Saturday, February 03, 2007

As Gay As I Can Be

Andrew Sullivan linked to it. I'm quoting from it. Dan Savage's savaging of the Cheney family hypocrisy.

Dan, who is gay, writes:
"Yes, it’s a baby, not a prop. My kid isn’t a prop either, but that never stopped right-wingers from attacking me and my boyfriend over our decision to become parents. The fitness of same-sex couples to parent is very much part of the political debate thanks to the GOP and the Christian bigots that make up its lunatic “base.” You’re a Republican, Mary, you worked on both of your father’s campaigns, and you kept your mouth clamped shut while Karl Rove and George Bush ran around the country attacking gay people, gay parents, and our children in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006. It’s a little late to declare the private choices of gays and lesbians unfit for public debate, Mary."
But wait, there's more!
Again, Mary, nice try. You kept your mouth clamped shut when your father needed the political support of assholes like Dobson. And now that your dad is a despised lame-duck VP, dad’s gay-bashing political allies feel free to treat you with the same contempt with which they have long treated other gay and lesbians. And now you cry foul?

Sorry, Mary, and fuck you.
That's my sentiment exactly.

FUCK YOU. Fuck you, fuck your dad, fuck your dad's buddy, fuck Dobson, fuck Pat Robertson, fuck Jerry Fallwell, fuck Isaiah Washington. Fuck you all.

Homosexuality isn't a threat to your way of life. I am.

I don't have much, but I have my voice. And I have my vote. And neither will ever be lent to the causes of ignorance and bigotry. You can keep pushing your lies and your fear and your hate, and impressionable minds will listen. But don't think that the same weakness which gains you favor will stand as your greatest defense. Remember, those minds are impressionable. They can be changed.

You may have a few cherry-picked biblical passages (a handful out of thousands) on your side, but I have the will of God on my side. What? You don't think God created homosexuality for a reason?

Well, what do you know? Perhaps Satan created it to tempt man into sin. Isn't that what it says in your book?

Um, no it doesn't. Look it up. In fact, I bet you won't find a reason in your book...but that doesn't mean there isn't one. *1

Let's just face it. You don't like gay people because you think homosexuality is gross. Hey, I understand, trust me. But that doesn't mean that being gay is wrong. That just means that you're straight.

And there's nothing wrong with that either.

So let's make a deal. Churchy, impressionable people whose brain waves are easily influenced by the radio waves should shut the fuck up about homosexuality. You don't know what you're talking about for one, and for another, it gives unscrupulous politicians the notion that they can use you to gain power.

And as we've seen with the Bush-Cheney ticket, that's kind of what happened. Them motherfuckers played you. Played you like a game!

This is how I see it. A world where being gay is no different than being straight. Don't look now, but we're rapidly approaching that world. If gay people want to marry, they will marry. We can not stop them, nor should we. They will want to buy houses together, will want loans and hospital visits. They'll want all the other benefits of being a legal couple, and we should give it to them. Free of charge. No questions asked.

That's part of living in a free society.

If you feel weird around gay people, that's fine. People have certain anxieties about other people all the time. Nerds feel weird around hot chicks, for instance. It's nothing major and it can be overcome.

If you don't want to be gay, great. The species does need its breeders.

If you feel like you might be turning into a gay person, as gay as you can be.

*1 I don't know what it is. I'm just saying...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Enough Diplomacy!

With bated breath, Michael Ledeen of the National Review declares:
Enough Diplomacy! Address Iran Before Another 9/11 Happens

You read that and the first thing that comes to mind is "What diplomacy?"

And then the next thing you think is, "Well, I guess I don't have to worry about any of that 'level-headed analysis' from this article."

Ledeen says that Iran has been waging war against the United States for twenty eight years. Hmm. Didn't know that one. I mean, I knew we were enemies and all that, but actively waging war? That's news to me.

Perhaps Ledeen's definition of war is overly broad. Or perhaps he's just lost it completely.

He spares no kind word for Bush and his team in this evisceration:
This is the pattern that led us straight to 9/11. For that matter, it got us to Pearl Harbor and to Khobar Towers, and to the Beirut bombings of our embassy and the Marine barracks. It is a pattern of denial and self-deception, driven by an absolute conviction that the truth must not be passed on to people whose view of the world differs from your own. And so our kids get blown up in Iraq, while the Bushes, Rices, Rumsfelds, Cambones, Tenets, Negropontes, and their cohorts deny that we know who's doing it. Deputy Secretary of State Burns, the architect of our failed Middle East mission, goes to Israel to thump his chest and talk about getting tough with Iran, meaning tough talk and a few symbolic gestures — certainly not regime change. Such people talk about "insurgency" as if the shattered remnants of Saddam's ruined state were capable of mounting the terror war we face, when common sense points in the direction of professional intelligence services in Tehran and Damascus.
It seems that Ledeen is willing to concede that Bush's policy is a miserable failure, and part of the reason is that he's a lying rat bastard. He won't let the truth be known!

A lame duck can do no right.

Cartoon Marketing Ignites Bomb Scare

Reality is awesome. Watch the video. It's worth it.

The Iran Evidence

A few days ago I posted a rambling post about the war, talking specifically about Iran's possible involvement.
I've been doing a lot of reading today (tonight?) about the Iranian connection to the Iraq war, about how they want to exert some more influence and how the Bush administration is going to go public with some of their "evidence" of Iranian tampering. And even with all that reading, I still don't have enough information to form an opinion on it. I do think they're involved --they'd almost be stupid not to be-- but I question their level of involvement.

Is it limited to black ops like the Karbala attack? Or is it more widespread? So I'm interested to see the "evidence" that the government will produce, of course, with a few caveats. For one thing, it better not be circumstantial. It better not be based on a bunch of assumptions with nothing else to back them up. And it better be substantial.
It seems that I won't get my wish.

The LA Times reports:
The Bush administration has postponed plans to offer public details of its charges of Iranian meddling inside Iraq amid internal divisions over the strength of the evidence, U.S. officials said.
Could it be aluminum tubes and yellowcake all over again?
There's more:
U.S. military and embassy officials in Baghdad have been trying to build a case with a variety of evidence, according to officials.

But officials involved in interagency meetings on the issue in Washington, including some in the State Department and intelligence agencies, believe that some of the material overstates murky evidence and casts a negative light on Iranians who may not be guilty.

Another difficulty is that if some of the most sensitive information is withdrawn to protect intelligence sources, the result could be a weak and unconvincing report, the officials said.

The American official who requested anonymity said that although there were differences over the evidence, there was wide agreement within the U.S. government that Iran's actions were a threat and that the United States, while avoiding war, should be more aggressive in confronting Iran in Iraq.
Yeah, those bold sections are me.

"Overstating murky evidence" is aluminum tubes and yellowcake all over again, but hopefully there really is "wide agreement" that the United States can confront Iran while avoiding more war.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thoughts on the Plot

Police in Britain have arrested 9 people suspected of plotting to kidnap and behead a Muslim British soldier. (Apparently, they had already picked him out even.) A couple of interesting facts:

1) The suspects were detained after a months long surveillance effort. (Approximately six months.)

2) The suspects were captured at their homes in Birmingham, England.

3) The suspects are believed to be of Pakistani origin.

4) MI5, the British intelligence agency, has been monitoring some thirty-odd terrorist plots and surveilling 1,600-odd individuals since last year. This plot is just one of them.

The six month long surveillance effort hints at an approach that seems to be the opposite of the US approach. It's doubtful that US authorities would let the plot fester for six months as they meticulously gathered data on the suspects and the seriousness of the plot. It seems more likely they'd just arrest the suspects, render them to some hostile country for torture and interrogation, or disappear them to Gitmo, regardless of the seriousness of the plot. While either approach can be effective in combating terrorism, only one results in better intelligence and, more importantly, a level of certainty that makes the mistakes of Maher Arar or Jose Padilla unlikely.

Also notice that this plot was not hatched in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, or Iran. It's plotters lived and worked in Birmingham, England. The information isn't public, but it's possible they were an Al Qaeda sleeper cell...but it's just as possible they were a spontaneous "homegrown" organization with similar ideology.

Whoever they were working for, they are also believed to be of Pakistani orgin. Pakistan, if you remember, is our "ally" in the War on Terror, but it's also believed to be the current sanctuary of Al Qaeda's leadership, including Osama Bin Laden. It's a nuclear power ruled by a militaristic despot who seized power in 1999 after initiating conflict with India. It's just as dangerous, if not more, than the other countries in the "Axis of Evil."

Why Football is the Best Sport in the World

Exhibit 376A:

From the Denver Post's congratulatory examination of Peyton Manning's play-calling ability:
(Broncos Safety John)Lynch exemplifies why Manning is guarded with his audible secrets. Remember the Super Bowl of the 2002 season when Tampa Bay, led by coach Jon Gruden, destroyed Gruden's previous team, the favored Oakland Raiders of coach Bill Callahan?

During media day Tuesday, former Raiders tight end Roland Williams said he suggested to Callahan before the Big Game they change their audible codes because of Gruden's familiarity with Oakland's offense. Callahan stubbornly refused. When Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon called "smoke," Tampa Bay defensive players such as Lynch and Derrick Brooks knew which play was coming.

Funny how Gannon, the league's MVP for the 2002 season, wound up throwing a Super Bowl- record five interceptions.
Not only do you have to outplay your opponent, you have to outthink them, too.

A Daily and Ubiquitous Failure

The latest from the Sam Harris-Andrew Sullivan debate on faith.

There's a lot of good stuff there, but I'm picking this quote:
I mean the daily and ubiquitous failure of most religious people to admit that the basic claims of the their faith are profoundly suspect. How likely is it that Jesus was really born of a virgin, rose from the dead, and will bodily return to earth to judge us all? How reasonable is it to believe in such a concatenation of miracles on the basis of the Gospel account? How much support do these doctrines receive from the average Christian's experience in church? It seems to me that honest answers to these questions should raise a tsunami of doubt. I'm not sure what will be "Christian" about any Christians left standing.

It seems profoundly unimaginative-and, frankly, dangerous-to think that we cannot possibly overcome the religious divisions in our world. What is the alternative? Do you really think that the 23rd century will dawn, with unimaginably powerful technology having spread to every corner of the earth, and our thinking will still be governed by sectarian religious certainties? Muslims eager for jihad? Rapture-ready Christians holding political power?
God, I hope not.

Garden Porn

Reading this story in the NY Times about a 300-acre Russian greenhouse complex is like garden porn for me.
In several greenhouses small pots with lettuce seedlings are arranged on long plastic trays and then placed atop a moving frame that looks like an elevated and elongated soccer field. The holders are packed tight and move slowly by automation to the greenhouse’s far end, watered along the way.

When the full-grown plants reach the opposite end they are plucked from the pots, bagged by hand and wheeled off on carts, bound for any of the 800 Moscow markets that the complex supplies.
How much does one of those greenhouse's cost? I want one.

I'm Blogging. Take a Message.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

On a Lighter Note

You know who I love? Eva Mendes.

I love her so much, I might even go see Ghostrider.

Soldiers of Heaven

I don't even know why I bother. I mean, for entertainment value, Michelle Malkin's blog doesn't offer much. Information wise? I don't trust her as far as I could throw her. Unlike the supposed "liberal media," Malkin makes no attempt to be objective. Asking her to provide spin-free commentary is like asking Mike Tyson to show a little character. It's just not gonna happen.

Malkin's latest continues to be quite laughable.

I wanted to see her take on the Karbala abduction know, the one where our soldiers were kidnapped from their base and murdered by insurgents dressed in American uniforms.

Actually, I'm lying. I don't care what Malkin thinks about the attack. I just wanted to see if she noticed the AP byline on the Karbala story, Steven R. Hurst, is the same byline for the "Jamilgate" stories.

The same Steven R. Hurst who is the AP's Baghdad bureau chief. The same Steven R. Hurst that was accussed by the Malkinites of a) making up sources, b) using pseudonymous sources, c) not checking out sources or d) all of the above.

Here's his original report from the day of the attack, a report that was initially denied.
Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman, denied that any Americans were captured and said all "were accounted for after the action."
Garver, a lieutenant colonel presumably familiar with the superior fighting ability of the US military, may have been assuming everyone was accounted for, or he may have been intentionally suppressing the facts. Who knows? Either way, the denials just weren't true.

I suppose the good news about this story, if there is any good news to be found in it, is four suspects have been caught. Although that makes you wonder too.

Think about the attack. Think about what it takes to roll up on a US military compound, impersonating the US military.
"The precision of the attack, the equipment used, and the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles in the compound suggests that the attack was well-rehearsed prior to execution," said Lieutenant Colonel Scott Bleichwehl, spokesman for Multi-National Division-Baghdad.
Well-rehearsed and well-planned.
A senior Iraqi military official said the sophistication of the attack led him to believe it was the work of Iranian intelligence agents in conjunction with Iraq's Shi'ite Mahdi Army militia, which Iran funds, arms and trains.
That I wouldn't doubt.

In fact, that sounds exactly like something Iranian intelligence might do, use some insurgent group as a proxy to snipe at the United States. As it is, the sectarian groups have nothing to gain by attacking a US military installation. Their struggle is for power, and power cannot be held without the US's blessing.

If the insurgents were associated with Iranian intelligence agents, that would explain why the four suspects were captured instead of killed. They may be worth more alive.

I've been doing a lot of reading today (tonight?) about the Iranian connection to the Iraq war, about how they want to exert some more influence and how the Bush administration is going to go public with some of their "evidence" of Iranian tampering. And even with all that reading, I still don't have enough information to form an opinion on it. I do think they're involved --they'd almost be stupid not to be-- but I question their level of involvement.

Is it limited to black ops like the Karbala attack? Or is it more widespread? So I'm interested to see the "evidence" that the government will produce, of course, with a few caveats. For one thing, it better not be circumstantial. It better not be based on a bunch of assumptions with nothing else to back them up. And it better be substantial.

If Iran is involved in 5% of the attacks in Iraq...dealing with them and their insidious intelligence agents will still leave us with the other 95%.

The last thing we need from a lame duck Bush is a big solution to a minor problem, and small scale Iranian opportunism is a minor problem. (As long as it remains small-scale.)

The violence we're seeing today (yesterday?) in Iraq, in Najaf specifically, points to a much larger problem, one that doesn't neccesarily depend on Iranian ambition.

How can you explain the 600 people, men, women, and children, who massed outside Najaf on the word of a holy man? They were well-armed and they planned to mount a major attack. Oh, and they were fucking nuts.
The fighters, who called themselves the Soldiers of the Sky, are driven by an apocalyptic vision of clearing the Earth of the depraved in preparation for the second coming of Muhammad al-Mahdi, a Shiite imam who disappeared in the 9th century, according to Ahmed Duaibel, a spokesman for the provincial government in Najaf.
They didn't get to mount their attack, of course. Iraqi and US troops moved in before they launch their waves of assasinations and bombings, and...pretty much mowed them down. The number keeps going down, but there's somewhere along the line of 200 insurgents dead, women and children included, all apparently a mix of Shiite, Sunni, and foreigner.

Contemplating that makes you spin off into Philip K. Dick land, where the worst paranoid ideas take root and won't let go, but then often gets compared to the zany weirdness that is the human being.

For instance, perhaps this Soldiers of Heaven shit is just a cover story. Some pilgrims got uppity during the holiday and the military response was aggressive, brutal, and ultimately decisive. It wasn't a battle so much as it was a massacre. To justify it after the fact, this Soldiers of Heaven stuff was amplified until they looked like crazy anarchists intent on burning the city to the ground.

And then, you think...Noooooooo. In this day and age, no one would dare commit a massacre of that scale, least of all the US military. Not with the 24 hour cable channels watching, the wire services, the newspapers, the blogs. Slaughter a couple hundred people and then pin it on a kind of nutty David Koresh movement? No way.

But the alternative is just as unbelievable. Nutso religious groups arming themselves to the teeth, planning rampages on holy sites, putting up a huge fight when confronted. Hundreds of people dying, women and children caught in the crosshairs.

It's hard to imagine that it's come to this.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Politics, Man

The other day, Robert Gates, Rumsfeld's replacement for Secretary of Defense, said that criticizing the President's "surge" plan "emboldens the enemy." Before I got distracted by Dinesh D'Souza, I was going to do a post about how absurd that is.

And now I don't have to. Joe Biden said it better than I could anyway.
"It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and White House hopeful in 2008. "It's the failed policy of this president — going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely."
That's right, war hawks. Don't look at me and try to blame me for your failure. You wanted to turn Iraq into a utopia of cheap oil and democracy, but you brought the wrong horse to the race.

George W. Bush? His policies have wrought civil war in Iraq, sowing the seeds for a new regime in Iraq that if it's not worse than Saddam Hussein's, will be just as bad. Is another twenty thousand troops going to change that? Based on his past performance, not to mention "the facts on the ground," I'd say the answer is no.

I don't think a hundred thousand troops will change it. I don't think a broadened coalition with hundreds of thousands of international troops in addition to American forces will change it. Hell, I don't even think intervention from God will change it.

Why? Because nothing will change as long as George W. Bush is still calling the shots. And his policies have been proven to be --not by me, not by Biden, but by cold hard reality-- a failure.

Dinesh D'Jackass

In many ways, I'm glad I'm not a wingnut who relies on right-wing punditry to do my thinking for me. If I was, I'd be in a very sore spot indeed.

You got John Gibson blathering about the "War on Christmas" and Bill O'Reilly crying about the NY Times on Foxnews. There's Rush Limbaugh saying Abu Ghraib was a "college prank" and offering a crude impression of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's symptoms. There's Ann Coulter calling all liberals Benedict Arnolds. There's Michelle Malkin with her weird conspiracy theories involving terrorist infiltration of the newswires.

And then there's Dinesh D'Souza, whose latest book --which I believe is called Liberals Started Islamic Terrorism-- has been roundly panned by just about everyone. I will not be reading his book, even for curiosity's sake, so I can't say whether the reviewers have offered a fair assessment of the book.

I did, however, read D'Souza's defense of his book in the Washington Post, and I have to say, I'm unmoved.

As a matter of fact, I laughed out loud when I read this passage:
So leftist activists such as Michael Moore and Howard Zinn and Cindy Sheehan seem willing to let the enemy win in Iraq so they can use that defeat in 2008 to rout Bush -- their enemy at home.

No doubt that Michael Moore, Howard Zinn, and Cindy Sheehan are, in fact, leftist activists...but give me a break. These are the boogeymen D'Souza is confronting? A marginal filmmaker who's been in hiding for the last few years? Howard Zinn, the leftist academic who got name-dropped in Goodwill Hunting? Kevin Federline's got more name recognition.

And Cindy Sheehan? Cindy motherfucking Sheehan? You want me to take you seriously and you bring up Cindy Sheehan???

You know, I'm anti-Bush and anti-war...and even I cringe when I hear Cindy Sheehan speak about either topic. She holds no office, heads no organization, has no tenure. Her voice is a lonely, desperate whisper in the wind that's largely been ignored, even by the legitimate leaders of the left.

Yeah, I said it. Legitimate. Michael Moore, Howard Zinn, and Cindy Sheehan are not, I would say, the legitimate leaders of the leftist movement in our country.

Michael Moore is the left's Rush Limbaugh, only without the obnoxious daily presence on our air waves. He's a media guy. He deserves the flak he gets, but he's still just a media guy. Some latitude must be given, not only out of respect for the first amendment, but because as a media guy, his views and the way he presents them can be classified as entertainment. Enjoy it, but don't take it seriously.

And then there's Howard Zinn. Teaches in liberal Boston, wrote a few controversial books with a socialist slant, has become a highly influential intellectual. Definitely up for debate, but as the leader of an extreme leftist movement? Dinesh, buddy, you're joking, right?

Wait, a vision just popped into my head: Dinesh D'Souza walking along the Yellow Brick Road with his straw men...with me behind him kicking his ass.

Who's the appeaser now, muthafucka?