Jan 31, 2006

to perjure or not to perjure

Is it perjury to answer questions about classified national security programs inaccurately? Andrew Sullivan seems to think so. He noted today a Washington Post story about a Senate Judiciary Committee Heaaring in which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called any discussion about warrantless wiretapping "hypothetical." I tried to get the full context of this discussion from the hearing, but only the introductory statements are available online. However, from this information we can at least assume that this hearing was public. When asked about any potential warrantless wiretapping, should Gonzales have disclosed the existence of the classified program? Wouldn't that be a crime?
So if answering a question accurately is a crime (disclosing classified information to the public) and answering a question inaccurately is a crime (perjury under oath), then what is a person to do? It is my opinion that perjury is the lesser evil in this situation, since classified national security information should remain so, and therefore Gonzales should have no charges brought against him in either case.

Jan 25, 2006

photographic dissonance

Some people are busy wailing and gnashing of teeth that there may be a few photos of President Bush and Jack Abramoff in the same room together, as if that means the president had a hand in Abramoffs bribery schemes. Meanwhile, a video has been released from 1999 of George Galloway and Uday Hussein chortling together about how evil America is.
It amuses me how some people see damning proof of impropriety in a photo of two (innocent-at-the-time) politicos (456 Google News hits), yet completely ignore one of a politico pledging allegiance and fealty to the murderous son of a murderous dictator (7 Google News hits). No double standard there at all...

so close...

8 Are Killed by Bombings in Restive City in South Iran
Two separate bombs exploded Tuesday morning in the southern city of Ahwaz at a bank and a government building, leaving 8 people dead and 46 wounded, state-run news agencies reported. The first bomb went off at 9:30 a.m. at Saman Bank and the second 30 minutes later at the government office for natural resources. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been expected to meet his cabinet in the city, but the trip was canceled Monday evening. His office said the four-day trip was canceled because of bad weather, the IRNA news agency reported Monday. The explosions occurred at the time he had been expected to make a speech in Ahwaz.
We really need to get the CIA more current information if they can't even bother to shut off the bombs when the guy's not going to be there anymore. *shakes*head* Better luck next time, guys...

Jan 23, 2006

maple leaves are red again

Congratulations are in order for Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party in Canada for gaining the largest voting block in today's nationwide elections. With their new 37% minority ahead of the Liberals' 31%, this is the first time Conservatives have held the most seats in parlaiment since 1994. Interesting that our countries' legislative bodies both switched alignments in that same year, but in the opposite direction.
This by no means gives the CPC a ruling majority or even a very clear mandate in Canada, but it does send a long over due signal that our fine friends to the North are slightly more tired of corrupt liberalism ruining their country than they were before. Personally, I don't understand how parlaimentary multi-party systems function without disintegrating into anarchy, but hopefully Harper can whip his country into shape as a world player once again. We miss Canada at the table.

And by the way, just so we're clear... This now makes at least eleven twelve nations that have elected or re-elected more conservative (in a Western sense) and pro-war governments in the years since the Iraq War began (United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Afghanistan, Iraq, Canada, Lebanon, Poland [UPDATE: and Portugal]). So much for the whole world being against us, huh?

Jan 21, 2006

American Idolatry

In case you didn't see the premiere of American Idol last week, you missed quite a spectacle. The finale of one of the shows was a young skinny guy wearing women's jeans, shirt, shoes and accessories, with a women's haircut. The judges were all quite confused, and I'm sure much of the rest of the country was as well. The guy's audition was horrendous, of course. But when he got rejected and left the audition room, he began complaining to any available camera that he had been discriminated against. He was "ashamed to be an American" if this is the way that we treat people who are different. I've got news for you, buddy. You were rejected because you SUCK.
This has become a major problem in this country. Anytime someone who feels different from the "norm" (whatever that is) gets passed over for a job or called out on something, they immediately yell discrimination, regardless of the actual reason for their loss.
Michael Jackson was not prosecuted because he was black (though he's not), but because he molested children. OJ Simpson was not prosecuted because he was black, but because he murdered his wife and her man-friend. Matthew Shepard was not murdered because he was gay, but because he had money. Ellen's sitcom wasn't cancelled because she was gay, but because people stopped watching it. And this wack job was not rejected for American Idol because he dresses like a girl, but because he can't sing.
Crying wolf like this doesn't make cases of actual discrimination any easier to deal with. It's just like saying President Bush is Hitler. Until he starts rounding up people by the millions for extermination, the only thing such rhetoric does is water down the real meaning of such a reference so that when the next Hitler actually comes along, no one notices.

Jan 20, 2006

Johnny Taliban is still breathing

US father appeals for Taliban son
... Reviled by many Americans as a traitor, Lindh agreed to a plea deal in which he was spared a possible life prison sentence and all terrorism charges against him were dropped. In exchange, he pleaded guilty to two charges of aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives. Now in federal prison in southern California, John Walker Lindh is appealing to George Bush, the US president, to commute his sentence. Frank Lindh said he was proud of his son. "He was extremely unpopular in the United States and probably still is because of the way his case was portrayed by the government and by the media," he said. "People will come to realize that what happened in his case was wrong, that the torture was wrong."
I am with Mr Frank Lindh. What has happened in this case is a horrible travesty of justice. The torture of John Walker Lindh is unconscionable. He should never have been tortured (if he was), and he shouldn't serve a day in jail. ... Upon his capture in Afghanistan, Johnny Taliban should have been immediately tried for treason and sedition in a military tribunal, convicted, and hanged from a lightpost in Times Square until his traitorous, shameful spirit was extinguished from his body. This guy was literally fighting with our enemy, and the most he can get is 20 years in jail because he plead guilty? He wasn't saying nasty things about our troops in newspapers, he wasn't hoping for the defeat of coalition forces, he was LITERALLY captured armed in combat on the side of the terrorist regime of the Taliban. The fact that his head is still attached to his neck is indefensible to me, and is one of the worst failures of the Bush administration.

Jan 18, 2006

I have a nightmare

Today's lesson, ladies and gentlement, will be one of contrasts:
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. - King
It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans - the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans. This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans. - Nagin
No further comment needed.

Jan 16, 2006

this is John Galt

Some noteworthy quotes from John Galt's speech, which I just began, in Atlas Shrugged:
"We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt."

"A being who does not hold his own life as the motive and goal of his actions, is acting on the motive and standard of death. Such a being is a metaphysical monstrosity, struggling to oppose, negate and contradict the fact of his own existence, running blindly amuck on a trail of destruction, capable of nothing but pain."

"By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man - every man - is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose."

"You who speak of a 'moral instinct' as if it were some separate endowment opposed to reason - man's reason is his moral faculty."

"A 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments."

Jan 11, 2006

random thought of the day

Does wanting to watch the entire Alito confirmation hearing from opening statements to full fledged inquisition make me a total dork? Or just a blooming Constitutional scholar?

Jan 9, 2006


At 11,000, Dow Seeks a Revival
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen from the dead, closing above 11,000 for the first time since June 2001.
Monday's advance above the psychologically important 11,000 level has the potential to create some buzz and excitement, a nice change as the blue-chip index had fallen out of favors over the past several years. The Dow even fell 0.6% in 2005, its first annual loss since 2002. The Dow's last attempt to breach the key level, in March 2005, quickly fizzled away.
But on Monday, at least, the Dow managed to hold onto its gains and closed at 11,009.26, adding 49.95 points, or 0.5% on the day. It earlier touched an intraday high of 11,020.
*ahem* Once again...
Goddamn, that horrible Bush economy. Soup lines, rampant unemployment[1], widespread famine, pestilence ravaging the nation. Wait... None of that's happening? huh... You mean people are making more money now than they ever have before in the history of the world? Interesting... Well then why are all these people scowling in the corner pulling their hair out and whining about how horrible everything is right now? Oh, that's right, THEY'RE FULL OF SHIT!

[1] Oh yeah, that's below 5% now too.