Archive for January, 2008

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In ’08 Race, Boo Birds Are Not An Endangered Species

January 15, 2008

Seriously, what’s with all the booing?

McCain booed in Michigan…twice; Update: Video added

Clinton booed at MLK rally in New York 

Mitt Romney Gets Booed For Attacking Ron Paul

Obama Booed At NAACP Speech

Giuliani booed on gun control

Ron Paul gets booed at the Univision GOP debate

Edwards gets booed

Brownback Booed For Support Of Federal Amendment On Gay Marriage

It reminds me of the old Chexx bubble hockey game. It had a “boo” button, which was usually pressed after your opponent scored a goal. It got me thinking.  Maybe I should just keep a “boo” track on my site for watching the debates. It might be fun!

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Hillary Attempts To Explain Her Iraq War Vote

January 13, 2008

Via MSNBC, her comments on Meet the Press (emphasis mine):

Clinton justified her 2002 Iraq war vote again on Meet the Press, saying that she thought “it was a vote to put inspectors back in” so Saddam Hussein could not go unchecked. She insisted that she was “told by the White House personally” as were others that that’s what the resolution was for and noted that Bush himself said publicly that the resolution was the best chance to avoid a confrontation.

Moderator Tim Russert pointed out that the title of the resolution was the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.”

Clinton responded saying, “We can have this Jesuitical argument about what exactly was meant. But when Chuck Hagel, who helped to draft the resolution said, ‘It was not a vote for war,’ What I was told directly by the White House in response to my question, ‘If you are given this authority, will you put the inspectors in and permit them to finish their job,’ I was told that’s exactly what we intended to do. ”

I find it both appalling and somewhat surreal that after close to 5 years, tens of thousands dead and hundreds of billions of dollars spent, there is still debate on what the hell Clinton and the rest of the enablers in Congress actually voted for back in October 2002.  Maybe it’s just …sad.  No doubt that some would call Clinton a liar here, and insist that she knew exactly what she was voting for, and that this type of response is just spin.  In reality, her statement here was at least somewhat consistent with what she said back in 2002, before casting her vote:

“So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interest of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war. It is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our president.”

Indeed it did. While Clinton is essentially framing this as an admission of making the mistake of trusting Bush (which, in the very least, is a sign of poor judgement), and implying that the resolution she signed was sound in its intent force inspectors back in, what’s overlooked here is the broader indiscretion (if you take her words at face value): Clinton and the rest of the “yeas” in Congress signed a bill that granted the president the sole authority to declare war on very ambiguous terms:

SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.(a) AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to

(1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and(2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.

(b) PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION.

In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and

(2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

I thought the  “but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority” part was especially interesting.

Also see my post: Did Congress “Vote For The War”?

Update: From the NYT: In Defending War Vote, Clintons Contradict Record

In the original proposal Mr. Hagel had backed, force was authorized only to secure the destruction of Iraq’s unconventional weapons, not to enforce “all relevant” United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, which was the language in the version that ultimately passed.

It was the White House proposal, not Mr. Hagel’s, that Mrs. Clinton supported, explaining in an Oct. 10, 2002, speech on the Senate floor that it was time to tell Saddam Hussein that “this is your last chance — disarm or be disarmed.”

The repeated references to Mr. Hagel by the Clintons make it clear that they are trying to distance her from the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq, by associating her with a persistent critic of the war.

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Coming Soon…

January 13, 2008
With election season in full swing, I bought a new domain: 
Get Your God Damn Religion Out of My Government.com
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Kos Urges Michigan To Vote For Romney

January 12, 2008

There are reactions across political web to this: Let’s have some fun in Michigan

For Michigan Democrats, the Democratic primary is meaningless since the DNC stripped the state of all its delegates (at least temporarily) for violating partyrebelleader.jpg rules. Hillary Clinton is alone on the ballot.

But on the GOP side, this primary will be fiercely contested. John McCain is currently enjoying the afterglow of media love since his New Hamsphire victory, while Iowa winner Mike Huckabee is poised to do well in South Carolina.  

Meanwhile, poor Mitt Romney, who’s suffered back-to-back losses in the last week, desperately needs to win Michigan in order to keep his campaign afloat.  Bottom line, if Romney loses Michigan, he’s out. If he wins, he stays in.

And we want Romney in, because the more Republican candidates we have fighting it out, trashing each other with negative ads and spending tons of money, the better it is for us. We want Mitt to stay in the race, and to do that, we need him to win in Michigan.

Forget the ethical implications, the effect on Kos’ reputation, and the fact that it reveals a certain lack of confidence in one’s own candidates,  I’m not convinced that this tactic will work quite the way he’s hoping.  I don’t know if he can pull together such a movement in only a few days.

If it works?  This has come-back-to-bite-you-on-the-ass written all over it.   Suppose Mitt goes on to win the general election?  Kos would be the laughing stock of the blogophere.  It just seems like a risk that isn’t worth the potential reward.

I don’t live in Michigan, but even as an Obama supporter, I can’t endorse this sort of subversion.  I’m not so blinded by partisanship to believe that its worth tainting our democratic process.  The tactic sounds childish, and the fact that he believes that he can influence such a thing seems arrogant and egotistical.  Luckily, after 900+ comments in that Kos thread, the reaction is mixed.  Many believe as I do.  Others wonder if another candidate should be the target.  Currently, I think this idea will flop, but Kos will probably wind up with some egg on his face either way. 

I would hope that if you’re an independent or Democrat and decided to vote for a GOP candidate, it would be for the person most in-line with your political views.  Period.

Update:  There’s actually an ad now. (h/t Katie for the email) 

Hilarious?

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Mr. Conspiracy

January 11, 2008

In popular culture and in the media, you’ll often see the phrase “conspiracy theorist” or “conspiracy theory” used with a sense of derision.  I like to keep in mind, however, that conspiracies do exist.  If they didn’t, there’d be no need for the legal concept, after all.  As for conspiracies of the more elaborate and outlandish brand, well, anyone can look to history to find evidence of real schemes, plots and cabals of significant scale.  What you’ll find disagreement on is how loosely the term “conspiracy” is used when describing such things, as the word could literally be applied to just about anything.  From wiki:

The term “conspiracy theory” is considered by different observers to be a neutral description for a conspiracy claim, a pejorative term used to dismiss such a claim without examination, and a term that can be positively embraced by proponents of such a claim. The term may be used by some for arguments they might not wholly believe but consider radical and exciting. The most widely accepted sense of the term is that which popular culture and academic usage share, certainly having negative implications for a narrative’s probable truth value.

Given this popular understanding of the term, it is conceivable that the term might be used illegitimately and inappropriately, as a means to dismiss what are in fact substantial and well-evidenced accusations. The legitimacy of each such usage will therefore be a matter of some controversy. Disinterested observers will compare an allegation’s features with those of the category listed above, in order to determine whether a given usage is legitimate or prejudicial.

That said…

I think there is something to the idea that certain people are predisposed to look for conspiracies around every corner; those who posses a world view that is cynical to the point of paranoia.  Whether this is a “nature vs. nurture” question, I’m not sure, but I’ve come across a few people in both my personal and internet life seem to fit this description.  In fact, one of my professors in college (mid-90′s) was none other than Dr. James H. Fetzer, founder of “Scholars for 9/11 Truth“.   It was well-known around campus that Dr. Fetzer had been intimately involved with theories on the JFK assassination (in fairness, the topic never came up in his course), and years later I see that he’s also published a theory on the death of Paul Wellstone.   The conclusion might be that he either has an amazing gift for seeing right through these complex plots, or he’s off his proverbial rocker; one of those people who assumes conspiracy and desperately digs up evidence to back up his hypothesis, no matter how improbable.

On the internet, I’ve seen plenty of this kind of thing.  Unlike Dr. Fetzer, however, these netizens don’t have their personal reputation and profession on the line when wild claims are thrown out there, so they are rarely backed up with sources or evidence.  Some have even visited me here in the Chamber, and recently I’ve even been accused of being involved in a conspiracy (of sorts). 

So, in the spirit of (and as a tribute to) all the Mr. Conspiracies out there in cyberspace, I hereby unveil the sixth Chamber emblem:

conspiracy.gif

This icon is awarded whenever a poorly-sourced accusation or claim of a wild conspiratorial nature is made here in the Chamber. 

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Other Obama Endorsements

January 10, 2008

During my daily journey through the political interwebs, I happened to notice that Barack Obama is scoring more and more key nods from various entities (in addition to mine, of course)…

Obama Endorsed by Culinary Workers Union (or to paraphrase Noel Sheppard, “deliciously endorsed“)

Johnson backs Obama (from South Dakota!)

Conrad Endorses Obama (and don’t forget North Dakota)

US Pirate Party Endorses Barack Obama (Arrr!)

Okiedoke endorses Obama for President (um, Okie dokie!)

Air Travelers Association backs Obama (lucky for Clinton, she has her own “Hill-A-Copter“, otherwise she might get her luggage sent to Bangladesh or something)

and last but not least…

Historians for Obama (they know a bad president when they see one, and Obama ain’t it)

Keep ‘em coming!

Update:  John Kerry! 

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Dog pulls trigger on shotgun and kills owner

January 9, 2008

CSI determined that the killer got careless and left muddy paw prints on the trigger.

VIDEO | digg story

Seriously though, how bad does your luck have to be?

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Introducing: Chamber Emblems

January 8, 2008

I’ve always been a big fan of avatars.  I consider them an easy way to clearly identify who’s posting what on a message board, and something that allows one to be unique and creative.  When it comes to blogs, we’re beginning to see more and more of them using avatars for the same reason.  Wherever I can, whenever I can, I’ll use the same one, as a matter of consistency and recognizability across the blogosphere.  Many of the sites that require registration will allow you to upload an image to be used as an avatar, and still others are compatible with Gravatar (including the Chamber).  Needless to say, I think that it’s pretty cool to see the purple throwing star all over the place.

Sadly, however, I’d say that the majority of netizens that cruise the blogs haven’t embraced this concept. All too often, Chamber visitors are left with the familiar and annoyingly generic  beside their posts.  Sometimes I just want to say “Get a damn avatar already!”  In fact, I was actually frustrated enough to so some research and see if there was a way to replace the  with something more interesting and Chamber-specific.  Alas, I discovered that there isn’t much I could do that doesn’t include manually entering the avatar in for each comment.  I can’t force people to take a few minutes and set themselves up.

However…

The whole process of researching this got me thinking.  Maybe these little frustrations can spawn great ideas?  Perhaps I could use (or abuse, as it turns out) Gravatar and gmail to use the little icons a little more interactively?  After a little shootout with Tex (pardon the pun) in one of the previous threads, it finally dawned on me.  Chamber emblems!

The idea I’m running with here basically involves my selective use of avatars to assign Chamber commentors in certain situations.  Depending on the comment, they could be used as either “gold stars” or “demerits”.  Or, I could use them as some sort of Chamber Scarlett letter.  Now, this is still a work in progress, but here are a few examples:

 Straw Man-  Assigned to commentors who insist on laying out some crappy straw man argument.

 Ad Hominem- It’s been an unwritten (originally written) rule that the use of an Ad hominem argument was a concession of defeat here in the Chamber.  Hence, the white flag.

 Wonder Palm (aka Buddha Palm)  I often use kung fu metaphors around here, and anyone who has seen the movie Iron Monkey (video) could tell you that a well-placed strike with Wonder Palm will leave an opponent whimpering back home in humiliating defeat (not to mention sporting a fresh palm print on their body).  If kung fu was a metaphor for debate, well, I think you can figure it out (although I was leaning toward using the icon to acknowledge the giver of the blow, instead of the recipient).  In other words, this would be a good avatar to have by your comment.

I’m still working on more, and I’m certainly open to suggestions/ideas on this, so consider this an open thread for that purpose.  Or, if you think I’ve gone off the deep end, you can tell me that instead.  No big deal.

In the meantime, I’m going to test the feature here with a few comments…

Update:  I almost forgot.  I’ve going to have a table in the sidebar with the list of emblems, complete with page links to descriptions for each one (like a key).  The beta table is there now.

Update:  Here is the current table of emblems, as found in the sidebar:

Chamber Emblems
Straw Man
Ad Hominem
Wonder Palm
PING!
Blog Pimp
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Hollywood’s* Rambo Is Back

January 6, 2008

You may have seen the ads on TV, but if you weren’t aware, Sly Stallone has directed the 4th Rambo film (called, um, Rambo).  It’s release date is January 25th.

The question that’s probably on many people’s minds is:  Can a 60+ year old man really play an action hero effectively? 

rambo1.jpgrambo4_04.jpg

So what happened here?  Did Stallone figure “Well, I got all in-shape for the new Rocky film, so I might as well make another Rambo“?  (before the HGH wears off, anyway).  Oh well, I’ve always liked those old Rambo movies, so maybe the mere existence of an addition to the series will tempt me into the theater, no matter how bad the reviews are or how ridiculous the premise might be.  

I guess we’ll find out if John J. gets a chance “to eat things that would make a billy goat puke”. lol

*(I had to clarify, as I have another post titled Camp Phoenix’s “Rambo”)

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The CZ Presidential Endorsement Goes To…

January 4, 2008

*drum roll please*

Barack Obama

I’ve been waiting quite a while to announce which way I was leaning in the race, mostly because I wanted to see a few of the debates (just to be sure).  So here it is; The Official Chamber endorsement, for whatever its worth. But unlike all those newspaper endorsements that have been coming out in recent weeks, I’m not going to lay out the case for Barack in one entry. Instead, I’ve decided to break it up a bit. I guess you can consider this post part I.

I’ll start out with what I feel is one of the most important differentiating factors between Obama and the rest of the leading candidates: Iraq.

Unlike Clinton and Edwards, Obama would not have given George Bush a blank check to wage war with the October 2002 AUMF.  Here is a late-2002 video of an interview with the (then) state legislator, where he shared his views on the subject (h/t Andrew Sullivan):

That’s some impressively keen insight, and it scores a lot of Chamber points.  It’s this type of wisdom that makes someone presidential.

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My Little Quack

January 2, 2008

I suppose I should take this as a compliment?  I’m not sure.  Imitation as flattery?  In any case, it appears that I’ve inspired some netizen out there to go around masquerading* as, well…me.

imposter.jpg

Whoever it is, this person is dumb enough to consistently misspell my nic (using “Chenzen”), but bright enough (or provocative enough) to link back to my blog when they post.  I’m not sure if this is the work of one person, but I got a hint from the first appearance that it might be someone who recognized me from my days at LGF.

So, whoever you are, if you’re reading this, congrats.  I’ve noticed you.  To everyone else, I realize that on the internet it would be hard to know for sure whether a post is made by the man or the impostor (assuming they got around to spelling the nic correctly), but not impossible.  Only I have the Blogger, WordPress.com, gravatar, coComment, technorati, TypeKey, Disqus, NewsBusters.org, Daily Kos, Digg, Wonkette, etc. accounts under the legitimate handle “ChenZhen”, along with the official seal:

star128.jpg

Accept no substitutes.

P.S.  I was a little torn as to what to put in the title, but “quack” just stuck me as the most fitting from the selection.

*Update:  It looks like “Chenzen”‘s comments have been deleted over at the Ron Paul blog.

Update:  Another sighting.  This time on Breitbart.com (and they spelled the nic correctly this time).

Update:  LOL! 

Chenzhen   January 4th, 2008 – 12:45 am

Jay,
I do not take any drugs. I am a well known political blogger, perhaps you have heard of Daily Kos or Little Green Footballs? My Blog, ChenZhen’s Chamber is one of the most well thought of a most highly rated in the blogsphere. I support Hillary becuase she is the only candidate who will reverse the damage caused by man-made global warming. The only way to end it is for all of the Consumer class people (American Middle-class) to give up their large homes, their SUVs and pay their fair share of taxes to support President Clinton’s (see, I already know she’ll win) causes/

Go to my blog….I am right, i am always right

-ChenZhen

The next thread will really disappoint this loser.

Update:  Interesting to see that I’m not the exclusive victim of this tactic.  I guess it means that I’ve hit the big time!

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Today’s Head-Scratcher

January 1, 2008

Michael Totten (emphasis mine):

Happy New Year

The surge sure worked, didn’t it?

Us Fatalities 2007.JPG
Something tells me 2008 will be even better than 2007.

Better? 

2007 Toll A Record For U.S. In Iraq

I’m going to go ahead and speculate that it wasn’t “better” for the 900 troops that were killed in 2007.  But, hey, what do I know?

Sure, the trend is a positive thing, but the object of the “surge” wasn’t to reduce U.S. casualties, as I understood it, so it (in and of itself) is hardly a measure of whether it’s “working”.

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