January 18, 2008

Incestuous Cannibalism (updated)

If you've ever wondered why the Libertarian party never caught on, you can get a clear picture over at Q&O. Let me explain.

A week or so ago one of the authors, Dale Franks, served on a jury where the bustee was caught smuggling over 1100 pounds of dope over the border from Mexico. Said gentleman was duly found guilty and sentenced to 10 years.

Seems pretty clear cut to me. Took a chance, did the crime, got caught, do the time.

I had no idea that that post would stir up an absolute whirlwind of batshit crazy. If you want to read the comments to that post, plus the followup posts here, here and here, it will prove to be an education.

For those not so inclined, my version reads thus (and I am *not* overstating this for effect):

A "true" libertarian wouldn't have allowed that conviction since the man was not doing anything morally wrong. He wasn't being aggressive, and no one was going to be hurt, therefore Dale Franks is personally responsible for that poor man being raped in prison for the next 10 years.

The only moral recourse for Dale Franks is to kill himself for the high crime of falsely claiming to be libertarian.

Dale Franks is also guilty of not thinking exactly like all the rest of the superior individualists who collectively call themselves libertarians.

I'm sure they'll be pleased to hear it, but after that display of utter nitwittery, there's no way in hell I would ever vote for a candidate who attracts support from that crowd.

Please note that I'm not slamming the guys at Q&O. They're a daily read, and I find them to be reasonable and interesting. They also managed to stay above the slime, despite the dreadful behavior of the swarm that descended and attempted to drag all down to their level.

Update: Dale Franks asks the question that bothered me most about the whole thing. Namely, what makes the smuggler "morally innocent"? Like Dale says, it's probably just going to stir it up again, but I think that it's an important question and needed to be asked.

Posted by: Ted at 05:47 AM | category: Politics
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November 07, 2007

Off The Cuff Punditry

We had local elections yesterday. In our county, the entire board of supervisors was reelected, based on their strong anti-illegal alien actions. My wife noticed that in other races, the winners all had the more "American" sounding names. Wilson beat Dominguez, Stewart beat Pandak, etc. Probably coincidence, but I wonder how many people voted based on nothing but last names because they had no idea what the candidate's qualifications were.

Up in Loudon county, the radio announced that all the "pro-growth" Republicans (save one, we'll talk about him in a moment) were defeated by "slow-growth" Democrats. I suspect that the argument was framed that way, but what it really was was "broaden the tax base" Republicans against "raise existing taxes" Democrats. The one Republican incumbant who kept his seat was described as "strongly anti-homosexual who campaigned vigorously against illegal immigrants". Sounds like the folks of Loudon county hate gays, eh? It must be, I mean, the media wouldn't take a casual shot at a Republican, would they?

Posted by: Ted at 06:05 AM | category: Politics
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October 31, 2007

CNN Credibility, Or Lack Thereof

I had the news station on the radio, waiting for the traffic report, when I was treated to an analysis of last night's Democrat debate as provided by "CNN's Chief Political Correspondent".

The CCPC (and that acronym is oh-so-close) doesn't believe that Hillary's dishonest, indecisive and incoherent answer to the question about illegal aliens and driver's licenses will hurt Hillary, because:

Everyone, even people who disagree with her on certain issues, really like Hillary Clinton.

I was laughing so hard I almost drove off the road.

Posted by: Ted at 09:19 PM | category: Politics
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October 01, 2007

A Rare Political Post

A few interesting things that have happened lately:

I heard on the radio today that Governor Tim Kaine (D) has frozen the salaries of his staff. He's also given himself a 5% cut in pay. I'm not crazy about Governor Kaine, but kudos for this one.

Last week a coworker and I were discussing something and, as he tends to do, he steered the conversation towards politics. He brought up right-wing extremists like Blackwater and I countered that both ends of the spectrum had fanatics, mentioning eco-terrorists and MoveOn as examples. He insisted that MoveOn is mainstream, and I laughed out loud. When he informed me that he's a member of MoveOn, I laughed harder and told him that I wasn't surprised a bit. I laughed all the way back to my office. I think he's offended that I think he's an extremist.

I mentioned that my delegate sent a survey a while back, and then followed up with the results. This afternoon he knocked on the door, introduced himself and called me by my name and then asked me to vote for him again. He wasn't canvassing the neighborhood, because when he left he got into his car and drove away, probably to the next person that answered his survey. Pretty cool.

Posted by: Ted at 06:12 PM | category: Politics
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September 30, 2007

As Usual, Congress Screws It Up

Maryland crab processors have been relying on *legal* temporary immigrants to pick steamed crabs and put the meat into plastic tubs for sale at the market. You can't pick crabs by machine, and there aren't enough local citizens willing to do the work for the pay that's offered. So the industry fills the workplace with people working under H2B temporary visas, which allow them to come for the season to work. Now problems with that process are putting those Maryland businesses in jeopardy.

Since 1990, the H2B program has allowed foreign workers into the country on a temporary visa that allows them to work in seasonal industries, such as landscaping, fisheries and hotels. For most of those years, the program worked smoothly -- workers were happy to come because they made far more than what they could earn at home, and employers were happy to have them as it became increasingly difficult to find American workers for the jobs.

But the program appeared to be heading for trouble in 2004, when the national cap of 66,000 workers was reached in March. Employers can't apply for the visas any earlier than 120 days before they need their workers. Most seafood processors -- who use the workers to pick the meat from steamed crabs, then put it in small plastic tubs -- got their workers that year, but several other industries that have later starts were shut out.

Then, in 2005, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, which is now under the Department of Homeland Security, announced that the cap had been filled by January 4 -- so early that most of Maryland's seafood processors weren't even allowed to apply yet -- their season runs from about April to Thanksgiving.

The processors went to Capitol Hill, where they had found an ally in U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. The Maryland Democrat pushed for an expansion to the H2B limits, but the issue kept getting mired in the larger national debate on immigration.

Undeterred, Mikulski led efforts to slip emergency legislation into an unrelated Iraq-spending bill so that workers who had held seasonal jobs in the U.S. in the past, such as most of the Shore's crab pickers, could return to those jobs in 2005 and 2006 regardless of the national cap. Last year, she again got language included in a defense bill to extend the provision one more year.

Now, there are some reasonable arguments against the program (follow that link to see the whole thing), but truthfully, I discount all the grousing by organized labor. Unions care about unions, that's all. The real bottom line is that if the program isn't extended again, several things will happen for sure, and I'm not even going to talk about the H2B workers themselves. First, the packing companies will go out of business, which includes their drivers, warehouse workers, and admin staff. This in turn will impact the local economies, and also affect their suppliers. The price of crab will skyrocket in the stores, which will likely reduce demand, meaning the watermen who depend on Blue Crab fishing will be hurt.

All because Congress cannot get it together enough to extend a federal program that actually works.

Posted by: Ted at 10:02 AM | category: Politics
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May 06, 2007

In Defense of John Edwards

Ted must be being sarcastic, eh?

Nope.

Not long ago, presidential candidate John Edwards got roundly scolded by many for spending $400.00 for a haircut. This was wrong.

Edwards isn't your average guy, he's running for president of the United States. You and I could run too, but he's a serious candidate. He can't afford a bad haircut because that could (and probably would) destroy any chance he had of getting the Democrat nomination. People would look at him and snicker at the funny haircut, or, if he got it fixed somehow, would wonder why he got it cut so much shorter or made the extreme change. If he's been paying 400 bucks for a snip and is comfortable with the barber, then by all means he should stick with it. There's too much at stake to introduce a variable that could have such a drastic effect on his appearance, especially when he doesn't have to.

As for using campaign donations to pay for his haircuts, I'm trying to figure out why it's a bad thing. Is it the cost? Would there be a problem if it were a $50.00 haircut? People who donate to a campaign expect their candidate to do everything possible to win, and that includes looking good. Haircuts, healthy food, tailored suits, the whole package. So, not only should he keep getting the usual haircut, but if he cut costs during the campaign and goofed it with an unfortunate visit to Floyd, then as a doner I'd be one unhappy camper about it. Him paying out of his own pocket is fine, but I don't see the fuss with him using campaign funds to maintain appearances while he campaigns.

I don't like Edwards as a candidate. I don't much like anything of his positions on any issue (which all seem to involve me bending over so he can drive). But in this case, leave him be.

That's my .02, several weeks late.

Posted by: Ted at 08:07 PM | category: Politics
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April 10, 2007

Why Bother Voting?

Maryland's governor is set to sign into law today a bill that will award the state's ten electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate gets the most 'popular' votes nationwide.

In simple terms, the rest of the country will now decide whether or not your vote counts. Cal Ripken could get 90% of the vote in Maryland and if George Steinbrenner gets the most votes nationwide then that's who gets all of the Maryland electoral votes. In simplest terms: screw you, Maryland voters!

Think about the implications of this for a minute. Maryland isn't the only state considering this kind of legislation, which means that future elections will almost certainly be decided by the courts as candidates will automatically file lawsuits to have every vote counted or suppressed, depending on the situation.

Third party candidates just became even less likely. Why bother campaigning in Maryland if you know you don't have a chance to win their votes?

This is a terrible decision, and just because it's "popular" doesn't make it correct.

Posted by: Ted at 05:53 AM | category: Politics
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March 28, 2007

And the Survey Says...

A while back my representative to the Virginia House of Delegates sent a survey to our house, asking our views on various local issues, so as to better understand what his constituants expect from him as he represents us in Richmond.

Today we got back a nice letter showing some of the results of the survey.

85% support amending the Constitution of Virginia to require the Transportation Trust Fund be used exclusively for transportation.

Transportation is probably *the* issue here in Northern Virginia. We're barely keeping up working like mad to not fall behind faster as growth overwhelms the roads. Every new major artery proposed is delayed for years as the environmentalists pile lawsuit after lawsuit on top of it to keep it from happening. The'll only be happy if all new transportation infrastructure consists of bike paths paved with the ground-up bones of oil company executives and windmill powered busses. It's so bad that a couple of counties have passed (largely symbolic) moratoriums on new development until the local infrastructure catches up. Oh, and 94% favor giving local governments the authority to deny new development for just that reason.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of Virginia complains, with good reason, that Northern Virginia and Richmond suck up almost every available transportation dollar raised state-wide. Tell Ma and Pa Kettle that patching the pothole their tractor disappeared into isn't as important as adding that seventh lane to the expressway up near DC.

And yet, somehow, the Transportation Trust Fund gets raided on a regular basis to fund other state priorities.

In related results:

71% favor bonding to finance transportation projects.

78% favor spending the state surplus on transportation.

77% support phasing out the car tax.

I indicated that I was against the bonding. I prefer to not run up personal debt, and I'd rather my state acted the same way. Slow down the rampant growth and stay in the habit of pay-as-you-go. While we have a surplus, set it aside for emergencies because as sure as the sun rises, when the surplus disappears the programs it funded aren't going to disappear as well.

The car tax? I hate it. I love that they're phasing it out. I'd love it even more if the state were cutting spending to match the reduced tax income. Fat chance of that happening. In fact, our new govenor, Tim Kaine, has already mentioned raising taxes way too often for my comfort level. So far the legislature is fighting him off, but his first instinct for everything seems to be "more taxes".

74% support requiring public schools to dedicate at least 65% of state education funding for items related to classroom instruction.

79% oppose a taxpayer-funded, mandatory, universal pre-kindergarten program in Virginia.

The first seems like a no-brainer. Education funds should be spent where it does the most good, in the classroom. But look at that second one. "Taxpayer-funded", "mandatory", "universal"... I bet the proponents want it to be bilingual as well. That's a pretty emphatic "NO" from the people, I'm pleased to see.

68% do not believe that additional gun control laws are necessary.

If I remember correctly, the question specifically mentioned enforcing the laws already on the books instead of passing new laws to be ignored. I was slightly surprised by that number, I thought it'd be higher than that. Then I considered the folks up even norther than here, since the closer you get to DC the more nanny-staters per capita you'll find. And many firmly believe that the perfect way to live your life is to smile politely and do what the nice police officer tells you to, because the police are your friends and protectors.

87% support requiring abortion clinics to comply with the same health and safety standards as other health care facilities.

Again, to me this is a no-brainer. The clinics are legal according to current laws, so requiring them to conform to modern medical standards is sensible. The thirteen percent dissenting probably would rather the clinics be razed, leveled, and the ground salted so that nothing will grow for a hundred years. That'll keep the weeds down around the feet of the giant statue of Billy Graham that they'll want to erect next. Of course, construction on that will be delayed by lawsuits from the tree-huggers who would rather put in bike paths. Snark aside, if you want the clinics gone, then debate, make your points and change minds to eliminate them, but in the meantime make them as safe as possible for the women who use them.

82% favor amending the Constitution of Virginia to prevent local governments from taking away a person's property through eminent domain and using the seized property for private commercial development.

I still do not understand the reasoning behind the 18% who favor that one. What good are property rights if someone richer than you can come along and convince local officials that he can make "better use" of your land than you can. Come to think of it, how is this different than the government taking more of your money as taxes because "they know better than you how to spend it"?

91% oppose giving illegal aliens in-state tuition rates at Virginia public colleges and universities.

90% believe that businesses which hire illegal aliens should be penalized.

Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!

And finally:

73% support requiring that family life education courses in public schools which include discussions of sexual intercourse emphasize that abstinence before marriage is the accepted norm and the only guarantee against unwanted pregnancy.

Re-read this one carefully. First off, I don't think schools should be in the sex-ed business. But, pragmatic man that I am, I realize that many parents either cannot or will not provide proper guidance to their children. As much as I hate it, I know that if the kids are getting at least the basics in school, then they won't be running around with a vial of gypsy tears around their neck to prevent AIDS.

Note that word "emphasize". Despite the alarmist cries, that doesn't mean "teach exclusively" and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in Christian cultures (and America *is* primarily a Christian culture) "abstinence before marriage is the accepted norm". That statement is absolutely, completely and 100% factual. Don't confuse reality with "accepted norm" since you'll just sound shrill and idiotic because even the clergy knows that there's a lot more pre-marital sex going on than they would prefer.

As for "guarantee against unwanted pregnancy", no form of birth control is foolproof, yet other than one notable exception some two thousand years ago, abstinence has by far the best track record in that regard.

So those were some of the survey results. I found them interesting, especially the ones I don't necessarily agree with. I like the way he ended the letter too, with "I am here to serve you."

He's started off on the right foot as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Ted at 09:50 PM | category: Politics
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November 10, 2006

Born and Raised

Californian, that is. I used to say that earthquakes were the price you paid for living in paradise. Now, after learning that Californians actually defeated a proposition to limit Kelo-style property seizures, I think I'd rephrase that:

Living among the insane is the price you pay for paradise.

I'm never going back. I'm not even missing it. The California I loved is long gone.

Posted by: Ted at 07:41 AM | category: Politics
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Counterintuitive At First Glance

I am pro-gay marriage.

I voted for the Virginia Marriage Constitutional Amendment.

Let me tell you why. I've explained this about four times over the last week, so I thought I'd put it out here and just point people here when the subject comes up.

First, I believe that the word "marriage" needs to be taken out of the argument. Leave "marriage" to those who become partners in a church, under the old rules. Gay couples and those who stand before a Justice of the Peace, etc. aren't technically "married", they have entered a civil union or some other term that will be coined or evolve into common usage. Same results, same standing in the eyes of the law, but by not officially calling it a marriage, you're taking away one of the hot buttons of the extreme members on both ends of the spectrum.

Now, as to voting the way I did... When the Virginia constitutional amendment passed, in a practical sense it accomplished nothing. Things are going to go along exactly as they always have, except that now it's in writing. Most importantly though, is that the amendment takes the resolution of the issue out of the hands of the judicial branch and places it squarely in the hands of the citizens of Virginia, where it belongs. Activist judges are being recognized as a growing concern with many people, and the passage of amendments like these are as much a check on the power of the bench as they are a statement against gay marriage.

That is *exactly* why I voted for it.

So now what? Well, as of this moment the name-calling must stop. If the amendment is to be modified or repealed, the only way will be to muster your logic and make persuasive arguments and convince people. Calling me an ignorant bigot does nothing to help your cause, it causes me to dismiss you as a childish idiot throwing a temper tantrum because I don't believe as you do.

Whining because you want it "right now" reinforces that perception.

The measure didn't pass by an overwhelming majority. If you want to change it, forget the martyr act and be reasonable and debate the issue and score your points. It won't happen overnight, but it won't happen at all if you don't change minds.

Posted by: Ted at 06:56 AM | category: Politics
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May 23, 2005

President Bush Condemns South Korean Stem Cell Research

In other words, he's saying what he's said all along.

Regardless of what opinion you personally hold about the subject or the man holding the office, you have to admit that the President is consistant.

That's one of the things I like about him.

Posted by: Ted at 12:15 PM | category: Politics
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November 09, 2004

Changes in the Bush Cabinet

Attorney General John Ashcroft, a favorite of conservatives, and Commerce Secretary Don Evans, one of President Bush's closest friends, resigned Tuesday, the first members of the Cabinet to leave as Bush heads from re-election into his second term.

I've made no secret that I can't stand AG John Ashcroft. Yay!

Posted by: Ted at 06:45 PM | category: Politics
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September 10, 2004

UN Election Monitors in Florida - Response received

Back in July, Stephen at Hold the Mayo wrote about the story where some nitwits in Florida (don't blame me, I voted for Gore and Buchannan) wrote the UN and asked for international election monitors to ensure a fair election.

I agreed with Stephen that this was enough to warrant a letter to my Congressmen. Today I got a response from Representative Tom Davis, VA 11th. Here's a couple of excerpts:

Under no circumstances do I believe we require international observers to validate our elections. America, while not perfect, has long maintained the lead in freedom and democracy. Furthermore, I am outraged at the notion that other members feel we require foreign nationals to conduct fair elections.

Further on:
I have personally gained an invaluable understanding of foreign governments by serving as an international observer during their elections. Nonetheless, the spirit in which international observers were called for in this instance was cynical and uncalled for; and I do not support it.

He makes a good point. Probably every US election is watched by international observers, not to validate or ensure fairness, but to see how to do it right.

Besides, even the best intentioned election monitors can be duped and made to look foolish. Isn't that right, President Carter?

Posted by: Ted at 04:00 AM | category: Politics
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September 01, 2004

Well, isn't that special

President Bush says we can't win the War on Terror and the Kerry campaign immediately jumps all over it like dingos on a crippled sheep. And they should've, because it was an incredibly stupid thing to say.

You. Just. Don't. Say. Things. Like. That.

No matter how much truth there is to it, and don't think for a second that he was wrong, because he wasn't. We can't win this war in a conventional sense. There won't be a peace treaty signed and POW's returned and victory parades, because it's a different kind of war. To Muslim radicals, it's not even really a war, it's a form of worship.

Admittedly biased, I think President Bush was speaking plainly, without nuance. I also think a lot of Americans will think about it and quietly agree without the defeatist hand-wringing we're currently hearing from certain quarters. It also gave Kerry something to be tougher on than the President, and that was an unexpected gift that he immediately siezed upon.

I read a science fiction book once (Star Trek?) where the last ragged remnants of terrorist organizations all gathered together for something or other. What stuck with me was the alternate history presented, where terrorist attacks had become more and more brutal and bloody until finally the entire world became disgusted and realized that there were limits to protest. Terrorism died out not because there were no more causes, but because it became unpopular and the results were opposite intended.

They weren't defeated, they became obsolete, but it took a lot of time and lives.

I really wish I hadn't remembered that book.

Posted by: Ted at 06:41 AM | category: Politics
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August 30, 2004

Striking

Over at Q & O (happy birthday guys!), McQ posts a moving and devastatingly effective rebuttal to a comment that I thought cut right to the heart of the matter concerning the Swift Boat Veterans ads.

Until I read the comments, where one Viet Nam veteran summed it all up in as perfect a way as I could ever imagine:

"If Kerry loses, that will be the parade that we never had."

John Kerry is paying for his actions upon returning from the war.

Posted by: Ted at 01:23 PM | category: Politics
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July 17, 2004

Assault Weapon Ban

Publicola asks an important question:

If the "Assault Weapons" Ban is renewed will you vote Republican generally & Bush specifically this November?

Yes

His reasoning parallels mine, although we come to different conclusions because our key issues are different. I think that second ammendment rights are important, and he makes some telling points that give me things to chew through, but for me the key issue is foreign policy (a superset of the war on terror). I'm going to paint with a broad brush here, so don't get all nitpicky on me. Comments are certainly welcomed.

With President Bush at the helm, America is once again pursuing her best interests. All of the Euro-whining and the moonbat barking basically boil down to the same thing: America is doing what it feels is best for America, and if another country doesn't agree, well, that's just too damn bad. According to some, we're only supposed to act if we get permission from historical friends and allies, regardless of how they've behaved towards us in the present and recent past.

France is diplomatically deft but otherwise irrelevant. Germany is still trying to shake off its national angst over WWII and the effects of reunification, rendering it less than effective on an international scale (other than economically). On a personal note, I found the Germans to be the most racially prejudiced people I've ever met. Is that a European trait? I don't know, but Germans are wonderful people that definitely have a strong bias against non-whites. And America is a mongrel country to them, which may explain some things. Moving along, you have Spain, Italy and Portugal, important locally, but much less so on the international stage.

These countries, and the rest of Europe, have been 'dealing' with the unpleasant facts of the world for decades. Rather than solving their problems, they compromise, usually by devising a solution designed to buy time. They hope the problem will go away in the meantime, or perhaps someone with authority (aristocracy or bureaucracy) will take care of it. It's been pointed out for years that NATO relies almost entirely on US air transport. Are the other NATO nations rushing to build military cargo aircraft? Of course not, but they are finding time to write regulations to define how much curve an imported banana is allowed.

Why are we taking these people into consideration when deciding on US national policy? Because we have to, but over the years that aspect has grown from being one consideration to become THE key consideration.

The foreign policies of this administration recognize that fact. John Kerry wants to bring back the old way, the safe way, the European way. He wants to 'deal' with the world instead of solving its problems as they affect America.

George W. Bush is no friend to the armed citizenry of the US, but he would never bow down to international pressure (via the UN) to impose stricter gun controls. I'm not so sure than John Kerry wouldn't think that a fine idea, since the rest of the world would want that.

I'm sorry if you feel that you couldn't vote for President Bush if the AWB is renewed. I hope you're right when you speculate that there wouldn't be a significant difference in the arena of second ammendment rights under Kerry. That's a helluva gamble though, in my humble opinion.

For the record: I'm anti-AWB. It's stupid legislation, designed to make people think something is being done without actually addressing the perceived problem.

Posted by: Ted at 09:59 AM | category: Politics
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June 06, 2004

Thanks Dutch

Ronald Reagan was everything America needed as a President at that time.

Posted by: Ted at 08:46 AM | category: Politics
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March 05, 2004

Perspective

As of right now, Kerry has been campaigning for President longer than he spent in Vietnam.

Important Note: I saw this on someone's site a day or two ago and can't find it again. Please let me know where so I can give credit.

More Important Note: It was over on the most excellent Hold The Mayo! Thanks Stephen.

Posted by: Ted at 12:25 PM | category: Politics
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February 10, 2004

Anyone but...

A lot of people talk about voting for "anyone but President Bush."

These are the same people who raise hell about America supporting despots around the world. In some of those cases, it was "anyone but [insert bad choice]."

Sauce for the goose folks.

Posted by: Ted at 05:29 PM | category: Politics
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January 24, 2004

Iraq

There should be no one surprised at the escalation in attacks and casualties against coalition forces the last few days.

A prominent Shiite leader has called for his followers to be reasonable and wait for the UN to make a determination about whether early elections are possible.

And the UN won't come in unless 'security concerns' are addressed. It doesn't matter what you think about that, it's the way it is.

So all the Baathtards have to do is make it bad enough to scare away the UN (not hard to do), and then the Shiite leader will be frustrated, which ratchets up the pressure on everyone. Just what the Baathtards want.

Kofi Annan will play right into their hands (again) and not allow his team to go to Iraq. U.N. stands for "Unmistakably Nutless".

Posted by: Ted at 03:13 PM | category: Politics
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