Archive for the ‘wordpress political blogs’ Category

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WordPress.com Changes to Commenting is an Attempt to Combat Fake Comments? FAIL

March 16, 2012

As more and more WordPress.com bloggers (like here and the DoD) begin to realize that their commenting system has had a surprise and unwelcome shot to the foot, the confusion and discontent is spreading rapidly. For the moment, we sit here at the mercy of the top folks at WP.com, hoping that my instruction thread has limited the damage, and alleviated a lot of the confusion for our readers.

While we wait and see if they’ll realize their mistake and/or change this, I believe I’ve stumbled upon what prompted this sudden move:

If I’m reading that right, it looks like my theory that this was intended to be a solution to nefarious gravatar/nic-jacking was correct, as this appears to have been done as a reaction to one case involving a victim of above-average influence on the net? Wow.

Even if it was properly executed (which it isn’t even close), it’s a boneheaded sledgehammer solution to a fly-sized problem. The thinking is still flawed, since anyone can still simply steal an image and apply it to their own gravatar account, if they really wanted to impersonate another netizen. Like with an IP, only the webmaster or admin would be able to tell the difference, and even they would not be able to verify which email addy what the legit one, right? To the rest of the world, the commenter is successfully impersonated. For example <—simple demonstration, with one of my other accounts.

Hopefully they're smarter than this, and switch it back…soon.

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Introducing: WPPBA Chat!

June 8, 2009

I’m going to take the opportunity to apologize to the members of the WPPBA for my recent absence.  I’ve been focused on other sites as of late, and have been spending a lot of my time online as a guest blogger elsewhere.

So, in an effort to make up for my desertion, I’m pleased to announce that I have received the rights to (well, permission, actually*) a WPPBA chatroom!

WPPBA CHAT

Go ahead and add the link to your sidebars, come on in, and make yourself at home.  But do play nice.

*The chatroom (code name: Table 9) is operated by my netizen pal Roses, who has graciously offered to expand the room to the WPPBA.  It operates 24/7, and has all the normal Java features.  Currently, the room is quite popular with netizens from other sites I frequent (or used to frequent; namely, LGF).  There are a dozen or so political blogs from outside the WPPBA that link there, so when you come in you may want to introduce yourself and all that.

 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Nation Of The Apes

February 20, 2009

I sit here in front of my laptop while sucking down a tall glass of Folgers Black Silk, and wonder what the next topic of discussion should be….hmmmm…

First, as a point of reference, I ask that readers watch the following commercial:

Remember that one?  It wasn’t particularly controversial, right?  I mean, the use of chimps in the ad was clearly used as a parody of human behavior.  Specifically, the team working for careerbuilder.com knew that the audience would relate to the frustration of dealing with boneheadedness in the workplace, and the creative use of primates conveyed the message fairly well.  In fact, there were a few of these commercials, which would be an indication that the people at Cramer-Kressalt Co. (the ad team) thought this idea was a winner, I suppose.  (They did claim the top spot in “The Funniest Commercials of 2005.”, although PETA, predictably, wasn’t thrilled about them).

Now, enter the now-infamous NY Post cartoon that was published the other day:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Aaaaand…..KABOOM!  Controversy erupts, blog wars rage,  protesters march in New York, and the airwaves are filled with hours of commentary.

But who was offended?  PETA?  The family of the unfortunate woman mauled by the pet chimp (the story that inspired the cartoon)?  

Nope. 

People apparently saw racism in the cartoon.  You know, stimulus bill ->black president-> ape -> shot dead by police.  Or something. 

Personally, I think that the cartoon missed the mark (as so many deadline-constrained political cartoonists do), and wasn’t funny in the least. But I don’t think it was racist. I think its just a stupid cartoon.  Or as I wrote over at Sadly No!:

Had the primate had a “Obama” tag on his chest, well, then yea, I’d definitely see that as racist. But there wasn’t. The toon was to be interpreted as referring to a stimulus bill that could be seen as written by an out-of-control ape (like the careerbuilder.com ads). In fact, given the way it was written, the lack of label and the apparent ignorance to the hypersensitivity of certain corners of the audience, I’d say that it could have only been penned by someone who was explicitly not racist.

This actually puts me in agreement with many of the blog entries that I’ve seen on the right side of the fence, which is a rather unusual place for me.  OK.  I just call it as I see it. 

The NY Post, for their part, sticks to their guns today (sorta):

Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon – caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut – has created considerable controversy.

It shows two police officers standing over the chimp’s body: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill,” one officer says.

It was meant to mock an ineptly written federal stimulus bill.

Period.

But it has been taken as something else – as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism.

This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize.

However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past – and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback.

To them, no apology is due.

Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon – even as the opportunists seek to make it something else.

Exactly.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update: Several of my fellow WPPBA bloggers have taken on this topic as well:

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Phelps Fallout

February 10, 2009

It has been quite a while since my last toke of the weed (a couple years, actually), so my interest in this might not be what it once was, but I can’t help but scratch my head and wonder why the heck I just saw this headline: Eight arrested in Michael Phelps case

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – New details have emerged about a party where Olympic champion Michael Phelps was spotted.phelpsbong

On Feb. 2, a British tabloid published a picture of the 14-time Olympic gold medalist using a water pipe to smoke marijuana. The picture was taken at a party in Columbia back in November when Phelps was here for a visit.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department has been taking a lot of heat from people in this country and all over the world.

They want to know why Sheriff Leon Lott is going after Michael Phelps.

Many are saying the sheriff should concentrate on more serious crimes, or at the very least, not focus solely on the Olympic champion when there were others at the party who were also breaking the law.

Now it appears the case has expanded beyond Phelps’ activities.

I swear, someone could break into my house tomorrow, steal all my stuff, kill my dog, and piss on the floor, and all I’d be able to do is file a report that would get placed on a shelf somewhere and eventually get ignored. But someone takes a pic of Michael Phelps taking a hit of pot, and suddenly there’s some sheriff who thinks he’s Horatio Caine and the CSI team performs 128-bit analysis of the photo, dusts for prints, checks shoe sizes and tread on the carpet, samples the wallpaper for residue, and pulls hair out of the bathtub in search of the perps responsible for this heinous crime. 

I’m sure that I’m not the only one out there wondering why this is even a big deal to begin with.  Heck, I wonder why people swoon over Michael Phelps at all.  Sure, the guy won a ton of gold medals, but he’s a swimmer.  Just think about it, no one gives two turds about swimmers otherwise.    It’s not like people are going to the sports bar on Mondays to watch Monday Night Swimming, after all.

Anyway, since the guy is freakishly good at swimming, he’s apparently perceived as some role model (for reasons that are obviously beyond me, he’s near the top with almost 2 million fans on facebook), and the fact that he has had his picture taken with a bong to his lips represents some sort of scandal.  I suppose that may mean something in the realm of endorsements and the sales of his Officially Licensed Merchandise, but for God’s sake, leave the other poor saps at the party out of the blast radius. 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Take the Ten High Challenge

January 25, 2009

With the status of the nation’s economy being what it is, it stands to reason that everyone is trying to save money wherever they can these days.  Some people are clipping coupons for the first time in their lives.  Others are cutting back on, or just plain giving up activities that they’ve enjoyed in the past.  In this spirit (pun intended), I’m going to offer up a little discovery I made on my last trip to the liquor store:  Ten High Whiskey 

Now, I certainly understand that alcoholic beverages in general are something that can be lived without, but I’m not willing to make that sacrifice just yet.  So, after having one of those “Nothing beats Jack Daniel’s/ but it’s so expensive!” conversations arguments with the girlfriend, I headed to the store to try to prove a point.  I told her that I could buy the cheapest whiskey on the shelf and she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, especially when we’re mixing it with cola (or in this particular case, Dr. Pepper).   At $45.99, the Jack really outta blow the cheap stuff in the plastic bottle out of the proverbial water, right?   The Ten High is almost 1/3 the price ($16.99).  Anyway, I”m sure people all over have had this conversation for decades, but this my first time with it, so bear with me.  The Challenge:

1.75L - $45.991.75L - $16.99

For this experiment, I poured double shots into two identical glasses with the same amount of ice, and picked different colored straws so I wouldn’t get confused when I presented it to her.  Once the Dr. Pepper was in there, I noticed that the glass with the Ten looked and smelled the same, right down to the frothy residue left on the side of the drinking vessel.  She took several sips out of each one, thought about it, gave me a weird look, and I asked “So which one is Jack?”.

She guessed wrong.

So, there you have it.  Now we can play games and have drunken sex, and spend the other $29 on a trip to the movie theater me.   Good times.

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About This “But He Kept Us Safe” Meme…(pt. II)

January 21, 2009

Yea, I know I’ve been over this before, but I thought I’d mention that there now appears to be a website created for the purposes of formally thanking Bush for it (h/t LGF):

bushmissionaccomplished

Never mind the irony that Bush has stated on multiple occasions that he regrets the whole “Mission Accomplished” thing, of course.  On his watch, nearly 3000 died in the worst terrorist attack in American history.  In response, he turned around and invaded a country that had nothing to do with it, resulting in even more American lives lost, tens of thousands wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent…and nearly 6 years later, we’re still there.  But we’re supposed to thank him, because the batshit crazy cave-dwellers haven’t managed to pull off another stunt with knives and flying lessons?    They’re saying that not allowing the same mistakes and oversights to happen again is cause for some sort of praise, and willfully ignoring the fact that the battle was being waged well before 9/11, and making the assumption that those of us that hadn’t died horrifying deaths would be living under bin Laden’s rule if it wasn’t for the protective blanket provided by Papa Bush.   I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. 

Well, if one admits that it’s a cop-out for unconditionally supporting the guy all these years, then maybe I get it.

Anyway, if you click the image, you’ll see also that the site’s founders make the claim that “the president’s Number One Mission is to protect our nation” (bold in original).   But as we saw yesterday, the oath requires the president to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States”.   Much has been made of the conflict between the two principles during Bush’s eight years in office, certainly, and I would assume that the ultimate goal would be to avoid sacrificing one for the sake of the other.   So how did Bush do with regard to the actual oath?  Pretty poorly, it would seem. 

So go ahead and thank him, if you wish.  You’re just a couple clicks away.  Give him the ol’ A for effort.  For myself, I think instead I’ll wait see if Obama is capable of cleaning up the mess first.

Exit thought:  That image of Bush has always spooked me.  Is it a gay lover look?  A Manson-esque stare?  The failed televangelist?   I’m not sure, but I’d take his ridiculous eyebrow-contorting phony smirks any day of the week over that crazy mugshot.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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2 Years Of Chamber Battles

January 16, 2009

I just thought I’d mention that the Chamber just had its 2nd birthday.   I’ll crack open an adult beverage to celebrate, but first I thought it’d be kinda neat to offer a little insight on where we’ve been.  A sort of “by the numbers”, a couple years in:

chamberstats

Top 10 posts all-time (by hits):

Title Views  
WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance 4,929  
Photos: Karl Rove and George W. Bush 4,797  
Satellite Images: Gustav vs. Katrina 2,379  
Confirmed: Cindy McCain Is the Crypt Ke 1,685  
Racy Idol Photos: Brilliant! 1,654  
The Perils Of Posting Legitimate Questio 1,534  
The Cost Of “Infrastructure” Vs. War 1,383  
Who The Heck Is Johanna Cardona? 1,359  
Greetings Lizards! (Update: Banned) 1,285  
Is Andrew Rove “Prepared For War”? 1,182  

Top 10 search terms (how we were found):

Search Views
karl rove 2,900  
chenzhen’s chamber 2,287  
big mac 975  
chevrolet aveo 728  
tall 642  
george w bush 605  
johanna cardona 583  
godzilla 515  
chenzhen 455  
cyrus the great 430  

Top 10 clicks (links visitors clicked):

URL Clicks
time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,16… 264  
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonella_Barba 208  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/… 176  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/… 175  
technorati.com/search/johanna%20cardo… 139  
redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm… 122  
chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/… 115  
wordpress.com/tag/wordpress-political… 99  
littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog 89  
technorati.com/search/video%20johanna… 85  

Traffic by the month:

chambergraph
click to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it!  A modest blog, to be sure, but I’ve certainly had a lot of fun so far.  Here’s to a couple more!

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Bush’s Departure Reminder

January 16, 2009

Somewhere within all the coverage of the jet diving into the Hudson river, I happened to notice Bush decided to give a farewell speech (something his father didn’t do).  As it turns out, I’m kinda glad he did, ’cause I’d almost forgotten to pick up some beer for the party I’m gonna have in a few days.  I’m sure he’s glad he did it too, ’cause if nothing else, it gave him one last chance to stand up in front of America and make those ridiculous eyebrow-contorting smirks:

bushfunnyface1

from yesterday's video

After this boilerplate performance, I take great comfort in the thought that this was the last display of fumbled phrases and childishly robotic over-enunciation of everyday words.  The last attempt to whitewash his unwise decisions with platitudes about “taking the fight to the terrorists” and head-scratchers like “promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity”.   The last Bush speech from behind a podium. 

Finally, it’s over.

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“The Music” Vs. “The Message” (w/poll)

January 9, 2009

Sometimes, the inspiration for threads here in the Chamber come from rather odd places, and this is going to be one of those times.  You see, yesterday, I was hanging out on the showroom floor at the dealership, and I couldn’t help but notice that the background music playing over the speakers was what I used to call “Jesus music” (these days, usually referred to as “Contemporary Christian“).   It was playing all day.

At first, I couldn’t understand why in the heck someone would decide such a thing was appropriate for the environment (considering the fact that any Buddhist, Hindu, Hmong, Jew or Muslim could walk through the door and want to buy a car), but then another thought struck me.  First though, I should say that, during my time in this particular profession, I’ve come to realize that this genre is more popular than I would have expected, based on how many radios are tuned to KTIS when we hop into customer’s cars and run them through the wash.  But I didn’t really take the time to stop and ponder it all until yesterday.  christian-albums

In any case, the thoughts began with something like “What the heck is with this stuff, anyway?”.

I’ve got to wonder if anyone would be rocking out to “Awesome God” if you changed the lyrics to, say, something about beer.  Or women.  Or politics.   Also, is it just me, or do all the male vocalists sound the same?  I mean, I think I could tell that I was listening to CC before I heard the first “savior” or “redeemer” uttered in the song, just based on style.  I dunno, there’s just something about it that gives it away. 

Look, I enjoy all kinds of music.  My MP3 player often skips from reggae, to pop, to classical, to metal, to hip hop when I’m playing it.  I can understand why some people enjoy opera and country, even.  But the vast majority of what I was listening to yesterday was just plain bland and mediocre.

So, I guess I have to assume that our KTIS junkies out there listen to it for the message rather than the quality of the music.  I guess there is that choice.  But I can’t help but think that, at some point, one would have to deduce that what you’re listening to is simply the best material recorded by people who happen to sing about Jesus, and that you’re ignoring the huge selection of tunes out there that are really much better from the perspective of raw musical talent.   So why continue?  Perhaps it could be viewed as a sacrifice of sorts, like some kind of perpetual Lent?   

Anyway…

I had this discussion with my girlfriend, and I was surprised to find out that the lyrics themselves actually effects her taste in music as well.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be that shocked, ’cause once I thought about it for a second, I guess I could understand that there would be people out there who can’t get into anything instrumental, no matter what sub-genre.  A sort of a “can’t like it if I can’t sing it” mentality.  And if one is going to sing it, it’d be more entertaining if the subject was something meaningful to them on a personal level, I imagine.   That’s her, and maybe that explains the KTISers as well.

As for me?  I told her that I’m quite the opposite; the song could be about a dog taking a poop on a rug, and as long as it was catchy, I’d probably like it.   It’s definitely more about the rhythm and harmony in my world.  Give me some powerful chords, groovy beats, and impressive solos, and I’m usually diggin’ it.  

So, I have to ask, who’s more weird?

(I suppose there could be a third, less common category: principle.  By that I mean the selection was about the artist him/her/themselves, and not the lyrics or music per se.  For example, you choose to listen to U2 because of the work Bono does, or don’t, based on it.  What happened with the Dixie Chicks might be another example)

-Exit question:  Is there a name for the two schools?  Or should we coin them in this thread?

-Added miscellaneous factoid:  Did you know that they sang “Shout to the Lord” on American Idol last year?  I didn’t think I’d see that, but here it is:

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Dipshits For Franken

January 5, 2009

Well, the long and arduous task of hand-counting nearly 3 million ballots is complete, and it appears that Franken has emerged victorious:

The state Canvassing Board certified final results this afternoon in Minnesota’s marathon U.S. Senate race, but that won’t end the battle between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman, whose Senate term ended on Saturday.

Moments after the board certified that Franken had eked out 225 more votes than Coleman, attorneys for Coleman said they would file a lawsuit within 24 hours.

Of course Coleman will sue, so the drama isn’t quite over yet.  But considering the 400+ vote swing, I’m inclined to take us back to a post I made back in November, before the recount began, where I posed this question:

If Franken does wind up winning, and it’s the dummies that put him over the top, what does that say?

Now, I say dummies, assuming that the majority of the people who weren’t counted by the machines the first time around were my fellow Minnesotans who did something like this on election day:

(I made this up; NOT an actual ballot)

(I made this up; NOT an actual ballot)

Needless to say, part of me wishes that the recount swung the other way, even if I voted for Franken myself. After all, there’s something to be said about an association with people who aren’t bright enough to fill in a little circle on a ballot.  And while there are those who may theorize that “funny business” was at play in the outcome, there were those who predicted from the very beginning that the undervotes would fall in Al’s favor, based on demographics and exit polls (which is a nice way of saying that the elderly and uneducated are more likely to vote for Franken, and are also more likely to screw up their ballots).   Is my reasoning sound?  I’m not certain, and maybe I’m too lazy to dive in and research it down to the last vote cast.  But on the surface, it looks like Franken might owe his victory to a smattering of dipshits, if this was indeed the statistical handful of voters that put him over the top.  

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Coining Blago’s Hairstyle

December 14, 2008

Well, people started talking about it the minute the Illinois governor made headlines last week, so I figured that I might as well give my 2¢.  The topic?  Blagojevich’s hair.  Just what do you call it, Mr. Google

But hairdressers all over America needed little else than to look at his hair — “there’s no name for that,” said Calvin Klein’s hairstylist Roberto Novo. “Ugh” — to gasp in horror.

OK Roberto, I’ll consider that a challenge, and offer up my take.  There was one resemblance that immediately came to mind for me (probably because I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life):

blagovshelmet

I’m going to call it…the CCM

(please excuse the fact that I reversed the image; I did so for illustrative purposes)

So with that, I pat myself on the back for my moment of brilliance, and open the thread up to general Blago discussion. 

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

BTW-  I still can’t pronounce the guy’s name, so “Blago” it shall be.

Update:  I’ve been running into a few more side-by-sides, so I’m going to post them here as I go:

Bla-lego-vich

Bla-lego-vich

(h/t Tex)

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Not Just Another Blackwater Thread

December 7, 2008

Tomorrow, those Blackwater security guards are supposed to surrender to authorities in Utah:

WASHINGTON – Five Blackwater Worldwide security guards indicted in Washington for the 2007 shooting of Iraqi civilians plan to surrender to the federal authorities Monday in Utah, people close to the case said, setting up a court fight over the trial site.

The case already is shaping up to be a series of contentious legal battles before the guards can even go to trial. By surrendering in Utah, the home state of one of the guards, the men could argue the case should be heard in a far more conservative, pro-gun venue than Washington, some 2,000 miles away.

The five guards, all military veterans, were indicted on manslaughter charges Thursday for their roles in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. A sixth guard reached a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid a mandatory 30-year prison sentence.

Now, I say “just another thread”, because I did have a thread about the incident after it happened last year.  mercsribbon2And in the spirit of the other post,  I’m not sure if I want this one to focus on the incident itself or the legal situation that these five guys find themselves in.  Instead, I think I’m going to use the story as an excuse to revisit the topic that kinda flew under the radar the last time, especially now that we’re a over a year post-surge in Iraq and people are now declaring our victory and everything.  So…

Just how big of an impact have the contractors like Blackwater had on what’s transpired?  Or, asked another way, how large of a component of the “surge” have they been, and how critical to the mission’s success?

It’s a topic that doesn’t get mentioned much, so I’m mentioning it.  The effort has been more privatized than any other in our history, so I think it’s worth examining.  And while the V-I Day proponents claim to honor the sacrifice of American, Iraqi, and other coalition forces, they’re ignoring the tens of thousands of hired guns who were handsomely compensated by the American taxpayer.  How come?  After all, contractors (armed and otherwise) have suffered over 1,000 dead and 10,000 wounded, a rate of approximately one for every four of the U.S. Armed Forces.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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About This “But He Kept Us Safe” Meme…

December 5, 2008

I have to apologize to my fellow members of the WPPBA, ’cause I really haven’t been paying as close of attention to politics as I should as of late.  So, I return to the fray… 

I couldn’t help but notice the recent hubub over the “Bush Legacy Project“.   Interesting, but not unexpected, all things considered.  I suppose the operative word there is “project”.  Hmmm…”project”.   When I think of “projects”, the first thing that comes to mind is one of those assignments that teachers hand out to groups of high school students.  And in the history of “projects”, I imagine that this would go down as one of the tougher ones.   Just think, having to come up with positive things to report on the Bush presidency.  I’d hope those kids would be graded on a curve.

But, hey, someone’s gotta try, right?   So, enter Peggy Noonan, who gives it a shot in today’s WSJ:  ‘At Least Bush Kept Us Safe’

Back to the Christmas gathering. There was no grousing about John McCain, and considerable grousing about the Bush administration, but it was almost always followed by one sentence, and this is more or less what it was: “But he kept us safe.”

Now, I’m not sure who hangs out at Peggy’s Christmas gatherings, but I can’t picture that statement resonating with anyone besides the zombie-eyed Bushbot kool aid overdosers that make up that 20% of Bush’s approval ratings.  Maybe it’s just me.  I guess if you’re that desperate to look at the glass as full even when it’s nearly empty, this kind of notion probably elicits a few head nods in a room full of like-minded individuals.  But the reality is that it’s so hollow that the sound of bullshit splattering actually echoes when shoveled with this sentiment.    Yep.  {{{{{echoes}}}}}  Here’s why…FILES-US-ATTACKS-BUSH

In order to really embrace this idea, one has to commit to a couple intellectually dishonest assumptions.   The primary one, of course, being  the assumption that the whole “keeping us safe” concept didn’t get added to the list of presidential responsibilities until after 9/11 (’cause certainly 9/11 was a far cry from “keeping us safe”).  The subset of that would include the “out of the blue” arguments I’ve heard from Krauthammer and others; as if the president and the entire U.S. intelligence community had never heard of Al Qaeda or bin Laden, and no one had ever thought about counter-terrorism before that day.

Since this one is pretty obvious, the 20 percenters usually follow “he kept us safe” with the qualifier “since 9/11”.   This is a nice segue into the next assumption…

A secondary assumption is that one really understands al Qaeda’s capabilities, motives or intentions.  After 9/11, no doubt many of my fellow Americans believed that AQ’s goal was something along the lines of systematically striking at every major city until we were all dead.  The attacks supposedly (perhaps because of their magnitude) marked the beginning of some onslaught, and we were expecting to be faced with wave after wave of terrorist plots and bombings.  A crisis that only a strong president could do what needed to be done to prevent the imminent Armageddon.   Or something like that…which is supposed to give the weight to the “after 9/11” portion of the meme.

The problem is, this mindset ignores whether real terror threats to domestic targets have actually increased or decreased since 9/11.  But we’re to assume, I guess, that they’ve increased.  As Noonan correctly pointed out, much of that information is kept out of the public view, so we could speculate all day long, but just entertaining the question leads one to ponder the second one:  Has Bush kept us “more safe” than, say, Clinton?  And once you’ve gone there (comparing to other presidents), you’ve effectively watered down “he kept us safe” as a notable accolade. 

Or, it could very well be that we haven’t been attacked since 9/11 because, frankly, they haven’t really tried to.  Maybe they haven’t felt the need to.   To use a hockey metaphor, it’s hard to congratulate the goaltender that lost a 1-0 game, even though he only let in one goal.  Many, including myself, have suggested that 9/11 was less about killing Americans, and more about provoking a response.   Bush certainly gave them a response, and we got a giant, expensive, and deadly mess in Iraq (and occasionally a mocking by the al Qaeda creeps via the internet along the way). 

Anyway, after eight tumultuous years, and where we find ourselves now, its kinda telling that people like Noonan are posting up op-ed’s saying “Hey, at least we weren’t bombed again!”, and presenting it as the primary thing that matters.  It probably sounds good to the aforementioned faithful, but I don’t think it’d help the grade out on the “project”.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update:  Meanwhile, over at the discussion-free zone dubbed JammieWearingFool, JWF posts the following:

Say what you want about George W. Bush, but you cannot deny him this. Despite every effort made by the media and the left to undermine his policies designed strictly for this purpose–to keep us free from terrorism post-9/11–he got the job done, and for that he has earned his legacy.

That’s right, not only was Bush doing battle with al Qaeda, he was winning in spite of the plans of the evil media and half of the American citizens.  No doubt, it must be tough for him to keep that cape hidden under his suit.

Anyway, aren’t we counting our chickens before they hatch a bit here?  There’s still 40-something days left in Bush’s term, after all.   But should the unfortunate occur, I have no doubt that voices like JWF’s and Noonan’s Christmas Coctail Team will go moaning on about how much we could really use a Republican taking the oath Jan. 20 instead of Obama (because of those innate national security skills, of course) or blaming the media and/or the left for “undermining” the policies of the wise GWB.

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Brainstorming Alternatives To A Bailout

November 20, 2008

OK, I’ve been holding off on commenting on this for about a week now, as I’ve taken the time to absorb all the arguments from the pundits, pols, and players.  I probably should have posted something up right away, because as a blogger who is in real life employed in the auto industry (and at a GM dealership specifically), the outcome would certainly be something that directly impacts my life (which is not really the case with the debate over Iraq, gay marriage, or the myriad of other things that get debated over the pages of memeorandum).  I’ll state right up front that macroeconomics isn’t exactly my strong suit, but here goes anyway…

The paradigms of the debate, from what I’ve seen, fall into two main categories.  On the one side, you have those who approach the bailout question from the perspective of capitalistic purity and the role of the federal government, and that the whole thing should be endorsed or opposed strictly on principle.  On the other, you have those who chose to ignore all that (intentionally or not), and instead go back and forth over whether a bailout will actually help the situation or hurt it.  For the time being, I’m going to work within the realm of the latter camp.

Also, after a week of seeing this play out on the web, TV, and on the showroom floor, the one thing that strikes me as frustrating about the debate itself is this sort of dichotomy where you have choice A) give the “big 3” billions of dollars, presumably on loan, and B) do nothing, let the giants fend for themselves and/or let them go bankrupt.  

Is there a choice C?  Or, for that matter, a D), E) or F)?   We’ll get to that in a second, but perhaps I should offer a few thoughts on the debate over A) and B) first….

The problem with throwing money at the problem, as I’ve seen argued, is that it does nothing to address the issue at its core.  2003-pontiac-aztekIn short, the Big 3 would still employ the same incompetent management, struggle under the constraints of the same rules of unions, CAFE standards, health-care and pension costs, and ultimately churn out a lot of the same inferior vehicles (at a loss, to boot).    Funneling in more money just delays the inevitable, unless we’re prepared to do what would certainly be untenable, i.e. keep bailing them out indefinitely.  But proponents of the action would argue that the U.S. auto industry is a “special case”, and the adherence to the principles of free market capitalism can be discarded in the interests of the greater good.  We’d presumably do it, and hope for the best.

Of course, that alternative of doing nothing to help, rolling the dice, and letting the free market and bankruptcy legislation do its thing scares the heck out of a lot of people (including myself).  The fear of a disastrous ripple effect through the rest of an economy that is already on life support is what pushed the prospect of a federal bailout into mainstream debate in the first place, and even if people opine on the scope of the repercussions, one might be confident in saying that “bad” would be an understatement.

Given these two choices, one might assume that someone like myself would vote in favor in the interests of my own preservation, and welcome the handout.  But I can’t say that I do, and I say that after looking at the situation from both of the aforementioned paradigms.   So, I feel obliged to come full circle here and wonder aloud if there is an option C), and what that might be.  Specifically, I’m interested in ways Washington can intervene that addresses the dynamics of the underlying problems, but isn’t simply a blank check. 

This is where I kick off the Chamber brainstorm, with the intention of adding to the thread as ideas come to me (or anyone else).  I’ll start it with two words:

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