28 February, 2006


You know, I really need to get better at this kind of thing.

Yet another long stretch of abandoned posts in Blogger's trashcan, and not a single one I can think of to polish up to actually post on here. I think I've started at least 20 in the 9 days, only to close out the browser window to end the torment.

I have to ask. Am I being too hard on myself? Have my self-expectations up too high? Should I lower my standards and post the various things that make me want to hurl?

I know there's at least four of you out there that wonder what I think about events and life in general. (Used to be three, but I gave my father the URL. Say hi to everyone, Dad.) So I expect at least some response to this one.

In the meantime, to really start swearing, read what Fiat Lux posted earlier.

Le sigh. And they just got XP up to the point where it's secure...

19 February, 2006

I Scoop The WaPo!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. You saw it here before you saw it in the Washington Post. Okay, so it was only an editorial. Still, even the titles are somewhat similar.

OC: A Newt-Less Democratic Party
WaPo: Dems Need A Newt Of Their Own

I have to wonder if either Elisabeth Wilner or Chuck Todd have accidentally surfed their ways towards this blog at some point in the last four months, as some of our points are strikingly similar. Albeit, their version is much more well-written than the half-insomniac, highly-caffienated rambling blather I usually have featured here.

(Special feature for my right-of-center readers: Next time you feel the need to snark a network anchorman, use the name of Blambring Rather in vain. You're welcome. You can buy me a beer later.)

I really have to wonder what is next. Will someone come out with an editorial that details the various factions of the Democratic Party? Or an analysis of the War Powers Resolution in relation to bringing charges against civilians in time of war? How about the two-faced nature of racial politics?

To the editors of the Washington Post: If you find these concepts intriguing, please contact me. Email is linked on the sidebar. We can work something out. Trust me.

Now if you will excuse me, I feel the need to do a victory lap.

[Turn signal: Duncan.]

16 February, 2006

Post-1040 Ponderings

Well, finally got done with that set of vile masochism known as Form 1040. And very glad of it.

Fortunately, I've found a good website, Free Tax USA, that allows it to be handled very much on the inexpensive side. As long as you made less than fifty thousand dollars last year, they'll process your federal return for free. In addition, select state returns are under ten bucks, and a professionally printed version of your forms comes in at $4.95. Not a bad deal, really. Especially seeing as how H&R Block's web-based service comes out to over $25 for the exact same results.

So with the brain-numbing suffering that comes hand-in-hand with filing one's taxes over with, now my brain has kicked into overdrive. Well, the high-quality caffeine I've been chugging down for the last 4 hours must also be taken into account, if only due to academic honesty and the severe bladder strain.

And so, while finishing off the second coffee pot of the night, I've done my usual blogrolling, and come up with a few serious gems for your perusal.

First comes Josh Marshall's admission of his age. Apparently he turned 37 yesterday. Which means he's about 23 years away from having his doctors recommend he take the test voted Most Obvious Set Of Judgement Calls Ever Created By Modern Medicine as found here. (Via Balloon Juice) And to think that people had to go to medical school to come up with such a concept as this...

To Josh, as the kool kids would say on their text messages, "GR4TZ 4 TEH B-D4Y!" Well, just typing that immediately makes me think of last Friday's edition of Exterminatus Now, graphically demonstrating the evil things that various folks around the English-speaking world do to senselessly massacre a helpless English language.

And then comes this gem picked up from Mr. Flannel Avenger. Apparently, folks that run the offshore gambling sites are a bit nervous about their profit margin now that Congress is getting serious about establishing legislation on internet-based gambling.It's about time they have to suffer from something, especially after clogging my various e-mailboxes with spam for the last umpteen years. (Good thing for me I never participate in those things. I'd hate to have yet another piece of paperwork to keep track of when it's time to file my taxes.)

Finally, Ezra pointed me towards yet another keyboard disaster. (Okay, he pointed every single one of his readers to this, but it's so much easier to think in the first-person at 4 in the morning.) Ended up laughing so hard at one point that I did a double spit-take/coffee-spill with a half-entendre (Difficulty rating of 3.7, according to the USOC.), thereby re-saturating the keyboard I got close to ruining a month ago.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go see a man about an emu.

14 February, 2006


Just as with John and Glenn, I'm not suprised by my results.

Unlike them, I got something a wee bit different.

You scored as Bebop (Cowboy Bebop). Hope you don't mind being anime. Your style just fits perfect with the crew of the Bebop. Life is tough and your crew knows it, but you will find a way to survive. You always do. Now if only Faye would quit gambling all your money away.

Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Serenity (Firefly)


Moya (Farscape)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Knew it! But if I ever run into a good-looking tall blonde named Julia, I'm running the other way. Fast.

And I'm suprised... Normally, I'd figure my Star Trek: TNG quotient would be a LOT higher than that.

11 February, 2006


Well, it's official. Complete with a rather awesome graphic!

Time for the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash v. 5.0!

All the cool kids will be there. David guarantees it.

Of course, I'll be there as well, so not only cool kids will be attending.

But should you arrive on time, you'll have approximately 6 hours of there only being cool kids there, as I can't manage to get there until almost midnight.

Click the image to RSVP. Do it now! Do it now! Or else suffer from an erratic posting schedule, random parenthetical comments, and a total lack of catblogging!

(Oh. Shoot. You already suffer from that, don't you. Ummm... What else could I use to cause weak-kneed terror in an unsuspecting populace... Aha! Eureka!)

Do it or suffer from having to watch THIS stuff all day!

Yup. Knew that'd get your attention.

That answer your question, VV?

06 February, 2006

Hick Stays In Cowtown

Normally, that'd be a pretty obvious title.

Especially in reference to this.

I am extremely glad that Hickenlooper decided to stay in the Mayor's seat for this one. Sure, the common thinking around Democratic circles was that Hick could waltz in, sweep Ritter under the rug with one of his patented campaign stunts, and go stomp the terra while wearing Beauprez-skin boots on November 7th.

Which to me was a theory so full of crap, it might as well been used as the repository for all the bovine wastes from the National Western Stock Show.

Hickenlooper has good instincts. Hickenlooper has some strange, but intensively goofy, charisma. Hickenlooper has a set of near-unique, outside-the-box-type campaign people who will go to the mat for him all day and all night, regardless of what else he asks of them.

But Hick is still gaining skills, and the middle of an actively competitive gubernatorial race, both in the primary and general, is not the best time to be holding a training session. And Hick is still gaining that most valuable commodity of them all: name recognition. He got a major boost to the name-rec rating last fall with that one very long step he took out of an airplane, but a bit part does not a prominent politician make. (Note: Cindy Sheehan could take notes on that point.)

And judging by the (admittedly by mostly Republicans, or so it seems) comments over at Colorado Pols... Actually, I have no idea what they are trying to say. Been reading it for the last hour or so, over and over, but can't make heads nor tails of it.

And don't worry, folks. Unless there's a serious meltdown in the City and County Building in the next few years, we'll be seeing John Hickenlooper For Governor signs all over the place in 2010. I say that mostly because Beauprez will be the one stomping the terra while wearing Ritter-skin boots. (Odds of that going the other way around? Quite frankly, I put Ritter at 7-1 against to win the day on November 7th, regardless of what happens in the primaries.)

Nuanced Analysis

As usual for when someone's rhetoric outpaces their thought process, and is called on it by someone with a good enough grasp of reality to notice, Atrios did quite the backpedal earlier.

The start:
[snip]Certainly an Iran-with-nukes could blow the hell out of a city or two, but an Iran that did such a thing would pretty much cease to exist. It isn't mutually assured destruction, it's you f**k with us a little bit and YOU NO LONGER LIVE B*****S!
The call...
Nuanced foreign policy analysis... etc. etc. ... snark...
The backpedal:
I of course never even implied the notion "who cares about a city or two?" The point is that the deterrence that kept a few thousand ICBMs coming our way from the Soviet Union should also work with smaller state nuclear powers, with the added benefit that "mutually assured destruction" simply becomes "assured destruction" - theirs, not ours.
I'm quite against nuclear proliferation in all of its forms and it would've been nice if we had been taking it more seriously. But thinking that Iran shouldn't have nukes is not the same as imagining that Iran with nukes is the "greatest threat to the Republic" that we face. I just have no idea how that computes.
See, folks. This is what comes from simply throwing out the first thing that comes to mind when writing on a blog. I try to sit and think things through before setting fingers to keyboard, particularly when I have my dander really up on a subject (just to point to the most recent ones), which is probably one of the reasons why I'll never be as prolific as the aforementioned Atrios. Likewise, such restraint will probably be one of the reasons why I won't be as popular as Atrios. It seems that liberals and conservatives alike will demand raw bloody meat, preferably ripped from the still-living flanks of the opposition with a rusty chainsaw and served with super-sized sides of viscera and tripe, with their political commentaries these days, and this place is like a five-course fine dining experience as served by an upscale kosher delicatessen by comparison.

Well, that and my fondness for parenthetical comments. I'm absolutely certain that's a traffic-killer, but it's too much a part of my writing style to give up easily.

Of course, all that extra thinking provides for yet more things to type. Which is why I tend to be sitting here, sweating over a hot keyboard at quarter-after-dawn, with still more details to put into text and still more research ideas burrowing their way though the raw data mass of Google. Which, in turn, tends to be the time I dump the whole unfortunate mess into the trashcan and never come back to it. At least 5 posts last week suffered from such an unhappy result, which is much higher than my normal average. (And should the premature culling of blog posts ever become a moral issue such as abortion, I just know I'll be spending a few aeons in hell...) (Drat. Did it again.) And that doesn't even count the extra editing I do to try and improve the readability of my posts, which is a Herculean task to begin with, at least by my estimation.

And that doesn't really help improve my anti-prolific posting habits either.

I seem to be the antithesis to folks like Glenn Reynolds and Duncan Black. They can toss out a quick link, a few snarky comments, and put that on their blogs with the greatest of ease. And yet, as the blockquotes that started this post show, oftentimes that can lead directly into typing something that can lead to the virtual lynching of your entire concepts. Again, such as is shown in the very first snip.

Here we have a highly valid point by Duncan, which was essentially that even the slightest actionable move by the Iranian military, whether on the US or her allies, would be considered by us to be a justifiable cause for the absolute destruction of every living thing within the national borders. And yet, because he didn't preface it in a well-considered manner, he falls to the snark attack from Bryan York. And so Duncan has to backpedal and amend his original snark to rebut the valid snark of Bryan.

The thought of such an event happening to me leaves me to shudder in fear.

Then again, I am, after all, a blogger. The thought of the massive flood of hits to this little soapbox that would ensue from such a public dressing-down leaves me almost giddy in anticipation.

But for the sheer satisfaction of my intellectual honesty, this is the best compliment I could think of. And that is precisely why I will continue to take the time to think things through before thrusting them upon an unsuspecting blogosphere.

Now if I could only do that and get even ten percent of Duncan's traffic, I'd be dancing in the streets from sheer joy.

Le sigh...

05 February, 2006

And Let Slip The Dogs

Now this gives me the chills.
Several thousand Syrian demonstrators set the Danish and the Norwegian embassies on fire on Saturday to protest at the publishing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad by European newspapers.
Chanting "God is Greatest," the protesters stormed the embassy; threw stones and shattered its windows; burned the national flag and replaced it with another flag reading "No God but Allah, Mohammad is His Prophet."

The protesters also set the Norwegian embassy ablaze. It was brought under control by firefighters. Police fired teargas to disperse the protesters and cordoned off the area.
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has also advised Norwegians to leave Syria. Norway has already pulled all aid workers and diplomats out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after protests there.

A security official at the scene said the Danish building, located at the upscale Abou Remaneh area, also housed the Chilean and the Swedish embassies. He had no further details.

Admittedly, my first thought was a long string of obscenities. As I try to keep this a family-friendly blog, I'll refrain from publishing them for your perusal. This was almost immediately followed by me moving the electric heater into my room to try and ward off the sudden chills.

This act by the Syrian protestors is almost as bad as when the Iranians took over the embassy in Tehran back in 1979. The greater severity comes from the fact that it wasn't just one embassy involved, but a total of four, as the same building containing the Danish embassy also housed the embassies of (and therefore sovereign territory of) Chile and Sweden. The lesser severity comes from there being no reports of either fatalities or hostages being taken, for which I thank every single Deity ever known to humanity.

But this has to make me think... Does this act bring us closer to a point where we have to invade Syria? Not necessarily alone, mind you. This could easily be taken by certain segments of the European Union as falling under Section 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty, to whit:

on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;

on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Violation of sovereign territory, of multiple signatory nations, in a city north of the Tropic of Cancer, located in the territory of a nation bordering on the Mediterranean Sea? Sounds like applicability under Section 6 could easily be determined to me. The only rub here is that this was not technically an "armed attack" which is diplomatically defined as being performed by the uniformed services of a nation. This was an angry mob, not the Syrian Army, that did this. Now, if Damascus does absolutely nothing to punish the offenders, then the argument could be made that event has been condoned by the Syrian government, whether formally or casually, thus making a case for it being an action effectively supported post facto by the Syrian government. And with that, the case for invoking Section 6 is brought back into the forefront.

(Ye gods, there have been times when I wondered why the hell I was an international relations geek. And times like this make me glad of it.)

These posts by The Flannel Avenger, Gus van Horn, and Mike N leave little to the imagination that certain segments of the American political spectrum are hoping, if not actively praying, for Syria (along with Iran and certain portions of Pakistan) (Okay, so I agree with the latter one.) to fall under active invasion. And that, as The Flannel Avenger wrote, "will have to be by admitting that we are, in fact, at war with Islamist countries." Which was immediately followed by this one, and one I have firm agreement with. Hence the separate block-quote and bolding.

Congress must approve a declaration of war that describes exactly why we are intervening.
Any further American action in the Middle East, even one where we are brought in through treaty agreements unrelated to and predating the Armed Struggle Against Violent Extremism, cannot simply be entered into via a weaseling through the War Powers Resolution of 1973. (For those that missed it, see my analysis of the various WPR-related resolutions here.) Let Congress officially declare war. Period. Ad infinitum. Ad astra. Forever. World without end. Omayn. No more political sleight-of-hand and issue-dodging on behalf of the Bush Administration. Make it official.

And this is not simply limited to Syria. Let Tehran know that the moment the alledged geniuses in Foggy Bottom suspect that they actually possess an active nuclear weapon, the Congress should dedicate the entire power and strength of the United States towards the goal of beating them so badly that their great-grandchildren will be born with concussions. If Pakistan continues to waffle on the issue of capturing Osama bin Laden at all costs, let The People's Branch of the United States Government inform the world as a whole precisely what it is we are doing, and why we feel the need to do it.

Basically, what I'm getting at is this. All these hawks to the right of me want to see war, yet they don't press for the war itself. If you want it, the Syrian people just gave you the opportunity to demand that the Republican-controlled Congress, the very party a vast majority of hawks are represented by, either do this next one right or keep our boys and girls where they belong. Tell them, in the strongest words possible, to stand up and say, just like Shakespeare's Antony:

And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
So what's it going to be then, eh? Who else will pick up this gauntlet? Who else will challenge the hawks of the country to truly put their money where their mouths are?

[Turn signal: Fiat Lux] [And apologies to Anthony Burgess]

[UPDATED: 13.49 2006.02.05] Seems like I'm not the only one that's thinking along the invasion lines. See Maarten Schenck for his thoughts. Via Instapundit.