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.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Luke, I Am Your Father....

In what has to be the most depressing news I have heard in a long time, presidential hopeful Barack Obama is related to Dick Cheney. Apparently, way back in the days of yore, a distant relative of Obama's married a relative of Cheney's and as the generations begat through time, it turns out the Dick Vader is the eighth cousin, once removed, of The Man who would change the world.

Not since I saw Empire for the first time have I been so profoundly shocked. I don't think there is any chance for our Vader to turn back to the good side, though. Oh, and Obama's reaction?

"Every family has a black sheep."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Buying The War

Ah, the liberal gotta love 'em. This is an excerpt from a Bill Moyers journal episode called "Buying the War" which details how complicit the mainstream media was in selling the Iraq War. Check it out on PBS if you get a chance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ah, The Liberal Media

Since the comments section of the Sanchez post has been threading the way of the "liberal" media, I thought I would share this picture with all of you taken last October of 2006. Here we see President Bush meeting his "troops" or more specifically: Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, and Neil Boortz.

Now I tried to find a photo of Bill Clinton talking with his "troops," which is every single person in mainstream media if you believe conservatives, but I couldn't find one. I offer this photo, as well as the highly popular broadcasts of each one of these individuals, as evidence that the media is, in fact, not liberal. Talk to anyone who lives in a rural area in our country and they only hear right wing talk show hosts. The 3-5 conglomerates that own these stations will not put on any liberal hosts. How's that for fair and balanced?

So when General Sanchez says things like the press is "unquestionably engaged in political propaganda that is uncontrolled" he would be 100 percent correct!

Monday, October 15, 2007

OmygodIcan'tbelieveit! (Part Deux)

Warning: The following contains substantiated rumour, inuendo, gossip, and no substanative facts whatsoever (aka trying not to cause the ineveitable conservative tapping into their inner rage, flying off the handle at yours truly, and accusing me of being a communist)


An avid reader of Notes From the Front just sent me this email (the names have been changed to protect the innocent...)

Jill (my wife) says that it is a widespread rumor that Michelle Bachmann is having an affair with someone in Washington, apparently another congressman. One of Jill's acquaintances observed Bachmann playing footsie with some guy in a meeting, and upon further discussion with those in the know learned that it's common knowledge she is having an affair.

I guess when Bush rejected her advances she went on to fry other fish.

And apparently her husband likes to watch, since she would never do anything without him telling her to do it.

Could it be true? Well, I know this is tabloid stuff but this is the closest I will EVER get to going Paris Hilton on all y'all's asses. I have scanned the Internet and found nothing. Perhaps Notes From The Front will be the first to break this story!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Well Well Well

Looks like ol'Markdelphia is right again. And all it took was a little time...

The Ex-CEO of Qwest, Joseph P. Nacchio (left), has alleged that the United States Government, specifically the NSA (National Security Agency), withdrew a 200 million dollar contract because Qwest refused to participate in a surveillance program. Now I know you must all be thinking that yours truly is caught in a time loop. Didn't we already have long and hard debates about this many moons ago? Wasn't Qwest the only company out of all the tele-communications companies to say NO to the NSA back when they wanted to listen to our conversations? Didn't Dave and Crabmaster Scratch argue vociferously that, because of the 9-11 attacks, these programs were needed?

And wasn't I told I was being "paranoid" and "libelous" by insinuating that our government wanted to use the NSA program for things other than protecting our nation from terrorism?

Well, the answers to all these questions is YES, of course but the current allegation by Mr. Nacchio is not being made in regards to surveillance programs since 9-11.

No, sir.

Then CEO Nacchio was approached by the NSA on February 27, 2001, A FULL SIX MONTHS BEFORE THE 9-11 ATTACKS!!!

That's right, folks. It comes as no surprise to me, but possibly to others who read and post here, that Herr Cheney wants to be up all of our collective asses with tweezers-you know, to make sure that we are all good little followers of the state. I'm sure that our beloved Fuhrer also wants to keep an eye (or ear in this case) on any dissenters and political enemies that might be plotting against him. And if anyone gets too powerful....or steps out line......

Ah, less gotta love it.

Could any of this be true? As this story comes out, neocon pundits will point to the fact that Joe Nacchio has been found guilty of insider trading and will say anything to beat the rap. But a recent article in the Star and Tribune describes Nacchio as vainly attempting to tell the court that his sale of stock couldn't have been improper due to the fact the NSA cancelled the contract. Of course, this is proving difficult because all references to the NSA program have been redacted from court papers for "security concerns."

So that's what the kids are calling breaking constitutional law these days. Cool!

My questions are these: why did the Bush administration, who has stated repeatedly that the NSA program is necessary because of 9-11, want to bypass the courts and warrants back in February of 2001, well before the attacks? Have other companies complied? If so, why didn't this "necessary" surveillance prevent 9-11?

And why exactly did they want American's phone records again?

A Nightmare

The commander of coalition forces in Iraq from 2004-2006, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, is speaking out.

In a recent interview, Sanchez, the top military man in Iraq during that time period, called the Bush Administration's handling of the war "incompetent" and a "nightmare with no end in sight." He went on to say that the Bush administration's plan is "catastrophically flawed and unrealistically optimistic." And how does he feel about the surge?

"A desperate move that would not achieve long term stability."

You may recall that Gen. Sanchez was forced into retirement because of the Abu Ghraib scandal. So is it sour grapes? Or is he covering his ass for the history books?

Could he be right?

Friday, October 12, 2007

We have a Winner

Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize. And I, for one, am very happy. Regardless of what you might think about climate change, there is no doubt that there hasn't been anyone who has raised awareness more on the issue than our former VP.

Along with Gore, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was given the award "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change"

Even our current president has been talking more of the need to help combat climate change. I think we are headed down a good path, here, folks and kudos to the big Al for leading the way.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My Point About Conservatives Completely and Utterly Proven

Today's column by Katherine Kersten illustrates my contention from earlier in the week that conservative pundits are losing their minds. Vietnam and Iraq are two completely different countries and to make the assertion that Iraq would fall into chaos if we left, just as Vietnam did, is fucking moronic. Do these conservative pundits just make up a bunch of shit, ignore basic facts, and then print it as truth?

A 5th grader will tell you that Iraq and Vietnam are about as different as night and day. Not to mention the fact that it was our fault that the violence escalated regionally in Vietnam because we stayed to long, not because we left too soon. And aren't we doing quite a bit of trade with Vietnam now? Isn't the country more or less stable because we left?

You know, it's a nice pleasant fantasy when I am told to just ignore folks like Katherine Kersten and maybe they'll go away but people read what she is saying and think it's true.

And they can't see that they are being lied to by what is, without a doubt, the greatest propaganda machine in the history of the world.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is It True?

A reader sent me this yesterday and I thought I would throw it out to all of you and see what you think. It was written earlier this year but I still think it is appropriate.

A Psychiatrist's Analysis of George W. Bush
George Bush's "irrational"consideration of a "surge" in the wake of the Iraq Study Group report -- which apparently defies all credible counsel -- has begun to generate speculation regarding his sanity. References to Bush's delusions" have appeared in the mainstream media and throughout the blogosphere. As a psychiatrist, I understandably get concerned when I see clinical terminology bandied about in political discourse, and thought it might be of interest to share a professional perspective on this question. I have a distinct clinical impression that I think explains much of Mr. Bush's visible pathology.

First and foremost, George W. Bush has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. What this means, is that he has rather desperate insecurities about himself and compensates by constructing a grandiose self-image. Most of his relationships are either mirroring relationships -- people who flatter him and reinforce his grandiosity -- or idealized self-objects -- people that he himself thinks a lot of, and hence feels flattered by his association with them. Some likely perform both functions. Hence his weakness for sycophants like Harriet Miers, and powerful personalities like Dick Cheney.

Even as a narcissist, Bush knows he isn't a great intellect, and compensates by dismissing the value of intellect altogether. Hence his disses of Gore's bookishness, and any other intellectual who isn't flattering him. Bush knows that his greatest personal strength is projecting personal affability, and tries to utilize it even in the most inappropriate settings. That's why he gives impromptu back rubs to the German Chancellor in a diplomatic meeting -- he's insecure intellectually, and tries to make everyone into a "buddy" so he can feel more secure. The most disturbing aspect about narcissists, however, is their pathological inability to empathize with others, with the exception of those who either mirror them, or whom they idealize. Hence Bush's horrifying insensitivity to the Katrina victims, his callous jokes when visiting grievously injured soldiers, and numerous other instances. He simply has no capacity to feel for others in that way.

When LBJ was losing Vietnam, he developed a haunted expression that anybody could recognize as indicative of underlying anguish. For all his faults, you just knew he was losing sleep over it. By the same token, we know just as well that Bush isn't losing any sleep over dead American soldiers, to say nothing of dead Iraqis. He didn't exhibit any sign of significant concern until his own political popularity was sliding -- because THAT'S something he CAN feel. Which brings us to his recent "delusion." To be blunt, I don't see any indication that Bush has any sort of psychotic disorder whatsoever. The lapses in reality-testing that he exhibits are the sort that can be readily explained by his characterological insensitivity to the feelings and perceptions of others, due to his persistently self-centered frame of reference.

Mr. Bush knows that things aren't going his way in Iraq, and he knows that this is damaging him politically. He also sees that it is likely to get worse no matter what he does, and in fact it may be a lost cause. However, he recognizes that if he follows the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, Iraq will almost certainly evolve into a puppet state of Iran, and given his treatment of Iran he will completely lose control of the situation -- and he will be politically discredited for this outcome. The ONLY chance that he has to avoid this political disaster, and save his political skin, is to hope against hope for "victory" in Iraq. Advancing the "surge" idea offers Bush two political advantages over following the ISG recommendations. One is that if it is implemented, maybe, just maybe, he can pull out some sort of nominal "victory" out of the situation. The chances are exceedingly slim, granted, but slim is better to him than the alternative -- none. Alternately, if the "surge" is politically rejected, he gains some political cover, so when things inevitably go bad, he can say "I told you so" and blame the "surrender monkeys" for the outcome. Most people probably won't buy it, but some (his core base) will. Now, I know what many of you are thinking -- is George Bush willing to risk the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands more American soldiers, on an outside chance to save his political skin, in a half-baked plan that even he knows probably won't work at all? Yes, he is. Because George Bush is that narcissistic, that desperate, and yes, that sociopathic as well.

Especially interesting about Mr. Bush, but quite common, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is frequently associated with alcoholism. The insufferable "holier than thou" attitude associated with "Dry Drunk" Syndrome" is indicative of underlying narcissism. Also, the way that Bush embraces Christianity is characteristically narcissistic. Rather than incorporating the lessons of humility and empathy modeled by Jesus, Bush uses his Christian faith to reinforce his grandiosity. Jesus is his powerful ally, his idealized "buddy" who gives a rubber stamp to anything he thinks . Finally -- and this will sound VERY familiar to many readers -- those persons with NPD are notoriously unable to say they're sorry. Admitting error is fundamentally incompatible with their precarious efforts to maintain their sense of order. Anyone having this particular character flaw almost certainly has NPD.

(Dr. Paul Minot, psychiatrist, Waterville, Maine)

I think that this analysis could easily extended to cover several conservatives I know as well.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Rush Limbaugh Phony Soldiers Comment

I figured since we are debating this in comments I would put this out front on the blog and let everyone judge for themselves.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Please! For the love of Mike....STOP THE INSANTIY!!!

Over the course of the last few years, y'all have heard me dish on a variety of things that irritate me about folks on the right side of the aisle. To be fair, the left side of the aisle irritates me as well, especially lately. Someone needs to let the Democratic Party know that every time Harry Reid speaks, rather than projecting strength, millions of Americans get the sudden urge to discuss the fine art of quilting and drink warm milk.

Lately, however, right minded folk seem to be losing their minds. I mean this quite literally and it's getting worse everyday. I'm sure that many folks who post here of the conservative ilk will tell you that liberals are just as bad but it's simply not true. Liberals have a plethora of other faults, to be sure, but they aren't anywhere close to what the conservatives are going through at present. They aren't even in the same ballpark. While it's true that everyone is capable of psychosis, in the last few weeks, conservative pundits have collectively demonstrated new depth to the word "loony."

Rush Limbaugh, on his daily radio show last week, called Iraq and Afghan troops that have criticized the war, "phony troops." Leaping to his defense, fellow radio host Melanie Morgan said, on Fox News, that soldiers like Chairman Jon Soltz are part of the “soldiers who are fake, or who are embellishers, or who are posers.” Morgan then claimed that Soltz, who served honorably in both Kosovo and Iraq, has a “far left, anti-America agenda” and that he “undermine[s] the real mission of our troops, our heroes who are out there”

I have two words for you Melanie: FUCK and YOU.

The day you get shot at, truck bombed, or have shrapnel removed from your head is the day you can speak with any kind of authority of what constitutes a loyal solider. The same could be said to Rush, who the last time I checked, received a deferment in Vietnam because he had an anal cyst. And people think that these two individuals are accurate judges of what is patriotic and what is not? What a joke....

I challenge anyone here to find a liberal, as well known as Limbaugh and Morgan, who has called combat troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan "phony" or "Anti-American." Where do Bushies come up with this shit? Oh yes, that's right....THEIR INSANELY WARPED MINDS!

Another shining example of this is Michele Malkin who, when commenting on Sally Field's statement at the Emmys that if "women ran things there would be no war," declared that Ms. Field is, obviously, the "type of mom who buys her kids liquor, condoms, and a hotel room on prom night rather than suiting up and doing battle."


Maybe it's the fact that they can see their support slipping away like granules of sand through their fingers. Or maybe they just can't get out of that "tap into my inner, delusional rage..make something up...and right it down as fact" loop of insanity. Clearly, these people aren't thinking rationally. But how did they get here? Where did they insanity begin?

I say it began with OJ.

Laugh all you want but I think that when OJ Simpson was found innocent of a crime he clearly committed, I believe that certain powerful folks, of the conservative persuasion, saw a golden opportunity. I speculate they realized that they could make up whatever they wanted, throw in some jingoistic lingo, tap into American paranoia and ignorance, and voila! Instant Mandate!

They sure have accomplished a lot, haven't they? They have lowered the level of civility in this country to the point of where we are now: calling US soldiers, who risk their lives for us everyday, "phonies" simply because they don't agree with their bizarre vision of patriotism. They have also given rise to groups like The beef over the General Patreus ad made me laugh so hard I almost threw up. You see, this what you get, Bushies et al, when you lower the political discourse in this country to the mental and emotional level of a thirteen year old girl. You get liberal groups who say dumb ass shit that makes no sense. For every yin, there must be a yang...

So, I have to say that I quite literally can't take this anymore. Listening to any conservative pundit today on just about any topic is like listening a robot slowing breaking down...muttering unintelligible drivel. I've tried to listen...tried to be fair...but I just can't do it anymore. Would someone (or several someones) please slap these people in the face? You know, like in the 1940s when a woman would get too emotional and a man would have to bust them across the chops?

Maybe, just maybe, it will snap them out of their continually spiralling descent into delusion and cease to waste our time.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Torture Is For Pussys

Just ask these guys. Great article today in the Washington Post which details how real men (i.e. men who don't have dick size envy) can extract information from an enemy. Torture, to put it simply, does not work. Just out of curiosity, have US interrogators tried to maybe...oh...I don't know....use a softer approach like getting some Islamists drunk, showing them some porn, and seeing what they might give up.

I know that when I've had a few cocktails and have worked a little tail I am a little more conducive to dishing out secrets :)

This is what happens...

....when you privatize health care. Read this article from today's New York Times.

And people are worried about the government taking over health care? It sounds to me like the government just caught a bunch of thieving scumbags playing "pinch the penny so I can keep my vacation home" with people's lives.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Regan Mantle

Sounds frightening, doesn't it? One of my readers sent me this column from Nancy Scola. Click here to read.

I have gone back and forth on my feelings for President Reagan. I didn't like him when he was in office. I appreciated him a little more later on in life. Now....I don't know...maybe his D looks so much better than President Bush's F right now.
I think perhaps my grandfather, at 91 years young, put it best. Bear in mind, he did vote for Reagan twice.

"What do I think of President Reagan?" Poppo asked in response to my question regarding our 40th president.

"Well, he was a good actor."

Amen, Pop, amen

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

So True

This one is hilarious. It really puts "terror" into perspective.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fresh Celery

Ah, fall.....that crispness in the air....the leaves about to turn....there really is no other season like it. It happens to be my favorite. Baseball playoffs, football season, and a strong sense of a new beginning.

Perhaps this feeling of a new start has to do with the fact that this is the time of year when school is back in session. Minnesotans greeted the 2007-2008 school year with a full page spread in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune detailing how a full third of our schools are in jeopardy. That's right, folks. We here in the great North Woods are is deep trouble. No Child Left Behind trouble.

For those of you who don't know, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is the education program of our current president, George Bush, which he signed into law shortly after he took office in 2001. Before I give my own take on it, however, I feel that we really need to understand what No Child means and how it works. Since I don't want to bore you with a lot of "edu-speak," I thought that a sports analogy would facilitate a deeper understanding of what is expected of our students under the NCLB laws.

Imagine that American students are on football team......(cue blurry, dreamy lap dissolve and "doodle oodle oo" music)

1. All teams must make the state playoffs and all must win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If after two years they have not won the championship, their footballs and equipment will be taken away until they do win the championship.

2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities of themselves or their parents. All kids will play football at a proficient level!

3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own, without instruction. This is necessary because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic abilities, or whose parents don't like football.

4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept on the 4th, 8th, and 11th games.It will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind. If parents do not like this new law, they are encouraged to vote for vouchers and support private schools that can screen out the non-athletes and prevent their children from having to go to school with bad football players.

No Child Left Behind is quite possibly the worst piece of legislation in the history of this country. It is ignorant, racist, and gives a big "Fuck You!" to people that are poor-something that has been quite common in the last six years.

It is ignorant because it assumes that the only way to measure assessment is to test children. Apparently people like President Bush and Margaret Spellings (our Secretary Of Education) have not picked up a book on learning styles in...oh, I don't know....25 years!

Everyone learns differently. Some learn in a more tactile way. Others learn in groups. Some learn by writing or research. Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, identified, in 1983, eight multiple intelligences or ways people learn. They are: Linguistic intelligence, Logical-mathematical intelligence, Musical intelligence, Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, Spatial intelligence, Interpersonal intelligence, and Intrapersonal intelligence. Testing would fall under the "Logical-mathematical intelligence" umbrella. As we can see, NCLB ignores the other seven ways people learn and thus is an extremly ignorant way to gauge learning.

It is racist because it does not take into account recent research that suggests that different cultures learn differently. The work of Gardner can be applied here as well. Some people are inherently bad test takers because it is simply not a part of their cultural environment. Or they can't speak English, the only way the test is available incidentally. In the last ten years, we have undergone a massive influx of immigrants from all over the world and they are immediately expected to conform to standardized testing. What if the only way they have been tested in the past is oral exams?

It says "Fuck You" to poor people because of how the questions on the test are worded. It assumes knowledge and understanding where there might not be either . One question on the test included the words "fresh celery." Well, nearly everyone from poorer families and/or from a non white group got that question wrong because they had no idea what fresh celery was. They had never seen it before in their lives! Did people at the Department of Education actually THINK when they drew up these tests? Or did they just do their usual Bushie bullshit and try to ram a square peg into a round hole? LEARN, DAMMIT, THE WAY NORMAL PEOPLE DO!!!!

Actually, I suppose it's prudent to mention that the one good thing that has come out of NCLB is the aggregate data that proves that people learn differently especially if they are from another culture. Ironically, NCLB invalidates itself by illustrating that a large segment of our student population doesn't do well on standardized tests.

As a result of poor test scores, they are punished by the slow removal of Title I money, which is basically what is happening with nearly a third of our schools in Minnesota. My children's school, replete with cultural diversity, is now on "warning" as they have failed to achieve NCLB standards in the 2006-07 school year. Students that failed to achieve the minimum requirements? ESL (English as a Second Language) and learning disabled kids...the ones who don't acquire intelligence through the "Logical-mathematical" arena.

If we really want our children to achieve basic knowledge sets, we need to start applying Gardner's theories on a national level. Everyone should be taught in a way that is most suitable to their comfort of learning. Grading should be based on a balance of testing, group work, hands on learning, classroom participation and oral exams. To simply focus on testing is so narrow minded and downright silly that we are really doing our children a great disservice

Because once the Title I money is taken away, schools usually get reconstituted, meaning class size increases in other schools in the district. This exacerbates the problem further and learning is even more diminished. Of all of the policies of President Bush, this one really is the worst, hands down. Y'know, people always ask me, when I go off about how incompetent Bush is, to give them a specific example of how Bush is destroying the future.

I always start with this one.