NEWS FLASH – American Army Brings Democracy to Ukraine!

Kiev (BP) – President Bush today accepted congratulations from the grateful people of Ukraine. From a formal ceremony in Kiev, the President issued a statement reading, in part: “Almost two years ago, American-led coalition forces invaded your country to bring you democracy and prosperity. Democracy and prosperity that you, so firmly gripped in the vice of terrible dictatorship, could not yourselves have achieved. It is with warmth and friendship that I accept your thanks, on behalf of the American people.”

Nearly 18 months after declaring the end of major combat operations, at a meeting with top European leaders Bush again praised the role of overwhelming force in bringing a brutal regime to its knees. Noting “no people in history have ever on their own overcome an oppressive political regime without a massive invasion from a world superpower,” Bush took a moment to revel in the vindication of his policy of pre-emptive force.

Secretary of State Rice could not be reached for further comment.

Sometimes I Think We Want to Fail

or, Why We Got Our Asses Kicked, Part II

Here’s a story about a California school that banned its teachers from passing out materials referring to god — including such inconsequential texts as the Declaration of Independence.

This should tell us everything we need to know about why we progressives keep getting our asses kicked. Like the PETA initiative I blasted a few days ago, this is a clear example of how we have lost the use of our brains in our search for higher truths.

Common sense, people. Common sense.

Playing Smarter

Bruno and I got to talking yesterday … dangerous, as always.

We were reflecting on the failure of Kerry and on the (apparent) failure of Christine Gregoire to win the governorship in Washington.

Bruno suggested that the failure is due to the complete lack of personality in these candidates. I agree.

So I say this to you Democrats: learn the CORRECT lesson from this year’s election debacles. We played very hard indeed, and in many respects we succeeded – higher turnout among minority groups being a very good example of this (and, let’s face it, if the kids didn’t vote this year, they’re never going to vote).

The answer for next time, then, is not to play HARDER, but to play SMARTER. And smarter means, let’s actually get some candidates with some charisma.

And here’s to the man (or woman) who actually inhaled …

Radical Republicans

To follow up on Bruno’s post from earlier … do we need any clearer example of how these radical Republicans are willing to stop at nothing to serve their dark masters, Cha and Ching? Tom Delay made a career being all about the Bling wrapped in a Turin shroud of Gring and Grack and Gruckity Gruck. He’s responsible for this muck and he’s played this country like puck. Tommie D scored a goal with Bush and now he’s kicked us all in the tush with this push for power. Now is the hour of darkness and need. Take heed! We need someone to lead.

Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury

Matski is a football fan as much as the next guy. For those of you looking for tidbits for your unauthorized biogs of the Prof, here’s a gem: not only was I the captain of my high school team, I was also an all-state defensive lineman. So I speak with some authority on these issues.

Now, let me also say that, over the years, I’ve viewed the NFL with some distaste. There are great things about the league – the Lions’ Thanksgiving game being one of the best – and there are some not so great things … I’ll leave you to come up with your own examples of that.

But one thing that has consistently raised my hackles is the increasing militarization and shameless, pedantic moralizing of the NFL and its minions. A flyover for Derrick Thomas’ father – in the triumphalist wake of Gulf War I and given that DT’s dad was a pilot shot down and MIA (presumed dead) in ‘Nam – now that’s one thing. But since 9/11 it seems we’ve been treated to a weekly dose of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Army of One and Their Beloved Game Football. And let me just go on record and say that this Pat Tilman thing has gotten out of control. The guy made the decision that he had to make, and was killed in the line of duty by friendly fire that was exemplary more of the mess the U.S. Army is making in the nethers of Afghanistan than of any personal cojones.

It’s crap like this that’s led me to resurrect an old idea – a nonprofit, GGOOF (“Get God Out Of Football”) dedicated to getting the NFL to put down the standard of public morality and get back to playing a godd*mn game.

So you can guess my opinion of the Terrell Owens fiasco from last Monday’s game. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it.

Now, these Monday Night intros (and intros for ESPNs Sunday Night Football) have been poorly written, obvious, terribly acted unsubtle – in a word, “bad.” Some of them have even been scary. The intro for the Tampa Bay at Oakland game earlier this year was downright frightening, depicting a stereotyped pack of crazed Raiders fans eeriely chanting for “Chucky,” and suggesting they would do him great violence once they found him. I mean, we’ve been subjected to Hank III’s howling missives for a decade now, and that’s enough to make me run for the fridge on its own (yes, Hank, I’m ready for some football, or, more specifically, I’m ready to make a football out of your a*s and feed it to you on a plate I make from the top of your skull unless you shut the f*ck up).

What’s more, any NFL game you see has approximately 55% of its ad time devoted to beer commercials featuring scantily clad women in suggestive situations, and the other 55% are “ED” ads featuring scantily clad women in suggestive situations (or washed out ex-coaches with prostate issues, take your pick).

So for the NFL and its fan to get their collective panties in a wad over the content of one bit of the ridiculousness that is the modern NFL is, frankly, ridiculous.

To the NFL, I say this: you are not the bringers of hope, the lighters of the dark, the keepers of the good and holy. You are not responsible for the education, the edification, not even the masturbation of America’s youth. It is not for you to decide right and wrong, good from bad, or stunt from malfunction. You have one responsibility, and one responsibility only – and that is to ensure that your teams have the opportunity to play the best possible football week in and week out.

Focus on your core compentency, eh?

Credit Where Due

This whole Tom DeLay thing is patently absurd. I don’t need to rehash what has already been said around the blogosphere, but suffice it to say, the idea that the House GOP caucus is changing congressional rules to allow him to maintian his position while indicted, is awful. The GOP has taken the gloves off: they’re content to be a nearly criminal enterprise. Or at least a criminal-friendly enterprise.

I wonder if between the white-collar criminals being generated by the DeLay, Enron, and Tyco Corp. scandals, the GOP is considering giving felons the right to vote. Actually, instead of disenfranchising these corporate crooks, we should make it illegal for them to contribute to political campaigns. That’d clean ’em up quick.

Anyway, all of this is a long-winded way of getting at the fact that Bruno’s favorite GOP Congresswoman, Heather Wilson, has earned some respect in my book. Rep. Wilson first caught my attention when she railed against CBS for the Janet Jackson Superbowl affair. I considered it flagrantly hypocritical for a Gooper to accuse a business of trying to make money. But today comes word that Wilson voted against the DeLay rule change. Good for her.

Thanks to TPM for the link.

The Problem with the Left

The other day on my cyber journeys, I saw this little number from our friends at PETA.

Now, it’s one thing (and correct) to talk about the horrible environmental consequences of the modern fishing industry. Fish stocks are being dramatically depleted, ecosystems are in chaos, and it’s likely that our grandchildren will only enjoy a wild-salmon dinner if we ourselves have invested our 401(k)s wisely.

But it’s another thing entirely to draw attention to this problem by focusing on the “feelings” of fish.

Look, and here’s something you may not know about me. If I so much as kill a spider that surprises me in my house, I say a little prayer for its spirit. It’s important that we respect life in all of its forms. And if we choose to take a life – even one so lowly as a spider – we have to recognize and reflect on that.

But often it’s important, even necessary, to take the life of animals. Especially when it’s for food. So long as we do this respectfully and honorably, and with attention to mitigating any ancillary damages that may result, then it’s even right and proper to do so.

So, PETA. If you want to talk about environmental catastrophe, or stewardship of our natural resources, that’s fine. But if you’re going to tell me that “fish hurt,” then get bent. Go join Ralph Nader in his little la-la land. Meanwhile, I’ll be here on planet earth trying to solve real problems.

PETA … and we progressives wonder why we just got our a**es kicked.

Get Mad!

As I contemplate my annual holiday visit to flyover country, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what’s going to happen when I run into people from among the misinformed 63 million. In the past, I’ve either ignored them and changed the subject to football or I’ve tried patiently to explain that, no, liberals did not want to force them at gunpoint to have abortions while they shot heroin.

No more. This year, I’m getting mad. I think the belief that those 63 million are reasonable people worthy of our respect and attention has been exposed as the falsehood it is. The damned pave their own road to hell, and I’m tired of treating the uninformed, Fox News-inspired misanthropy of the unwashed masses as an opinion worthy of my respect and serious discussion.

Anyway, I have the strong and growing feeling that part of the problem with Bush-o-philes is that we progressives have refused to confront them in their ridiculousness. If we take the Red Staters seriously, then we elevate their reactionary pedantries to the level of ideas that are actually worthy of public discussion. Time to ridicule and insult them – they’ll respect us, or they’ll get off the bus and let us drive.

So, if you voted for Bush – get the f*** out of my way this Christmas. Unless you want to wear your communion wine home from church.

The Case for Fair Districts, No. 831

Now folks, y’all know that Fair Districts is a key element of Bruno & the Prof’s political reform agenda. To read why, check out the libertarian Cato Institute study.

But I’ve always wondered how we go about setting up metrics for building these independent districts. Iowa has a model which seems to work, but Iowa’s a relatively small, uniform state.

Today, via Bull Moose, I’m reading a WaPo editorial which gets at the heart of the matter:

One major driver of polarization is not rooted in unavoidable change: This is the scandalous way in which electoral districts are drawn for the House of Representatives and state legislatures. The redistricting triggered periodically by the census has become an opportunity for party leaders to create politically homogenous districts that ensure incumbents’ re-election and remove incumbents’ incentive to represent the political center.

So it got me thinking. Why not kill two birds with one stone? As is becoming apparent, the red/blue divide in America is increasingly a rural/urban divide. So to ensure a moderate, competitive House of Representatives, why not create districts that draw equally from rural and urban areas? Could you make that happen? Seems like a tall order, but it just might work. It would make for some wonky looking districts, that’s for sure.

In any event, it opens up a deep philosophical conversation on “what constitutes a district.” Which leads to “how to accurately represent a citizenry in government.” Which leads to all sorts of stuff. Do you group people by geographic region? By cultural affinity? By sports team? The more one tries to make a “fair” district,” the more elusive it becomes.

Exit the Sackless Wonder

Yesterday, Colin Powell resigned. Amen. If only he’d done this about a year and a half ago instead of hacking and prevaricating his way through that ridiculous presentation to the UN. If ever we Americans had a clearer example of why blind faith in leadership is dangerous in the modern world, Powell gave it to us with his four years of back-seating his own principles in service to the worst president this country has ever seen. Powell – and Powell alone, by virtue of his immense popularity and successful war record – was uniquely in a position to oppose this president’s shameful rush to war. That he chose not to will leave him a much diminished figure in American history. In my mind, he is the modern Benedict Arnold – selling out his cherished beliefs in service to a base and earthly master.

So, go, you sackless SOB. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

P.S. How’s your son like his job?