Saturday, May 31, 2008

So, How Selfish Is Clinton?

The DNC rules committee has ruled on the statuses of the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries. Unsurprisingly, after much time (and disruptions by Clinton supporters), they decided to seat their delegates pretty much as anticipated - apportioning the delegates basically by the vote totals and them giving each delegate a half vote.

This was not what the Clinton people wanted. Apparently, in keeping with their firm grip on reality, they were hoping Hillary would be coronated as the nominee right then and there. Actually, they want no resolution so they can continue on with her quixotic campaign holding up the banner of the abused Michigan and Florida delegations as justification for going on. [Despite the fact that before she found out she needed them, she didn't give a damn about "counting all the votes".]

[Aside: If voters in Michigan and Florida think they have been mistreated in this process, they should vote out every Democratic official that supported moving up their primaries. They are the ones who broke the rules and they should be the ones who pay - not the rest of America with a McCain presidency.]

The new magic number is 2,118 and Obama's about 65 delegates away. Clinton and Obama are expected to roughly split the remaining 86 elected delegates, which would put him about 20-25 superdelegates from the nomination and the word is that they are expecting up to a few dozen supers to announce their support for him as soon as Tuesday.

The Clinton's are apparently convinced that Obama can't win in November and they seem determined to make it so. It reminds me of the kind of the self-fulfilling prophecies of the Republicans who say government doesn't work and then when they are in charge, they prove it.

So, with Clinton proxy Harold Ickes threatening to push on to the convention, despite the fact that they have a 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% chance of winning at this point, the question is: How Selfish Is Clinton?

We all know the answer: very. However, if Clinton is still in the race one week from today (in an attempt to make Obama lose in November and set herself up for 2012) the Democratic Party, led by Pelosi, Reid, and Dean for starters, will abandon her.

So, the Clintons will be essentially destroying any clout they have with the Dems going forward. For what? So she can run in 2012? If she loses the election for the Dems this time, there will be 0% chance that she will get nominated in 2012.

It is over. It has been over for some time. Somebody needs to wake the Clintons up to that fact.

On Tuesday, Obama unquestionably wins the nomination and on Wednesday the general election starts.

It's about damn time.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

AM Punk Rock: NOFX - Bob



Thursday, May 29, 2008

Things You Should Know

The Zimbabwean elections were held two months ago today.

MDC won control of the parliament away from Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF for the first time since Mugabe took power in 1980. This is remarkable but potentially meaningless unless MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai can win the upcoming presidential runoff on June 27th because the Zimbabwean constitution gives the President has the power to dissolve the legislature.

Tsvangirai has returned to Zimbabwe after nearly two months traveling the world to rouse the United Nations and other international players to force Mugabe to honor the results of the original election (or at least the next one). He hasn't been in country due to the considerable danger he faces in returning.

During that time, dozens of MDC supporters have been killed and hundreds have been brutally beaten. The unrest in Zimbabwe has forced more refugees from the country and into South Africa; there are an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans in South Africa who have fled there over the last several years of economic collapse in their homeland. This influx has contributed to the massive xenophobic violence that has rocked South Africa in the last week and is revealing South African President Thabo Mbeki as the worthless "leader" that he is.

Recently, former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam was sentenced to death in absentia for genocide in that country. I mention this because he is living under Mugabe's protection in Zimbabwe without fear of extradition. MDC has said that he will be extradited if Tsvangirai wins the election.

Oh, and China is backing Mugabe with weapons.

I could go on, but why am I rehashing all of this?

Because this election in this small country has had ripples beyond its borders. It has affected Zimbabwe's next-door neighbors, more distant African countries, the UN, and even one of the world's rising powers.

This is why I started this blog.

This is one of those "Things You Should Know".

We, in America, are not alone in the world. What we do affects other countries and what they do affects us.

Pay attention. [SA Pictures]

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AM Punk Rock: The Vandals - My Girlfriend's Dead

"It's a total lie, but it's easier on me than having to admit that she likes someone else."


Happy Birthday, V!

Today is Anonymoustache's Birthday (a.k.a., the erstwhile Guest Blogger V).

Go over to his blog and wish him well (because he's old).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

AM Punk Rock: Descendents - When I Get Old

"Will I still hate the cops, and have no class?"


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

AM Punk Rock: Tim Armstrong - Hold On

"Just like the Mississippi,
our journey starts in Minnesota.
Take I-35 to 90
Sioux Falls, South Dakota"


Friday, May 23, 2008

Tsvangirai to Return to Zimbabwe Tomorrow

The MDC leader is set to return to the country to begin campaigning for the June 27th presidential runoff.

He was forced to abort his planned return to Zimbabwe last week after word of an assassination plot reached MDC officials.

I'm not sure how MDC thinks it will be able to ensure Tsvangirai's safety when the entire security apparatus (military, police) of the country, not to mention the so-called "War Veterans", are trying to kill him.

Unfortunately, he doesn't really have a choice. You can't campaign for president if you aren't in the country.

Let's hope he can stay safe. Last year, he had his skull cracked after being arrested for violating a government ban on public protests.

I don't think he'll get off that easy if Mugabe gets his hands on him again. I know he has no choice but I'm afraid returning to the country right now may be suicide.

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CNN: Obama and Clinton Teams Talking about VP

On CNN this morning, Suzanne Malveaux reported that the two camps were discussing an exit strategy for Clinton. [My exit strategy for her involves pointing her toward the exit and telling her not to let the door hit her where the Good Lord split her. Since she's apparently a "hard-working white person", i.e., "hillbilly", I'm sure she's heard that before.]

One option included Obama publicly offering her the VP slot and her turning it down.

How exactly will that strengthen Obama and help him win the actual election? [The thing that Democrats seem to care less about than their stupid primary.]

Making him look weak by offering her VP when everyone knows he doesn't want her and then look even weaker by turning him down won't exactly pump him up. Also, there is no guarantee that once that public offer is made that she won't turn around and accept it. (Trust the Clintons? That would just make him look stupid.)

Allow me to summarize my position on an Obama/Clinton "dream" ticket:


No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.


[PS: Only the Democrats would consider taking an almost sure fire winning candidate and saddling him with a lead weight that does nothing but reduce his electability, and consider that a "dream". This is exhibit A of why I am an independent.]


AM Punk Rock: The Offspring - Gotta Get Away

"I gotta get away from me."


Thursday, May 22, 2008

AM Punk Rock: Dropkick Murphys - Walk Away

"Somewhere it all went wrong.
And your plan just fell apart.
And you aint got the heart
to finish what you started"


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clinton Compares Florida to Zimbabwe, Herself to MDC


So, presumably Obama is Mugabe.

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Bush to Cubans: Let Them Eat Cell Phones

[It must be a presidential election year is politicians are talking about Cuba.]

From Reuters:
"President George W. Bush announced an easing of restrictions on Wednesday to allow Americans to send cell phones to their families in Cuba..."
Another well thought out plan by the Bush administration.
"...It was unclear how Bush's plan might work...
If we had a dime for everytime we've heard that...we could pay back China all the money we owe them.
...Potential obstacles include whether Cuba will allow the phones in, if they will work there, and how the expensive bills will be paid."
As the next step in his plan to help the Cuban people, Bush will air drop American flag lapel pins on the island.

George W. Bush, ladies and gentlemen.


Cuba Solidarity Day

McCain No Maverick on Cuba, Iran

John McCain took the brave step yesterday of reversing yet another of his formerly principled positions in favor of the popular Republican general-election position.

He said the United States should continue the embargo against Cuba until democracy breaks out. [He had previously said that we should move to normalize relations with Cuba ala Vietnam.]

This policy has served both the U.S. and the Cuban citizenry well over the last almost 50 years it has been in place - you can tell by all the democracy and freedom that has blossomed in Cuba during that time.

As if to underscore his political bravery, McCain made this bold affirmation of the status quo in Miami where he was sure to face whithering criticism for his visionary position.

[Now that's sarcasm.]

Seriously, though; this is his plan? Do the same old nothing?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, drown the island with dollars and see what happens. What could Cubans do if they could actually afford some of those cell phones and computers that they are now being allowed to buy? They would be better able to organize and fund an opposition - a grassroots opposition formed from the ground up and without the taint (in the eyes of many Cubans) of being directly funded by the U.S. government.

Would it be so horrible to talk to a Castro? We talk to Muammar Qaddafi, Kim Jong Il - hell, Hosni Mubarak and the House of Saud are considered friends! Any policy that isn't the same old presidential politics pandering to the hard-line Cuban voting bloc in Florida will be an improvement. The Cuban people (both in Cuba and here in America) have been the victims of this failed policy and anyone who has the guts to challenge it deserves credit. Barack Obama has the guts.

McCain, ironically, thinks it makes sense to have normal relations with Vietnam, a country we fought a long and bloody war with and who kept him as a POW, but not Cuba. Both countries have similar (terrible) human rights records.

I hate to reduce someone with as distinguished a record of service to our country as Senator McCain toa stupid nickname, but "John McSame" really does seem to sum him up nowadays. [The fact that Bush is going to give a speech on Cuba today to back up McCain puts another nail in that coffin.]

[And, oh BTW, it also seems that McCain doesn't really know much about Iran - other than that we should attack it. Once again, Bush agrees. In fact, apparently he agrees so much that he may beat McCain to the punch and leave the next occupant of the White House with THREE wars as a housewarming gift.]

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AM Punk Rock: Bouncing Souls - Kids and Heroes

"Hey, where have you gone?
You used to be the one."


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

That Was Fast

I got this about 30 seconds after CNN said that Obama has won the majority of pledged delegates:
Robb -- [He knows my name!]

The polls are closed in Kentucky and votes are being counted in Oregon, and it's clear that tonight we have reached a major milestone on this journey.

We have won an absolute majority of all the delegates chosen by the people in this Democratic primary process.

From the beginning, this journey wasn't about me or the other candidates. It was about a simple choice -- will we continue down the same road with the same leadership that has failed us for so long, or will we take a different path?

Too many of us have been disappointed by politics and politicians more times than you can count. We've seen promises broken and good ideas drowned in a sea of influence, point-scoring, and petty bickering that has consumed Washington.

Yet, in spite of all the doubt and disappointment -- or perhaps because of it -- people have stood for change.

Unfortunately, our opponents in the other party continue to embrace yesterday's policies and they will continue to employ yesterday's tactics -- they will try to change the subject, and they will play on fears and divisions to distract us from what matters to you and your future.

But those tactics will not work in this election.

They won't work because you won't let them.

Not this time. Not this year.

We still have work to do to in the remaining states, where we will compete for every delegate available.

But tonight, I want to thank you for everything you have done to take us this far -- farther than anyone predicted, expected, or even believed possible.

And I want to remind you that you will make all the difference in the epic challenge ahead.

Thank you,

Barack Obama


AM Punk Rock: Rancid - Let Me Go

"It ain't impossible, and it ain't easy."


Monday, May 19, 2008

Zimbabwean Military Trying to Assassinate Tsvangirai

...with 18 snipers, no less. (I called that - not that it is a big surprise.)

So, not surprisingly, Tsvangirai has not returned to Zimbabwe as planned. Again, this illustrates the environment in which MDC is supposed to contest a runoff one where their candidate cannot even enter the country for fear of the military killing him.

Anybody want to jump in here?


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AM Punk Rock: Motion City Soundtrack - It Had to Be You

"Do you feel a certain sense of synergy between yourself and me?
A kind of macabre and somber Wondertwin type of harmony"


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tsvangirai to Return to Zimbabwe

Update: Tsvangirai will not be attending the MDC rally today due to assassination concerns. I have to say, I'm somewhat relieved to hear this. (Especially since it looks like the report of the Chinese weapons reaching Mugabe are true - and it appears to have been facilitated by South African President Thabo Mbeki.) However, it further illustrates the difficulty of holding a free and fair election when one of the candidates can't appear in public.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is set to return to Zimbabwe on Sunday for the first time since the aftermath of the March 29th election. He's going to begin campaigning for the June 27th presidential runoff election.

Returning to Zimbabwe is certainly very dangerous for Tsvangirai at this point. I'd be stunned if Mugabe, et al doesn't try to assassinate him, and it seems as if they'll have plenty of Chinese weapons to use after all.

Let's hope that doesn't happen and the Zimbabwean people can overcome the intimidation and violence of ZANU-PF and elect Tsvangirai (again).

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Obama/Webb 2008

Draft Jim Webb Petition

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AM Punk Rock: Bad Religion - New Dark Ages

I'm a big punk rock fan.

So, I'm gonna try to start putting up punk rock videos to help you (and me) wake up every morning at 8 AM. (It may vary from time to time, but I'll mostly keep to punk.)

It seems fitting to start with one of the best bands of all time, Bad Religion, from there new(ish) album:

"Because we're animals - with golden rules
Who... who can't be moved by rational views."


Friday, May 16, 2008

Obama Tells Bush/McCain Where They Can Stick It


Message from "Save the Children" in Myanmar

We received this message from Save the Children
I am writing to you from Yangon, Myanmar, where emergency relief efforts in response to Cyclone Nargis are now in their second week.

Thank you so much for your support of the children and families here in Myanmar. Save the Children's first plane load of relief supplies arrived on Monday, May 12th. It passed government inspection and is currently being distributed in some of the hardest-hit areas of the delta region.

Save the Children has already reached 115,000 survivors with lifesaving supplies including rice, water, oral rehydration solution, plastic sheeting, and other urgently needed materials. The staff has been purchasing supplies locally within Myanmar and speeding them to families in need —by truck and by boat.

But now a week of heavy rain has begun. It is unbelievably miserable and dangerous for thousands in temporary shelters. Time is of the essence.

By mobilizing Save the Children's 500 aid workers who live in Myanmar, we are able to get to the most vulnerable children and families. Thirty of our child-protection staff have been trained to assist children who have been separated from their families, and we hope to get significant family-tracing activities going in as early as a day or two.

The spread of disease is one of our biggest concerns, as is the increasing number of diarrhea cases among children. And while that does not seem serious for Westerners, we know that diarrhea is a major killer among children in the developing world. Save the Children’s oral rehydration solution can save the lives of many of these children.

While the work is not easy, our hopes and spirits are strong. I’m told that as our team in Pathein was loading a boat, some local people — struggling themselves — arrived and offered to help. That really brought tears to our eyes. Their generosity and kindness, like yours, makes all our efforts worthwhile.

From Myanmar,

Andrew Kirkwood
Myanmar Country Office Director
Save the Children
To donate funds to the relief effort go here and remember, Save the Children is one of the only relief organizations that is on the ground actively helping victims of the cyclone, right now.

Zimbabwe Runoff Election Date Set

June 27.

Much sooner than I expected.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Evening Chuckle: Give Colbert Mugabe's Degree

Are you listening UMass? [The Mugabe jokes start about two minutes in.]

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Write Your Senators to Help Pass AIDS Funding

[Senators will be added to the list below in bold as they sign on.]

I have said before that the only thing that Bush has done that is worth a damn is his initiative to fund AIDS prevention and treatment in the hardest hit countries around the world. (BTW, my challenge to anyone to tell me ONE other good thing he has done still stands and is still unanswered - but I digress.)

The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has saved (and is right now saving) millions of people infected with HIV (especially in Africa, which is the hardest hit continent in the world) by providing essential antiretroviral medication and prevention programs. These programs not only save lives but curtail the spread of the disease.

The original appropriation was a 5-year, $15 billion allotment and it is currently up for re-authorization (estimates are that $50 billion will be the price tag for the next 5 years but that number has yet to be negotiated).

So, one would think that one of the most successful foreign aid programs in U.S. history would be re-authorized lickety-split, right?


A group of seven Republican Senators led by bat$#!#-insane Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn are blocking the re-authorization.

The ONE Campaign has organized a petition drive to get 50 Senators to co-sponsor the legislation. If your Senators aren't on this list:

Joe Biden (D-DE)
Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Chris Dodd (D-CT)
Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
John Kerry (D-MA)
John Sununu (R-NH)
Gordon Smith (R-OR)

Then go here to send them a message asking to help get PEPFAR reauthorized and funded.

This is good humanitarianism AND foreign policy. Why do you think Africa is the only place people don't uniformly hate Bush?

[Also, while I'm on the subject, check out this article by the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) on 25 years of HIV.]


A Time to Fight

I'm not sure how I missed this but our favorite Senator Jim Webb has written a new book:
"Jim Webb—the bestselling author and now the celebrated, outspoken U.S. Senator from Virginia—presents a clear-eyed, hard-hitting plan of attack for putting government to work for the people, rather than special interests, and for restoring the country's standing around the world.

Webb exposes how America has entered a dangerous, unprecedented cycle of seemingly unsolvable unknowns. Our economic policies, particularly in this age of globalization, have produced widely divergent results leading to a country calcifying along class lines. Our demographic makeup has been altered dramatically and is set to keep on changing, through both legal and illegal immigration. Our editorialists and politicians talk about the American dream, and some urge us to bring democracy to the rest of the world. But more than two million Americans are now in prison, by far the highest incarceration rate in the so-called advanced world. Our foreign policy is confused, without clear direction; increasingly vulnerable to such largely unexamined long-term threats as China's emerging power while it has become bogged down in the never-ending struggles of the Middle East. As this drift toward societal regression has taken place, America's leadership has largely been paralyzed, unable or unwilling to stop the slide. 'Where are the leaders?' Webb asks. 'Has our political process become so compromised by powerful interest groups and the threat of character assassination that even the best among us will not dare to speak honestly about the solutions that might bring us back to common sense and fundamental fairness?'"
Looks like I've got something to read once I finish Fareed's book.

Speaking of Jim Webb, Slate has an article about the possibility of him becoming Obama's VP and it just happens to feature...ME! (Only in the fifth paragraph, no less.)

Despite his protestations to the contrary, this book is perfectly timed to coincide with the start of the "Veepstakes". (Although, apparently, John Edwards is interested in VP - I think he would be better as Attorney General, though.)

I think it would be an unstoppable combination. [Sign the Draft Jim Webb for VP petition.]

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Zimbabwe Presidential Runoff Delayed 90 Days

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (which was stacked by "President" Robert Mugabe) has decided to violate the Zimbabwean Constitution and increase the time in which a runoff election must be held from 21 to 90 days (which should be around the 1st of August).

That means three more months of violence and intimidation.

I hope people don't forget about Zimbabwe in the face of things like Myanmar and the Chinese earthquake. I won't. I will be here for the whole summer.

The good news just keeps coming for China who, to refresh your memory, is one of the main reasons Mugabe has managed to stay in power. Oh, and they are desperately trying to supply him with weapons to help in his crackdown.

One interesting note, if the election is held on August 1st, it will be one week before the start of the Olympic Games in Beijing. I think it is somehow appropriate that the run up to the Olympics will coincide with the violent run up to the Zimbabwe election. (And the violent aftermath of the election will coincide with the games themselves.) Hopefully, this confluence will help focus international attention on the atrocities that are sure to be committed by Mugabe with China's aid and consent.

[Have a cool summer, China!]

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John Edwards to Endorse Obama

'Bout damn time. (In about 20 minutes.)

If he throws his 19(?) delegates behind Obama, then he will be approximately 120 delegates shy of the nomination with approximately 430 outstanding. That would mean he would need about 28% of the remaining delegates.

I don't put too much stock in the idea that Edwards will help Obama with the so-called "hard-working white voters" (I think that is ridiculously overstated anyway) but he might help the remaining superdelegates feel more comfortable endorsing Obama.

Not bad. (This will be over soon. Thank God.)


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Does This Make James Carville Judas?

"I still hear some dogs barking. I'm for Senator Clinton, but I think the great likelihood is that Obama will be the nominee. As soon as I determine when that is, I'll send him a check."

- James Carville

Ha ha ha.

[Seriously though, he's a jack@$$.]

Sudanese Rebels Attack Khartoum

My knee-jerk reaction when I heard that one of the Darfuri rebel groups had attacked the Sudanese capital of Khartoum in an attempt to overthrow the government was, "Good, I hope they kick (Sudanese President) Omar al-Bashir's @$$."

However, once I read a little farther, the facts dampened that initial enthusiasm. Because, sadly, there could be something worse than the Bashir regime in Khartoum.

The rebels who have been (and still are) trying to overthrow Bashir in recent days are part of the Justice and Equality Movement, or JEM. The JEM are an Islamist group believed to have ties to Hassan al-Turabi who has been a prominent figure in Sudanese politics since independence in the 1950s. He hasn't been highly publicized in the West but Turabi was directly responsible for the ascendance of al-Qaeda. He was involved in the coup that led to the Bashir regime taking power. (FYI, the political party associated with the regime and Turabi is an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which also spawned Hamas.)

Once Bashir was in power, he invited Osama bin Laden to set up camp in Sudan. During that time, Turabi held conferences of international terrorists that allowed bin Laden to create networks with terrorists all over the world. Turabi was responsible for instituting Sharia law in Sudan for a time, even upon the non-Islamist peoples of southern Sudan, with predictably disastrous consequences.

Hassan al-Turabi with Osama bin Laden in Sudan in the 1990s.

Turabi fell out of favor with Bashir and has been under arrest for most of the last ten years. (He has been arrested again in the wake of the JEM's recent coup attempt.) He denies being associated with JEM or being a radical Islamist. However, any government that includes Turabi would be worse than even Bashir.

Bashir has shown that he is not immune to international pressure; Turabi on the other hand...well, he has been described as the greatest politician in Sudan's history, which is partly why he is still alive.

A JEM/Hassan al-Turabi government in Sudan could well be a greater disaster than the Bashir regime. There would be (well deserved) retribution against the perpetrators of the atrocities in Darfur but after that...?

There definitely needs to be change in Khartoum, but any change involving Turabi would not be for the better.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Chinese Earthquake Relief: Chongqing

In the wake of today's 7.9 earthquake (which is hard to even imagine) in central China, I wanted to post this video that I've been meaning to highlight. Coincidentally, it is about Chongqing, a massive city in China and the story of its incredible growth. It is a city the size of New York that most Americans (including myself, until recently) have never heard of. It also happens to be near the epicenter of today's earthquake.

I know that I often use my blog to excoriate the Chinese but I am always careful to point out that my criticisms are aimed at the PRC government. I have nothing but respect for the Chinese people and hope for them to have the same freedoms we enjoy in this country. I think the best thing we can do is understand each other's lives.

I sincerely hope that the death toll won't rise any further. Unfortunately, I'm sure it will. Save the Children is the relief organization that I usually trust for things like this. (You can also donate for the cyclone in Myanmar - Save the Children is one of the only aid organizations that was on the ground before the storm hit.)

It is important to remember that, no matter what our differences with the Chinese government, we shouldn't use that as a reason to neglect humanitarian efforts to help the Chinese people.


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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Evening Chuckle: Fun with Castro


[H/T Kill Castro]

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Message from Hillary W. Clinton

This pretty much says it all:


Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Hired Killer Stalks the Wild Pigs Plaguing Nebraska"

"Biologist Sam Wilson Sets Traps and Shoots Critters Threatening the Corn Crops"

If you see this "hard-squinting" cold blooded killer, DO NOT APPROACH HIM! He may mistake you for a pig and smash your head in with a rock, stab you in the heart, or catch you in a trap made with toy-car parts. (It happens, trust me.)

Just look at this Unabomber-esque police sketch:

[Happy Anniversary, Sam!]

An Open Letter to the News Media

Dear Media,

How are you? I hope you are enjoying your weekend. I'm fine. Thank you for asking.

Now that we've established a friendly rapport, I'll get to the point of my letter:

I don't give a crap about the Jenna Bush/Toolie McTool Wedding.

(My apologies, I actually don't know what the groom's name is so I made one up. However, I'm sure if he's marrying into that family...he's a tool. But I digress.)

Please stop talking about it.

Please stop taking up air time showing coffee mugs with the Bush/McTool engagement picture on them. Also, I don't care what the four people who live in Crawford, Texas think about it.

You've got tornadoes, the self-immolation of the Clintons, $126/barrel oil, a ceasefire in Sadr City, a civil war brewing in Lebanon, the crisis in Zimbabwe (which I know you don't care about), and a natural disaster that killed 100,000 people and an intransigent government simultaneously keeping out aid and using it as cover to pass a sham constitution. Pick one (or all) of those.

I know stories that require "reporting" aren't really your forte anymore, since it's hard and stuff. Besides those kinds of stories don't help sell "Head-On" or SUVs or UFC pay-per-view. But, it might be a fun change of pace for you.

Thanks for your time, Media. Have a cool summer. I hope there are lots of shark attacks to keep you busy.



Tsvangirai Sets Conditions for Contesting Runoff

MDC Leader (and rightful President of Zimbabwe) Morgan Tsvangirai held a press conference this morning in which he laid out the conditions that need to be met in Zimbabwe in order for him to compete in a runoff (H/T: This is Zimbabwe):
"The conditions include:

* Security of law
* The violence must stop immediately
* A new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
* Geroge Chiweshe must go (the head of ZEC, above)
* A free press - local and international
* A SADC peacekeeping force are wanted on the ground
* Unfettered access for international observers"
Tsvangirai also said he would be returning to Zimbabwe (he is currently in South Africa) for a "victory tour". (BBC has audio of some of the press conference, full text of the statement is here.)

Also, despite the fact that the ZEC have not set a date for the runoff, MDC will be preparing for a May 24th election date (three weeks after the results were released as mandated by the Zimbabwean constitution).

I'm happy to hear that MDC is planning to contest the election, but there is certain to be even more violence leading up to it. The international community needs put more pressure on ZANU-PF to help ensure the elections are free and fair. (I'm looking at you, China.)

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Jim Webb for VP

As much as I think he is an excellent Senator for us in Virginia, I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment:

"Obama Should Pick Webb for Running Mate"

I do think it would help him if he would declare his support for Obama already, however.

I also find it deliciously ironic that Webb, who no one had heard of before 2006, would be on a Presidential ticket after beating George Allen, who would be the Republican nominee if Webb hadn't gotten into the 2006 Senate race in the first place. God, that was time well spent.

I love it when a plan comes together.

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Zimbabwe Update: Time to Start Paying Attention, People

[I'm still here, hoping for the best.]

The BBC has an entire section dedicated to the Zimbabwe crisis that you should check out. They are also receiving personal stories from a writer in Zimbabwe:
"He was abducted from his home on Monday night, beaten up and returned to his home.

He managed to send text messages to his family, and told them not to come and collect him to seek medical treatment as he was instructed by his assailants not to leave the area "Or else."

Because he does not hold a Zanu-PF membership card, it was assumed he was an MDC supporter.

And the worst part was that he was given a 'certificate' to show he had received his beating.

He was told to produce it whenever someone else wanted to beat him as proof that it had already been done.

The paper even had a date stamp and the signature of the leader of the group."
There are also concerns that the runoff may be delayed for more than a year - ironically because it is too violent in the country to hold credible elections. So, Mugabe's violence against his own country gives him the very justification to stay in power!


And we continue to do nothing...

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Evening Chuckle: Thank God This Is Almost Over

I'll write more about the end of the Clinton campaign tomorrow, but for now:

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Mugabe Says "Thanks", George

Tom Friedman talks about the "Democratic Recession" occurring in the world today:
"The decline of U.S. influence and moral authority has also taken a toll. The Bush democracy-building effort in Iraq has been so botched, both by us and Iraqis, that America's ability and willingness to promote democracy elsewhere has been damaged. The torture scandals of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay also have not helped. 'There has been an enormous squandering of American soft power, and hard power, in recent years,' said Diamond, who worked in Iraq as a democracy specialist."
And who (among others) is the recipient of all Bush's well thought out international strategery?
"The bad guys know it and are taking advantage. And one place you see that most is in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe has been trying to steal an election, after years of driving his country into a ditch. I would say there is no more disgusting leader in the world today than Mugabe. The only one who rivals him is his neighbor and chief enabler and protector, South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki."
I especially like the shot at Mbeki. (Seriously, how do you go from Mandela to this #*@%?)


Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Post-American World Comes Out Monday!

Update: I got my copy yesterday and have only been able to read the first twenty pages but so far it is good. Very optimistic but not unrealistically so. Also, check out this comment from my original post on the book that someone put up last night. Some good points.

Fareed Zakaria's new book, The Post-American World, comes out on Monday, May 5.

I'll be buying it ASAP.

However, to hold you over until you can get a hold of it yourself (possibly through the links above), here are two excerpts from the book that have been made available in advance:

Foreign Affairs: The Future of American Power

Newsweek: The Rise of the Rest


Zimbabwean Future Up in the Air

MDC leaders have yet to decide whether or not to contest the runoff election that seems likely to happen in Zimbabwe at some point in the future. It is hard to blame them:
"Pro-government militias have reportedly beaten opposition activists in the past month – killing 20 MDC supporters and displacing some 5,000 families, opposition leaders say. Some top government officials speak openly about the possibility of a power-sharing agreement with the opposition, an unthinkable idea just weeks ago...

...Ongoing violence around the country may make this a bad time to hold a runoff, says University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Simon Badza. "To be honest this is not the right time for an election because it will not be indicative of the will of the people. People are being beaten and killed," said Mr. Badza."
The best case scenario would be a unity government between MDC and ZANU-PF (excluding Mugabe). Not perfect, but a good first step toward fixing the larger problems in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, I expect a runoff.

Despite the ongoing violence and the likelihood of massive voter intimidation during a second poll from ZANU-PF and their surrogates, MDC should contest any runoff. They cannot let Mugabe steal this that easily. He's been weakened and more pressure will weaken him more. If there is violence it will draw more international attention to the crisis. There is also the possibility, however unlikely, that MDC wins outright (again).

Now is not the time to sit back and be principled and passive and lose.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Zimbabwe Presidential Results Released

Results from the (rigged) Zimbabwean election have finally been released, after a month, and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won 47.9% v. 43.2% for Robert Mugabe. This is short of the 50% that is required for an out right win and the ruling ZANU-PF party has said that they will contest a runoff, which is something that the MDC rejects.

The MDC has suggested that they would be willing to form a national unity government with ZANU-PF with one condition: Mugabe cannot be included.
This is probably the best possible solution and, of course, it will be rejected. A runoff will be ugly...

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ben Stein Should Die of Gonorrhea and Rot in Hell

Because apparently, according to him, the goal and high point of all scientific achievement was killing Jews.

Bravo, Mr. Stein. Bravo.


That's right, he drove me to use (I think) the first non-censored curse by me on this site.

This is direct quote: "science leads to killing people"

I hope you never need insulin or antibiotics, bitch.

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