Archive for September, 2007

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John Bolton Gets Nostalgic

September 30, 2007

boultonmup.jpgI’m picking this for quote of the week, delivered by John Bolton while discussing what should be done about the Iran situation:

“If we were to strike Iran it should be accompanied by an effort at regime change … The US once had the capability to engineer the clandestine overthrow of governments. I wish we could get it back,” he said.

What Bolton is referring to, of course, is this.  Nothing quite like the spooks of yesteryear, compared to the moonbats that are inhabiting the CIA these days, right?

I’m not sure why he thinks of the exercise as a dead practice though.  There’s word that Bush and Cheney at least making an effort at it in Iran currently.

And Johnnyboy, it isn’t particularly “clandestine” when you’re telling the media about it, is it? 

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Limbaugh Whines: They’re Quoting My Words! It’s a Smear Campaign!

September 28, 2007

“Smear,” in this case, being defined as having his own words quoted and reported.*

The media, bloggers and even members of Congress are all going ape over Rush Limbaugh’s use of the phrase “phony soldiers”.  It’s been leading memeorandum all day long. 

I gotta tell ya though. it’s silly.  Just like the outrage over MoveOn’s “Betray us” ad.  In fact, the way this is playing out, it looks like the Limbaugh outrage is retaliation for the MoveOn fracas.  Heck, there’s even another “resolution to condemn” about to be presented in the House.

Is this political proxy war for real?  I mean, why in the heck should the actions or words of friggin Rush Limbaugh or MoveOn be brought before Congress?  It’s childish, and a waste of the Congress’ time.  Besides, who the heck cares what Limbaugh says?  I listen to the guy on the radio on my way to work every other day and I swear that in the 15 minutes I catch he must spout out 1 or 2 things that’s sure to make someone’s blood pressure go up.  I really hate to sound like I’m defending Limbaugh here, but this looks like some seriously trumped up nonsense.  It’s not as if some soldier out there who opposed the war is going to go cry in the corner because Rush freakin’ Limbaugh said “phony” on the radio.  I would think that a “real” soldier would just call Limbaugh an idiot and change the station.

Also, to make this big a deal out of this just serves to stroke Rush’s ego by implying that his words are so powerful and influential that this gaffe warrants the Congress’ attention.

Anyway, the level of hype that this has created has forced Limbaugh to address it and try to explain himself.  It is kinda fun to hear him painstakingly dissect his own words:


(h/t hot air)

Related question: Why in the world would someone want to watch Rush Limbaugh speak into a microphone?

*Both the title for this post and the first sentence were stolen from LGF, for extra sass.

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Another Milestone For The Blog

September 28, 2007

I got wikied. 

More precisely, someone used my post on BDS in the references section for the wikipedia entry on Bush Derangement Syndrome.

My wiki fu is a bit weak, but it looks like this was added recently

Oh well, now that I’m “big time”, I suppose I should start to pay attention to the quality of my posts around here. LOL

Nah.

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El Memo De Downing Street, Numero Dos

September 26, 2007

As if we needed further evidence that Bush was lying when he said “hopefully we can do this without any military action” (something he said more than once) while addressing the subject of Saddam and disarmament before the invasion , we now have this: Scoop for Spanish Daily: Transcript of Private 2003 Bush Talk Promising Iraq Invasion

NEW YORK El Pais, the highest-circulation daily in Spain, today published what it said was the transcript of a private talk between President George W. Bush and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar on February 22, 2003, concerning the coming U.S. invasion of Iraq. It took place at the ranch in Crawford, Texas.

The conversation took place on the President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. The confidential transcript was prepared by Spain’s ambassador to the United States, Javier Ruperez, the paper said.

Bush purportedly said he planned to invade Iraq inf March “if there was a United Nations Security Council resolution or not….We have to get rid of Saddam. We will be in Baghdad at the end of March.”

E&P has a portion of the transcript, but since they don’t seem to have anyone on staff who is fluent in Spanish (they used a Google translator, which resulted in some mangled sentences), I’ll post what appears to be a better translation of certain sections that someone (named neil) posted in the comments section of Carpetbagger:

Bush: Chirac knows perfectly well what’s going on. His intelligence
services have explained it to him. The Arabs are giving Chirac a very
clear message: Saddam Hussein must go. The problem is that Chirac
thinks he’s Mister Arab and it’s really making our lives difficult.
But I don’t want to have a rivalry with Chirac. We’ve got different
points of view, but I’d like to leave that out of it. Give him my
best, really! The less he feels a rivalry between us, the better it is
for everyone.

Aznar: How will the resolution be combined with the inspectors’ report?

Rice: We actually won’t know until Feb. 28th, the inspectors are
giving their written report on March 1., and their appearance before
the Security Council won’t be until the 6th or 7th. We’re not
expecting much from this report. As with the others, they’ll try to
put the good along with the bad. I have the impression that Blix will
be more negative this time about the intentions of the Iraqis. After
the inspectors’ appearance before the security council we expect a
vote on our resolution within a week. The Iraqis, meanwhile, will try
to argue that they’re complying with our demands. It’s not true and
it’s not enough, but they will announce the destruction of some
missiles.

Bush: This is like Chinese water torture. We’ve got to put an end to it.

Aznar: I agree, but it would be good to have the most allies possible.
Have a little patience.

Bush: My patience has run out. I don’t think I’m going to wait beyond
the middle of March.

Aznar: I’m not asking for you to have infinite patience. Just that you
do what’s possible to line everybody up.

Bush: Countries like Mexico, Chile, Angola and Cameroon must know that
this is an issue of U.S. security and act with a sense of friendship.
[Chilean President] Lagos must know that the Free Trade Agreement with
Chile is pending in the Senate and that a negative attitude could put
its ratification in danger. Angola is receiving Millenium Account
funds and these could also be in jeopardy if they don’t show us
results. And Putin should know that his attitude is putting US-Russian
relations in danger.

Aznar: Tony wants to leave it until the 14th of March.

Bush: I’d prefer the 10th. This is like a good cop, bad cop game. I
don’t care if I’m the bad cop and Tony is the good one.

Aznar: Is it true that there’s some chance that Saddam Hussein will go
into exile?

Bush: Yes, there’s a possibility. He might even be assassinated.

Aznar: Exile with a guarantee?

Bush: No guarantees. He’s a thief, a terrorist, a war criminal.
Compared to Saddam, Milosevic was like Mother Teresa. When we go in,
we’re going to discover a lot more crimes and we’re going to take them
to the International Tribune in the Hague. Saddam Hussein thinks he’s
already escaped. He thinks France and Germany have stopped the process
of holding him accountable. He also thinks the demonstrations last
week protected him. And he thinks I’m weakened. But the people around
him know that that’s not how things are. They know that their future
lies in exile or else in a coffin. That’s why it’s so important to
keep the pressure on him. Gaddafi told us indirectly that this is the
only way to stop him. The only strategy Saddam Hussein has is to
delay, delay, delay.

Aznar: Really, the greatest success would be to win without firing a
single shot or entering Baghdad.

Bush: For me this would be the perfect solution. I don’t want war. I
know what war is. I know it brings destruction and death. I’m the one
who has to console the mothers and the widows of the dead. Of course
this would be the best solution. It would save us $50 billion, too.

Aznar: What we’re doing is a very profound change for Spain and for
the Spanish people. We’re changing the policy that the country has
followed for the last 200 years.

Bush: I’m guided by a historical sense of responsibility, same as you.
When history judges us in a few years, I don’t want people to ask why
Bush, or Aznar, or Blair didn’t face up to their responsibilities. In
the end, what people want is to enjoy freedom. Not long ago, in
Romania, they reminded me of the example of Ceausescu: all it took was
for a woman to call him a liar for the whole repressive facade to
crash down. This is the irrepressible power of freedom. I’m convinced
that I’ll get the resolution.

Aznar: That would be for the best.

Bush: I made the decision to go to the Security Council. Despite
disagreement in my administration, I told my people that we’ve got to
work with our friends. It would be wonderful to count on a second
resolution.

Aznar: The only thing that worries me is your optimism.

Bush: I’m optimistic because I believe I’m right. I’m at peace with
myself.
We’ve been put up against a serious threat to peace. It really
irritates me to think about the Europeans’ insensibility towards the
suffering that Saddam Hussein inflicted on the Iraqis. Maybe because
he’s brown, he’s far away, he’s Muslim, a lot of Europeans think
there’s no problem. I won’t forget what [Javier] Solana told me once:
Why do we Americans think that Europeans are antisemites and incapable
of facing up to their responsibilities? This defensive attitude is
terrible. I have to recognize that Kofi Annan and I have magnificent
relations.

Aznar: He shares your ethical preoccupations.

Bush: The more the Europeans attack me, the stronger I am in the United States.

Aznar: We’ll have to make the Europeans appreciate your strength.

From what I can tell, this isn’t the entire transcript.  It might, however, be enough of the juicy parts.  What’s particularly interesting isn’t just the fact that it reveals, once again, that just about everything Bush was saying publicly about Iraq in the months leading up to the invasion was just a dog and pony show, but it provides further proof that he was absolutely clueless about what the hell he was getting us into.   Basically, Bush is saying, “we’re going in”, “the other European leaders don’t know what they’re talking about”, and a token, “I know war sucks, but we do what we gotta do”.

I’ll post more when it becomes available.

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9/11 Is Now A Fundraising Gimmick

September 25, 2007

A cheap gimmick, at that:  Giuliani party seeks $9.11 per person

A supporter of Rudy Giuliani’s is throwing a party that aims to raise $9.11 per person for the Republican’s presidential campaign.

Abraham Sofaer is having a fundraiser at his Palo Alto, Calif., home on Wednesday, when Giuliani backers across the country are participating in the campaign’s national house party night.

My goodness, what’s next?

Make your own clipart like this @ www.TXT2PIC.com

Make your own clipart like this @ www.TXT2PIC.com

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Flame Warrior Profile: Cognito

September 21, 2007

I’ve read enough threads on LGF to notice that when the lizards direct some criticism at the “MSM”, you can pretty much take it to the bank that one member in particular will show up and vigorously debate the matter…

Cognito

I’ve seen this netizen engage in quite a few marathon debates over this kind of thing, but what I witnessed this evening deserves special recognition.  The battle began at 6PM PDT, and Cognito managed to rattle off 37 posts (and counting) in less than 2 hours in an impressive display of lizard swarm management.   I’m not really sure who won, but the display of endurance alone is worth a thread.

Here’s where it all began. 

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The “Petraeus Is Above Criticism” Resolution

September 20, 2007

OK, this whole outrage over the full-page MoveOn.org ad in the NYT has gone a little too far.  Today, the Senate passed a resolution written “to specifically repudiate the unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus by the liberal activist group Moveon.org”.

The text of the resolution begins with the acknowledgement that the Senate voted unanimously in approval of Petraeus’s selection for the job back in January, followed by a rundown of his resume.  Then, it required that one agree with this statement:

(8) A recent attack through a full-page advertisement in the New York Times by the liberal activist group, Moveon.org, impugns the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces.

While the preceding 7 findings were a matter of relatively indisputable fact, this last one was clearly a matter of opinion.  While one might agree that the ad was obviously directed at Petraeus, I consider it a bit of a stretch to say that it “impugns the honor and integrity” of “all the members of the United States Armed Forces”.  This could be one basis for voting negative on this resolution, even before you get to the “sense of the Senate” part.  That part, incidentally, contained this rather vague statement:

(2) to strongly condemn any effort to attack the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all the members of the United States Armed Forces

What is an “attack”, really?…and… According to who? Could it be any disagreement with anything he states?  This is the crux of my problem with the resolution.  If you put the MoveOn ad aside for a second, this appears to be a politically motivated effort to solidify a sense of Petraeus’ infallibility. This could be dangerous territory. The Senate could effectively be signing on to the notion that they cannot question the actions, statements or motivations of people simply because they are in the military. I mean, read it again. It’s a broad and sweeping statement. 

The final vote was 72-25 in favor, with notable nays coming from presidential candidates Clinton and Dodd.  Other Dem hopefuls, Obama and Biden, didn’t vote. 

Update:  As predicted, the blogosphere is going nuts over this, complete with the usual spin.  Again, my personal conclusion is that you could support Petraeus, the military and the mission in Iraq and still vote negatively on the resolution, simply because it is technically too ambiguous and seems crafted in an effort to give the military (and Petraeus specifically) too much power in the political arena.  At the same time, a vote of nay doesn’t necessarily “support” the actions of MoveOn.  A negative vote on this could be nothing more than unwillingness to be subjected to someone’s opinion on what exactly an “attack” is.  To me, he idea that a disagreement over a decision, course of action, or even a claim could be seen as an “attack” worthy of “condemnation” is more than a little unsettling, and I think that this resolution leaves that door open.  Nevermind the fact that this resolution insulates Petraeus (and, depending how you read it, “all the United States Armed Forces”) from accusations of being disingenuous or outright lying even if it was blatantly obvious that he (they) were. 

Oh well, it passed.  I suppose that it will be interesting to see what effect this has over the debate.

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Those Indispensable Mercenaries

September 20, 2007

On Sunday, the news broke out of Baghdad that a few security guards from Blackwater USA were ambushed and wound up killing some Iraqi civilians in a shootout.  Then, Tuesday, the NYT reported this:

BAGHDAD, Sept. 18 — A preliminary Iraqi report on a shooting involving an American diplomatic motorcade said Tuesday that Blackwater security guards were not ambushed, as the company reported, but instead fired at a car when it did not heed a policeman’s call to stop, killing a couple and their infant.

The report, by the Ministry of Interior, was presented to the Iraqi cabinet and, though unverified, seemed to contradict an account offered by Blackwater USA that the guards were responding to gunfire by militants. The report said Blackwater helicopters had also fired. The Ministry of Defense said 20 Iraqis had been killed, a far higher number than had been reported before.

The story went on to say that Blackwater has had their license to operate inside of Iraq pulled. A license, incidentally, that they didn’t have.

The part of the story of interest in my mind is not the fact that it happened, or that it has outraged the Iraqis, or that it’s resulted in a dispute over who did what and why, or whether or not it turns out that it was just an unfortunate misunderstanding… but this:

In a sign of the seriousness of the standoff, the American Embassy here suspended diplomatic missions outside the Green Zone and throughout Iraq on Tuesday.

If that doesn’t raise an eyebrow, I followed a link on Attywood yesterday that pointed to a report detailing how even the CIA people can’t go anywhere without Blackwater guys watching their back.

My take?  Regardless of the outcome, the incident just might expose how major a role private security firms like Blackwater play in our mission in Iraq (whatever it is this week), as well as the fact that this particular element of the game-plan seems to be missing from the mainstream debate here at home with regards to discussing or supporting the overall strategy there.  For example, I don’t remember anyone in the presidential debates thus far even mentioning the subject, let alone offering an opinion on whether or not this kind of thing is a good idea.

So, it begs the question(s):  Just how privatized is our overall effort in Iraq?  If the security contractors are really that vital to success in our mission, why are the details of their role kept in the background or even downright shadowy?  Is their presence significant to the point that these guys’ actions could actually “lose it” for us as well?  And, finally, Can you really be truly patriotic and pro-”victory” by supporting the mission and the troops without sporting one of these as well?

support-our-mercs-ribbon.gif

Previously in the Chamber: 

Update: An interesting Op Ed in The Nation: Blackwater: Hired Guns, Above the Law

Tip of the iceberg. 

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Please…No More OJ

September 19, 2007

I just turned on Fox and CNN* to discover the press conference with Simpson’s attorney taking place (LIVE!).  Other than the fact that I was a little curious who the toothless moron with the “OJ 07″ shirt standing next to him was, I’m dismayed that this is getting so much attention.  Not surprised, just dismayed.  I’m afraid that this will be our national distraction for the next year or so.

And as further evidence of our screwed up priorities, check out this headline:  Most Voters Say Election 2008 is Annoying and a Waste of Time

Oh well…

*So far it looks like Fox is a little more obsessed with this than CNN, for what it’s worth.

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General ChenZhen Strikes Again

September 17, 2007

I like having fun with this new nickname that fellow LGFer DesertSage gave me, and tonight I have another opportunity to pat myself on the back for another convergence of thought with a real general.  A few months ago, I posted this on the subject of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons:

Would Iran actually use nukes on Israel preemptively, considering the consequences?

It was just a question I threw out there for the lizard army, and I thought it was a legitimate one given the fact that there are many Muslims and Islamic holy sites in Israel and the surrounding area, along with the considerable onslaught and retaliation the Iranians would face from such an action.

Most of the response my comment received was based on the notion that the Iranian leadership doesn’t care because they believe in Armageddon, so this kind of deterrence means nothing to them.

Well, today, a famous retired general came out and addressed the subject: Abizaid: World could abide nuclear Iran

“Iran is not a suicide nation,” he said. “I mean, they may have some people in charge that don’t appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon.”

The Iranians are aware, he said, that the United States has a far superior military capability.

“I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear,” he said, referring to the theory that Iran would not risk a catastrophic retaliatory strike by using a nuclear weapon against the United States.

Now, I realize that Abizaid was talking about a threat to the U.S. and not Israel, but I think it’s safe to assume at this point that they are one in the same, especially with regards to the deterrence factor.  Anyway, I’m certainly hoping that the General and I are right on this one.  But I think this calls for another brandishing of my stars…

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Video: Maher Rips 9/11 Truthers

September 16, 2007

I watch Bill Maher’s “Real Time” on HBO fairly religiously.  Maher wraps up each hour-long episode with a section of commentary he calls “New Rules”.  This is usually the funniest part of the show.  Last Friday’s offering was one of the best I’ve seen, and I noticed that he’s probably made a few people in the “9/11 Truth” movement pretty mad, calling them “lunatics” who should ask their doctors if “Paxil is right for you”.  Watch it:

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Creating A Direct Link To A Word On Your Blog

September 16, 2007

I’m just putting this in here so that I’ll never forget it.  I searched the WordPress FAQ for a how-to on doing this, but I came up empty.  The answer finally came from zombie over at the LGF dictionary site…

So this:

<a name="ChenZhen" title="ChenZhen"></a><a href="#ChenZhen" title="Direct link to this word">ChenZhen</a>

Creates this:

ChenZhen

Easy!

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Petraeus’ Testimony: The Word That’s Curiously Absent

September 14, 2007

Today I was perusing one of Hugh Hewitt’s favorite sites and I noticed a neat little button in the sidebar:

Sign the Stand By The Mission Petition!

The website, of course, is Victory Caucus (Hewitt is on the “Board of Governors”).  And if you’re wondering what the Victory Caucus is all about, well, that’s simple.  It’s VICTORY, stupid!  Don’t believe me?  From VC’s “about” page, under “Our Beliefs”:

We support victory in the war against radical Islamists. We supported the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and we believe victory is necessary in both countries for America’s self-defense.

and

We support leaders who support victory.

What I found peculiar is that the much-anticipated testimony that General Petraeus delivered to Congress this week made no mention of “victory”. Go ahead, scan all 9 pages. The word ain’t there.  Perhaps the General doesn’t think of the Iraq conflict in those terms?

What is equally interesting is that when Republican Senator John Warner asked Petraeus if the Iraq war was “making America safer”, the General responded “Sir, I don’t know, actually“.

Betrayal!

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Group Blog Intstruction, Brainstorm, And Guidelines

September 13, 2007

Ok-  A few threads down I posted my idea for turning the Chamber into a group blog comprised of diverse authors, and so far I’ve gotten some pretty positive feedback, so I think I’m going to go forward with this concept.

Like I stated in the other thread, I have a few people on the short list already, but if you are interested in becoming an author here I need you to do a couple of things…

1)  I need your email addy so that I can contact you.  Since I have a thing about posting email addys publicly, what you can do is post a comment in this thread and fill out the email that you want to use in the blank.  That way, it will be hidden from everyone but me.

2)  You will need to set up an account with WordPress (if you don’t already have one).  So go to WordPress.com and register.  You don’t need to set up your own blog if you don’t want to, but you will need to get a username and password.  Once you’ve done that, go ahead and log in (“enter the chamber” or “login” in the sidebar) and post a comment in this thread.  From there, I should be able to add you to the author list (to add people, all I need is the username and the email addy you used to register.  Once I do my thing,  the system should allow you access here, so you can come in and play around with the format.  If you have any questions problems, post it here.  But for the record, this is the WordPress.com FAQ.  It’s helpful.)

Phew!  OK.  Now some other things to get out of the way…

Unfortunately, the particular “theme” I chose for this blog does not put “posted by” info for each thread (many themes don’t).  Since it’s important on a group blog to know who posted a thread, we need to get around this little problem.  The original idea I had was to simply use a “tag” (or “category”) to identify who posted.  For example, if you look in my sidebar you will see a list of tags I’ve used and a couple of them are “posted by _____”.  This works pretty slick because visitors can click on that tag and view all the posts by that author (as long as the appropriate tag was used).  It’s the simplest way, so I’m sticking with it.  However, as I’ve already posted 200+ threads to this blog, I’m not going to go back and add a “posted by ChenZhen” tag to each one.  So, if the thread is missing a “posted by” tag…it’s me.  I can add the tag for all authors, but you have to remember to check the box before you publish the post (along with any other tags, like “politics”, “Bush”, “religion” etc.).

BTW- Fortunately, the important blog search engines like technorati and memeorandum (the big political blogger hangout) can identify the author automatically.   

In addition, another idea I had was to paste your avatar to the end of each post. Like so:

This would flow pretty well since your avatar shows up in the comments automatically.  For more on WordPress avatars, go here (you’ll want one anyway).  Since this may be more of a pain in the butt to do for each post, I’m open to other ideas on this one.  I guess the important thing is that no one confuses who posted what, so consistency is a plus. 

Now we segue into the next subject, with is the “list of contributors”…

Most group blogs will prominently display a list of authors right in the sidebar, and they usually include a link to an “about” page that gives a little background on them (for example, here’s mine).   You don’t have to have an “about” page, but it would be nice to have something in there, so I’d encourage everyone to think of a little blurb or whatever (you could send it to me in an email and I’d just post it to a page and create the link).  It can be as simple or as detailed as you wish.  Serious, silly, creative…whatever.  Anyway, my idea would be to simply create a section in the sidebar that lists everyone’s usernames right next to their avatar.  Just seems logical to me. 

Another thing I’d add to the sidebar would be some text or a message to visitors about the blog in general, just so that there’s no confusion and think that…well…that I have multiple personalities or something.  LOL.  It’d have to be towards the top, so I’d just replace the “ChenZhen says” section with that.  Easy.

There…that’s the boring and difficult housekeeping stuff.  Once that is done, we can get to the actual blogging part….For that, I have very little rules.  My original thought was a very lax system.  I figured that if we had like 10 people, and everyone posted just one thing a week it would be enough to keep things pretty entertaining around here.  I guess we won’t know until we actually try it, but I have a feeling that if one person is trying to dominate the blog by posting a lot more than others I might have to come up with some more rigid guidelines.  On the other hand, that scenario might encourage others to post more and swing things back into balance.  Or, it could scare people away.   I guess my hope is that a balance would be achieved, and we could start seeing a “lefty” viewpoint one day and a “righty” viewpoint the next, each featuring plenty of arguments and counter-arguments in the comments section.  I really don’t have any guidelines on the subject matter though.  Anyone who has seen enough of my posts knows that I usually just post my thoughts on whatever, whether it be something in the news, an experience or discussion I’ve had on another blog that I felt I should expand on, or even revisiting old topics that I happened to want to post my opinion on just for the sake of putting my opinion out there.  Again…whatever.   I guess the only thing I would discourage is simply posting links to news stories without expanding on it or offering at least some sort of comment or opinion (it’s considered poor form in the the poli-blog world).  You don’t have to write a thesis, but it’s nice to have something there to kick off a discussion or prompt someone to respond to what you said. 

The only other thing I wouldn’t tolerate would be a breakdown in etiquette in the comments section.  If we all could accept the premise that if you resort to name-calling or personal attacks you have officially lost the argument, I think we’ll be fine.  Instead, pick apart the argument.  Tear it to shreds with logic and facts.  Or, simply state that you have a different opinion or you think that they’re wrong. 

Anyway,  that’s all I have for now and I’m open to other ideas and feedback, so go ahead and post them in here. Read the rest of this entry ?

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