Let the Long Weekend Open Thread Commence

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President Bush's surge may have turned out to be an anticlimax even among his supporters (and even as he puts on his best Tom Petty and won't back down regarding the invasion of Iraq), but surely there's still plenty to talk about on a long weekend.

So have at it, faithful readers, and toss up thoughts large and small, smart and wonderful, in an open thread.

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  1. Long weekend? Do you guys take off for Talk Like A Pirate Day too?

  2. Is there another one of those damn Monday holidays?

  3. Long weekend for the overpaid privleged lackeys of the State.
    Real people go to work tomorrow-somebody has to cover the taxes to pay your lazy worthless asses.

  4. Woo, open thread. I just got back from the latest way-station on the Road to Serfdom, Venezuela. What a place. First, the Venezuelan middle class that I spent my time with was an outstanding bunch of people, very friendly and with nothing, absolutely nothing, against gringos generally. I was surprised to learn that baseball is bigger than soccer.

    Otherwise, Chavez billboards (left over from the elections) were everywhere. Unmolested, except one I saw(after two weeks) on the road back to the airport: someone shot Chavez in the head with a paintball. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela operates the vast majority of the towtrucks around where I was and along the northern portion of the country. Chavez’s picture is on the side of all of them.

    I wish them all the best and hope my hostess gets the hell out before it gets too bad. She’s already committed to staying two years, to finish her studies, but she’s already working on her own exit strategy. In the words of her grandfather, commenting on Chavez’s speech, with head in his hands, “Aye carumba.”

  5. Can’t keep track of your American holidays.

    Is it because it’s the first Monday after Richard Nixon’s birthday?

  6. I’m here in Thailand, land of coups, er, I mean, “smiles.” One of the things that led to the most recent coup was the charge that former prime minister Thaksin was too dictatorial and wasn’t respecting the rights of the people. Television programs that were critical of him were soon taken off the air. Now the junta has banned supporters of Thaksin from expressing their views in the media.

  7. The first Monday after an Eagles playoff defeat is always a National Day of Mourning in the United States.

  8. Sooooo, has anyone found a random Missouri kid in his captor’s house after four years lately?

  9. OK, I’ll toss out a few items for the open thread.

    Yesterday’s Washington Post has an article on how the Mahdi Army has infiltrated the Iraqi Army, with soldiers chanting “Moqtada! Moqtada!” even in the presence of US trainers. I guest-blogged it here.

    Yeah, this is just going to work out great.

    This morning’s Washington Post has an article on tinfoil hat wearers. No, really! I guest-blogged it here.

    Also, why has there been so little discussion of the attack on the US embassy in Athens?

  10. Nah, let’s get some real controversy going:

    In the making of chili con carne:
    Ground meat or diced?
    Fresh peppers or dried or powder?
    Beans or no beans?
    Tomato sauce or no?

    Now if you really want to get your geek on, we could drag out the Emacs vs. vi debate.

    Hey, who says we have to limit ourselves to political stuff? OOOH! another topic!

  11. An open thread? What does this have to do with liberty? This is why libertarianism will never get anywhere.

    I’m canceling my subscription.

  12. Aresen,

    You mean holidays like Kick-Boxing Day? 🙂

    All,

    If I were a Middle Eastern potentate, I’d don a blue turban and claim to be the fulfillment of Nostradamus’ predictions. Worth a shot, anyway.

    tomWright,

    Beef and pork are required. I like beans, finding Texas style too much like Sloppy Joes.

    All Redux,

    If Paul actually runs, how many here would be willing to help with the campaign? We’re talking a full-blown libertarian within a major party, after all. Though I bet the bastard doesn’t like beans in his chili.

  13. I’m not getting the day off Monday; however, the locate crews are. Given that many contractors in my state are–let’s be frank– redneck racists, I doubt they’re going to appreciate Martin Luther King Day interfering with their locate requests. They’d better hold their tounges though, a large portion of the Digger’s Hotline operators are African-American.

  14. > In the making of chili con carne:
    > Ground meat or diced?
    > Fresh peppers or dried or powder?
    > Beans or no beans?
    > Tomato sauce or no?

    Diced or shreded meat (use a decent cut), green chilies (fresh if possible, canned if need be), and a small quantity of chopped tomato. Spice with salt, cumin, ground pepper corn, plenty of garlic, and a little cayanne. No beans and easy on the onion, but do add 1 finely chopped small potato to help thicken the mixture.

    Best if you can chill it overnight and then reheat.

    I only use beans in the vegitarian version. But then it isn’t really “chili with meat”, is it?

  15. Beef and pork are required.

    Fuckin A.

  16. Does anyone know what Keith Olbermann meant when he said that ‘Oceania and East Asia have been at war forever’?

  17. I have jury duty this week, which means that the day after MLK day, I have to get up MUCH earlier than usual so that I can drive through a horrible neighborhood and sit in a horrible postmodern architecture building only to be kicked out of the potential-juror pool once I let slip my knowledge of the concept of “nullification.”

    And of course they’re going to check my bags and make me walk through a metal detector, and I’ll get in huge trouble if I say anything like “If you think I’m so damned dangerous you shouldn’t have made me come here in the first place.” Yay, freedom. Right now I’m debating: should I take the nail clippers off my keychain so that they are not confiscated, or keep the nail clippers ON my keychain, and write the word WEAPON on them? I’m thinking that with the latter, I might get an interesting story to write for the local newspaper for which I work.

  18. BSG marathon tomorrow!

  19. Akira,
    Well your contractors will get to feel like welfare recipients in my State who try to “do business” on Confederate Memorial Day.

  20. Jennifer

    Do you deliver the newspaper?

  21. Only the copy I bring home each day, Edward.

  22. Fred:

    On the off-chance you were being serious, it was a reference to 1984.

  23. And who do you deliver that copy to, Jennifer?

  24. Long weekend for the overpaid privleged lackeys of the State.

    And for underpaid insurance company programmer lackeys too, asshole.

  25. My clip file, Edward. That’s a “what,” not a “who.”

    I seriously am debating what to do on Tuesday: should I do something innocent and innocuous which I know damned well will piss off the microcephalics working in court security, or should I behave like the citizen of a not-free republic that I am?

    If I keep my clippers at home, a travel-sized container of baby powder in my purse also has potential.

  26. Akira,

    Thanks. Never read 1984 but it did sound familiar. Should I read 1984 at this late date or just wait and live through it?

  27. Right now I’m debating: should I take the nail clippers off my keychain so that they are not confiscated, or keep the nail clippers ON my keychain, and write the word WEAPON on them? I’m thinking that with the latter, I might get an interesting story to write for the local newspaper for which I work.

    No doubt about that – a night in jail usually makes for an interesting story.

  28. No doubt about that – a night in jail usually makes for an interesting story.

    PM, if they’re going to arrest someone for possession of a two-inch-long pair of nail clippers wedged underneath a Battlestar Galactica logo, miniature flashlight, and five other plastic doodads (I have FAR too mcuh crap on my keyring, I confess) then yes, that would indeed make for an interesting story.

    I have no intention of bringing in a fake gun, joking about setting off a bomb, threatening a judge, or doing or saying ANYTHING which could be taken as a threat by a reasonable person. Anybody capable of feeling fear at the sight of a pair of nail clippers–even with the word “weapon” written on them–is a paranoid jackass who has no business being entrusted with the security of court officials.

    The pamphlet I received giving me my instructions for Tuesday is goddamned insulting. Here’s what it boils down to: “You’re being summoned for jury duty. We think you’re a criminal. Prove to us you’re not.”

  29. PM, if they’re going to arrest someone for possession of a two-inch-long pair of nail clippers wedged underneath a Battlestar Galactica logo, miniature flashlight, and five other plastic doodads (I have FAR too mcuh crap on my keyring, I confess) then yes, that would indeed make for an interesting story.

    Having spent a few nights in jail for having been armed with nothing more deadly than my big, wise-assed mouth, I’m not going to be too terribly surprised if your nail-clippers get you the full terrorist treatment.

    Better review your pension plan with your employer. You may be eligable to collect by the time you get out.

  30. I’ll take my chances, PM. I’m not going to brandish the clippers, but they WILL be on my keychain.

    The government wouldn’t be able to walk all over us if we weren’t a bunch of pussy-livered chickenshits allowing them to do so. PM, I get the impression that not only will you not be surprised if I get the full terrorist treatment, as you say; you’d actually consider it justified. How dare I bring nail clippers to jury duty! How dare I right a word on them! Serves me right if I go to prison!

    And that attitude, coming from a presumptive lover of freedom, is EXACTLY why the government has been able to get away with trampling all over our rights for so long.

  31. How dare I right a word on them!

    I meant “write,” of course. “Right” is what I’m furious over losing.

  32. I don’t know about this freedom thing. We certainly don’t want children to be free in any absolute sense. How about really stupid adults? Then there’s duty and obligation. People are geneally happier, I think, when they have limits. Look what people do with freedom when law and order break down. Can somebody give me a libertarian definition of freedom?

  33. Oh yeah…

    > Now if you really want to get your geek on, we could drag out
    > the Emacs vs. vi debate.

    Everyone should know enough vi to get emacs installed.

  34. Jenifer:

    People often confuse “right” and “write.” Not many writers do, though. So do you work in the circulation department?

  35. Open thread…..
    Meat VS Rice
    OK do ya know people who bitch like hell about H1b visas and how they lower their wages(added bonus if they mention curry smelly Dot Head engineers living 6 to an apartment) but then act like people who oppose illegal Mexican workers are redneck KKK racists who want to ruin our economy?
    I’ve only met a few but the internets are full of ’em.
    Seriously.when the immigration issue arises why do we hear so little about the scarcity of skilled educated labor in the USA-driving costs up?
    And why can’t Indians just come here on a tourist/student visa and go to work for IT companies without H1b visas? Meat packers,construction workers,factory employess,ag workers don’t seem to need them even if working for huge public traded companies.

    Man I can’t wait for Castro to croak and all those well trained doctors come here happy to get 25k a year.Throw in a little tort reform and generic drugs we can cut health care costs down to nothing!

  36. heh, I’m a “civilian” contractor for the government. I have the best of all worlds…I get to take tomorrow off on my own dime! Yeah!

    Jennifer, you don’t want to *be* the story that ends up in the paper. Although, if you do take all that stuff in, my money would be on this scenario: you get with the nail clippers, but the powder is going to get chucked. And the guards have probably seen just about everything. Good luck getting out of jury duty! I just chuck my summons, personally.

    Thoreau, I, too, am amazed that the embassy attack has gone almost unnoticed. I’m glad there were not a lot of casualties. Last I heard, they’d arrested someone(s).

  37. Have we committed any noteworthy acts of war against Iran in the past twenty-four hours?

  38. You lot may not care about Beckham’s move to LA. If you do you might enjoy my tongue-in-cheek pisstake of him.

  39. Good luck getting out of jury duty!

    Thanks. I have no doubt that once I mention “nullification” they’ll chuck me out of the jury pool faster than you can say “the government no longer respects the rights of its citizens.” However, until that happy moment I still have to wake up much earlier than usual (since I usually work afternoons and evenings) and drive through a ghetto neighborhood and make my way through a series of insulting security checkpoints that make little distinction between potential jurors and the accused criminals they’re supposed to judge.

  40. Hey! How about “I want my war! F the congress! F the people!”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070114/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_iraq

  41. Bee,
    I’ve resorted to the circular file the summons method of dealing with jury duty.
    Always wonder if it will come back to bite me.
    I travel for work, and my company will pay me for serving on a jury but not for travelling back to my tax home on wednesday to phone in after 7pm to find out whether I need to report at 7 the following AM. 3 of the last 4 I didn’t need to report so I saved 2-5 days pay and travel expenses but the last time I was supposed to report.I was 800 miles away.Hope there isn’t an outstanding bench warrant on me.
    Waste of time anyways,I would just tell my fellow pool members about jury nullification and the attorneys about my anarchist opposition to the rule of law.

  42. Have we committed any noteworthy acts of war against Iran in the past twenty-four hours?

    No but we should.
    They’re getting a pass like al Sadr ’cause we need a Shiite check on Sunni power-until we need a Sunni check on Shiite power.

    Shouldn’t be too hard extracting the oil from beneath the giant sheet of glass.

  43. Don’t worry about homeland security. Jack is back: The Federal Zombie will once again make America safe for Americans and hell on earth for terr’ists. Two hour premiere tonight (Sunday) and another two hours tomorrow night (Monday). 24 ueber alles! Everybody say it with me! “Ker-chunk. Ker-chunk. Ker-chunk!”

  44. Jennifer

    You are such a self-centered whiner. Why on earth do you imagine that anybody is interested in the banal details of your day-to-day life? I don’t think an open thread is an open invitation to bore everybody to death with your wounded indignation. You have to drive through a ghetto. Poor thing.

  45. I would just tell my fellow pool members about jury nullification and the attorneys about my anarchist opposition to the rule of law.

    Does anybody know how many people are in the average jury pool (as opposed to the twelve sitting on an actual jury)? I need to know how many photocopies of the jury nullification information sheet to bring with me.

  46. For discussion from Wikipedia:

    In libertarianism, freedom is defined in terms of interference with the individual pursuit of happiness either by government or other persons, where interference is defined as unreasonably preventing others from realising their will in their chosen course of action or in their use of things. Contrary to popular belief, libertarians are not pro-business. Rather, they simply oppose interference in any consenting acts between adults, including capitalist acts. Generally businesses favour regulations that protect them from competition, which requires many restrictions on consenting capitalist acts between adults. Libertarians call for freedom from coercion, governmental and civilian, in social, political, and economic matters.

    On the other hand, those on the political left place more emphasis on freedom as the ability of the individual to realize one’s own potential and pursue happiness. Freedom in this sense may include freedom from want, poverty, deprivation, or oppression.

    Many anarchists with the exception of individualist anarchists, anarcho-capitalists, and particularly anarchists that don’t qualify their type of anarchism see negative and positive liberty as complementary concepts of freedom. Anarchists that recognize the concepts of negative and positive liberty tend to be left-leaning anarchists such as communist anarchists.

    Some treat freedom as if it were almost synonymous with democracy, while others see conflicts or even opposition between the two concepts.

  47. so, what IS the general libertarian consensus (ha ha ha i crack myself up) on jury duty, anyway? on the one hand, it’s the govt forcing you to do something. on the other hand, a 12-person jury would be pretty hard to create if all you had to do was say “no thank you”. and although i have almost no faith in the overall judgement of my peers, i have even less faith in a justice system without normal humans involved in it. the old “worst system except for all the others” thing.

    based on the 3 minutes of thought i’ve given it before writing this, i suppose it should be voluntary, with higher pay to encourage more people not to avoid it, and somehow arranged to be more juror-friendly. but i’m not sure if what we’d get with that would be any good.

    for some odd reason, i’ve only been called for jury duty once in my entire life. that time, i was almost involved in a capital murder case; they got their jurors and alternates only 4 people before they were about to voir-dire me (if that’s what it’s called?)

    in general, i always vote, and if it actually came up again, i wouldn’t try to avoid jury duty. perhaps it’s un-libertarian, i consider both to be something i owe to society; a right and a responsibility combined.

    -cab

  48. Barneca, I’m not opposed to jury duty per se; I understand the necessity of it. I even understand the necessity of making it mandatory. But I resent being treated like a criminal. And the summons itself is worded in an extremely rude manner.

    I plan to wear nice clothes, but was especially resentful to note that anyone who shows up wearing jeans will be sent home to change. This area has a lot of low-income blue-collar people; it’s quite possible that some people in the local jury pool have nothing BUT denim in their wardrobe. And the government says that’s not good enough? They have to buy new clothes before they’re even allowed to show up, and they risk jailtime if they don’t?

    Government is supposed to serve the people, not people serving the government.

    Oh, and the pay for jury duty is, I think, actually less than the state minimum wage.

  49. Yeah, I’ve just resulted to trashing the summons(es?) myself. Pointless. Waste my time going there to just be told to go home once I state my views.

  50. since this is an open thread, I’m suggesting that anyone who wants to discuss earmark reform legislature do it here, instead of threadjacking other items on the discussion board.

    anyone? anyone at all?

  51. jennifer,

    unlike some troll-like creatures who have been spoiling for a fight all day, i wasn’t referring specifically to your situation. there was a lot about my own jury duty experience that was pathetic and insulting and annoying. i attribute that mostly to the fact that the people running the show were, as usual, morons. i also found the whole process fascinating, and would do it again if asked.

    but it did get me thinking, and i’m interested in your comment “I even understand the necessity of making it mandatory”. i do view it as a duty, but this thread got me thinking for the first time, how do i reconcile that with the theory that the govt shouldn’t be forcing people to do things. either it’s because it really should be voluntary, or it’s because it’s so important that it trumps individual liberty (like, i guess, having to pay taxes, for example. i wish i could think of a less volatile example, because taxes are like chum to sharks here, but right now i can’t). just not sure where i come down on this, and thought it would be interesting to hear other opinions.

    plus (and this is, i admit, slightly directed at you in particular) it does sound as if you’re hoping they ask you about nullification so they can drop you, kind of like a “get out of jury duty free” card. am i reading you wrong?

    -cab

  52. “Long Weekend.”

    Ha. Maybe for government employees and government hangers-on. Yinz enjoy that there electricity this weekend. And have a beer in honor of those who spend their weekends producing it. Did you know that holidays and weekends are the only times that power plants take planned short outages for maintenance and cleaning?

  53. “When you walk into that courtroom, you’re putting your life in the hands of twelve people who aren’t even smart enough to be able to get out of jury duty,” an attorney friend of mine once said.

    ———-

    I was called for jury duty a couple of years ago. There was a questionnaire handed out, and one of the questions was, more or less, “Will you faithfully vote to convict?” I left that blank. The prosecutor, or whatever he was, called me out on it; “Why did you not answer it?”

    My response was that there are too many dumb laws on the books, and without some prior knowledge of the case, I could not honestly answer. When he asked for an example of a “dumb law” I gave him a brief synopsis of my analysis of the War on Drugs. Needless to say, I was not selected as a juror.

    The case was, in actuality, Attempted Murder: angle “A” of a love triangle had shot angles “B” and “C” but not successfully (fatally). I kept an eye on the paper for a few days, but never saw how it turned out; my suspicion is that I had so poisoned the minds of the jury pool that they had to kick everybody out and sart over. Or the kid’s attorney offered a plea.

  54. Re: tomwright…

    My chili: coarsely ground beef, tomato sauce, pepper powder, a dabbling of my favorite sauces, cooked to a moderate thickness, garnished with Monterey Jack and served on a warm corn tortilla with a side of Zataran’s rice and beans, and a large, cold glass of…get ready…milk.

    The food of the gods, I tell ya…

  55. it does sound as if you’re hoping they ask you about nullification so they can drop you, kind of like a “get out of jury duty free” card. am i reading you wrong?

    I don’t expect them to ask specifically about nullification, but I think that at one point they ask something like “Are you prepared to follow the judge’s instructions?” At which point I will say “yes, provided they don’t interfere with my right to nullification.”

    i’m interested in your comment “I even understand the necessity of making it mandatory”.

    Reluctantly so. Making it voluntary means the accused will be judged by people who volunteer to serve on a jury. Think what that means! Sure, you’d have a few idealistic libertarian-types volunteering to serve out of a desire to overturn unjust laws, but mostly you’d get the sort of person who enjoys having power over people. And anyone who wants power over others is not worthy to have it.

    That said, since jury duty is mandatory the government at the very least should stop making it so damned unpleasant.

  56. Good a place as any to ask:

    I’ve often seen in legal opinions especially from SCOTUS language to the effect of “the rights of XXX must be balanced against the compelling interests of the government”.

    Where does it say that in the constitution?

    Is there some hidden disappearing ink only visible by moonlight clause that says “all of this null and void when it’s against the interests of the government”?

    Is this some hold over from English Common Law that needs to be done away with?

    Is there some case law that states this?

    Where does this illogic come from?

  57. chili goes something like:

    ground beef
    spices (rosemary, oregano, basil, bay leaf, curry, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, in varying amounts)
    chopped tomatoes
    black beans
    beer
    also veggies like corn or broccoli.

    it is good. can’t make spicy cause of wife.

  58. What are you doing on the computer?
    Don’t you know the season premiere of 24 is on Fox?

  59. Thoreau & Bee : I too am surprised at the modest play the story has gotten, although I suspect there would have been much more if someone had been hurt. (Personal revelation – the Ambassador’s daughter was a classmate at university.) Perhaps we’re suffering from ‘terror fatigue’; certainly in the places I’ve lived where such things happened, routine bus station bombings and the like quickly cease to penetrate your consciousness unless they happen right around the corner.

  60. The single time I was called to JD was for a meth possession case. Honest to god, there was a blind self described crack addict in the pool. I wasn’t chosen; likely because I said that prohibition was an inexcusable infringement on individual liberty. In retrospect I wish I had lied to get on the jury. Most galling; a woman who admitted to being prejudiced against meth users because she had been robbed (the cop handling her case told her the guy was probably a meth addict) was chosen for the jury.

    Everyone should know enough vi to get emacs installed.

    I run vi, but have scripted my own GUI and skinned it to look like MS Word. And yes, it is slow.

  61. Also, why has there been so little discussion of the attack on the US embassy in Athens?

    Because the attackers weren’t Ay-rabs?

  62. Ay-rabs ain’t the enemy
    (except as a subset of below)
    Muslims are the enemy
    Who attacked Our embassy in Greece?
    Greek Nationalists or Communists or some other podunk group that does not threaten Western Civ

  63. Okay, I give up. I bet you could get a more interesting conversation at a Tupperware party. So much for open threads.

  64. The government wouldn’t be able to walk all over us if we weren’t a bunch of pussy-livered chickenshits allowing them to do so. PM, I get the impression that not only will you not be surprised if I get the full terrorist treatment, as you say; you’d actually consider it justified.

    Lol! Touchy! Touchy! What did I say that makes you think I’d consider it justified? I’m just reflecting on the current state of affairs.

    I’m just having a bit of fun with you – lighten up, already!

  65. Don’t the ultraLeftists celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King day on 4 April?

    I am off on Monday, but it is due to my being reassigned for the next month or so. No, snarkies, I am not supporting the government on this deal, I am suppoerting the NFL and am being forced to work in Miami until 5 Feb.

    Yeaaaaa Bears and Colts! BTW, I missed the news where Baltimore was burned to the ground after the Colts winning there. The news leading up to the game sounded like the townspeople were dusting off their long-hidden sniper rifles to greet the team upon arrival, as well as getting torches and pitchforks ready.

    While everybody else was watching the late football game last night, I was watching Ben Stiller being chased by a dinosaur through a museum.

    That is all, have a nice weekend.

  66. lighten up, already!

    AFTER I’m safely back from that ugly courthouse in that hellhole city.

    Hmmph. Harrumph.

  67. Really Jennifer, what is wrong with jury duty? Heck, in NH they pay a whole $20 a day and will only keep you for up to six weeks unless you are seated on a trial that lasts longer. Twenty smacks, heck it isn’t like you could make that kind of money in less than an hour now could you? Why you could pocket a cool $1500 if you are lucky enough to be kept the whole 6 weeks.
    The only down side is they don’t have child services so you might have to spend a tiny fraction of that fortune on a baby sitter. So cheer up and think of the money you will save on your taxes in that tax bracket.

  68. Can y’all weigh in on a debate I’m having with a friend? He claims “everyone knows” that legislation For The Children is the monopoly of advocates of one political opinion, in opposition to the values of another. The two sides are liberals and conservatives; I won’t say which he says are pro and which he says are con these laws (and their strict application).

    I say no, and can list several counter-factuals. What do you think?

  69. What I mean is, both sides do that, so that the division between pro & con regarding a particular For The Children law does not fall along lines dividing liberals from conservatives.

  70. Best Venezuela sign, on the side of a PDVSA (state run) oil refinery:

    “FELIZ CHAVIDAD”

    wtf.

  71. Ok this open thread has been 1 long flirt-fest between Jennifer & Edward (or Eddy, as the case may be)

    Re: chili con carne: chili is orginially made w/o Beef people; con carne means bring it on. Sheesh. Go read Southern Living for christ’s sake.

    And yes, who does know what the hell is going on Greece? anybody?

  72. Gee, you make one post and it’s assumed to be a menage a trois?
    As far as the rest goes, I’m not sure moussaka would qualify as chili.

  73. M,
    For the children….
    yeah both sides although it is a “progressive” thing and both parties have firm roots there.
    Maybe I’m just biased but my take is the Dems do it for the children because to them we are ALL children. Repubs do it ’cause chicks have the vote now for like 85 years.
    I think it is all rooted in a mainstream
    formerly protestant now secular progressivism and that it is far more dangerous than the evangelicals.For all the bluster of “their leaders” most evangelicals want to live apart from the State-like the Bible teaches.
    This is why now meat eating and SUVs and unhealthy behavior are now sins and Global Warming is g-…science’s wrath on us processed food eating carbon consuming hate speaking racist sexist anti-gay…..well you get the idea

    Lastly,if you listen to Rush Limbaugh-and have watched the last several POTUS election cycle debates-remember “the pony tail guy” as Rush still calls him. I think it was Clinton/Dole when this ringer stands up looking like the hippie teacher in Beavis and Butthead.
    He asks his ringer question which amounts to crying and saying “what are you going to do for us….sob…we are your children” thankfully the loaded browning was in the other room or I would have gone all Elvis on the TEEVEE.
    Needless to say Dole looked like the guy just took a shit in on the floor and Clinton segued into Victory.Rush never forgot the geek and brings it up regularly.So yeah if you friend thinks the “for the children” shit is more lefty/dem he is kinda right. Somebody oughtta do a lexis /nexis on this-thanks to the intarwebs this shit is quantifiable.You would halfta control for irony satire and sarcasm as I think only Righties ever goof on this on the TV/newspaper pundit level.

  74. Time to waste tonight….
    M your post is downright trollish
    ideologically conservatives “believe” in individiual responsibility while liberals do not
    so from a purely politically theoretical standpoint you friend is right idf he has liberals as the for the children group against the values of conservatives
    in reality it all falls apart-as stated prviously I blame women’s sufferage-
    not to blame INDIVIDUAL women -but politics at the national level today is all about going for a blue collar/middle class femal demographic
    which come to think of it is why Country Music has turned to toal shit too…….

  75. Thanks, Eddy, you have a sense of humor!– Moussaka ain’t what I’m talkin’ ’bout… and yes, I did grow up w/the original.

    Still, no one answered my query. We got something else going on in Greece. Anyone in on the real news? Or is this too serious? — oh, maybe so, since it is a long weekend… not that MLK’s rep will have any impact on what’s happening in the world today, it seems.

  76. won’t someone think of the women?

    frankly, we went to shit right after we dumped the enlightened despot for democracy. should have never given peasants the right to vote.

  77. On the subject of compelling citizens to appear for jury duty, I’m not convinced that it’s “worst system except for all the others”. I mean, how many “others” have been tried?

    First of all, the average citizen knows next to nothing about law… Why not use jurors who actually might have some legal knowledge?

    And second, throwing someone $20/day is hardly compensation for the inconvenience. It barely covers taxi fares, and borders on involuntary servitude. People shouldn’t be compelled to attend unless they volunteer for some direct benefit from the state, for which jury duty could be made a condition.

    For example, require any or all of the following to perform some number of hours per year: holders of a state license to practice law, students and professors at publicly funded law schools, current employees (and pensioned retirees) of the justice department.

    I’d love to hear reasons these ideas wouldn’t work.

  78. Is it conservatives or liberals who want to impose more severe restrictions on convicted/accused/suspected child-molesters? Is it c’s or l’s who want to Protect the Children by (take your pick) a) mandating prayers in schools / b) defending students who want the right to opt of out praying in schools? Is it c’s or l’s who want tougher penalties on juvenile offenders / on those who offend juveniles? Which Protects the Children more? Which political opinion wants to give more / less responsibility to parents vs. government agencies? I have no idea how l’s and c’s stack up neatly about The Children, because my impression is that they don’t.

    If it’s only liberals who want to PTC, then why, when a teacher is accused of malfeasance – drugs, sex – it’s the conservatives who are quickest to press for ousting the putative offender and the liberals who more often rush to the teacher’s defense? Is the Teacher’s Union liberal or conservative?

    My take is that the opposition is between those who want more vs. less goventmental supervision, and that the more invested one is in either liberalism of conservatism, the more one favors lesislatively protecting the children – from bullets or porn or drugs or prayer or the devil – by governmental force.

    That view might seem to me trollish on a liberal or conservative forum, but From A Magazine Called Reason?… ; )

  79. Soliciting used car advice……

    Should I buy a used Honda S2000 roadster or wait and save some more for a late model American V-8 muscle car? I’m a Pabst Blue Ribbon drinking white bread and iceberg lettuce eating red-blooded (and rednecked) American but the 2.0 liter 240 hp Hondas are in a really sweet price point on the secondary market-I think the resale value will plateau and eventually rise-whereas the American V-8s are only going down till they fall apart.
    I’ve considered turbo sedans like the Dodge SRT4 Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX sti but they are all kinda ugly, getting beat to death by their owners and I don’t really trust used turbo technology.

  80. Chili debate: Being Texan I have to strongly condemn beans. Nevertheless, I have had excellent chili with pintos in it. I can see black beans, but nothing else. Also, I saute the onions and peppers in bacon grease, which simulataneously makes it much, much worse for you while making it taste much better. Adds a nice smokiness, especially if you also use chipotle peppers.

    Jennifer, I’m a lawyer. For most of my career, I was a civil fraud prosecutor. You’d think that magic word “prosecutor” would work some mojo to keep me off a panel, but so far it hasn’t. I’ve never actually had to hear a trial, but I’ve been empanelled, only to get to spend half a day waiting while the parties argue a million motions and then settled. My personal favorite was the time I was on a criminal commitment jury which had to decide if the defendent should be committed to the state hospital for the criminally insane. She was a homeless, mentally retarded woman who couldn’t speak. She communicated through screeches, groans, and whistles. She had been arrested for breaking into someone’s back porch on a cold night. We were sworn in, then told to wait in a stifling anteroom while the actual hearing took place, then brought back in three hours later to hear the proposed settlement and approve it. I still have no idea what this procedure was.

    Now for something really interesting: will I get a four day weekend, thanks to the weather?

  81. M
    truly a waste of time with you
    I don’t see what your examples have to do with the issue you raised. Liberals do not protect child molesting druggie schoolteachers as a matter of political posturing
    look at examples of legislation in which “protect the children” “for the children” is actually cited in advocacy.
    On a related note, raising the age of consent is a “progressive” cause-more strongly pushed by adult women fearing sexual competition from younger women than it is from the patriarchy -blamin’ the bitches again…
    look at it state by state over time….
    how is that for trolling…..well if anyone was still reading tonight

  82. Should I buy a used Honda S2000 roadster or wait and save some more for a late model American V-8 muscle car?

    I’ve looked at the S2000, but never driven. Own a 2003 Mustang GT. Love the torque from stop lights or lane changes from barely moving lane to HOV on the freeway. I’ve read that the 2.0 S2000 doesn’t produce many ponies until you are doing 33 MPH in first gear.

    For a weekend driver, where you take it out to some empty curvy roads, S2000 probably is much sweeter then a clucky muscle car with its stearing going to pot.

    I’ve considered turbo sedans like the Dodge SRT4 Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru WRX sti but they are all kinda ugly, getting beat to death by their owners and I don’t really trust used turbo tecnology.

    I don’t think I’d ever buy a turbo that someone else had owned. It’s way to hard to abuse.

  83. Russ R,
    Remember the part about a jury of one’s peers-not a bunch of lawyers

  84. Thanx Foobar,

    I think you mean way too hard NOT to abuse.Poor maintenance is not as easily forgiven and it is way too easy to aftermarket “tune” most turbos and then put it back to “stock” leaving out of spec wear on seals hoses gaskets moving parts etc.
    I probably wouldn’t want to buy one from me so to speak.
    You are right about the S2000 being torqueless at low rpms-that is why I agonize over the V-8 choice.I’m leaning hard to the honda though for its borderline exotic appeal(240 hp out of 2.0 liters all motor) and I think I should own/drive a topless sportscar before I die.

  85. And second, throwing someone $20/day is hardly compensation for the inconvenience. It barely covers taxi fares, and borders on involuntary servitude.

    Russ, the juror is the least respected cog in the wheel. Except for the subpoenaed witness, who gets a 15 dollar witness fee and the $300.00 per hour attorneys won’t pay it without harassment.

    There is much to dislike about the legal system but I think the treatment of jurors is at the top of the shit list.

  86. I agree that jurors are treated shamefully, but then who is not treated badly by the legal system.

    Jury duty is pretty interesting though, and it does seem to work reasonably well as a method of achieving a measure of fairness.

    To be effective, nullification has to be “your secret”. It is your responsibility to nullify the over-reach of an unjust law, and you can only do that if you are on the jury.

  87. I wouldn’t mind serving on jury duty, but I’m with Jennifer in thinking that I’d be eliminated as a possible juror when they got to asking me questions. Especially if jury nullification came up or was even hinted at, again as Jennifer mentioned. (Disclaimer: I’ve been summoned twice, but threw them both away, figuring it would be a waste of time for reasons I just pointed out.)

    Fangio: I owned a ’69 Ford LTD, and while it was a sweet ride, it had lots of maintenance issues. Not that you’re talking about a classic muscle car, but just fyi. I have owned 2 hondas (a 95 civic and a 96 accord) and they were sweet cars. Totally reliable and fun to drive.

  88. I should say that I also agree with Wayne, in that you probably should keep any nullification thoughts secret. But if any WoD questions came up, I’d be out. Also, I have a rather anti-authoritarian streak, so that would probably come out, too, and I’d still be out.

  89. Here is soething “else” to talk about. US forces in Irbil, in northern Iraq arrested five Iranians because of their ties to the insurgency. The Iranians claimed diplomatic immunity, but we got them on a technicality of some kind, so their insurgent-funding, IED-making, meddling-in-Iraq, was not diplomacy but was instead, well terrorism. This incident took place within hours of Bush’s speech on TV where he said something like, “outside forces in Iraq will be destroyed”.

    They were ejected from Iraq, but not without some hand wringing from various diplomats.

    The only thing better would have been if we had just smoked them in place.

    Interrupting the flow of war material from Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia ought to be very high on the list of things to do to stabilize Iraq.

  90. Q: Why has there never been a military coup in the United States?

    A: There are no US Embassies in the United States

  91. kowt,

    One might consider the war of Independence a coup.

    I suppose the point you are making is that all coups, apparently everywhere, are the work of the US State department and CIA.

  92. Forget about mentioning nullification to get out of jury duty. Simply mentioning that you have a college degree will usually take care of that.

  93. I’m a Northerner, but I’m generally with the Texicans on the “no beans in the chili” rule. If Southwesterners want to really be offended, try some Cincinnati 5-Way or the Green Bay-style. Noodles in a bowl of red would probably merit a visit from Walker. I don’t know what Southwesterners make of the oyster crackers you get at Real Chili.

    I do like New Mexican style green chili, but I’m not cook enough to attempt that.

    My favorite way to make chili in the cold, cold winter is to buy an inexpensive cut of beef, like chuck steak or flank steak, slap it on the grill for just enough time so that it is no longer quite able to moo, then slice it into cubes. The cubed beef and any drippings go into the pot. I’ll use any of several brands of prepared chili mix, but when it comes time to add the tomato, I get some canned chopped tomato and green chili. If I have whole tomatoes I’ll use `em, but the green chilis are a must. Some of the chili mixes come complete with masa for thickening the pot. I also tend to “doctor” the prepared mixes by adding chili powder to taste, and I hate onions so I never add them. I’m sure there’s dried onion in the mix, but if I don’t have to chew the damned things, a little onion flavor won’t kill me.

    I like to serve my bean-less chili on a bed of rice, topped with some shredded sharp cheddar or a dollop of sour cream.

    In other news, I’ve been in a jury pool twice. The first time, I sat on a criminal trial in juvenile court. The second time I got tossed from a back injury case because I admitted that I thought MDs were more credible than osteopaths, and that chiropractors were basically quacks. (Mind you, I don’t think we should outlaw those quacks, but I digress.) If a judge or lawyer ever asked me if I would follow instructions, my answer would be “Sure, if they are valid instructions.” Judges aren’t supposed to be able to direct guilty verdicts, but they can direct “not guilties”, and should when there’s no serious evidence against the accused.

    My employer at the time was civic-minded enough to pay his employees their full wage when on jury duty. We just had to sign over the checks from the county to the business when we got them, which is the way its done around here.

    What bothers me is that one justification for government operating schools is “citizenship training.” Shouldn’t anyone with a high school education know enough American history, and English history before that, to realize why the Founders demanded trial by jury be protected in the state and Federal Constitutions? Of course, I learned all this in parochial school and went on to get a history degree at a Jesuit university, so I’m sure I’m an outlier.

    That “no denim” rule may be an attempt by the courts to thwart jury consultants. If everyone showed up in their “Sunday Best” it might make it harder for lawyers to use peremptory chalenges against those deemed to poor, too rich, or too blue-collar. I expect if that catches on, the shysters will hire fashionistas to figure out just how expensive everyone’s outfit is, and strike accordingly.

    Kevin

  94. &&&,

    Russ R,
    Remember the part about a jury of one’s peers-not a bunch of lawyers

    As long as those lawyers are citizens then they are your peers.

    How long will it be until California makes it illegal for a citizenship test for jurors?

  95. chili=beans pork beef beer wads of garlic onions peppers hot and sweet bit o cumin oregano wads of chili powder and tomatoes…… the secret is in the long browning of the onions and peppers and garlic and the beef and pork and the addition of the peppers and onions and garlic at various times along with the spices at various times. After the first browning of onions etc the remaining onions etc should be added raw for a more complex flavor. I like to use a darker beer….For a different twist on chili all together… try using smoked seafood or meat.

  96. What are you doing on the computer?
    Don’t you know the season premiere of 24 is on Fox?

    I never watched that show before last night. I’ll never watch it again. It did work on one level, which was comedy, but other than that, no thank you (and this is from someone who loves the show “Heroes”).

  97. Headline – Greece:
    Anarchist pep rally at Polytech.
    Athens not going to superbowl.

  98. ronpaulexplore.com

  99. Awesome music video on YouTube..

    “Put your hands up against the car, we’re winning the war on drugs!”

  100. There is much to dislike about the legal system but I think the treatment of jurors is at the top of the shit list.

    they should allow people to get out of jury service if they permanently revoke their own right to jury trials.

    If this were the deal, would you?

  101. In the making of chili con carne:
    Ground meat or diced?

    Diced. If you want to be really authentic, pork.

    Fresh peppers or dried or powder?

    Dried, right off the ristra.

    Beans or no beans?

    Beans on the side, gringo.

    Tomato sauce or no?

    What, are you making marinara sauce? There are no tomatos in chili.

  102. Have we committed any noteworthy acts of war against Iran in the past twenty-four hours?

    No, but that hasn’t stopped them from doing the same to us. The Iranians are now shipping shaped-charge IEDs to the insurgents in Iraq, which have no real utility except against American armored vehicles.

  103. “I do like New Mexican style green chili”

    That would be GREEN CHILE STEW or CHILE VERDE con Carne… never with an “i” always with an “e.” It is the Texans that make CHILI.

    “but I’m not cook enough to attempt that.”

    Here’s how to do it.
    Equal parts Carne Adovada (pork marinated in Red Chile) and your favorite variety of New Mexico Green Chile (roasted and peeled… leave in the seeds and veins). Never, ever, for any reason use Anaheim Chiles or any other variety of Chile. Only New Mexico Green Chile, grown in NM. Garlic, Oregano, and Salt to taste. Slow cook until the meat is falling apart.

    Serve with a flour tortilla and shredded cheese.

    Frijoles on the side. Never in the

  104. Frijoles on the side…never in the Chile, that is…

    and avoid the canned Green Chile. They use a chemical peel that ruins the flavor. If you can find it, use frozen or fresh NM Green Chile.

    Now CHILE COLORADO (Red Chile) is much more complicated…

    Here’s a good guide.

    http://www.vivanewmexico.com/nm/food.recipes.cocinas.redchile.html

  105. No, but that hasn’t stopped them from doing the same to us. The Iranians are now shipping shaped-charge IEDs to the insurgents in Iraq, which have no real utility except against American armored vehicles.

    Maybe they are still mad that the US gave Saddam wmd’s to use against them. Maybe they are thinking that if the US was allowed to do that, then they should be allowed to do what you are alleging.

    I think those Iranians need to keep in mind that they are the BGs and the US is the GGs, so these weapons transactions can’t really be compared to each other.

  106. No, but that hasn’t stopped them from doing the same to us. The Iranians are now shipping shaped-charge IEDs to the insurgents in Iraq, which have no real utility except against American armored vehicles.

    Lord knows, we Americans would never do anything to help people in another country fight an invading Aamy. Nor would we dream of helping to overthrow a democratically elected government whom we happen to dislike.

    It’s funny: if we hadn’t overthrown Mossadegh and replaced him with a corrupt and vile Shah, there’s a good chance Iran never would have had the 1979 Islamic revolution which gave birth to all our current Islamic-fundamentalist troubles. This business of “laying in the bed we made for ourselves” is a tad unpleasant, no?

  107. Regarding the instructions on viva new mexico for Chile Caribe (Chile Concentrate)…

    Don’t blend in a food processor.
    You scrape the chile through a find strainer to remove the skins, otherwise your Chile Caribe will be too bitter.

  108. that is
    “fine strainer”

    Damn.

  109. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter; sometimes both.

  110. I seriously am debating what to do on Tuesday: should I do something innocent and innocuous which I know damned well will piss off the microcephalics working in court security,

    Stuff a couple of condoms full of baking soda. Explain they are for stress relief.

  111. It really does not matter what we gave Iran, or the Moujahadeen, or anybody else in the past. It does not matter that in 1979 the CIA was not sufficiently clairvoyant to know that their actions in Iran would cause us trouble thiry years later.

    In the here and now if Iran crosses into Iraq with weapons, or money, or training, or aid of any kind for the insurgents they are fair game; as are the Syrians and anybody else. We have an obligation to our soldiers and to the people of Iraq to interdict and to defeat those who want to remake Iraq into a dictatorship.

  112. Jennifer,
    Re: Jury duty. I was prepared to be held in contempt for refusing to participate in Vio Dire. My view is that the lawyers don’t like juries that don’t do what they’re told. Vio Dire is a tool to weed out people capable of original thought. I was prepared to answer Name Age and Address only. The defendant pled out before the jury was selected, so I don’t know how that would have gone down.

    Re: unreasonable searches and seizures,
    I finally remembered to pack my Bill of Rights Security Edition (http://www.strangenewproducts.com/2006/05/bill-of-rights-security-edition.html) the last time I flew. But it was in my luggage along with my potentially explosive toothpaste and deodorant, and sailed right on through. Next time I’m putting it in my pocket.

  113. We have an obligation to our soldiers and to the people of Iraq to interdict and to defeat those who want to remake Iraq into a dictatorship.

    I don’t think the soldiers care what form of government Iraq chooses. I think they just want to leave the country. Soldiers are supposed to follow policy, not direct it.

  114. Wayne,

    “does not matter that in 1979 the CIA was not sufficiently clairvoyant ”

    Some history on that…

    “Operation Ajax (1953) (officially TP-AJAX) was a covert operation by the United Kingdom and the United States to remove the democratically elected nationalist[1] cabinet of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh from power, to support the Pahlavi dynasty and consolidate the power of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. The idea of overthrowing Mossadegh was conceived by the British. They originally asked President Truman for assistance, but he refused. When Eisenhower became president in 1953, the British proposed the idea once again, and this time, the Americans agreed to help.

    Rationale for the intervention included Mossadegh’s socialist political views and his nationalization, without compensation, of the oil industry which was previously operated by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (which later changed its name to The British Petroleum Company) under contracts disputed by the nationalists as unfair. A particular point of contention was the refusal of the Anglo-Iranian Oil company to allow an audit of the accounts to determine whether the Iranian government received the royalties it was due. Intransigence on the part of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company led the nationalist government to escalate its demands, requiring an equal share in the oil revenues. The final crisis was precipitated when the oil company ceased operations in Iran rather than accepting the Iranian government’s demands.”

    You don’t need to be clairvoyant to recognize this is a bad idea.

  115. Sam,

    “I don’t think the soldiers care what form of government Iraq chooses. I think they just want to leave the country.”

    Actually, I think a pretty significant number of troops believe in the mission in Iraq. That was not my point though. What I meant was that we have an obligation to protect our troops. If Iran joins in the fight then we have an obligation to kill them as efficiently as possible and protect our troops.

    Our mission right now is to defeat the insurgency and to restore the rule of law to Iraq. Iraq has a freely elected government. The insurgents want to undo that election and install their own government. They might be successful, but the coalition mission is clear.

    Neu Mejican, You missed my point as well, or I did not make my point well. I don’t care why the mullahs in Iran have a grudge, or whether their grudge is justified. They are doing things that cause deaths and injuries to American and British soldiers. For that they deserve our full attention and wrath.

  116. Our mission right now is to defeat the insurgency and to restore the rule of law to Iraq.

    well, I think that we should send more and more troops until the mission changes (or we our objectives). I wish it was 200,000 instead of just 20,000.

    One reason is because I think policing the Iraq / Iran border should be done by US troops, rather than the Iranian government. Big border requires lots of troops to cover it.

  117. I would prefer it was Iraqis guarding their own borders.

    One thing is certain though. Iranians and Syrians want nothing good for us or for the Iraqis.

  118. Wayne,

    I didn’t miss your point.

    You did, however, miss mine.

    Just as the US and the Brits should have known better in 1953… our current policies turned out exactly like anyone with half-a-brain would have predicted.

    Clairvoyance is not needed.

    Things in Iraq have turned out just as would be expected. The attempt by an outside force to “remake Iraq” through military force or political manipulation is misguided whether it is the US or the Iranians.

  119. “Iranians and Syrians want nothing good for us or for the Iraqis.”

    Nothing good for us…check.

    Nothing good for the Iraqis?… well, I am willing to say that their motivations are as self-interested as ours… which means they are no more concerned about what is best for the Iraqis than we are. But that means they are no less concerned.

    The only problems with Iranian influence in Iraq are due to the conflict with US interests. There is a good case to be made that a strong alliance between Iran and Iraq would be good for these neighbors that share many cultural values and geopolitical interests.

  120. “In the here and now if Iran crosses into Iraq with weapons, or money, or training, or aid of any kind for the insurgents they are fair game….”

    And the British should have declared war on France in 1777.

  121. NM,

    OK, we missed each other’s points then. I am not talking about policy or politics with respect to the Iranians, or even Irag. I am just talking about what our response should be to Iranian intervention in the current conflict. Some here seem to imply that the Iranians are justified in their actions because of history, so it is no big deal if US troops have to deal with shape charges imported by the Iranians. My response is BS. We should deal with the Iranians in Iraq very harshly.

    The outcome fifty years later of the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953 was not clear at the time just as the proper path in Iraq is not clear now. You are engaging in a whole lot of 20/20 hindsight.

    The war in Iraq was not started with the purpose of remaking Iraq. It was started because of the WMD beliefs held by us and the rest of the world as well. The “remaking of Iraq” was cooked up after we were already in.

  122. “The war in Iraq was not started with the purpose of remaking Iraq. It was started because of the WMD beliefs held by us and the rest of the world as well. The “remaking of Iraq” was cooked up after we were already in.”

    Well, I am not sure what this means, but the reason for overthrowing the SH regime was given as WMD… but the intent of the operation was to remake the country into one that didn’t have WMD and pose a threat to the US…

    Our goal was a remade Iraq that would be our friend. You confuse motivation for goal.

  123. “You are engaging in a whole lot of 20/20 hindsight.:”

    No.

    In the current situation, I (and a lot of others) made the predictions prior to going into Iraq. Like I said, clairvoyance was not needed. This is a mess that was predicted prior to the action being undertaken.

  124. “Nothing good for the Iraqis?… well, I am willing to say that their motivations are as self-interested as ours… which means they are no more concerned about what is best for the Iraqis than we are. But that means they are no less concerned.”

    I don’t agree with this at all. If the freely elected government of Iraq achieved stability in Iraq tomorrow, the US forces would be on their way home the day after tomorrow. That is certainly not true of Iran though. They want nothing to do with a freely elected government in Iraq and certainly not in Iran. I guess it is a matter of opinion about which motivation is more altruistic, but I guess I will go with the American side on this one.

  125. “If the freely elected government of Iraq achieved stability in Iraq tomorrow, the US forces would be on their way home the day after tomorrow.”

    Stability, of course, defined in terms of a government that recognized the US’s vital interests in the region…any other form of stability would not be considered stable.

  126. By the way, I was opposed to invading Iraq as well. I was never convinced that there was any compelling American interest in it.

    But that is water under the bridge. We made a big mistake and invaded Iraq and now we are in the middle of it. If we pull out tomorrow, there will be utter chaos in Iraq, even more than there is now. Iraqi blood will flow in the streets, and it will be blamed on us because by staying we could have prevented it. By staying and nurturing the Iraqi government along we might be able to stabilize the country to the point where they can manage their own affairs.

  127. “Stability, of course, defined in terms of a government that recognized the US’s vital interests in the region…any other form of stability would not be considered stable.”

    No. Stability is defined as the current, freely elected government able to quell the insurgency and provide simple security for the country. What vital interests of the US are you referring to?

  128. “The war in Iraq was not started with the purpose of remaking Iraq.’

    Now we’re getting somewhere….

    And if we did not wish to “remake” Iraq, what was our purpose in going in? and why did we not just leave after the famous statue-toppling episode?

  129. “They want nothing to do with a freely elected government in Iraq and certainly not in Iran. ”

    They don’t want a freely elected government in Iran, but I think they would welcome a freely elected government in Iraq. A stable, Shia dominated government next door would not be a bad thing for Iran. They would have a ready made trading partner, ability to set up an oil trading block that would limit the influence of Sunni Saudi Arabia…

    They would embrace a freely elected stable government as readily as the US would. Like the US, the would prefer one that is favorable to their interests. They have a better chance of that occurring than we do.

    The Iranians are very pragmatic.

  130. The Iranian people are very pragmatic, but their government is a typical dictatorship ruled by a bunch of midieval mullahs. That is what the “Iranians” have planned for Iraq as well.

  131. “What vital interests of the US are you referring to?”

    Oh come on…

    That is not a serious question.

  132. “The Iranian people are very pragmatic, but their government is a typical dictatorship ruled by a bunch of midieval mullahs.”

    “midieval mullahs” can be very pragmatic.

  133. “They don’t want a freely elected government in Iran, but I think they would welcome a freely elected government in Iraq.”

    What will they do when their own peasants clamor for some of that democracy in Iran? The notion that Iran welcomes a democracy in Iraq just doen not pass the common sense test.

  134. “What will they do when their own peasants clamor for some of that democracy in Iran? ”

    Yeah, that is a situation they have never faced before. Iranians would only know about the concept of democracy if it was nearby in Iraq.

    Talk about not passing the common sense test.

  135. NM,

    I believe that Americans are not perfect; we certainly have our share of greed and malignancy, but we are angels compared to the Iranians and the Syrians.

  136. Iran is not a happy, prosperous country. The ordinary folks there hate the mullahs. There will be a revolution of some kind there.

    You assail my common sense and you propose that Iran will embrace a freely elected goverment in Iraq? You ignore the obvious HUGE influence on Iran (in fact all of the middle east) that a democracy in a majority Shia country that shares a border? You think Iran is more trustworthy than America?

  137. “we are angels compared to the Iranians and the Syrians.”

    Such high standards.

    There is much good to be said about the US.
    There is much good to be said about Iran.

    We win on having the freer society, more open government.

    But when our freer more open government uses military force to manipulate another society, we are engaging in acts that are morally equivalent to similar acts by the Iranians.

    It is the actions that need to be judged…

  138. “You think Iran is more trustworthy than America?”

    No.

    But I do believe that Iran is pragmatic.

    They are supporting the insurgency to put a thorn in the side of the US.

    Once it leaves, they will have a friendly Shia dominated gov. with which they will have much influence. There is no need for them to dominate it militarily.

  139. There is no reasonable comparison between the US and Iran.

    The US is a superpower. Iran is a small, unimportant country. Except for their military threats against the only democracy in the middle east they would not even be much on the radar screen at all. Those threats are kind of hard to believe with Iran being so willing to embrace a freely elected neighboring government, but there they are.

    The US government is morally superior to Iran’s.

  140. “They are supporting the insurgency to put a thorn in the side of the US.”

    Which brings us full circle. That “thorn” is killing and maiming US soldiers every day. We have every right to put our boot up their ass because of it.

  141. I disagree about the pragmatism on Iran’s part as well. Religious fanatics are not pragmatists, they are fanatics.

  142. Good night America. Sleep well.

  143. No government wants a freely elected government, not even especially when it is their own.

  144. The outcome fifty years later of the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953 was not clear at the time just as the proper path in Iraq is not clear now. You are engaging in a whole lot of 20/20 hindsight.

    Yeah. How could anybody in 1953 have known that overthrowing a democratically elected leader and replacing him with a dictator could possibly have negative repercussions?

  145. we destabilized Iraq with an ill advised invasion (is there any other kind?), followed by an open ended belligerent occupation

    Iran shares a border with Iraq

    but Iran is supposed to stand back and watch, while their next door neighbor hits the violent anarchy skids under our tutalage?

    if our gov’t is obliged to protect our soldiers at all costs, what are the responsibilities of Iran’s government towards protecting the Iranian citizenry?

    Someone’s gonna emerge with the win in Iraq

    at this point the smart money says it won’t be the USA

    Iraq owes it to their people to do what they can to ingratiate themselves with those players in Iraq that do have a chance at emerging with power.

    Imagine how their relations with Iraq would play out after our glorious leadership comes to its senses and drops the liquor-store-robbery-gone-bad exercise in three-stooges-imperialism

    think they want someone in power next door who bears a grudge because Iran wouldn’t deign to lend an even superficial hand while the US was mucking about?

    we get to go home when this murderous farce is over…Iran has to live there still

    imagine our nation subjected to the same stimuli

    the Chinese, or the Ruskies, (or Space Aliens, or the UN for that matter) sack Mexico, kill off their government, and, surprise surprise, can’t seem to restore order afterwards

    we would never dream of sending spooks in to meddle, would we?

    why do we expect different from Iran?

  146. I always thought the WMDs were kinda like the Kuwaiti incubaters in the first Gulf War-mostly a pretext for citizens who were geographically, economically and politically challenged (ie your average college graduate).Drag out the Risk board or spin your globe around and it becomes more obvious why we would want a military presence in both Afghanistan AND Iraq (Added bonus we were already at war with Iraq and had full UN license to go back in force anytime we wanted).
    If the map doesn’t explain it clearly enough
    start tagging the countries we aren’t in with labels-nukes, oil, support for al qaeda,support for terrorists other than al qaeda etc.
    Strategic geopolitical/economic positioning makes the Iraq War still seem like a good idea.
    As in Risk, it helps to be on one,preferably two, sides of the potential “bad guys”. Count India and Israel as “friendlies/allies for the immediate future.Picture should be clear.

  147. Wayne,

    You are trying to make a judgment about which government is more virtuous. . .

    I am talking about the competence (not virtue) of the Iranian government (or the US, whatever) in this situation. If you consider strategic positioning, Iran only benefits from Iraq in chaos as long as the US is occupying Iraq. The benefit for Iran is direct. As long as the US is tied up in Iraq, it can not be as effective at putting political pressure on Iran. This works to Iran’s advantage (and worth the cost of a like chaos on their border).

    As soon as the US leaves, Iran benefits from a stable Iraq…not matter the form of government. At that point Iran’s strategies will change to fit the situation.

    “Religious fanatics are not pragmatists, they are fanatics.”

    An effective fanatic will be very pragmatic in terms of actions that further their goals. Examples from history abound.

  148. we shall see.

  149. “Yeah. How could anybody in 1953 have known that overthrowing a democratically elected leader and replacing him with a dictator could possibly have negative repercussions?”

    Is that not exactly what is being attempted in Iraq today? There is a democratically elected government in place; remember all the purple-stainded fingers? The insurgency is trying to undo that.

  150. “but Iran is supposed to stand back and watch, while their next door neighbor hits the violent anarchy skids under our tutalage?”

    The US is teaching anarchy to the Iraqis? Are you at all familiar with what is going on, or do you just enjoy typing?

  151. “if our gov’t is obliged to protect our soldiers at all costs, what are the responsibilities of Iran’s government towards protecting the Iranian citizenry?”

    Their obligation is to protect the Iranian citizenry. They can very effectively do that by staying out of Iraq. You seem to think that providing war material and training and financing to the anarchists in Iraq somehow enhances the peace in Iran. How exactly does that work?

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