Category: Politics

vietnamEraRibbons.jpg: Original image URL:    Via comment here:

Via a comment on this discussion about a picture in which George W. Bush appears to be wearing an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon — an award for which there is no evidence that Bush had ever received.


“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief,
“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.”

“No reason to get excited,” the thief, he kindly spoke,
“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

— Bob Dylan

Music Politics

I’ve decided to start tracking the Terror Alert Level on a daily basis. Here’s why…

Howad Dean to Wolf Blitzer, regarding changes in the Terror Alert Level:

“I am concerned that every time something happens that’s not good for President Bush he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. His whole campaign is based on the notion that ‘I can keep you safe, therefore at times of difficulty for America stick with me,’ and then out comes Tom Ridge”

His comments are beginning to cause an uproar, with John Kerry half-heartedly disagreeing with Dean, and conservatives blasting Dean for making unfounded accusations.

I decided to look for a little evidence. I did some Google searches looking for a chart of when the Terror Alert Level has changed, and from what to what, but unfortunately didn’t find anything with a few quick searches.

So I’ve decided to start tracking the Terror Alert Level myself, on a daily basis. Once a day, a script running on my computer scrapes the latest Terror Alert Level from this page on, and stores the value for that day. If it’s changed since the previous day, an alert pops up, letting me know it’s changed.

When it changes, I’m going to look for news articles related to the change, and also check out what else has been going on for Bush for the last 48 hours or so. After collecting data for some time, hopefully I can get some idea of whether Dean’s comments were groundless or not.

Personally I suspect that Dean’s on to something, and have thought similarly myself for quite some time. What I’d really love to see someone do, and unfortunately it may not happen ’till after the election, is to chart the Terror Alert Level against Bush’s approval rating, and pre-election poll data. Some statistical analysis would tell us what the level of correlation actually is…

But then again, who can really tell whether Dean is right or not. After all, the only ones with access to the intelligence information that the Terror Alert Level is supposedly based on, are higher-ups in the CIA, FBI, Pentagon, maybe the Sennate Intelligence Committee, and of course the Bush Whitehouse.

We’ll see…


To me, one of the most interesting parts of Kerry’s DNC keynote address was possibly one of the most overlooked: his statements on faith.

I’m not going to say much about it at this point, since I’m still digesting it. What I’m thinking about is this:

What do Kerry’s statements mean in relation to his possible future policy decisions?

How should we interpret Kerry’s concept of faith from a media spin perspective?

And (of course) how does Kerry’s version of Faith as presented in his speech, relate to my own spiritual beliefs, if at all?

As I said, I’m not going to say much for the moment, but thanks to my TiVo and to my own hacking prowress, I’ll let the man speak for himself.



When someone refuses to even consider points of view other than their own, it’s just as scary to me as when someone invokes their deity of preference to justify the opression of the ‘unbelievers’.

Don’s reaction to Kerry’s DNC keynote speech over on Jim Moore’s weblog is a case in point:

“I do like the ideas of health care for all Americans. I’m for stem cell research. I’m for a good educational system. I’ll work through my Republican representatives on those matters.

“As for security, I could never vote for a Democrat.”

Huh?!? Ok, so he likes Kerry’s policy proposals, but has already decided he can’t vote for him because he’s a Democrat? And he somehow magically expects that by working with his Republican representatives, that he can influence them to do a complete 180 on the issues on which he agrees with Kerry? Again I say: Huh?!?

Well, that just about sums it up — like so many others, Democrat and Republican alike, Don is a party-liner, who allows for no possibility that he could be persuaded to swing his vote. He gives no justification for his position, and makes rash generalizations to justify his point of view, proving little but his own shortsightedness — his unwillingness to consider the candidates’ actual policy proposals — since he’s already made up his mind.

Don goes on to say:

“Now I do want to know what President Bush intends to do to stop the threats from Iran, North Korea, and Syria. I already know diplomacy doesn’t work with those countries. So when do the military operations start?”

This is the same kind of thinking that led to the Crusades, Naziism, the KKK, the 9/11 attacks, and our current, nearly unjustifiable involvement in Iraq. Think about it. No, really: Think about it.

The deadly combination I see in people like Don and George W: self-righteousness, fear and intemperance. What we need more of: thoughtfulness, fortitude and civility.

In my opinion, this kind of empty political zealotry is just as scary as religious fundamentalism, be it Islamic or Christian… And also just as crazy.

(Put that in your pipe and smoke it.)




Billmon, over at the Whiskey Bar: “How many times does the Bush family have to steal a Florida election before they finally get it right?”

Indeed. The Whiskey Bar is becoming one of my favorite politico-blogs. Most posts are long-ish, but almost always a good read — witty, left-leaning, and with references.


CNN: Canadian skaters get gold; judge suspended.

“Olympics and skating officials said a gold medal will be awarded to Canada’s Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, who initially were awarded the silver medal in a hotly contested Monday night performance. Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, the Russian duo who originally won the gold in that freestyle pairs competition, will keep their medals…

“The controversy intensified after the head of the French Olympic team was quoted as saying the French figure skating judge, Marie-Reine Le Gougne, was pressured to ‘act in a certain way.’

“Le Gougne was suspended because she was approached and pressured and did not report it right away, Olympics authorities said.”

Jake's Radio 'Blog Politics

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BBC: Iran warns US against attack. “Iran tells the US not to make the “irreparable mistake” of attacking it, as Washington accuses Tehran of harbouring al-Qaeda members.”

Jake's Radio 'Blog Politics

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BBC: US renews attack on ‘evil axis’. “Senior officials echo President Bush’s threats against Iran, Iraq and North Korea, as Donald Rumsfeld says Iran let al-Qaeda troops escape.”

Jake's Radio 'Blog Politics

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