Friday, September 28, 2007

Why Women Worry

I was just looking through the popular stories of Yahoo News and found that the first news story was answered by the next three.

Why Women Worry So Much - Fri Sep 28, 12:15 PM ET Sent 8,376 times
Scientists have known that on the whole, females of all ages tend to worry more and have more intense worries than males. Women also tend to perceive more risk in situations and grow more anxious than men.

6 die from brain-eating amoeba in lakes AP - Fri Sep 28, 2:18 PM ET Sent 3,975 times
PHOENIX - It sounds like science fiction but it's true: A killer amoeba living in lakes enters the body through the nose and attacks the brain where it feeds until you die.

FDA officials: Cold meds not for kids AP - Fri Sep 28, 1:59 PM ET Sent 1,485 times
WASHINGTON - Very young children simply should not take some commonly used cold and cough medicines, federal health officials say in recommending that the "consult your physician" advice to parents on the labels be dropped.

Russian woman's 12th baby weighs in at 7.75 kg Reuters - Wed Sep 26, 10:16 AM ET Sent 906 times
BARNAUL, Russia (Reuters) - A Siberian woman who gave birth to her 12th child -- doing more than her fair share to stem Russia's population decline -- was stunned to find that little Nadia weighed in at a massive 7.75 kg (17.1 lb).

To sum up: The reason women worry so much is because they're paying attention. I mean, who wouldn't be scared of delivering a 17 pound baby that gets screwed-up by cold medicine before having its brain eaten by amoeba? That's the kind of shit that keeps me up at night.

Partitioning the World

FYI: My presidential exploratory committee has voted unanimously to partition Mexico into three general population categories: The Clean Ones, The Workers, and Other. The Clean Ones will reside in the nice touristy places, like bordertowns, Cancun, etc; where they will be taught such important skills like How to Mariachi, and the best way to make margaritas with American ice. The Workers will be housed in luxurious gated communities along our border, where American employers can arrange shuttle services to and from their facilities each day. And finally, The Others can live everywhere else, as long as they stay away from the first two groups. Elections will be temporarily suspended until we decide the best way to handle such delicate matters.

But they didn't stop there. The committee also voted unanimously to partition all European countries, particularly France; as it was determined that Europe is a great place to visit, were it not for all the foreign scumbags who live there. For these countries, the partition plan is as follows: Pro-Americans, Anti-Americans, and Mimes. The Pro-Americans will stay in Western Europe. The Anti-Americans in Eastern Europe. And the Mimes will reside in special gated communities, to be visited by the few people who are into that kind of thing. Again, elections will be temporarily suspended.

And finally, we found it necessary to partition America. This was the toughest vote, winning by a 125-119 margin (yes, seventeen members of the committee abstained). But with all the nasty partisanship in our country, it was decided that the best way to avert the looming disaster was a straight partition of the country according to this map layout. While this is considered somewhat contentious by some, the majority opinion was that this would allow the greatest freedom for citizens to choose the laws that best suited their needs. Everyone will be given a thirty day grace period to settle in the area they prefer, and again, elections will be temporarily suspended.

After partitioning is complete in each country, work will begin on the construction of the seventy-foot concrete partitioning devices, designed to best facilitate the new arrangement. The committee went ahead and awarded a cost-plus contract to Halliburton to build these devices, primarily because they were the only ones with the necessary clout to convince Congress and the President to not fight our plans. For similar reasons, security will be provided by the NRA, which is quite enthusiastic about the whole thing and has already arranged for guards to work for free. Apparently, they had a waiting list ready for just such an occasion.

Anyway, just thought I'd let my loyal readers hear the news first. You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just Like White

I normally don't do this kind of thing, but I feel compelled to defend Bill O'Reilly for his revelation that black people can sometimes act just like white people. He is absolutely correct. I've seen it. They can ask for things without saying "motherfucker," they can eat food that sometimes isn't fried chicken or watermelon, and they can often go long periods of time without copulating or flinging their poop at the bystanders watching them.

I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. I've seen it. I can state unequivocally that, were it not for their skin color, you'd almost think some of them were white.

But it's not just black people. People of other colors can also behave like white people too. For instance, one time I actually went to one of those convenience stores that's run by an Arab. And not only did the guy not kill me or blow anyone up, he had many of the same products that you'd find in a real convenience store. Like candy and American soda. Even better, there wasn't a falafel in sight and the guy even spoke English!

So I got the convenience of getting that sweet-ass Arab oil (which really is better than the kind you get at your local Exxon), but without the inconvenience of getting beheaded. I've had thoughts about going back there again someday and almost regret having protested outside the place for as long as I did. Luckily, that guy never traced those death threats back to me.

And it's not just the non-whites in our country. I was adventurous enough to go to Mexico, not once, but twice! And let me tell you, it really wasn't that different from being in the scarier parts of my own town. Especially once I found out that they weren't speaking gibberish. It turns out that they have their own language. They also have beer and margaritas, just like us. They even have tacos! And once you get used to their flavorless Doritos (called "tortilla chips") and that their gorditas are nothing like the taste sensation you'd get at Taco Bell, you'll find their food almost palatable.

That's not to say I'm ready to spend the night or anything. I mean, come on. It's one thing to get them to shine your shoes at a discount price, but let's not get carried away. A man needs a life and that "espanol" stuff is cute at first, but it's really no way to talk.

Multiculturalism Can Be Your Friend

And I've experienced this stuff again and again. It's simply amazing. Once you can get passed the idea that you're dealing with godless heathens with BO problems, you can really expand your horizons quite a bit. For example, you can go to one of those Chinese restaurants and they've got this great dish called "Sweet & Sour Pork". Very exotic. Even those weird Japanese places can have good food. Stick with the "California Roll" and you'll be safe. And I once found this quaint little Italian place called "The Olive Garden" that was simply delightful.

And it's not just food. Non-whites apparently have their own music and clothes styles, and some of their women are almost sexy. No wonder they're starting to out-number us in our own country. Their big butts and natural athleticism have allowed them to compensate for our larger brains and cultural superiority. But perhaps this isn't the end of the world. That's not to suggest that I think we need to just sit by and allow them to take over our country. But as long as we restrict it to the good, clean ones, all is not lost.

And who knows, perhaps some day medical science can finally do something about their nasty skin color, funky hair, and BO problems. We've fixed many of God's other mistakes already and I see no reason we why we won't be able to cure this one too. I have a dream that we can someday be a colorblind society, with everyone a glorious shade of pale. Martin Luther King would be proud. Perhaps we'll bleach his bones.

Update: In response to all of the angry emails I've received for this post, I'd just like to say that everything I just wrote is out of context. The proper context for this post is that I am not a racist. All I was trying to say is that, due to recent events, I'm now so open-minded that I think that some non-whites are almost the same as real-whites and might someday be our equal. I mean, would a racist hire a black woman to clean his house or a Mexican to mow his lawn? I think not. And if I ever found a use for an Arab, I'd be sure to put them to work too. Hell, Michael Jackson is still one of my favorite entertainers, in spite of his inate criminal tendencies. If that makes me a racist, then all of my friends are racists too.

Far from being racist, I was just trying to show how highly I think of non-whites. But if that's not good enough for you, then it's obvious that nothing will satisfy you bastards. Perhaps next time I should just go ahead and mention that I think all Irishmen are drunken bullies who should go back to Ireland on the potato boat that brought them here. But I won't say that because I'm not a racist.

Confession: Reduced Ad Rates

Alright folks, it's mea culpa time again. With all this talk about reduced rates for political newspaper ads, it was just a matter of time before someone caught on to my own scheme. That's right, Doctor Biobrain has been caught offering reduced rates to candidates based upon my desire to influence the upcoming presidential elections.

As you know, I don't actually have explicit "advertising," but I have in fact been accepting "donations" from mainstream GOP presidential aspirants who recently converted to hardcore conservativism and need to burnish their lib-hating credentials by having a bonafide liberal blogger smear them. And unbeknownst to them, I've been charging a reduced rate to the real crackpot candidates; the ones I would really love to see on the GOP ticket in 2008.

And that's the real reason you've been seeing so many posts on whackjobs like Giuliani, Thompson, Romney, and McCain, and not so many posts know, those non-whackjob candidates like...well, I don't know who they are. But I'm presuming that this is due to the fact that all the other liberal bloggers are only covering the crazy ones, as well as the liberal media. So it's just a matter of time before you hear confessions from them on this soon. And then maybe we can start to hear from the sane Republican candidates, whoever they might be.

So from here on out, I'll be charging the same rate for all Republicans wanting some good old fashioned liberal smearing against them. That's $1000 per post, with an additional $50 per name reference and $125 per insult. BTW, the auction for my endorsement for Worst Republican is still open on eBay, so pony up the cash and the top prize is yours.

Patriotic Dogs


Flag-themed hydrant pulled from dog park:
A fire hydrant painted as an American flag has been removed from a dog park after complaints it was disrespectful to let dogs use it for what dogs do. The new leash-free park was named for Hondo, a police dog killed 10 years ago chasing a suspect, and the flag-painted hydrant was intended as a tribute to him. "We put a lot of effort into it," said artist Jason Ross.
"That gallant dog must be turning in his grave at the thought of the flag being desecrated every time a dog pees on that hydrant!" wrote Louanne Douris, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer.

Uhm, I'm a pretty patriotic guy and do realize that dogs are smarter than the average bear but...a dog turning in his grave because a flag-themed hydrant might get peed on by dogs? Consider me skeptical. Not that I knew this dog personally, but I somehow suspect that the first thing ol' Hondo would do were he to see this happening would be to sniff the butt of the offending dog. And then he'd probably pee on the hydrant himself.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why humans might be offended by this, though apparently the hydrant was surrounded by dog-unfriendly shrubs and a more convenient hydrant was placed nearby. But still, I can understand the outrage, even if I think it was misplaced. But to pretend as if Hondo himself would be offended by this, or even that this gallant dog would understand the significance of a red, white, and blue fire hydrant? That's just dumb. Is it really too much to ask people to try living in reality for awhile?

It's no wonder some people get confused when dealing with other cultures, when they imagine that their cultural feelings and symbolism are so universal that even dogs are in-tune with them. And to think, this was a retired Foreign Service officer saying this. If she imagines that patriotism would overcome the natural instincts of other species, imagine what she must think about people from other countries who don't respect America's cultural symbolism.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ghoul for President

I always feel a bit uneasy when I make jokes that involve 9/11. It was a horrible tragedy and I still sometimes get that horrible feeling that I felt that day as it unfolded. I'm sure I've never felt as sick or helpless as I did on that day. But I feel that it's ok to make jokes because I'm really only making fun of the people who exploit 9/11, and not actually making fun of the tragedy itself. So if anything, my jokes serve as a form of protection of 9/11; rather than exploitation of it. Yet still, I remain somewhat cautious about doing so and have actually refrained from writing things that were funny, but which may have crossed the line.

And that's one of the most disgusting aspects of Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign: His entire presidential campaign is about crossing that line and not looking back. Sure, the Bush Admin turned 9/11 explotation into an artform, but that wasn't their only game. But with Rudy, that's it. He's exploiting 9/11 and it's his only reason for running for president. Hell, it's the only reason he's still looked on so highly, rather than as the scandalous unemployed mayor he is.

As I've mentioned before, the top three GOP presidential hopefuls have split Bush's political persona into three pieces, with Giuliani picking the most foul and hated of the three: The Neo-Con Tragedy Exploiter. At least Bush was also the Southern Good ol' Boy Outsider with the Republican Establishment Credentials. But Rudy doesn't have either of those. His campaign platform is simply: 9/11, War with Muslims, Attack the Liberals, and 9/11. And he has no problem with milking that for all it's worth.

An Unfortunate Choice

And so it must be a huge embarrassment for him that some supporters are having a "$9.11 for Rudy" fundraiser on his behalf; where they'll raise money for Rudy in increments of $9.11. Or it should be an embarrassment, anyway. Apparently, his campaign has merely distanced him from the fundraiser and described it as an "unfortunate choice."

That makes it sound merely like bad luck, rather than a Guiliani supporter taking their lead from the big guy himself and making 9/11 the prime focus of the political campaign. I honestly thought the idea was a parody at first, solely intended to mock Rudy's ghoulish campaign. What's next? Will Rudy start offering faux 9/11 memorabilia to top contributors? A $1000 contribution gets you a copy of the suit he was wearing that day? $500 gets you a box of the same cigars he had in his emergency-bunker/lovenest? Perhaps he could throw in the monogrammed towels if your spouse contributes too.

And the whole thing sickens me. I'm actually glad that these doofuses are inadvertently exposing what a disgusting person Giuliani is for exploiting 9/11. And I hope that Rudy doesn't return the money and it helps him stay in the race long enough to bury him forever. If he bailed now, he might still somehow manage another political campaign at another time. But once a politician gets too close to the brass ring, they're tarnished for life and generally have to drop out of politics. That's what I'm hoping for Rudy. He is indeed an unfortunate choice.

Proud to be an A-Hole

I just read about how Lee Greenwood, famed for his patriotic schlock God Bless the USA, bailed at the last minute on a private show in Denver for Veterans, Firefighters, and others because $2,000 of the $20,000 they paid him was going to be paid by check, rather than cash. The contract stipulated that he was to be paid only in cash or cashier's check.

He was paid $14,000 in advance, but on the day of the show, the show promoter only had $4,000 cash, and the Knights of Columbus were going to pay the rest by check. But rather than accept the $18k and the check, he walked, despite the fact that the show was already going on and people were waiting to see him. What an asshole.

Apparently, there were 800 to 900 people in attendance, who paid $20 each. So presumably, the promoters were paying more to Greenwood than they received. But as they say in the entertainment industry, the show must be cash; so Greenwood left almost a thousand fans down, out of concern that the K of C's check might bounce. If the email at Snopes is to be believed, it looks like the audience has learned a lesson from Mr. Greenwood: He's an asshole. But don't worry. Greenwood says he felt bad for the audience. Just not bad enough to take a check.
As the Rocky Mountain News said, Greenwood performed at a Mitt Romney event a few days later. He also supported Bush in 2004. I guess someone's realized his songs sell better when Americans die.

Draft-Dodging Wanker

While reading about Greenwood, I came across this Snopes entry suggesting that Mr. Patriot Greenwood dodged the Vietnam draft by heading to Canada. But apparently, that's not true. Mr. Greenwood had a kid and a promising music career in Vegas and so he wasn't called up to serve his country.

As he said:
It angers me when I hear this. I never served in the military because I had children at the age of 17. I was given the classification 3A. The draft never got to that #. If it had, like my father, I would have left my wife and children (for I know they would have understood) to fight and die if necessary for my country.

And as he said in his uber-patriotic song:
And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.

But the thing is, I don't give a damn about draft dodging. Is it really that important whether you got called up and avoided going, or if you got lucky and decided not to go? Sure, one of those options was illegal, but they amount to the same thing: You didn't go. And if his family would have understood, why didn't he go? Did he not realize he could volunteer? Did he imagine it was a draft-only war?

Of course not. He didn't volunteer because he didn't want to go. So what the hell difference does it make if his draft classification didn't come up? No wonder it angers him when people bring this up. He must find it quite embarrassing.

And would it really kill any of these dudes to admit that they were cowardly in their younger days and just didn't want to fight? They always make it sound like there was some mysterious force holding them back. They'd have fought...if only their kid, or cushy guard duty, or anal cyst hadn't stopped them. But as I said before, it all amounts to the same thing: They didn't want to fight, so they didn't. And now they've got their excuses and they're sticking with them.

I've always thought that if you support a war, you should go. And if you don't support it, you should probably be allowed to stay; though that naturally depends on how badly we need them. But for god's sake, you don't get to proudly support a war while refusing to actually put yourself on the line. Sure, you can do that, but that just makes you a schmuck. So what else can we conclude than to say that Greenwood had no interest in protecting the freedoms he touts so strongly in his only famous song. We could all be speaking Vietnamese, for all he cares.

So sure, Lee's proud to be an American. Just as long as it's someone else's kid who doesn't get to have his dad tuck him in at night. Some sucker who was dumb enough to volunteer to serve his country. Something Greenwood would like to have done, if only his country had volunteered him. Or perhaps his problem is that Uncle Sam doesn't pay cash.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Denying the Rumors

Due to repeated misstatements in the MSM, I find it necessary to state yet again that it's wrong to think that me and Dick Cheney are walking toward war. Who says so? Why should we go to war? There is no war in the offing.

And regarding the rumors of me trying to build a nuclear bomb, I would like to say that you have to appreciate I don't need a nuclear bomb. I don't need that. What need do I have for a bomb? In political relations right now, the nuclear bomb is of no use. As President Ahmadinejad said, "If it was useful it would have prevented the downfall of the Soviet Union." And as I've said before, I have several neutron bombs already and find that they suit my needs just fine. Nuclear weapons are sooo passe.

Update: I was just informed by several alert readers that neutron bombs are nuclear bombs. And in that case, I most certainly do need nuclear bombs and am making many more as I write this. Sorry for the confusion. I really need to read all the instructions before assembling these things. I made the same mistake when I bought a bookshelf from IKEA last month and only realized after I was finished that it was made entirely of human flesh. I had assumed it was particle board underneath. My wife almost made me return it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Seeing Things My Way

Everything happens exactly as I need it to happen or I wouldn't have needed it to happen that way. Frankly, I'm not even sure why I bother learning anything. It can't possibly be anything I didn't already expect. And if it were, I'd know it was a lie. So what's the point?

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Mystery Speaks

People confuse me. Like the case of the guy who's suing God, to prove how easy it is to file absurd lawsuits. Well God has apparently responded...twice. Here's one of the responses:

"I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you."

Admittedly, my official theological studies ended after I was confirmed as a Catholic almost twenty years ago, so I'm no expert on the issue. But how is this not blasphemy? Sure, it's possible that this really was the God responding...twice, but I kind of doubt it. I mean honestly, horrible wars committed in His name, the Holocaust, the ascendancy of Republicans and George Bush to the Whitehouse; and this is what finally gets him to speak up? A lawsuit? I know the legal system can really screw you over if you don't respond promptly to this stuff, but you'll have to forgive me for being a bit skeptical.

And Christians do this kind of thing all the time. A comedian gets in trouble for making a few jokes about Jesus, but Christians are allowed to tell us what God thinks and to speak on His behalf? Really? When you ask questions they can't begin to explain, you're told that He works in mysterious ways, which only proves His greatness and our own puniness. But these same people will tell you exactly what God's doing and what he wants us to do at the drop of a hat. And always coincides exactly with what these people want, and often contradicts what other Christians say on God's behalf. As well as what equally fervent non-Christians say their god is telling them. Simply amazing.

Perhaps if we can convince the Democrats to haul Him before Congress we can get some real answers. I mean, if God's so afraid of an intentionally frivolous lawsuit in Nebraska, He must really be afraid of being held in contempt of Congress. But then again, with all the discussions Bush claims to have had with God, He'll probably just invoke Executive Privilege and pull a no-show. God may be powerful, but apparently nobody is more immune to oversight than a Republican president.

Razzing the GOP

One of the inherently unfair aspects of covering presidential politics is that the more fun a candidate is to ridicule, the more likely they'll just drop out of the race. Right now, my two favorites are new-comer Thompson and Giuliani. Giuliani I think will hang in for awhile longer, but at some point he's going to have to realize that he has no business running for president and should have just stuck with milking his 9/11 fame for all the money it's worth.

But as I've said before, I think Thompson has already got to be approaching the point where he's just looking for an honorable exit. He doesn't even have Giuliani's feeble 9/11 justification for running, nor his love of attacking liberals. And he just keeps making mistakes and doesn't seem at all interested in knowing what the hell he's talking about. And for as much as people suggest this is just a copy of Bush, it isn't. No matter how lamebrained Bush is, he still made a point of having a minimum level of soundbites to handle any particular situation; at least when he's campaigning anyway.

But Thompson can't even muster that. I seriously doubt he's as unknowledgeable on key issues as he appears to be. The problem is he hasn't been fed the proper lines to do the tightrope walk required by all Republican candidates. Because it's simply impossible to be straightforward while pleasing both the Republican base and the general population. But that's the problem: Thompson isn't supposed to be that kind of candidate. He's actually supposed to be an honest truth-teller who says what he believes, but that's the surest way for a Republican to fail. So what can he do but plead ignorance and keep things as vague as possible?

No Zeal

And now I see that James Dobson is against the guy. So what's the point? Thompson doesn't seem to know anything. Doesn't care to know anything. He's lazy. And now he's got Dobson against him. Even worse, Dobson is complaining about many of the same things I just noted.

I quote:
"Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won't talk at all about what he believes, and can't speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?" Dobson wrote.

"He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent 'want to.' And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!"

Besides what he said about the Constitutional amendment and McCain-Feingold, I agree with everything he wrote. And that's really bad. It's dumb but natural for a Republican presidential nominee to offend liberals. It's dumber but not fatal for a Republican presidential nominee to offend the religious right. But to offend both the liberals and the religious right for the same reasons? That's it. He loses. It's over.

So why is he running? What's the point? As Dobson said, Thompson can't speak his way out of a paper bag and doesn't give a shit. So why does he bother? I'm guessing there's a little bit of egoness involved. But as I suggested in a previous post, I'm guessing this was his wife's doing. She saw an opening and wants to run a presidential campaign. But this isn't going to last forever. It can't. He's too pathetic of a candidate and he's just embarrassing himself. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if his official presidential campaign lasts less time than his speculative one.

The Discounted Rate

And then what? We've got Giuliani, but he's already boring me. It's like the guy has been in a deep freeze since May 2003 and hasn't yet noticed that the political and rhetorical landscape have changed a wee bit. He's like George Bush, but without the compassion, subtlety, and open policy agenda. And sure, he's smarter and meaner, but Bush was marketed as being dumb and nice and it worked out pretty well for him. It made people trust him. Sure nasty lies were said about Bush's opponents, but Bush wasn't the one you heard it from.

But Giuliani doesn't have that. He's running an attack dog campaign as the chief attack dog, and it just doesn't work like that. The more people see Giuliani acting like a prick, the more he'll bury himself.

Like the whole MoveOn-BetrayUs thing and how Giuliani attacked the NY Times for supposedly giving MoveOn a huge discount on the ad. As he said:
We’re going to call upon the New York Times to give us the same rate, heavily discounted rate that they gave for that abominable ad that was very very coincidentally published on the day that Gen Petraeus testified.”

At the time, I imagined that was dumb bravado talking, and as with most conservatives, he wouldn't bother following up on what was obviously a cheap rhetorical line. But no, Giuliani actually went ahead and bought an ad at that same, "heavily discounted" rate they gave MoveOn; thus undermining his original conspiracy theory against the Times. I'm sure their advertising department laughed all the way to the bank.

The GOP Field

But his schtick is already old. At least with Thompson we get a whole variety of blunders, misstatements, and cope-outs; all which undermine the very reason we're discussing him. But with Giuliani, we just get a dumb attack dog. A schoolyard bully who fancies himself clever because he can still get applause from the wanna-be bullies who look up to him. But that's no way to run a political campaign. Even his policy proposals are little more than poor excuses to attack Democrats. Who cares. He won't win the nomination and shouldn't even last all the way to the primaries.

And so who does that leave us with? Alan Keyes? Forget about it. It's not as fun when the funniest thing you can say about a candidate is to quote their own words. Same goes for the rest of the GOP pack. All we're getting is reruns. At least with Giuliani we get a greatest hits collection from 2003. The rest of those dudes have just be treading water with the same material since the 90's. A bunch of moralistic woohaw that continues to draw fewer and fewer listeners with each passing year. It's like a movie studio which only releases sequels and remakes and can't understand why their sales keep slipping.

And that leaves us with boring old Mitt Romney. Sure, you can land a 747 on his shoulders, but I'm sad to say they probably won't. He'll run an effective campaign, but the base won't fully support him and the attack machine won't fit his style properly. Frankly, I think they've decided to take a pass on owning the Whitehouse in 2008. As Bush has noted before, presidenting is hard work. It's much easier to attack from the sidelines.

On a final note, I'd just like to apologize for a post I wrote mentioning Thompson back in April (can you believe his presidential speculation had been going on that long?). In that post, I suggested that Thompson was an "actual conservative" and a "free-thinker," and speculated on what would happen if he could somehow win the Whitehouse and institute a real conservative agenda, independent of what the Republican leadership wanted. It was obvious I was writing out of ignorance and I apologize.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Nexus of Nuttery

I understand theory. But when I actually see them in the real often makes my brain want to explode.

Case in point: They say the surge is working. They tout how easy it is for Senators to buy cheap rugs in Iraq, how the guys who used to be killing us are now sort of helping us, and how it's even possible for the most protected person in the world to make a top-secret trip to a large military base for a few hours. That's a working surge.

And then...they need to justify allowing our mercenary private security forces to have free reign to shoot whomever they want and to treat the whole country as their personal target practice because it's a tough fucking country and those are the breaks.

Now, a normal person would be embarrassed by this conflict. If the country is too dangerous, then the surge really wasn't that effective. And let's not forget that until the "Surge" was ordered, these guys pretended that Iraq was safer than many American cities. A normal person would at least feel the need to explain this apparently conflicting evidence, and should probably plan to retract at least one of these statements before slinking off in shame.

But are our conservatives normal? Hell no. Not only will they not try to explain this difference, they'll go right ahead and combine both parts together and then top it off with a supreme conspiracy theory involving Iran. And thus, while combining conflicting reports about the level of violence in one war, they'll toss in an empty accusation in an attempt to start another war. Simply amazing.

Undermining the Surge

Via Will Bunch at Attytood, we see Pajamas Media nutball Richard Miniter tying the Blackwater incident, the surge, and Iran together in one post; based solely on an "exclusive" anonymous source which said the CIA and State Department activities in Iraq are largely shutdown because Blackwater isn't there to protect them. And that apparently includes some activity in the holy Greenzone.

I quote:
By apparently lifting Blackwater’s license, the democratically elected Iraq government may stall the forward progress created by the Gen. Petraeus’ surge and change in counterinsurgency tactics. Indeed, some contend that the actions of Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, which supervises police and some intelligence functions, may be influenced by insurgents or even by Iran.

So let's see if I got this right. He's suggesting that this might be part of an Iranian plot to undermine the surge because they knew how dependent we were on the mercs private security forces and that our military was stretched so thin that we couldn't function without their assistance; thus undermining a successful counter-insurgency that has made good progress in a country that wasn't having an insurgency problem to begin with. Well, he didn't actually say that last part, but we know it's true.

And really, when you get down to it, they really only "undermined" the surge by showing that it wasn't really all that effective; which doesn't have any actual effect on the surge, but only the surge propaganda. So basically, Iran undermined the surge by undermining what the surge-supporters have been saying about the surge. And these guys think it's a bright idea to tell us about this in a article.

But I'm not even sure how the Iranians got into all this and just see the whole thing unraveling into: Iraq is a scary fucking place where even our CIA guys aren't safe in the Greenzone. So thanks for the head's up, guys, but that's what we've been saying for quite awhile. And let's not forget that Iran's influence in Iraq is a relatively recent event. And I wonder who was to blame for that? Hmm...

But somehow in their puny little minds they imagine they pulled this off. Somewhere, there are satisfied wingnuts thinking "Touche, Iran. You won this round, but now you've just made me angry" or some other childish cliche they picked up from a Steven Seagal movie (and yes, I used the term "thinking" quite loosely).

Propaganda Tools

Oh, and I really liked this little bit of editorializing in what PJ Media clearly is pretending to be objective reporting:
It’s well known in Iraq that dead insurgents become “civilians” as soon as their comrades carry away their AK-47s and spare magazines. Captured al Qaeda manuals detail how militants should use deaths as a propaganda tool.

Yes, and it's well known in America that dead civilians become "insurgents" as soon as Americans kill them. Captured PJ Media manuals detail how faux-reporters crap their pajamas every time a civilian casualty is reported, forcing them to use the deaths as a propaganda tool. (And why they imagined the name "Pajama Media" didn't set them up for easy ridicule is beyond even my comprehension.)

And if you're wondering what the commenters are saying, I'll summarize: Iran is involved and this whole incident was part of a set-up to hurt our efforts in Iraq, which the Dems in Congress are rooting for because they always cheer on America's enemies; even though the only people killed were bad guys. Additionally, Clinton's CIA is a bunch of pansies who don't get anything right, including stuff that happened before Clinton's term and which coincided with what these guys were saying at the time.

Included in the list of CIA blunders are "UFOs". No, I can't explain that one either. Sometimes it's just best to chug the rest of the wine and go to bed. Think I'll do that now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Dork Revolution

I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of rap. In fact, outside of a Beck album, I’m unlikely to listen to it at all. But I’m not a big snob against it. In fact, I’m proud to say that I once got mugged after a Public Enemy concert, back when they were the top rap act. That’s street cred for you, people. So I don’t hold anything against rappers.

That is, except for Kanye West. I can’t stand that punkass. The first time I saw him was when he showed what a whiny little baby he is when he got punked by Ashton Kutcher. In that clip, not only will you see Kanye explain that the reason he had to make a second music video for his newest song was because “people say ‘ok it’s one of the best songs I’ve ever heard,’” but you’ll also see him repeatedly refer to Paris as “Parie” and behave like a immature six year old who hasn’t had his nap. Simply unbelievable.

I honestly think he just set-out to prove that it’s actually possible for a black hip-hop performer to have less soul than P. Diddy (or whatever he’s calling himself these days). I was never one against sampling, but when you get to the point that you’re just rapping on top of someone else’s song, you suck. Watching these guys gives me a new respect for Lionel Richie, whose soulless material at least required talent.

Soulless Arrogance

And so I was a bit disappointed to see that Kanye has apparently won his rap sales battle with 50 Cent. I actually like 50 Cent, particularly after a decent performance on Saturday Night Live a few years ago. That’s not to say I listen to his music, but I at least understand what he’s trying to do. So I was really rooting for him to stomp Kanye into the dirt. But no luck.

And now the punkass has won and I read this embarrassing quote from Kanye:
People have this perception of me being arrogant, but would an arrogant person risk the chance of coming in the second spot just to be a part of history?

A part of history? Oh no, this guy isn’t arrogant at all. He just thinks he’d be a “part of history” even if he came in second in a pretend battle for record sales that he initiated. A marketing gimmick. It’s like he’s just asking to be mocked. Hell, even his suggestion that an arrogant person wouldn’t challenge someone to a battle for fear of coming in second is just more evidence of what a dumbass punk he is. Arrogance I can take; assuming it's deserved. Dumb arrogance by immature dorks is just too much for me to handle.

But this isn’t really just to complain about him. He's just the biggest of a whole line of dorks that are seen throughout the current popular music scene. What I really want to know is what the hell is the matter with kids today. When I was a teen, I always wondered what our kids would do to outrage us, after all the crap we became accustomed to. I always imagined it’d be like brain piercings and amputations and that their “music” would be the amplified screams of slaughtered squirrels or something.

But no. It looks like they’ve taken teen rebellion in a whole new direction: They’re out-dweebing us. Idolizing soulless, arrogant dorks with lame music which they believe to be the greatest music ever. Well it worked. I’m outraged. Where’s GG Allin when we need him? And would it be too hard to give Kanye a nasty heroin addiction?

P.S. I know that kids don't listen to Kanye to be rebellious. I just realized I needed a point to this post and decided that was a funny one. Thus said, Kanye's newest song is one of the most offensive things my kids listen to. The other is the A-Teens. I'd honestly prefer the slaughtered squirrels.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Porblem Solved

In order to prevent a housing meltdown and a painful credit crunch, I've decided to cut your interest rates by ten points. So if your rate was already below 10%, your loan will now begin to pay itself off automatically. This won't be reflected on your loan statements, but trust me, it's there. And don't worry about inflation. I never do.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Vince McMahon for President!

Carpetbagger has another post which strongly suggests that Fred Thompson has no business running for President. As one commenter there suggested, it's likely that he got roped into this by his younger, Republican wife. I wouldn't doubt that Fred's already looking for some opportunity to bail-out gracefully. It must be embarrassing to publicly throw your hat into the ring and then just pull it out a few weeks later.

But it's not just Thompson. None of the top GOP contenders have any good reason for running. They have no policy expertise. They've had to renounce large parts of their prior political statements and activities. And overall, they have no real mandate from the general public or even the Republican Base.

But that's the thing, there are Republican presidential candidates who have these things; unfortunately, they're all considered flakes because they have a history of being outright conservative. That was the secret of George Bush, who could only get the presidency because he had no established political record outside of his presidential bid and had the right name and friends. And that's just not going to happen again.

And so the only candidates who are considered electable are phonies like Giuliani, Romney, and Thompson, who are basing their candidacies solely on their ability to act like macho toughguys. And it’s funny to see how all three have been marketed. It’s like a veritable Baskin-Robbins of variety: Three flavors of phoniness, representing all three parts of the Republican coalition. Giuliani is your neo-con Hillary-hater. Romney is your upstanding Republican Alpha-Male. And Thompson is your Southern Conservative Good ol’ Boy with the Heart of Steel.

Bush represented all three of these ideals, but it's obvious that the GOP's next nominee for Phony-in-Chief will only be one. This isn't just a battle of men. This will help determine which version of phony masculinity the Republicans really prefer. My money is still with the Republican Alpha-Male.

McCain's Mistake

And then there's McCain, who is both electable and has a reason to run, but the base still doesn't like him and all his attempts to change that keep burning him with the moderates, who were always his real source of support. His big mistake seems to be that he failed to realize that it's no longer 2000 or even 2004. He really needed to position himself as a Bush alternative, not a Bush substitute. And he screwed that up.

I guarantee you that at this point, even conservatives don't really like Bush anymore. They just won't admit to that because they still consider their fate to be tied to his. But if they could secretly replace him without anyone noticing, I'm sure they would. So running as Bush II just wasn't a smart move.

As I've said before, I think McCain's biggest mistake was being suckered by Bush's operatives. He did what they said, thinking it would help him become president; when in fact, he was just being used to help Bush, while only burning through his own credibility. Somehow, Republicans still haven't realized that Bush only looks out for Bush and the only reason they need you is because no one associated with the guy has any credibility left.

So they're always glad to "borrow" your credibility. Unfortunately, it's akin to someone borrowing a cigarette from you. You're probably not going to want it back.

Manly Men

Looking at the "electable" GOP candidates, I just don't understand why they keep pussy-footing around and won't just start recruiting professional wrestlers to run for president. These guys are experts at projecting toughness and are the epitome of machoness. It worked for Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

And hell, the Republican Machine is likely to want that more too. All they want is an empty suit who knows how to say his lines and make the right moves. And professional wrestlers are great at that. They're unlikely to want Ventura, as he clearly relished in being a free-thinker; which helped doom his political career. But I'm sure there are many other wrestlers who would be happy to be given a better part to play.

I'm sure the only thing stopping this is that the Republican Machine would worry that people wouldn't take them seriously if they ran with wrestlers as their candidates. People would expect their debates to have Cage Matches and whatnot. But there really is no need to worry. They've already been forced into running with laughable candidates. At least then they could have candidates who were actually tough and gained fame by their own right, rather than the purely manufactured phonies we're seeing now. And honestly, wouldn't you be more likely to watch a GOP debate if it included a few body slams?

What I Did Today

I did nothing today and didn't get arrested. I ended the Iraq War. You can thank me later.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Difference Between Libs and Cons

Wow, apparently there are wider gulfs between liberals and conservatives than I had ever imagined. As I learned from Roy at alicublog, conservatives apparently believe that human beings have value and (gasp!) think America is a great country. Don't believe me? Here's the money quote from some crazy human valuer at a Redstate:

And if there are two things that American conservatives believe strongly, it's that human beings have value, and that America is a great country.

Well no wonder we never get along with them. I always thought it was just differing opinions exacerbated by their selective view of reality and stubborn contrarianism and selfishness. But now I see it goes much deeper than that. They actually care about people and our country. Who'd have thunk it?

I guess their pro-torture and pro-poverty stances are nothing more than their way of reminding people how nice it is to be rich and untortured. You know, so we don't take these things for granted. And who appreciates being rich and untortured more than a poor person who's been tortured? Perhaps I should start torturing people and allowing poor people to starve too. I can also work to deny children education and healthcare too. Just thinking about it has brought a new emotion into my life: Joy. No wonder people like being conservative. There's more to life than evilness, death, and the environment.

Oh, and most of them apparently hate fluorescent bulbs. I'm not sure if that's because they value human beings so much or if its their love of America that causes them to despise the things; but either way, I guess I'll have to throw mine out too. The comments at Redstate will explain why; though be careful. It's possible the dumb is contagious.

Assassin for Thee; Not for Me

One of the more sadly comical attributes of conservatives is their ability to denounce someone for engaging in the same behavior they're using when they denounce the person. Some people call it hypocrisy, while I call it...well, I call it hypocrisy too, because that's what it is. But as I've said before, hypocrisy isn't a separate flaw in conservatives. It's a prerequisite.

In this case, I'm referring to Giuliani's attack on Hillary Clinton for her "character assassination" of General Petraeus. Hillary doubted Petraeus' truthfulness so Rudy decided to not only label her a "character assassin" but to also imply some sort of weird conspiracy with and the NY Times. You know, because MoveOn had an ad in the NY Times doubting the honesty of Petraeus' testimony and it just so happened that around the same time Petraeus gave that testimony, Hillary also doubted it. What are the odds of that happening? As Rudy said, Hillary's comments followed MoveOn's "in a very, very coincidental way."

Yes, it's quite amazing to see two things you expect to happen at the same time actually happen at the same time. Coincidental isn't even the right word for this. The right word is "Duh." As the final punchline, Rudy said "It is time for Americans to really insist that American politicians move beyond character assassination..."

There is no indication he meant that ironically.

And let's face it, this has nothing to do with Iraq. This has nothing to do with or General Petraeus. Rudy did this because there is absolutely no good reason for him to run for president, beyond his ability to attack liberals. That's it. He's tossed out his former social positions. He has no moral or religious standing to speak of. He's relatively clueless on foreign and domestic affairs, and even the neo-cons feeding him foreign policy material are the bane of most Americans, with the term "neo-con" now considered to be an insult even by neo-conservatives. Even the publicly acknowledged reason for his candidacy is due to undeserved fame for an incident he should have been tarred and feathered for.

So all he's got is attacks on liberals, and there's no better liberal target for him than Hillary Clinton. Even then, she's really not a liberal, so he doesn't even have that going for him. But she's hated by the people Rudy needs to get the nomination, so this is the best he can do. So for Rudy to go on the offensive by denouncing "character assassins"? Sadly comical.

Oil for Blood

I just got my hands on some of that precious Iraqi oil. Simply delicious.

Once again, it pays to be a Texan.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In-Depth Journalism for the Masses

OMG! Finally the MSM has tapped into the truly important news stories. The truly worthy material that simply can no longer be ignored. Sure, as USA Today suggested, the OJ Trial was the fifth most important news headline in recent history, mainly because it showed the world how much more important celebrity news was than wars and famine and other boring things that only happen to regular people.

But it looks like ABC News has finally got it right, having leap-frogged past the standard celebrity stories and going much more in-depth. In this case, no longer being content with talking about Britney Spears, they're now highlighting stories of other people talking about Britney Spears and the people who are talking about them. That's right, I'm referring to Spears uber-fan Chris Crocker and this ABC News clip showcasing his defense of Britney as well as an interview with the guy. He discusses why he made the video, how it resonated with other Britney fans, as well as discussing the death threats people have made against him for the courageous stance he took by defending Britney.

Awesome. Simply awesome. I'm now ready for the aliens to come down and let us know that we've all been punked and that they invented celebrities, journalists, and morons as part of the prank. Or they can just zap my brain. At this point, I'm really not sure it matters.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Confessions of a Tax Code Junkie

I have a confession. Once upon a time, I used to live the life that I wanted to. I did what I wanted to do. I lived where I wanted to live. And I lived with the people I wanted to live with. And then I read the IRS tax code, and all that changed.

Suddenly, I found myself redesigning my entire life in order to minimize my tax bill. I saw that I could get a tax credit for college education and a tax deduction on student loan interest, so I quit my job and started going to an expensive university I couldn’t possibly afford. I saw that I could deduct mortgage interest on a home loan as well as my property tax payment, so I stopped renting and bought the most expensive house I could find with an absurd interest rate. I ran up HUGE medical bills for procedures I didn't need, just so I could deduct them above the 7.5% AGI floor. I started adopting children and enrolling them in daycare, so I could deduct the adoption costs, increase my tax exemptions, and get the child care credits. And I started my own business so I could deduct 50% of my self-employment tax. I thought I had it all. But it was all an illusion. And I see that now. I was living the sham life of a tax code junkie.

And now I see the err of my ways. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do and ended up totally broke. As it turns out, not only did these deductions, exemptions, and credits not make me rich; I actually found that the 15% I saved on my tax bill still left me having to pay 85% of the cost of these things; and so there was no advantage to doing any of these things, unless I already needed to do them anyway. What could have gone wrong?

Liberty-Stealing Liberals

And then I figured it out: I had been led astray by liberal Democrats who were attempting to social engineer my life. It was they who forced me to do these things. They knew that I’d fall for the siren song of their tax breaks. They’re the ones who forced me to get that useless education, the expensive home, the unnecessary medical procedures, bratty kids, and this stupid home business. They were the ones who wanted these things, not me. And they used their conniving tax code to pull my strings like a helpless puppet. I feel so used.

And now I know better. No longer do I support tax deductions for any of these things. It’s obvious that the only purpose of these tax “savings” is to rule my life and destroy my liberty. The plan is to jack tax rates up to the highest conceivable level, so you’ll do anything to weasel your way out of paying. It’s the perfect trap.

Sure, they’ll claim that these tax breaks are intended to offset expenses related to activities which are beneficial to society, like higher education, home ownership, and child adoption. Or they'll claim that our tax code is intended to make people who have more expendable income pay more, by excluding expenses related to raising kids and medical expenses. But we know better. This is nothing short of Big Daddy Government treating us all like little children; running our lives and ruining our society.

Republican-Voting Libertarian

But no more! From now on, I’m turning my back on the liberal Democrats who destroyed my liberties. From here on out, I’m joining the ranks of the freedom-loving libertarians so that I can once again live my life the way I want to. And if that means that I have to vote Republican as a way of hurting the liberty-hating Democrats, so be it. From now on, I’ll be voting for people who respect my freedom and allow me to live my life the way I want.

And sure, many Republicans want to restrict my access to abortion and birth control. And they want to tell me who I can have sex with, who I can marry, and who I can divorce. And they want to deny me access to alcohol and drugs and gambling, as well as deciding which types of entertainment I shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy. And they want to dictate which things can be taught in school and have free reign to decide which religion is expressed publicly. And they want to do this by using our judicial system and police force as the guardians of their religious beliefs. And that's not to mention their belief that the president is allowed to wiretap our phones, deny us access to public events he's attending, and remove our rights as citizens; without any outside oversight or public knowledge.

But screw it. If that’s what it takes to overturn the power of the freedom-destroying Democrats, I’m wiling to accept that. As the great Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: Tis better to be imprisoned for having the wrong kind of sex than to be offered a tax break for having children. Truer words were never spoke.

The Real Iraq Report is Complete

Ok, it's done. It took a lot of work, time, and energy, but I finally got the final edits back from the big man, so it looks like it's ready to be released. So with all the gravitas of Richard Bruce Cheney behind me, I'm ready to announce the release of The Official & Complete Doctor Biobrain Iraqi Study Report & Pro-America Extravaganza!

As my sole request, Vice President Cheney has graciously allowed me to give you guys get first dibs on the report. Enjoy!

The Official & Complete Doctor Biobrain Iraqi Study Report & Pro-America Extravaganza

Executive Summary:
We came. We saw. We kicked some ass.

The purpose of this report is to give the American people an objective third-party perspective of President Bush's successful plan to destroy Al Qaeda around the globe. Although all real Americans understood that the success of this strategy relied upon misdirection, secrecy, and patience, it's only natural in a time of transition for the more timid elements to run for cover. And with the unthinking anti-Americans in our own country taking advantage of that uncertainty in order to undermine the long-term success of our great nation, I am now proud to announce that we they are now completing the final stage of our their grand strategy and will soon announce the destruction of terrorism forever; assuming the less American elements in our country don't prevent them from doing so.

The plan is as follows: In order to destroy the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and who are intent on taking over the world, President Bush sagely devised a three step strategy known in military terms as the "Rope-a-Dope". The first step was to wage an unprovoked attack against a secular Muslim nation, which would so enrage Muslims that they would be lured from their caves and sleeper cells to fight us in Iraq. The second step was to destroy these terrorists in a seemingly haphazard fashion that would make their terrorist brethren falsely believe they stood some chance of defeating us; thereby also entering Iraq to be slaughtered. The third stage was a final surge of additional troops which would finish off all the remaining terrorists in the world and draw our war on terror to a successful conclusion.

After extensively interviewing all of the myriads of people the military bravely provided to us in our palatial lodgings in the once war torn province of al-Greenzone, as well as exhaustively computing the numbers Mr. Cheney's office were gracious enough to collect for us, we have found that Bush's Rope-a-Dope strategy in Iraq has been an obvious and overwhelming success. Our official tally shows that only one Iraqi has died since the surge began, and that death was attributed entirely to joy. All other deaths were foreign Al Qaeda fighters lured into Iraq by Bush's wonderful strategy.

Beyond that, records indicate that four schools were painted, an electrical plant has been partially repaired twice, and a secondary water treatment plant in Baghdad has been running at 51% capacity for much of the Summer. Unfortunately, it was found necessary to destroy all these facilities as a way of demonstrating to the terrorists that we meant business and really don't like those roadside bombs they keep hitting us with. We think the message got across and have plans to rebuild all of these structures upon the successful completion of our War on Terror. All Iraqis are completely grateful for what we did.

Oh, and when I wrote "we," I meant our military. Naturally, I'm just an independent observer writing an objective report that shows how much America has been kicking ass and why we need to continue fighting in Iraq, lest we admit that the terrorists have won. I am in no way saying these things because my neck is on the line for my aggressive pro-war stance, as I have once said something deemed to be critical of Bush's dog. So it's obvious that my only bias is towards showing the truth of Bush's awesome plan on how best to conclude this awesome, awesome war.

It's a cakewalk. We need to keep kicking ass for another six months and we will most definitely be greeted as liberators. The biggest long-term threat that can be imagined would be if one of our troops is accidentally blinded by a rose thrown by an overzealous Iraqi during the ensuing parades. As a precautionary measure, we have instructed military personnel to keep sunglasses on their person at all times, for the eventuality of these parades breaking out spontaneously. As an added bonus, this will send a positive message to the Iraqi people that our future is so bright that we need to wear shades. Yeah America!!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Again with the Healthcare

Dear readers, I just realized that I hadn’t written anything today, so I decided to post my follow-up response to my healthcare debate with the anonymous free-market commenter I mentioned two posts ago. You can read his response to my post, but there’d be no reason to. It’s just the same old contradictory muck that you’ve seen before. Long on assertions and theories; short on details and reality.

And in case you were wondering: No, I’ve never been particularly obsessed with healthcare until I wrote two posts bashing free-market conservatives for what they wrote on healthcare. Now I can’t seem to leave it alone. That’s just how it goes.

My Response

Anonymous – When I wrote that you wanted to end health insurance and only rely on catastrophic health insurance, it was obvious that I simply miswrote that, as it would make no sense otherwise. I even noticed that and meant to rewrite it, but just forgot. The fact that you’d suggest I was misrepresenting you is entirely absurd. Why would I have mentioned the catastrophic coverage at all if I meant to misrepresent your position? I also forgot to mention what an anal putz you are, but they probably already guessed.

As for your suggestion that employer-paid insurance is "government intervention," almost all business expenses are deductible. The only one I can think of off-hand are meals & entertainment, which are only 50% deductible. They deduct payroll expenses and other employee perks. Why should health insurance be any different? If an individual buys a computer, it’s not tax deductible. But if they start a business and use that computer for business purposes, it becomes tax deductible. Their health insurance would be deductible too. See how that works? Business expenses are deductible because businesses are taxed on their profits, not their revenue. How is that government intervention?

And do you honestly believe that employers only offer health insurance because it’s tax deductible? Really??

And FYI, the real advantage that employers have over individuals for purchasing insurance is that they get group discounts. Group health is WAAAAY cheaper than individual insurance. And the more employees being insured, the cheaper the insurance is per person. While that certainly gives big firms an advantage over small ones, that’s the free-market for you.

And so even if we punished businesses by disallowing their deduction for health insurance, most of them would still give health insurance to their employees. And so where would that get you? Nowhere. Unless you explictly banned the employer health-insurance plans, you would have achieved nothing but raising their tax bills. I honestly assumed you understood that and realized that an outright ban was the only way to get rid of employer health insurance. And if we didn't get rid of health insurance, your "free-market" healthcare wouldn't go anywhere. Once again, I can't believe I'm forced to explain basic facts to you.

Beating the Experts

And I agree that under your system we could use our doctor as our medical cost expert. That’s exactly what I said the problem was. I suppose you let the sales guy choose your car for you too, as well as holding your d*ck. You’ve already suggested that doctors might behave unethically, by giving poor treatment. Somehow, that only applies to my system, while they’re all ethical in yours and you can trust them to tell you how much you should pay them. Of course.

And where on earth do you get the idea that everything in our current system is “charged to the max”? There’s a mechanism used for setting prices, and it’s called the free-market. You should read about it some time. I’ve already explained all this, but you ignore it anyway and choose to treat me like an idiot. But as I said, if the experts are getting screwed-over by doctors and hospitals, as you say they are, then I don’t see what hope the rest of us have.

But then again, as is typical of conservatives, you don’t believe in expertise. Because you don’t understand how an insurance company sets their prices, you imagine that no one else knows either. Instead, you imagine that they’re all idiots who pay “the max,” while you’re this genius who will trust what his doctor tells him the price should be. Of course.

The Fun Part

But you know what, I’ve just read ahead to the rest of what you wrote, and shit; I give up. I take it all back. You’re a complete moron. This is quite out of character for me, but I’m not even going to waste my time with this anymore. You have explained nothing, but prefer instead to talk vaguely of “government intervention” mucking everything up and how the “free markets will provide,” without ever really explaining what the government is doing wrong or why you imagine that the millions of people already getting screwed by the system won’t be joined by the millions more currently being helped by the system.. Instead you prefer to insult me by pretending that I think the government can solve everything..

Well I don’t. I’m not like you. I don’t think there are cure-alls. I don’t think there are perfect answers. Different options have pros and cons, and we make our decisions by weighing the good versus the bad.. But not you. You’ve got this fantasy idea that the market works perfectly, even though it obviously doesn’t and you refuse to explain how anything will work, besides a blind faith that “the market will provide”. You’ve got a theory which you imagine justifies your selfishness and just tune everything else out. It’s obvious that you don’t even know how the market really works. All you care about is that you think it gives you what you want, and that’s all you need to understand.

And it’s equally obvious that you know absolutely nothing about healthcare. Why should you? You almost never go to the doctor and never needed one for anything serious. And as with most conservatives, you just can’t understand anything that hasn’t affected you directly. Because you don’t need healthcare, you imagine that nobody else does either; so you don’t want to pay for it.

But there’s nothing special about your good health. I’m older than you and I rarely go to the doctor either. But that’s not skill. It’s luck. And there’s nothing to say it will continue. I’ve gone many years without insurance in the past, and it just meant that I avoided the doctor. I’ve also gone without car insurance before. Nothing bad came from either of those decisions. But it wasn’t because I’m so great. It’s because I got lucky. Just like you’ve been lucky.

An Anecdote

Let me tell you a story. Last year my older sister started feeling run down and had a really bad headache. After a few days, she made a late night trip to the hospital. Why? Because she had insurance, so she could spend someone else’s money to get rid of the headache. They ran some expensive tests and found that she had a really bad sinus infection that was giving her the headaches (I think an MRI showed that). They also found that she had a really high white cell count, which is a symptom of leukemia. They ran more tests and found that she did have leukemia. She immediately got put into a top cancer hospital and earlier this year was told that she was cured. Her life is now saved and her daughter still has a mom. She still has to take lots of pills and her hair has only begun to grow back, but she’ll live.

And how did that happen? Because she had employer insurance. Without insurance, she’d have been unlikely to be “careless” with her money and see a doctor. I mean, people get headaches. It happens. And she surely wouldn’t have agreed to the expensive tests that she got that found her high white blood count. After all, the headache wasn’t even related to the leukemia. It was just luck that they found it at all. Who does blood tests for a headache? They did, because they couldn't explain her symptoms and insurance was paying the bill.

And sure, your catastrophic insurance would have covered the super-expensive leukemia treatment, assuming she had coverage. But without insurance footing the initial tests, she probably would have just kept popping Tylenol and avoided the hospital all together. Now she spends much of her free time raising money for leukemia to help save other people’s lives. That’s what society is all about: People helping other people.

But fuck all this and fuck you. I don’t need this shit. You’re not going to listen to a damn word I say and you don’t give a damn if my kids die. All you care about is your money. You’re a selfish fuck who brags about ripping off his employer and the suckers who allow you to drink at their open bar. Those two things are telling enough about what a selfish jerk you are. And you assume we’re all like that! Typical.

You tell me that I’m supposed to “suck it up” when my daughter has a concussion. Well fuck you. I just hope that you’re never left to the mercy of the system you wish to harm millions of us with. Of course, a selfish fuck like you would never say the same for me. How do I know? Because that’s the hell you’re already wishing on me and my kids. But don’t worry. You’ve got your money and your health, and with any luck, you won’t have any kids. We can all hope, anyway.

BTW, the one time my daughter did get a concussion, she had to stay in the hospital for two days. Concussions take more than stitches, dumbass. They’re fucking concussions. Look it up. The CAT scan to determine if she had a concussion cost more than $100. You really don’t know much about medical care, do you?

Perhaps some day you can have the joy of watching your five-year old get pushed off the top of a slide and start vomiting and being unable to speak. Frantically trying to find a hospital in a strange town was fun too. But in your mind, this was just a $100 bill that I should suck up. Fuck you.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Doctor Biobrain: Republican Dreamboat

I know you people have been clamoring to hear the latest news on my presidential exploratory committee’s exploratory committee, and we’ve finally had a breakthrough: As of next week, I am officially announcing the formation of my presidential exploratory committee. That’s right. I’m taking the plunge. I have now joined the ranks of the Presidential Nominee Possibilities.

But wait, it gets better. One of the key points that my PECEC stressed was the fact that there’s already too much overlap in the crowded Democratic field. Sure, no one yet has grabbed the blogger CPA with Sci-Fi Name gimmick yet. But all the same, the proper combination of Hillary’s and Barrack’s resume (less the whole political experience and fame thing) was a straight facsimile of what I would have been running on. I was superfluous before I even entered the race.

But…there was hope: Running as a Republican. That field of losers is so weak and flip-floppish that my committee saw absolutely no reason why a devout liberal atheist couldn’t dominate the field and sweep on into the Whitehouse in 2008.

In that regard, my resume looks perfect. I’m tall, but not freakishly tall like Thompson. You can land jet fighters on my shoulders, which aren’t as big as Romney’s 747’s, but certainly more patriotic. I’ve got the body of a third-string NFL quarterback and could kick the ass of any of the Republican nominees, and would be quite happy to do so…again and again. (Not that I’m a violent person, but I’ve got to win those debates somehow.) I’ve never held political office so no one can hold my record against me. I don’t use cologne or aftershave, so I smell like 100% man-sweat most of the time. And best of all, I’m from Texas. So suck on that, all you yankee fruitcakes!

Sure, there’s this whole leftwing blog thing which some liberal assassins at Media Matters might try to hold against me, but I know the real Americans won’t fall for their George Soros paid shenanigans. Plus, no one ever reads this blog except you guys, and you wouldn’t try to blow it for me, would you?

So that’s it. I’ve now taken the mantle from soon-to-be disgraced Presidential Nominee Dreamboat Fred Thompson and have become the newest GOP superhero. Now all that’s left for me is to practice my crowd-pleasing debate techniques (“But what pansy Mitt failed to acknowledge in his response on healthcare is MY FIST IN HIS FACE!”), as well as getting a gun license and a very large gun. I’m a shoo-in. And if I get the nomination, I’m buying a ranch. Wish me luck.

Iraq Forever! Let’s bomb Iran!
Iraq Forever! Let’s bomb Iran!

Free-Market Fantasies

I’m in a debate right now regarding my Free-Market Healthcare for Dummies post. Some anonymous commenter continues to insist that adopting a pure free-market healthcare system would surely drop costs, while not dropping quality of service. You can read our long debate there if you want; though you won't learn much. In my latest reply, I wrote so much that I decided to make part of it a new post. That way, at least someone will understand what I wrote.
Oh, and just so you understand, Mr. Anonymous apparently wants to get rid of all government involvement in healhcare (though he's never explained how far he'd take this) as well as ending health insurance; which includes employer-based insurance. Instead, we'd pay for all regular costs ourselves and have catastrophic insurance for the really expensive things, like heart surgery and whatnot.

I find it unimaginable how a free-market advocate can possible suggest that we forbid employers from providing health insurance as a perk; but as I said in that other post, to understand conservativism is to debunk conservatism. Anonymous has done nothing to challenge that statement. Enjoy!

Pricing Doctor A

Anonymous - You have continued to ignore my requests for an explanation of how your system is supposed to work. While you have repeatedly given the basic explanation of Supply & Demand that too many remedial students accept as reality, you haven't actually provided any actual model for how this is supposed to work in the real world. So I'll just ask a few direct questions on how you imagine this would work.

First off, the free-markets rely on informed participants. If one side has all the expertise and the other side is clueless, the market will breakdown. That's just how it works. Yet, most people have no idea how much medical care should cost. So under your system, we’re completely at the mercy of the doctors and hospitals. If they say a procedure or extra item is essential for your health and costs X amount, are you in any position to doubt them? Of course not. So how exactly is this supposed to work for setting prices, if the consumer is entirely at the mercy of the supplier?

On the other hand, insurance companies and the government DO know how much healthcare should cost, and they negotiate their rates accordingly. Yet you somehow imagine that the free-market is failing for them, making them pay much higher rates than they should. So can you explain why these experts are getting bilked by the same system that you want to force uninformed consumers to blindly trust?

Secondly, how will we decide which doctors to see? Are you really going to base your decision on price? That’s insane. Even with TV’s and cars, we take risks that we’re paying too much for a crappy product. But medical care? How do you quantify that? How can you compare a doctor that charges $85 for a physical with one that charges $135? Maybe you’re getting something good for that extra $50, or maybe you’re getting ripped off. How can you possibly know? Price is meaningless. While I find it within my ability to judge if a doctor is good or not, I have no way of quantifying that into a cost-benefit analysis; as we’d need to under your system.

And are we supposed to go to different doctors, based upon which service we need? We go to Dr. A for his cheap physicals, but Dr. B for his cheap x-rays? This is how the free-market works for consumer products, as there's no problem with switching stores to buy different products. You buy your TV from Best Buy and your stereo from Circuit City, and there's no problem at all. This obviously doesn't work so well for healthcare.

And finally, do you actually expect people to get price estimates before emergency medical care? If my daughter falls, am I supposed to go to each doctor in the area and ask them how much the tests will cost to see if she has a concussion? Should I get separate estimates based upon all possible scenarios? Will I get a free estimate, or will they charge me to look her over first? Again, this is how the free-market works, but it doesn't work so well when your daughter's brain is bleeding.

Sticking with Doctor A

And in all cases, none of this will happen. I’m not going to base my child's medical care on cost. I’m going to find a good doctor and always go to that doctor, just like I do now. And that doctor will have different rates for different services and I’ll just be at that doctor’s mercy and won’t be able to compare prices at all.

But as things are now, I don't need to. My insurance company already took care of that when they signed the agreement with the doctor. The rates are set and I don't need to worry that one of his services might be too expensive for me. I just let the experts at my insurance company worry about it; that's what they're paid for. But in your system, I'm just going to have to take my chances that I can afford whatever service I might need.

And I'm guessing that you don't have a problem with this, as you don't have kids. Hell, I rarely see the doctor too, but you just can't avoid it with kids. So far this year, all three of my kids have had mandatory vaccinations, which require well-child check-ups. My six year old had a staph infection on her finger, ringworm on her head, and a bacterial infection giving her earaches and hearing loss. My teenage daughter had two sprained ankles and a twisted knee (all on the same leg). All this got taken care of without too much hassle (though the ringworm sucked, as she had a bald spot on her head which took awhile to grow back).

I have no idea how much these things cost. I guess I paid about $160 in co-pays. None of this was unnecessary. And when my teenage daughter came in for her vaccination and well-child check-up, her doctor remembered to check her ankle and knee as a follow-up to make sure she wasn't still having problems. That's how this is supposed to work. They accept Medicaid too.

You, on the other hand, want to force me to worry about all this. You want me to call the doctor to ask about pricing before I go in. You want me to do a cost-benefit analysis on the bald spot on my daughter's head or ask my teenager to limp around school, hoping the pain goes away. Sure, maybe these treatments are cheap. But I wouldn't even know what treatment was necessary until they see the doctor. So you want me to go to the doctor, have him look at my kids, tell me what the price is, and if I can afford it, tell me what's wrong and what the cure is?

Thanks, but no thanks. I'll put up with this government "meddling" instead. I don't know what liberty they took from me, but I'll gladly allow them to if it means my daughter doesn't lose her finger or go bald.

Magic Markets

And have I ever said anything to suggest that I think we have a completely free market? Of course not. Have I ever suggested that services don’t get provided without the government or that only the government can set prices? Of course not. These are all idiotic things you ascribe to me. As with most conservatives, you can't imagine that anyone could understand this stuff without agreeing with you. So you assume we're all idiots and tell us what we believe, even when we insist that that's not what we believe. But trust me. I'm not stupid. I just disagree with you. It happens.

For your information, I am a firm believer in the free-market system. I know that it works. I’ve even explained how it works, far better than your “the markets will provide” fantasy. But it’s obvious that it doesn’t do everything and I’ve already explained this repeatedly. Is it good at getting us TV’s and cars? Sure. Is it good at providing needed services to people who can’t afford it? Of course not. It's not magic and can only work if people can sell things at a price that someone else is willing to pay. But if that doesn't happen, it doesn't work.

And yes, there are lots of countries that don’t have the regulations or government “meddling” we do. And they’re all crappy countries. But I could be wrong. Feel free to tell me about all the third-world countries with stifling environmental, zoning, and labor laws. Or third-world countries with expensive public education, healthcare, and entitlement programs. The fact is that all the good countries pay a lot for infrastructure that all the bad countries lack.

Civilization ain’t cheap. Nor is it without benefit. It's good for society to have healthy, well-educated kids. But as we see in third-world countries, there's no guarantee that these things will be provided. As they say, it takes money to make money. But if there's no direct profit in it, the markets will not provide.

Paging Dr. Walmart

As for your suggestion that quality care would be replaced with quantity care under a single-payer system, I will repeat again: IF A DOCTOR PROVIDED GOOD SERVICE, HE WOULD HAVE MORE PATIENTS. IF A DOCTOR PROVIDED BAD SERVICE, HE WOULD HAVE FEWER PATIENTS.

Because under my system, people have true free choice. They don't have to go to doctors they don't like. So a doctor with the “wham bam thank you mam” attitude will lose patients because they will choose to go to a different doctor. What is difficult to understand about that? If people can see any doctor that's in the plan, then they'll avoid doctors who give bad service. That's free choice. And believe it or not, many good doctors accept Medicare and Medicaid. Mine does. Yet somehow, you’re imagining that if we expand these programs that these doctors will drop out of the system? Huh?

In fact, you've got this entirely backwards. The real problem would occur in your system, because poor and lower-middle-class people could only afford the cheapest doctors. They would lack free choice. It is here where you'd see the “wham bam thank you mam” doctor. He can charge less because he sees more patients. Think Dr. Walmart. Under your system, Dr. Walmart would prosper and these people would get poor quality care. And no doctor who wanted to provide good service could compete with the price. And this would hurt the good doctors, as they'd lose patients. Again, my doctor is good and accepts Medicaid. Under your system, he'd surely lose patients, or he'd have to give worse service.

Having Both Ways

And what’s pathetically dishonest about you is that you’re now saying that if our healthcare gets too cheap that we’ll have waiting lines. Yet…that’s supposedly the beauty of your plan. That healthcare will get cheaper, but that we won’t lose services. Why does your system provide cheaper care that doesn’t deny people, yet you insist that cheaper care undermines my plan?

Either your plan denies service to people, or it doesn't. And if it denies service, it's Wealth-Based Rationing, just like I said it was. The less money you have, the less care you get. And if it doesn't deny service, then you have as many people seeing the doctor as I have; thus the "lines" you say I have. You can't have it both ways.

But as I said, you're just saying this because you’ll say anything you need to to make your point. And the truth is that your system would have fewer patients paying less money than my system; which would also hurt our doctors and hospitals. And our economy would suffer, as people would have more sick days and take time off from work to care for their sick kids. Freedom!

Revolutionary Changes

As for my suggestion that my system is just a slight modification to our current system, I say this because this is how we already do things. I’ve never had insurance that didn’t set prices with their doctors and most Americans have insurance. The only difference is that instead of insurance companies negotiating separate agreements with doctors, it would just be the government. And if they didn’t pay enough, the doctors wouldn’t sign the agreements; which would force the government to increase their rates. See, free-market system.

And there was a time that I didn't have employer-paid insurance, and so I didn't get insurance at all. But we were able to sign our kids up with the CHIP program, which I believe is part of Medicaid. And it worked just like our insurance does now, and was superior to some employer-paid insurance I've had. And so assuming you pay taxes, you already helped pay my kids medical care. Thanks!

And so I'm proposing just something more like that. Besides, we're already paying these amounts now, except our current system makes us pay more, as people are forced to wait until their health gets worse before seeing a doctor. Sure, we don't pay all of this as "taxes," but I've never really understood why that's such a dirty word. Paying money is paying money, no matter what you label it. But I fail to see how this is such a huge difference.

Your system, on the other hand, would be an entire revolution in healthcare. You'd force employer's to stop offering insurance. You'd deny insurance to millions and millions of people who can't afford it, including millions of children whose only mistake was being born to the wrong people. People would wait until they were very sick before they'd even find out what was wrong with them. Already struggling hospitals would go out of business, particularly those in poor neighborhoods. And even regular doctors like mine would lose business.

And again, you’ve explained nothing of how your system is supposed to work. It’s a fantasy. I don’t doubt that prices would come down, but services would go down too. We’d lose doctors. Hospitals would close. And we wouldn’t have the use of all their fancy equipment, which is where a large chunk of our spending goes. I’ve explained all this and you’ve done nothing but repeat your assertion that this wouldn’t happen. But how? Why would doctors come to our country if they could make more at home? How could hospitals remain profitable? How could our service remain the same? I can't see how this wouldn't be a disaster for us.

And for a benefit that continues to elude me. You say that you don't think doctors are the ones getting the huge profits. You clearly think insurance companies are getting overcharged. So where's the money going to come from? Who are the people sucking all the money now, which won't seriously suffer under your system? You never have explained that part. Again, I don't doubt that prices would come down under your system. I just fear that everything else would crumble down with it.

Again, I'm just asking for a slight tweaking of a system people use right now. You're taking a huge gamble that doesn't add up.

Edwards Obsession

And you really seem obsessed with Edwards plan, which supposedly forces everyone to have preventative care. I’ve barely seen anything on it, but would guess that the preventative care would only be mandatory for people who wanted to use the plan. So if you didn’t want to participate, you wouldn’t be forced to. What’s hard to understand about that?

Beyond that, I’m not really concerned with fantasy healthcare plans. Edwards isn’t even in political office and I don’t have the highest hopes that he’ll get the presidential nomination; though I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised. But I have no interest in discussing a fantasy healthcare plan that would most definitely change before it became law, even if Edwards got elected president, which is a big if. Again, I don’t see why you’re requiring me to defend a plan I’ve never even seen. This would make sense had I defended his plan. But I don't even know what it is and fail to see why you keep bringing it up.

And if we had a voluntary government-run healthcare program that you were forced to pay for, wouldn’t you prefer that the participants had preventative treatments, rather than waiting until it got expensive? Wouldn’t you rather pay for a physical and heart medicine than a triple by-pass surgery? Wouldn’t you prefer that cancer was detected in the early stages, rather than waiting until it became harder to treat? And if a bird flu outbreak occurred, wouldn’t you prefer that these people saw the doctor as soon as possible, rather than having them wait and infecting more people?

I know you’d prefer to not have such a program, but if we had one, would you prefer it to be cheaper or more expensive? Of course, these are all problems with your system too. People won't get annual physicals. They won't pay for heart medicine they need. And they'll wait until they're on their deathbed before they decide to pay for treatment. While it's cheaper to fix health problems early, the short-term financial picture will cause most of them to wait.

As I said in my last comment, I don't think you're a dumb person. But your obsession with the free-market cure-all is dumb and making you say some ridiculous things to justify your opinion. As I said, I like the free-market. I know that it works. But it doesn't always work, and in this case, it certainly doesn't. For healthcare, we obviously need something more.

I guess you disagree, but most American consider healthcare to be an essential service and it's expensive. We both have plans that would reduce costs, but only one of us guarantees service. As I've said repeatedly, there are countries where people are forced to pay for their own healthcare and education and retirement; and it usually means that they won't get any of these things. America deserves better.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Nuclear Apologies

I just wanted to sincerely apologize to any of you readers in the Austin area who may have been around me when I was transporting those packages across town which, as it now turns out, contained several personal-sized neutron bombs capable of doing some bad things to you. I honestly thought they had my empty CD cases in them. Oops. No harm, no foul, right?

Oh, and if you were one of the "lucky" people who got one of my boxes of empty CD cases left on their doorstep, please kindly leave those where you found them and I promise to replace them with a wonderful conciliation prize tomorrow morning. Sorry for the mix-up.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Condi, Our Savior

Via Bag News, I just read this quote about Condi Rice from NY Times:
In fact, her friends say that she rarely questions whether she is right or wrong, instead choosing to believe in a particular truth with absolute certainty until she doesn’t believe it anymore, at which point she moves on.

And that's what her friends say. I'm not sure which I find more frightening: That such an important person can be so oblivious to self-reflection or that our Washington Establishment finds her to be such a good choice for the job.

Or perhaps the most frightening part is that she can believe something with absolute certainty until she doesn't believe it, and then move on to believing something else with absolute certainty. A self-reflective person would quickly realize how idiotic this is and would learn not to be like this; assuming they'd ever be unreflective enough to be like that in the first place. But with Condi, she just keeps plowing ahead with whatever her current objective is; oblivious to whether or not it's an objective we should achieve. Isn't it obvious why she gets along so well with Bush?

And the media still loves her. Even this article, which the Bag News suggests casts her in a negative light, is really quite loving. Specifically, that it insists repeatedly that Iraq is her only real mistake and that she's done lots of good stuff to compensate for that mistake. But all it ever mentions is a bunch of stuff that she's still working on, but which have shown no tangible results.

The best they can say is that she's attempting diplomacy. Which is a big improvement over the Bush Admin's old "Diplomacy's for Suckers" attitude, I suppose. But I'd really like to see a little more.

Clinton Redux

And that's the thing: At best, all they can say is that she's gotten things a little closer to how things were before Bush took office. And that's it. As if the fact that Condi is using diplomacy shows how she's turned things around and saved her legacy, even though she hasn't actually gotten any results from this diplomacy. And why hasn't she gotten any results, because she's still trying to undo so much of the damage she did nothing to stop as National Security Advisor.

Yet...this is how that reporter frames this:
But none of that has been enough to erase the view that as national security adviser she largely served as a rubber stamp for a series of foreign policy blunders, during a period that critics say will ultimately weigh most heavily on her legacy.

None of what? She hasn't done anything. Read the article. You'll see that the only things they mention are that she lowered tensions with our allies, reinstated Clinton's North Korea policy, failed to stop Iran's nuclear program, and has so far stopped Cheney from invading Iran. And that's it. And for that, we're supposed to imagine that Condi has turned things around and done a bang-up job.

Wow! She's rediscovered diplomacy. What a genius. For this, they say she is "a far better secretary of state than she was national security adviser." I guess everything's relative.

Phony Diplomacy

And let's not forget it was only earlier this year that Condi suggested that she wouldn't negotiate with Syria or Iran to get them to help us in Iraq, because they would only help us if they could get some advantage out of us. This article didn't mention whether Condi now realizes that this is the entire point of all diplomacy, and that there was never an assumption that countries act out of selfless benevolence. As was obvious at the time, Condi doesn't even seem to know what diplomacy is.

And the reason the media likes her so much is that she's as big of a phony as they are. Even this "diplomacy" they speak of has achieved nothing. That's not to suggest that I expect diplomacy to always achieve results, but I at least like to see some results before we start announcing that it was a success.

But as I wrote back in January, her "diplomacy" was really little more than photo-ops and soundbites. And here we are, half a year later, and she's being heralded in the NY Times as a success; all for her phony version of diplomacy which can't achieve anything because she fails to offer anything. But seeing as how the modern media is totally in the photo-op/soundbite business, I guess her diplomacy has been a complete success for them.

And who knows, maybe in her remaining year and a half in office, she might actually achieve something. And with any luck, it will be something we want achieved; though as the quote at the beginning suggests, Condi doesn't bother with that kind of self-analysis. She even seems to act like that's a good thing.