Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Danger of Time Travel (per planet Corner)

Writing about the new Star Trek film from planet Corner, Mark Kirkorian identifies the true danger of time travel:

I don't usually like time travel stories, ranking them just above holodeck cop-outs, but in this case it served a long-term purpose. Among Trek fans and writers, it's always been the position that only the TV series and the movies were "canonical" — i.e., genuine events in the Star Trek universe, while the novels and comic books (not to mention all the fan-authored stories) were not. But this movie has created an alternate timeline, and thus the possibility of an infinite number of alternate timelines. So instead of a Star Trek universe, there's now a Star Trek multiverse, where everyone's story (even the fatuous Kirk-Spock love stories) can be "canonical," because they take place in a parallel universe!

So lay off the time travel, OK guys? Unless you want to spawn an infinite number of parallel universes including a few in which you are gay!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meanwhile on Redstate

Redstate poster Streiff also appears to believe that Mitt Romney is the only GOP official who is not having illicit sex in a South American country, though (s)he seems much less sanguine about a Romney candidacy:

It is also a shame because it means we may have to endure yet another Mitt Romney candidacy as fiscal conservatives look for a home on 2012.

Meanwhile on planet Corner II

Over on National Review's "The Corner", Rich Lowry is pretty sure that Mitt Romney is probably the only prominent GOP member who isn't having an affair with someone or other.

Meanwhile on planet Corner

The party of God, morality and family values, always ready to forgive their own:

Sanford [Mike Potemra]

This dramatic news conference was the first time I had ever watched him, and he came across as a very sincere, humble, and impressive person. If you come across this well on the worst day of your life, you must be doing something right. Is his political career "over"? I frankly don't care about that. I'm just glad to have seen somebody standing up and doing the right thing, being honest about sin and responsibility.

How nice.

The question

I guess the question that logically follows: did Sanford try to turn down the Obama stimulus because he was getting all the stimulus he needed down in Argentina?

Liveblogging Mark Sanford's news confernece?

2:19 Where's hi wife?
2:20 Was is sex?
2:21 Yes, it was sex.
2:22 Bye, bye Markie.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nixon on abortion

Newly released audiotapes show that president Nixon approved of abortion in only limited circumstances, namely, in the case of rape or incest, or if the child was interracial.

I await our conservative friends' continued insistence that the "Southern Strategy" was a fiction cooked up by liberal academics and opponents of GOP policies more generally.

Not a twitter, just a twit

The New York Times kept quiet when one of its reporters was kidnapped in Afghanistan in hopes of keeping things low-key and eventually securing his release, so why couldn't the paper of record keep its trap shut about torture, secret prisons and illegal eavesdropping by the CIA on U.S. citizens? That's the gist of this asinine post on Michelle Malkin's website yesterday.

(via Wonkette)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Neda Agha-Soltan

Her full name was Neda Agha-Soltan, and she was murdered by theocratic thugs. May her name never be forgotten. May her murderers pay a hefty price for their crime. May the people of Iran breathe freedom because of her and the brave multitudes who have taken to the streets to defy the Ayatollahs and the Basij criminals who protect them, and who help enforce their corrupt, inhumane and un-democratic rule.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Neda: Martyr for Freedom

A young girl who is known only as Neda has become the the latest universal martyr for freedom. Her sacrifice gained worldwide notice when a YouTube video surfaced of the young woman lying on the ground moments after she had been shot through the heart by Iranian security forces. The video, which shows the girl in her last moments as she lies dying and blood begins running from her nose and mouth is beyond gruesome and beyond tragic. I simply cannot post it here, but it is easily found online if you insist on witnessing the crime for yourself. CNN reports:

Amid the hundreds of images and videos of Saturday's brutal crackdown on protesters in Iran that flooded the Internet, it was the graphic video showing the death of a young woman that touched a nerve among those following the events in Tehran for more than a week.

Like most of the information coming out of Tehran, it is impossible to verify her name, Neda, or the circumstances of her apparent death, captured close-up on a bystander's camera.


One blogger posted that Neda was protesting with her father in Tehran when pro-government Basiji militia opened fire and shot her in the heart.

Neda, we mourn your senseless death. May the cause you supported succeed, and may your killers be brought to justice (and I speak both of Neda's immediate murderers as well as the more distant figures who autorized her death from a government office, while sitting behind a desk).

This is what martyrdom really looks like, people.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lou Dobbs' Tiniest Victim

My latest post is up on Stinque. It concerns the child whose picture is reproduced to the left and it was very hard for me to write.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quote for the Day

"Government does not create wealth..."

George W. Bush, on Wednesday. Thus said the ex-president whose fiscal and economic policies over an 8 year period resulted in the destruction of trillions of dollars of wealth in the U.S. and abroad.


This blog is modifying its header temporarily to show solidarity with the people of Iran. May their efforts prove successful as they press their leaders for the rights and freedoms they deserve.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quote For the Day

What we're seeing is how much of the neocon agenda really was about freedom. I have long since stopped believing that, having observed them closely for the past few years. They are about warfare against Israel's perceived enemies, and extending US hegemony to eclipse any rival regional or global power. That is the prism through which you have to watch their every statement.
Andrew Sullivan, aghast at neo-conservatives who voice support for the re-election of Iranian president Ahmadinejad under the theory that he makes a much better boogeyman than would a reformist with popular support.

The Corporation is Always Right

In the wake of the recent FDA advisory warning that the homeopathic cold remedy remedy Zicam can cause a loss of the sense of smell, the New York Times publishes an article detailing the dangerous extent of the Bush administration's anti regulatory philosophy:

In 2006, Matrixx paid $12 million to settle 340 lawsuits from Zicam users who claimed that the product destroyed their sense of smell, a condition known as anosmia. Hundreds more such suits have since been filed.

Although the F.D.A. took no action during the Bush administration, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, who was named the agency commissioner by President Obama, said the incidence of anosmia associated with Zicam “strikes us as a fairly large problem.”

The agency issued its consumer alert even though Matrixx refused to recall its products, a highly unusual event. In a news release, Matrixx said it had suspended shipments of Zicam and would reimburse customers who wanted a refund.

“Matrixx Initiatives stands behind the science of its products and its belief that there is no causal link between its intranasal gel products and anosmia,” the release said. “For this reason, Matrixx Initiatives believes that the F.D.A. action is unwarranted and will seek a meeting with the F.D.A. to review the company’s product safety data.”

Matrixx had $101 million in sales last year, of which $40 million came from Zicam products. Because Matrixx has called Zicam a homeopathic product, the company was not required to seek agency approval before selling it.

The F.D.A. does not have the power to order product recalls but must rely on manufacturers to do so voluntarily. Bills now moving through Congress would give the agency that power. Bush administration appointees said the F.D.A. did not need mandatory recall authority because companies always withdrew unsafe products when asked.

But the government sometimes negotiated for days or weeks before companies agreed to recalls, leading many more consumers to be put at risk.
So here we have a company flouting medical regulation by labeling its product a "homeopathic remedy" and, what's more, continuing to sell it even after receiving hundreds of complaints from consumers:
Matrixx has received more than 800 reports of Zicam users losing their sense of smell but did not provide those reports to the F.D.A., said Deborah M. Autor, director of compliance in the agency’s drug center. The law requires producers of approved drugs to forward to the F.D.A. all reports of product-related injuries, but Ms. Autor declined to say whether this reporting requirement applied to Matrixx. (emphasis added)
$40 million in annual sales, $12 million in onetime lawsuits. You do the math. It's pretty clear from this why a "voluntary recall" program is not enough to prevent these snake oil salesmen from hawking their dangerous wares.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Must Read

Frank Rich's column in today's New York Times is a must read, a nice summary of the disjointed right-wing rhetoric that's fueling the violent rampages of the lunatic fringe.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Stop Pretending

It's time to stop pretending that the Right-wing in this country does not play host to an army of dangerous, hateful psycopaths. When a prominent Southern Baptist pastor can call overtly for the death of the President of the United States, we've got a problem on our hands. As the Republican party withers into irrelevance, the remaining few are looking more and more like the core of a domestic terrorist cell rather than a political party.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Coleman: Future of the GOP lies in Local Area Networking

According to Norm Coleman, the key to the Republican party's future success lies "in the Ethernet."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Right-wing Media

In today's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne notices the double standard that has taken hold of the media, where radical right-wing views and opinions are treated as mainstream, whereas the left is represented only by moderates who are called to defend themselves against the charges levelled by this extreme right-wing elements:

If you doubt that there is a conservative inclination in the media, consider which arguments you hear regularly and which you don't. When Rush Limbaugh sneezes or Newt Gingrich tweets, their views ricochet from the Internet to cable television and into the traditional media. It is remarkable how successful they are in setting what passes for the news agenda.

The power of the Limbaugh-Gingrich axis means that Obama is regularly cast as somewhere on the far left end of a truncated political spectrum. He's the guy who nominates a "racist" to the Supreme Court (though Gingrich retreated from the word yesterday), wants to weaken America's defenses against terrorism and is proposing a massive government takeover of the private economy. Steve Forbes, writing for his magazine, recently went so far as to compare Obama's economic policies to those of Juan Peron's Argentina.

Democrats are complicit in building up Gingrich and Limbaugh as the main spokesmen for the Republican Party, since Obama polls so much better than either of them. But the media play an independent role by regularly treating far-right views as mainstream positions and by largely ignoring critiques of Obama that come from elected officials on the left.

Dionne is right to notice this, but he's waaaaaay late to the party. Media watchers have noted for years that extreme right-wing opinion is frequently given a prominent voice and respectable treatment that radical leftists can only dream of. Remember when Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez or the bombing of the U.S. State Department? And yet he is still treated with respect and his on air opinions solicited by mainstream news networks. And studies of the run up to the Iraq war proved conclusively that pro-war opinon vastly outnumbered the war's critics, and that this was by design.

So it's wrong of Dionne to try to blame Democrats for "raising" Limbaugh and Gingrich. The mainstream media has done it for them for decades without any help.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A War of Choice

Those of us who opposed it knew from the beginning that the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq was a war of choice. But in a new Slate piece by Christopher Hitchens on the death of Israeli historian Amos Elon, we learn again just how unnecessary the death and destruction that accompanied the invasion truly was:

One day in Washington several years ago, as it became obvious that things in Baghdad were becoming hellish for the American-led coalition in the Iraq war, he told me the following story. In the run-up to the intervention in Iraq, the United States had approached the Israelis and asked how many citizens they had who spoke "Iraqi Arabic"—i.e., who had lived in Iraq before they had left or been expelled and who understood the local idioms and vernacular. The answer was that there were still quite a few. A group of these was put aboard an AWACS plane that flew high over Iraqi airspace and asked to listen in to radio traffic between Iraqi officers as the date of the Bush ultimatum to Saddam drew nearer.

When debriefed, all the former Iraqi Jews were of one opinion: Saddam's army would not fight, and many of its soldiers had already decided to melt away when the attack began. I thought this was a mildly interesting anecdote and indeed told him so, on the Watergate balcony where we happened to be standing. He was exasperated with me. "Don't you see?" he said. "This means that all the 'shock and awe,' all the damage to Baghdad, all of that, was completely needless? We could have brought down Saddam without smashing Iraq." I have been brooding on this ever since.

We've known at least since Richard Clarke's exposees of Bush administration criminality that the invasion in Iraq was launched, at least in part because Administration insiders felt that an invasion of Afghanistan didn't send a loud enough "message" to the world about American vindictiveness in the face of 9/11. It was Donald Rumsfeld, after all, who lamented that "there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq."

So it seems that the Bush administration really just wanted to go in somewhere, guns 'a blazing, and blow up a lot of builidng and bridges and leave a lot of corpses in the sand.

In the end the Bushies suceeded in that part of their mission, though I doubt they fully realized just how may of those sand speckled corpses would wear a U.S. Army uniform.