Monday, April 30, 2007

Breaking News: Bush Disaster

Still doing blog maintenance, but just felt like posting this old picture. It's funny because it's true. Or is it just sad?


Blog maintenance happening. If things look weird, it's probably not the booze talking. Hang tight.

Cheap Wine v. Crappy Beer

Why is it that some people who mock me for drinking boxed wine find it perfectly acceptable to drink piss beer like Coors and Budweiser? Sure, not all boxed wines are drinkable and they rarely compare with real wine. But some boxes are better than many cheap bottled wines, and they’re all better than crappy beer. And hell, if someone enjoys drinking crappy beer, I guess I don’t really have a problem with that. But I’ll be damned if I let some crappy beer drinker act all elitist simply because I drink cheap wine. I’m not proud of my boxed wine collection, but I see no reason why I should be ashamed either. I like it and it gets the job done, so I’ve got no complaints.

And that goes doubly for elitists who drink crappy pre-ground coffee from a can. I can accept all kinds of cheapness in alcohol drinkers, but coffee plays much too important a role in life to delegate it to some pre-ground bullshit that lost its flavor before it even left the bush. I’d rather have a pre-ground life than pre-ground coffee. At least the life can get better, but the coffee’s always going to suck.

P.S. My apologies to any loyal readers who drink crappy beer or coffee. You’ve already got a rough enough life and don’t need any extra guff from me.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dolphin Safe Government

What in the hell is the matter with these people? I just read about how a judge ruled that the U.S. government (read: Bush Administration) can’t arbitrarily alter the meaning of “Dolphin Safe Tuna,” without conducting a scientific study that shows it will actually keep dolphins safe. So how does the Bush Admin respond to this ruling? How else…

The U.S. Commerce Department's National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service, expressed disappointment in the decision.

"The United States has been at the forefront of international efforts to protect dolphins in tuna fisheries, and we are proud of our role in negotiating international agreements that have led to a dramatic drop in the number of dolphins caught in tuna gear," it said.

That’s right. By saying everything entirely back-asswards. This statement makes it seem as if they were trying to protect dolphins, but the court limited their ability to do so. But it’s exactly the opposite. They were trying to scale-back our efforts in order to endanger dolphins, while perpetuating a fraud against American consumers. Because unless I’m mistaken, they can sell dolphin-dangerous tuna, but that people won’t want it because people like dolphins. So apparently, the Bush Admin would just prefer to work-around that preference by permitting tuna companies to lie to their customers. Excellent.

And really, the statement I quoted above really is pure deception, as it had absolutely nothing to do with the ruling. The agreements that led to a dramatic drop in dolphin deaths happened a long time ago, while the new agreements would have reversed that trend. So rather than this spokesmen giving the government’s reaction, he’s instead saying pleasant gibberish that had nothing to do with the ruling at all. They didn’t express “disappointment” in the decision, as the reporter suggested. They ignored it all together.

And all this goes to show how well the Bushies understand that reporters don’t actually give a damn what you say. All that matters is that you give the impression of saying something. Beyond that, they’ll just fill-in the blanks like they’re writing Mad Libs. The reporter knew the Bush Admin would be disappointed. Beyond that, they’ll let them say any damn thing they want without comment; including feelgood gibberish that has nothing to do with the issue being discussed.

And why not? I mean, do we really expect for them to admit that they’re trying to deceive tuna eaters? Of course not. So instead they’ll pretend as if they’re trying to strengthen the exact thing they’re undermining. But all the same, nobody else is listening to the Bush Admin anyway and anyone reading that article knew exactly what really was going on. Perhaps some day, the Bushies will understand that when you’re always speaking gibberish, you might as well not bother because nobody will listen anyway.

And as a final note, I’d just like to cite this article as yet more proof that Republicans are anti-free-market. In a free-market system, consumers can buy dolphin-safe tuna if they want to. But the GOP wants to screw that up by tricking consumers into buying something they don’t want. And that is in direct defiance of how free-markets are supposed to work. Sure, tuna canners have a right to sell whatever damn tuna they want. But that doesn’t mean we have to buy it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Happiness is a Warm Nuke

Matthew Yglesias, who recently beat me out in a tough race to be the latest blogger for Atlantic Monthly, highlighted this question from last night’s Democratic debate (as paraphrased by a commenter):
Lets say, heaven forbid, that we just learned that two American cities were catastrophically attacked during this debate, and we know that Al Qaeda was responsible. What would your response be?

And Matt notes that several of the candidates mentioned “retaliating”, but he had a hard time understanding exactly who we’d retaliate against, which I think totally calls into question his ability to blog for Atlantic Monthly. Because for me, this one is a no-brainer. And seeing as how MSNBC purposefully excluded me from the debate (despite my position as the leading blogger presidential candidate who hasn’t officially announced yet); I’ll give my answer here instead.

If Al Qaeda attacks two major U.S. cities, then the obvious response is for us to immediately begin nuking Iran and North Korea. One for each city attacked, even if they technically had nothing to do with the attacks. Because as all we all know, Bush is the most serious understander of how to deal with terrorists, and as the Bush Doctrine states, the existence of these rogue states encourages Al Qaeda to do these bad things. So we’d have no choice but to attack. And we needn’t bother with any formal declaration of war, because the terrorists never bother with such formalities.

And because it’s fairly inevitable that some terrorist would be able to attack at least two of our cities at some point, the first thing I’d do as President would be to have nukes trained on both of those countries; with special buttons set-up right next to my TV, so once I got the news, I could just hit the button and the missiles would fly. One button would say “Ragheads” and the other “Gooks”. After all, war is no place for political correctness and I found it’s best to objectify the people you’re nuking as much as possible. How else to waylay those niggling feelings of guilt that inevitably pop-up?

And seeing as how it’s evitable that we’ll eventually have more than two cities attacked, I would also have a list prepared of all the remaining countries we’d need to nuke; in order of their rogueness towards American policy. For example, Syria and France would be towards the top of the list. England, Canada, and Germany would be mid-range targets. And finally, with our resource-allies like Saudi Arabia and Mexico at the bottom (cheap labor is so hard to find these days). And naturally, we’d have specific missiles and buttons assigned to each of them also. Perhaps I could have a special control panel set-up to resemble the layout of the UN. It’d be awesome.

And sure, nuclear annihilation is an atrocious event that should always be weighed with all seriousness, but so are attacks on American cities. And that didn’t stop Al Qaeda. So now that I’ve gotten my Atrocity Acknowledging Disclaimer out of the way, I’m going to proceed in the construction of my UN Assembly Nuclear Control Panel, knowing that this will be considered a sure sign of my foreign policy credentials; and thus a big boost to my presidential campaign.

In the post-9/11 world, a good arsenal is the best sign of a serious presidential contender. I’m quite confident that someday, all the top candidates will have their own nukes, and that voters will appreciate that I’ve already got a jump on that trend. After all, there’s nothing more reassuring than personal nukes or the inclination to use them.

P.S. Is there any airheaded “heavyweight” newsman more empty than Brian Williams? I can’t see how. It pains me to even look at pictures of him. How can anyone look so serious, yet so vacant? I’m amazed every time.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

We've Lost Already

Hate to spoil the surprise, but I already know who won the Democratic debate that I guess is going on right now: Bush and the Republicans. Besides all the obvious reasons, because it shows America how divided the Dems are, that they haven’t already anointed their nominee yet. No wonder we still don’t have a majority. We should just nominate Cheney and get it over with. Not that he’s the best choice, but I just don’t see how we can risk letting the GOP beat us to it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another Slam Dunk for Biobrain!

Well, guess what time it is folks. That’s right, Carnival Time. And guess who was yet again selected Primo Numero Uno of the Carnival? That’s right, Biobrain! But this wasn’t a win for me, folks. I could care less about the honorifics and doodads that continually shower my way. No, I did this for you. This was a win for you little people. You loyal readers who keep coming back, time and time again, in a desperate bid to relive the magic of your last visit; and never being disappointed. This was all for you. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

When No News is Good News

Atrios reminds us of a piece Lawrence Kaplan wrote in TNR in March 2005 in which Kaplan suggested that there was a positive trend in Iraq that the press was ignoring. And of course, the first place I checked was Juan Cole’s archive from March 2005, where he also seemed oblivious to any such trend.

In fact, if you read it yourself, you’ll see Cole wrote of all sorts of political and military woes, both before and after Kaplan’s March 25 piece; as well as our government’s insistence on only allowing positive propaganda to be reported from Iraq. But then again, Cole always was one to ignore the importance of painting schools and rebuilding hospitals, and only seemed to focus more on insignificant details like death, destruction, and doom. Perhaps some day we’ll have to show Cole the School-Death conversion table, which shows that one painted school is worth twenty American soldiers or one hundred Iraqi civilians; even if the school gets shot-up the next day.

Unfortunately or not, TNR made Kaplan’s piece subscription-only, and seeing as how I stopped subscribing several years ago when their sanity was too obviously in doubt, I won’t be able to critique his whole piece. But there was one piece of “good news” Kaplan wrote that I wanted to focus on:

Civilians have begun killing terrorists.

That’s good news? I mean, I guess it could be. If I saw a news story that said that vigilantes had killed a terrorist group here in America, I’d be happy. But before I celebrated, I’d kind of want to see some proof that they really were terrorists, and to find out why these vigilantes were doing the killing, instead of the government. And I sure as hell wouldn’t take it as good news if this was a recurring event. One vigilante group stopping terrorists would be good. But as a nightly story, I’d start to have serious concerns about our safety, as well as the abilities of our government.

And in Iraq, what does that mean? When most of the terrorists are also Iraqi civilians, and there is often no clear distinction between “terrorists” and the vigilante groups themselves. And when even the Iraqi soldiers and police we’re training are often little more than death squads being armed to attack and kidnap their Iraqi enemies; as well as our own troops. And when the “terrorist” label can be used to justify the killing of innocent people.

But I’m sure Kaplan didn’t care in the least about any of this. And let’s not forget that this was all known at the time, and that history has been even less kind to Kaplan’s “trend”. As with most conservatives, his only concern is cherrypicking news to prove that his Big Picture is validated. And as long as they can find one piece of good news among a heap of horrible news, they’re happy. Even if the good news really isn’t so good either.

After all, if there is no good news, then it’s best to simply attack the people who deliver the news, and that’s all Kaplan was really trying to do. At a minimum, you’ll rally your side into ignoring the bad news; and you might even be able to persuade the news orgs to tonedown their negative news. And as far as strategies go, that’s one of the few that the Republicans have actually gotten to work. But as we’ve seen, even that’s not enough any more. Sometimes, it really does help to have some truth on your side.

Monday, April 23, 2007

An Allegory

A nasty big cockroach touched my finger, so I cut off my hand. It sure hurt, but I never did see that cockroach again. You’re welcome.

Gun Lobby Wins, Says Gun Lobby

What a dumb article:
The powerful US gun lobby, far from being weakened by last week's tragic college campus shooting, actually has emerged stronger, gun advocates said…

Wow. So the pro-gun lobby says that the pro-gun lobby is stronger now that people got shot by guns. And this is news because…

And how many people who weren’t pro-gun were consulted for this article…zero. Not one. It only quoted pro-gun people who insisted that this was good for them. Hell, it didn’t even contain an ounce of public opinion. The pro-gun lobby says that this helped them, and by god, that’s good enough for this reporter. They say this will help them pass legislation, and nobody claimed differently.

What a crock of shit. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on a few college campuses, and I really don’t like the idea that any one of those people might be packing heat. Especially knowing that it’s likely to be the crazier ones packing heat. In fact, some crazy dude could totally be ready to start shooting up his class, and you wouldn’t be able to stop him until after he opened fire. Call me crazy, but I really don’t like that idea.

And this goes hand-in-hand with what I said in the last post. The first thing that each one of these pro-gun people thought when they heard the news was “Oh shit, people are going to want to tighten gun control.” So what do they do? They immediately go on the offensive with a PR campaign insisting that this means we need to loosen gun control. Not because it makes a lick of sense, but as a means to defend against the obvious. If it was harder for people to get guns, people would be less likely to need them. If there was control over how much ammo someone could buy, this couldn’t have happened.

And no, getting more guns on campus isn’t going to help. Sure, you’ll be able to stop massacres from getting too big. But you’re likely to have a lot more massacres. People don’t use guns if they don’t have guns. And if they have a gun, they’re more likely to do something stupid with it.

I’m not at all an anti-gun person and don’t have a problem with hunting and whatnot. But let’s not get stupid. This kind of thing obviously doesn’t happen often, and I think we should keep it that way. And that means allowing fewer guns in schools, not more. Sure, if you outlaw guns, then only the outlaws have guns. But that doesn’t mean we should make it easier for the outlaws to get them.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Avoiding the Obvious

No links, because I’m too tired, but I propose that the reason why conservatives sound so batshit crazy regarding the Virginia Tech shootings is because they know that they’re in the wrong and they’re panicking. Whether or not easy access to guns is the cause of this, it was the first thing that occurred to all of them, and that’s why they had to be so extra quick to find anything else to blame. Because that's an area they just didn't want to go.

That’s just the way these people work. They know the answers that first pop into their brains, and if those answers betray their ideology, they’ll immediately jump on anything to hide those answers. And in this case, they’ll say absolutely anything to avoid the gun issue; no matter how stupid it makes them sound. Hell, they’d rather you think they were callous morons than for you to undermine their agenda. After all, that’s what you were thinking about them anyway. And you were probably right.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Limbaugh as Gambling Idiot

This may come as a surprise for some of you, but as it turns out, Rush Limbaugh really is a big, fat idiot. I’m referring to this Think Progress piece on Limbaugh’s “strategy” for handling the Gonzales thing, in which Rush is quoted saying:

RUSH: I have to tell you something, folks. I’m embarrassed, once again, by our side, some of the Republicans up in Washington. It just appears that they cannot think strategically. They have no idea how to circle the wagons around their own.

And of course the real problem for the Bushies is that this controversy is a real timebomb for them, and if they circle the wagons, it might blow them all up. That the reason why they can’t put up a defense is because there is no defense, and that continuing to defend Gonzales might possibly be worse than tossing him out. I don’t know how these people got to be so in love with always winning on every issue, but a knee-jerk defense of everything your side does isn’t a strategy. And in this case, it’s suicide.

As Kenny Rogers explained, you’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, and know when to run. But to Rush Limbaugh, you should never fold, walk, or run. You just keep on bluffing on every hand, no matter how bad your cards are. And once your opponent knows that you’re always going to bluff, they’re always going to call your bluff. And he calls that strategy.

But this has bigger implications for the Republicans. Because the biggest thing that continues to screw them over, besides that they’re pushing an unpopular agenda that they have to hide with smoke & mirrors, is that people like Limbaugh have promised undying loyalty, no matter how badly the politicians screw-up. And so there’s no incentive for the politicians to do a good job. Limbaugh’s given Bush a free pass to do whatever the hell he wants, and Bush has taken advantage of it. Sure, there is sense to Rush’s strategy, as it’s terribly dumb to always give-up your guys too early. But again, you’ve got to know when to fold them; and that’s something that Rush insists is bad strategy.

Of course, the problem for Republicans on this one is that this clearly isn’t limited to Gonzales. He’s taking all the heat, because he was the one who signed off on it. But it’s obvious that the decision wasn’t his at all. Gonzo has to go because he allowed the political operatives to usurp his authority. But he’s just the beginning. And it ends with taking out the political operatives who did this. And that means Rove and his minions; and really goes all the way to the top. The only mistake Gonzales made was being the kind of guy they’d want for the job; and that’s reason enough to get rid of him. Yes-Men should always be kept in advisory positions; not executive positions.

And so that’s the real reason why they need to circle the wagons in this case. Not for the grand purpose of denying the Dems a victory. But for continuing to keep up the illusion that they haven’t done anything wrong. Gonzo’s fall is proof that his masters did something wrong. But he’s still the timebomb all the same and really does need to go. With that disgraceful Senate performance, he’s clearly outlived his usefulness and is now radioactive to all of them.

And in the end, the big problem for Republicans is that they’re never holding any good cards. And that just comes back to the fact that Limbaugh and his ilk have insisted they’ll defend Republicans no matter how bad the cards are. And so the strategy that they need for protection is the very one that keeps getting them in trouble in the first place. As I said, Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bush's Bitch

Damn, it looks like Gonzo’s getting slammed, even by Whitehouse Aides. But the main point is obvious, Gonzales can’t offer a real defense because his real defense is that the Whitehouse made him do it. He was just doing what he was told and really wasn’t involved in any of this, beyond the requirement to sign his name and/or give his rubberstamp. And that’s really not the kind of thing that he can readily admit to.

Because he never was the Attorney General. He was always Bush and Rove’s Yes-Man. He wasn’t there to give permission or make decisions. He was there to do Bush’s bidding. And that’s what he did. He did what he was told, just as he’s doing now. He’ll fight it as much as he can, but he’ll never admit the truth: He’s not his own man. He was just yet another of Bush’s loyal enablers; the people who have propped him up since he pretended to run my fine state. And while I’m sure Bush is loath to lose Gonzales, it’s not because he’s losing one of his puppetmaster’s. He’s just losing a loyal servant. Loyal, but expendable. He served his purpose well. Too bad for him they won’t return the favor.

P.S. Regarding my prediction from earlier today, I’d just like to say that my general point remained correct, even if all of the surrounding facts and outcomes are slightly more of the opposite than what I had initially stated. We’ll just chalk this down as a draw.

Prediction: Gonzales Will Prevail

I just wanted to give my prediction that the Dems have totally overreached with this US Prosecutor scandal and that Gonzales is going to mop the floor with those poor Senators, ala Ollie North. I see this as being the factor that sets-up both our loss of Congress in 2008, as well as a Cheney Whitehouse landslide. Mark my words: We’re screwed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bad News is Good News

Carpetbagger’s got a good piece on foreign policy expert Lawrence Korb and his opinion that the surge is not working. And one of the thing’s Carpetbagger mentions is the disconnect between the Bush Admin’s propaganda and what’s actually going on in Iraq. And that got me wondering whether the disconnect is entirely invented at the top.

Because I’m thinking that this fraud might very well be perpetrated much lower in the ranks. Sure, the ultimate blame lies with Bush, for being a simple-minded person who doesn’t want to be told bad news. But really, it’s quite likely that Bush, Cheney, and the rest of those a-holes really do believe that the media is lying to them, because they’ve set-up a system that will only tolerate positive news. So underlings are pressured to lie in the messages they send up the system; because no other message is tolerated and it's better for them to send good news. And so rather than the Bush Admin outright lying about success, perhaps they’re simply victims of their own authoritarianism and fear of failure. Not to imply moral equivalence, but I believe that was one of the downfalls of the Soviets, as well as Hitler.

And that’s why authoritarians will never succeed in the longrun. It’s not a bad way of gaining power, but it’s a lousy way of keeping it. Because you never find out that something's gone wrong until it's too late. Sometimes, bad news is the best news of all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bigot O'Reilly

According to Digby, Falafel O’Reilly has thrown down the gauntlet and will no longer stand for it when people accuse racists of being racist. And I agree completely. From now on, it’s bigot all the way.

Oh, and don’t worry, today’s the last day of the big tax season push. I swear I’ll be back to normal within a day or so. My brain needs recharging.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Normalcy of Americans

Via Atrios, I read this McCain stinker:
“I do believe that history shows us Americans will not continue to support an overseas engagement involving the loss of American lives for an unlimited period of time unless they see some success,” he added. “And then, when they run out of patience, they will demand that we get out.”

You know, I’ve never liked this whole theory of Americans as being particularly worse than everyone else.  As if only Americans like life to be easy.  Only Americans want things to happen sooner than later.  Only Americans like to own good stuff.  That whole thing has always bugged me.  Because just about everyone wants the easy life and good stuff.  That just makes sense.  Too often, people use “Americans” as a shorthand for complaining about normal human behavior that they want to feel superior to; even if they’re that way themselves.  And that’s just dumb.

But this thing of McCain’s is particularly dumb.  There are no people anywhere who have ever wanted to spend their money and military for unlimited time periods for no reason.  There are no people who have ever wanted their government to fight a pointless war without end.  People everywhere have always wanted their leaders to pull-out of futile wars.  That’s not a problem with Americans.  That’s just commonsense.  And only a nation of lunatics would be any different.

And if McCain disagrees with all these people, then it doesn’t mean that he has more patience than everyone else who has ever existed.  It just means he’s made a bad decision to back the wrong horse coming into his last chance for winning the Whitehouse.  He’s been tricked into thinking he can ride Bush’s coattails and still hasn’t figured out that the only place they lead to is Crawford.  And boy, wouldn’t that be fun?  Bush and McCain in 2009, at Crawford together whining about what should have been in Iraq, if only those damn Americans would support a stupid and endless war.  That’d be a sitcom fit for an American.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Biobrain Blogroll Announcement

Well, I’ve been putting this off for over a year, and this is as good a time as any, so here goes: In commemoration for having just past the astonishingly high 49,000 pageviews point (thanks to a recent link from Crooks & Liars) I’m hereby announcing the creation of the first ever Biobrain Blogroll.  That’s right, boys and girls.  A Blogroll right here at Biobrain’s.  But as usual, this isn’t going to be some ordinary lameass blogroll where I link to all the blogs I read.  I mean, what’d be the point?  You probably already read them anyway, and you can guess who it is from the small handful of links I cite in my posts.  

So I’m doing something different.  I just want a blogroll of people who read my blog, or at least are faintly familiar with me.  So just drop me a line, either in comments or directly to my email, and I’ll include you in the blogroll.  I’d like to keep this short and sweet, so I’m thinking I’ll limit it to the first twelve or fifteen responses.  But if someone begs, I might make it longer.

So bring it on, people.  Tell me you want to be on the list, and you’re on.  But you’ve got to be quick.  I’m not making one of those meaninglessly long blogrolls that you’ll never be found on.  Plus, I just like my sidebar real estate too much for me to just give it all away to you people.  And while I’ve decided to only keep this list for one year, I made that decision a year ago, so it’s quite obvious that I’m bad about letting time slip by.

So let me know that you want on, and you’re on.  And if you’re too shy to leave a comment, my email address can be found in my Blogger profile on the right.  Oh, and you’re welcome.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friendly Tax Warning

Just a reminder for you Johnny Come Lately’s that taxtime is coming and if you haven’t filed your taxes, you might want to think about doing so.  If you’re not going to owe money, you don’t need to worry as the IRS really doesn’t care if they ever pay you back.  But if you’re going to owe something, you should file an extension and probably pay what you think you’re going to owe.  That way, you can avoid getting one or both late penalties.  You’ve got until Monday night to take care of whatever you need to take care of, but you might want to take care of it today.

And if you have any tax questions, I really am a tax guy, so you can ask me.  I won’t guarantee that I’ve got your answer, but it’s better than asking your brother-in-law.  Especially for those of you who have no brother-in-law.  This has been your friendly tax warning.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Joe's Rhetorical Grenades

Think Progress has got a Lieberman quote saying:
Some people are genuinely against the war. And I say to them if you are genuinely against the war, then you ought to be fighting to cut the funding off instead of entering into a kind of harassment that’s involved now.

Huh?  It’s ok for Dems to cut off funding to the troops, but it’s not ok for us to set a timetable to remove them?  And if he’s not referring to the timetable as the “harassment” he speaks of, what is he referring to?  He had responded to the question before saying that we shouldn’t “telegraph the day we are going to withdraw,” so I’m assuming that’s the harassment he’s referring to.  But I fail to understand how a timetable is worse than having Dems just cut-off the funds.

If anything, I think this only makes sense if we assume that Lieberman wants Dems to try to cut-off funds, because that would be more politically damaging for them, and they’d be more likely to fail.  After all, the anti-Dem rhetoric coming from Lieberman’s GOP buddies is primarily focused on the idea that we’re cutting off funds, even though we’re not.  It’s like it’s the only argument they have, and so they’re using it, even though it doesn’t apply.  And as things stand, it applies more to the GOP’s veto position than our own.  That they’re willing to cut-off funds to the troops, in order to avoid the timetable.

And now Lieberman is insisting that it’s wrong for us to not walk directly into their offensive against us.  In fact, I’m thinking that’s what the harassment is.  That we’ve actually picked the proper framework to fight this in, and he doesn’t like it because it’s a losing argument for him.  So in essence, he’s attacking us for being political because we won’t fall for his political tricks.  And I’m sure that if the Congressional Dems started to cut-off funding, Lieberman would be right there on their side, insisting that he agrees with their efforts and approves of what they’re doing.  Right.  

And so what this amounts to is Lieberman tossing a rhetorical grenade towards the position that he doesn’t want us to be in, so we’ll move into the position he wants us to be in.  Then we’re toast.  And the answer is: No.  Lieberman can keep his cheap schoolyard taunts and we’ll stay right here where we should be.  We’re not going to wait until this summer when General Petraeus will most assuredly tell us that we’re winning and need to keep slogging, and we will insist on having a timetable for getting our guys out of there.  Again, the main reason why Lieberman thinks our position is harassment is because it’s working.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Authoritarian Bureaucracy

Republicans are weird, delusional people.  I just saw at Carpetbagger that the Bushies want to hire a “war czar” to oversee the “wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As if adding one more layer of Whitehouse bureaucracy is somehow going to save the day.  

As he quotes from Kevin Drum:
We already have Secretaries of State and Defense, we already have a military chain of command, and we already have an NSC that's supposed to coordinate all this stuff. Does anyone truly think that a shiny new White House staffer with no budgetary authority, no bureaucratic support, and little in the way of institutional levers of control is going to be able to magically get everyone on the same page sometime in the next few months?

Exactly.  These people are nitwits and this is a nitwit idea.  They have no idea how government works or how to get it to work, but rather have some magical idea that wanting something is enough to make it happen; if only that fucking bureaucracy would get out of the way.  And because they haven’t been able to wish Iraq into successfulness, that means they’ve just got the wrong people on the job and they need to hire a better superior to tell everyone what to do.

Because they know how this war could easily be won, so it must be the underlings who are to blame.  And they know they can’t get rid of all the underlings, so they’re hoping they can just install someone else on top of it and everything will work out.  So they’re wanting some centralized authority figure whose sole boss is Bush.  Some dude who can just step right in and cut-out the redtape and bureaucracy that’s clearly preventing their wishes from becoming reality.

Just like with the Department of Homeland Security, which didn’t need proper funding or organization, and could just be placed on top of the existing bureaucracies and everything would work itself out.  And surprise, surprise.  It didn’t.  They just added an extra layer of bureaucracy with nothing to show for it.  Or when it turned out that they had set-up two chains of command in Iraq, both of which reported to Rumsfeld; and that neither Bush nor then-NSA Advisor Rice knew anything about it.  And at the time, it was Rice’s job to settle such disputes, not Rumsfeld; and Rummy wasn’t returning Rice’s phone calls.  Great work, guys.

And it all comes down to the fact that these people are straight-up authoritarians who refuse to acknowledge that people under them have power, and can use that power for their own benefit.  So they try as much as possible to limit that power to as few people as possible.  But it never works because it really is better to allow a multitude of people to handle complex jobs than to futilely have a handful of people run everything from above.  And in the end, rather than consolidating power, they just end up making a bigger mess trying to fight with the people who are required to do the job.

And we all know this.  This is one of the big reasons why the Soviets failed and why democracy prospers.  Because it really is best to let people do their job and for higher-ups to listen to them, rather than having people far removed from the actual work telling their inferiors how things should be done.  And for as much as Bushies love to insist that we should listen to the soldiers on the ground rather than Congressmen at home, you’d think they’d get that.

But no, they want some Whitehouse dude to be managing two wars that were already giving too much trouble to the military experts in the respective countries.  And the main rule is: If you think all your employees are incompetent boobs who can’t get anything done, then you’re probably right; but only because they’re learning it from the boss.  And in our case, it doesn’t help that the bosses in question are so delusional that every task looks as simple as wishing it were true.

Puppet or No Puppet

This is a weird question, but if a Republican somehow manages to break Bush’s curse and win the Whitehouse, might it be better for us if he’s another Republican puppet?  On the one hand, our current Puppet-in-Chief has done a pretty lousy job.  But what if we had a true free-thinker, someone who wasn’t even bound by the GOP Dishonor Code of Incompetence and Corruption to screw everything up?  Is that really such a better option?

Like what if Fred Thompson or some other actual conservative somehow smoothed his way past the Republican Marketing Machine and won the Whitehouse, and then started implementing a real conservative agenda in a competent and thorough manner?  Is that really what we’d want?  Like if they really did do all the stuff that the flakes at Red State want, without any regard for the political implications; and even went so far as to hire competent people to do the job?  

As things are, the Bushies were too conservative for us, and that really wasn’t even their interest.  All they cared about was implementing a Republican Dynasty and bilking money out of taxpayers; with conservatism only being considered when it didn’t get in the way of their real plans.  While the taxcuts, privatization, and war were for the dynasty; most other conservative items were considered throwing meat to the base, and done only when it was politically acceptable.  But what if the base got the Whitehouse?  What if the Red Staters won?

The Upside

I wrote more about this, but started to shit my pants the more I wrote.  So I’ll just come down to the upside.  I assert that any president who attempted to do these things would be far more unpopular than Bush.  As things were, Bush was as popular as he was due almost entirely to a top-notch marketing department which was very aware of how unpopular conservativism really is.  

When they sold anything remotely conservative, it had to be done with a heavy PR campaign (including bribes to conservative pundits) and all kinds of other smoke-and-mirrors.  And even then, they never got around to gutting Social Security and ended up expanding Medicare.  The Department of Education wasn’t eradicated.  We still have labor laws.  The SEC, FCC, and IRS continue to exist; albeit in a weakened fashion.  Sure, I shouldn’t count my chickens before they get the hell out of the Whitehouse, but I’d say we did pretty good.

And any actual conservative who tried to implement even a quarter of the Red State agenda would surely do far worse.  For as much as Republicans insist they weren’t poll-mongers, it was never true.  They’ve backed down from every unpopular fight they’ve faced, and even then ended-up extremely unpopular.  So it’s unlikely that a Whitehouse that truly did ignore the polls could do any better; and they’d probably do far worse.  So much so, that I doubt they could even get a Republican Congress to go along with any of these ideas in the first place.

Again, one of the reasons why the Republicans were so successful was because they weren’t really interested in the conservative agenda.  They wanted a self-perpetuating political system that would use tax dollars to finance their campaigns and the government to act as their political staff.  And even that wasn’t enough.  So I find it extremely unlikely that an old-fashioned small government conservative would have any hope for success.  Sure, they’d win the vote of the Red State crowd and many of the Freepers, but they’d have lost just about everyone else.

Overall, I think puppet or no-puppet, the conservatives are screwed.  And as I argued before, I’m fairly certain that the Republican Marketing Machine isn’t going to work without a puppet, so that’s probably the only kind the party will produce.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Umpteenth Time is the Charm

Well the Bushies have stated for the umpteenth time that Congress must give-in completely to Bush’s demands on getting a “clean” spending bill on Iraq, and guess what.  It worked.  I’m convinced, anyway.  All it took was for me to listen to him, and now I agree with him completely.  That man is a genius.  Too bad nobody else ever thought of doing that.

Media Zombies Against Truth

Could you imagine feeling bad if Rush Limbaugh denounced you for being too liberal?  Probably not.  In fact, you’d probably take it as a compliment and find that it enhanced your credentials in the liberal blogosphere.  Or when Bill O’Reilly announced his upcoming enemies list, who amongst us didn’t want to be on it?  I know I did.

But what if Ralph Nader referred to you by name as a sell-out who hurts liberalism?  Or if Michael Moore included you in one of his films as a Republican-enabler?  Or if Atrios made you Wanker of the Day.  That’d be total sucksville.  Because for as much as the Limbaugh stuff would reinforce what you like to think of yourself, an attack from a liberal would have the exact opposite effect.

And I think that’s one strong answer for Digby’s question regarding why the media hates the liberal blogosphere more than the conservative blogosphere or talk radio; both of which have been attacking the media longer and more fiercely than we have.  Because the media likes that conservatives make them feel like liberal activists.  To them, that’s a compliment.  They know the accusations are baseless, and it must be nice to be accused of activism when you’re stuck living a zombie existence that lacks purpose.

But the attacks from the left are a personal affront.  Because for as much as these people agree with conservatives, they know that being liberal is cooler.  And that they used to be liberal when they were younger, and don’t like to think of themselves as sell-outs.  Because nobody likes to think of themselves as being sell-outs; least of all people who really are sell-outs.

And so I think that explains why they attack us so much.  It’s not the money or the foul language, as Digby suggests; though those are factors.  And it’s not that they’re conservative, not by any meaningful use of that word, anyway.  It’s that they think they’re on our team and deserve a free pass; and so our attacks have bite.  They’ve become so enthralled with the idea that they’re considered liberal activists that it offends them to hear otherwise.  

Sure, it’s doubtful that they put themselves into the liberal category, but they certainly don’t think of themselves as Republican tools.  And so they enjoy to hear the rough and tumble talk of Limbaugh and Imus against them, just as much as they loath to hear the truth from our side.  

Zombies are like that.  They live in these sterile little bubbles that protect them from the real world, and then suddenly a comment from Atrios can send a thousand shotgun blasts to their heads.  And they’re just astounded.  This isn’t the life they requested.  They want to hear jokes about their liberal activism.  They want to be told fictions about their hidden agenda, that they can shake their heads at and laugh.  But for god’s sake, don’t tell them what’s really going on.  Don’t tell them that they’re tools being used by people they consider to be friends.  That’s too much.  You’ve gone too far.  

If you’ve ever been in an argument with someone who considers you too conservative, just imagine how these fools must feel when thousands of liberals tell them that every day.  And they’ve got nothing to offer in return.  Even when they cite the rightwing insult-compliments they keep hearing, it only makes us laugh harder.  And so I think this all comes down to the fact that Limbaugh’s fantasy attacks are invigorating to these media zombies, and it’s all fun and games until somebody starts hurling truths at you.  That’s when people get hurt.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Blaming the Band-Aid

This is from a news article about a recent book on our failures in Iraq:
On U.S. reconstruction failures — in electricity, health care and other areas documented by Washington's own auditors — Allawi writes that the Americans' "insipid retelling of `success' stories" merely hid "the huge black hole that lay underneath."

But it’s not just Iraq.  Anyone who insists on ignoring problems in order to encourage more success will almost always fail.  Because not only will ignorance not make your problems go away, but they’ll only become worse because you’re not doing anything to fix them.  As the cliché goes, the first step to solving your problem is to admit that you have one.  But for some people, that’s the last thing they’d ever want to do.

And so it should be no surprise that the Republicans have failed at just about everything they do.  Because all they’re concerned with is selling their product and think it undermines the sales pitch to bother checking to see if it’s true.  Their entire system depends on sleight-of-hand and deception.  Wishful thinking and prayers can solve everything.  If you think positive, things are positive.  And other such hogwash.  

And to an extent, they’re correct.  You can doom yourself by thinking about doom too much.  And having a winning attitude is usually a necessity to winning.  But if you have a real problem, that’s not enough.  You still have to solve it, and no amount of positive thinking will possibly make a real problem go away.  After all, if all you needed to do was to change your thoughts, then it wasn’t a real problem you were dealing with.

And that’s what’s wrong with the Bush Administration and the entire Republican system.  Not only can they not stop thinking about how they’ve been victimized, but they also don’t think they’ve done anything wrong.  And the only thing they have to fear is fear itself, so they just don’t think about anything they might be scared of.  You only have a problem if you think you have a problem, and these people refuse to think about problems at all.  And that’s why they have so damn many of them, and haven’t figured out why.

And in this case, they were so concerned with pimping positive news from Iraq that they forced themselves to entirely ignore the bad news.  But as usual, it didn’t go away.  And all the Bushies can think to do is to blame it on the other problems that they also failed to solve.  And of course, the liberal Democrats are to blame for all of this.  Had we not existed, then there would have been no political pressure for them to deny the truth.  But they knew we’d trumpet every bad news story that came from Iraq, so they were forced to spend all their energies denying that such bad things were happening.

After all, there were all those great schools, hospitals, and power plants getting built.  So how could things possibly be getting worse?  And the same applies for hurricanes, recessions, deficits, and just about every other problem this administration ignored.  The Bush Administration always did such a good job that they couldn’t risk undermining that success by suggesting they could do things better.  After all, a band-aid sends a clear message to your enemies that you’re hurt.  It’s better just to bleed.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Conservative Authenticity

I’m still out of town visiting relatives in honor of Jesus’ invention of the chocolate rabbit, so I don’t have too much time to tell you what’s going on in your world, but I had to cite this story:
Huckabee questions Romney hunting claim
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was wrong to suggest he was a lifelong hunter even though he never took out a license, campaign rival Mike Huckabee said Sunday.

"I think it was a major mistake," said Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor. "It would be like me saying I've been a lifelong golfer because I played putt-putt when I was 9 years old and I rode in a golf cart a couple of times."

"I think American people are looking for authenticity," Huckabee added. "Match their record with their rhetoric."

That’s what I’m talking about.  For as much as people have been suggesting that the GOP nomination can go to any moderate who’s willing to pretend to be conservative, I beg to differ.  Because there are too many conservative politicians who have been pretending to be conservative for far too long to allow a couple of moderate upstarts to steal their charade.  And the deeper we get into the campaign, the more the “real” conservatives are going to cash-in their conservative chips with attacks on their less conservative brethren.

Extraordinary Honesty and Candor

Here’s another example from the same article:
In contrast, Huckabee said, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, also in the 2008 race, showed his honesty by recently reaffirming he supported abortion rights.
"Now, I disagree with him. I don't think we ought to use federal tax dollars for abortion, and I wouldn't if I were president," Huckabee said.

"But I thought it was at least a statement of extraordinary honesty and candor on the part of Giuliani that he would go into South Carolina, a very pro-life environment, and just say, look, this is who I am. I'm not going to change just to get your votes," he said.

Wow, what a nice guy Huckabee is, that he’d be so willing to praise one of his opponents for taking a stance that differs from his own.  And if that praise serves to reinforce the image of Giuliani as a tax-dollar-wasting abortion-freak, well you can’t say Rudy didn’t have it coming.  After all, he’s the monster wanting to force an abhorrent practice on the good people of South Carolina.

And of course, the joke is on all of them.  Because the only reason why the three leading Republicans are considered viable is because they’re too moderate for the rightwing of the party.  And the guys who have the true conservative credentials are surely too extremist to be acceptable in a general election.  And the harder it is for the “real” conservatives to get attention, the more they’re going to denounce the moderates; either for not being conservative enough or for not being an “authentic” conservative.  It’s a gigantic curse that was temporarily hidden with Bush, who was enough of a blank slate that he could pose as a moderate who gave sly winks to the rightwing.

And in this article, we see Huckabee went for the twofer.  He nailed Romney for lying about being a hunter and Giuliani for being consistent on abortion.  And it’s just going to keep getting worse.  For as much as the Republicans are team players, the Whitehouse is a completely different game, and there are too many conservatives who see no reason why they shouldn’t be running the team.  Besides it’d be better for the conservatives to get a Democrat they can oppose than a moderate Whitehouse that will keep them in check.  As Bush has shown, there are worse things for Republicans than losing the Whitehouse.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rudy's Toast

Oops, looks like Rudy’s flushed it.  He just told CNN that he supports government funding for abortions, and on the spectrum of non-acceptable rightwing positions, that one is just off the charts.  While they hold pretty firm on partial-birth abortions, the idea of allowing poor black women to get out of the baby trap and not be punished for their actions is simply untenable.  Even the libertarian-types who despise Social Conservatives are going to yell about that one.

Not that I’d put anything past the ability of Republicans to accept any position from someone they wanted to vote for, but this one goes beyond mere positions.  This is the BIG ONE.  Something to write about in fundraiser letters.  Something to bang over the heads of Dems in any right-leaning district.  Long after the Iraq War is nothing but a bitter memory in Bush’s crazy mind, abortion will still keep paying off for them.  To give away abortion is to give away the whole game.  It’s what separates the men from the libs.

So I’m thinking that unless Rudy pulls-off the Triple Lindy of anti-abortion talk in the next few days, it’s pretty much over.  Even if the minions don’t rebel against him, every Republican leader is going to beat him over the head for even suggesting that a Republican can give away this issue.  This isn’t DLC-compromise talk.  This is the equivalent of a major Democrat insisting that feminism is destroying America and that we all need to move back to the farm if we don’t want to catch teh gay.  You might not offend all of your constituents, but there won’t be too many left to defend you.  And seeing as how he wasn’t a big favorite in conservative circles to begin with, I’m thinking this is the end of Rudy.  Good riddance.

Ware's War and the Preemptive Rhetoric Doctrine

Guest Post by Doctor Snedley, Personal Assistant to Doctor Biobrain

Carpetbagger’s got the latest stink on AP “reporter” Michael Ware and his War on McCain.  For those who haven’t paid attention, Ware first undermined McCain’s great news that Baghdad is safe for Americans by recklessly pointing out that it wasn’t safe and insisted the idea was laughable.  Then it was reported that Ware drunkenly heckled McCain at a press conference at which McCain left the first time Ware tried to say anything.  

And as Carpetbagger now says, the AFP reported that Ware giggled once during that same press conference that the AFP reporter says Ware wasn’t the giggler at.  Wow.  Damning stuff.  And as a blogger at Red State suggests, Ware owes us all a big apology, once it’s confirmed that he did what we already know he didn’t do.  And all this goes to show how prescient us eagle-eyed conservatives are, that we can demand apologies for things we had the foresight to prevent from ever happening.  It’s called Preemptive Rhetoric, which refuses to allow the stupid libs from getting off the hook, simply because they didn’t do anything.  Good job McCain and Red State.

But that’s not at all.  Because it now turns out that Ware not only raised his eyebrows in a harshly skeptical manner at least twice before McCain entered the room, but he also cleared his throat in a really obvious fashion; which totally set the tone for everyone else in the room.  And then it turned out that Ware’s breath simply reeked of mouthwash, which is evidence that he’s not only a drunk, but a cheap one at that.  And I know all this to be true because I made it all up myself over at Carpetbagger’s.  Simply disgusting.

I’m sorry, but if we can’t even trust reporters to keep their eyebrows unbiased and their bloodstreams clean, we’re just going to have to replace them all with transcription machines. A free press is nice, but we’re at war, people. And even the slightest gesture is enough to encourage the Islamofascists to send every one of our buildings crashing down. I’m not saying that Michael Ware shouldn’t be allowed to report from Iraq, but only that he can’t be. We’ve got too much at stake to allow these people the freedom to doubt us; even if their doubt is only expressed by things they didn’t do or say.  Yes, this war is that important.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Papa's Got a Brand New Suit

As a follow-up to my last post, I have strong doubts that Rove and the Bushies even want McCain in the Whitehouse.  Bush was an easily manipulated sucker who was the perfect puppet to the GOP’s puppetmaster routine.  And while McCain is far from the maverick he pretends to be, he isn’t a puppet.  He’ll want to do his own thing and that won’t always coincide with what the Bushies want.  

So I suspect that he’s just planning to use them to get the Whitehouse and then will bring in his own people.  And that makes sense, as the only thing the Bushies were ever good at was winning elections, and even then, barely succeeded.  And even McCain’s got to realize that Bush is toast and that the follow-up presidency has got to purge all of Bush’s tarnished people.  He might never say that, but it’s true all the same.  He’ll want people loyal to him, and the Bushies were much too cultist to ever really be anyone else’s.

So I’m guessing that they’re purposefully burning through his credibility, just to knock him out of the race.  They can deal with an empty suit like Romney or a big ego like “America’s Mayor” in ways that they can’t with McCain.  McCain is old school and even the Bush Marketing Apparatus can’t change that.  So I think this is a twofer for them: They get McCain to use his credibility to help them and he’ll lose his credibility in the process; thus hurting his presidential campaign while aiding theirs.

Because the GOP works so much better with empty suits delivering their lines than having someone who actually wants to get involved and use their brains.  That’s why Reagan and Bush Jr. were so much more successful than Bush Sr. and may have been one reason they picked Quayle for VP.  Ford was good for them (especially Cheney and Rumsfeld), but he was toast thanks to the Nixon taint.  And while Nixon was clearly his own man, he set himself up a fake suit to use when he needed.  The “New Nixon” is what they called it and it worked.  He was a double-faced fluke who used his public image like a puppet and often had to lie to himself to make it work.  And as we know from his tapes, he often lied and pretended to be dumb to his staff, to keep up the fake image.

And so it’s doubtful they want McCain.  He’s just not for them.  Because for as much as he’ll be a sucker on the campaign trail, he knows the difference between a campaign and political office.  Plus, he’s too old and looks it.  And that just doesn’t play so well.  Reagan pulled it off but McCain doesn’t even have a grandfather thing going for him and would look dumb in a cowboy hat.  So I think they’re pushing for Romney, which is why he’s doing so well in the campaign finance department.  He’s the insider favorite because he’ll do or say anything he needs to.  And that’s perfect for them.  Integrity is a real problem with these people, and McCain’s tiny shreds are just too much.  

So I think Romney’s their guy.  Not saying he’s a shoo-in to win the nomination, but just that he’s the guy they want.  Someone who will say what he’s told to say and not have the brains to boot-out the failed Bushies who are going to want to stick around.  He’ll want them for continuity and experience, and because a purge would send the wrong message; he’ll be told.  

And if Romney does win, you can be assured that he’s going to pretend to be on a new path just as much as he most certainly won’t be.  Same suit with a new fabric.  That’s all they want.  It’s unlikely they’ll actually be able to win the Whitehouse after the Bush Fiasco, but if they do, they don’t want it to be McCain.

Playing McCain

At this point, I honestly think that Rove & Co is playing McCain like a fool.  Because he’s totally doing Bush’s dirty work and there’s no reason for it.  They whooped his ass good in 2000, when he thought he had a real chance of winning the Whitehouse.  And now he’s willing to put his faith in their wisdom to win it for himself.  

But I don’t think he’s yet realized that they’re not trying to win it for him yet.  They’re still trying to pull their own asses out with this one and using him to do it.  Burning through his credibility the way they’ve burned through everyone else’s.  Because they think that credibility and political capital is something that you use up, which is why no one in the Whitehouse has any left.  And so now they’ve got generals and whatnot feeding him crap to get him to support Bush’s War, thinking that he’s doing it for himself.  It’s possible he invented that stuff on his own, but I wouldn’t doubt at all if he was merely uncritically accepting what he was being told and can’t figure out why nobody else is buying.

And sure, his political future is somewhat tied to the fate of the war, but again, I think a big part of that is because they told him to do it.  They’ve assured him that this is his road to victory and that they won’t support him unless he supports Bush and the war.  And now he’s getting screwed over royally.  What he’s saying about the security in Iraq is dumb and his trip to Baghdad was incredibly dumb.  

Hell, at this point, I seriously doubt that a majority of Bush’s 30% approvers even want to hear about this stupid war.  They won’t turn on Bush or admit to some “liberally-biased” pollster that they’ve dropped their support, but almost nobody wants to hear about it.  After all, it’s really screwing with their War on Liberals, and that’s all they were really in this for.  Sure, they hate Arabs, but Arabs are far away, and the libs are right here.  And Bush’s War has surely given those dirty libs the upperhand.  

And in that regard, McCain’s trip has totally undermined everything they’re trying to do.  Even in the world of phony propaganda, the liberals scored a point with McCain’s stupid trip.  So while they’ll never admit that they don’t want to hear about the war, that’s just because they really don’t want to hear about it.  And so for the Bushies, their only hope is to fool the Republican hopefuls into cheering for it, because there ain’t nobody else who wants to do it.  And for as much as they were hoping to establish an ascending GOP Dynasty, their only concern still involves trying to make the first emperor look legitimate.  And that’s a cause even more hopeless than the war itself.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

American Idol Rules

Hope this doesn’t give away too much of the surprise, but as it turns out, Bush gets away with it.  And I mean everything.  That’s the only way they can keep things from getting too predictable.  I mean, impeachment?  Whatever!  You can only impeach the guy that shouldn’t be impeached, and for a stupid reason too, or it’d be too predictable and who’d want that?  It’s much better to keep people on their toes and to do what shouldn’t be done.  Otherwise, what’d be the point?  It’s not like they’ve got a nation to run or anything.  This is all for our amusement.  Like American Idol for grownups.

Speaking of which, Edwards really needs to drop out of the race.  Sure, he might make a good president and everything.  But the whole wife thing is tacky.  I mean, what’s the fate of millions of people worth when his wife will die someday?  Even more so, how can I possibly live with myself if I voted for a guy with a tacky wife situation?  Much better for him to drop out and save the presidency for someone whose life is more convenient for me.  What he gained in pity points he surely lost in ick factor.  

Sure, I’d like to feel sorry for him.  But instead, I’ll just attack him and pretend that he brought my scorn down upon himself.  After all, I can only vote for someone who I’d like to have a beer with, and if there’s one person I don’t want to have a beer with, it’s someone whose wife will die.  I’ll stick with the immortals, thank you very much.  So my money’s on Sanjaya.  That guy will never have a wife who dies.  If only the presidential race had American Idol’s voting rules…