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August 30, 2007

Is John Edwards just stupid?

What on God's green earth possessed John Edwards to urge the electorate to "sacrifice", and to give up their SUV's in the interest of the environment?

Seriously, how tone-deaf and politically inept can one person be? Edwards could have made the same point by discussing the need to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, or to encourage the use of more energy-efficient vehicles, perhaps through a program of incentives of some sort.

But for John Edwards to call citizens to "sacrifice" and voluntary self-denial positively begs to have his own hypocrisy pointed out. (Check out this photo of John Edwards' "house.")

Look, I know the Clintons run the Democratic Party. For the most part, I think they do a pretty good job. But do they really rule it with such an iron hand that they can compel Edwards and Obama to say such stupid, self-destructive things to the media, in exchange for influential positions in the next Clinton Administration? Good thing I don't believe in conspiracy theories.

I guess it was only a matter of time

Kudos to Jill, who wins the prize for being the first member of the nutroots (as far as I know) to openly call for a military coup.

August 28, 2007

Obligatory Vick post

Robert Byrd may be a senile old fool, but I agree with everything that (I think) he says in his own befuddled, doddering way in the video below.

I happen to think that pit bulls are the most tragically and unfairly maligned creatures on the planet. Sure, some of them are monsters, because they have been made to be by the likes of Michael Vick. The real crime is what humans have done to pit bulls over the years, not the other way around. Speaking of pits, here's a recent picture of my wife with one of the vicious killers sitting on her lap.

It takes a particularly evil human to take a creature like that and wantonly turn it into a killer. Their efforts aren't always successful, of course. There are always the dogs which, no matter how much intentional abuse and cruelty they are subjected to, simply refuse to turn mean. Of these, the lucky ones are merely abandoned or neglected. The unlucky ones become bait.

I don't believe in the death penalty, but wouldn't it be a fitting punishment for dog fighters to spend a few hours in a cage, duking it out with 3 or 4 of their own creations? Their punishment would come at their own hands, at least indirectly. I imagine it could look something like this.

August 27, 2007

Gonzales. WTF?

As much as I hate to, I'll echo John Edwards: Better late than never. Alberto Gonzales was in over his head from day one as AG. Say what you will about John Ashcroft, but at least he was qualified for the job. Gonzales' list of qualification was strictly limited to two factors:

  1. He was Hispanic
  2. He was a Bush loyalist

Like so many Bush Administration scandals, this one was totally unnecessary. The (non-)event that precipitated his fall from grace was the firing of the U.S. Attorneys. Had Gonzales merely responded to early criticisms with "I fired them because I felt like it," he'd still have his job. Instead, we were treated to an array of shifting and mutually contradictory reasons and excuses. He was trapped in lies of his own making.

Still, I'm glad to see him go. Incompetence aside, he was probably the worst Attorney General of my lifetime, and I lived through Janet Reno. Gonzales' tenure at Justice saw zealous prosecution of pornography during a time when terrorists were (are) actively trying to blow us up, as well as the wanton denial of Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens simply on Gonzales' say-so.

But isn't the whole thing just totally emblematic how Bush handles things? He stood by the guy for months on end, taking black eyes, bloody noses, and even broken limbs. Then, once all the damage has been done, irreversibly, then he decides to fire the guy? Christ, what is it with this guy? Even when he does the right thing, he does it so late in the game that it often comes to naught. The troop surge in Iraq is great and all, but can you imagine what might have been achieved had he done it three years ago when it might have actually made a difference? Grrrrr....

Miracles never cease

France finally has a leader who's not a total wus.

It'll be interesting to see how this story will be reported. I find the Reuters headline of "France's Sarkozy raises prospect of Iran airstrikes" to be a bit tendentious. The gist of Sarkozy's comment, which one might not glean from a casual glance at the headline, is that a military strike against Iran is undesirable. He clearly wishes to derail Iran's nuclear ambitions through diplomacy, not by force, and is raising the specter of air strikes to augment the prospects of a diplomatic solution.

It's a far cry from warmongering, but I doubt his critics will see it as such. It's also a welcome departure from the European norm of "We'll try diplomacy, but if that doesn't work we won't really do anything about it." Sarkozy understands that with the lack of proper incentives, it's pretty hard to get people to do what you want no matter how good your diplomatic skills are. To paraphrase Al Capone, you can get a lot more done with a diplomatic initiative and a gun than with a diplomatic initiative alone. If Iran is to respond to diplomatic measures, it must first know there will be consequences for not doing so.

Does Al Gore flush?

Saturday I stopped for a bathroom break at one of those massive, Interstate "Service Area" complexes, with a men's room the size of a Costco. The facilities touted their new "waterless" urinals, and how this new innovation would save blah-blah thousands of gallons of water each year.

Yes, presumably that means that these appliances service more men each day than Paris Hilton on margarita night at Bungalo 8 without ever once seeing a drop of fresh water. I tried not to think about it. Mind you, this wasn't in some Southwestern desert locale, but in Maine. Maine, like our bodies, is something like 70% water, at least from what I've seen of it.

I hope this doesn't become a trend. I'm all for conservation and everything, but I do believe there are times when we should just gut it up and use the water.

August 26, 2007

All right, I'm back

Thanks, guys. Had a great time, and I'm relieved I didn't miss out on much. Skippy, you're right, Maine does indeed rule. In fact, we're so hooked that the wife and I started looking at lakefront property while there. It's utter folly, I'm sure, but we're just hooked.

I learned some things during my two weeks away. For example, I've learned that my wife hates my Phil Ochs impersonation.

Anyway, I think I'm finally ready to start blogging again... tomorrow. ;-)

August 10, 2007

The most superfluous blog post ever

I'm finally breaking the past two weeks of radio silence to say -- that I won't be posting for the next two weeks either. But that lack of posting was accidental; this one is deliberate. I'm going to Maine to recharge the ol' batteries and such. Perhaps when I come back I'll actually find politics interesting again.