton supporters.

So, I ask of all of you, please help me through this difficult time. Please don't let me write about the primary again.

Admitting the problem is the first step.

New Post Just For Jon

This is actually a continuation of a comment made on a previous post, but I'm starting a new entry to avoid another reprimand from Jon for lengthy comments.

The blog entry was about the U of I giving Karl Rove $40,000 to not answer questions. My response is to the comment from publici08. First of all, I should've known better. I should have known that making the statement "...he may be correct..." in reference to Karl Rove would lead to accusations of inaccurate statements. It's difficult to get beyond my disbelief that someone from the Center for Public Integrity is aware that the DI Opinions blog exists; but my attempts to comprehend have sparked a mental image of the Center as an institutional version of Marlo Stanfield, responding to accusations of bias through clenched teeth: "My name is on the blog? My name is my NAME!"

For everyone other than the two people reading who watch the Wire, you have to trust me - it's a delightful personification. Much like the fictional Baltimore Kingpin, the Center does not take kindly to accusations (and I must say, their scope of research is impressive if it reaches Iowa.) So, when I mentioned Karl Rove's response to 935 false statements discovered by the Center for Public Integrity, I was - as Jon said - dished up some hot spicy pwnage[sic] on behalf of the Center. I don't like being accused of inaccurate statements any more than an independent nonprofit
501(c)(3) likes to be accused of bias, so I'll explain exactly what led me to the offending statements.

First of all, bias itself is subjective. Some people think Fox News is fair and balanced, some think the New York Times is objective. It all depends on where you're standing. Stephen Colbert said it best at the White House Correspondents Shunfest: Reality has a well known liberal bias. From where Karl Rove is standing, nearly everyone is on the left.

But, no matter how far left of Rove you stand, there are factors that would lead one to believe that the Center truly is left of center; the first of which would be a visit to their website, The home page links to investigations about misstatements by the Bush administration, an environmental study kept under wraps by the administration, analysis of U.S. government contracts in Iraq, post-9/11 foreign policy, and not to mention the video of Condi Rice being grilled by a Florida Congressman (Colbert Report fans know him - he has lots of fun things to do!) with a web address for Rep. Wexler's site calling for Cheney's impeachment. This is not my personal opinion, but society likes to put people in either a blue box or a red box. When measuring the words "Bush" and "Clinton" in the site's search function, the Clinton search finds 4 ambiguous-sounding headlines, the Bush search nets 34, with varying degrees of contention. Surely one can see how this organization would be filed in the blue box with the donkey on the front.

The ties to George Soros I mentioned were from Open Society grants. I did not mean to suggest any involvement beyond financial support; which Soros is generally known for.

I have another reaction to yesterday's comment as well. I find it curious that anytime someone accuses the Center of bias, they bring up the investigation of the Clintons and the Lincoln bedroom. When the War Card investigation was released, I saw Bill Buzenberg on C-Span's Q&A when Brian Lamb pressed him on the issue of bias. As I remember it, he even went so far as to ask if anyone working for the Center could be considered "right of center," but Buzenberg looked uncomfortable and brought up the Lincoln bedroom story. I'm not using this as evidence of bias, but I do think it's a bit like calling a white community "culturally diverse" because there's one Jewish person and a Filipino in town.

All of that has nothing to do with my personal opinion of the Center for Public Integrity. In the aforementioned Q&A interview, Brian Lamb made an excellent point. Buzenberg was there to talk about the investigation on misstatements, and Lamb introduced news headlines citing the Center's research. His point was to illustrate the low expectations in contemporary news media. The Center did extensive research on statements by individuals in the Bush administration. The mainstream media just reported it. It was an interesting point that media sources inform the public by saying, "a new study shows..." and giving a brief summary. It really isn't an expectation of mainstream media to do their own investigative reporting anymore. It's quite depressing when you think that nonprofits and think tanks do the investigative wok and media does little more than deliver the headline to their audience. Hell, in some cases corporations are the ones funding the studies. Investigative journalism is a dying art. I have a lot of respect for the Center for Public Integrity and for its founder, Charles Lewis. My intent was not to reinforce Rove's assertions of bias, but to question his reaction as if bias and lies were the same thing.

If there is, in fact, someone affiliated with the Center for Public Integrity who stumbled upon this blog; I may be facing some more snaps. I will say this - I'm planning a trip to DC next week for spring break. If I have in any way misrepresented the Center, you may prove me wrong in person.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sally Kern Speaks Her Mind

"The homosexual agenda is destroying this nation," Oklahoma state Representative Sally Kern said in a recorded conversation that recently found its way to Youtube. As a heterosexual, I'm not an active member of the gay community, but a sideline supporter. So forgive me if I'm misstating the facts, because I'm not allowed to subscribe to the "gay agenda" newsletter. Fortunately, though, as an open-minded American I've learned to network with these so-called "abominations" and have learned that there is indeed a gay agenda lurking in America--that of equality.

Yes, it's a dangerous time in the United States. While us straight people are off legislating love at our state Houses, gay people everywhere are formulating an evil, loathsome plan. Apparently they're asking to receive the same rights afforded to the rest of us. No, no, there's no similarities here between the Civil Rights Act and gay marriage. Banning black people from using public bathrooms is nothing like banning gay people from marriage licenses. It's all just an odd coincidence.

Sally Kern, of course, isn't gay bashing. She says so in the audiotape. Calling homosexuality more dangerous than terrorism is the truth; it's not gay bashing if you're telling the truth. You see, while we're worrying that Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim, we're overlooking the real danger to America.

"Gays are infiltrating city councils," Kern said. Review your Constitution, ladies and gentleman. What? You don't have a Constitution handy? Well that's terrible! Allow me to read the fine print for you: It seems that gay people are not allowed to hold public office! Somebody warn Larry Craig!

I will concede one point to Kern, however. In her statement, she says that children as young as two years old are being taught that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. Now, my twin nieces are just two years old, and they haven't a clue what the word "gay" means. To be honest, they're still working on their "turtles" and "purples." When they're old enough, though, you damn well better believe that they'll be accepting of all people regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation. If they grow up to sound anything like Sally Kern (and they won't, trust me), I'll have failed as an uncle or role model.

Oh, and as for that part about gay-straight alliances ruining lives? Ms. Kern, you haven't seen anything yet.

Locked out and embarrassed

I'll freely admit that it was my own stupid fault that I couldn't get in to see Karl Rove at the IMU last night. I should have realized that the place would be packed to the rafters and turned up early. One hefty older guy hectored and bullied his way in, but I'm neither that imposing nor that tenacious.

So I waited around for about half an hour, listening to the "conversation" on the speakers in the East lobby and watching the protesters and cops mill around.

I think it was a lousy idea to bring Rove here in the first place. As the most consistently partisan of President Bush's inner circle, he was unlikely to ever shed much light on the administration's undoubted misdeeds. But to call him a war criminal, as many do, cheapens both the argument against Rove and the definition of the term. Karl Rove is indisputably a sleazy, Machiavellian political operator who thinks morals are a kind of mushroom, but that is all he is.

The sound from within the hall -- and the atmosphere outside of it -- was ugly. I could hear a mixture of feverish cheering and furious, screaming opprobrium; so loud that the speakers were almost superfluous. Neither the smug contingent of college Republicans nor the shrill, angry protesters was interested in anything like a free exchange of ideas. And while I'm well aware that Karl Rove lies more or less all the time, we as a university owe a fair hearing to all invited guests. How much more telling to simply and calmly expose the man for what he is instead of screeching mindless invective at him from the cheap seats?

Beyond being disrespectful and childish, behavior like that on display at the Rove lecture makes liberalism look deranged, silly, and out-of-touch. Every time some well-meaning but clueless bunch disrupts a public forum featuring a jerk like Rove, they keep him and his ideas in the news for one more cycle. He thrives on this kind of abuse, ladies and gentlemen; he bathes and luxuriates in your steaming hatred. If you did go to the Rove event last night just to yell at him, you didn't change anybody's mind on anything, least of all his.

The justification for the Iraq war was one based on fear, lies and hatred. And it is sweet reason that will heal our country's wounds, not crude sloganeering.

Almost-Breaking News: Another Corrupt Politician!

Oh, Eliot Spitzer.

The New York Times reported today that, according to senior advisers and administration officials, the soon-to-be-ex governor of New York was involved in a prostitution ring.

Okay, maybe it's too soon to call him an ex governor. This is New York we're talking about here.

But a prostitution ring? How the hell do you even get away with that these days?

I'm really looking forward to hearing more about this.

(P.S. You knew it'd take a scandal to get MSNBC to talk about something other than the primary "race.")

Sunday, March 9, 2008

An Easy 40K

I attended the Karl Rove lecture tonight, and he was about as popular as I expected him to be. What I hadn't expected was the number of outbursts by shouting members of the audience. Protesters met the line of audience members by making their voices heard and handing out flyers with information about an event on March 26th that sounds interesting - two veterans speaking about the Iraq War. That's the part I expected - people speaking out against Rove. I guess I hadn't considered that Rove may not get to speak much because of constant random outbursts by the crowd. Whenever he began a sentence, people scattered throughout the audience would yell, "Liar" or "War Criminal" or any number of terms associated with Rove. It was disruptive and difficult to hear what he was saying. I'm sure that was the point.

I'm always for free speech, but the unfortunate part was that the interviewer, UI Professor Frank Durham, didn't get the chance to ask many questions without being interrupted. I understand that the audience members wanted to communicate how they felt about Rove, but I think Professor Durham did a fine job of doing that in a professional manner. When the interviewer asked questions like, "When will we get our constitution back?" I think it's fair to say that he shared much of the audience's opinion of Rove. I would much prefer that an interviewer confront Rove with direct questions than listen to shouts of "Where's Osama Bin Laden?" that went unanswered but were distracting enough to get those onstage off-point. There were a few times Rove seemed to get upset with questioners and addressed their questions, but the atmosphere was so chaotic to make Professor Durham less effective than he could have been. It's disappointing because I felt the Professor could've expressed the sentiment of the crowd and demanded a direct answer. Instead, it became disorganized and off-topic.

The Q & A session followed an expected line of questioning, generally much less eloquently phrased than Professor Durham. The answers were as expected as well. Rove accused people of libel and insulting the troops. He accused Joe Wilson and Ron Suskind of making false statements. He talked about what a bad guy Saddam Hussein is and what a good guy George W. Bush is. The usual Rovespeak.

I can't say that I learned much, but it was an interesting look at Karl Rove. (Did you know he cries?) He didn't always give direct answers to questions and instead preferred to explain why the questioner was wrong rather than why he is right. When asked about the Center for Public Integrity's findings that the Bush Administration made at least 935 false statements, he replied by writing it off for left-wing bias. That may be true, the Center has been up the Bush administration's ass for quite some time; and they do have ties to George Soros and leftist organizations like the New York Times, NPR, and the Washington Post. So he may be correct in a left-wing bias, but does that discredit everything produced by the Center? He still didn't answer the question.

In the end, some questions went unanswered, and some were answered with Rove defending the position of the Bush Administration and reiterating the importance of confronting terrorists. Someone in front of me kept shouting "You're lying to us! Everything you're saying is a lie!" I couldn't really tell if he was lying or not because I couldn't hear much of what anyone but the crowd was saying. That's the part that really saddens me. Maybe others find satisfaction in the fact that we paid Karl Rove $40,000 to come to Iowa City and be insulted. Personally, I would've rather made him work for his money by addressing every question, and be pressed on his answers rather than letting him off the hook with half-truths.

A kingsized problem

Though he’d surely tell you otherwise, Iowa Congressman Steve King is no stranger to political misstep. His imbecilic legislative proposals are often tarnished by sentiments of racial and religious bigotry and, as his recent comments show, he’s not very good at hiding them.

Bigoted arguments are often marked by a small allotment of evidence and a suspiciously high level of convenience. King is no stranger to this process. His recent attacks on Barack Obama were backed, not by any prevailing evidence, but rather by his own unsupported (and largely nonsensical) impressions of the Islamic people. Citing, among few other things, Obama’s middle name—Hussein—King asserted that an Obama victory would incite “dancing in the streets” among radical Islamists (or, as he eloquently calls them, “is-luh-mists”). King finalized his argument by claiming such a win would allow terrorists to declare their own victory in America’s war on terror.

King’s comments were harshly criticized on national news networks but, true to form, he stands by them. Apparently unfazed by the repudiations being cast at him from all directions, the Iowa Republican seems to be perfectly comfortable in his traditional state of blissful ignorance. Unfortunately, he’s also in the State of Iowa…voting on its behalf.

There will be no dancing in these streets.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Nessie '08

Okay, so Samantha Powers missed her calling, she's clearly cut out to be a Clinton adviser. Hillary is not a monster, (insert punchline here).

Seriously, Powers' actions were sad and wrong. Just because we think something doesn't mean we should say it.

But here's my question; considering the semantic gymnastics that the reporter from the Scotsman followed by publishing her "off the record" comments, what did Powers say that was truly "off the record?"

BTW, is it so wrong that Powers told the reporter that Clinton was "stooping to anything" when Clinton's own handlers were calling their pre-Ohio/Texas strategies "kitchen sink?"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Trashy, trashy

I've tried to do as little Hillary bashing as possible, mostly because it's so commonplace on this blog, but this is absolutely iniquitous.

For somebody who was on the receiving end of Ken Starr's tender ministrations -- think partisan rectal exam -- Hillary sure is quick to dish out the comparison. This, in and of itself, is illuminating.

She knows that neither Obama nor his camp are anything like Ken Starr's special proseculooza. More and more, I'm beginning to buy the Tracy Flick comparison.

How icky.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Is That a Rocket in Your Pocket?

The plane tickets are bought, the meeting rooms are booked, and as I write this, the big, silver platters are being hoisted on the tables and prepped for a feast. This weekend the UI will host a sprawling, three-day conference on China, the Olympics, and the global media. Complete with laminated name tags and flavored coffees, the conference will pull in a who's-who list of journalistic heavyweights. Journalists from the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and nearly every other Pulitzer-winning publication will trek to campus and flock to the Adler Journalism Building. And while they exchange small-talk, relate stories about past Olympics, and complete intellectually straining discourses on the role the media plays in hyping and framing the Olympics, a half world away, in Beijing, the Olympic torch is being paired with a ballistic missile.

The 2008 China Military Report, released earlier this week by the Chinese government, reveals a country sprinting towards militarization. The report shows that the Chinese government spent close to $140 billion modernizing its army last year. That figure is represents a staggering 300 percent increase from 2006, and is widely-believed to be grossly underestimated. The debate is over. China is emerging as a global economic and cultural colossus. But, so far, its military has remained relatively tame. Compared to the U.S. and many of its Western Allies, the Chinese military lacked cutting edge weapons systems, it's soldiers were often poorly equipped and underpaid, and a relatively small percentage of China's total GDP was devoted to its military. Now, the tides have turned. When faced with the choice between guns or rice, the officials in Beijing chose the barrel.

And what does this mean to the West?

China's government is a seemingly unsolvable paradox. It embraces Western-style capitalism as a means of enriching its masses and building its coffers yet remains very much a centrally-planned system. It endorses internal and international human-rights reforms yet subjugates large portions of its population to egregious human rights abuses. If it shows a smile, a frown is stirring underneath. Is the current military build-up a sign of belligerence or unprompted aggression? What do they have in mind? Is an all-out assault on Taiwan out of the question?

It seems clear that China is a country both proud of its past and confident about its role in the future. While it hopes to use the 2008 Olympics as a springboard to international glory, if back flips and breast strokes fail, tanks and bombers will succeed. The cold, hard truth is that military might matters. If China wants to fill its perceived place among the world's elite superpowers, it knows it needs an advanced military, fueled by a large pocket-book. While its exact aims are uncertain, its overarching goal is clear. China is mighty now, and will only grow mightier.

Is Andrew going to be ok?

I don't mean because of the blood pressure meds they'll have to put him on if HRC doesn't drop out soon, either. I found out yesterday that the series finale of the Wire is on Sunday. Sunday as in - the day of the Karl Rove lecture.

Dude, do you have to work at the lecture? Because I'm thinking you're reeeeeaaaalllllllyyyyy going to dislike Karl Rove if you've got to spend the evening with him instead of McNulty and Marlo.

(I almost said "That's Bunk!" but I resisted the urge for a bad pun and put it in parentheses so it wouldn't count.)

He's got my vote!

Ralph Nader, last night, on The Daily Show.

"We have all these problems! Look at daily life (grins) not on the show..."

(That was Ralph Nader making a funny)

" have congested traffic, you have day care costs that are tremendous, cell phone plans that are manipulated."

That's it. I'm hooked. A President Nader will eliminate traffic! Free day care for everyone! And Sprint will no longer tell me what services they offer me and at what price! That's my decision. Or Ralph's.

The Morning After

So I have a few questions on this Wednesday morning:

How did Vince Foster die? As far as I know, the Clintons didn't arrange to have him killed.

Why won't the Clintons release their tax returns? As far as I know, they don't have extremely unethical business dealings with despot governments and oligarchic global businessmen.

What was that Whitewater scandal all about?

What's the meaning of the word is?

I need a hobby that isn't following our twisted, dumbed down, and F'ed up polity.

He's left the vs. despair

The man who made my ostracism from the ranks of the drunks and the popular kids ok just died.

I loved D&D. I am in no way ashamed to admit this. It was what kept us thinking about all the great things we could do for humanity, even when the great majority of humanity was treating us like shit. It was what kept outcasts and nerds thinking about how they were going to be your boss, rather than your servitor.

Gary Gygax was an ameliorator of social ills, and a rectifier of needless self-hatred. If people could get over the witless stigma that attaches to role-playing games, we'd be having a great deal more fun in this world.

Keep rolling twenties, my friend.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

One More Thing

(HRC only cares about herself. Not the party, not the country, not the world. Nothing but her own path to power. Therefore, tearing down Senator Barack Obama - who is going to be the nominee when this thing is over with - is in line with her strategy. If he loses in November, she's running in 2012. That is why she is not dropping out. That is why she is going negative and lying about every god damned thing in the world, and race baiting, and playing to rampant American Islamophobia, etc, etc. Someone needs to stop her. Al Gore, where the F are you?)

So, I really want to counter the inevitable spin

But I promised below that I wouldn't comment on the primary race again. (But folks, the primary race is over. There's no way she can overcome his pledged delegate lead in the remaining states - all very BO friendly other than Pennsylvania, which might as well be after the general election its so far from today.)

(Also, apparently Ohioans buy dumb, negative bullshit. You know what? Screw HRC. I'm mad, even though I've rationalized the hell out of this and know that she can't win. Oh, maybe that's why I'm so mad, because she can't win but still wants to stay in because she thinks the presidency is owed to her, and is quite willing to sabotage a guaranteed Democratic landslide in November for the chance to lose to John McCain in an electoral cycle MADE for Democrats.)

(Whoops. I guess if I write in parentheses it doesn't count. Sort of like Iowa. And South Carolina. And ...)

Pants-crappingly exciting

I don't know if I can handle it. As I write this, Arsenal are seconds away from kicking off their second-leg game against Italian giants AC Milan and the Obama and Clinton campaigns are biting their nails in Ohio and Texas. There's no doubt about it, this is a big day.

Could Arsenal do what no English team has ever done and beat Milan at the San Siro? Could the Democratic party, at long last, have a nominee for a contest that should be theirs to lose?

UPDATE: The Arsenal game is underway, and my Gunners look threatening already, at three minutes in. Come on you reds!

Three's a crowd

With any big change in the relative delegate count unlikely, Tuesday’s primaries—especially those in Texas and Ohio—will be of little mathematical significance. Their impact on the race as a whole, however, is another story. Former rival Bill Richardson openly contends that the candidate who wakes up on Wednesday with the fewest delegates should step down. And, if Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton truly wish to serve their party’s best interests, Richardson’s political anxieties will soon be extinguished, along with one candidate’s presidential aspirations.

Though Mike Huckabee may no longer be a good example of it, a split in the nomination race can prove devastating to its party. Democrats have lost the last three elections in which the race remained heated for a significant period of time. Republicans, too, have seen their party harmed by such discrepancies. What has recently been dubbed the “Nader effect,” splitting the vote does more than divide popularity among candidates of the same party; it often prompts independent voters to abandon those candidates entirely. Unsurprisingly, infighting begins to look more like sibling rivalry when the convention rolls around, and nobody wants to see that kind of petty bickering make its way into the White House.

If the aforementioned candidates would rather see power handed to their Democratic rivals than their Republican ones, they would do well to heed Richardson’s careful advice. Because, while both Clinton and Obama may be quite qualified to act as commander in chief, their constant squabbles will only ensure that neither gets the chance to prove it.

Jack's ad

Many are cooing at Jack Nicholson's self-made endorsement of Hillary Clinton, where he takes footage from "A Few Good Men" to reference the appeal of a Clinton presidency.

"There is nothing sexier than a woman you have to salute in the morning."

Okay. Fine. But I'll bet that the Clinton camp is happy he didn't use the REST of that dialogue from the script.

"There is nothing sexier than a woman you have to salute in the morning. Promote 'em all, I say. If you've never had a blowjob from a superior officer, you've missed the best in life. But I'll just take cold showers until they elect some gal President."


Get real

NBC Nightly News had a piece Monday night that covered a recently released study saying Americans got less sleep than the rest of the world, and that we were all tired.


When I have time, which isn't often, I grab a power nap. It helps me a majority of the time. 15 or 20 minutes. I know I don't reach that restorative REM stage when I do that, so I'm also a big fan of the 2-hour nap when I'm really tired, but I almost never have that kind of time.

Anyhow, they had some sleep doctor on throughout this report, asked him the usual questions, and he said naps were good, but that there was no substitute for eight hours of sleep!

Eight freaking hours? Are you kidding me? Who gets eight hours of sleep every night? I get to bed by two or three. I get up around seven, eight if I'm lucky. Nine or ten on a rare weekend morning when I have no homework, don't have to go to the other job, and I don't have to try to rush to the bank in the twenty minutes they're open on Saturdays or run any other similar errands.

So I guess I'm curious. How much sleep do you get?

Monday, March 3, 2008


All ya'll Ed Board types have gone and riled up some shit with your endorsement of Atul (seriously, why?). It is fun to read the comments that UISG peeps write on our coverage, however. And how about the claim that the DI Metro Section has been running hits on VIP? That's a pretty serious charge.

So there's this email circulating...

I think it started about the time of the Iowa caucus, and it says all manner of things about Barack Obama being Muslim among other things. It seems so ridiculous to me, but people actually believe this. They read it in an email, so it must be true. When I watch Washington Journal on C-Span in the mornings, people call in every day and recite this email as if it's fact. I'm constantly amazed at how many people believe this. I've mentioned it to some Obama supporters (I am not one, by the way) and they seem unconcerned about it. I don't know if they realize how many people are buying into this.

When you think about it, it's quite a clever smear campaign. There was a member of Congress sworn in on the Koran last year, so it's pretty smart considering most of the country suffers from mediamnesia. So when these people call in to the TV shows or the radio shows they insist that it's true. They argue: "No! I remember hearing about it!" Yes, Mrs. Simpleton, you heard about a member of Congress, but it was not Barack Obama. It was Keith Ellison. The guy who called the cops on his neighboring office member Tom Tancredo shortly after said swear-in. There's just enough in the email to jog the feeble memory of the voters in this country. It's a dirty trick, but it's pretty smart.

So, this has been annoying me for quite some time because no matter how many times it's refuted, people are constantly in a panic about Obama being a Muslim. For one thing, it just perpetuates the belief that every Muslim is a terrorist and not to be trusted. For another thing, it's just dumb to think that someone with a funny name must be an America-hating-terrorist-liberal. I don't know where it started, but I never believed it was something from the Clinton campaign. Not until last night, anyway.

On 60 Minutes, a panel of Ohio voters were interviewed by Steve Kroft and one man said he liked Obama but he had concerns because Obama was Muslim and wouldn't say the national anthem. They then went to a clip of an interview with Hillary Clinton where Kroft asked her if she believed Obama was a Muslim. I expected her to denounce the rumor. Instead, I heard her say, "I take him at the basis of what he says" and "There's nothing to base that on... as far as I know." Video here

As far as I know?!? AS FAR AS I KNOW?!? Are you kidding me?? There's nothing to base that on period. Considering all of the times she's said she's proud to be standing next to Senator Obama and put forth all the niceties during the debates, I can't believe she didn't take this opportunity to reinforce this positive message in her campaign. Instead, she gave the impression that she's actually fine with people believing that. I'm not fine with people believing that, and I don't exactly have the Obama fever that's going around. I just think it's ignorant. Watching her response to that question, it was clear to me that she's not going to refute the rumors because it helps her little "Who do you want to answer the phone?" campaign if people think Barack Hussein Obama is an America-hating Muslim. Ick, Senator Clinton. Just Ick.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

To the South

Hugo Chavez has jumped the shark. OK, that happened a long time ago. Now he's threatening Colombia with war.

Colombia bombed some FARC rebels in Ecuador, which was a bad idea, because now Chavez is all up in arms, and has sent 10 tank battalions to the Venezuelan-Colombian border and pulled staff out of the embassy in Bogota.

Now Ecuador is following suit, and the U.S. is urging a diplomatic solution, and Chavez is being Chavez, blustering and blathering his "anti-Imperialist" rhetoric while cracking down on civil liberties. Somehow, this nutjob is a fan favorite of lots of the American Left.

I really don't know what else to say. Here's something: One of the greatest tragedies of our horrendously terrible foreign policy over the last eight years is the rise of leaders like Chavez, Ahmadinejad, al-Sadr, Meshal, Musharraf, and Putin - and it is not a coincidence that U.S. policy begets leaders like these.

Broken Record Ralph

During last Sunday's Meet The Press, in an interview with Tim Russert, Ralph Nader didn't mention Iraq, didn't mention immigration...

...oh, but he did mention this;

"If the Democrats can't landslide the Republicans this year, they oughta just wrap up, close down."

I see. So you concede that the Democrats should win in a landslide this year? Yet you run opposing who ever they nominate? And using your logic, can't we assume, since you're a better candidate than McCain or Obama (else you wouldn't be running), that if you don't landslide yourself that you should "wrap up" and "close down?"

Ralph, you are running on the exact same platform with the exact same ideas, for the third time. Do you really, honestly believe that it's going to be any different of a result this time? I don't care one way or the other about the whole "you-ruined-our-election garbage," I'm just tired of your boring-as-hell dog-and-pony routine with issues that pale in comparison to Iraq, immigration, etc.

You're a dopey old bastard, and I wish you'd go get a janitors job at some bowling alley in Toledo, Ohio, so none of us have to see your stupid-assed face again or listen to your oh-my-god-it's-tired schtik about workers rights and industrial deaths and product safety. Get stuck you sorry-assed git.

Dear Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC.

I know you're all in the same little fast food conglomerate, but I can't take it anymore, because you seem to be sharing piss-poor marketing strategies.

"Melty" is not a word. It is annoying. Stop using it.

That is all.