Archive for May, 2007

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This Just In: Valerie Plame’s Desk Job Smuggled Into Syria!

May 31, 2007

“…again and again […] the Democratic Leadership and the Main Stream Media continue to perpetuate the lie that Valerie Plame was an undercover operative”
Fred “realdebate” Dooley, February 2006

Believe it or not, there has always been a small, bitter cadre of partisans who have consistently denied that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent at the time of her outing by newspaper columnist Robert Novak. In spite of a stream of evidence stretching out over four years – starting with the fact that the CIA itself said they wanted an investigation because someone outed one of their covert agents – they have denied it. “She was a desk jockey,” they said. “Everyone knew about her career in the CIA,” they claimed; “she was not covert.” They called the rest of us liars for insisting that someone be prosecuted for blowing her cover and potentially damaging her intelligence work on WMD proliferation.

That’s right, her job was to keep tabs on weapons of mass destruction, and here in the post-9/11 world someone blew her cover, seemingly to retaliate for her husband calling bullshit on the Bush administration’s case for invading Iraq.

Well, guess what? Their increasingly ridiculous argument that Plame was not covert has finally been put down for good. Recently declassified documents prove unequivocally that Plame was in fact covert at the time of her outing.

Will they admit they were wrong? Don’t count on it.

UPDATE: Fred not only admitted he was wrong, but apologized! Psych! What Fred did was delete his blog post. Here’s a pdf of the google cache.

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TMI?

May 30, 2007

Okay, guys, ‘fess up. Who does it?

My philosophy is that I don’t want to get strange looks in the locker room, but neither do I want to disrobe in front of a woman and have it be like “WELCOME TO THE JUNLGE BABY!” So I periodically use an electric clippers to closely trim everything.

Shut up! Lots of guys do it.

Don’t they?

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I’m A Three Issue Voter

May 30, 2007

In no particular order…

1. Health care reform. I’d be willing to listen to any ideas that cover every American, but I suspect the only real way out of this mess is to have tax-funded universal health care. I’m not so worried about the increase in taxes. When I think about how we already pay double what everyone else pays, I often think maybe we’ll end up paying less than we do now.

2. The war. What fucking mess. The candidate who clearly articulates the fact that there is no military solution – and who acknowledges that there just might be a political one – gets my vote.

3. Global warming. The candidate who steps up to get America out of the head-in-the-sand age gets my vote.

And actually I expect most of the Democratic candidates to hit all three of these issues, more or less. It will depend on how well they sell it, my estimation of their personality and leadership skills, and their sincerity.

You’ll also note that probably none of the Republican candidates are likely to meet these criteria. ‘Nuff said, I guess.

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My Life As A Dog

May 30, 2007

Shipped off to live with his uncle for the summer, 12-year-old Ingmar finds unexpected adventures with the help of the town’s warmhearted eccentrics.

That’s how the blurb about My Life As A Dog reads on Netflix. But it should probably say “This film is about a small boy who, over the course of the movie, loses his home, his mother and his dog, and who ultimately finds himself feeling so powerless over his own fate that he compares himself to Laika, the dog who died alone in space after having been launched into orbit aboard Sputnik 2.”

Does everything have to be billed as “heartwarming” even if it isn’t?

It’s a good movie in many ways. But if you’re looking for something funny and uplifting, this movie isn’t it. It’s got a dash of A Christmas Story, sure. Ultimately, however, that doesn’t change the fundamentally tragic nature of the film.

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You Drink Vodka?!

May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial day, everyone. I have no moving story of military service of my own to tell, other than the fact that my father served in the air force between Korea and Vietnam. But a funny thing did happen to me earlier this morning.

“You drink vodka?!”

It was about 9:30 in the mornining. I’d wandered out to sit on my back steps with a cup of french-pressed coffee to enjoy the 70-degree weather. For reasons unknown, one of my upstairs neghbors was lighting his grill. He is a middle-aged man, thin, and foreign. I think he is from Russia. His English is not too great. After having dispensed with “hello” and “good morning” he was clapping me on the shoulder and asking me about my drinking habits. At 9:30 in the morning.

“Vodka? Yes, sir, I do.” I was thinking of the bottle of Chopin I have chilling in my freezer.

“Just a minute,” he said, and disappeared inside. When he reemerged, he was carrying a plate of yellow cheese with a brown rhind, two oversized shot glasses, and a bottle of Svedka.

Not knowing what else to do, I accepted. “Happy Memorial Day,” I said, and tossed back my shot.

We chatted about our respective carreers. (He works in a factory assembling giant radiators. He had worked as an engineer in Russia.) I tried to explain what it means to work in computers at a university. And we drank vodka.

I wished him a happy Memorial day, but he seemed uncertain, so I tried to explain.

“Adam, the fellow across the hall from me – he served the American military. He served in the army and fought in Iraq. But today, we honor dead soldiers. Adam will be in the parade later.” He seemed to understand.

“On February twenty thirty,” he said, “is for Russian soldiers.”

So I guess such holidays exist everywhere.

“To soldiers,” I said. And drained my third vodka.

To soldiers everywhere – especially American ones, who have fought for sound reasons and for unsound, who have pledged their courage and their skill to our elected government. Thank you.

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Republican Candidates: Now Only 30% Nuts!

May 26, 2007

I keep thinking about something that happened at a recent Republican presidential debate. The moderator asked which of the candidates did not believe in evolution. Three out of the ten raised their hands.

You might think this is pretty good: only three out of ten. These are Republicans, after all, and by accepting basic facts about the world at a rate of 70% they are already showing a little more gray matter than their voter base. But I have a fundamental problem with someone wanting to be in charge of the most powerful nation on earth blithely dismissing facts of biology that every fifth grader should know.

Whether someone believes evolution is wrong, or believes in biblical creationism, or believes that the universe was sneezed out by the Great Green Arkleseizure, I’m inclined to keep my mouth shut. I mean, I may think think you’re nuts, but I’ll often refrain from comment. But these guys want to be president! To play a huge role in the making of the laws of our land and taking on weighty issues of global foreign policy. is it too much to ask that his worldview be well-enough rooted in reality to accept what is probably one of the most fundamental tenets of science?

Maybe you think it’s no big deal. But let me ask you. If the president is to have a role in laws concerning scientific and medical research (and he will), do you not think it’s a problem that he spectacularly disregards them? How on earth can such a person be relied upon to make a sound, fact-based judgement? If the president is to have a role in determining the governmental response to global warming (and he will), do you not think it troublesome that he willfully tosses aside empiricism in favor of mythological nonsense?

A smart person once wryly suggested to me that if creationists want their nonsense taught in schools we should let it happen. Given how effective our schools have been in teaching evolution, it’d probably be the best thing that ever happened to the public understanding of science.

Look, we may disagree in a lot of things, but hear my plea: don’t vote for someone who puts his hand up in the air to proudly indicate his abandonment of reason.

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Iraq Still Belongs To Bush

May 25, 2007

Congress passed a funding bill for Iraq that the president will sign. It contains no timetables for beginning troop withdrawal. Is this a victory for the president? Yes. Is it a blow to Democrats? I’m not so sure.

Democrats took the people’s will to the president and sparred with him over it, but ultimately they did not have the votes to override a veto. They did what they were elected to do. If people want a veto-proof bill, they’ll just have to elect more of Democrats next time. (A notion voters may indeed remember in 08.) Meanwhile, the president now owns this disastrous war more than ever. Congress gave him what he wanted. Succeed or fail, it’s still all his baby.

Think about how it would have gone had the congress gotten their first bill passed. Things would still go badly in Iraq. But in this scenario, the president and his shrinking cadre of supporters would blame the Democrats for it. Can’t you just hear it? “The Democrats’ ‘surrender timetable’ has caused the enemy to yadda, yadda….” As things stand now, there’s little cover for them. The failure is their own.

It’s a shame that the linkage between the will of the people and their government is so loose and slow to respond, that it’s going to take more than one election cycle for our voices to translate into a new Iraq policy. But in the longer term, I see no threat to it eventually happening.

The biggest shame of all, of course, is that a lot more people are going to die needlessly before this mess gets turned around.