June 30, 2005

Quote of the day

Times article found via a bazillion links. Money quote:

In person Mr Bush is so far removed from the caricature of the dim, war-mongering Texas cowboy of global popular repute that it shakes one’s faith in the reliability of the modern media.

No, really?!

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:17 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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June 29, 2005

Advice for Democrats

Howard Dean is exactly the wrong person to put forward as the face of the national Democrat party. What he says might make the party faithful happy, but it pretty much turns off everyone else. What your party needs is a spokesperson who can clearly articulate the goals and/or vision of your party, and what path one should take to achieve those goals. Screeching that the other party is evil, calling them a bunch of hypocrites(even when warranted) and just saying "NO!!!!" to everything your opponents offer is a losing proposition. The last decade should have taught the Democrats this. There are many reasons why the group called former Democrats continues to grow.

In any event, Megan McCardle provides some thoughtful analysis on the current state that the Democrats find themselves in. Excerpt:

A lot of Democrats think that they can reach for the goodies without building the platform, a belief that should have been thoroughly dispelled by the last three election cycles. That means compromise, and coming up with programmes that are bold without attempting to force the rest of America to embrace a value system they clearly dislike. So far Democrats are good on either bold (national health care) or agreeable (job training!), but little in their idea-basket is both.

That, I think, springs from a larger problem within the liberal progressive movement--even larger than the belief that if they change their name, somehow people will like the brand better. (Memo to progressives: didn't work for Anderson Consulting Accenture, won't work for y'all. It wasn't the name that people objected to).

On the one hand, you've got the folks who think that if Democrats can just turn themselves into Republican Lite--one third less dour moralism than regular GOP!--they will storm the storied "middle" and seize the reins of power. This is unlikely--the mathematics of winning an election without a motivated base are unappealing, which is why 3rd party candidates do so poorly. Worse, it's pointless. The moderate middle, almost by definition, produces little in the way of big ideas, and its little ideas generally end up as muddy messes--if you start compromised, what you generally end up with is pork-laden monstrosities. And why should people put out the phenomenal amount of energy it takes to get people elected in order to get 2% more spent on teacher salaries?

The other wing of the progressive movement appears to think that all they really need to do is shout louder, since America seems to be getting a mite deaf. I watched Howard Dean on The Daily Show last night, and rarely have I seen a major political figure so thoroughly, even painstakingly, inept at appealing to voters. His remarks elicited cheers from the true-blue supporters in the audience, but only at the expense of alienating every single other person in the country. If he wasn't making ham-fisted attempts to prove Democratic moralistic superiority* by selective and theologically shallow quotation from the bible--an activity that even bible-thumping Republican congressmen undertake with more caution (and erudition) than Mr Dean did--he was claiming that his was the party of real moral values. Cringe. When was the last time you heard an RNC chair say something like that? Answer: you don't, because the "Family values" guys know that you do not garner votes by saying "Everyone who voted for the other guy is immoral" . . . especially when the other guy got a majority. You get votes by talking about what your values are, which (other than gay marriage) Howard Dean had a hard time doing.

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Reporting from an alternate history

After listening to Bush's speech last night, and then the subsequent caterwauling from the usual suspects, I was reminded of the following "news report". Neal Boortz also linked to it this morning. Like him, I cannot place the origin of the story.




NORMANDY, FRANCE (June 6, 1944) Three hundred French civilians were killed and thousands more were wounded today in the first hours of America's invasion of continental Europe. Casualties were heaviest among women and children. Most of the French casualties were the result of artillery fire from American ships attempting to knock out German fortifications prior to the landing of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops. Reports from a makeshift hospital in the French town of St. Mere Eglise said the carnage was far worse than the French had anticipated, and that reaction against the American invasion was running high. "We are dying for no reason, "said a Frenchman speaking on condition of anonymity. "Americans can't even shoot straight. I never thought I'd say this, but life was better under Adolph Hitler."

The invasion also caused severe environmental damage. American troops, tanks, trucks and machinery destroyed miles of pristine shoreline and thousands of acres of ecologically sensitive wetlands. It was believed that the habitat of the spineless French crab was completely wiped out, thus threatening the species with extinction. A representative of Greenpeace said his organization, which had tried to stall the invasion for over a year, was appalled at the destruction, but not surprised. "This is just another example of how the military destroys the environment without a second thought," said Christine Moanmore. "And it's all about corporate greed."

Contacted at his Manhattan condo, a member of the French government-in-exile who abandoned Paris when Hitler invaded, said the invasion was based solely on American financial interests. "Everyone knows that President Roosevelt has ties to 'big beer'," said Pierre LeWimp. "Once the German beer industry is conquered, Roosevelt's beer cronies will control the world market and make a fortune."

Administration supporters said America's aggressive actions were based in part on the assertions of controversial scientist Albert Einstein, who sent a letter to Roosevelt speculating that the Germans were developing a secret weapon -- a so-called "atomic bomb". Such a weapon could produce casualties on a scale never seen before, and cause environmental damage that could last for thousands of years. Hitler has denied having such a weapon and international inspectors were unable to locate such weapons even after spending two long weekends in Germany. Shortly after the invasion began, reports surfaced that German prisoners had been abused by American soldiers. Mistreatment of Jews by Germans at their so-called "concentration camps" has been rumored, but so far this remains unproven.

Several thousand Americans died during the first hours of the invasion, and French officials are concerned that the uncollected corpses will pose a public-health risk. "The Americans should have planned for this in advance," they said. "It's their mess, and we don't intend to help clean it up."

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:48 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 28, 2005

Cue evil laughter


Is it wrong that I hope this story is absolutely true?

Update: Captain Ed has a link that will allow you to email the city. Go on, offer your support for this most worthy of projects.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:50 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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