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:: Thursday, June 05, 2003 ::

Atheism

I'm going to break down today and discuss atheism. Mainly because I'm tired of typing this eight million times a year to eight million people, all hell-bent on shoving me into their definition before I can shove them into mine. Or something like that.

Mainly because it occurs to me that having a blog means I can link instead of type. Or at worst, cut and paste.

Let me first enter into what atheism isn't. Atheism isn't a religion, unless you redefine religion to be so wide a term that even baseball fans are included.

Atheists don't have dogma, don't have shared beliefs, don't have shared morals or ideologies. The only thing two atheists have in common is that neither believes in God(s). Trying to lump atheists together to explain behavior, politics, ideology, history or anything else is about as useful as stating that because Martha Stewart has blonde hair, no blonde should be allowed to invest in the stock market. As the head of American Atheists once said, "Trying to get atheists to agree on anything is like herding cats.".

To quote the old saw: "If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color.".

Now, onto what atheism is. There are two forms of atheism: weak and strong.

Weak atheism is often confused with agnosticism. A weak atheist is one who does not believe in God or lacks belief in God. A weak atheist is a man who will say "I have no reason to think God exists, so why should I believe in one?". A weak atheist is one who has weighed the evidence and found it wanting. They tend to take the position that one doesn't believe in things without cause, and especially not extraordinary things without extraordinary cause. They're fond of the Invisible Pink Unicorn analogy, as your average theist doesn't believe in the IPU for exactly the same reasons they don't believe in God.

Strong atheism, often confused with all atheism, is the position that God(s) does not or cannot exist. Unlike weak atheists (who take the negative or default case) strong atheists are making a positive statement. They're explicitly saying that a given God or God concept cannot or does not exist, rather than saying they don't believe it exists for lack of evidence. Strong atheists generally justify this belief with some form of proof, often proof by contradiction or other logical means.

Agnosticism is the position that the existence of God is unknowable. That is, an infinite being cannot be proved or disproved by finite means.

You can be many of these. I have met agnostic Christians, who claim God cannot be proven but must be accepted on faith alone, and agnostic atheists who say that since God cannot be proven either way, why bother with the notion. Theists tend to be strong atheists towards God concepts other than their own, and atheists can be weak or strong atheists depending on the God in question.

Most Westerners, for instance, are strongly atheistic towards the Greek Gods. After all, Mount Olympus has been checked. No Zeus there.

I promise you that the most annoying thing in the world is to talk to a weak atheist like he's a strong one, and vice versa. As with all conversation, it's a pretty good idea to find out what someone really thinks, rather than jumping to conclusions.
:: Morat 3:58 PM :: ::

Insane Republicans?

Calpundit had an interesting post up today.
Megan had mentioned to me a while back that evidence of Democratic insanity was the filibuster over Miguel Estrada, and my thought at the time was "Hmmm, the Republicans launched a hopeless and unprecedented impeachment attempt against a sitting president, while the Dems are trying to block a circuit court nominee. Somehow these don't seem like they're even in the same ballpark, insanity-wise."
...
I'm as tired as anyone of Democrats who continue to obsess over the 2000 election fiasco, but when it comes to "insane" I have to say that the Republicans still have us beat by a country mile. Blocking a couple of judges doesn't come close to the bile coming from a party that already controls the presidency, both houses of Congress, and the courts, but still isn't satisfied. I'm afraid the Dems still have a long way to go in the political insanity derby if they want to measure up to the standard set by today's Republicans.


Lately I've found myself badmouthing, and loathing, Bush so much that I've stopped and thought "Wow. This is how they felt about Clinton.". Which made me wonder, really, if I was being hypocritical, bashing Bush so heavily while condemning the similar assaults against Clinton.

It's obviously possible for either Bush or Clinton (or both) to be worthy of condemnation. It's possible for one or both to be worthy of praise. And it's possible that Clinton didn't deserve the scorn heaped on him, and Bush doesn't deserve the praise.

The problem was trying to determine if it was fair of me to say "Clinton and Bush are utterly different cases. Republicans and Democrats are utterly different cases.". I've got to agree with Kevin and say, yes, they are. For pretty much the same reasons. However bad Democrats are, they've not done anything like this in many, many, many decades. Certainly not so many things at once.

And, in truth, I think the same is true of Bush and Clinton. Not because Clinton was necessarily a virtuous man. But he certainly did nothing even remotely close to what he was accused of. Yet, as far as I can tell, Bush has not only done the things I accuse him of, but seems quite happy and open about doing it.

:: Morat 2:37 PM :: ::

Opinion: There's little benefit in unemployment insurance

Well, that was one of the stupidest pieces I've read in awhile. I particularly like this part:
While they're parsing details, let's ask a radical question: Why does the modern American employee need unemployment insurance at all? Since 1935, when this program was created, work and wealth have changed in America. Recessions are shallower, with a smaller proportion of Americans laid off. More kinds of jobs are available, and workers are better educated. Wages are up sharply, and the two-paycheck family has diversified the risk of layoff. The typical American family now has tens of thousands of dollars in net assets and several bank cards.


I'm not sure if it's the part where he pretends that we're not shedding insane numbers of jobs monthly and have been for two years now, or the part where he adds "credit card debt" as a way to avoid unemployment insurance.

I love that. I'll make a nice prediction, and claim he was all for the new bankruptcy laws that made it harder for the average joe to declare bankrupty when his credit card bills got out of hand. (Link via Atrios)
:: Morat 2:22 PM :: ::

Some Iraq Analysts Felt Pressure From Cheney Visits

Pretty much everyone has been blogging this today.
Vice President Cheney and his most senior aide made multiple trips to the CIA over the past year to question analysts studying Iraq's weapons programs and alleged links to al Qaeda, creating an environment in which some analysts felt they were being pressured to make their assessments fit with the Bush administration's policy objectives, according to senior intelligence officials.


I wonder something, though. Were these visits before or after the special Intel group was set up at the Pentagon? And, in case you needed further proof that Rumsfeld meets my definition of a crackpot (I think I'll add Wolfowitz to the stack)
In the winter of 2001-02, officials who worked with Wolfowitz sent the Defense Intelligence Agency a message: Get hold of Laurie Mylroie's book, which claimed Hussein was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and see if you can prove it, one former defense official said.

The DIA's Middle East analysts were familiar with the book, "Study of Revenge: The First World Trade Center Attack and Saddam Hussein's War Against America." But they and others in the U.S. intelligence community were convinced that radical Islamic fundamentalists, not Iraq, were involved. "The message was, why can't we prove this is right?" said the official.


Absolutely the wrong way around.
:: Morat 2:11 PM :: ::

:: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 ::

The Overtaxed Rich



Browsing around at Calpundit, I found alovely chart. So I happily stole it and posted it here. After all, they do say a picture is worth a thousand words! I think it's pretty obvious that, whatever the burdens of the rich, being overtaxed isn't one of them. This chart only goes to 1990. Clinton raised taxes a bit on the top brackets, but Bush has more than fixed that. Between cutting dividends, dropping the top rate, and pushing to repeal the inheritance tax, it won't be long until the rich pay less than those "lucky duckies" who make less than 12,000 a year. After all, those lucky duckies still pay 6% or so in payroll taxes, while the rich don't pay a dime on anything above 85,000 a year.

The odd thing is that if I made 337,000 or more a year, I'd be perfectly happy paying at the top rates. Even the old top rates, under Clinton. I don't disagree that the rates in 1950 were insanely high, but taxes on the rich haven't been much higher than the average since the 1970s. It's been thirty years and the GOP still acts like the top rate is 80%. Would it kill them to be a bit more honest?

UPDATE: In comments, it was pointed out that the top rate only applies to income over that level. It's a subtle point that's often overlooked. The rich and the poor pay the exact same on income taxes. Bill Gates pays the same as I do. It's just I quit paying at a certain point because I stop making money. In essence, we're all taxed the same in each bracket.
:: Morat 11:52 AM :: ::

Scrooge lives!

Tom DeLay, not content with meddling in state affairs, has decided to ensure that there is no doubt about Republican loyalties.
The House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, said today that the House would not consider a Democratic measure to provide an increased tax credit to 6.5 million low-income families who did not receive it in the new tax law.

Mr. DeLay, a Texas Republican, said the increased tax credits would be approved only if they were part of a broader tax-cut package, possibly including permanent repeal of the estate tax or making state sales taxes deductible. A package of that size would require 60 votes to pass in the Senate, and Democratic opposition to big new tax cuts would make such passage almost impossible.


He keeps hammering the "income tax" bit. I don't blame him. After all, it'd make him (and the GOP) look like they were busy trying to enrich the already wealthy at the expense of the poor if he took into account payroll taxes.

It's nice to see that, no matter how bad the stereotype, there are Republicans out there bound and determined to prove it true. Whether it's raping the environment, curtailing civil liberties, or screwing the poor on behalf of the rich, the modern GOP won't let you down.
:: Morat 11:46 AM :: ::

Wolfowitz: Iraq war was about oil

I found this via Daily Kos.
Oil was the main reason for military action against Iraq, a leading White House hawk has claimed, confirming the worst fears of those opposed to the US-led war.
The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already undermined Tony Blair's position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureaucratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claiming the real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.
...
Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."


I can't believe he just said that. Is that for real? Is Wolfowitz having pangs of conscience, or is he just plain stupid? Watch for massive amounts of disavowal and backpedalling to commence soon.

What was the word Stephen Colbert needed? A word that meant "The feeling you get when those you trust during your hour of need turn around and confirm your deepest, darkest fears"

Something like that. Between Rumsfeld's comments about Saddam potentially destroying his weapons before the war and Wolfowitz's other comments about WMD being a "bureaucratic reason", I can only assume that the vaunted "message discipline" of the White House is being used to foster regime change. In Britain.

UPDATE: Apparantly, the Guardian took it out of context. According to Kos, the complete context is:
The country is teetering on the edge of economic collapse. That I believe is a major point of leverage.

The primary difference between North Korea and Iraq is that we had virtually no economic options in Iraq because the country floats on a sea of oil.


I've got the same reaction as Kos. It's BS through and through. The economic sanctions on Iraq are just as tight as the ones on North Korea.
:: Morat 10:37 AM :: ::

The Onion

The Onion is, as always, a must-read. Bush Visits U.S.S. Truman For Dramatic Veterans'-Benefits-Cutting Ceremony
After congratulating the soldiers on their victory over Saddam Hussein, Bush announced that the new budget passed by the Senate includes a $14.6 billion reduction in veterans' benefits. He then held aloft a pair of oversized scissors and snipped a ribbon bearing the words "Veteran's Benefits."

"No one knows the meaning of the word 'sacrifice' quite like our men and women in uniform," Bush said. "Whether sacrificing their lives or their health coverage, these brave Americans are willing to do whatever it takes to help this nation, and for this I salute them."


Why is it that the satiric news is so often better than the real thing?
:: Morat 9:46 AM :: ::

Saving Columbia

Sadly, it turns out that had NASA known the extent of the damage, it might have been possible to save the crew, although Columbia was doomed.

I work at Johnson Space Center. My office is two floors down from the astronaut offices. I've met quite a few of them. The people I work with knew the crew of Columbia quite well. I don't personally deal with the Shuttle or crew, but many of my coworkers do.

And they were devastated by the loss of Columbia, as was I. Hearing this, reading that it was possible they could have been saved...just tears open old wounds. I don't know where, in the chain of command, things could have been changed. I don't know who, ultimately, screwed up and cost that crew a chance at life. I don't know how avoidable things were, I don't know whose truly to blame or how much blame they should bear.

I've seen a Shuttle launch. I've stood right outside the LCC at Kennedy and felt the sheer power of the launch pound through me. I've toured the pad itself, stuck my head inside Atlantis as it sat ready for launch, and generally been around and involved in the space program as much as anyone who isn't an astronaut can be.

I love the space program. I think it represents the best of America, the best of humanity. And I think it's far from perfect.

Disasters like Columbia hit hard. We want so much from the space program. We have such lofty goals, such high standards. Things that can never be met with the limited funding NASA gets these days, things that probably couldn't be met with any amount of funding.

But to me, it's the striving that counts. Kennedy's speech about 'doing it because it is hard' can still bring tears to my eyes. That sort of striving, that sort of pushing at boundaries, is what gives life meaning.

And the flipside of that is that mistakes are costly. And learning this mistake was preventable, that this mistake was fixable hurts more than anything. Pushing the envelope costs enough lives as it is.

:: Morat 9:15 AM :: ::

When C Students Rule the Earth

I almost feel embarrassed for Bush. I'm sitting here, reading this piece, and realizing the man is so far out of his depth as to be comedic.

Well, it would be comedic if it wasn't for the fact that this man is the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth, and his every move literally does mean life or death.
President Bush, who today begins his first high-profile effort at Middle East peacemaking, is convinced that Israel must accept a Palestinian state to ensure its survival, according to current and former aides who have heard him discuss the subject. But they say he has shown little interest in the details of the complex disputes in the region and remains skeptical of intervening deeply in the negotiating process.

Bush often has a viscerally negative reaction when officials try to delve deeply into issues -- such as the final borders of Israel and a Palestinian state, or the status of Jerusalem -- that are central to the conflict, according to people who have participated in discussions with the president. President Bill Clinton at the end of his term debated those questions at length with Israelis and Palestinians, but Bush dismisses them as "all those old issues," two participants in interagency debates said.
Our President, the most powerful man in the country, the leader of our Armed Forces, doesn't want to be bothered with details. It gets better.
Bush has suggested to aides that the process will take care of itself. These aides said that in the president's view, the reforms of the Palestinian Authority will create an alternative to Arafat, the Palestinian leader who has been ostracized by the United States and Israel. This will then create a groundswell of popular support within Israel for creating a Palestinian state, and either the Israeli government accepts it or is replaced by a government that will, the aides said.
The man honestly thinks this. He honestly believes there is a simple solution, one somehow overlooked by the legions of experts and fine minds that have tried and failed to solve this problem for the past five decades.
But some administration officials who have disagreed with aspects of the president's policy are concerned that Bush's belief that the hard questions will be figured out by the parties in the region -- without firm intervention by the United States -- ultimately will leave the peace process adrift.

"He does not have the knowledge or the patience to learn this issue enough to have an end destination in mind," said one administration official who has pushed for more decisive U.S. action.
This is by members of his own administration. I'm not sure if it's possible to stress this enough. A member of the man's own staff just said that the President of the United States is too ignorant and unfocused to address one of the bigger problems facing the US in the Middle East.

This is the man we elected. A man that, by the admissions of his own staff, is unable and unwilling to address the world as it is, instead preferring to deal entirely with a world of his own creation. A world with simple answers to complex problems. A world that doesn't require anything more than a C effort.

Our country is led by a man unwilling and unable to meet the demands of his office, by the admission of his own officials. His most trusted advisors range from those like Rumsfeld, caught up in his own delusions, to people like Rove, who judges policy not by merits, but by electability.

When C Students Rule the Earth indeed.
:: Morat 8:46 AM :: ::

Screwing the Middle Class

The Washington Post does a nice analysis of the cumulative results of Bush's tax cut mania.
Three successive tax cuts pushed by President Bush will leave middle-income taxpayers paying a greater share of all federal taxes by the end of the decade, according to new analyses of the Bush administration's tax policies.
...
The result is that a broad swath of lower-middle, middle- and upper-middle-income people, as well as some rich Americans, will carry a greater share of the federal tax burden after the laws passed in the past three years are fully implemented. While taxes are scheduled to decline for all income groups, those earning more than $28,000 but less than $337,000 will end up paying a greater share of the taxes than they did before the changes


This comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone paying attention. Anyone who got their information somewhere other than the US media, in other words.

You'd think that the Democrats could make a lot of political hay out of this. The soundbite writes itself. "Do you make between 28,000 and 337,000 a year? Congratulations! George Bush stuck you with more of the government's bills than ever before!".

At times, I think Karl Rove is having a contest. They're trying to see exactly how unelectable they can make George Bush before someone finally notices and actually attacks the man.
:: Morat 8:23 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 ::

Failure to Admit Reality

Scanning the news today, and thinking back on the last year or more, I've begun to see an undeniable pattern in the Bush Administration. It's something I've long suspected, even blogged about, but Thomas White's comments about how Senior Defense Officials are "unwilling to come to grips" with the scale of the U.S.'s postwar obligations in Iraq really clinches it.

The problem facing the United States in Iraq, in Europe, in Afghanistan, in virtually everything we do overseas isn't Al Qaeda. It's Donald Rumsfeld. This man, more than anyone else in the world, is responsible for the unmitigated disaster that is US foreign policy. What's worse, as long as he has the ear of the President, things will continue to spiral downward.

The issue isn't necessarily their ideas. The problem is that both have taken the fateful step into righteous certainty and become, for lack of a better term, foreign policy crackpots.

Let me explain that, a bit. I've been active on the internet a very long time. In the decade or so I've been wandering around, I've met a variety of people. More importantly, I've met a variety of crackpots on a variety of subjects. And they all have one thing in common. Somehow, at some point, their view of the world crystallized. They became certain, beyond any doubt, that what they knew and what they believed was true. No possibility of error existed. They were right and anyone who didn't agree with them was ignorant or part of some conspiracy to silence them. For that one subject, that one belief, they lost the ability to admit ignorance, error, or fallibility on their own part. And that meant, from that moment on, they could not change their views, nor could they ever learn anything more about it. They had the truth you see, and knew all there was to know. What's weirdest is that it's often restricted to just one subject. A physics crackpot, for instance, could be a perfectly nice fellow in biology, content to be corrected and learn more about the subject. As long as the topic wasn't related to his given Truth, he was perfectly normal.

Those of you familiar with the internet have met them. If you haven't, google "Perpetual Motion" and start reading. I've had conversations with people utterly unable to break forces down into component vectors who, nonetheless, felt they could prove (using incorrect high school physics) that their machine was a perpetual motion device.

Which brings us back to Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld is, almost certainly, a crackpot. I'm guessing he's not the only one in the Bush Administration, but he's certainly the most dangerous one. Originally, I believed he was simply the worst sort of politician, the worst sort of man, the kind who would do anything to get what he wanted. His choices, moves, and goals in Iraq have been so tone-deaf, so at odds with reality, that I finally concluded otherwise. He's not a manipulative man trying to achieve some hidden agenda. He's a crackpot, pure and simple. At some point, on Iraq, Rumsfeld realized the Truth. Saddam was dangerous. Saddam had large stockpiles of WMD. Saddam was hellbent on attacking the US, and using terrorists to do it. Saddam was so evil that his people would cheer anyone who would bring him down. Destroying him would destroy the foul cancer at the heart of all problems in the Middle East. What's certainly odd is that this crackpot delusion, this certainty, isn't Rumsfeld's alone. It's shared by many people, and there are many in positions of power.

These truths were so self-evident to Donald Rumsfeld that there was no questioning of them. There was never any doubt in his mind that the rest of the world would support us. After all, Iraq's perfidy was so self-evident. The threat so obvious. While Rumsfeld may have been pushing a 'lighter, quicker' army, and might certainly believe that if Iraq can be set up as a democracy, the rest of the Middle East will fall, every move he's made has been based on a version of reality that is obviously false.

We were not greeted as liberators. We were not cheered in the streets. Even now, there are riots and demonstrations demanding we leave. None of this was in Rumsfeld's plan. None of it. His Truth was that we would be welcomed. That the Iraqi's would be patient, trusting in their liberators, until the time came for them to take power. There wouldn't be looting, demonstrations, riots, and guerrilla assaults. That wasn't the reality he knew to be true.

And White puts the icing on the cake. Even now, with so much of what Rumsfeld was certain was true shown to be false, he cannot come to grips with the situation in Iraq.

The most dangerous type of man is the one full of righteous certainty. The type who will not listen to reason, will not admit even the possibility of error. And right now, we have such a man with the ear of our President. A man who is, at this point, unable to deal with the situation in Iraq. A man unable to even understand the problem, much less solve it.
:: Morat 10:45 AM :: ::

:: Monday, June 02, 2003 ::

Trusting Exiles

I keep thinking our leaders are smart, educated men. Well, most of them. At least some of them, right? Why is it that smart, educated men keep trusting exiles?

Here's a hint: Exiles will say anything, do anything to get help in returning home. If, just as an example pulled from nowhere, we say that only possession of weapons of mass destruction will be sufficient for us to invade, then exiles and defectors will talk non-stop about all the weapons of mass destruction they personally know about.

All so we'll invade, and they can return to power. This isn't rocket science. Yet our fearless leaders have put more faith in the words of Iraqi exiles than in their own intelligence assessments.

This is the perils of letting ideology dictate data. The decision was made long ago to invade Iraq. Since then, a version of Morton's Demon has been hard at work in the Bush and Blair administrations...

:: Morat 12:29 PM :: ::

Killer D's Update


It appears the scandal has reached out and gotten it's grubby little misuse-of-power hands on our illustrious governor. Apparently, Governor Perry personally told state troopers to go check the neonatal intensive care unit for Craig Eiland.
Gov. Rick Perry personally instructed state troopers to visit a neonatal intensive care unit in Galveston in their search for Rep. Craig Eiland during last month's Democratic walkout from the Texas House, a legislator said Sunday.
...
Eiland had earlier criticized Texas Department of Public Safety officers for showing up at the hospital, where his premature twins were then under care.

Rep. Kevin Bailey, D-Houston, chairman of the House General Investigating Committee, said a DPS officer, Lt. William Crais, told him that the DPS went to the hospital under the governor's orders.


What's even more interesting is that Crais is currently being fingered as the potential fall guy for involving Homeland Security. If he implicated Perry in the far less damaging hospital visit, what are the odds he'll take the heat for involving Homeland Security? Or, for that matter, destroying documents?
:: Morat 12:02 PM :: ::

Al Franken

Looks like Franken and O'Reilly got into it this weekend. (Via Counterspin)
Bill O'Reilly, the conservative talk show host, first decried political commentators who "call people names." Then he called Al Franken, the liberal humorist, an "idiot."
...
Franken's book cover pictures him in front of TV monitors showing President Bush, Vice President Cheney, commentator Ann Coulter and O'Reilly.

Schroeder said that, backstage, O'Reilly said his photo was used without permission. Franken said it was in the public domain. Later, O'Reilly said, "Fox lawyers will handle this."

According to one of the comments at Calpundit, Franken said something like "Can we get a picture of you for the cover? Anything where you have your mouth open will do. This one's in the public domain, and isn't very good.".

Go buy Al Franken's new book Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them : A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Right now. (I have no idea why Amazon has the correct title for the Audio CD version of this, but not the book. Oh well...).

:: Morat 11:54 AM :: ::

Step 132 in 'How Not To Liberate Iraq'

I'll be the first to admit that the Bush Administration is in a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation with Iraq. However, I have absolutely no sympathy towards them. They were warned prior to invasion that they might face this problem, they took no steps to prevent it. Indeed, the doves and thoughtful hawks who warned about it were more or less dismissed.

We told you. We told you that you needed more troops. We informed you that you needed the UN. We warned you about going in anything less than wholeheartedly. And we certainly warned you of the consequences.

And so now the Bush administration is drifting up the creek without a paddle. They're stuck with Iraq, as messy as it is. They're stuck with a country that has ethnic divisions you could drive a tank through, a country that has been looted and bombed, and a country that, having been liberated, has the unmitigated gall to demand that they be free. So what to do? Let them form their own government, and risk another dictator, or a Islamic theocracy, or civil war and 'ethnic cleansing'? Or form it ourselves, and worry about 'liberating' the Iraqis another day. It appears that 'liberation' is joining 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' on the heap.
The U.S. occupation authority has decided to handpick between 25 and 30 Iraqis to serve on an interim political council to advise U.S. officials on day-to-day governance issues rather than convene a large assembly where Iraqi delegates would debate the form and membership of their transitional administration, a senior U.S. official said today.


The entire Arab world, and certainly the Iraqis, are suspicious of our motives. And now we're doing this.

I freely admit the Bush administration has no good options anymore. That any choice they make is going to look bad and be bad. But that's not my problem. They could have avoided the worst of the mess had they listened to their own experts, if they had bothered to plan for the worst. They could have avoided all of it if they hadn't started this war based on lies and deception.

Their lack of good choices isn't my problem. Sadly, Iraq is my problem. America and Americans will be dealing with the Iraq mess long after our current crop of leaders is gone. And we're probably still going to be facing lose-lose choices. I'll be sympathetic to anyone, regardless of party, who has to deal with Iraq in the future. But I've got no sympathies for the idiots who caused this mess in the first place.

You wanted this war, George. You didn't want to bother with the peace. If it wasn't for the fact that our troops and innocent Iraqis are going to die while you struggle with the mess you made, I'd cheerfully watch you choke on it.
:: Morat 11:40 AM :: ::

What a weekend

Long, long weekend. It started Saturday. First off, my wife spends Saturday out with a friend. Something I'm all for, because if anyone needs a fun night, it's her. Unfortunately, that means she's not around when I need help. Even worse, I'm not so sure the upsides of her night out were as bad as the downs, but that's not my story.

Anyways, first thing is my shower backing up. It's been backing up for awhile, but since it's an older shower, there's no hair trap. I'm looking into finding one that will fit at this point. It's the only shower in the house. We don't have a tub or anything else. Just the one shower. So I go with chemical dissolvants, because wherever the plug is, it's well past my ability to reach it without a snake.

Doesn't help. If anything, it makes it worse, as after trying that the water refuses to drain at all. So I get the plunger. Using that means I now have nasty, black, dissolved gunk in the still standing water, so I can't even see the drain to plunge it. Ultimately, I end up skimming the gunk out so I can see, and finally manage to clear the stupid plug. I'm guessing I spent a good four or five hours getting the shower working again. Not fun.

During this, I'm also trying to get some clothes clean. In between cursing at the shower and wishing I had a plumber's snake, I wander out to check the dryer. The dryer has stopped working. Instant panic mode there, as I can't really afford a new dryer right now. Luckily, it appears the wall socket is bad. (That makes two I have to fix now). So I go get the one extension cord in the house, the one I'm using to power my wife's computer because that wall socket just went out, and bring it to the garage. Of course, I can only power one appliance at a time, so doing laundry is now taking twice as long.

When all was said and done, I was up until 4:00 AM, got a nice 3 hours sleep, and spent Sunday doing much the same thing. Not a fun weekend. I was glad to go to work this morning. At least it won't involve a plunger.
:: Morat 10:57 AM :: ::

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