Saturday, November 04, 2006

Waist Deep In The Big Muddy

Cheney Vows 'Full Speed Ahead' on Iraq War - "COLORADO SPRINGS, Nov. 3 -- The Bush administration is determined to continue 'full speed ahead' with its policy in Iraq, regardless of Tuesday's midterm elections, Vice President Cheney said Friday.
It was back in 1942, I was part of a good platoon
We were on manoeuvres in Louisiana one night by the light of the moon
The Captain said, We got to ford the river, that's where it all began
We were knee deep in the Big Muddy
And the damn fool kept yelling to push on
The Sergeant said, Sir, are you sure this is the way back to base
Sergeant, I once crossed this river not a mile above this place
It'll be a little soggy but we'll keep on slogging, we'll soon be on dry ground
We were waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the damn fool kept yelling to push on
Captain, sir, with all this gear no man will be able to swim
Sergeant, don't be a nervous nellie, the Captain said to him
All we need is a little determination, follow me - I'll lead on
We were neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the damn fool kept yelling to push on
All of a sudden the moon clouded over, all we heard was a gurgling cry
And a second later the Captain's helmet was all that floated by
The Sergeant said, Turn round, men, I'm in charge from now
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the Captain dead and gone
We stripped and dived and found his body stuck in the old quicksand
I guess he didn't know the water was deeper than the place where he'd once been
For another stream had joined the Muddy a half mile from where we'd gone
We were lucky to get out of the Big Muddy
When the damn fool kept yelling to push on
I don't want to draw conclusions, I'll leave that to yourself
Maybe you're still walking, maybe you're still talking
But every time I hear the news that old feeling comes back on
We're neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the damn fools keep yelling to push on
Knee deep in the Big Muddy
And the fools keep yelling, Push on
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the damn fools keep yelling, Push on
Waist deep, neck deep
We'll be drowning before too long
We're neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the damn fools keep yelling to push on

copyright 1963 by Pete Seeger

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Gay Marriage Debate, Summed Up

From YouTube: Great ad from Colorado.

Another One Jumps Ship

Retired Military Officer, Techno-Thriller Novelist, and (Now Former) Iraq War Cheerleader Ralph Peters just said "fuck it" on Iraq :

On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki obeyed Muqtada al-Sadr's command to withdraw U.S. troops from Baghdad's Sadr City. He halted a vital U.S. military operation. It was the third time in less than a month that al-Maliki had sided with the anti-American cleric against our forces.

President Bush insists that we have no conflicts with the al-Maliki government. The president isn't telling the truth — or he himself doesn't support our military's efforts. He can't have it both ways. Bush appears increasingly desperate just to get through the upcoming elections.

I supported the removal of Saddam Hussein. I believed that Arabs deserved a chance to build a rule-of-law democracy in the Middle East. Based upon firsthand experience, I was convinced that the Middle East was so politically, socially, morally and intellectually stagnant that we had to risk intervention — or face generations of terrorism and tumult. I still believe that our removal of Hussein was a noble act.

I only wish the administration had done it competently.

More at the link...

I've read a couple of Peters' novels. They're pretty good. He's apparently also written a bunch of non-fiction.

But I wonder when we'll see the Russian Hooker scene from War in 2020 blasted all over the papers and airwaves?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sex and Violence, Sex and Violence...

An Article In Slate Magazine asserts that Internet Porn can reduce the incidence of rape, and that violent movies can actually reduce violent crime, at least while the movie's on.

First, the porn:

A 10 percent increase in Net access yields about a 7.3 percent decrease in reported rapes. States that adopted the Internet quickly saw the biggest declines. And, according to Clemson professor Todd Kendall, the effects remain even after you control for all of the obvious confounding variables, such as alcohol consumption, police presence, poverty and unemployment rates, population density, and so forth.

OK, so we can at least tentatively conclude that Net access reduces rape. But that's a far cry from proving that porn access reduces rape. Maybe rape is down because the rapists are all indoors reading Slate or vandalizing Wikipedia. But professor Kendall points out that there is no similar effect of Internet access on homicide. It's hard to see how Wikipedia can deter rape without deterring other violent crimes at the same time. On the other hand, it's easy to imagine how porn might serve as a substitute for rape.

(Or maybe they've just gotten hooked on World of Warcraft.)

As for violence:

What happens when a particularly violent movie is released? Answer: Violent crime rates fall. Instantly. Here again, we have a lot of natural experiments: The number of violent movie releases changes a lot from week to week. One weekend, 12 million people watch Hannibal, and another weekend, 12 million watch Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

University of California professors Gordon Dahl and Stefano DellaVigna compared what happens on those weekends. The bottom line: More violence on the screen means less violence in the streets. Probably that's because violent criminals prefer violent movies, and as long as they're at the movies, they're not out causing mischief. They'd rather see Hannibal than rob you, but they'd rather rob you than sit through Wallace & Gromit.

(Oh, I dunno. After I saw Steel Magnolias, I REALLY wanted to kill somebody.)

I say that's the most probable explanation, because the biggest drop in crime (about a 2 percent drop for every million people watching violent movies) occurs between 6 p.m. and midnight—the prime moviegoing hours. And what happens when the theaters close? Answer: Crime stays down, though not by quite as much. Dahl and DellaVigna speculate that this is because two hours at the movies means two hours of drinking Coke instead of beer, with sobering effects that persist right on through till morning. Speaking of morning, after 6 a.m., crime returns to its original level.

(6 AM? Who knew criminals had this kind of work ethic?)

Well, Kerry's Lost My Vote

Because of Kerry's recent bobble of the punch line of a joke about President Bush, I regret to announce that I will not be voting for John Kerry on November 7th, 2006.

I won't be voting for him for Congress. I won't be voting for him for Senate. I won't be voting for him for Governor.

That'll show him.

Republican Blogger: "The Whole Party Has Been Hijacked by Frauds"

John Cole, a GOP activist and former member of the Editorial Board at, proves he's something I thought was extinct-- an actual ethical Republican --with this cri de coeur at his excellent blog Balloon Juice.

Some highlights:

In short, it really sucks looking around at the wreckage that is my party and realizing that the only decent thing to do is to pull the plug on them (or help). I am not really having any fun attacking my old friends- but I don’t know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election. I don’t know how to deal with people who think savaging a man with Parkinson’s for electoral gain is appropriate election-year discourse. I don’t know how to react to people who think that calling anyone who disagrees with them on Iraq a “terrorist-enabler” than to swing back. I don’t know how to react to people who think that media reports of party hacks in the administration overruling scientists on issues like global warming, endangered species, intelligent design, prescription drugs, etc., are signs of… liberal media bias.

And it makes me mad. I still think of myself as a Republican- but I think the whole party has been hijacked by frauds and religionists and crooks and liars and corporate shills, and it frustrates me to no end to see my former friends enabling them, and I wonder ‘Why can’t they see what I see?”


I don’t know why my friends on the right still keep fighting for these guys to stay in power. Why do they keep attacking decent people like Jim Webb- to keep this corrupt lot of fools in office? Why can’t they just admit they were sold a bill of goods and start over? Why do they want to remain in power, but without any principles? Are tax cuts that important? What is gained by keeping troops in harms way with no clear plan for victory? With no desire to change course? With our guys dying every day in what looks to be for no real good reason? Why?

Read the whole thing. It's worth the click through.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Now It Can Be Told

I've known about this news for a day or so, since Ben's a classy guy and called me personally to let me know and to wish me well.
I'll miss working with Ben Sevier, but from what I understand about the opportunity, it was too good to turn down, and he deserves every bit of success. Best of luck to him.
And I get to work with Marc Resnick as editor now. Marc edits my buddies
Duane Swierczynski and Bob Morris, from whom I've heard nothing but good things. And if I have to change editors, it's a good time...I've got one book in the can and I'm working on another one, so neither Marc nor I are under a big deadline pressure.
So, all things considered, it's not a change I would have gone after myself, but it's got definite possibilities for the future.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hey Ya, Charlie Brown

Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture.....

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Latest Newspaper Column

I tell you, this being a Republican just gets better and better every day. Not a week goes by but that I don't find some new and exciting reason why. This week was no exception.

See, I have a confession to make. I'm kind of a jerk. I can be a real mean-spirited jackass on occasion. It's something I've had to deal with all my life. Sometimes it's been a real struggle, and, as people who know me can attest, not always successful.

But a couple of things that I've seen and read recently have made me think that my problem might be solved by becoming a Republican.

The first of these was last week's edition of "60 Minutes" in which Lesley Stahl interviewed House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Stahl began by quoting a statement Pelosi had made about bringing "civility" back to the political process. Then she began scolding Pelosi by bringing up things she'd said about the Republicans, such as that they're "immoral" and "corrupt," and "running a criminal enterprise."

"I mean, you're one of the reasons we have to restore civility in the first place," Stahl chided.

Doggone right. I mean, how does Pelosi expect to restore civility to the political debate if she's going to be all nit-picky and critical about little things like multiple corruption indictments and sexual harassment of underage boys?

I mean, the nerve! What does she think she is, the leader of some sort of opposition party? Why can't she be more like that nice Joe Lieberman, who never says anything bad about anybody but other Democrats?

Then I heard about the TV ad for a Senate race out in Missouri, in which actor Michael J. Fox appeared and announced his support for stem cell research, and by extension, candidate Claire McCaskill, who's for it. Her opponent, Jim Tallent, opposes it.

Fox, as you may have heard, suffers from Parkinson's disease, and boy, does this ad show it. He looks terrible, all jerky and twitchy. But Republican talk show host Rush Limbaugh was not impressed. Fox, he asserted, was either deliberately off his medication to exaggerate his symptoms or he's faking. Fox is, after all, an actor, said Limbaugh, who apparently never saw "Doc Hollywood." Limbaugh even provided a little mocking imitation of Fox to prove his point.

Or take Wyoming's sole member of the House, Republican Barbara Cubin. After a recent debate in which Thomas Rankin, Cubin's Libertarian opponent, accused her of taking contributions from indicted former Speaker Tom DeLay, Cubin stormed over to Rankin and said, "If you weren't sitting in that chair, I'd slap you across the face."

"That chair" refers to the motorized wheelchair to which Rankin is confined because of multiple sclerosis. Cubin's defense? "He misrepresented her and insulted her integrity during the debate," according to Cubin's campaign. (As it turns out, Cubin had accepted $22,520 from one of Tom DeLay's PACs.)

That's when it hit me. As an independent who leaned Democratic, I would have been ashamed of myself had I looked at some unfortunate person suffering from an incurable degenerative disease and sneered "Aw, he's just faking it. He's just playing for sympathy."

In those days, had I lost my temper and threatened to slap somebody in a wheelchair -- for telling the truth, no less -- people would come down on me like a ton of bricks.

There'd be angry letters sneering about "aren't liberals supposed to be so nice and tolerant," etc. That's what happens when you're a liberal and you say anything negative.

But as a Republican, no one expects anything from me. I can say anything I want, including being nasty to the terminally ill or disabled, and no one says a mumblin' word.

And it's not just the sick. As a Republican, I can even make fun of the bereaved. You may remember a few months ago, Republican pundit Ann Coulter talked about the widows of Sept. 11 victims who were calling for further investigation of intelligence failures in the times leading up to the attacks. "I've never seen anyone enjoying their husbands' deaths so much," she snapped.

I'm not saying that Democrats never say anything nasty or mean-spirited. This is, after all, politics. I'm sure my fellow Republicans, as they read this column, are mentally composing letters in which they detail half a dozen negative things a Democrat or liberal has said.

But that's precisely my point. Democrats get criticized for it. Nationally famous reporters scold them for it. We Republicans get a bye. Do you have any idea how liberating that is?

So thank you, Rush Limbaugh. Thank you, Ann Coulter. Thank you, Barbara Cubin. You've set me free in ways I never was when I was a liberal. You've made it OK in the last few years to be the bastard I was born to be. Now I can relax.

Let's just hope those darn Democrats don't win in November. The last thing we want is for viciousness, meanness, thin skins and bad temper to go out of fashion.