Friday, April 27, 2007

Even More Music . . . Just for Fun

OK, so I've done the obvious heavy metal choices. Here are some not so obvious ones. First, it's Britain's answer to no one in particular, Napalm Death.

Nuclear Assault -

Finally, for your listening enjoyment . . . Iced Earth Live in Athens, Greece (not Athens, GA or, my father's hometown, Athens, PA).

More Music Because I Won't Be Here Saturday

My friend, Jim Bush-Resko, who has rediscovered me (and I him, for which I am very thankful), introduced me to Metallica sometime in 1985-1986. He first recorded Master of Puppets for me in the spring of that year. Along with the title track, "Sanitarium", and "Leper Messiah", "The Thing That Should Not Be" is among my favorite tracks on that particular release. A nice collection of quotes from H. P. Lovecraft stories.

Along with Metallica, I was also introduced that year to Metallica alum Dave Mustaine's band, Megadeath. Perhaps not as musically adventurous, but fast, loud, cheesy, and fun. This is "Symphony of Destruction".

Along with being the ugliest man in rock, I once heard that Lemmy said of his band Motorhead, "We're the kind of band that, if we moved in next door to you, we'd kill your lawn." You gotta love 'em. The first of the fast metal bands, beyond parody because they are so earnest. They are the model for Spinal Tap in many ways, but they do rock. This is "Iron Fist".

Some Thoughts On "Buying the War"

My interpretation of what Moyers did to Washington journalists.

Bill Moyers' PBS documentary - for which most of the prominent war hawks refused to sit for an interview (are they not proud of all they have accomplished?) - has, apparently driven most of the infotainment establishment a bit over the edge. That someone would question their integrity, their practices, their courage - and use actual clippings to make his point - is, apparently, stepping over some phony line. While Moyers is only a "journalist" in the same way Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, and Tony Blankley are journalists - he was press secretary to Lyndon Johns, and the others were aides to various members of Congress (I forget who Matthews worked for; Russert worked for Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan of NY; Blankley worked for Newt) - he displayed a remarkable grasp of the distinction between what journalists are supposed to do, as evidenced by the work of Knight-Ridder, and what the bigger, mainstream journalists did, as evidenced by propaganda whore Judith Miller. The K-R reporters got it all right, Miller got it all wrong; who was listened to more, quoted more, and used more by their won sources to bolster claims they had leaked in the first place? In the most telling part - most telling because it shows what an abysmal failure as a "journalist" he is - Moyers was trying to lead Tim Russert to reflect on the circular nature of this enterprise.

Step 1 - somebody in the Administration leaks something to Miller, who writes a piece destined for the front page of the Times.

Step 2 - an Administration flak - Cheney, or whomever - goes on MTP and sites the story he or those close to him planted as evidence for the seriousness of the situation in which the nation finds itself in.

Step 3 - this is the part Moyers was trying to get Russert to discuss. His failure shows his utter lack of credibility. Moyers wanted Russert to discuss the research his show did before this kind of circle-jerk of self-reinforcing misinformation. Russert sat there and said, essentially, his show does no such research. Along with his testimony in the Libby trial that all his discussions with sources are off the record unless otherwise specified, and his admission on the Moyers special that he felt bad that his sources didn't contact him to counter Administration propaganda (apparently Russert is too dysfunctional to dial a phone, even press the speed-dial function on his cell), he should simply be removed from MTP and be replaced by, I don't know, my nine-year-old daughter, who has both more ability to use a phone and detect nonsense than does, apparently, Russert.

While not surprised Kristol, Perle, Krauthammer, Judith Miller and the other war hawks didn't appear, it does make one wonder exactly why not. On their other appearances (well, not Miller, whom I haven't seen in a long while, and should probably be barred from using a laptop anyway) they just seem inordinately proud of the destruction they have wrought, and just want more, MORE, MORE. After all, there's Iran and Syria and who knows where else, right, we can drop our bombs and kill and wreak havoc, am I not correct? Their failure to defend themselves before a critic like Moyers shows that they are no better than Rush or Hannity, who also refuse to appear where they do not utterly control all aspects of their appearance, not the least of which are upsetting questions over veracity and credibility. While one could argue that they are so arrogant they actually believe they are above criticism, and there may be some truth to that, deep down inside, I think they are cowards. Moyers would have bitch-slapped them up one side of the screen and down the other until they were crying out like the little boy-men they are, and they just knew it. So, they sat back, and no doubt will dismiss his program as so much liberal propaganda. Cowards.

Of course, Moyers' charge is unanswerable, and Russert's and Beinart's appearances only showed how intellectually and professionally shallow both men are; the fact that Russert continues to allow himself to be used like the nerdy kid in school whom all the jocks keep around to fetch their lunches and wash out their cups should be an embarrassment, but he is apparently incapable of self-consciousness as to his real position in the Washington Media scheme of things. Beinart came across as just . . . plain . . . stupid. The sorry tatters of his reputation should never be glued together, but Russert is still a favorite because he is eager to be used like a wet dishrag.

The reaction of the journalist class should tell us all we really need to know about Moyers' program. They are howling because he took them behind the barn and gave them a whupping, with a rod they had fetched four-and-a-half years ago. There is nothing worst than being hoist on the petard of one's own words and work.

Why Do I Read Articles That Make My Eyes Bleed From The Stupid?

Excuse me while I wipe the red tears I am crying. . . . There, that's better. If you have weak ocular capillaries, or perhaps an allergy to the just out-and-out dumb, I advise you to skip the following post. I read the headline to this piece at Faith in Public that originally appeared as an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, penned (or typed) by everyone's favorite former Reagan speechwriter and Bush II fluffer, Peggy Noonan:
This week saw a small and telling controversy involving a mural on the walls of Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles. The mural is big--400 feet long, 18 feet high at its peak--and eye-catching, as would be anything that "presents a colorful depiction of the rape, slaughter and enslavement of North America's indigenous people by genocidal Europeans." Those are the words of the Los Angeles Times's Bob Sipchen, who noted "the churning stream of skulls in the wake of Columbus's Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria."

What is telling is not that some are asking if the mural portrays the Conquistadors as bloodthirsty monsters, or if it is sufficiently respectful to the indigenous Indians of Mexico. What is telling is that those questions completely miss the point and ignore the obvious. Here is the obvious:

The mural is on the wall of a public school. It is on a public street. Children walk by.

We are scaring our children to death. Have you noticed this? And we're doing it more and more.

Last week of course it was Cho Seung-hui, the mass murderer of Virginia Tech. The dead-faced man with the famous dead-shark eyes pointed his pistols and wielded his hammer on front pages and TV screens all over America.

What does it do to children to see that?


It's not only roughness and frightening things in our mass media, it's politics too. Daily alarms on global warming with constant videotape of glaciers melting and crashing into the sea. Anchors constantly asking, "Is there still time to save the Earth? Scientists warn we must move now." And international terrorism. "Is the Port of Newark safe, or a potential landing point for deadly biological weapons?"

I would hate to be a child now.

Very few people in America don't remember being scared by history at least to some degree when they were kids. After Pearl Harbor, they thought the Japanese were about to invade California. If you are a boomer, you remember duck-and-cover drills. The Soviets had the bomb, and might have used it. I remember a little girl bursting into tears during the Cuban Missile Crisis when I was in grade school.

But apart from that, apart from that one huge thing, life didn't seem menacing and full of dread. It was the boring 1950s and '60s, and the nice thing about a boring era is it's never boring. Life is interesting enough. There's always enough to scare a child.

But now it's a million duck-and-cover drills, a thousand alarms, a steady drumbeat of things to fear.
(emphasis added)

Excuse me, again. Just posting this part made me start to leak a bit. . . . OK, it's stopped.

Where does one begin with such absolute moronism, cretinism, dumb-assism? Let's just take it backwards, shall we and highlight a point or two. First, as to that "one little thing", why it was just the fact that the US and the USSR monopolized the means for planetary destruction - and the leaders of one of those two superpowers refused to renounce first use of these little vehicles of megadeath, thus arrogating to themselves the destruction of millions of lives for . . . what, again? I mean, I grew up during the Cold War, and yes, the USSR was a terrible place to live, but remind me again why we held the world hostage to the least stable leader in office in the White House at any given time? Yeah, I guess compared to those halcyon days of 15 minutes from global annihilation, sitting around and waiting for the oceans to rise and our crops to whither is just . . . terribly . . . horrifying!

I shall skip over the middle portion, saving it for the main point here, because it seems to be Peggy-O's main point, and deal with the whole mural-thingy. I had not heard of this before, but perhaps one obvious point to be made (obvious to me, but I am a liberal, so "obvious" means something different to me) is that it is at a school precisely because it offers students an opportunity to learn about an historical event from a different perspective. I'll just let that hang there, because it seems that all that needs to be said.

As for the middle section, in which Ninny whines in high-dudgeon-worry-mode for the feelings of our children exposed to the horrors of our contemporary world, I would offer this observation. What she complains about as most horrific and scarring to those most tender among us is news and information we need to make serious decisions about what we are to do to survive our present epoch. Are we to deprive ourselves of this information because it might be possible a four-year-old somewhere might wake up screaming, "AAAGGGGHHHH!!!! The ice caps are melting! Saddam Hussein is still alive and will use his sarin gas on my pre-school!" Or, perhaps, do we use the judgment and discernment as adults to determine what and how much of this information we allow our children to be exposed to? What is age-appropriate and what is not age-appropriate?

Peggy Noonan wants us all to be infantilized. She would censor information because of the tender emotional state of children, of whom, it would seem, she is one as well.

Sorry, I'm leaking again . . . Gotta go.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Who's The Knuckle-Dragging Savage?

Want to read what our Fox pundits are saying about the country where we are attempting to establish democracy? This from Media Matters for America:
I agree that was a mistake, but who is doing this killing? Give me a break. These are Iraqis killing each other. So what did we do? If you're saying it's our fault that we unmasked them as knuckle-dragging savages from the 10th century -- fine! I'll take credit. But thanks -- but thanks for the observation, [Caller].

Let's review a bit of history, shall we? In the 10th century, the Muslims controlled a land area stretching from Spain and Morocco in the west to Indonesia, and even some of the Philippine Islands in the east. Trade was abundant because, while some of the Muslim states were warring with one another, all had banded together to eliminate pirates, except for portions of the northern and western Mediterranean where Christian nations made extra money through piracy. The overland pilgrim route was policed from present-day Bosnia all the way to Jerusalem, with safe passage guaranteed, including an abundance of inns and other waysites - churches were safe havens, of course. Venetian trading houses and bankers were starting to realize there was a fortune to be had in trade with the Muslim states to the east. They controlled much of the flow of trade down from the Low Countries in the Upper Rhine Valley, and offered many of these wares to visiting dignitaries. They were, shall we say, less than impressed, because their local craftspeople were far superior to these faint beginnings of industrial manufacture (five people working together in a room, rather than a lone person sitting at home).

When the Pope preached the First Crusade, the first thing that happened was a vagrant psychopath, or perhaps paranoid schizophrenic, preached a "People's Crusade", which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Jews, and the slaughter of these unofficial crusaders due to the unrest they were stirring up (in Muslim countries, there were no wholesale slaughter of Jews, as all religious practice was protected by law and custom; most of the bureaucracy in the larger Muslim states was manned by Jews and Christians, who saw a bit of leverage in keeping themselves essential to the functioning of the state). Of course, there was also the "Children's Crusade", which also ended up in disaster, with thousands of children dead or sold in to slavery (in Europe).

When the Crusaders reached Constantinople, the Emperor refused them entry, whereupon the Crusaders stormed the walls, slaughtered the Jews, and ransacked holy and non-holy sites for gold. When they reached Jerusalem a few months later, when they finally breached the walls, this was repeated, except on a much larger scale. Most of the Jews living in Jerusalem were herded in to synagogues, which were then put to the torch, after the doors were latched so those inside could not escape. Al 'Aqsa mosque was plundered and defiled - something that had never happened to a Christian church in Jerusalem during the entire time of Muslim sovereignty - and thousands of Muslims were put to the sword. For three days, the Christian knights raped and pillaged, killed and burned, and when it was done, proclaimed a Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem.

When Salah Al'Din retook Jerusalem a century or so later, he gave safe passage to all the Christian knights who had fought against him to return home. He gave a standing order that any of his soldiers who harmed a Christian or Jew, or defiled a non-Muslim holy place, was to be killed. He personally guaranteed the continued safe passage of pilgrims from "Christendom", which practice was to continue for another 600 years.

Who were the 10th century knuckle-draggers? Why, the ancestors of vaunted western civilization, viewed with horror and revulsion by both Eastern Christians and Muslims because they were dirty, illiterate (even the clergy who accompanied them were illiterate and ignorant), ignorant about the world, the religion they professed to believe in, the religion they professed to be at war with. They violated every tenet of war, of civilized conduct, that those in the east had known for several centuries. They were, in fact, knuckle-dragging savages, and we are still living with their horrible legacy to this day. Jon Gibson should be excused for his ignorance because he is, obviously, another knuckle-dragger.

Success! Well, sort of . . .

The results are in, folks. You be the judge. David Broder, cat destroyer or not?

Hostage to Fortune

My reaction to David Broder's latest nonsensical ramblings? I have decided to conduct an experiment. I will watch the reaction of this kitten as I read Broder's column to it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

An Extra Music Post Because I Won't Be Here Saturday

To say I love Peter Townshend is an understatement. His solo album, Empty Glass is, in my not very humble at all opinion, flawless. There are about three albums of music I can listen to straight through and not feel an urge to hit the "skip" button on the CD player, and this is two of them. I didn't understand it when I first bought it when I was in high school. I wanted another Who's Next, and all I got was "Let My Love Open the Door" (which I now feel is one of the best Motown tribute songs ever written and recorded). The following video, from a 1993 performance, is the first track from Empty Glass, an ode to punk rock and punk rockers, "Rough Boys":

My Flabber is Gasted

Some days, it just doesn't pay to read the news on the internet. The amount of total, absolute bullshit from official sources is staggering. The amount of incompetence is overwhelming and, quite frankly, embarrassing. The amount of corruption is enraging. When all of these, and more, are on display in a single day, on a single website - well, let's just say, for this teetotaler, it makes me want to find a good bottle of something strong and forget who I am for a few hours. All the following links are from Think, today:

- With all due respect to my Okie friend ER, Inhofe is an embarrassment.

- Tell me again why Paul Wolfowitz isn't in prison?

- The angels weep because the stupid hurts them so much.

- I am suffering more because this is now in my head and will never leave it.

All these goons, idiots, buffoons, and criminals make me ashamed to be an American right now. Do they have any idea how stupid we look to the rest of the world? Do they have any idea they have turned this never perfect, always striving, last best hope for humanity into a Third World kleptocracy?

There is an old dictum that the people get the government they deserve. I'm sorry, but we don't deserve this bunch. They are relentless in their determination to destroy this country, indeed if Wolfowitz is any example, any institution they come in to contact with. Can we just toss them out now?

Listening to Commanders on the Ground - An Historical Example

If you want a truly rewarding reading experience, find Dean Acheson's memoir's, Present at the Creation. This ultimate patrician, erudite, arrogant, brilliant, is also thoughtful and honest when it comes to his own shortcomings and the mistakes he and others made when in positions of power. It is also wonderful to read he encomium to Harry Truman, gentleman farmer, failed haberdasher, wise, crafty politician, and hero to the man he elevated to Secretary of State, replacing the aging retired Gen. George Catlett Marshall.

In his memoirs, Acheson talks in detail of the events in the early weeks and months of the Korean War. After the initial disaster, in which the US and ROK forces were pushed into a small corner known as the Pusan perimeter, he talks about how skeptical they were of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's plan for an amphibious assault behind the DPRK lines at Inchon. When the plan worked, even more brilliantly than could have been hoped - when, in fact, MacArthur's claim that the North Korean troops were overstretched, overtired, underfed, and ready to quit all proved true, the casual green light was given to push back above the parallel, take Pyongyang, and drive the communist forces to the Chinese border.

The UN forces were so successful, however, that they made the same mistake the North Koreans had made. They were overstretched. Their supply lines were extremely vulnerable. They put an understrength, undertrained, and easily-spooked ROK division between two American-dominated division, splitting their forces, and providing an opportunity for fresh enemy troops to drive a wedge between the main body of troops driving the reds back.

Which, of course, is exactly what happened. Even as reports started to trickle in of Chinese forces being captured; even as reports of increased border crossings at the Yalu started to make brows crinkle in Washington; even as the ROK division was effectively wiped out, opening a huge gap in UN lines, MacArthur continued to pooh-pooh the idea that (a) the Chinese had landed with both feet and at least a hand; (b) that by pushing so fast to the Yalu River he had overstretched his logistical table, rendering his troops vulnerable; and (c) that he could possibly be defeated. Acheson is candid when he admits that, because of MacArthur's record in the Second World War (he lost fewer men in his entire campaign, from his retreat in the Philippines to the signing of the surrender papers on the USS Missouri than Eisenhower lost in Italy, or Nimitz lost in the amphibious assault on Iwo Jima; it was accepted that, having spent most of his adult life on the eastern side of the Pacific rim, he had some kind of insight in to what was then known as "the Asian mind", so that what he said about what the Koreans and Chinese were thinking was spot on) and the brilliant success at Inchon and at taking Pyongyang, they gave him too long a leash. When it became clear that the Chinese were indeed at full throttle - had, in fact surrounded the First Marine Division at the Chosen Reservoir - Acheson, for one, realized the mistake lay not so much with MacArthur, but with the civilians in Washington, including himself, who had authorized the overextension of UN forces, creating the situation in the first place. In other words, they listened to the commander on the ground, who should have known what was going on, but didn't. The resulting contretemps between Truman and MacArthur all stemmed from this initial mistake, and both Acheson and Truman recognized it.

There aren't too many parallels here to our present situation, except this - in Korea, as much of a slog as it was for the next two-and-a-half years, the goal of a return to the status quo ante bellum was always the desired result; indeed, the only sticking point in negotiations for over a year was the status of DPRK and Chinese prisoners, many of whom had no desire to return home, but whom the Chinese and North Koreans demanded be returned without question. The final cease-fire, in place for fifty-three years, has held, despite many rumblings. In Iraq, we have no goals. Democratization, freedom, standing up and standing down - these are words that have no meaning from a military point of view (or any other point of view, not really). Words like victory, defeat - these are equally meaningless because, again, we have no goals in Iraq (this is why I didn't like Sen. Reid's comment this past weekend; he was wrong only because the word cannot apply to the situation in Iraq). MacArthur was wrong, but the fault, as Acheson reiterates time and again, was his and Truman's and the Joint Chiefs, not MacArthur's. They should not have listened to the commander in the field.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Note to Readers (Yes, I have Them!)

Tomorrow and Saturday will be very light, perhaps even non-existent, blogging days. Because I have a life outside the computer, it occasionally creates situations where I just can't do what I want to do, but can only do what I have to do. You can peruse the blogroll, maybe post a comment (I know I have pretty regular readers who don't comment; that's OK, but it would be nice to hear from you once in a while; even snark is sometimes better than silence). Anyway, have a good night, and a pleasant tomorrow.

I Suddenly Feel Dirty

I have written several times of my disdain for Sam Harris, for a variety of reasons. Reading this post at Sadly!No, I was introduced to the latest doyen of the right, one Mary Grabar. While one of the gentlemen at SN quite easily dismantles her latest rantings, I perused an earlier Grabar post at linked by Mister Leonard Pierce, and I suddenly wanted to recant every bad thing I have ever written about Harris.In this post she writes many things similar to some of my own criticisms of Harris.

I am so sorry for being associated in any manner, fashion, or form with a person such as Mary Grabar. Please forgive me.

If This Is the Attack Dog, Maybe the Administration Needs to Visit the Kennel

So they sent Dick Cheney out to go after Harry Reid. Think does the fact checking - kind of a thankless task - but the larger issue is simple. Why would they send out a person less popular, and with less credibility, than Alberto Gonzalez to attempt to intimidate the Senate majority leader? As Nico writes at the end of the piece:
CNN’s Dana Bash reported that Cheney’s Capitol Hill press conference was “virtually unprecedented,” but that war critics “aren’t worried about it.” As one said in an email, “I wish Dick Cheney would come out every single day.”(emphasis added)

As Atrios says (and, yes, it might seem that he rules my world, but he doesn't; he's just shorter, pithier, and more to the point than I could possibly be):
Cheney's an absurd buffoon. I can't believe how the talking heads on the teevee seem to quiver when he appears. What a joke.(emphasis added)

David Halberstam

Just two notes on the passing of a very good journalist, but a very crusty personality. First, he added one of the best phrases to our political lexicon when, writing about the hubris and triumphalism of the ignorant lot Kennedy and Johnson surrounded themselves with in the years of escalation in Vietnam, he decided to entitle his work The Best and the Brightest. That these folks still, for the most part, consider themselves such should tell us just how intellectually vapid they are. Their neo-con younger siblings, who have given us our present-day horror show on the other side of Asia are not more stupid, or ignorant, or convinced of their own intellectual superiority; they are just more vocal about it.

I saw Halberstam speak exactly one time, about a week to two weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was doing a tour to promote War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals, and was appearing at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations. I sat in the back of the room, rapt as Halbserstam spoke, not of his book, but of his own experiences that fateful day. I have read some of the quotes Glenn Greenwald has compiled, even some of those close to 9/11, but all I remember was the way he managed to lead less a speech on a political topic, than a group therapy session in which all of shared our own pain and grief and sorrow. After the speech, as people filed out of the room for a book-singing session outside the lecture hall, I was standing in line when Halberstam put his hand on my shoulder (he came up behind me, and I jumped a little). "Would you like me to sign your book?" he asked. I smiled and handed it to him. "Geoffrey, with a 'g'," I said. He smiled as he signed my copy, which sits on my shelf. I am glad now that I had the opportunity to go and listen to him speak. A great journalist, and social critic (aren't they the same? shouldn't they be?), is gone, but his work lives on.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Music Monday

I don't like the labels critics and others put on music. Consider the whole "progressive rock" label. I used to subscribe to it, but the more one listens to a variety of bands labeled "progressive", the commonalities become more and more tenuous. What, after all, do Genesis and King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Egg have in common?

One of my favorite "prog" bands is VanDerGraf Generator. I am not alone. My friend, Cristina from Portugal, is quickly snapping up as much of their music as she can find. As a proud owner of three of their CDs - H to He who Am the Only One, Pawn Hearts, and Still Life - let me offer the following videos for our mutual enjoyment (the quality varies, obviously). First, from a more recent performance (and doesn't poor Pete Hamill look like a corpse, or is that just me?) is "Killer" from H to HE:

Next is a clip from Belgian TV back in 1971 or so, the first nine minutes of their 23-minute-long "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" from Pawn Hearts:

Finally, from Godbluff, a live version of "Undercover Man":

That Post-Birth Infant Mortality Crap

Over here at my turtle-loving neighbors to the north, they are happy the Supreme Court upheld a ban on the non-existent procedure they still want to call "Partial-birth abortion". With a tip of the hat (were I wearing one) to atrios (once again), comes this article at American Prospect Online reporting on the "success" of Mississippi governor Haley Barbour's efforts to eliminate thousands from the roles of Medicaid. In so doing - by creating all sorts of obstacles and bureaucratic hurdles and other impediments in the way of people getting the help they need - MS has seen an increase in infant mortality. None of this should be surprising; Medicaid is for poor people, and when poor people no longer have access to adequate healthcare, they and their children and their fetuses suffer. One would think that the Republicans would at least be consistent and continue prenatal plans, but they don't even do that.

So, I wonder, is Barney Frank, as quoted in the Prospect piece correct? Does life begin at conception and end at birth for these so-called pro-lifers? We measure what people believe not by the words that come out of their mouths but by what they actually do. In this case, it sounds to me like the only "crap" out there is the endless bleating of "pro-life" by a bunch of people who really don't care about real people, just all these imaginary fetuses (I still say feti is correct, but my computer doesn't think so) weeping and waling as their mothers abort them.

When David Broder Speaks, We All Roll Our Eyes

I log on to the computer, check my email, my hometown newspaper, then start at the bottom of my blogroll and work my way to the top. I was happy, feeling good and feeling fine, and then I read this at Think which highlights the following comments from Dean Broder when asked if the war in Iraq can be won:
Uh, Republicans, some of them believe that, and Democrats, by and large, wish that Harry Reid would learn to engage mind before mouth opens. This has become kind of a pattern for him, and, uh, I think at some point down the road the Democrats are gonna have to have a little caucus and decide how much further they want to carry Harry Reid. They’ve got able people on the Senate side, and they don’t have to put up with this kind of bumbling performance forever.

As a commenter noted, Broder pulled a bait and switch. He doesn't answer the question at all, but just notes that "some" Republicans believe it, then goes off on Harry Reid. Since some Republicans believe the war can be won, in David Broder's world, Harry Reid should just shut up, even though he is giving voice to the views of a vast majority of the American people, and recognizing the facts on the ground, as unpleasant as they are.

Apparently, none of this matters to Broder. In his little courtesan's mind, all that matters is upholding the facade of civility that keeps all political debate within boundaries that are determined by . . . people like Broder. Irrelevancy, thy name is a Washington pundit.

UPDATE: I hate it when I forget something. Again, as is so often the case, Duncan Black at, sums it up succinctly:
Some days I really just can't stand watching the teevee. They still talk about this stuff as if Democrats are on the defensive and the steely-eyed rocketman is going to wow the public with his plainspoken ways.

People hate Bush and hate this war. It's that simple, and it's been true for quite some time.(emphasis added)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Promoting My Wife's Church

Neon Prime Time recently asked me if I am United Methodist. Apparently the blogroll including Poplar Grove United Methodist Church and the official UMC website weren't clues enough (I'm not making fun of you, Neon, really . . .). Without further ado, let me introduce to you, pictured to your left, the senior pastor of Poplar Grove UMC, Poplar Grove, IL, and my wife of nearly fourteen years, the Rev. Lisa Kruse-Safford. If you click the link, you will find we are a busy, growing church. I just wanted to put all this out there, up front. I know the website needs tweaking (OK, more than tweaking; we are in serious need of professional web-design, but that is kind of a sore spot right now, so let's just let it go) but it does have all sorts of info on events, schedules, even my wife's melodious voice sermonizing. Click, explore, and visit often.

Some Good News

My personal connection here is tenuous at best. I haven't even met the man, but he is my step-father-in-law's son-in-law. Freddie Rodriguez won yesterday's leg of pro-cycling's Tour de Georgia.

Just thought I'd share a bit of this with you. As far afield as this may seem to many, my father-in-law was beaming, insisting I go and see the story.

For those who may follow cycling, last year, on the Fourth of July, I was sitting at my in-laws, and watched with John as Freddy took a bad fall in a narrow street in Belgium. It was hours before John could get in touch with his daughter, in her hotel in France, and find out that he had "only" dislocated his shoulder. Because of Tour rules, Freddie was out of the race, but he had the rest of the month to recuperate and prepare for the August race in Spain. I am glad to see Freddie doing well, and all the best for the rest of the tour.

photo courtesy of


MyDD, the Daily Kos (whom Duncan calls "The Great Orange Satan"), and many other liberal and progressive blogs are already handicapping and discussing the Democratic primary contests. I have purposely avoided these discussion because, frankly, we are so far away from casting a single vote, there just seems no point in it. Of course, the "money primary" is already under way, but if we remember 1996, Phil Gramm had all sorts of money and we all remember how well he did in the Republican race.

One thing that really bothers me, however, is the level of vitriol that progressives express towards Sen. Clinton. Not only that, if one reads the comment sections on MyDD whenever they discuss polling showing Clinton in the lead, there are all sorts of snarky, and quite frankly unbalanced, comments about how the site is a part of a secret Clinton cabal, that the polls are skewed, etc., etc. We progressives may disagree on many of Sen. Clinton's policy positions, and it is perfectly OK to get as heated as possible, especially as we move closer to the actual primaries, on issues and substantive debating points*. My problem is that too many progressives actually start sounding like whacko wing-nutters, all obsessed with weird fantasies of Clinton conspiracies, and rather than deal with the likelihood that she will be the Democratic nominee, they discuss the intricate back-door manouvering of various members of her staff to undermine and otherwise derail the prospects of her opponents, all of which testify to her lack of morals and principles, etc.

I am not a fan of many of Sen. Clinton's policy stances. I think that there are reasons to oppose her nomination that have little to do with the people she gathers around herself. I think there are reasons to oppose her nomination that have little to do with her husband. In the end, however, if next summer we have Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at the head of the Democratic ticket to the Presidency, I will support her as hard and as often as possible. If John Edwards, or Barack Obama, or Dennis Kucinich, or someone else is the nominee, I will support them - because, as much as I disagree with Sen. Clinton, she will be better by far than our current group of buffoons, crooks, and general miscreants.

Again, all this is early. I honestly have no opinion on whom I want as nominee, because I believe that whoever the Democrats nominate will win. I believe that, unless there is some anti-miracle in which Bush is revealed to more clever than the rest of the world, that Cheney personally finds all of Saddam's WMDs in storage facilities in Syria, that torture actually helps the Unites States and its image around the world, that we all accept that Alberto Gonzalez isn't a corrupt man in far over his head as Attorney General, but actually a competent manager with a keen mind who is not attentive to politics - if any or all these things happen, I doubt that McCain/Rudy/Mit/Thompson(1) or (2) will get more than 100 electoral votes, and in all likelihood less. That is a scary prediction so far in advance, but I will stand by it until November, 2008.

Again, its early. I hope I don't have to write about the whole primary thing until next January, at the least.

*For Neon Prime Time who is fascinated by the contretemps between Clinton and Obama, that is called "democracy", and the disagreements are part and parcel of the process. I think the fact that their exchanges tend to be so heated shows how close they actually are on a variety of issues. And don't forget, this contest is for the highest office in the land, and both Senators are highly ambitious individuals. Politics ain't beanbag, as the saying goes, and both of these people are grown-ups. I think it shows a remarkable lack of understanding of how democracy works to think that the debates and arguments between Obama's and Clinton's campaigns are marks of anything other than what happens in a democracy.

Virtual Tin Cup

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