Closing Up the Patient

My Iraq analogy for the day:

If you went to a doctor and he told you you needed surgery but the rest of the doctors in the hospital said they thought maybe they should run some more tests, then your doctor botched the surgery and told you later that maybe you didn’t need the procedure after all, would trust him to handle the fix to the problem? Or even to define what the problem was?

People who think that now that the US has messed up Iraq (and who don’t have some other reason for thinking the US should maintain a presence there) that we have to “fix” what we broke for the poor Iraqis are deluding themselves.

Congress is in Republican control for at least another seventeen months. It’ll be three-and-a-half years before a Democrat could potentially move into the White House. Staying in Iraq means the same people who started the war there and who have mishandled the occupation for two-plus years will be in charge of

  • deciding what strategies to employ against the insurgency,
  • controlling reconstruction of water, sanitation, and power,
  • overseeing military supply contracts,
  • guiding the Iraqi government,
  • deciding what in Iraq is and isn’t a threat to US security,
  • and maintaining the safety of the Iraqi people

just as they have been since March 2003. I suppose, if you think they’ve been doing a good job, you might be inclined to let them keep practicing. But apparently, people like Joe Biden and his ilk think that another seventeen months (at a minimum) of Bush in charge is a small price for the Iraqis and the military to pay in order for them to look strong.

The Poetry Menace

From the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader:

WUKY cancels radio program over offensive content

By Jamie Gumbrecht

A few weeks after The Boston Globe called The Writer’s Almanac radio program “a confection of poetry and history wrapped in the down comforter voice of producer and host Garrison Keillor,” WUKY-91.3 FM canceled the daily featurette for offensive content.

* * *

Reaction to the cancellation has been minimal so far, Godell said. WUKY managers decided to stop carrying the Almanac after a recent spate of language advisories, although they were tracking the content for about a year, Godell said.

The warnings, issued by the program’s production company, came about Curse of the Cat Woman by Edward Field, which contained violent themes and the word “breast”; Thinking About the Past by Donald Justice, which also used the word “breast”; and Reunion by Amber Coverdale, which contained the phrase “get high.” The poems were scheduled for broadcast between July 23 and Aug. 12.

* * *

Keillor, who will perform Feb. 21 at Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts, said in an e-mail that stations are within their rights to cancel the Almanac but he’s proud of the poems he reads.

“There isn’t one of them I would hesitate to offer to any high school English class,” Keillor wrote. “The fact that someone is troubled by hearing the word ‘breast’ is interesting, but what are we supposed to do with A Visit From St. Nicholas and the ‘breast of the new fallen snow’? Should it become a shoulder or an elbow? I don’t think so.”

I always knew there was something suspicious about poetry.

Could Joe Biden Answer Cindy Sheehan’s Question?

The war in Iraq was predicated on protecting the US from attack by nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons of mass destruction. The mission statement on Cindy Sheehan’s Meet with Cindy site states (emphasis added):

Our mission is to persuade President Bush to meet with Cindy Sheehan and answer her questions about why the war that took her son’s life was started and why it is being continued.

I’m all for Ms. Sheehan’s getting up in the nose of George W. Bush. I don’t think he could answer her questions even if he deigned to meet with her.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of Democrats–even some who can string more than three words together without resorting to that whipped-dog whine W affects when he’s having trouble remembering how to end a sentence–who couldn’t do that, either.

This exchange is from Meet the Press yesterday, with guest host Andrea Mitchell talking to Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE):

MS. MITCHELL: Let me show you a recent poll of how the American people now view the situation in Iraq. The CNN-Gallup Poll says that only 34 percent now feel that it has made us safer. Fifty-seven percent feels it’s made us less safer. The president in his radio speech yesterday said that we’re fighting this war in Iraq as part of a global war on terror and we’re fighting there so we don’t have to fight them at home. Is the homeland safer because of the war in Iraq?

SEN. BIDEN: We’re all better off Saddam is gone, but I–this is an example once again where the American people are brighter than their leaders, they’re smarter than their leaders. They understand fully that what’s happened is it has become a training ground. There’s actually some evidence when I was there back in–Memorial Day that not only are these jihadists coming in and fighting and getting trained on the job, that they’re also after being trained being exported to Europe and other parts of the world. So the fact of the matter is we have not become safer from terrorists as a consequence of this, but the irony is unless we now finish the job, we will be considerably less safe than we were before and that’s why we must stay in order to try to put a government in place that has the capacity to, in fact, secure its own country.

Biden doesn’t explain how “the homeland is safer because of the war in Iraq,” a war that he supported. He doesn’t explain how “We’re all better off Saddam is gone,” which just seems ludicrous given that we’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars just to destabilize a broken-down Third World country. He evades the question and moves on to his “finish the job” speech.

I don’t think Biden should be doing Bush’s job for him explaining why the war was started–I don’t really think he can. But so long as he and others in the Democratic leadership continue to say anything but an unequivocal “No” to the question Mitchell posed, they’ve got the same looming credibility problem on the war that Bush has. And that’s not going to get any better by the 2006 elections.

Bush Must “Go On With Life”

Hey, it’s not my opinion, it’s what actually came out of his mouth.

In a Cox News Service story by Ken Herman that I couldn’t find anywhere but the Waco Tribune-Herald, W is quoted defending his decision not to meet with Cindy Sheehan:

Bush defends ignoring protest

By Ken Herman Cox News Service
Sunday, August 14, 2005

CRAWFORD, Texas – President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and “it’s also important for me to go on with my life,” on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq.

Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan and others who have joined her protest near the Bush ranch.

“But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there’s somebody who has got something to say to the president, that’s part of the job,” Bush said on the ranch. “And I think it’s important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say.”

“But,” he added, “I think it’s also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life.”

The comments came prior to a bike ride on the ranch with journalists and aides. It also came as the crowd of protesters grew in support of Sheehan, the California mother who came here Aug. 6 demanding to talk to Bush about the death of her son Casey. Sheehan arrived earlier in the week with about a half dozen supporters. As of Saturday there were about 300 anti-war protestors and approximately 100 people supporting the Bush administration.

Sheehan is seeking a justification for the war, as well as her son’s death.

“I don’t want comfort from him,” she said Friday. “I want answers. I want the truth.”

You have to wonder what he’s like when he’s unbalanced.

There is more to the article at the link.

Safe As Houses IIa

The massive bomb that killed 14 Marine Reserve troops from Ohio earlier this month has made August 2005 — not even half over — the deadliest month so far for National Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq.

Only a month ago,, the Pentagon officer in charge of National Guard forces — Lt. Gen. Steven Blum — held a breakfast meeting with defense reporters to tell them that media exaggeration of the dangers faced by Guardsmen was the reason recruiting goals weren’t being met. He asserted that Iraq duty isn’t that dangerous, saying “I lose, unfortunately, more people through private automobile accidents and motorcycle accidents over the same period of time.”

As our comparison showed at the time, that statement could only be possible if the vehicular fatality rate for Guardsmen was at least three times higher than for the general population of the US, or 250% higher than that of a multi-year study of regular Army vehicle fatalities.

Bringing Back the Big Picture

The Big Picture with A. Whitney Brown

I’ve been meaning to post this clip of an A. Whitney Brown “The Big Picture” segment from a 1986 Saturday Night Live for a while because:

  1. It’s pretty funny.
  2. It shows in a startlingly clear contrast just how bad Dennis Miller always was as a comic.
  3. It makes a point about how hair plays an (if you’ll pardon the phrase) overblown role in big-time success. The unfunny Miller, of course, has had several failed TV shows; A. Whitney Brown is — I believe — a writer for Air America Radio.
  4. It illustrates how nothing under the sun is really all that new. This piece aired almost 20 years ago, during the Iran-contra scandal, while the US was combatting the Nicaraguans who — we were told — were waiting to swarm over the borders of Texas, while we were supporting the Iranians who were supplying arms to Afghan freedom fighters/terrorists fighting the Soviets. Good times.

But I’m making sure to get it online now because of the general discussion by Mithras of the dearth of funny conservative bloggers (or, in my opinion, funny conservatives, period).

watchmechange In the Wall Street Journal

The watchmechange Shockwave 3D tool developed by Brian Robbins at Fuel and deployed for the Gap made it into the Wall Street Journal today.

The article takes a surprisingly prim tone about the piece, which features an animated 3D character doing a bump-and-grind clad in underwear, which would seemingly be no racier than the dancing baby of “Ally Macbeal” or Tom Cruise’s long-ago dance in “Risky Business.” Non-violent, no nudity, putting on clothing (and taking it off). You’d think watchmechange would be about as uncontroversial as it could possibly be. Maybe Brian’s got some secret codes only the WSJ knows about.

Early reviews are mixed. Comments circulating on the Internet show that some people find it a great way to waste time at the office; others are uncomfortable watching it. “My immediate reaction is definitely negative,” says Lauren Schmidt, a 28-year-old account director at a technology public-relations firm in New York City. While it won’t stop her from buying the chain’s clothes, she says, “I have always regarded Gap as more tactful than that.”

Medical Confusion

Thought for the day: Don’t confuse your neurologist with your urologist.

Too bad I can’t get paid for that one.

No Condom, No Fun Says Church

A Los Angeles Times story today tells the 11-year-old tale of a woman who had sex with a Catholic seminarian in Oregon and got pregnant. She sued the Archdiocese of Portland for child support, as the father was a church worker. The archdiocese’s attorney filed a pleading in the name of then-Archbishop William Levada denying responsibility, claiming the mother had engaged “in unprotected intercourse … when (she) should have known that could result in pregnancy.” Pretty funny coming from the Catholic Church, no?

It gets better. The seminarian? He was ordained as a priest the same year that he agreed to pay $215/month in child support in exchange for the mother dropping the lawsuit and agreeing to confidentiality. Archbishop Levada? He’s got Pope Benedict XVI’s old job, as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, upholding — among other things — the church’s stance opposing contraception. The entire article is definitely worth a read.