Wednesday, May 30, 2007

CDC Needs to Isolate this Pandemic, Too


If Mental Illness is a disease, why doesn't the CDC quarantine Pennsylvania Avenue?

The latest outbreak of virulent dementia of the White House, according to Reuters:

President George W. Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday.


Joshua Micah Marshall at TPM explains the painfully obvious for those of you who may not have picked up on the fact by now that the President of the United States and the thirty or so concentric circles surrounding him are FUCKING INSANE.

I called the CDC to see if they would consider sending up the guys in the big White Space Suits to shut down the Executive Branch, but they put me on hold.

Memorial Day Weekend

This weekend we visited Yorktown, Virginia, site of the Revolutionary War's decisive battle. I felt some shame at my own ignorance of the early years of the Republic, so I picked up a copy of David McCullough's "1776."

It's a great read, and so far, I haven't regretted the $18.00 I spent on it *(after all, that's only like five gallons of gas at this point).

I came across this passage about George Washington on page 48:

"Stories were told of extraordinary feats of strength-- how, for example, Washington had thrown a stone from the bed of a stream to the top of Viginia's famous Natural Bridge, a height of 215 feet."


This apparently from Washington's own journal. Is this possible? I know that a professional Center Fielder can fire baseballs in to the catcher on a hop, usually from around 300 feet. But straight up in the air for 215? Without the cream and the clear?

In any case, the passage immediately made me think of comical, musical, and artistic genius Brad Neely's tribute to our first President.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dems Pull off Circus-Quality Feats of Contortionism


In high school I once saw a performance by a man known as "Zeldran el Magnifico" who blew me away when he inserted a cable with a tiny light bulb up his nose, into his throat, and out of his mouth. Then, with the tiny lighbulb still poking out of his mouth, Zeldran reached into his pocket and withdrew some kind of lens, showing it to the crowd before holding it up to his mouth and projecting a high-powered spotlight into the audience, which shrieked with delight and nausea.

Until Wednesday, that was the most stunning bit of sideshow contortionism I had ever seen. But the Congressional Dems have outdone Zeldran el Magnifico with their compromise on the War Funding Bill. Still rosy-cheeked from last November's electoral tsunami, the apparently cartilage-free party of Roosevelt has pulled off the remarkable feat of bending over, sticking its head between its knees, and inserting it, neck-deep, up its own asshole.

ROUNDUP: Jeff's Clarifications of the Week

Paul Theroux is not English.

Ravens are not Crows. (This I learned from Wikipedia to be not true-- and Wikipedia never lies. Jeff, if you're reading this, Ravens are a type of Crow!)

∞ America is not well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gonzalez Aide Shrieking and Crapping Everywhere


Monica Goodling is cute, except when she pulls your hair and throws feces at you from her cage.

Ballston


The Western half of the Metro's Orange Line is Washington's economic lifeline, the subterranean Via Appia of the New Rome. I pick it up from the Red Line at Metro Center, the city's depressing underground transport hub. It's still early rush hour, so I manage to find a seat next to a bespectacled man in his 50's reading a Tom Clancy geopolitical thriller.

I take in my fellow-passengers on the train. Grey-faced office workers gazing out the black windows of the train as it hurdles towards Virginia, watching the walls of the tunnel as it passes. At Foggy Bottom, the stop for the State Department and George Washington University, my neighbor gets off, and is replaced by a sweating 5,000-pound Hippo of a man who grunts as he plops down beside me.

We scoot under the Potomac River and enter America's Second Capital, the chain of Orange Line boomtowns between Rosslyn and Vienna.

If Washington DC is the brain of America, then the western half of the Orange Line forms its pulsating hypothalamus, the "master gland" of the world' sole superpower.

No one has benefited more from Reaganism than Fairfax County, Virginia. For die-hard conservatives, the Gipper "shrunk the federal government" and crushed the sprawling New Deal Federal bureaucracies. For people who live in a world constrained by empirical data, however, he simply began the process of contracting out the civil services. Policymaking was now open for business. Today, the "public-private partnership" is to Fairfax and Arlington Counties what petroleum is to Dubai.

Anyone who is anyone in America (or the World) maintains an outpost here.

I get off at Ballston, along with my sweaty Gargantua of a fellow-passenger. Posters for Lockheed Martin (motto: "We never forget who we're working for") adorn the grey, retrofuturistic walls of the station. Some defiant teenager has drawn hairy cocks and balls hanging from the helicopters. It warms my heart.

I emerge from the escalator into a colorless vacuum. The architecture that greets me is remarkable only for its oppressive sameness. Wide, rubbish-free streets and sidewalks lined by giant working-hives of concrete and glass. A few restaurants with uninviting outdoor seating do little to disrupt the monotonous cityscape. Even the cars on the street avoid distinction- sedan SUV sedan SUV, all newish and well-kept.

I wonder how a civilization at its supposed peak can produce such a place. Napoleon III left the Champs-Elysees, the Almoravids built the Alhambra. Our legacy is the office park.

I'm early so I sit and order a coffee from a Middle Eastern place called "Aladdin's." It is awful to drink but I force it down.

On the street, a parade of the undead passes by, thousands of shapeless professionals shuffling to their stations. The coffee, amazingly, costs $2.15. I leave 3 on the table and join the parade.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Secret Wars


It looks like British Investigators on the Litvinenko case are not going to back away from implicating the Kremlin.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Next Generation of Justice Department Hacks Remembers Falwell

A touching tribute from Falwell's Liberty University whiz-kids.

Oh, and a refreshing article in Slate reminding us all why Falwell is such a jackass.

Sorry, did I say "is?" I meant "was."

Wesley Clark at SAIS


No snark here. I just went down to Johns Hopkins SAIS in DC to listen to Wesley Clark deliver a speech and do some Q&A. Assembled were 50 or so journalists, grad students, Foreign Policy professionals and interested citizens.

The guy is impressive. Compared to each of the mainstream presidential candidates, Clark is clear, forceful, and full of real ideas formed by real experience. Unfortunately, he has yet to throw his hat into the race.

His theme ("Legitimacy- First Task for American Security") is not terribly original, and different versions of it have been bandied about by people like Obama and Hillary. But his clinical, point-by-point dissection of the way this White House has mangled America's image, and his contention that image (not the military) is the true source of American power, is better formulated than any of the frontline Dems.

His eyebrow-raising three-point plan:

1. Change America's image abroad (no more torture, blacksite, extrajudicial kidnapping, unjustified wars, a return to diplomacy)
2. Change the debate at home (I forgot this part, but it was boring anyway).
AND,
3. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THOSE WHO GOT US INTO THIS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Point three is the juiciest. Clarks wants to open investigations into the decision-making process behind the Iraq war policy, Abu Ghraib, domestic wiretapping, black sites, and the whole, disgusting Bush foreign policy enterprise, and hold the feet of those responsible to the fire.

Amen, brother. I'm not easily impressed by political rhetoric, but General Clark actually had some goosebumps going. Run Wesley Run.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

John Ashcroft, HERO OF AMERICA

From today's Washington Post, a fantastic news article that reads like one of the signature scenes in every mob movie since The Godfather. Reproduced here, with cinematographical flourishes:

"...
Comey said it was set in motion by a call from the White House, possibly from Bush himself, to Ashcroft's hospital room, informing the attorney general's wife that Gonzales and Card were on their way to see him. Comey said that upon learning of the call around 8 p.m., he called his chief of staff and FBI Director Mueller to ask that they meet him at the hospital immediately.

"I was concerned that, given how ill I knew the attorney general was, that there might be an effort to ask him to overrule me when he was in no condition to do that," Comey said. He added later, "I was concerned that this was an effort to do an end run around the acting attorney general and to get a very sick man to approve something that the Department of Justice had already concluded . . . was unable to be certified as to its legality."

Comey said (FBI Director) Mueller instructed FBI agents at the hospital by phone "not to allow me to be removed from the room under any circumstances.
" (!!!!)

Soon afterward, Gonzales, accompanied by Card, walked in carrying an envelope and explained that he wanted Ashcroft to sign a presidential order, Comey said.

"And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me," he said. "He lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter . . . and then laid his head back down on the pillow [and] seemed spent. . . . And as he laid back down, he said, 'But that doesn't matter, because I'm not the attorney general. There is the attorney general,' and he pointed to me."

RON PAUL lights up the blogosphere!

Top searches in Technorati today: RON PAUL!
These are strange days. This can only mean one of two things:
1. Ron Paul, obscure Congressman and long shot Presidential candidate, has his finger on the pulse of what moves America's blogiverse.
2. Ron Paul pays an army of 12-year old Indonesians 2¢/day to run searches on his name:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

What's the Statute of Limitations on Bullshit?

Dick Cheney on FOX News:
"We didn't get elected to worry just about the fate of the Republican Party. Our mission is to do everything we can to prevail on what is now, we believe, a global conflict, a fundamental test of the character of the American people, whether or not we're going to be able to prevail against one of the most evil opponents we've ever faced."

Incredible, especially when you consider that no one seems quite sure who this evil opponent is. The closer you look, the murkier it gets. Is it a network of like-minded fundamentalists? A political philosophy? A military tactic? A spiritual movement? A non-state entity? A militia? A gang? An army? A mafia? A pandemic of mental illness? A suicide cult?

Are we checking Shi'a expansionism? Cutting down Wahabbi militarism? Stamping out Ba'athism? Suppressing anti-imperialism? Containing Arab nationalism? Fighting Pashtun revivalism? Flanking Pan-Persianism? Snuffing out terrorism? Securing strategic resources? Protecting sea-lanes? Keeping our friends safe? Exporting democracy? Projecting stability? Heading off genocide? Stopping a civil war?

5 bucks to any journalist who asks the Vice President who, specifically, we are fighting, and what, specifically, we're fighting for. And don't let him say "evil" because that's just bullshit. People only fight evil in comic books.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Adolf Eichmann's Day In Court

I was at the Library of Congress today doing some research for a relative who's writing a book on the Hannah Arendt papers. Arendt was political theorist whose best-known work was "Eichmann in Jerusalem," a book that was controversial to many for its portrayal of the former SS Obersturmbannf├╝hrer as just another cog in the malevolent machine that was Nazi Germany. It was in this work that she coined the term "the banality of evil."

Among the documents in the collection was Eichmann's appeal , filed by his lawyers to the Supreme Court of Israel in 1962. Pretty dark stuff:










Iraqi Parliamentarians Voting With Their Paid Leave


Everyone's all hot and bothered about the fact that the Iraqi Parliament is planning a two-month vacation in the middle of a civil war and during the "last best chance" for the US to stabilize the country.

Guess what, America: That's their way of telling us they don't want us there any more.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Math Workshop


For today's Math Workshop, let's lay out two recent polls side-by-side:

1. A Newsweek poll found that 48% of Americans believe that man was "created in his present form by God."

2. The same publication found that Bush's approval rating fell through the political Mendoza line, to 28%.


QUESTION:

HOW MANY AMERICANS (out of a population of 305,000,000) are too stupid to understand biology 101, yet smart enough to know that Bush is a nimrod?

You have 5 minutes to complete your answer. When you are finished, please close your test booklet. Please write with a No. 2 Pencil, and don't forget to write your name on the top.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Your New Skyline, Brought to you By Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and United Arab Emirates

Look across the Potomac River from any vantage point of reasonable height in DC, and you'll see this gargantuan sculpture carving up the sky over Arlington:



The Air Force Memorial was designed by architect Jim Freed, who also did the Holocaust Museum in Washington. Freed died in 2005, but his design wasn't erected until 2007.

Here's why it sucks:

§ Civilian Casualties. "Smart" bombs notwithstanding, the USAF is the source of the majority of non-combatant deaths in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and both Iraq Wars. In a war where winning "hearts and minds" is paramount, it's worth asking whether the collateral damage from air strikes has in fact been collateral. Does the Air Force, with its awesome arsenal of Bunker Busters and Daisy Cutters, make more enemies than it kills?

§ Religious Zeal: for non-evangelical Christians, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has become a decidedly unfriendly place. This is disquieting for those of us who like to believe that the US Military represents a multicultural cross-section of American society. It's troubling to see religious intolerance flourish in the one institution that is responsible for blowing things up.

§ Corruption: no one has done more to bilk the American people out of billions in tax revenue than the Air Force. They command the lion's share of the defense budget, and are notorious for ill-conceived pork projects to megacontractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon.


I'm also not sure how appropriate this monument is in 2007. Whereas in Vietnam, more than 2,500 Air Force Personnel died in combat, in Iraq, the Air Force has lost a total of 30 members in the four years of fighting. Tragic, to be sure, but only a slightly bad week for the Army (and a pretty quiet day for Iraqi Civilians).



Equally troubling is the Memorial's financing. The donor list, reproduced below, seems to suggest not a monument at all, but a craven bit of marketing by weapons dealers, a grotesque post-modern billboard for the military-industrial complex.

Chairman's Group - $5,500,000 & Up
Lockheed Martin Corporation

President's Group - $5,000,000 & Up
The Boeing Company

Patriot’s Group - $2,000,000 & Up
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Raytheon
United Arab Emirates Air Force

Commander's Circle - $1,000,000 & Up
United Technologies
General & Mrs. Ira C. Eaker Estate
EADS North America
Sarah & Ross Perot, Jr.
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects

Air Force Leaders - $500,000 & Up

Air Force Association National Headquarters
General Electric Corporation
RJ Reynolds Foundation



Perhaps a more low-key monument would be fine, but Freed's piece is startling to look at, evoking not the bloody air wars over the Pacific or Europe, but the indifferent, geometric contrails of high-tech violence. The design lacks any sense of gravity or seriousness-- none of the sober emotions one feels at Arlington Cemetery. It doesn't even feel like a war memorial. As a piece of art, it works on a much more basic level: "See this?" It says, "This means we can do whatever we want."

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Vacation Plans: The Institute for Creation Research


Memorial Day is just around the corner! If you're looking to spend your holidays an educational, relaxing and spiritually fulfilling environment, KPC has just the right thing for you: Head on down to sunny Santee, California and check out the Institute of Creation Research's Museum of Creation and Earth History! It's faith-based fun for the whole family!

Some highlights:

§ Treat your eyes and ears to a full-spectrum multimedia assault on monkey-loving evolutionary "science."

§ Wander through the Museum's bookstore and load up on home-school texts for the kids!

§ Explore the "Origins Exhibit" (only 7 quick stops!) and learn why Noah hated the Dinosaurs!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Highlights of the Republican Debate


Rudy Giuliani, when asked whether he would assist Israel in a preemptive strike against Iran:

"It really depends on what our intelligence says. I mean, the reality is, the use of military force against Iran would be very dangerous. It would be very provocative. ."

Thursday, May 3, 2007

WTF


What on EARTH am I supposed to write here? "Describe your interpersonal skills as they apply to you?"

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Myanmar Totally Jukes out CIA!

In the still of the night, the ruthless junta that runs Myanmar moved its capital from Rangoon to a remote, artificial town in the interior of the country. Like everything else in Myanmar, the reasons for the move are not clear, with explanations ranging from a fear of US invasion, a discomort with proximity to Rangoon's pro-Democracy movement, and strongman Than Shwe's culty obsession with numerology.

Myanmar, which changed its name from Burma in 1989, is in an elite class of basketcase countries run by bizarre, repressive dictators.

But if the fear of US invasion is truly one of the motives, it appears to have paid off! A visit to the CIA factbook online shows a map of "Burma" with its capital still in Rangoon.

This stunning intelligence failure begs the question of whether the CIA still maintains station chiefs in Rhodesia and Upper Volta. Requests for comment from the US Embassy in East Pakistan were not answered.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Man's Got to Take Care of His Family

Today Ken Silverstein of Harpers.org gives a nice little update on the legal problems facing Congressman Rick Renzi, who is being investigated for accepting (and not reporting) $200,000 from an old business partner.

But is he being fair? KPC's crack researchers went to Renzi's website to get to the bottom of all this and found no mention of these so-called corruption allegations! What's more, at the bottom of his bio page, they learned that Rick "...and his wife Roberta are the proud parents of twelve children, seven boys and five girls."

That's only $14,286 per capita for the Renzi clan--not even minimum wage!

What, no Rock and Roll?



This morning, while surfing for spiritual salvation online, I noticed that Focus on the Family website made the curious editorial choice to run an article about "Substance Abuse" under the "Love and Sex/Sexual Issues" page.

Granted, the Evangelical movement has been a great resource to many who fight drug and alcohol addiction. But why are they so weird about sex?

El Antichristo (for 4 Bucks an Hour With No Benefits)

A really sick one tripped Wonkette's wire today. This out of Utah:

----------§----------

"...Don Larsen, chairman of legislative District 65 for the Utah County Republican Party, had submitted a resolution warning that Satan's minions want to eliminate national borders and do away with sovereignty.

In a speech at the convention, Larsen told those gathered that illegal immigrants "hate American people" and "are determined to destroy this country, and there is nothing they won't do."

Illegal aliens are in control of the media, and working in tandem with Democrats, are trying to "destroy Christian America" and replace it with "a godless new world order -- and that is not extremism, that is fact," Larsen said.

At the end of his speech, Larsen began to cry, saying illegal immigrants were trying to bring about the destruction of the U.S. "by self invasion."

--------------------------------§-------------------------------------