How more troops might help

I'm one who thinks we should basically leave Iraq immediately and completely. I don't think it is a question of defeat -- our presence just does not seem to be improving the situation. We got what we originally set out to do: Iraq is not a military threat to the US anymore. It does not have the capabilities to create weapons of mass destruction. Yeah, we created a chaotic and unstable situation in the process, sorry about that, but our work is done here.

On the other hand, the one reason I can think of to bring in a shitload of troops is to undertake a rapid infrastructure rebuild: clean water everywhere and the power on 24/7. Then we can leave with a better taste in our mouth. I don't think we can provide security in Iraq unless we lock it down with martial law and quadruple our force there. Even then it will be unstable and will only postpone the problem.

No, the Left was right, we sent the bull in the china shop and now you can't unring the bell. A metaphor mashup that is now an unfortunate reality for the US in Iraq.


On the Road Moments with Edwards

A collection on random odd moments from my last few days travelling from New Orleans to Iowa and New Hampshire with presidential candidate John Edwards.


Park Service: No comment on age of Grand Canyon

I am just so very tired of reading stuff like this:

Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

As of this writing, there are 752 DAYS 19 Hrs 2 Min 46.6 Sec until our long national nightmare is over.


Hayes wants soldiers in missionary position

Good God. Here's Robin Hayes, 8th Congressional district of North Carolina.

Stability in Iraq ultimately depends on spreading the message of Jesus Christ, the message of peace on earth, good will towards men. Everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the Savior.


On Kiffmeyer, Spin Pimps and clown suits

Michael Brodkorb of Minnesota Democrats Exposed has a series of mind-bendingly stupid posts up about the transition meetings between outgoing Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer and incoming Sec State Mark Ritchie (hat tip to MnPact). In an effort to protect her reputation, it appears that Mary Kiff invited Brodkorb to blog the transition meetings between her and Mark Ritchie. How bizarre. You must read this nonsense. Note: Because stupidity tends to die in the sunlight, I am linking to his blog, though normally I resist.

Brodkorb obviously views Kiffemeyer's inviation to a wield a partisan hatchet on the reputation of Mark Ritchie as a "scoop." It is not, of course. It is the rope with which the Republicans hung themselves this election. Thank God Brodkorb and Kiffmeyer are blind to the fact that they pull the noose tighter and tighter with every stunt. I say, let them run riot!

After all, why should the public trust any politician that holds court via a spin pimp like Brodkorb? Kiffemeyer's invitation reveals exactly one thing - her utter unsuitability to serve all Minnesotans. At least that's the way voters saw it. Ritchie crushed Kiffmeyer at the polls. Obviously, she hasn't quite removed their bootprint from her rear end.

Thank you so much Ms. Kiffmeyer. Thank you Mr. Brodkorb. Your dellusional "muckracking" and inflated egos serve those of us who hope for a better Minnesota so very well. Please, pretty please, can you put on your clown suits and do another round?


Missives from the Department of Assinine Behavior

Behold the thoughts of Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) on Minnesota's Keith Ellison:

Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.

If there is a more ignorant communication from an elected official I'd like to see it. Breathtaking. I'd dismiss him as a cracker, but you know, a) he's a US Congressman, and b) that'd be an insult to crackers.

Count me as unsurprised

Military chiefs harbor doubts about proposal to 'surge' troops to Iraq

No kidding. Who doesn't have doubts about that? This whole "Doubling Down" thing (aside from being all together too cavalier) has me worried. Bush isn't really talking about sending in another 150,000 troops. Even if he was, it still probably wouldn't be enough. An additional twenty- to thirty-thousand just seems like feeding the machine.


Unfathomable lies

It was easy to see this coming. Still, it stings.

WASHINGTON - U.S. military and intelligence officials have systematically underreported the violence in
Iraq in order to suit the Bush administration's policy goals, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group said...

...The panel pointed to one day last July when U.S. officials reported 93 attacks or significant acts of violence. "Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence," it said.

If there is any act more deserving of impeachment, I can't think of it.


For once I find myself agreeing with David Strom

Halls of Ivy get ever greener:

"It's embarrassing," said Roger Bowen, general secretary of the Washington-based American Association of University Professors. "We call it market competition, but universities should not be victimized by market forces; that's not what they're about. ... To the extent we force ourselves into market competition, we're going to see presidential salaries go up ... and you're going to see tuition go up."To have a small college [Carleton] with 1,800 to 2,000 students paying its president almost half a million dollars seems out of line," said David Strom, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and a Carleton graduate.

But Minnesota college officials say the rising salaries are unavoidable. They say the pool of applicants for such jobs has shrunk, and the job is a lot tougher. College presidents, they say, must now do more fundraising and public relations, and must have the savvy and finesse to schmooze successfully with potential benefactors such as wealthy alumni and legislators.

OK, so: these University presidents get paid more because they need to do more fundraising, and yet tuition is still skyrocketing? Shouldn't they be compensated for levels of fundraising that keep tuition affordable? Who is benefiting from this (alleged) increase in fundraising? Thank you, "market forces", for doing whatever it is you're doing to improve higher education in America.

Oh yeah, I should add that I'm tired of journalists using the scientific-sounding phrase "market forces" to refer to selfish competitive money-lust. It would be interesting, for instance, to find a "market force" that ended homelessness or kept tuition affordable...


...so hard for it, honey

At long last, the gender pay gap is narrowing, but for reasons that should come as no surprise to observers of the recent American economy: men's wages are eroding, and (male-dominated) blue collar jobs are disappearing. Thus, the narrowing gap helps no one; just another symptom of a sick economy with zero rewards for hard work and limitless wealth for those born on third base. The experts put it best:

"We're closing the wage gap in exactly the wrong way," said Rebecca Blank, dean of the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. "The idea was that women's wages were supposed to rise, not that men's wages would fall to women's level."

Economist Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington said: "Low-wage men have just been taking it on the chin. What you would like to see, especially during a period when the economy is growing at a good clip, is men's wages rising but women's wages rising more as they move toward equal pay for equal work."

Sure, Bernstein's lost in utopian thinking: this growing economy will probably see men's pay fall further (thus achieving pay equity, hooray), followed by a ruthless era that pushes both men and women together in equally stagnating pay. This is because wage increases no longer have anything to do with productivity increases, and unless you're lucky enough to stumble upon one of these new wealth-harvesting occupations (whose pay is also disconnected, but in the other direction, from productivity), prepare for a future of scrabbling and stagnation.

On the other hand, maybe lots more women will test out the motivational myth of the American Dream by organizing workers and bargaining wage increases.