Category: "culture/news"

TMBG Month

I hereby declare that August is They Might Be Giants month. Let the lyrics of the day commence.

Good advice

Saddam Hussein is a terrible person, he is a threat to his own people. I think his people would be better off with a different leader, but there is this sort of romantic notion that if Saddam Hussein got hit by a bus tomorrow, some Jeffersonian democrat is waiting in the wings to hold popular elections. You're going to get -- guess what -- probably another Saddam Hussein. It will take a little while for them to paint the pictures all over the walls again, but there should be no illusions about the nature of that country or its society. And the American people and all of the people who second-guess us now would have been outraged if we had gone on to Baghdad and we found ourselves in Baghdad with American soldiers patrolling the streets two years later still looking for Jefferson.

-- Colin Powell, 1992

Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in ‘mission creep,’ and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs,” Bush and Scowcroft wrote. “We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome.

-- George H.W. Bush, 1998

The emphasis above is mine.

"Mission creep" is exactly what happened in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The original rationale was that Saddam was an imminent threat because of his nuclear program and WMD. When those didn't turn up, the mission was changed to liberating Iraqis and establishing a democracy.

If only George Bush had paid more attention to what his father and his Secretary of State had said on this issue, then maybe the world and the US would be better prepared to handle the scary situations we're facing in the Middle East and North Korea right now.

Open mouth, insert foot


I felt bad for George Bush when I saw this clip. It could have happened to anyone. Yet, somehow I can't help posting it. Bush did apologize later that day and Peter Wallsten, the reporter, was very gracious. His only complaint about the whole matter was that the President didn't give a straight answer to his question in the press conference.

Bush reportedly waved at Stevie Wonder a few years ago (though Snopes says it didn't happen).

W's Island

Plot Synopses for Episodes of a Gilligan's Island Remake Starring Members of the Bush Administration.

Gilligan invades a neighboring island of cannibals. He mistakenly believes that Mary Ann and Ginger would be a sufficient force to secure the island, and Skipper erroneously claims they would be welcome as liberators.

A hurricane hits the island. Gilligan does nothing to help, but tells Mrs. Howell, "Lovey, you're doing a heck of a job."

Skipper goes hunting for fowl on the island and accidentally shoots Mr. Howell in the face, then waits a day before telling Gilligan.

The professor's experiments conclusively show that climate change is causing the island to sink into the sea. Gilligan erases his papers and tries to stop him from talking, thinking that will make the problem go away.

Was the 2004 Election Stolen?

Was the 2004 Election Stolen? - Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote an article for Rolling Stone that sums up an extensive investigation into allegations of fraud and disenfranchisement in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential election. The article is very long and well-referenced (208 citations) and well worth the time it will take you to read it.

Kennedy alleges that the GOP used a variety of tactics to prevent people from voting for Kerry, to disqualify ballots from Democratic voters, to shift votes from Kerry to other candidates and to avoid recounting the votes. At the center of the controversy is Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio Secretary of State. He served as the Chief Elections Officer, overseeing the elections process for the state, and as the co-chair of the Committee to Re-elect George Bush in Ohio, a clear conflict of interest. Blackwell is now the Republican nominee for governor of Ohio. If he wins this fall, we can expect more of the same from Ohio in 2008.

What Went Wrong In Ohio: The Conyers Report On The 2004 Presidential ElectionOne of the many sources that the article draws from is the report from the Congressional investigation led by John Conyers, Jr. of Michigan. You can get the report here (see the PDF link at the bottom) or you can buy it in book form: What Went Wrong In Ohio: The Conyers Report On The 2004 Presidential Election. The report concludes that there were significant problems. "We have found numerous, serious election irregularities in the Ohio presidential election, which resulted in a significant disenfranchisement of voters. Cumulatively, these irregularities, which affected hundreds of thousand of votes and voters in Ohio, raise grave doubts regarding whether it can be said the Ohio electors selected on December 13, 2004, were chosen in a manner that conforms to Ohio law, let alone federal requirements and constitutional standards." To refresh your memory, the Ohio election was decided by 118,601 votes. The win in Ohio gave President Bush the electoral votes he needed to win the election. If even a few of the allegations of the article and the report are true, then Bush was not the rightful winner of the 2004 election.

I tip my hat to EdB at for pointing the article out. I highly recommend that you take the time to read this article all the way through. I knew that there were some rumblings about problems in Ohio, but when I see all the evidence laid out like this, it's pretty shocking. If you read the article and the government report and still want more information on the issue, Wikipedia has a very long article about it.

Corruption in Jefferson City

Corruption in Gov. Matt Blunt's Office - One of Missouri Governor Matt Blunt's top aides is stepping down in the midst of the FBI looking into the governor's office for possible corruption.

(via Fired Up Missouri)

Neologism poll

Ok, the poll's up. Vote for your favorite Simpsons Neologism.

Simpsons neologism: Sunday

Simpsons neologism of the day for Sunday, May 28, 2006:
National insults. Apparently the normal stream of offensive material isn't efficient enough for the Simpsons writers, so occassionally they through in an insult for an entire nation of people.

Puck-slapping maple suckers - About Canadians.
Shatner-stealing Mexico-touchers - About Americans. The response to the above insult.
Cheese-eating surrender monkeys - Groundskeeper Willie's name for the French.
Sandal-wearing goldfish-tenders - Mr. Burns' name for the Japanese.

Simpsons Neologism: Saturday

Simpsons neologism of the day for Saturday, May 27, 2006:
Word Hole

Sideshow Bob: Oh, I renew my objection to this pointless endeavor! Informally now and by affidavit later. Time permitting.
Wiggum: Shut your word hole! We've got to get this place clean for the air show.

Simpsons Neologism: Friday

Simpsons neologism of the day for Friday, May 26, 2006:
Walking Bird

Grandpa Simpson: I just used my washtub that morning to wash my turkey, which in those days was known as a walking bird. We'd always have walking bird on Thanksgiving with all the trimmings: cranberries, injun eyes, yams stuffed with gunpowder. Then we'd all watch football, which in those days was called 'baseball'...

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