Friday, July 30, 2004

Al Qaeda in Spain

Can't forget this fine link. I remember Osama bin Laden's first public remarks after 9/11: he warned Christians to leave Al Andalus. Just like the last 500 years hadn't happened!

Pretty darn funny blog! I'm tempted to copy his style, but a rabbit and a dog talking sotto voce in sober and measured tones just doesn't cut it.
Ron Reagan

Has issues with G.W. Bush.
Democratic Convention

As fine an affair as you could ask! Everyone is united! Democrats like Howard Dean were furious when the national leadership, in a patriotic spirit, unwisely tried to work with Mr. Bush on a variety of important issues (e.g. Sen. Edward Kennedy working with Bush on education initiatives; Democrats joining with Bush on the Iraq War, etc., etc.) The Angry Democrats pointed out, with their endearing red-faced screams, that Bush took this willingness to be weakness, and indeed, Bush betrayed every Democrat who ever worked with him (except maybe Zell Miller). The Angry Democrats were right, of course: they won that debate with the national leadership in March, in the primaries. Everybody is happy now. No more concessions! Onward we march, to November, to Armageddon!! Happy people (but not quite like Michael Moore's creepy happy shining Saudi people).
Offer of Credit

I'm much relieved that Bank of America has offered DMTC a credit line, based on the strength of the company alone, of $175,000. That's not enough to complete the new theater all by itself, but it'll be a big, big step.

I wonder if I'll be called upon to help out, with a 2nd. I hope not, just for simplicity's sake, but we don't live in simple times.
Mr. Ghailani's Capture

From the comments: "there are known to be elements of the Pakistani military and security infrastructure which are sympathetic to - and may be providing aid and comfort to - Al Qaida."

It's worse than that. Musharraf is actually dependent on the favor of jihadi groups in and out of Al Qaeda. Musharraf has to appease America and the jihadi groups at the same time, which probably means Bush will never get top-rung Al Qaeda leaders from Pakistan - I'm sure the Pakistan military knows approximately where they are - but the second-rung people like Ghailani are vulnerable. Musharraf is just looking out for Number One (Musharraf, of course).

Monday, July 26, 2004

Is Kerry Able Enough?

Chris Suellentrop has an interesting question:

"Even a casual viewer of Hardball knows that the first rule of an election that involves a sitting president is that it's a referendum on the incumbent. This election, however, has turned out to be the opposite. It's a referendum on the challenger. Kerry probably isn't responsible for this turn of events, but he's benefiting from it: The referendum on the incumbent is over. President Bush already lost it. This presidential campaign isn't about whether the current president deserves a second term. It's about whether the challenger is a worthy replacement."

In last year's California Recall Election, the September 24th CBA debate, the only one that Arnold Schwarzenegger participated in and by far the most watched debate in California history, did much to establish Schwarzenegger as a viable candidate. Arnold didn't have to do very much - after all, there was the embarrassing squabble with Arianna Huffington, where he indirectly offered to put her head in a toilet - but it was good enough to convince people he was good enough. That low bar was the only barrier between Arnold and the governorship. Same this year with Kerry and the Presidency. Kerry doesn't have to meet high expectations: all he has to do is show that he's at least G.W. Bush's equal, and Kerry will soon be picking out his favorite wallpaper for the Oval Office.
Wedge Issues

By the LA Times Rick Perlstein:

Republicans are skilled at reaching into the distant past of Democratic candidates to stage their melodramas. Democrats wouldn't have to go back far at all. Take something President Bush said in a 1993 Houston Post article: Heaven is open only to those who accept Jesus Christ.An aggressive campaign by Kerry and the Democrats would pressure Bush to explain whether he still believes that. As it happens, Bush has an answer: Billy Graham told him not to "play God." But thereby hangs the wedge.Put the issue in Bush's face again, forcing him — Chop! — to choose whether to offend one party segment or another. Republican voters who believe you have to be Christian to go to heaven, and want their president to believe the same, fall to the right side of the hatchet. Moderate Republicans, who like Bush for his tax policies but are embarrassed to be associated with intolerance, fall to the left.
The False War on Terror

By Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria:

It is increasingly clear that the conflict in Afghanistan falsely fed the idea that the war against terrorism was a real war. In fact, Afghanistan was an exception. The reality of this threat, the very reason it is so difficult to tackle, is precisely that it cannot be addressed by conventional military means. Yet the prism of war has distorted the vision of important segments of Washington, especially within the Bush administration. This has produced bad strategy. The Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis has written on the Bush administration's strategy and describes its three pillars as hegemony, preemption and unilateralism. All three approaches seem justifiable if you believe that we are in a war that can be won militarily. All are counterproductive in a struggle that seeks to modernize alien societies, win over Muslim moderates and sustain cooperation on intelligence and law enforcement across the world.

Some people sample good food. Some people sample good wine. Some people sample the entire Earth. (I wonder sometimes if aliens from Titan dropped a spacecraft randomly on the Earth, what they would find).

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Virgin Surprise

After watching Runaway Stage's "A Chorus Line" this afternoon, the DMTC borg retired to Arden Fair mall to sample the new Cheesecake Factory there, but the effort turned into a debacle:  the place was far too crowded.  After getting separated from the DMTC folks, I ended up eating alone, but Michael McElroy found me, and we ended up going to Virgin Megastore, where CDs, DVDs, and related entertainment paraphernalia are usually found.

To my surprise, on the new merchandise display, were copies of the 9/11 report, released late last week.  I didn't realize Virgin also sold books.  I especially didn't realize Virgin sold politically topical reports.  I quickly snatched up one of the books.  (A caustic blogger is taking bets about how many pages of the report G.W. Bush reads).

Time willing, I hope to read the 9/11 report.

The DMTC borg eventually ended up, predictably enough, at Max's Opera Cafe, but vast amounts of time were squandered this evening.  Cheesecake Factory another time.......