Thursday, October 20, 2005

She Can’t Be This Incompetent, Can She?

Harriet E. Miers, President Bush’s nominee for the Supreme Court has never been a judge. She, from what little we know, is a very good lawyer. She, from what we do know, is a very hard working woman who thinks that Bush, when he was the governor of Texas, was “the best governor ever.” No wonder he nominated her to the Supreme Court.

Robert Bork, who was then President Ronal Reagan’s nominee for the Supreme Court” has called her nomination “slap in the face to the conservatives who've been building up a conservative legal movement for the last 20 years." The other problem is that this woman cannot probably write. Her writings have caused considerable consternation amongst conservatives.

Now, in another show that she cannot respond to questions, comes news that the “Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her to resubmit parts of her judicial questionnaire, saying various members had found her responses ‘inadequate,’ ‘insufficient’ and ‘insulting.’

I can’t wait to hear this woman speak in her hearings.

Diplomacy.

I don’t know if there is anything else that I can write about this story beyond what is already written. Suffice it to say that this will not help the U.S. diplomatic efforts one bit. Of course, some people will say that this is a time of war and these things are to be expected. My response is that these things are to be expected but not tolerated.

The following says it all: “The US military says it will investigate claims that US soldiers publicly burnt the bodies of two Taleban fighters in Afghanistan.”

Drill Away!

You know that whole thing about America’s natural beauty and how the country has lush greenery and beautiful mountains in unspoiled forests? Not anymore.

The Senate Energy and Commerce Committee approved a measure on Wednesday to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas production, moving it an important step closer to becoming official.”

Here come the people with their big trucks, drilling equipment and massive pipelines.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Too Much Vodka?

This is a weird story and I am admitting that right now. Norwegian authorities detained a Russian trawler. They escorted the trawler to the port. As they were escorting said trawler to said port, the trawler broke away and started speeding towards Russia at full speed. Maybe the people on the trawler, trawlers?, did not notice that they had two Norwegian inspectors on board.

The trawler was “speeding toward Russian territorial waters with the Norwegian Coast Guard in pursuit, Russian vessels en route to meet it, and a powerful storm hampering the efforts of both.” Hollywood, buy the rights right now!

My only question: Are the Norwegian inspectors hot chicks … cause that would explain a lot.

What hell is wrong with Africa!

You and I have heard these stories repeatedly. They are stories of one country or the other facing famine. Other than North Korea, a large majority of countries facing famine are located in Africa. Now, I have been to Africa, it’s a great continent and the people are amazing, which is why its so amazing to me that they always run out of food there.

What the hell’s going on over there? Is it the despots that rule those countries, like that jackass Mugabe? I bring this up because aid agencies have warned that nearly half of Malawi’s “12 million population could starve in the next six months without massive and immediate food donations … [which] so far … has not been forthcoming.”

Everyone feels bad about the people who are starving but there is a time when charity fatigue sets in. With all the horrific events happening in the world today, earthquakes, tornadoes etc., it is easy to see how the world would want to give money to other places and causes. Especially, when the other causes are one-time events whereas the famine in Africa never seems to go away.

Two Gasbags

Here is a case of two gasbags talking to each other. It looks like the only time this gasbag gets off his radio show is when he gets a chance to talk to another gasbag who agrees with everything the first gasbag says.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Hannity/Limbaugh show on Fox News. What a surprise.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Pakistani Earthquake

The big disaster story these days is the massive earthquake that devastated northern Pakistan. We have all seen the tragic pictures and heard the horrific stories. It truly is tragic, primarily because so many of the dead and injured have still not been reached. If one looks at the areas where the earthquake caused the most damage, one can understand why this is the case.

Okay, now that I have gotten the emotional part out of the way, let’s look at this situation objectively. The Pakistani government is not the most honest government in the world. It is not unfamiliar with corruption. Knowing that, can we trust this government to appropriately manage the massive aid that is being sent? Pakistanis are great people and will contribute whatever they can to help. However, we have to make sure that the government, that is managing this massive relief operation, does right by its people.

I write because it was reported today that Pakistan “declared that the reconstruction cost of areas affected by the devastating October 8 earthquake could go well beyond the initial estimate of $5 billion.

Now, one can understand that the estimates will be off because many of the devastated areas have not yet been reached. However, $5 billion is a huge amount to reconstruct areas that did not have much infrastructure to begin with. I could have bought the $5 billion figure had the government not come out and said that the figure could go “well beyond that.”

Well beyond that! We need some oversight here and not from the Pakistani government. I don’t trust these numbers nor do I trust the bureaucrats running that country.

The Lesson Not Learned

The one lesson that governments have learned over the years is that one cannot control groups. The U.S. learned that in Afghanistan where they trained the mujahideen and when the U.S. left, the mujahideen leaders created a little movement called Al Qaida. History is filled with such examples but governments rarely learn from their historic mistakes.

The Darfur crisis in the Sudan is well known. The Sudanese government trained Arab militias called the Janjaweed to essentially destroy villages that they did not like. As has happened in the past, this group has now mutated with some members turning on the government itself.

The conflict has grown even more confused and chaotic in recent months. Now, rebels fight other rebels, the ties between some janjaweed fighters and the government have frayed, and the African Union troops charged with quelling the conflict find themselves targets as well.

On one hand, this does not bother me. The people who supported these groups need to be taken out and show and if it turns out that these groups are doing the shooting, then so be it. The problem is that there are innocent people caught in the crossfire, as they always are, and these people have gone through that one cannot help but feel that all this should stop for their sake.

The Media Giveth, The Media Taketh

You probably heard the story of this young girl found wandering the streets of NYC, Queens to be exact, some time back. No one knew anything about her so, in an effort to get more information about her, the authorities put her on the telly. “Within five minutes of the first broadcast, people were calling in tips to help reveal her identity, and the police were led to the man accused of killing her mother and abandoning her.

Then the whole thing turned. Her grandparents, both Bolivian, started fighting for custody and while the judge has named the kid’s mother’s cousins as her temporary guardians, the media attention is so intense that the kid can’t do anything other than stay inside the house and twiddle her little thumbs.

Is the problem with the media? I mean, it was great that with their help the authorities discovered who the kid was and found the murderer of her mother and the media is greatly responsible for that. However, when should it end? When does the kid go back to being a kid? She has gone through a traumatic time and when does she go back to trying to put the pieces of her life back together?

Where is the off switch? Who controls it and will they please turn it off? I don’t blame the media for this, by the way. I blame the people who are reading the stories about her and want to know more about the kid. It’s their fault. The media is just the messenger.

Friday, October 07, 2005

... and is that wrong?

In a TV documentary, to be telecast on the BBC, “former Palestinian foreign minister, Nabil Shaath, says that Mr Bush told a Palestinian delegation in 2003 that God spoke to him and said: ‘George, go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’ and also ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’.”

Of course, the White House (WH) denies these claims but here is my question: We all know Bushie is a religious guy. He loves him some Christ fierce. He is loved by his people i.e. those that vote for him, for loving his Christ fierce. So since we know he is religious and that he loves his Christ fierce, what’s wrong with him believing that what he was about to do was sanctioned by God?

The problem that people will have with this is with the timing. Did God tell him to do that before he had enough evidence justifying the invasion? By the way, this does not work for Iraq since we all know that the evidence for that one was bullshit. Was God telling him that he should invade these countries or was God agreeing with the analysts who said that there were good reasons for him to invade Afghanistan.

As for Iraq, was God just pulling his leg and Bushie mistook that and actually invaded the country? Only God, and maybe Bushie, can answer these questions. Maybe, Christ would know. However, as is always the case, they are never there when you need them.

I Don’t Want You To Appoint Anyone Else

The Right will love this story. In a new book, coming out soon, and in an accompanying “60 Minutes” interview, “former FBI director Louis J. Freeh has denounced Bill Clinton over the scandals that marred his presidency and for his record on terrorism, saying the level of distrust was so great that he stayed in his post so Clinton could not appoint his successor.”

By now, Bill Clinton, is probably used to people denouncing him over his scandals so that isn’t a big deal. The big deal is when the head of the FBI says that he stayed in his post so that his successor could not be appointed. He did not stay because he wanted to serve the country, protect its people, catch criminals etc. He stayed because he did not want a successor appointed.

There is nothing wrong with people not getting along, even when they work at such high level posts but when people stay in positions for reasons that have nothing to do with their jobs, that is when the problem starts, stops, starts again and ends.

People, for the longest time, were wondering why the FBI had so many problems and what was causing all these miscues … well now you know. The guy leading the damn agency wasn’t interested in doing his job, just saving it.

Inventor Arrested

Police arrested a teenager in a midnight raid for making illegal moonshine. The kid, who is a minor, said he learned about making the stuff from his science class and the Internet.

My problems with this action are:
1. The kid learned something from his science class! Instead of arresting him, the government should be awarding him things.
2. The kid researched something scientific on the Internet. Scientific and not porn. This kid should really be given a scholarship.
3. “What he was making, it wasn't really consumable at all. It was actually very toxic.” So then, how was it moonshine? Shouldn’t we be helping this inventor learn how to correctly make things?

A government spokesman, upon learning about this, said: “It's amazing what you can learn on the Internet.” If getting directions to make moonshine on the Internet is what amazes you about the Internet, man you really need to get out more.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

No More State Rights

Whenever some liberal gasbag asked me to name the one thing that made Republicans better than Democrats, I would always point to the Republican party’s policy on state rights: They believed in state rights.

This argument has been harder and harder to make over the last seven years and George Bush and this new Republican party has waged war on states that do not agree with their policies. One perfect example is the whole Oregon and the state’s marijuana law issue.

So hearing President Bush saying that “he would consider using the military to ‘effect a quarantine’ in the event of an outbreak of pandemic influenza in the United States.” He did say that some governors may object to their state’s National Guard being taken over by the federal but dismissed that thought by saying, “Listen, I can do anything I want. Didn’t you just see me nominate a woman who has never been a judge to the Supreme Court?” Karl Rove was seen shaking his head vigorously in agreement to that statement.

Well, he actually didn’t say that and Rove didn’t actually do that but can’t you just that scene playing out?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rats Better Than Humans

Yes ladies and gentlemen, rats are better than humans. Not only are they better at sniffing out landmines, they are also better at “diagnosing tuberculosis in HIV patients and catching smugglers bringing drugs or guns across borders.”

Of course, the argument that some make is that humans are smarter than rats because they control the rats. Notice, I did not say smarter but better.

Not only are the rats better at these tasks but they also have better personalities than other animals. “Their sense of smell is as powerful as that of a dog but they are happier performing repetitive tasks without becoming bored.”

God love them.

Ok, You Are Welcome Now

Austria withdrew its objections and formal talks opened yesterday between the EU and Turkey. This is not well known but Turkey had first applied for EU membership 40 years ago. 40 years! That country has sure been patient.

Obviously, this is politics and this issue is not yet over. Only talks about letting Turkey joining the EU have begun and there is a long road ahead but for a country that waited 40 years for this day, this must feel very sweet indeed.

Kick Ass

I usually don’t focus on local stories but this one is so good that I cannot let it pass. Its a local Washington, DC story and reported in the Washington Post.

On Monday, October 3, a masked man entered a townhouse to rob the place. Before he did that, he decided to tie up the residents. His first choice was the “weakest” of the family, twin 10 year old girls.

Unfortunately, and stupidly on the robbers part, the girls were blue belts in Karate and kicked the guys ass. Then they shouted for their parents who kicked the guy’s ass some more.

The guy ran out and then was arrested hours later … and who was the moron.

He was the twins’ Karate instructor. He knew they could kick ass and ignored it. Talk about your students kicking their masters’ ass.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Death Won’t Stop Us Anymore

Directly, this is a story about the Notorious B.I.G., the overweight rapper, who was shot and killed some years ago. Indirectly, this is a story about anyone who has died, seen his/her value increase and had his/her relatives start producing material under the dead person’s name.

You know it used to be that when someone died their value increased because people assumed that the dead person would not be producing any more material. Well, not anymore. In a classic case of two dead musicians meeting in the beyond and making a song, if you are smoking weed then you are also probably seeing it happen, Notorious B.I.G. and Bob Marley got together and made a song. B.I.G., as always a hard working man, then left Marley and went and made a CD of duets with some other artists. What a slut.

Diddy/P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean Combs, the guy who hung with B.I.G., is releasing the album. The man doesn’t have any new music so he is going to back, and back and back, to the well.

Concert News

11 people were killed in South Korea when “fans trying to enter a stadium for a music concert … sparked a stampede.” This is obviously tragic but what is even more impressive is that “those of the dead whose names were released were all either in their 50s or older, or children younger than 14.”

This concert really spanned the demographic, old and young, everyone wanted to come to this festival.

The European Union: No Muslims Allowed

Europe bills itself as an inclusive community. The continent’s representatives like to brag that Europe does not discriminate, that everyone is welcome and as examples point to the large immigrant communities that can be found in places like England, Holland, France etc. Items such as the genocide of the Jewish populations, race riots across England, and discrimination against those that speak with accents, etc. are swept aside as exceptions.

In yet another example of such an exception the EU indefinitely postponed the start “of negotiations on Turkey joining” the union. The reason for this indefinite postponement was “Austria's opposition to full Turkish membership.” Britain warned that this move could break the union. While Austria is the only country currently opposing Turkey’s membership, I find it hard to believe that it would take this step without any implicit support from other nations.

Regardless, the outcome seems clear: No Muslims Allowed.

No Experience, No Problem

You have to love Bushie. He doesn’t care if you are qualified or not. Doesn’t care how important the post is. Doesn’t care about anything but how loyal you are to him and/or how much money you have raised for him or his party.

To the long list of candidates/appointees that knew nothing about the jobs that they were posted to, we now add Harriet Miers. Ms. Miers, who currently serves as the White House counsel, has just been nominated by Bushie to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court.

Ms. Miers who, undoubtedly, is a very good lawyer is not a judge, has never been a judge and will, if approved, become in, one fell swoop, one of the most powerful judges IN THE COUNTRY!

There’s logic. There’s the Bush selection process. Never the twain shall meet.