Monday, December 31, 2007

Vital Information

I thought I would end the year on a fun note. I found this web site which lays to rest all previous thoughts, opinions, and stories about just what exactly is average penis size. There are charts and graphs and all sorts of scientific data to back up the fact that average size is 6. 16 inches.

Girth is 4.84 inches.

Ah, well, it's nice to be .84 inches above average, length wise, but how does one measure girth? Is it similar to when you measure your waist?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Holiday Greetings

I found this great web site with photos of holidays past. Very funny and hauntingly similar to some photos of my own family.

Over the next few days, I will be putting up small posts here and there. On January 2nd, I will be posting my annual Best of column. The next day, January 3rd, is the Iowa caucus so look forward to daily posts regarding the most exciting election since......well, maybe the last one!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sad Day

The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today in Pakistan. She was shot in the neck by an attacker who promptly blew himself up and killed 22 other people at a rally.

As I have said on many, many occasions, the situation in Pakistan is getting worse everyday. It is the most dangerous country on the planet right now and I don't know about you but I don't feel very comfortable in our current leadership's ability to handle what comes next.

If I were president, I would re-deploy at least several thousand troops from Iraq to Afghanistan at best possible speed. Pakistan is a powder keg, ripe for takeover by Al Qaeda. We have got to start addressing this situation seriously.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Grab Bag

It's been quite some time since I did a Grab Bag and what better time of the year than Christmas?

Well, folks, Markie Claus has got a few things that have really been chewing on his ass over the last few months and I feel, from the bottom of my heart, it's time to share...way past time to share.

In fact, I NEED to share. This stuff has really been building for quite some time (I know! I know! I need to do Grab Bags more often)

So there's quite a bit here...please take your time and as always, post your rants in comments below this post.


I think that I am going to have a card lamented, which I will carry with me at all times in my wallet. This card will be handed to women (unknown to me personally) I have talked to, I am talking with, or could possibly talk to at some point throughout the course of my visits to various places. It will say the following:

Hello. My name is Mark. When I come to (insert name of bar/club/restaurant/shop/etc where we currently are), I enjoy a friendly conversation. This should NEVER be misconstrued for me hitting on you. Therefore, you do not have to mention that you have a boyfriend in the first few minutes or so of me being friendly to you. I assure that you I am not interested in you "that way" at all because of the following:

1. I have filthy, ball draining sex on a regular basis.
2. Many of the orgasms I do have leave me completely drained and in no mood whatsoever for sex.
3. I have no need to hit on women who work at
(insert name of bar/club/restaurant/shop/etc where we currently are) as I can (and have since I was seventeen) have sex with pretty much any woman (or man for that matter) I desire with a minimal amount of effort.
4. I have a large group of female friends, all of whom I love and cherish very much, have known for many years, are very, very hot (I assure you) and would be very interested in sticking their sweet asses up in the air at me (in the way that all women should greet a man) if I were not married. Rest assured, the line is quite long in front of you, so don't flatter yourself.
5. If, at some time throughout the course of the evening, I do flirt with you, I will be extremely obvious about it saying things like..."Hey, you have a nice mouth" or "I wonder what your ass would look like in the reverse cowgirl position. Would you let me spread it so I could really get a nice, open view of you?" Then, AND ONLY THEN, can you mention that you have a boyfriend and tell me some stupid ass story about something incredibly fucking lame you did together recently.
6. Please kindly remove the giant pole you have in your ass and take the time to be friendly to me in return as I can pretty much guarantee you that the simple act of getting to know me will make a positive difference in your life.


People in this country are fucking fat asses. And it's getting worse everyday. It's just that simple. The other day I was walking into Target and I said to myself, "I wonder how long it will take before I see a fat person?" Before I got to the word "wonder" in my head, I saw two porkers walking out of the exit doors. I took another step and I saw someone so incredibly large that they could barely move. In fact, I don't think "walking" would be a word I would use to describe what he was was more of a waddle combined with pained look on his face due to the fact that his enormous weight was preventing him from doing even the most basic of tasks....PUTTING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER!!!

At a recent holiday meal, I observed members of my extended family stuffing their faces full of food only to curl up in a ball a half hour later and fall 12:30pm during the middle of the day!!! Is this what we have become? A nation of babies that need their num nums and nappys? What a bunch of weak and pathetic simpletons!!

But the real problem is really the snacking. This is where the pork begins. You might be surprised to learn this but the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) at my daughter's school has an item in its budget for snacks....for themselves!! What the...?? My wife, a member of the PTO's board, questioned the need for this and was pummelled with questions/comments such as:

"WHAT? Don't you like snacks? Who doesn't like snacks?

"They make these meetings more enjoyable."

"Why would YOU want to take them away...huh...huh...HUH?"

"Hey! We need our snacks."

Actually, no you don't fucking need your snacks, fat ass. Take a look in the mirror. What you need is to push yourself away from the shit food you shovel into your mouth, join a gym, and you might live to see your grandchildren. And while you're at it, stop giving your children so many snacks...and bad ones at that. I was recently observing a sixth grade class, for my continuing education, and was stunned to find the instructor, since the children were not allowed to go to music for bad behavior that day, declare that it would be snack time instead. Huh? Great way to reward bad behavior. Oh, and by the way, it was 9:45am for crying out loud!!!

And you wouldn't believe the spreads these kids laid out....chocolate bars, donuts, chips, candy...not one healthy item in sight. No wonder our kids are apathetic. They eat shit on a daily basis and are fat as well. People in this country have got to stop relieving emotional stress by eating. We have become snackoholics, constantly grazing at even the mere thought of anything stressful. It's disgusting. It's weak. And it will ultimately prove to be our downfall.

I am not kidding.


Can we please permanently retire the phrase "Let's Do This" from all films and television programs? I know there is a writer's strike on, folks, but if I hear this phrase one more time, especially if it is at a tense moment when the protagonists are about to propel themselves into a dangerous situation, I will drive a tank to Hollywood, seeking out every writer who has written this line, and introduce them to artillery. And don't try to get cute with me by saying, "Let's Do This Thing" instead. It's the same fucking thing and it is really, really played.


I thought we were done with the whole triathlon thing, like eight years ago and stuff, but apparently not. Over the course of this past summer and fall, I had several guys boast of their triathlon training and competitions. You know what, guys? You are completely full of shit and the only reason why you compete in these things (if you actually do and aren't just saying it to sound cool in front of chicks at bars) is that you want to be like everyone else. You are following a trend. A trend that is way past its time and, quite frankly, way out of your physical capability. Go play a girl's volleyball or tennis.


Those of you who know me personally know that I think cabins are complete waste of time. Apparently so does Patrick Reusse who wrote this hilarious column last June about the anal fisting that is owning and (endlessly) going to a cabin. For me, I would rather be gang raped in prison than take a trip to a cabin. The word "lame" in relation to the word "cabin" is perhaps the largest understatement in the history of understatements. What Reusse accurately describes in his column above barely scratches the surface of the insane bullshit that people go through with cabins.

Why they put up with this is beyond me. Perhaps they are sadists. Or perhaps they are stupid cows who have to do what everyone else does. The very idea of maintaining two homes, spending weekend hours in traffic, and hanging out in a largely rural area with guys named Mel and Willis, discussing their fiendish, weekend plot of overhauling their Camaro makes me want refund my collective meals for the day.

Stunning me even further was the recent statement made by someone I met at a party. We were making the usual small talk when the subject of cabins came up. She asked me if I had one and I said no, with my friends next to me snickering. When she asked why they were laughing, they told her that I hate cabins.


was the loud blast from her mouth. "How can you be a Minnesotan and not like cabins?" I didn't say anything. "You know, Mark, if it wasn't for our cabin, my marriage would be over."

A million flies could have flown into my mouth. She then went on to tell me a long tale of her husband, his laziness, her diligence, and how working on the cabin brought them together. I stopped drinking after that point because alcohol is a depressant and I knew any more liquor would send me into a downward spiral. At least, though, I got to hear one more bit of insanity to add to the mountainous pile of crap that falls under the category "The Cabin and Why We Must Love It (Seig Heil!!)

Add up all the irritation detailed above, multiply it by....oh.....a million and you still wouldn't come close to the level of outright anger I feel when I see this...and I seem to multiple times a week....

Take a look at these two pictures. The top photo is how one is supposed to sit in a car (and it's a CAR, not a fucking "vehicle."Just because you are saying a word with three syllables, doesn't mean you are smart) while you are driving. Now take a look at the photo on the bottom. People who sit like this while they are driving deserve a fucking shovel to the head. Or a ball-peen hammer...whatever is handy.

For the most part, it is men between the ages of 19-28, an age group that already brings new depth and meaning to the word "moron."Man oh man, do they look like gigantic assholes when they sit like this in their cars. I know that y'all think you look cool, all mack daddy and pimped out, when you lean your body to the middle of the front seat in your 1993 Ford Escort but you are, in fact, NOT. You look like a fucking douche bag so do yourself a favor: sit up and drive like a fucking man!!

And if you want to be cool, go contribute something to your community or help out at an old folks home, instead of being another walking (oops! driving) example of how truly mindless, asinine, and imbecilic our country has become.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Calling All Fredheads!!!

Great article on Fred yesterday in the CSM. You all know that I am not a fan but for those of you that are, I think you will like it. It is very well the Monitor always is.

(Yes, I know I am shamelessly plugging the CSM but gol darn it! They actually report the news!!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why Am I Not Surprised?

A story today in the CSM details how the Bush Administration, over the last four years or so, controlled what government scientists said about climate change, even going as far as editing reports and purposefully omitting key findings.

I have noticed, over the course of the last year or so, a concerted effort by right wing pundits to go out of their way to find people that don't agree with climate change. Fox News, whenever running stories about climate change, runs a crawl with list of scientists who don't agree that human CO2 emissions are accelerating global warming. They usually tie in to these stories accusations of threats, made by people like Al Gore and the IPCC , to those scientists who don't agree, oddly spinning this fantasy into a realm of complete unreality.

It's quite obvious, and I especially hope so after this report, that the only information doctoring and threats being made are actually by the Bush Administration and conservatives. Ah, I really can't wait until Jan of 2009 when the era of "making shit up, declaring it to be true and anyone who doesn't think so is bent on the destruction of America" is over.

Monday, December 10, 2007

U.S. Versus US

Someone requested this a while back. I decided to spend some time refining it and adding a few things in the mix. So, without further adieu....


1. Both Bush and Ahamadinejad are in power due to the support of religious extremists who want to force people to live their lives a certain way.

2.. Both Bush and Ahamadinejad have one central goal in mind: control the world's oil reserves and reap large profit for their respective countries.

3. Both Bush and Ahamadinejad believe that it is manifest destiny that their way is the RIGHT way.

4. Both Bush and Ahamadinejad seek to eliminate or skew any information, whether it is the media, the education system, or any other outlet of knowledge, that does not go along with this manifest destiny listed in #3.

5. In order to achieve 1-4, both Bush and Ahamadinejad use the logical fallacy of "appeal to fear" on a gullible population to achieve these ends.

6. Both Bush and Ahmadinejad have a irrational fear of homosexuals, leading them to create policies and propagate the belief that it can be "cured." (See: Hitler+Jews=Final Solution)

7. Both Bush and Ahamadinejad could care less about serving their countries' or their people's interests.

8. Both Bush and Ahamadinejad have one central conviction: their own vanity.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Weekend Fun

One of my friends, who goes by the handle hippydippy chick, sent me this nice one.

In case you hadn't heard about this latest Supreme Court decision...

Have you heard the latest?The Supreme Court has ruled that there cannot be a Nativity Scene in the United States Capitol this Christmas Season.This isn't for any religious reason; they simply have not been able to find three wise men and a virgin in the Nation's Capitol.There was no problem, however, finding enough asses to fill the stable!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More Victories

This has been a pretty great week. First, the good guys (on both sides) scored a major victory in regards to Iran. More information about how the NIE report was confirmed is detailed in the Times today. Apparently, our military intelligence got wind of several conversations/arguments between Iranian military personnel. Other intelligence agencies confirmed this as well. I guess there was quite a heated debated in the situation room recently between Cheney and some intelligence officers in regards to whether or not this was a ruse designed to throw us off.

Cooler, more reasoned minds prevailed (i.e. the ones who don't have to continually have to make up for small penis size by bombing people) and hopefully we can have an end to the incessant "appeal to fear" politics we have had for the last seven years.

Oh, and here's a great bit on Ahmadinejad's reaction. Read between the lines on this one. He is not happy. Sure, declaring victory was an easy one to predict but where can he go now? The only support he has he gets from standing up to the "Great Satan." Exactly how is that going to happen now? Hee Hee...I love it.

And of course we have poor President Chavez. Gosh, I hope you all can feel how bad (NOT!) I feel for Short Stuff not being able to declare himself dictator for the rest of his life. What a shame. The look on his face, seen in the link above, when he found out that he wasn't as well loved as he thought...kinda reminded me of another president when he found out Iran had abandoned its nuclear program.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Wind From Their Sails

The Director of National Intelligence has done it again. Gol Darn it all!! He's spoiling everything for all those folks in the White House (and John McCain) who want to bomb Iran. Yesterday saw the release of a NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) on Iran's nuclear capability.

And, oh what a report.

Basically, Iran has abandoned its plans to build a nuclear weapon. The declassified summary states with "high confidence" that they did so in 2003 and, up until mid 2007, have not resumed construction. The report goes onto to say that international diplomatic pressure forced the Iranian government to cease pursuing the goal of a nuclear arsenal.

While they are continuing to produce fissionable material, it is quite obvious that it is going to be used for energy needs. Of course, this doesn't mean that they are ceasing the production of weapons all together. Nor are they declaring to stop assisting various terror groups around the world.

But they are definitely not the grand threat that Bush and Cheney have made them out to be. That ship has sailed. Their dreams of appealing to fear have been dashed and I am skipping with glee!! In other words, the intelligence agencies of our country have called them on their bullshit.

To be clear, Iran is still a problem and needs to be closely monitored. They are a threat, no doubt, and we need to be vigilant. Most importantly, though, we need to be smart. From day one, my biggest gripe about the Bush administration is that they are incredibly incompetent at assessing threats to our country and act in a such a way that it actually makes the problem worse.

One need simply look at how they have handled the 9-11 attacks (pre and post), Iraq, and Katrina to see how poorly they manage crises. Of course, this may have been the intent all along ("See how awful big government is? We need to privatize everything!" aka "Let's help all my pals get rich by forcing miserable people, with no other choice, into serfdom.") and I, for one, am very happy that they won't get this one. And, do you know who else won't?

President Ahmadinejad and the other hard liners of Iran.

See, what I am going to be laughing my ass off about, when I hear all the little neo-fasicists like Michelle Malkin, Bill Kristol, Rush Limbaugh, and some of YOU who post here screaming about how this report is screwed up/a liberal tool/distorted by the liberal media/has already killed several angels in heaven, is how this is a huge victory for us. Why?

1. We have proven to the world that we can penetrate their security with our intelligence apparatus.
2. We have taken the bluster out of Ahmadinejad. His biggest bargaining chip is gone. He has no defense, to speak of really, against regime change, from within or without.
3. They know that we will be watching.

As a result, we can pretty much run the table on them anywhere we want now in the Middle East. Hell, they have already caved on Iraq by ceasing most arm shipments to Iraq and assisting with security. And they look like fools for being the only country in the region to not attend the Annapolis conference on a Israeli-Palestinian solution.

See what happens when you're smart about confronting your enemy. See what happens when you recognize war for what it is: just another political tendril. See how effective forceful diplomacy can truly be. Now, imagine what is going to happen when President Obama takes us all to the next level.

I can't wait.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Well Well Well...

Yesterday's Vikings game was yet another example of me being wrong...and loving every minute of it!! Maybe I was a little harsh on ol' Chilly. Damn, did they look good yesterday.

I have to tell you all-if Peterson stays healthy, they can play with anyone. Jackson is coming around at QB. I love that new wide receiver, Allison. And the defense seems to be hitting and sticking teams into submission.

In looking at the remainder of the Cardinal's and Lion's schedules, I really like the Vikes chances at a playoff berth. The game that worries me the most, of the next four, is San Francisco. We always fall asleep to the easy teams. Here's hoping that we put another 40+ points on the board!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Send in the Marines

Alright, so I know I am going Christian Science Monitor crazy lately but an article today made me very happy. It seems that the United States Marine Corps wants to go into Afghanistan. It's about fucking time.

Gen. James Conway (left, standing) has decided that the situation in Afghanistan is unacceptable, with the Taliban now successfully defending it's strongholds. He has pushing hard for troops to be re-deployed from Iraq to Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he is meeting resistance in the Pentagon.

Most of the reason for the resistance is political--the Pentagon does not want to admit that we haven't secured the country--so I hope some of these morons pull their heads out of their collective asses and realize that THIS IS WHERE THE PEOPLE WHO ATTACKED US ON 9-11 ARE HANGING OUT!!!


Anyway, it does my heart proud to know that people like General Conway are on the case. If the plan is approved, they could be re-deployed early next year. Here's hoping that it happens.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Simply Spectacular

This article from yesterday's Christian Science Monitor was stunning. I would love to see this show.

Here is my favorite quote, from the series director:

....what is endangering peace is extremist thinking, and political hard-liners that separate people from each other. God created people to love each other, regardless of religion.... Unfortunately [when it comes to] religion the current of extremism is always on, creating misunderstanding between cultures.

Kinda sums up the leaders of the United States and Iran in the year 2007, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Proving Me Wrong

You know what I love? When President Bush proves me wrong. I always chuckle heartily when conservatives say things to me like:

"You just hate being wrong" or

"You're the one who is stubborn" or

"You're narrow minded."

"No, that's you" is usually my response because it is, in fact, the truth.

I spend a lot of time ripping President Bush for his lack of a fine touch, particularly when it comes to diplomacy. And yet, today he has brought together Ehud Ohmert, Prime Minister of Israel (right), and Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian people (left) for a peace conference.

I suppose I could be skeptical and say that nothing will come from it but didn't they say the same thing about Ireland? Look at how that turned out. At least President Bush is trying.

To be perfectly honest, he has done more than that. I recall in 2002, he made history by being the first sitting US president to mention the words "Palestinian" and "state" in the same sentence. Not even the most popular president in the history of our country (and in the world), Bill Clinton, can lay claim to that fame. Pretty wild, coming from a guy who has failed in just about every other area.

And, I have to say, that I do skip with glee when my hard core conservative friends stew about stuff like this. It really is fun to see their pea brains completely unable to comprehend why their commander guy isn't blowing things up like a good ol' boy should be doing!

So, really, either way, I see it as a victory for myself. If I am right that Bush is a political incompetent, then I have the satisfaction of winning the debate and hopefully encouraging people to look for a better alternative. If I am wrong, that means that President Bush is doing what he should be doing--what I know he NEEDS to do--to win the peace and, ultimately, the war of ideas that is truly the center of our struggle with Islam.

I'm WRONG and I love it!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

On Politics and War

Sometimes there is a person that quite eloquently expresses certain thoughts or feelings in a much better way than you every could do so. I read this opinion piece by James R. Pinkerton (Newsday) and was quite struck by it's summative simplicity in describing our difficulties in Iraq and the Middle East in general. He does a wonderful job of engaging in theater, taking on the persona of one Carl von Clausewitz (left), author of the book On War

Some choice quotes.

Smart strategists know - because they read it in my book - that politics and war are a continuum. They are not separate. If you win a war and then lose the politics, well, you have lost the war.

From your point of view, it's great that the Americans and Israelis can defeat the Arabs. But until you have altered Arab/Muslim political thinking - by breaking or otherwise changing their political will - then peace conferences are mere mirage-castles in the air.

I couldn't agree more. There has been a lot of talk lately about how well the war is going in Iraq. Violence is down, people are out on the streets more, and the American military is doing a better job of keeping the peace. These things are all true.

It is also true that, by Clausewitz's standards, we are losing. And not just Iraq but the wider war of ideology with Islamic extremists. I submit that we are losing because the current administration and its lapdogs in pundit land have a third grade understanding of diplomacy and politics.

Perhaps it is because they are single minded in their approach for control over the world's oil reserves and the profit therein. Or perhaps they are just morons who haven't the first clue on Middle Eastern politics. (Side rant: I am still trying to figure out why "elitist" scholars and diplomats in this situation are bad and would doom our nation to darkness. Could someone help me out, please?) Regardless, no matter how many conservatives you see skipping on the streets singing about how things are "better" in Iraq, please don't let their little song and dance fool you.

Because the question needs to be this: how DO you break their political will? I think the military is only one small party of the solution. Many conservatives will have you believe that any option other than force is a sign of weakness. This is a lie. They say this because they being paid off by the people in corporate American who stand to lose the most money in what is without a doubt the largest amount of war time profiteering in the history of our country (Harry Truman is rolling in his grave).

Conservatives also say this because they are covering for the fact that they don't know what they are doing. They are simply not competent nor intelligent enough to win this war--in the classic Clauswitzian sense--and are dooming us to complete failure. They obviously haven't read Clauswitz, which is odd because it has been required reading at all of the major military academies in our country. I shouldn't be surprised, I guess.

As usual, conservatives are lashing out at liberals who point out that there is still much to be done and many problems unresolved, not to mention the fact that we are partially responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands innocent civilians over the past four and a half years. I guess it's pretty typical of the collective short man syndrome they all seem to suffer from and the complete lack of depth and understanding for what it means to truly win this struggle.

They will continue, at least for the next 14 months anyway, to bluster, whine, and stomp their feet--full of sound and fury, signifying nothing--while the people that are preparing to run this government in 2009 make plans to actually win.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thank You, Kevin Baker

I have to give credit where it's due...even if it is at the opposite end of the political spectrum. A recent picture I put up on this blog generated double the amount of hits I normally get per day and, thus, we set a new record at Notes From the Front: a whopping 600 unique page loads in one day!! Kevin Baker, proprietor of The Smallest Minority, put up the link on his blog, whose daily page loads far exceed mine, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

I would pay attention to his blog over the course of the next few months, especially if you are a gun rights advocate. There is a big case to be heard in the Supreme Court regarding gun rights in our nation's capital and, as always, Mr. Baker will be all over this one like white on rice.

Thanks again, KB!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thank You, America

Well, apparently the rest of the world should bow down in supplication and give thanks, this holiday season, to America. According to Mark Steyn, the rest of the world, particularly Europe, need to follow America's shining example of the last seven years and use us a model for a "functioning nation state."

In addition to throwing up in my mouth a little bit, I wonder in which America Mr. Steyn resides. Because the one I live in currently looks like its completely broken, filled with blind ideologues who refuse to see the forest for the trees and, ironically, think the same of me. I think Our Girl Friday summed it up best recently in comments:

i happen to think (the tiny minority but hugely influential) US ideological extremists (secular and political) are possibly THE most dangerous type on earth (the A-team of heightened alert) and greatest threat to homeland security, not to mention global, in perpetuating policies that actively search out or create new enemies and fault lines of confrontation ('creative chaos') in parts of the world that have already been ravaged by our foreign policies and other extremists, when the key to security at home & beyond is dialogue, powerful pro-active diplomacy and genuine democracy protection or promotion. None of which have been pursued on the international scene or encouraged, beyond hypocritical rhetoric and utterly opposing actions.

The Big Lie (aka appeal to fear) is that these IEs (ideological extremists) have successfully convinced around 30 million people in this country that if we don't handle our foreign affairs EXACTLY the way they tell us we have to, then we are haters of America, naive, weak, and will doom ourselves to years of oppressive totalitarianism.

What it really means is that they will have less control and make less money, which is what this really all about....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Indoctrinate U Trailer

Crabmaster Scracth just sent me this video and I think it really illustrates two things.

First, this is how the right manages the message and appeals to fear, manufacturing a controversy and flat out lying.

Second, it is a shining example of how the right is now hilariously portraying themselves as victims. I thought they hated that?

Ah well, anything to move one step closer to all of us thinking the same....

The Wrong Friend

I got this piece from the LA Times earlier in the week from Our Girl Friday, Joanne Tucker. I think it rings true, in light of the fact that Pakistan's previous prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and our previous president, Bill Clinton, actually had a plan to take out Al Qaeda.

Is Musharraf blocking the US on purpose? Why would he do that?

I guess I really don't have the answers...only speculation.

I do know this: with each passing day, Pakistan becomes more and more of a danger to homeland security and I really don't think, given the track record, that Bush Co. has much concern.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Heightened UnAlert Volume 1

After careful consideration, I have come to the unmistakable conclusion that most conservatives are afraid of the wrong things. So this week, I am starting a new series, to be continued from time to time similar to Grab Bag and Profiles in Courage, that highlight this silliness.

Strike up a conversation with a conservative friend and you will find him or her principally worried about terrorism, immigration, and poor people thieving from their wallets. Notice that the subtext here is "the other" or the strange, different person from the far away land of....wherever...taking something from them or invading their space.

Liberals, however, seemed concerned mostly about health care, education, and the environment...all things that will help people live better lives and ultimately improve our country.

Even within each category that conservatives value as being top concerns they are way off base. Poor people thieving from your wallet? This is actually known as belief perseverance or confirmation bias. The same could be said for their views on immigration, which are so unrealistic and child-like that it's hard for me to listen to them seriously. Nothing, however, is more silly than a conservative's view on terrorism and national security.

At this point, I think it's obvious to most people that Iraq was never really a serious threat and that we probably should have kept our focus on Afghanistan. I admit that, back in the fall of 2001, we really looked we were going to head in the right direction, policy wise. Then Tora Bora happened, the administration turned almost immediately to Iraq, and I realized, to my horror, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney honestly do not give a rat's ass about the people that attacked us on 9-11. If they did, we would not have the situation we currently have in Pakistan.

To put it bluntly, Pakistan is a powder keg with a quarter of a centimeter long fuse. Large portions of the country have been taken over by radicals. President Musharaf, leader of Pakistan, has more or less suspended democracy in favor of a dictatorship. According to all of the latest National Intelligence Assessments, Al Qaeda has reconstituted itself in the various tribal areas of Pakistan and is at pre-9/11 strength.

Oh, and Pakistan has somewhere in the neighborhood of three dozen nuclear warheads.


And people in this country are worried about Iraq falling into the wrong hands?

Folks, Pakistan IS in the wrong hands and it's getting worse everyday. Don't believe me? Check out the Oct 29, 2007 edition of Newsweek. Here is the money quote:

Today no other country on earth is arguably more dangerous than Pakistan. It has everything Osama bin Laden could ask for: political instability, a trusted network of radical Islamists, an abundance of angry young anti-Western recruits, secluded training areas, access to state-of-the-art electronic technology, regular air service to the West and security services that don't always do what they're supposed to do. Then there's the country's large and growing nuclear program. "If you were to look around the world for where Al Qaeda is going to find its bomb, it's right in their backyard," says Bruce Riedel, the former senior director for South Asia on the National Security Council.

The whole article is stunning and yet another shining example of how sub moronic the Bush Administration's policy on terrorism is devoid of priorities. One would think that the man who once said, "bin Laden, Dead or Alive" would actually live up to his word and do something about Pakistan, other than what he is currently doing which is offering a bunch of lip service to the media and sending low level diplomats to talk to Musharaf.

Mention Pakistan to a conservative (please do's really a hoot) and you will get a surprisingly laissez faire response. Here are some that I have heard recently.

"Bomb Pakistan? Aren't they are allies. To do so would be colossally stupid."

"Musharaf is doing the best he can. Those folks over there can't handle democracy. They need to be ruled with an iron hand."

"Things are just fine over there. We need to stay focused on Iraq, building democracy there so it will spread to Pakistan and other countries in the region at a later date."


Talk about hypocrisy. So....what....they are the only ones allowed to be tough and if anyone else, like say...Barack Obama talks about military action in Pakistan then it's time to stomp their feet and throw an eight year old temper tantrum, yelling, "No! No! You can't do that! No!"

Or they will revert to the old "It's all Bill Clinton's fault" mantra. Perhaps they haven't read this article, recently sent to me be a loyal reader, which details how it was Musharraf, after seizing power in 1999, who refused to complete a joint US-Pakistani operation (started with ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) that would've possibly taken out bin Laden. It was President Clinton and his staff that had been working on this operation since the failed 1998 bombing.

We need to get serious about Pakistan now. I would suggest an operation in Pakistan that cleans out the tribal regions once and for all. Right now, the Bush Administration, in a shit eatingly stupid maneuver, is sending around 15o million dollars to the region to "win hearts and minds."

I'll give all of you one guess as to where that money is really going.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Weekend Fun

I just found this while surfing. My stomach still hurts.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Alright, I Need Help

I hate to say this but I am panicked. The Writer's Guild Strike is making me nervous. In another two weeks or so, no new shows. I don't watch all that much TV but I do enjoy a few and the prospect of digging into my old Star Treks isn't all that appealing.

Am I that shallow that I can't just watch a movie or read a book?

Perhaps I am.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who Me? Responsible?

Well, that evil liberal Nick Coleman is at it again. His recent column about the 35W Bridge collapse has firmly cemented him as a degenerate, political crier who refuses to see the great things that government can accomplish when it is gutted.

What an asshole. How dare he question the commitment and individual responsibility of our state Republican leadership? Doesn't he know that you aren't allowed to do that? Because when you question whether or not conservatives actually can be personally responsible, an angel dies.

This is so typical of the times and, as usual, liberals have got it all wrong. They let conservatives dictate the playing field when they should just go make their own. They whine, piss, moan, and run like frightened mice when a conservative accuses them of being "mean" or "playing politics."
I would suggest that they go after the issue of responsibility. Most conservatives talk a good game about responsibility but shirk it on every issue. The party that constantly touts taking responsibility strangely has been taking none of it, never so true as we have seen with the 35W bridge collapse.

How about some illuminating examples?

Health Care? Fuck you, get you hands out of my wallet. I don't give a shit about you. Just work hard and you'll be rewarded by the free market.

Environment? Any problems are not my fault.

Education? Also not my problem.

National Security? Everyone who has attacked us is completely at fault and we are not because we are all about freedom.

Disaster Preparedness? Not my problem. Also not the governments. Fuck you, you're on your own. At the end of the day, you will be better for it. This is pretty much the attitude of Carol Molnau, Tim Pawlenty, and the other laughably irresponsible members of the Minnesota State Republican party. As Coleman says, it's almost as if the bridge never fell.

Because the government can't possibly be held responsible for bridges. That's up to us and the free market. We just need to put our faith in private industry because they have proven to be so much more competent and trustworthy than the government, right? Competition breeds better service, unlike the government, correct?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Matter of Ideology

In the post below this one, the comments section produced this gem from John Waxy

What a crock of shit...the free market, run by people who by definition want and need to make a profit will solve the societal needs of this country. We have done this already people, it was called the Middle Ages and our figurative ancestors came here to get away from it because it no longer worked!

Well played, sir. Well played. But I think it goes deeper than that. I read this a while back, during Katrina, and it really sums up why things are so fucked up in this country.

While condemnation of the government response to Katrina has centered on specific failures...., significant criticism has also identified political conservatism as the overriding cause of problems in the way the disaster was handled. These critics argue that the alleged unreadiness of the United States National Guard, negligence of federal authorities, and haplessness of officials such as Michael Brown did not represent inherent incompetence on the part of the federal authorities.

Instead, these failures are seen as natural and deliberate consequences of the conservative ruling philosophy embraced by the George W. Bush administration, especially conservative policies to force reductions in government expenditure, privatize key government responsibilities such as disaster preparedness, and prioritize military spending over spending at home.

These critics also target what is perceived as the failed reconstruction effort in New Orleans, claiming that it represents another political success for "sink or swim" ideology: a "government-subsidized gentrification plan" intended to eliminate what the neoconservative news magazine The Weekly Standard has called "the community that appalled the rest of America when wall-to-wall television coverage of Katrina showed us just what it looked like: poor, black, with astonishingly high unemployment and welfare dependency rates.

Arguments targeting the role of conservatism in these aspects of the Katrina response cite examples such as the systematic dismantling of FEMA by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the more than US$150 million Homeland Security awarded in contracts to Halliburton and Blackwater USA for services in the disaster, and statements such as those by U.S. Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson that “only the best residents should return" to the reconstructed city of New Orleans.

Welcome to the United Corporations of America in 2007. Remember, you have free will so all is well!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Point of Origin

I hope that everyone realizes that I was being sarcastic in the post yesterday. Some didn't and I got some shocked emails and worried phone calls that I slipped off the deep end. The truth is that I really wanted a summation, from the conservative side, of why we have problems in this country. At one time or another, this is what I have been told by the right and when you look at the list, don't you just start laughing? I do....

What is very bizarre about the whole situation is that these very conservatives have been running the show for the last seven years. So can someone explain to me how it's the liberals' fault when they don't have the power to do anything and haven't since Bill Clinton was president? And don't give me the "They have Congress now" bullcrap because clearly that hasn't worked out. If they want to bitch, they should start by looking in the mirror.

Every problem has a point of origin. If we have these problems now and the conservatives are driving these policies that cause the problems, then they are the point of origin and, thus, bear the responsibility. What is going on right now reminds of when I hear a crash in my house and run into the room where the noise occurred. I get the louder of my two children pointing at the other saying, "He did it!!!"

Actually, the picture above pretty much sums it up.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pass The Dutchie To The Left Hand Side

As we draw closer to the election year, I thought it would be prudent to take an honest look at the irrevocable harm that liberals have done to this country. I feel that it's important to take stock, as it were, and closely examine who is responsible for the downturn our country has taken and who is not.

Of late, I have been reminded of what exactly is at stake by several friends of mine on the right side of the aisle. Everything from small drips of polite words, here and there, to torrential, raging downpours of fervent ideology have been directed my way in the past few weeks, pointing the finger of blame directly at the left of this country. So, how about all of us here at Notes From The Front tally up the liberals' record thus far? We really need to get a sense of where of our current status. And we really need an honest one.

Bear in mind, I used only the facts, as they are known to conservatives, to produce this assessment so there is no wavering from these points. They are rock solid truth.

In chronological order:

1. September 11th Attacks. Could have been prevented if not for President Clinton's dismantling of the military in the 90s and having his hand on the chicken switch, not taking out bin Laden soon enough. 8 years of soft, liberal rule gave Al Qaeda the opportunity it needed.

2. Anthrax Attacks. The fault of the liberal media. They brought it on themselves for spreading lies. Probably the work of a foreigner, whose multi-culti lies liberals believe on a daily basis.

3. Tora Bora.
bin Laden et al slipped away due to the liberals not supporting the war effort enough, forcing Bush into sending in a proxy force.

4. Iraq. The blame for all problems in Iraq going as badly as it has can be spread out over several groups:
a. Liberal Democrats playing politics with our brave soldiers lives.
b. The liberal media who never gives Bush a chance and over reports all the bad news all the time and never any good news ever.
c. The Hollywood elite, whose anti American hit pieces aid and abet our enemy everyday, costing thousands of lives of our brave soldiers.
d. The people of this country who voted for Al Gore and John Kerry (two traitors who would've sat back and done nothing when were attacked on 9-11) or should I say SHEEPLE of this country who are too blinded by partisanship to see that the real problems here are a, b, and c.

5. War on Terror. Liberals will not do what is necessary to win our struggle. This includes wiretapping to protect our great nation, torture to prevent further attacks, exposing traitors like Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, and preventing brown people from entering our country. Because of this, we are doomed.

6. Hurricane Katrina. The response to this horrible tragedy was poor because of Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin. They are the complete bearers of blame and fault. If they had done a better job, they wouldn't have so much blood on their hands.

7. Climate Change is a lie made up by liberals who want to profit from zealotry. By playing into people's fears, a great disservice is done to the backbone of America: our corporations, who exist only to help us and give us comfortable lives. This "threat" is a figment of Al Gore's imagination, a classic re-direct to keep our eyes off the real enemy, who are China, Russia, France, England, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Venezuella, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Indonesia, Palestine, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Vietnam, North Korea, Japan, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Libya, and the Republic of Lesotho.

8. Health Care is in the crapper because the Democrats over regulate the free market, which, if left alone, would sort everything out just fine.

9. The Economy is in dire straits because of the massive amount of spending that the Democratic controlled Congress is pushing for in the new budget. It will destroy our country.

10. Education. Our schools our liberal indoctrination centers whose main purpose is to churn out America haters. Thankfully, No Child Left Behind will fix all of this.

11. Values
are gone in this country because of people like Sally Field, buying their kids liquor, condoms, and hotel rooms on prom night rather than gearing up for battle. Liberals are also responsible for the spread of homosexuality, a behavior problem that can be cured.

Take a look at this list and tell me honestly: can you vote for a liberal now? They have spent the last seven years plotting to destroy this country and have almost been successful. If it weren't for the dutiful, watching eyes of George W. Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney, all would be lost.

I am certain there are more than just these ten items. How about helping me out? This is an organic process, after all, and we really need to get it right.

You know, for the history books.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cheese Land

Now I'm at the usual point that every Vikings fan has each year: I begin to have hope. And every year, my hopes are dashed, usually by mind numbingly bad coaching.

This weekend, though, I am going to try to remain upbeat. The Vikings have the best running back the game has seen in a long time. Adrian Peterson is in a different stratosphere and a total blast to watch. This simple fact could be the tide turner.

If the Vikings can bring that same pass defense that they brought against San Diego, Favre is going to throw some interceptions. We know Green Bay is not going to run the ball so it's going to be a pass festival.

In addition, we have to keep pounding the ball with the run so we can make them come up in the box to play defense. Then we can start hitting them with passes, assuming of course we have Bollinger start who I think is our best shot at beating the Cheesers.

So, the question becomes...can they execute? Will Childress get to far up his own ass and fuck things up? And will All Day rush for 300?

I'm looking forward to it....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

February 2009: United States and Iran Summit

Day One: President Obama welcomed President Ahmadinejad in the first ever meeting between leaders of the United States and Iran. The meeting took place on US soil.

The United States spent the day formally apologizing for all wrongs done to Iran, focusing specifically on 1953 coup, by the CIA, of the Democratically elected leader Dr Mohammed Mossadegh. All troops are removed from around Iran and re-deployed to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The day concluded with a pledge to cease meddling in Iranian affairs and to support its nuclear energy program.

Day Two: Iran was scheduled to apologize for the wrongs they have done to the United States. President Ahmadinejad was strangely silent.

Day Three: Goodwill tours are taken around the capital, including a visit by both presidents to the Gay Pride Institute. President Ahmadinejad appeared confused and slightly uncomfortable.

Day Four: The United States repeated its apologies at a general session at the UN. A cacophony of applause was heard and howls of "America, Fuck Yeah" are heard from the assembly. Iran did not apologize, instead criticizing the United States, calling it "the devil."

Day Five: As President Ahmadinejad flew back to Tehran, his military told him that the United States had begun operations, along with Pakistani forces, inside of Pakistan to capture or eliminate the remnants of Al Qaeda. A communique was issued directly from President Obama. It was short and simple:

Pay attention to what we are doing today. Step out of line and you're next.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What In.....#$#%#$% Tarnation?

I was watching the news today and saw, with what can only be described as shock and awe, that Pat Robertson has endorsed Rudy Giuliani for president.

Would someone please tell me if I have entered a parallel universe?

I am completely at a loss for words and this news, monumentally stunning as it is, has caused me to not put up the post regarding my plan for Iran.

At this point, I don't know if I like Rudy less or Pat's all so confusing...someone please help!!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I know it's an off year but get out and VOTE. There are plenty of school board and council seats up for elections which could affect your local area.

And it is your civic duty.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Appeal To Fear

Right before the election last year, President Bush said the following about Islamic radicals.

"They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call caliphate, where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology ... This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia."

I thought of this recently because a friend of mine at the gym mentioned this to me in relation to Iran. Many folks I know, of the conservative ilk, have been talking about this quite a bit lately, insisting that if we don't continue to do exactly what Bush-Cheney want us to do in the Middle East, our entire nation will be enslaved in the caliphate. So, when conservatives talk, y'all know I listen!!! After all, they're just as rational as anyone, right? Actually, it's serendipitous because I have actually been thinking a lot lately about Iran, Pakistan, Islamist radicals, and their plan for the future of the world.

I have to say, though, in looking at all of this, I'm pretty underwhelmed and, quite frankly unimpressed. A caliphate? Really?

A caliphate is the only form of governance that has full approval in traditional Islamic
theology. It is the Islamic form of government representing the political unity and leadership of the Muslim world. The simple fact that the word "unity" is included in this definition causes me to seriously wonder if this is possible. I spend a lot of time watching news from the Middle East and, even with taking Israel and the United States out of the equation, folks in that part of the world seem to do a pretty good job being just about as disparate as possible.

To hear some conservatives talk these days, it would seem that legions of angry Islamists are at the Statue of Liberty and the Golden Gate bridge ready to pounce, forcing into conversion, slavery or death. Now, I don't want to play down the threat from people that use terrorism as a tool but let's really take a look at these folks and tell me, honestly, is it really possible?

As much of a threat as bin Laden is (and I do think he is a threat), he has never really been able to establish unity with any serious country. All of them, save one, have kicked him out over the years. Iran? Well, they're Shiite and we all know how well they get along with Sunnis (see: Iraq). Honestly, even with one or two atomic bombs, is their military really up to the task? They had a defense budget of 6 billion on 2005, lower than any other Persian Gulf country. They haven't fought in any major combat since 1989. I have to say that I am really beginning to question how much of a "threat" they actually are and how much of what we hear coming out of Bush-Cheney's mouth is geo-political maneuvering to get their oil.

To be sure, these "threats" might disrupt our nation with more attacks and many lives could be lost but do you think that we, as well as the rest of Western civilization is going to collapse to a caliphate? I asked this question of my gym friend and he told me that it is already happening in Europe due to the large number of Islamic immigrants living there. "They have set up their bases," he informed me, "and are readying their forces." Readying their forces? Hmm...I think this may come as a shock to the European Union as well as the individual heads of state of each country. After some careful thought, I began to realize that what he, and many others including myself have been a victim of these last six years, is "Appeal To Fear."

Appeal To Fear is a logical fallacy in which a person (in this case President Bush, VP Cheney and minions) attempts to create support for his idea by increasing fear and prejudice toward a competitor. The appeal to fear is extremely common in marketing and politics. It works something like this:

If P, then Q
Q is fearsome
Therefore P is true.

An example would be the following. Hitler never wore a seat belt. Neither does my friend Crabmaster Scratch (true btw). Therefore, Crabmaster is just like Hitler.

This is exactly what certain people are saying now with this whole caliphate business. They are using our fear of the unknown to allow them to pursue their agenda which, in all honesty, has nothing to do with protecting us from a caliphate. Just because Islamists say they want to do it doesn't mean they can do it. Nor does it mean that all Muslims are going to support it. By exaggerating the threat posed by those who would use terror as a tool, Bush etc is completely fucking us over from a strategic standpoint. How do you get a factional Muslim world to unify?

Gang up on the Crusaders. And that's pretty much what is going on now in Iraq.

In the end, what really astounds me is when you call people on their appeal to fear they respond by using.....another appeal to fear. Some of my conservative friends have howled back to me with retorts of "Appeaser!" and "Munich 1938!" My favorite: "Are you a FOO?" (Friend Of Osama). So basically, if I don't believe their paranoid and wildly unsubstantiated fear, then I am naive and foolish. Now I get it!!

For the rest of this week, I am going to post some logical, intelligent, and rational thoughts regarding what I think should be done about the ACTUAL threat of radicals as opposed to the Tinkerbell version. As always, I am interested in your views as well.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Fun

I have received several emails over the last few weeks requesting that I rant about something other than politics. I thought I did sometimes? Anyway, starting on Fridays, I am going to rant/rave about sports and entertainment. They are two topics I am just as passionate about as politics so I figured why not?

I know this sounds very played the Minnesota Vikings absolutely suck or what? Good gravy, I don't think I have ever seen a more harmless offense. Every Sunday I sit in my chair, watching each game, and I can tell what flippin' play they are going to run. Imagine what someone (i.e. professional football coach) who watches 60 hours of film a week is able to do.

And the pass defense? I don't think I have ever seen a more terrible unit. When 3rd and whatever comes up, it's a 15 yard pass play straight up the middle to a wide open player. EVERY SINGLE MICKY FRIKKIN' TIME!!!!!! Argh!!!!!! Charlie Brown's stomach, after Lucy pulls away the football, isn't even as close to as sick as mine. The funny thing is...the coaching staff of the Vikings doesn't seem to notice. They are so trapped in their own hubris, from the little major right on down, they can't see that their "system" doesn't work.

Word of advice to prospective athletes: when you hear the word SYSTEM......


Thursday, November 01, 2007


Last week, I received the following email from one of my uncles.

Hey Mark,

Did you hear that FEMA did a short notice 'mock' press conference with
FEMA employees asking canned questions of the FEMA leadership regarding
their 'most excellent' response to the wildfires v. katrina....they
didn't let the press know until 15 minutes before, so offered a "listen
only" teleconference to the press and then asked their staged
questions..."nice job Brownie!'

Further research turned up the videos below this post. The first is when they broke in live with the "press conference" and the second video is the aftermath.

FEMA's fake press conference

Fake News Reporters from FEMA concerning Calif. Wildfires

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Another Gem from The Godfather

Got this email earlier in the week from my Godfather. He writes:

Hey Mark,

I was catching up on the blogsphere and finally read you post of the 23rd re: Hillary and Rudy. I'm no fan of Hillary (Richardson is the most qualified of all the candidates) but Rudy, or any Republican, as President in '08 would guarantee the continued destruction of what I believe to be the best of American values and traditions.

Should the GOP continue to have the ability to pervert government structures by aggrandizing the executive branch's role and the power to diminish the judicial branch by swinging the courts further to the right, especially the Supreme Court, this country will be paying the awful price until your kids are great grandparents. Hillary may be a less than inspiring candidate to us but in a contest between her and any Republican, she is at least the lesser of the two evils.

Well, I see his point but I am still not ready to vote for her over Rudy. I just don't think Rudy is a party guy. He used to be a Democrat! I still maintain that he is lying about what he is going to do to get votes. And why do we have to be back to the lesser of two evils? Is there ever going to be a time when we have two very qualified candidates from each party?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eyewitness Iran

I have decided to turn this week into a mailbag week. I have received some interesting emails from some folks so I am going to put one up each day. My mind and heart are just not in writing a full length commentary this week. Rest assured, however, there is going to be a non political rager, coming soon, about how some of my friends are lazy, overly self-involved pathetic douche bag leeches who can't be bothered with the "burden" of helping me out when I need it.

(Whew. I feel better already)

Anyhoo, if you can, check this out tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 4:00 PM
Room 125 Nolte Center for Continuing Education Minneapolis Campus

Eyewitness Iran

Journalist Reese Erlich will discuss his new book, The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis (October, 2007), which offers an alternative view of Iran and U.S. policy toward Iran. Reese Erlich reports regularly for National Public Radio, Marketplace Radio, Latino USA, Radio Deutche Welle, Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio, and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio, and writes for the San Francisco Chronicle, the St. Petersburg Times, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has won numerous journalism awards, including the 1996 Chicago International Film Festival's Silver Hugo for investigative reporting. In June 2005, he traveled to Iran with Norman Solomon and Sean Penn. Erlich's photos accompanied Penn's five-part series about the trip that appeared in the SF Chronicle and in an A&E documentary of Penn. He made another trip to Iran last year. He will be showing photos and sharing his observations from both trips.

I wish I could go but I have school and kid duty. If anyone does go, jot down some notes and I will put them up on the blog. We have about 300-400 regular readers now and I think some of them, especially those out of towners, might want to hear how the talk went.

I am certain, as well, that over the next few months we will be talking more about Iran.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Welcome E-Mail

This week, I thought I would turn over the reigns to someone who actually served in Iraq. We talk an awful lot about Iraq on this blog so it is only fitting that someone who served there be giving the gavel.

Sgt. John Smith (not his real name) served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004 as communications specialist. Last Friday he sent me the following email, which he has graciously permitted me to post.

You are the only one I can vent too... ...because I'm so embarrassed about who I voted for last general election!

[moment of silence for Lt Michael Murphy]...

I've been watching the ceremonies pertaining to the the Medal of Honor to Michael Murphy. I am humbled by his sacrifice, and I am proud to have served in the same country's military as he did. (God speed his soul to paradise). Have you watched the ceremony where George presents Michael's Mom and Dad with the medal awarded to their son for his (not to mention their) ultimate sacrifice? (The video for this ceremony is below this post)

During his 3.5 min speech he trips over 5 letter words! In my opinion, it looks as if he didn't read the speech at all before giving it! What a slap in the face of the family to have been given such a poorly prepared ceremony. The guy who reads the citation even screws up twice.Why is George such a moron? Such a dunce? His oratory ability is slightly above that of a blind deaf mute with Palsy, and I for one cannot stand his dumb-ass appearance when speaking publicly . Is he drunk, high, or just that stupid!?

IN CONTRAST, look at Laura Bush's Speech she gave yesterday to the service men and women in Kuwait. I know we often talk about how George never talks when Dick Cheney's drinking water, but have you heard Laura speak? She sounds ten times more articulate than her husband. Are we certain that we're not in another era of Eleanor (Roosevelt) like government? I know you don't like talking about George as much as you like talking about replacing George...but I just can't get over how little research I did before voting for him (yeah, twice!) and I need someone to tell me it's going to be OK! thoughts? comments?


Medal of Honor Awards Presentation for Michael Murphy

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Barack Obama on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

This is a great interview with Senator Obama from last week on the Tonight Show. The bit about his wife and Bill Clinton is hysterical!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Agony of Torture

So, here's my problem. What if it comes down to Hillary vs. Rudy? I am so fucked if it does. I think Rudy is the better candidate yet I know that Hillary might actually do some of the things I would like to see done....albeit in an evil way.

I have already told myself that if Hillary wins and picks Obama for her VP (something that would give the Democrats the White House for the next 16 years), I will vote for Hillary. And if Rudy picks a redneck for a running mate, I might be pushed towards Hillary.

I don't know. I can see myself excusing one letter grade level in a Romney (C) and Hillary (D) match up but three letter grades? As it stands right now, Hillary was some work to do to get my vote....otherwise, I will be voting for Rudy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Election 2008 Update

This week, I thought we should take a look at the 2008 Presidential race and see where everyone stands. Some candidates have dropped out and others have jumped in. There have been several debates, sharp words exchanged, and all of the usual insanity associated with the 21st century United States political scene. Today, I will put up an up to date summary of each candidate. Throughout the rest of the week, I will post videos and various musings on how the race is shaping up.

In addition, I think a re-grading is in order. These last few months of the campaign have caused me to reflect on my initial marks for each candidate and concluded that adjustments are in order. Let's start with the Republicans, from worst to best.

1. Alan Keyes. Uh, did anyone besides political geeks like me know that he was trying to run? If you look at his web site, you can see his essay on the "gay agenda" and it's "assault" on the institution of marriage. This view, along with many of his others, represents an agenda of intolerance and bigotry. Oh, and did I mention that he is psychotic? Grade: F

2. Fred Thompson. At a recent campaign stop in Iowa, Thompson concluded his speech and there was silence. "How about a round of applause?," he asked, and then people politely clapped. This pretty much sums up his campaign. In addition to being terribly subdued and sickly looking, the former Senator from Tennessee epitomizes all of the worst qualities of the Republican party. He has a narrow minded, one dimensional view of the world that nauseates me. He basically shares Bush's view of the world with little more stubbornness thrown in. Great....

Of course, it is this "vision" that was supposed to catch fire amongst the base and be the hope of several conservatives, unhappy with the other Republican candidates, that they would have a "real" conservative. This has not happened and he still trails Giulaini and Romney. Bottom line: this man is a giant leap backwards from what we have (which I didn't think was possible) and a terrific bore. Grade: F.

3. Tom Tancredo. The only interesting thing I could find out about Tom Tancredo is that he is a member of the "paleoconservative" movement. This section of the Republican party is anti-communist and anti authoritarian. Not bad, eh? He is rabidly anti-immigration (his centerpiece issue) and has a cool video of himself shooting a gun on his web site. His stance on Iraq sort of breaks with the party line as he would like to see the Iraqis and other countries in the region sort things out themselves. The fact that I saw the word "disengagement" means that, while I disagree with him on pretty much everything, he seems to want to avoid foreign entanglements. It is for that reason he gets a Grade: D.

4. Duncan Hunter. He's made some very interesting comments lately. He favors engagement with Iran to further peace in the Middle East. He and I also share a common vision for Israel. Sadly, however, in looking at his issues page, all I see is the usual intolerance and bigotry in the areas of civil rights, health care, and education. Grade: D

5. Mitt Romney. I gave Romney a B last time for his exceptional health care plan that he implemented in Massachusetts. Since he has been on the campaign trail, however, his mouth runneth over into the "fear/shit your pants" rhetoric that has become a cornerstone of the Republican Party in the last ten years or so. He seems very desperate in trying to convince the "base" that he is a real conservative. Saying things like "I will double Guantanamo" hasn't seemed to help him. He is sinking everything he has into Iowa and New Hampshire. Can he do it? I don't know. But I still like some of the things he says and he is at least a little more moderate than 1-4 on this list. Grade: C

6. Mike Huckabee. I still really like this guy. I don't know why. He wears his faith on this sleeve, is anti-gay marriage, and doesn't believe in evolution. In looking at this issues page, on the surface, it doesn't seem all that different than Tancredo's or Hunter's. I guess the reason why I like him more than the others is that at least he's nice about it. He is firm in his beliefs but doesn't want to force them on people. In addition, he's honest about health care and education, two big issues for me, and offers a different perspective that I think needs to be given more weight. I am still keeping him at Grade C, though, because his views on Iraq are nothing new.

7. John McCain. By far the biggest upgrade in the lot. I was mad at McCain when I did my last grading but he really is a straight shooter and you have to give him props for that. His recent statements on torture, government corruption, and diplomacy have made me realize that I was giving him a fair shake. Although I think his Iraq policy is flawed, John McCain is a decent man who would be an OK president. Grade: B

8. Ron Paul. I feel terrible about making fun of Ron Paul the last time around. His debate performances have been awesome (a word that I reserve for special occasions only as I feel it is waaaay overused). This guy has guts. He is the only Republican candidate that is against the Iraq War. He has a clear view of the shit our country has been into over the years and offers a pragmatic vision for international relations. He is a true conservative in the sense that his views on government's role in our lives should be kept to a minimum. Basically, he is a libertarian. Grade B.

9. Rudy Giuliani. Our Mayor is still the best bet the Republicans have got. And I still adore him. Yes, we differ on Iraq and health care. But I maintain that if he is elected, we are going to see improvements in these areas simply because of the fact that he is highly intelligent and fiercely competent, two things that have been missing from the presidency since 2000. In the end, I trust him implicitly to protect our country and make it a better place. Grade A

The Democrats.

1. Hillary Clinton. Sadly, still at the bottom. I haven't heard much from her to change my mind, although I do like the idea of Bill being the "ambassador at large." Her supporters irritate me much in the same way Green Bay Packer fans irritate dislike for the fans spills over into dislike for the team, or in this case the person.

Hillary supporters know that she is not the best candidate. They want her because she is the most powerful and thus, they can force their agenda on people. It's an agenda that I agree with, for the most part, but I just don't like being told what to do-whether it's a Clinton or a Bush. Simply put, I don't trust her. Have I been co-opted by right wing pundits? I suppose it's possible but folks, c'mon...20 years+ of the same two families ruling our country? What are we....a monarchy now? Grade: D

2. Chris Dodd. A career politician, Dodd brings a wealth of experience to the table. His issues page has very detailed action items on each of the challenges we face today. I think Senator Dodd is a good man but lacks the charisma needed to be a strong candidate. Grade: C

3. Mike Gravel. This guy is a hoot. He's sort of like the grandfather version of Dennis Kucinich. Check out his stand on the issues. He's probably a little long in the tooth for president, though. (77 years old this May!) My favorite Gravel quote? "Since the Second World War, various political leaders have fostered fear in the American people - fear of communism, fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants, fear of people based on race and religion, fears of gays and lesbians in love who just want to get married. Fear of people who are just different. It is fear that allows our political leaders to manipulate us all and to distort our national priorities." Yep. Grade C.

4. Joe Biden. I think Joe Biden needs to get comfortable with the idea of being a cabinet member. While he brings experience and knowledge to the table, in a more pragmatic way than some of the others, he lacks the tact needed to be a great leader. I could actually see him making several gaffes similar to the ones made by our current president. There is a lot of good he could do for our country, though. How about National Security Advisor? Or Sec Def? Grade C.

5. Dennis Kucinich. Dudes, have seen how hot his wife is? Wow.... Not much has changed on my view, though, of DK. I think we need to hear his voice and give it some weight but ultimately, I fear that he is too naive in his views on terrorism. Grade B.

6. John Edwards. I have flipped Edwards and Richardson, not because of anything Edwards has done necessarily but because Richardson has really been impressive. Edwards is the go to candidate for the "white" Democrats who really want a down home boy to win the nomination. Many liberals are just not comfortable with the idea of a black man or a woman being president. I am related to several of them. Edwards would be a great president, no doubt, and he really seems to be comfortable on the campaign trail. He does actually care about "the little guy" and all the "he used to be a trial lawyer so he just loves money" talk is simply more crap from the bullshit brigade. His wife has also been a tremendous asset. Her comments are quite blunt and refreshing. Grade B.

7. Bill Richardson. This guy would be a spectacular president. His foreign policy experience, his no nonsense economic policy, and his general empathy for people make him aces in my mind. He also has some appeal to the right being a strong gun rights advocate and a preacher of more fiscal responsibility. He just hasn't seemed to have caught on like the Big Three have in the Democratic Party. I know he doesn't like to hear this but he would be a great VP or Secretary of State. Grade B.

8. Barack Obama. The Man Who Could Change The World. He is still, far and away, the best choice for president. There is no doubt in my mind that he, more than any other candidate, would unite this country in a way that we haven't seen for decades. His policies would firmly plant America as a force of good and reclaim our benevolence in the world. He has stated that his main goal is to open up the government of the United States and make it for the people again. Let's help him do it. Grade A.

How about all of you? How do you rate the candidates? Leave your answers in comments.