Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fareed Zakaria: Palin Is Ready? Please.

Fareed Zakaria pretty much sums up what I (and I assume everyone else, at least secretly) thinks about Sarah Palin. Here are some of his more brutal truths:
"Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. ('We mustn't blink.') But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish."

"This is nonsense—a vapid emptying out of every catchphrase about economics that came into her head."

"But the more Palin talks, the more we see that it may not be sexism but common sense that's causing the McCain campaign to treat her like a time bomb."

"Can we now admit the obvious? Sarah Palin is utterly unqualified to be vice president. She is a feisty, charismatic politician who has done some good things in Alaska. But she has never spent a day thinking about any important national or international issue, and this is a hell of a time to start."

"In these times, for John McCain to have chosen this person to be his running mate is fundamentally irresponsible. McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, it is simply not true."
I couldn't agree more. Her level of incompetence is nothing short of dangerous.

Update: Wow. Here is Fareed on CNN today continuing to say what everyone else is thinking:

Monday, September 22, 2008

On the Financial Crisis

This isn't the kind of I normally write about but I'd just like to go on the record as saying: You want $700 billion dollars with no oversight or accountability? Are you #%@%ing kidding me?

The only people still stupid enough to trust the Bush administration when they say, "Trust us," probably work in the Bush Administration.

I'm glad to see that the Democrats aren't pulling out their usual strategy of wetting themselves and playing dead when the administration wants something and actually trying to find a less panicky, knee-jerk solution. (Chris Dodd, his name is Chris Dodd...) Although, I'm sure there is still plenty of that.

The reduced executive compensation is really a drop in the bucket compared to the real expense of this bailout and a totally political move but I have to's still satisfying to think that people who almost destroyed the world economy with their idiocy and incompetence won't be getting a multi-million dollar thank you at our expense.

I'm sure Paulson and Bush will fight that, though. They won't able to show their faces at the country club ever again!

[P.S. Oil went up $15 a barrel today. Was there a hurricane? Political instability in the Mideast? A terrorist attack? No. No. No. I know I keep harping on this but I really wish people would stop trying to pretend that the price of oil is all based on supply and demand.]

Do This!

Do it here!

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thabo Mbeki to Resign as SA President!

Holy crap!
"South African President Thabo Mbeki will accept a call to resign by the governing African National Congress (ANC), his spokesman has said."
I had read about the possibility of this yesterday but I didn't think it would actually happen.

The sad thing is that this is totally political (and somewhat vindictive since Mbeki's term was up next spring anyway). Mbeki deserved to be removed years ago for his dangerously idiotic beliefs on HIV/AIDS and, more recently, his less-than-stellar efforts in dealing with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Speaking of which:
"The ANC secretary general said this was not punishment for Thabo Mbeki, adding that the president would be given the chance to continue his role as mediator in Zimbabwe."
So, I have no idea what the effects will be for Zimbabwe. Will Mbeki stay on as negotiator? If so, will his power in that role be diminished as he is no longer a head of state? Could he possibly be even more impotent in the negotiators role anyway?

As much as I am not sad to see Mbeki go, I'm just not sure about his likely successor, Jacob Zuma, either. There have been a lot of negative stories swirling around him for a while. Corruption charges (which may have been trumped up by Mbeki and which led to Mbeki's downfall) and a high profile rape case in which he was acquitted of raping an HIV-positive woman and then taking a shower afterward to keep from contracting the virus. Not exactly a huge step forward in the understanding of HIV or the epidemic for South Africa.

So, who knows what comes next. We are talking about Africa, after all.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Zimbabwe Power Sharing

"Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe signed a power-sharing agreement with opposition rival Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday, relinquishing some of his powers for the first time in nearly three decades of iron rule."
Unfortunately, although ceding control of the police force, Mugabe is keeping control of the Armed Forces. (Or as I read somewhere today that I can't find now - the Armed Forces remain in control of Mugabe.) There was a similar agreement in 1980 between Mugabe and a then rival. Mugabe used the military to destroy the opposition in the Gukurahundi.

Here's hoping things turn out better this time.

The key will be if the generals who back Mugabe let MDC actually gain some control. If they are worried about their own survival, they will gladly destroy the deal - the rest of Zimbabwe be damned. The economic survival of Zimbabwe will depend on reshaping the current system (by MDC) and a large dose of foreign aid. Both of those codnitions rely on this power sharing being legitimate. Any action by the military to undermine the new government will undermine any chance for restoring the economy, which is vital to improving the lives of every Zimbaweans.

[And, to top it off, there was some violence between MDC and ZANU-PF supporters outside of the venue where the agreement was signed.]

PS: Excerpts from Tsvangirai and Mugabe's speeches today,

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Kurdistan Now the Less Stable Part of Iraq

Here's something I haven't written about in a while: The Kurds!

Remember when Bush (and former Senator George Allen) touted how great things were in the Kurdish region of Iraq?

Well, not so much.

To recap: the Kurds want to expand their autonomous region to include Kirkuk, which has a crapload of oil. This, unsurprisingly, does not appeal to the Arab (and Turk) population of Kirkuk or, frankly, the rest of the country.

The Kurds have been not-so-patiently awaiting a referendum in Kirkuk to decide if Kirkuk will join the Kurdish region. (Coincidentally, the Kurds have been moving their own people into the area since Saddam fell to stack the referendum in their favor.)

Now the tensions are coming to a head and threaten to undermine the relative stability currently being enjoyed in Iraq.

Read the article. This affects us.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008


Never forget.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Why does Cindy McCain's speech make me feel like she's more qualified to be VP than Palin?

She has clearly spent more time abroad than Palin and dealt with more international issues.

Of course, her $300,000 outfits might short circuit some of the "elitist" (or, if you will, "uppitty") line of attack being used against Obama.

Evening Chuckle: Politics Would Be So Much Easier without Video Tape

Hat tip to Rhonda.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarah Palin

(I'm taking a brief break from not-blogging to get on the record about this.)

I assume Sarah Palin as Veep is some sort of maverick-y practical joke that has gone horribly wrong.

I seem to find this person more objectionable as the hours go by. I find everything she says and does to be distasteful.

However, worst of all is the fact that she is incredibly, perhaps uniquely, unqualified to be President (and thus, Vice President). I would have accepted a McCain presidency (as bad for the country - and unlikely - as I think it would be) but the idea of having Pat-Buchanon-esque-crazy-@$$-right-wing-C-as-Governor-Mayor-of-Wayne Sarah Palin is downright terrifying.

I'm gonna go give Obama some more money.

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