Behind Enemy Lines
23 March 2005
So what are the "true concerns of the Arab street?"
Because according to a poll on it sure doesn't look like people think the Arab Summit is going to reflect them.

Interesting poll results on
Posted by Hello

Update: While reading the above poll, I looked at other recent polls. Fascinating reading if these are a true reflection of thoughts in the Middle East.
20 March 2005
Operation Homecoming
The National Endowment for the Arts is producing, in conjunction with the various branches of the United States military, an anthology of soldiers stories called "Operation Homecoming. "

On the site for the program they have some sample submissions that they have received so far and I must say that some of them really choked me up.

Do yourself a favor and read the submissions and, like me, plan to pick up a copy of the book when it is released.
The Chronicle's Journalistic Standards....
...or lack thereof

I report, you decide. Is this an opinion piece or a real news story?

Personally I can't see it as anything but an opinion piece, yet the Chronicle doesn't label it as such.

Badkhen makes numerous statements that are colored by a personal view and reiterates the same tired sloganisms (new phrase, like it?) of the "anti-war" left.
15 March 2005
Call me crazy but...
...personally I like my new sources to actually tell me news, not ask me facetious questions. Below is a screen shot of today at 2033. Notice the rather misleading question / headline and the non-informational sentence afterwards. FYI for those who don't know, yes, Italy is withdrawing their September. Which is probably about the same time that the United States will be doing large scale force reduction in theater as well. That doesn't matter to of course... 2031 03.15.2005
Posted by Hello
11 March 2005
You'd think someone would have noticed the mushroom clouds...
According to a report on the BBC website a typo on a Congressional website had Sudan fearing that the United States had conducted nuclear tests in their country, rather than at Sedan Crater in the Nevada Test Site. Personally I love the following quotes of Sudanese Foreign Minister Mostafa Osman Ismail on being told it was simple typo and the United States hadn't actually tested nuclear weapons in Sudan:

"There is nothing that makes us so far doubt the explanations we have
received from the US Administration...[o]ur investigations, which are already
under way, will continue until we get to the bottom of this matter"

FM: "Excuse me Mr. Resident of Sudan"
RoS: "Yeah Mr. Foreign Minister?"
FM: "You remember anyone blowing a lot of stuff up around here back in the '60's? Maybe a nuclear bomb or two?"
Ros: "Naww"

04 March 2005
I am not a lawyer...
...but I do know something about law and I also know a good analysis when I see it.

New Sisyphus has an excellent analysis of the recent Supreme Court decision banning juvenile executions and the dire implications Justice Kennedy's majority decision holds.

Check it out
03 March 2005
LOL! Blood For Odin

Now that's an interesting photo
Posted by Hello
Senator Boxer is seeking my view on Social Security...
...or not. I just received (ok, I received it two days ago but couldn't bring myself to read it) one of the most ridiculous e-mails yet from Senator Barbara Boxer. Under a subject of "Senator Boxer Seeks Views on Social Security" we find this quaint little missive:

Dear Friend:
This year, Congress will take up a debate that will determine the future of Social Security. In its 70th year, Social Security is one of the most successful federal programs, providing a secure retirement for countless seniors and other benefits to widows, children, and individuals with disablities.

I recently delivered a major speech on Social Security and the current attempts to "reform" it. I am inviting you to read my speech, which outlines my position, and join me in the fight to keep Social Security an insurance program that provides real security for Americans.

You will find my speech and an accompanying petition that you my [sic] sign at
This is one of the most important matters facing our nation, and powerful interests will join the battle. I hope I can depend on your support as I work to protect Social Security and the millions who count on it for their financial security now and in the future.

Barbara Boxer
United States

At the very least the e-mail subject is a lie, I wonder if it even qualifies as "misleading" under California and Federal spam laws. What a great attempt to solicit my views on the subject. "You will read my opinion and then sign the petition. I will make no attempt at actually being inclusive or really soliciting your opinion. If you disagree with me, tough." Nice politics of inclusion there Senator. Shall we strew flowers in your path and have those that disagree with you imprisoned next? Or shall they just be shipped to Siberia?

I decided to at least make a better attempt than than the Senator did and view her opinions on the subject (as if they weren't blatantly apparent from the totalitarian "petition") however I couldn't get any farther than the following:

In order to convince the American people of the urgency to privatize Social
Security, the president has used words such as "crisis," "bankruptcy," and
"collapse." Let's look at the definition of these three words, according to
the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary.

crisis: "a situation that has reached a critical phase."
bankruptcy: "utter failure or impoverishment."
collapse: "to break down completely."

Is it true that Social Security is in crisis? Is bankrupt? Is collapsing?

The answer is a resounding NO. According to the most conservative estimates, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits for 38 years. In other words, a 37-year-old worker today will get full benefits until he or she is 75 years old if we do nothing to make adjustments to the Trust Fund. A 47-year old worker today will get full benefits until he or she is 85 years old if nothing is done.

Woah there Senator. Where, exactly, did the President say that Social Security was currently bankrupt or currently collapsed? He didn't now did he? He has said that the system is nearing collapse and heading towards bankruptcy. The second half of your statement, Senator, is exactly what the President is talking about. By your own admission you show that the system is headed for failure for younger workers and young people in general. The President has stated very clearly that "...Social Security is sound for today’s seniors and for those nearing retirement, but it needs to be fixed for younger workers – our children and grandchildren." Personally I see this as a crisis. It's too bad that your vision is so short-sighted as to only care about those who are currently nearing retirement. You and the Baby Boomer generations "me first" attitude is seeking to only sustain their own bellies even with all the tripe and hand-wringing and moans of "what about the children?!?"

A Republican in San Francisco (Yes, he's under deep cover) relays his tales of interest... ...ok, "interest" is a strong and subjective word but you get the point.
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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

I shall know but one country. The ends I aim at shall be my country's, my God's and Truth's. I was born an American; I live an American; and I shall die an American. -Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

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