Sunday, March 26, 2006

Out of Touch

Not the title I wanted to use, but I don't need big brother breathing down my neck.

Humanitarian that she is, the woman who spawned our President decided to make a donate to the Katrina relief effort, provided the money go to her son Neil's software company.

Now, right wing talking heads will point out that computer software is something that will greatly benefit school systems struggling to get back on their feet. And they're right. But should the former First Lady really be donating money to the relief effort that has such strict conditions placed on it? And even if she does think that computer software is the most important endeavor, aren't there software companies not run by family that she could have chosen? Of course. But just like a Bush, she chose family over country.

I guess we can all be thankful she didn't earmark her donation to Halliburton.

And of course, she is free to donate to whomever she wants, but this nepotistic move proves, once again, that she is completely out of touch with reality.

And it's par for the course, as she mothered a President who refused help in Katrina relief from several nations because they haven't blindly followed his foreign policy.

If anyone is willing to help me fundraise for a luxurious box at the Astrodome for Mrs. Bush, I'm all ears.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Texas Lawmakers Are Stupid

Naturally, a bar is a place where you might expect to see all kinds of behavior that is considered unacceptable elsewhere.

But Texas is now arresting people for being too drunk... inside a bar.

Time and time again I see laws that seem less designed for law and order, and more for some politician to use some pet project to get votes. A la "I led the fight to make bars safe for your children... vote for me." Rob Bell, of course, is a master at this.

The Texas law allows police to arrest bar patrons who appear to be, as the spokesperson for the Texas ABC put it, "really drunk" in a bar.

Why is this law bad? Well, it's unnecessary. If someone drinks and then drives, then there are DUI laws. If someone starts a bar fight, then there are assault laws for that.

But what makes this law even worse, is that it punishes even those who are acting responsibly. Had this law been on the books in Rhode Island, could I have been arrested for drinking at our on-campus bar, even though I did not have to drive or cross any major streets to get home? Should Texas bar patrons be punished for calling a cab or having a designated driver?

Drinking and driving is a major problem. Should we really punish people who are doing the responsible thing, or go after people who are reckless. In Rhode Island, it was common practice for police to spot check cars who were pulling out of bar parking lots. They only spoke to drivers, so if they found a drunk person, they found someone actually breaking the law. The Texas approach punishes good behavior and is, frankly, Orwellian.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cold War II

President Bush fancies himself a war President, and in that regard he is doing a fantastic job.

He has already imitated the war Vietnam by getting us into an unwinnable and costly war in Iraq.

Now, his being a bullish moron when it comes to foreign policy has gotten us into a standoff with a nuclear power that is within range of the U.S. Western coast.

From USA Today:

SEOUL — North Korea said Tuesday that it had the ability to launch a pre-emptive attack on the United States in its latest threat since being told it must stop its illegal trade activities.

"Our strong revolutionary might put in place all measures to counter (a) possible U.S. pre-emptive strike," the North Korea Foreign Ministry said, according to the Korean Central News Agency. "Pre-emptive strike is not the monopoly of the United States."

The ministry also said the North had built atomic weapons to counter the U.S. nuclear threat.

"We made nuclear weapons because of a nuclear threat from the United States," the ministry said.

The CIA has said the North may have enough plutonium from its nuclear program for at least a half-dozen weapons.

So, six nuclear warheads within range of the Western coast of the United States with a pissed off government in control. Great job Bush.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Allen for Iowa

"If I had my druthers, I would have been born in Iowa."
-Sen. George Allen

The Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot has an article (free login required) on Sen. Allen's staggering ignorance of geography.

If Allen wants to run for President and Senate at the same time, fine, but could he at least be honest to us Virginians?

Meanwhile, there are two candidates for George Allen's seat that are actually committed to Virginia. They are Harris Miller and James Webb. Pick one and donate/volunteer accordingly.


According to Survey USA, SD Gov. Mike Rounds' approval rating has plummeted 14 points since he signed SD's absurd abortion legislation into law. His disapproval rating went up by fifteen points. He stands at 58-38 approval compared to 72-23 a month ago.

Could it be that even in conservative South Dakota, folks don't like to see government intruding into people's personal lives?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Collateral Damage

The American cost of the Iraqi occupation is tragic, but well documented.

What is just as tragic, and not as documented, is the number of Iraqi civilians who have died as a result of the occupation. That number is now 120,000-200,000 civilians.

I have long reported the number of Iraqi civilian casualties in terms of American population. Since the U.S. has roughly 11 times the population that Iraq had at the start of the war, if the same collateral damage had been inflicted on the U.S., the "collateral damage" would be 1.32 million people.

The only city with a population comparable to that number (according to the 2000 census) is Phoenix, with a population of 1,321,045. So, in terms of impact on the country of Iraq, the U.S. occupation has killed a number equivalent to the entire city of Phoenix. The damage would have more than wiped out smaller cities such as Detroit, Boston, Denver, Washington DC, Atlanta, etc.
If the 200,000 figure is correct, the ONLY cities that escape total annihilation are New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Perhaps it is no longer appropriate to measure the U.S. impact on Iraqi civilians in terms of U.S. cities. Perhaps U.S. states are more appropriate. This same 1.32 million total, which is the same amount as Iraq civilian deaths on their population as a result of the U.S. occupation (using a conservative estimate). If the same level of 'collateral damage' were inflicted on our own country, the damage would be equivalent to killing every resident of the state of Maine... and then some.

But Maine, and it's population of 1.305 million ranks 41 on the population list. The damage is well more than significant enough to wipe out New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, the District of Columbia or Wyoming.

Idahoans better watch their backs...

Saturday, March 11, 2006


This is my fourth (?) blog? I did the Xanga thing and one here. Most successfully, I ran the Providence College Democrats blog. Now, after one too many drunken rants with nowhere to publicly pontificate, here I am.

Who am I? Well, I graduated in May 2005 from Providence College, known for decent academics (aka a fallback school on the O.C.), a conservative Catholic administration, a decent basketball team and ungodly alcohol consumption. There, after immersing myself in Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, Great War Poetry, and other assorted things, I received a BA in English.

Now, I reside in Charlottesville, VA, which is the best city on the planet. Or at least it was until Frommer's had to go and tell everyone about it. I've been in Albemarle and Nelson counties for nearly nine years, after being born in Richmond and stints in New York, New Jersey and Georgia. Now, I'm biding my time at Whole Foods while preparing to enter grad school in Fall 2007.

Oh, yeah, and I'm a politician. I spend my senior year in college running the PC Democrats, building alliances with the likes of Jack Reed, Jim Langevin and the Kennedy family. After graduation, I worked 90 hours a week getting Tim Kaine, David Toscano and David Slutzky elected. Go me. Now I'm the Georgetown Precinct Chair, which means I will personally make sure that George Allen and Virgil Goode have to go back to private practice next January. I'm completely obsessed with politics, so that's what you will see here, for the most part.