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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Feeling Unhappily Hawkish

I don’t want to see an open conflict with Iran. I don’t want to see another hot front open up in our continuing war to change the political face of the Middle East in our efforts against militant Islamic terrorists.

International tensions are best dealt with through peaceful diplomacy--except, of course, when they can’t be. Unfortunately, there are still some factions in the Middle East who believe that the West is not serious about the need for our relationship to be fundamentally altered; the dynamic that held through the 80’s and 90’s is no longer acceptable.

The West--at least, the Anglosphere--is serious about asserting our need for security and for the prosecution of the Global War on Terror (an ungainly title, but at least reasonably accurate) throughout the Middle East. In recent decades, until those post-Reagan years, our struggle against communism was deemed to be the most important foreign policy goal, but between the collapse of the Soviet Union and the aggressive agenda of Islamic terrorists, our priorities have changed.

The leadership of Iran doesn’t seem to have read that memo, though.

Not realising the sensitivity that Mr Straw attaches to Britain’s dealings with Teheran, the unfortunate diplomat unwittingly strayed from his referendum brief and started laying into the Iranians with a gusto not seen in the British diplomatic service for decades. The Iranians, said the diplomat, were colluding with Sunni Muslim insurgent groups in southern Iraq. They were providing them with deadly terrorist technology that has been perfected by the Iranian-funded Hizbollah militia in southern Lebanon against the Israeli army. And their motivation was to deter Britain from insisting that Teheran abandon its controversial nuclear programme. “It would be entirely natural that they would want to send a message ‘don’t mess with us’. It would not be outside the policy parameters of Teheran.”

This is diplomat-speak for, if Britain wants to confront Iran over its nuclear weapons programme, then Iran feels entitled to blow up young British soldiers.

The off-message tone of the unnamed diplomat’s comments sent shock-waves through the oak-panelled walls of the Foreign Office. “It was all very amusing,” said one official. “For years diplomats have been under strict instructions not to say anything in public that might upset the Iranians. And then someone gives it to them straight between the eyes.”

There is no doubt that America and the UK don’t want a showdown with Iran right now and there is no doubt that everyone would prefer that normal diplomatic channels would suffice to handle the tensions. But, as my grandpa used to say, wishing doesn’t make so.

The challenge to our leadership isn’t to be arrogant or mindlessly aggressive; the challenge to our leaders is to recognize necessity and act accordingly. Iran is waging war against the Coalition and against Iraqi sovereignty, and our necessity is defined from that bedrock fact.

Read the story.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Speaking of Cool (Because We Were, You Know)

This is a very cool blog site design (and a blogger after my own heart who has good taste in bad movies).

Seriously, a nice, well-conceived design with great little details that make the thing work beautifully. I love it.

Clash of the Titans: Revisited

Okay, this puts a new spin on my Clash of the Titans moment from a few days ago.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Working on New T-Shirts

It’s about time to think about re-designing the site graphics and with that comes new t-shirts. I thought I’d share some of the concepts with you while I was working through them.

Here’s the first one, the second will probably be coming early next week.

image

Anyone who wants to belong to a very select group of people (which is to say, not too many people have bought any of these things) can still order the old ResurrectionSong t-shirts.

So, About Your Opinion…

I’m writing something over the weekend and want a little hand from the crew. Here’s the question:

When you think of the Bush (II) presidency to this point, what are biggest policies, ideas, mistakes, and successes that come to mind?

Answers shouldn’t just be a mindless litany of praise or harsh criticism, but an honest look at the President’s administration to this point. I have my own thoughts, but I want yours, too.

Real Snippets of Conversations

"When I was a kid, my mother always told me that wearing heals makes your butt stick out. So, whenever I wear heals now, I worry about my butt.”

“What you’re saying is: do these heals make my butt look big?”

- Much giggling. -

Update: Andy wants to be heeled.

Heheh.

Update: Apparently Patrick, subbing for Andy, has some interesting conversations, too.

Well, We Do Throw a Good Party

I have to admit: kind words about the US from foreign press come along so irregularly that I really soak them in when I manage to find them. Hence my pleasure at this little piece in the Guardian about how British party politics could use an injection of American-style enthusiasm.

We like to mock the Americans for their whooping enthusiasm for their political leaders, but goodness how the Tories could do with a bit of this vim in Blackpool this week, and how Labour would have benefited in Brighton last week.

There is a relish and exuberance about American party politics that is entirely lacking in Blackpool or Brighton. In place of the flags and balloons that are standard at American conventions, the only thing I have brought with me from the Tory conference hall is a pamphlet from an industry body that wants to resist smoking bans in licensed premises. No wonder that, at our party conferences, the platform area gets bigger every year to disguise the fact that the number of delegates gets ever smaller, even as security becomes ever more pointlessly rigorous.

Small pleasures.

Actually, this bit is most worth reading because it grants that outsiders view of part of our political process (a part that I’ve mocked, myself).

Read the story.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Clash of the Titans: Yeah, That’s Good Stuff

image
Melodrama, Ray Harryhausen’s coolest stop-motion animation, Burgess Meredith and Laurence Olivier slumming in a cheesy fantasy flick, and a killer mechanical owl that I wanted bad when I was a kid. How can you not love a movie with Harry Hamlin as a mildly and unintentionally hilarious toga-clad Greek hero (Perseus)? Especially when the camp value is so high?

You could make the case that it was well past its prime even when it was released; movie effects had passed by Harryhausen’s jerky models by the time Titans came to the theaters. You could say that his earlier movies, Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, were better examples of the craft. You could even say that it bastardizes Greek mythology to the point where it has no resemblance to the real thing.

You might even be right, but I say that it’s a person who can’t remember their childish (in a good way) love of the fantastic--their utter willingness to surrender themselves to the fiction--who can’t find themselves enjoying this little slice of movie magic.

I couldn’t tell you whether there is anything truly good about Clash of the Titans, but Netflix delivered it to me today and the smile on my face is about as genuine as you could imagine.

Ah, pure happiness.

That Just Wouldn’t Be Right

Out of either wishful thinking or righteous anger, someone came to this part of the archives after searching for “Ashton Kutcher Master Chief.” That would be an abomination and probably a sign that Satan is working hard to bring about the apocalypse.

Just sayin’.

I Wonder if They Meant That in the Nicest Possible Way?

Sorry to expend so much energy on Harriet Miers, but I’ll be honest with y’all: it came as a jolt to the system that President Bush made this nomination. Along with that jolk has come a lot of interesting writing and conjecture, and I can’t help but be pulled along with the crowd.

So, before I decamp and move on to other subjects, here’s a little snippet from The New Republic:

Like Truman, George W. Bush makes decisions easily. He obviously trusts his own intuitions, especially about people--remember, this is the man who looked into Vladimir Putin’s soul. Also like Truman, Bush does not readily admit mistakes, and hence rarely corrects them. It is no accident that both presidents fought badly improvised wars. Finally, Bush has a Truman-like virtue many presidents lack: He doesn’t mind having people with better minds and better educations around him. Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz--these are major-league talents, a cut above the norm for their jobs. So is John Roberts, who might be the smartest chief justice since Charles Evans Hughes. But along with the Rices and Robertses come an Alberto Gonzales here, a Michael Brown there--people who are a notch or two below the norm for their jobs. As is Harriet Miers.

Again I say, “Ouch.”

The whole piece contains a few honest compliments and a few brutal digs at our President and his advisors. I had wholly expected Bush’s second Supreme Court nomination to cause a stir, but I honestly didn’t see this coming.

Well, it’s certainly giving us something to write about. And let’s keep the obvious in mind: the choices the Supreme Court justices make affect changes throughout the nation. It’s worth fighting to have the right people in place.

Gestank of the Strange and Acknowledging Activity…

Because Babelizing is fun:



Why amn’t I very contently ge$$$WESEN with the denomination of Bush_s? Calm counting pulse the methods to me.
  1. he believes Damnit as cronyism.
  2. Bush should someone, which was reliable to the condition, not simply someone to have designated, which was reliable to Bush.
  3. As go from the life, are it discutablement a business, our periodic selection of a president. They would think that this the appointment of remarkable someone—someone, which had been suggested deeply in the constitutional outputs, would need at least. In place of it seems someone to have designated which is small at least a conservative for reasons, from which the remainder of us from box the throwing mixer nor the discussion neither really set.
  4. The support can_t I however estimates the fact that it filled ratio, by designating a woman and as it avoided a fight, by designating the locking candidate of the Diskretion. The selection of a woman is in no case a false thing; select do you after on the right of someone, that are very obviously indicated (Priscilla Owen?) and this Gestank of the strange and acknowledging activity goes good-bye. And a fight to avoid is in this simply loose moment; if the democrats fight over an appropriate candidate idiotic are sufficient, impact edits then some again and wins this battle.
  5. Possibly Miers pray-reprimands us all and the type of to become principled the philosopher, who modifies the court, but Bush had indicated the available candidates, who wouldn_t
    question marks were. Surely, it would have given a fight, but it is an interesting having fight. Miers, it assuming is acknowledged, could be in its position on the highest court during some decades, which govern on the questions, which execute our lines, and I do not have an idea, as she creates its decisions.
  6. Include/understand, it_s not simply the decisions, which I require too include/understand, it_s, as it achieves it.
  7. If it supported really the creation of the international criminal court, then, which would be sufficient reason, so that I oppose him independently all other qualifications.
  8. I_m disappointed, because it was an opportunity, to the court to modify—the type of the opportunity, which doesn_t over frequently come.


Yeah, it doesn’t “over frequently come.”

Heheh.

With thanks to Warren Bell over in the Corner.

Harriet Miers: Upon Reflection

Why am I unhappy with Bush’s nomination? Let me count the ways.

  1. Damnit, it does feel like cronyism.
  2. Bush should have nominated someone who was loyal to Constitution, not just someone who was loyal to Bush.
  3. As a life-time appointment, this is arguably a bigger deal than our periodic election of a President. You would think that this would call for the nomination of someone distinguished--someone who had been deeply involved in constitutional issues, at the very least. Instead, he seems to have nominated someone who is at least a little conservative for reasons that the rest of us can neither truly fathom nor debate.
  4. I can’t help but feel that he was filling a quota by nominating a woman and avoiding a fight by nominating the ultimate stealth candidate. Choosing a woman is by no means a bad thing; just choose someone who is very obviously qualified (Priscilla Owen?) and that strange, affirmative action stench goes bye bye. And avoiding a fight right now is just cowardly; if the Democrats are going to be foolish enough to go to battle over a reasonable candidate, then fight back and win that battle.
  5. Maybe Miers will fool us all and become the kind of principled thinker that changes the court, but Bush had qualified candidates available that wouldn’t have been question marks. Sure, there would have been a fight, but this is a fight worth having. Miers, assuming she is confirmed, could be in her position on the Supreme Court for a few decades ruling on issues that effect our rights, and I have no idea how she will base her decisions. Understand, it’s not just the decisions I want to understand, it’s how she reaches them.
  6. If she truly did support the creation of the International Criminal Court, then that would be reason enough for me to oppose her regardless of any other qualifications.
  7. I’m disappointed because this was an opportunity to change the court--the kind of an opportunity that doesn’t come around often.

Monday, October 03, 2005

NFL: Green Bay at Carolina

For purely sentimental reasons, I was hoping to see Brett Favre lead the Packers to a victory tonight. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen; this Green Bay team is just plain bad.

While the team’s deficiencies aren’t all Favre’s fault (in fact, he isn’t getting any help from his recievers or his offensive line), it does feel like the end of an era. I hate to see how bad this team will be without Favre, though.

Vile, Race-Baiting Song from HurricaneSong.com

From HurricaneSong.com:

Then it hit me / Ain’t nobody coming to get me / No one feels my pain / Once again, the color of my skin reminds me things ain’t changed.

This is a slap in the face to every American--regardless of skin color or political preference--who has given their money and their time to hurricane relief efforts. The lie--that white America won’t extend a hand to help black Americans in time of need--is proven a lie by the hundreds of millions privately pledged in aid by individuals and corporations (the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund alone has already raised more than $100 million in pledges), by aid workers who are still working to clean up the mess left behind, and by our government’s own promise to spend further billions (62 billion has already been approved) to help rebuild the region.

Race was not and is not a factor in deciding who was helped, and the suggestion that it was is an obviously divisive and dishonest attack. Disgusting.

That’s Gonna Leave a Mark (Updated)

I don’t claim to have any knowledge of Harriet Miers, Bush’s choice to fill the current Supreme Court vacancy, so I don’t have any particular feeling about how should would fill the role. David Frum has some harsh words on the subject, though, and that makes me a little uneasy.

I worked with Harriet Miers. She’s a lovely person: intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated ... I could pile on the praise all morning. But there is no reason at all to believe either that she is a legal conservative or--and more importantly--that she has the spine and steel necessary to resist the pressures that constantly bend the American legal system toward the left. This is a chance that may never occur again: a decisive vacancy on the court, a conservative president, a 55-seat Republican majority, a large bench of brilliant and superbly credentialed conservative jurists ... and what has been done with the opportunity?

My biggest issue before reading the Frum post was that the nomination felt too chummy--that Bush was extending the nomination to a pal because he felt friendly rather than to a qualified nominee because he trusted their credentials. I realize that comes across as overly simplistic--he wouldn’t nominate a fool or an incompetent. Rather, it doesn’t feel like the best nomination at a time when Republicans have a solid opportunity to change the face of the Supreme Court.

As I said, I’m feeling uneasy.

Read the whole thing.

Update: This could be ugly for Bush. The left will hate her because she isn’t one of them (although I have a hard time imagining that they will turn to the filibuster on this nomination) and the right and the moderates are coming after her because she doesn’t seem to be the right (as in: correct) choice.

From Booker Rising:

I say: the Supreme Court is no place for on-the-job training. Any nominee to the high court should have judicial experience, so I oppose this nomination on qualifications grounds. Don’t let it be said that Republicans and conservatives don’t favor affirmative action when it suits their purposes.

There’s a different view at Overtaken by Events.

Michelle Malkin seems to have a good selection of thoughts on the subject.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Non-Football Thoughts of the Day

  1. I went to the local CompUSA and picked up a travel mouse for the new laptop. I picked up Apple’s new Nano (the black one) and instantly fell in love. Sexy little thing.
  2. Amy Lewis, for the Denver Post’s Bloghouse, perfectly coneys my thoughts on the current energy scare.

    Yes, I know, there are factors beyond our control contributing to the rising costs of fuel, but seriously, what the hell can you do about it? I think we should be more concerned with the reports designed to cause frenzy.
    [...]
    It’s going to costs what it costs. And no amount of worried reporting will change that. Invest your money in long underwear and wool socks. It’s worked for me for years. I’m prepared to pay a hefty heating bill – which I did last winter, so what’s the difference?

    I like my hot shower and I like to drive my car to work on cold winter days. This new catastrophe has not swayed me. I’ll wait for the next big controversy to get all upset.

    Exactly.

  3. So. The Chiefs lost. Wow. (Yeah, sorry, that just sort of slipped in there.)
  4. I’m still not sure that cheap laptops are really the biggest need for developing nations, but this $100 laptop looks pretty cool. Loaded up with open source software, the thing could be kept at a low price point and I would love to have one to take with me on trips where a crank-recharged battery and rugged construction would keep the thing from harm.

    In fact, I fully expect the idea flash memory in place of a relatively fragile hard drive to be something that migrates to low-cost laptops for general consumer use. It’s lighter, they use less of the precious battery power to operate, and they are beginning to be available in sizes that could be useful in a basic laptop.

  5. Wow. That’s, ummm...wow.
  6. So, yeah, when is that creepy Burger King stalker going to go away?

NFL: Broncos at Jacksonville, II

The final analysis of this Broncos team this week will be praise of the defense and happiness that the offense continues to play without significant mistakes.

Broncos had not turnovers while the Jags had four.

The Broncos pressured Leftwich all day, while Jacksonville were only getting to Plummer sporadically.

Our defense held the Jags to just 12 yards rushing on the day and the Broncos managed 188 yards on the ground.

Like the Kansas game, the Broncos took advantage of opportunities that the defense made for them and, even after missing those two early field goals, left the opposing team struggling to play catch-up throughout the game. Plummer and the Broncos generally play well with a lead; it’s when they find themselves falling behind that bad things start happening.

Maybe not the most exciting game to watch, but good for Broncos fans who find their team a surprising 3-1 after a dismal start in Miami. The defense is building impressively (with a couple rookies really stepping up in the secondary to make big plays) and the offense seems to be hitting stride. What should scare other teams is that there is still that sense that this team has room for growth. You don’t have the sense that they are playing above their abilities, you have the sense that they are still finding their way.

The momentum builds and the bandwagon is starting to fill up. I still have my doubts about this team, although if my cynicism continues to be rewarded with Broncos’ wins, I’ll be a happy fan.

NFL: Broncos at Jacksonville

It’s halftime, and the Broncos are leading the Jags 14-0 (and managed to miss a few field goals on the way). Even without Champ Bailey, who was injured in the Chiefs game, the defense has been dominating--brutally stifling the Jags offense through the first part of this game.

In fact, I’m starting to feel sorry for Byron Leftwich, who has taken a touch of abuse in the early going.

Luckily, the offense has been carrying their weight, too. They’ve moved the ball well, scored a few points, and given the defense the breather that they need in the muggy Florida heat. Anderson has carried the ball well and caught the ball well, Plummer has avoided turnovers and mistakes, and the passing game has been solid. In fact, to this point, the only bad part of the game for Broncos fans has been the kicking game, and the announcers have excused that as being a result of gusting, swirling winds in the stadium.

The Broncos, after losing to the Dolphins and trying to lose to the Chargers, continue to look like one of the better teams in the league.

Update: Of course, the second half has been a much different story. Not a good one for the Broncos fans…

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