2005-10-28

Those godless liberal pinkos like me!

Steve from the News Blog has posted my Harriet Miers prophecy.

Who now for SCOTUS?

Now that Harriet Miers has officially withdrawn from her nomination to SCOTUS, Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds predicts that Theodore Olson will probably be the next nominee.

I only just read the guy's biography and I have to say that the guy is far more qualified than Miers ever was, and is likely to win over the conservative vote. The left won't like him for certain reasons too, which will become obvious as you keep reading.

Olson worked as the US Solicitor General from 2001-2004. According to the wikipedia article, the Solicitor general is tasked with arguing for the Government of the United States in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, when the government is party to a case. So the guy has experience in arguing in front of SCOTUS. This is good - it means he has some idea of constitutional law.

Olson also worked in the Reagan administration as an Assistant Attorney General. This means the guy has experience going back to the 1980s in working with government.

What will give Olson the sympathy vote is that his wife, Barbara Olson, was a passenger on American Airlines flight 77 when it was hijacked by terrorists on 9/11 and flown into the Pentagon. That Olson's wife was a victim of the 9/11 attacks will give Olson an "edge". Although I may sound cynical at this point, I am trying to be fairly realistic: the fact that he is a 9/11 widower will make some people warm to him more.

Like Miers, however, Olson has no experience working as a judge. Opponents of any Olson nomination will bring this up, but there have been several non-judges who were appointed to SCOTUS in the past and were successful. The fact that Olson has so much experience working for both Reagan and Bush in the area of constitutional law may compensate for this oversight.

What will really annoy his opponents is that Olson was instrumental in the Bush v. Gore case which contested the 2000 presidential election. Many lefties were stunned by the decision of SCOTUS in stopping the Florida recount, and see it as a grave injustice. Olson represented Bush in this Federal case.

Another concern is whether Olson is yet another Bush "crony" who is being rewarded for his support. That is certainly an issue, but Olson's experience seems to indicate that, crony or not, he actually does appear qualified and competent. (Notice I said appear...)

Lefties may also get annoyed that Olson is not female. At this stage in his life, Oslon could get a sex-change operation - a process that will naturally endear him to the left but will probably give Dubya pause for thought (if he actually thinks that is). He's also an ugly looking fellow, totally unlike myself, and may find it difficult to appeal to the vacuous and simple.

My "vibe" is that if Olson is nominated then he will probably succeed. His conservative credentials appear to be fairly respectable, since he has actually worked hard to defend them in the past. Any concerns about whether he will "do a Souter" and actually be a secret liberal need to be balanced with his active conservative stance. It's not that Olson has said things that were conservative in the past, he has actually fought for them. Conversely, apart from his lack of judicial experience, lefty opponents have little to work on apart from the usual stuff.

Two things, however, need to be considered. The first is Olson's "paper trail" which should give a better idea of his stance. You never know where this may end up. The second is whether Bush will last long enough as President to actually nominate the guy. As you know I'm someone who actually thinks that the Plame affair may result in Bush being removed from office. Lefties may oppose the nomination simply because the nominator himself could not be trusted...



From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/


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2005-10-26

Ebay heart attack

$150.00 for 5 lots of 256mb memory! What was I going to do?

The realisation that I'd probably made a mistake in the bidding process had me exceptionally concerned tonight.

I've just put a new motherboard and cpu in my PC. By "new" I actually mean second-hand but still superior to what I had in there before. I had a P3-450 overclocked to run at 504mhz, but with the "less obsolete" motherboard, I was able to successfully install a P3-600E Coppermine CPU.

The motherboard can handle 3 lots of memory. I have 3x 128mb RAM, which is 384Mb in total. But it can also have 3x 256mb RAM.

So I went to ebay to check out the price for 2nd hand 256mb RAM. The price seemed to level out between $40-$50 each. Some guy in Raymond Terrace was auctioning off 5 lots of 256mb RAM and the price, when I bidded, was around $8.

So I decided to do a tactic I have done before - rather than bid every few hours or so, I put in my maximum bid and sat back to see what happened. I put a $30 bid on each of the 5 lots of memory.

That was two days ago. At around 6.30 tonight I suddenly remembered that I had placed a bid on these things, but hadn't had an email to say that I was outbid. I logged in to ebay, hoping that there was still quite a bit of time left.

Less than 4 hours to go, and I was winning each of the 5 lots of memory. The price had climbed to $28.55.

Oh dear.

I made a mental calculation - $150 for 5 sticks of memory. I'm not even sure I need even one - I was just making a low bid on the off chance that I would get a bargain. Now my strategy was backfiring.

Every 10 minutes I would come back to the computer to see if there were any emails notifying me that I had been outbid. Nada. Nothing.

I then began to make plans. What if I purchased three of them and then paid the guy $20 for the trouble I put him through for not paying for the other two? Ebay relies upon people making competent bids, so this would certainly affect my reputation as a buyer.

But then - at 7.15 tonight - I received one email. I had been outbid on one of them - $30.05. Whew! At least my mistake would cost $30 less. 5 minutes later, another three emails came informing me of $30.05 bids on three others. As I was investigating these, the final email came. I had been outbid by a whole series of $30.05 bids.

I'm sort of wondering whether the same person made bids on each, hoping that I would bid more in return. Fat chance pal.

I'll keep tabs on the rest of the bidding tonight to see how they go.

Update:
Four of the bids were won by kasan693, for $30.05, $30.05, $30.05 and $32.05. The other was won by hug161 for $31.05. It was too close for comfort for me. I'll have to do more research next time. Given that kasan693 bid up to $32.05 on the 4th item, it probably means he was after more than one. Nevertheless, I am wondering if there is some guy sitting there at the moment cursing his bad luck.

From the Blogososphere Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/


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Official - Iraq was safer under Saddam

I'm about to quote from an article written by Jim Krane of the Associated Press. Yeah - I still hate being right:

"Most Iraqis remain less secure than they were under Saddam, less secure even than they were in the first year of the American occupation," said James Dobbins, a former Bush administration envoy to Afghanistan and veteran diplomat who now directs the Rand Corp.'s International Security and Defense Policy Center.

Dobbins supplied figures from the Baghdad morgue that show 1,800 violent deaths in 2002, Saddam Hussein's last full year in power. That number jumped beyond 6,000 in 2003, the first year of the American occupation, and topped 8,000 last year, he said.

"Under Saddam, you usually were OK as long as you kept your mouth shut," said Joost Hiltermann, an Iraq analyst with the International Crisis Group. "Now you might get hurt or even killed almost arbitrarily, given the absence of rule of law, the sectarian fighting, insurgent actions and U.S. carelessness in responding to attacks."

Admiring the enemy's work

There is always something to be said about a dispassionate analysis of how one's enemy works. It is the beginning of respect - a vital quality if one is to defeat one's enemy.

John Ward Anderson, Steve Fainaru and Jonathan Finer from The Washington Post have written an article that describes the growing technological prowess that Iraqi insurgents are using against US forces - specifically the use of IEDs: Improvised Explosive Devices. Here's some quotes from the article in question:

It took about 18 months from the start of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq to reach 1,000 U.S. deaths; it took less than 13 months to reach 1,000 more. A major reason for the surge, statistics show, is the insurgency's embrace of IEDs, together with the military's inability to detect them.

"It's the dreaded IED that's killing our soldiers," said Michael White, the creator of http://icasualties.org , a Web site that tracks U.S. military casualties. "I read in the paper that we have some new device to detect them, or we're taking extra care to make sure we don't get hit, and death after death keeps coming in, and it's IEDs."

In the first six months of battle in Iraq, only 11 soldiers -- about 4 percent of the 289 who died -- were killed by homemade roadside bombs. In the last six months, at least 214 service members have been killed by IEDs, or 63 percent of the 339 combat-related deaths and 53 percent of the 400 U.S. fatalities, according to data complied by the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index.

...

"Right now they're probably four times more powerful than when we first got here," 1st Sgt. Stanley Clinton said, referring to the bombs. Clinton, 53, has been deployed for the past year in Kirkuk for Alpha Company of the 2nd Battalion, 116th Brigade Combat Team.

Clinton said that when the 116th combat team, an Idaho Army National Guard unit, arrived last December, the insurgents employed "backwoodsy stuff" -- often tiny bombs fashioned from items as basic as Coca-Cola cans. Now, he said, they often consist of one or more 120- or 155-mm artillery rounds, 15 or 20 pounds of rocket propellant or shaped charges that concentrate the blast and punch through armor plating.

"Clearly we are not winning the competition over tactics and counter-tactics," said Michael O'Hanlon, a defense analyst who heads Brookings' Iraq Index. "The insurgency's ability to hide IEDs better, detonate them more remotely and build them more powerfully has been at least as effective as our improvements in better armor and better tactics."

In some instances, insurgents have constructed IEDs powerful enough to kill soldiers inside 22-ton Bradley Fighting Vehicles, which are more heavily armored than Humvees.

...

In July, a Humvee belonging to Alpha Company was out on patrol in Kirkuk when it was hit by a bomb equipped with a shaped charge, said Capt. Paul White, 39, the company commander. The explosion drilled a hole the size of a softball in the driver's door, he said. The red-hot shrapnel severed the driver's legs while the Humvee was still moving.

"He probably would have bled out except the shaped charge made [the metal] so hot it actually cauterized his legs as it cut his legs off," White said.

When a soldier yelled to stop the vehicle, White said the driver replied: "I can't stop. I don't have any legs."

"He literally said that," White recalled, adding that the Humvee came to a halt only after it rammed into a store.

...

Earlier in the war, "We had an enemy who we could see," said Sgt. Brian Zamiska, 27, of Bentleyville, Pa., tapping the hood of a black Opel sedan as the patrol passed it. "We didn't have to worry about looking at every cardboard box in the road or every car like this and wondering if it was going to blow up."

His platoon mate, Lt. Lennie Fort, 30, of Clarksville, Tenn., said this style of warfare was frustrating.

"There's no one to shoot back [at], no one to kill," he said. "Honestly, it just gets us amped up to go out and get someone, but there's never anyone to get."

"Now they get a hose and they lay it across the road, and when you drive across it, it ignites the IED," said Clinton, the Alpha Company sergeant in Kirkuk. "You know years ago, when you had service stations where you'd drive across the rubber hose and it would go, 'ding, ding, ding'? Here you drive across a little hose and it sends water back into a little bottle with wires sitting there. When water goes back into the bottle, it connects wires, and off goes the IED. It's just so simple and so stupid."
One of the stories I keep hearing about the differences between Australian and American soldiers in the Vietnam war was that the Americans tended to go on patrol in the jungle along well-defined tracks and essentially made the enemy come to them. The Australians tended to patrol off the tracks and set up ambushes for enemy troops who might come along.

I don't know if that story is true - however, from the descriptions given by the soldiers in the article, it is obvious that a different doctrine of battle is needed. The Iraqi insurgents are brave and innovative and have adapted their battle doctrine. The result is that, despite the heavier-armoured Humvees, more US soldiers are dying.

My solution to the whole Iraq problem still stands - US forces withdraw and are replaced by twice as many UN forces, made up of troops from countries that were opposed to the war in the first place.

2005-10-25

Al Mohler says something good for a change

There's a few anti-liberal hints, but his current article Why "Spirituality" Isn't Enough -- Take Two is one of Mohler's better pieces of writing.

You all thought I hated Mohler didn't you? My practice is to always give credit where it's due - even from people with whom I disagree with.

Dick is going - will Dubya follow?

US Vice President Dick Cheney is now considered a definite source of the Plame Leak, at least, according to the hair-shirts at the New York Times. If the Fitzgerald inquiry reveals that Cheney was one of the leakers, and should be indicted, then Cheney is history. He will either go the way of Spiro Agnew, or he will have to suffer the indignity of being forced out by impeachment.

The seriousness of the Plame affair cannot be understated. Not only does it potentially indict three of George Bush's closest advisers - Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby - it may also prove beyond reasonable doubt that the White House deliberately lied to the American people about the reason why they invaded Iraq.

We need to remember that back in late 2002 and early 2003, the White House was engaged in a marketing campaign for the invasion of Iraq. Colin Powell appeared before the United Nations with photographs that he said were solid proof of Iraq's chemical weapons program. During the 2003 State of the Union address, George Bush claimed that Iraq had been trying to get Uranium yellowcake from Niger. Condoleeza Rice, responding to the White House's failure to find the definitive "Smoking Gun" warned that we didn't want "the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud".

It was a fear-based marketing campaign that worked. Anyone who dared to question was smeared. That's what happened to Joseph Wilson when he wrote his New York Times article attacking the Uranium link to Niger. A government official, writing an article that proved that the Niger-Uranium link was false, was too much for the White House. Knowing his wife (Valerie Plame) was a covert CIA agent, they revealed her name to the press and argued that Wilson's investigative visit to Niger was part of some CIA "boondoggle" - even though the administration HAD sent him there to investigate the report.

Amidst the White House fearmongering there were rational voices. The UN inspection team had been in Iraq for months, and, although they complained that the Iraqis were not exactly co-operative, they had found no solid evidence whatsoever of any weapons program. The "September Dossier", released in the UK and used by the President to back up the Niger/Uranium link, was declared to be false by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) some 2 weeks before the invasion occurred. Another briefing paper released by the British Government, the so-called "Dodgy Dossier", was completely discredited by media analysis.

But, for whatever reason, people just did not hear the rational voices. I was one of the exceptions. In 2002, I was all for an invasion of Iraq, and I believed everything that was being said about their WMDs and their links to the 9/11 terrorists. But, as time went by, no amount of analysis convinced me. Moreover, as the September and "Dogdy" dossiers were proved to be forgeries, it became clear to me that Downing Street and The White House were making things up as they went along. Once I worked out that someone had been lying in order to begin a war, I lost all support for it, including any other reports by government agencies.

In my own country, the resignation of Andrew Wilkie from the Office of National Assessments prior to the war was another reason to doubt. He argued strongly that the evidence he had examined in no way supported the pronouncements of Bush, Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard. The evidence was there - but few people were looking.

So what now for George Bush?

The investigation into the Plame affair will probably prove that the White House had misled the American people, and the rest of the world, into invading Iraq. Apart from the potential indictments that will result from the investigation, serious thought must now be given to the continued presence of George Bush in the White House. Given that America has gone to war as a result of his lies, can he now be considered worthy to be the President? Is George Bush guilty of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors?"

Whether Bush's actions fit into the category of "High Crimes" is certainly open to debate. Nevertheless, lying in order to start a war that kills thousands of people is a little bit more serious than lying under oath about having an affair with an intern. In this instance, the Republicans have probably painted themselves into a corner - if Clinton could be impeached for covering up sexual encounters, then surely Bush could be impeached for causing the deaths of thousands of people through his lies.

Bush's natural opponents - Democratic members of Congress - do not have a majority in either the House or the Senate. In order for the impeachment to be successful, a simple majority in the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate is required. If Bush is to be impeached, members of his own party will have to vote to remove him - a very difficult proposition. However, Bush has already incurred the wrath of at least half the Republican party when he nominated Harriet Miers to SCOTUS, and he is already on the outer with many due to his mishandling of Hurricane Katrina. Bush's popularity is naturally waning amongst the general populance (especially amongst African-Americans), so it is probably safe to assume that a significant number of Republicans are seriously questioning Bush's ability as President.

Mind you, if the Republicans rally behind Bush after "Fitzmas", despite all the evidence of his mismanagement, the GOP will do itself no favours once the elections come. Being formally associated with George Bush, and then supporting his removal, will certainly bring the party shame. However, the GOP will gain at least some semblence of respect through it because they will be seen to be doing the right thing. But if they "stand by their man", the long-term ramifications amongst the populance will be tragic. Although the prospect of a permanently hamstrung GOP will bring many lefties a smile (including me), it serves America (and the world) better if the GOP stands by more important principles - ones that transcend mere party loyalty. The only reasonable thing that the GOP can do, therefore, is to stand by the Democrats to remove the worst president in the history of the United States.



From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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2005-10-24

I hate being right sometimes

Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops

The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces. It reveals:

• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;

• 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;

• Less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;

• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;

• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;

• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.

The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.

The findings differ markedly from a survey carried out by the BBC in March 2004 in which the overwhelming consensus among the 2,500 Iraqis questioned was that life was good. More of those questioned supported the war than opposed it.




Most Brazilians are idiots

Just when you thought Brazil was about to become a more civilised nation and enter the first-world nations club, they have decided to reject the recent referendum to ban the sale of firearms.

The facts are that 36,000 Brazilians died of gun-related deaths last year - the highest in the world. This referendum would have restricted the supply of guns.

But no, Brazilians worked out in their infinite wisdom that life without access to firearms would result in more gun-related deaths than what they suffer now. That's right - by severely restricting the supply of firearms, Brazilians would suffer even more gun related deaths than they do now!

I think I know what is going on - it's the work of the NRA.

You see, had this referendum passed, there would have been a massive drop-off in the amount of gun-related deaths. A drop-off of that magnitude would have given gun-control advocates in the United States ample "ammunition" to force even greater restrictions on American gun-owners.

Fearful of the potential future damage, the NRA has probably funded the "No" campaign in the same way they do it in the US - they focus upon people's fears and argue that restricting firearms is going to hurt law-abiding citizens while the criminals are not affected at all.

The facts are very, very simple. If your nation has lax controls on the sale and procurement of firearms, you will have a very high amount of a gun-related crime, including a high death rate. If your country has very restrictive laws on gun-ownership and prcurement, you have a very low amount of gun-related crime and low death rates as well.

Those are the facts, but the NRA, and their interference in another country's sovereignty, has meant that tens of thousands more people will die over the next few years. And the Brazilians themselves? Can we blame them for being afraid and for not making an informed decision? Yes we can.



From the Department of Wha Happnin?

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/


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Spog Blotting

Here are some blogs that I have noticed during the week:

Godly Christian Blogs

Tim Challies (about whom Centuri0n says In the end, it is hard to stay mad at Challies. I just can't find it in me) wrote a great essay arguing that unity must be through theology, not through an organisational structure. This is something that I have been arguing for years.

Tom Hinkle has offered his formal resignation from the Boar's Head Tavern, partly due to reasons which I will describe below.

Steve McCoy has posted very little that has interested me. More on alcohol Steve!

Hugh Hewitt is strangely quiet. Perhaps, in his heart of hearts, he has worked out that Harriet Miers is not going to get confirmed in SCOTUS. Maybe he's also considering the chances of Dick and Dubya being Impeached. Either that of he is working very hard behind the scenes to get Harriet nominated (which is probably more likely).

Al Mohler complains that chaplains at the US Air Force Acadamy are being prevented from evangelising students and is horrified... horrified I tells ya! His article makes no mention whatsoever of the ongoing reports of religious discrimination against non-Christians by Christian chaplains and superior officers.

Michael Spencer writes a heart-revealing piece about his experiences with his sick mother over the past week (she has moved in with the Spencers to live).

Paul Whiting changes his website's name to... Paul Whiting. He has also posted his continuing thoughts about the theology of Charles Finney and how it relates to practices by YWAM.

Pyromaniac has returned and is still fighting a war against pacifism.

Confessing Evangelical in England smirks about Aussie politics - and rightly so.

The Boars Head Tavern is in theological meltdown. A public brawl has broken out between Michael "I'm not like you" Spencer and Josh "OSO can't think of any epithet to describe him" Strodtbeck. The issue is over The Sacraments and it appears as though Josh is being accused of being a "Fundamentalist Lutheran" for an apparent outright refusal to share the Lord's Supper with anyone outside the Lutheran fold - something which eventually pushed Tom Hinkle over the edge and gave him enough reason to leave BHT. Josh appears to be the one in the wrong, and Michael Spencer appears to be in the right, but I have had issues with Michael and his style of argument before. I have decided against reading through the arguments since I don't have time to work out the traditional Lutheran view of the Sacraments and compare them with the traditional Baptist view. The upshot is that I don't know who's wrong but the "vibe" seems to be that Josh is the main aggressor and may be thrown out the tavern door permanently for this one.

Tom Ascol, one of those rare Reformed Baptists within the SBC, is madly preparing for Hurricane WIlma and has evacuated. A rare piece of insight from his congregation is as follows:
After Charley, we learned to pray more humbly about our desire for protection. To pray for the Lord to change the path of a storm headed toward us is, in effect, to pray that it will hit others. We no longer pray like that at our church. Instead, we try to remember to pray that the Lord will direct the storm into the exact path that will bring Him the greatest glory. If that means directly over us, then so be it. What matters is that our Lord be glorified in and through the storm.

Fide-O's posts have been lacking quality and quantity lately, probably because one of them has become a father. Mind you, I totally disagree with his assertion that his newborn daughter is "the most beautiful girl in the world". Where is his proof of this? Are there any journal articles or newspaper reports to back up this assertion? As everyone knows, since it has been reported widely all over the world by all sorts of reputable newspapers, and the New York Times, the most beautiful girl in the world is my own daughter, Lillian. This has been proved by rigorous scientific and empirical testing. So there.

James Spurgeon continues his work exposing the follies of Longview Baptist Temple in Eastern Texas.

Alex and Brett Harris, the glimmer twins from The Rebelution, have now moved to Alabama where they are now working for Judge Tom Parker. Here is a rather disturbing photo of the twins having their shoes shined. I know the guy shining their shoes is paid for his effort, but there is something, well, pre-1865 about such an image. The image just looks bad - that's all I'm saying.

Godless Liberal Blogs

Patrick Fitzgerald, some American guy who is involved in some law thingy, now has his own website.

The Harriet Miers fiasco is still making waves in the liberal blogosphere, but, given the rapid approach of "Fitzmas", Harriet is essentially an amusing back-up story. Liberals are highly amused at the apparent break-up of the Republican party into two warring factions on this issue, highlighted by the comments of George Will and Charles Krauthammer - two leading Conservatives - who have slammed the Miers nomination. Much of the liberal Blogosphere has focused on the Plame affair/Fitzmas, Judy Miller and her "relationships" with other New York Times journalists, Harriet Miers, and, finally, Tom DeLay's alleged money laundering. Bill Frist's alleged insider trading has been all but forgotten.

Athenae at First Draft wrote a wonderful article that sums up everything I believe regarding the Iraq War and the Bush administration.

Steve at the News Blog does an interesting analysis of Maureen Dowd's ("MoDo") article about Judy Miller. Dowd is a fellow journalist at The New York Times and the level of bile being directed in Miller's direction by Dowd's article is probably unique in the history of journalism.

Billmon at the Whiskey Bar manages to "discover" Harriet Miers' answers to the Senate Questionaire. Here is an example of one "answer":
Q: Please describe the importance of the U.S. Constitution in our system of government.
A: The Constitution is a very important document which plays a very important role in our system of government. The importance of the Constitution cannot be overstated, because the role it plays is so important. I am certain that as an Associate Justice -- and I plan to be the best ever! -- I will have many opportunities to consider the very important role that the Constitution plays in our system of government. However, as I am still reading the document, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.
Cabdrollery continues her output of quality articles that hit me where it matters. Seriously, go to her site and check it out over a week and you'll find she writes well. One recent article about the Plame affair spent less time discussing the issues involved, and more time lamenting the fact that these events have actually occurred. I always enjoy an opinion article, obviously written from a biased viewpoint (as all opinion articles are), that transcends its own bias and looks at events from a more realistic perspective. In this case, the Plame affair is a massive political defeat for the Conservatives which may affect their standing amongst ordinary people for some time, but, while Liberals will be happy about this, the fact is that thousands have died in Iraq because of this issue.

Christopher Allbrittan from Back to Iraq posted an article where he admitted that the stress of reporting from Iraq has resulted in panic attacks and an unreasonable anger towards Iraqis. He also hinted that he is taking Zoloft. And this is just a reporter. Imagine the stress that US soldiers and ordinary Iraqis go through - a point he reinforces at the end of the article.

Tbogg posts about FEMA's Michael Brown finding it difficult to find a seat in a restaurant while people defecated on the floor at the Superdome. The LA Times reported on this too.

Rose Siding at the Democratic Underground points out that identical pro-Bush newspaper editorials appeared on the same day in four different newspapers. Not all these papers are owned by the same parent company, it is revealed.

Angrybear continues to amaze and astound as he reveals that some Conservative economic pundits see continual budget deficits and continual tax cuts for the rich being part of the economic fabric and good for the economy. I suppose it explains why Americans generally see the Democrats as being better managers of the economy these days.

Steve M at No More Mister Nice Blog, says the following from a recent post:
(The) #1 enemy of modern American right-wingers is American liberalism, not any foreign foe. The American right rails against the Clintons and Ted Kennedy and leftist college professors and supporters of gay marriage far more than it does toward the perpetrators of the 9/11 atrocities.
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/


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2005-10-22

Photoshop Phriday images

Here are some more great pics from those goons at Somethingawful.com. Today's theme was "Sci-Fi vs. Sci-Fi":

- Kryten goes in search of John Connor.
- The Daleks find a way to avoid staircases.
- Dr. Who and his drinking buddy.
- The Sand People have a new leader.
- "Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and you want me to be your glorified postman?"
- "Well my beautiful devotchka, if thou dost not reveal which planet thy friends are located, Dim and I may be forced to indulge ourselves in some of the old ultraviolence and spill some of thy red, red vino."
- Luke proves that he is the one.
- Is Greedo a replicant?

From the Department of Attempted Humour


La Niña

Many of you know that I'm a fan of MILD weather. Well, I don't want to risk jinxing it, but the ENSO report at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is starting to show another slight movement into a La Niña direction.

For those of you who don't know, El Niño is a time where a great amount of rainfall and storms hits central America, and also the West coast of the USA. You may not realise it but El Niño causes droughts and low rainfall here in Australia.

An El Niño event is particularly bad for Australian farmers. A sustained event will lead to long-term drought, which obviously leads to lower crop yields. El Niño also reduces rainfall on the coast, which means that dam levels tend to drop.

La Niña has the opposite effect - less storms in America and more rain in Australia, particularly the Eastern half.

Many Sydney residents will remember the Giardia and Cryptosporidium warnings issued by Sydney Water many years ago. This was due to high rainfall in the Warragamba Dam catchment area which raised dam levels from about 50% to 80% in a matter of weeks. The huge amount of water pouring into Lake Burragorang led to a disturbance in silt at the bottom of the reservoir, and made these parasites more likely to enter the water supply. This occurred during 1997 (I think) during a particularly wet winter. If you check out the stats, you'll find that there was a sustained
La Niña event occurring at the time.

Where I live on the East coast of Australia, our rainfall is mainly tropical - that is, most of our rainfall comes during the summer. But the further you go inland (West) the less that rainfall is during the summer months.

La Niña, because of the warmer waters to Australia's north, allows the formation of low pressure systems in Central Australia during the Southern winter (June-August). This means more winter rain, especially in inland areas. Sometimes this weather pattern has been severe, and major flooding has occurred. If you check the times that Eastern Australia has had severe inland flooding, you'll find that it corresponds with a La Niña event.

La Niña also makes tropical cyclones (hurricanes) in Australia's north more likely during the Summer (December-February). Although cyclones appear every year, during La Niña they are more likely, due to lower atmospheric pressure.

The ENSO wrap-up page at the BOM has a graph called the "30 day moving SOI", based on the Southern Oscillation Index. Anything below zero appears to favour El Niño, while any sustained reading below -10 indicates that an El Niño event is occurring. Above zero, conditions favour La Niña, and any sustained reading above 5 indicates a La Niña event. At the present moment in time, conditions are favourable for La Niña, but only sustained readings above zero will make me happy.

You can read all about these things at Wikipedia.


2005-10-21

Note to Matthew Hayden: Be Quiet

There's another minor kerfuffle in the cricket world. Apparently Duncan Fletcher has written some rude comments about Ricky Ponting in an upcoming book. It's all about Ponting's explosion at Fletcher after he got run out in one of the Tests.

Anyway, Matthew Hayden has decided to get into the act. Sounding like a big tough dinosaur, Hayden essentially calls Fletcher a coward since he decided to wait until Ponting was on the other side of the world to make his announcement.

So poor scared and hypocritical Fletcher has incurred the wrath of the Big Queenslander for not settling the argument the traditional way and meet Ponting behind the change sheds. Well, Mr Hayden, all I can say is this:

They won.

So just forget all your hurt feelings and aggressiveness. Forget the war of words. The simple fact is that England engaged Australia in a 5 test match series and won. They deserved the victory - they were the better side.

It does not help anyone for someone from the losing side to get all huffy. Just be quiet, eat humble pie, and plan to get the Ashes back in 2005/2006.


From the One Salient Sportinglife Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/



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Advice for Tom DeLay

"Tom Needs" - courtesy of Google:

- Tom needs cure for homophobia
- Tom needs a hat
- Tom needs to find a good, reputable boxer breeder
- Let's see how many lines Tom needs
- It's obvious that Tom needs to be back in a school setting - amongst his peers.
- Tom needs to make the most of these cycles, and establish goals with corresponding deadlines.
- Tom needs a shrink Men's Sleeveless Tee
- Tom needs help!
- Tom needs to get Roger to do most of the talking.
- Emotionally, Tom needs to make an assessment that is just as important as the fact- gathering phase of the negotiation process.

"Tom deserves"

- Tom deserves his supper.
- Tom deserves all the best coz he is the best.
- Tom deserves all the credit for that.
- I do not doubt that Tom deserves a Ph.D
- Tom deserves a whipping.
- I think Tom deserves it. Tom is the real jerk here.
- Oh my gosh, Tom deserves to be “Hottie of the Year”!
- I think Tom deserves a chance to make his case.
- Tom deserves a chance with today's horror audience.
- Tom deserves his break

"Tom requires"

- Tom requires Series 60 2.0 and the Sendo X uses Series 60 1.2
- Tom requires school board approval of tax increment financing plans
- Tom requires a deposit of 50% to begin the painting.
- Tom requires hunters to bring forth their best hunting abilities.
- Tom requires relevant, timely and accurate information to make sound decisions.
- Tom requires helmet
- Tom requires a lot of attention and affection and so do I.
- Tom requires the type of coordination that is impaired in schizophrenia.
- Tom requires that a method in a subtype that specializes a method in a supertype explicitly declare the method it is specializing.
- Tom requires the Shockwave Plugin.

"Tom Bribed"

- Tom bribed the limo driver into letting him drive us to his home, stating that the place was far and often difficult to find.
- Tom bribed her to get up by offering to buy Boru some ice cream.
- Tom bribed an official with a bottle of brandy.
- Tom bribed Kevin C to catch me.
- Tom bribed me with a packet of crisps.
- Tom bribed Henry it would seem?
- Tom bribed with cases of his toothpaste?
- Tom bribed Luke to change his that gives Teeno that point back.

From the Department of Attempted Humour

Al Mohler's selective Morality

Like all modern Christian "culture warriors", Al Mohler has fallen pretty much into the trap of promoting selective morality.

Take a look at his blog. Better still, go through past articles and you'll see what are the things that annoy him the most.

On May 13th 2004, Mohler actually posted about the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. When confronted with the plain facts about American prisoner abuse, Mohler throws his hands up in the air and essentially says "Well, we Christians believe in original sin. No one should be surprised when this happens." Then, in a manner typical of defenders of the war at the time, he then starts talking about horrid and evil those terrorists were who killed Nicholas Berg. This sort of rhetorical tactic is a veiled attempt to minimise the abhorrent behaviour of one group of people by mentioning how horrible another group of people are. Moreover, in its specific context, it also lumps the victims of American torture with the enemy themselves, thus reducing the crime of the American torturers in the minds of the readers.

The next day, Mohler writes another article. This one is a little bit more predictable, with him lamenting the fact that women are allowed into the military and that some of the Abu Ghraib torturers were women. How sad for these women - he then writes about them in such a way as to minimise their own personal responsibility for the abuse and paints them as being victims of modern feminist philosophy. The message? They were not to blame, nor were their superiors - but those godless liberals were!

And then Mohler goes silent. Since then other examples of prisoner abuse have surfaced, especially in Afghanistan. In my own country, a report that has gained international exposure shows footage of American soldiers buring the corpses of (supposedly) Islamic fighters and then showering a village with religious insults about the matter. Add to this the examples of torture at Bagram Airbase that surfaced earlier this year, as well as the examples of torture at Guantanamo bay, Cuba, and it becomes obvious that American forces have been committing acts of torture on prisoners for some time since 9/11.

And what is Al Mohler's stance on this? He is silent. He is happy to write such behaviour off as being "original sin" while at the same time intimating that, well, the torture victims were probably horrible people anyway.

But when it comes to gay rights, abortion, religion in schools and so on, Al does not use the "oh well it's all original sin" argument. No. He makes it very plain that these things are wrong, and that we should fight against them.

In recent days there have been all sorts of things going wrong with the Republican administration - much of which could be classed as sin. Born-again Christian Tom DeLay's charges of money laundering is not addressed. Nor is fellow Justice-Sunday speaker Bill Frist's charges of insider trading spoken about. And what about Christian Coalition leader Ralph "I put enemies in body bags" Reed, who is involved with a gambling scandal with fellow lobbyist Jack Abramoff? Al is silent there too. He has spoken out in support for Harriet Miers - but there is nothing substantial that attempts to defend her basic suitability for being on SCOTUS - something that most non-evangelical Conservatives are jumping up and down about.

And then there's the Plame affair. If some of the claims made about what has been going on in the White House are true, then Born-Again Christian president George W. Bush was complicit with the covering up of a felony and the deliberate creation of misinformation to convince America to invade a nation that posed no threat at all to US security - and kill nearly 2000 American soliders and tens of thousands of Iraqis in the process.

Al completely ignores any of these major problems. For Al, it's all about abortion, homosexuality and getting an originalist judge on the supreme court. Those who read his website at the moment are mercifully excused any reason to critically engage with the multitude of potential sins that are being exposed about the Bush administration and its Republican backers.

And why is that the case? Probably because Al himself is a tool of politics - being ordered to say this and do that by his political masters. Don't concern yourself with Plame or prisoner abuse or Tom DeLay - just keep on the message that the Republicans are wonderful and godly and the party that Christians should vote for.

Or, at least, these orders are simply been give to Mohler's ghost writer so that his celebrity blog maintains his public persona.

From the Correct and Rebuke Al Mohler Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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Patriotism = Idolatry?

I've just read two posts at the Boar's Head Tavern that concern me greatly - not about the contributors there (they're always a problem!), but about two anecdotes about how American patriotism has affected the evangelical church.

Wyman Richardson gives an interesting anecdote about a Memorial day service at his church in Georgia. The service included, amongst other things, a "color guard" with flags marching through the service, the reading of all the names of local residents who have died in war, as well as a testimony from a Gulf War veteran. It was apparently the most emotional service they had all year.

In response, Douglass Burtt gives his own anecdote about a church service in which the sermon subject was America would be much better off before God if we'd just obey the Sabbath. The service ended with a singing of the national anthem. Burtt was livid that this had been sung, but when he expressed his opinion to other leaders in the church, they could not see the problem.

Both of these anecdotes remind me of the experience I had when I visited America in 1991. In the one week I spent on American soil, I attended Grace Community Church (John Macarthur's church). Before I get any threatening emails from Phil Johnson, I'll point out that nothing in the service was remotely patriotic. I heard John Macarthur for the first and only time and he was preaching on the Millennium, which was too much for this Amillennial.

What did worry me was the family that I had gone to church with. I can't remember their names, but the wife had Tammy-Faye style makeup and they had little American flags decorating their living room.

To be honest, nothing about their lifestyle and their patriotism was wrong - but it was the first time that I had been exposed to such an overt nationalism in a person. It's not that I don't like my own country - I do - but placing Australian flags all over the place seems a trifle over-done to me. I will maintain, however, that nothing they said or did was a problem to me (except when they begun to ask me if I was pre-trib or mid-trib and I said huh?)

The American constitution is reasonably clear in its separation of church and state, and the Bible is as well. In John 18.36, Jesus says "My Kingdom is not of this world". Titus 3.1 speaks about how a believer should respect and obey those in authority, but says nothing about nationalism or patriotism. This same argument can be backed up by 1 Peter 2.13-17 and Romans 13.1-7. Certainly if patriotism was commanded by God then these passages would naturally have taught it. Moreover, Colossians 3.11 indicates that faith in Christ transcends national and racial boundaries.

Patriotism is not wrong - let me be clear. There is nothing wrong with loving one's country. The problem occurs when love for country and the beliefs that it stands for transcends the Christian's loyalty to God, or forces an unnatural blend of the two together, which results in a form of equivalence that assumes that love of nation and love of God is one and the same thing.

In Nazi Germany, it is well documented that many Christian churches were "encouraged" to remove the cross from the front of church and replace it with a Swastika, with readings from The Bible replaced by readings from Mein Kampf. The Nazi authorities also attempted to subvert traditional Christian ceremonies to further the cause of national socialism. This was a gross perversion of religious rights by an all-powerful state. Yet in many American churches today, the cross has been replaced by the American flag, and the Bible has been replaced by the US Constitution. This process has not happened in a literal fashion, but has occurred in practice as the two commentators from the Boars Head Tavern have testified.

The irony is that this gross perversion of Christianity has come from within the church itself, rather than being forced upon them from an all-powerful state. As a result, many Evangelical Christians view America as simply "the church as a nation", and will fight to ensure that Christian beliefs, Christian practices and Christian ethics are mandated and enforced in society around them. Yet this is nowhere to be found in the New Testament concept of the church.

It is important, therefore, that true Evangelicals remind their bretheren that the nation they live in is not a nation specially blessed by God. God does not view America differently to the rest of the world, and God makes no exceptions for America. Certainly America's existence is a result of God's providence, but that is not some guarantee that it will remain wonderful and powerful forever - after all, other nations (like Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany for example) exist by God's providence as well.

And God is certainly not blessing America for their hard work and cursing other nations for their laziness and godlessness. After all, God "makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust."

It is obvious that American Evangelicals, as a movement, need to reassess their uncritical understanding of their relationship with the nation they live in. Until evangelical leaders who honour the Bible come out and openly criticise their fellow evangelicals for this distortion of God's truth, the church will continue to focus upon works, rather than faith; upon politics, rather than God; upon laws rather than upon the cross.

From the Theosalient Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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2005-10-20

Thinking the unthinkable - Dick and Dubya impeached

Let's make the assumption (no matter how far fetched it might seem at the moment) that the Plame Affair reveals even more than just Lewis Libby and Karl Rove's wrongdoings. Let's say that Cheney and Bush himself are called upon to testify on oath, and it is
proved that both of them approved the leaking of Plame's name to Judith Miller. Let's also assume that the White House Iraq Group is proven to have misled the nation's media into thinking that Iraq had WMDs, and that both Cheney and Bush were involved in its decision making.

So not only would Cheney and Bush be jointly responsible for the leaking of Plame's name (a felony that could get them both jailed) but also jointly responsible for lying to the American people in order to send US forces into war - a war that has cost nearly 2000 American lives, not to mention the tens of thousands that have died in Iraq as a consequence of the invasion.

And now, let's think that wonderful, wonderful dream - that of an official impeachment of both President and Vice-President. With Republicans now very unhappy with the White House, let's assume that support for Bush evaporates in Congress, and both Dick and Dubya are removed from office.

So - all that being the case, who will then become President?

According to the Wikipedia article, speaker Dennis Hastert is next in line to the throne, with Ted Stevens possibly getting to live at Number One Observatory Circle. But from what I can gather, these appointments may only be temporary, according to the 25th Amendment about the "Acting President."

This means that Hastert may only be in a short while. Does Congress then have the power to appoint a President and Vice-president while Dennis keeps the Oval Office from gathering too much dust? Or will the removal of Dick and Dubya simply mean that the line of succession stays where it is?

Constitutional experts: Please leave comments...

From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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Thursday Articles

Here are some interesting articles from US newspapers:

The LA Times Editorial compares the nomination of Harriet Miers with the marketing of New Coke. In other words - despite the efforts of the White House, it appears as though no one is taking their product seriously.

Another LA Times Editorial speaks about the lumber trade between the US and Canada, and pulls no punches when it says that current US policy is protectionist and against NAFTA guidelines. From my understanding, almost every nation that has signed a "free" trade agreement with the US has come away complaining that it is anything but free.

Tina Brown at the Washington Post paints a very sad picture of what is happenning at the New York Times in the light of the Judith Miller fiasco. Learning almost nothing from the Jayson Blair fiasco, it appears as though the paper's editors were unable or unwilling to control a reporter that was breaking every rule in the book when it came to truthful reporting. I think that one definite casuality of the Plame investigation will be the NYT, which, given their recent history of troubled reporting, is unlikely to recover in my opinion.

Despite the negative vibe surrounding the New York Times, I still read it and will link to interesting articles until it closes down. The Times' Editorial is very unimpressed with Harriet Miers. Less than three weeks into her nomination, it appears as though the mainstream media may have finally clicked with the basic idea that Miers is, well, just not good enough. Heavyweight topics like Roe vs. Wade have been bandied about, with many Evangelical conservatives backing her because they "know" her stance - but it appears as though a far simpler problem that Miers has is that she just doesn't come up to scratch.

Following on from this, a report from David Kirkpatrick from the New York Times indicates that Republican and Democratic senators from the Senate Judiciary Committee are thoroughly confused by Miers' answers to some questionaire they sent out. Apparently she didn't answer the questions well, so they've given her a second chance. This seems to confirm the idea that Miers is just totally unsuitable to be a Supreme Court Judge. In my opinion, the trouble surrounding Miers is not indicative of some complex political game set up by Bush to get someone else into SCOTUS, but a stupid and embarrassing mistake by a President who has got other things on his mind.





Site stats - can someone help?

Because I have ads with Google adsense, I am privvy to all the page impressions that my site has every day. I have these stats ever since my blog began.

In the last two months - pretty much since Hurricane Katrina - my site stats have increased significantly.

What I'd like to do is to input all these daily page impression stats into a spreadsheet to work out the 30-day moving average for every day since the 31st day of my blog. Moreover I'd like to then turn this into a graph that I could then post here.

Does anyone know how to do this? I'm not congnizant with doing spreadsheets yet, so if anyone can give me all the equations, or even send me a spreadsheet file with this done to one_salient_oversight@yahoo.com that would be much appreciated. I "use" OpenOffice Calc, but MS Excel and Lotus 123 files can be read by it.

And any way to turn this into a graph? That would be really useful.

Bush now in danger in Plame investigation

Reading through the various liberal blogs can be a daunting process. Even though they are my friends politically, I always wonder whether opinions and/or rumours are firmly grounded in fact. Careful vetting of friendly sources is just as important as vetting those whom you are politically opposed to.

Nevertheless, a report from Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo appears to be founded quite well in fact. All Marshall has done is examine a news report and write about the consequences - a simple procedure but one that does not auger well for George W. Bush.

Marshall speaks about Tom DeFrank's article from the New York Daily News (which despite being owned by Murdoch, is probably the most reputable newspaper in New York at the moment). In this article, DeFrank reveals that George Bush was not happy with Karl Rove when the whole Plame scandal began two years ago. Marshall's story, however, seems to indicate that Bush was angry that Rove had been caught, rather than him being angry that Plame's name was revealed.

The implication of this is that George W. Bush may have been aware of the decision to reveal Plame's identity. Now I don't know US law, but to me it appears as though Bush was complicit in both the committing of the felony, and complicit in covering it up.

Let's take this further - the Wikipedia article on the subject says the following about impeachment:

In the United States impeachment at the federal level can apply only to those accused of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors", according to Article II, Section IV of the US Constitution. The removal of such officers takes place automatically upon conviction.
The fact is that willingly revealing the name of a covert CIA agent is considered a felony under Federal law. If Rove or Libby or others are found to have done this, then chances are they will be indicted.

All this, however, depends upon whether DeFrank's article is true. Some in the liberal blogosphere have been theorizing that this "leak" came from one of Dick Cheney's aides, while many of the previous leaks appear to have come from Bush's side. This is based upon the belief that a civil war between Cheney and Bush has erupted in the White House over the Plame investigation, with both sides panicking in order to save themselves from the chop.

This is all heresay - but it may be true. Like all liberals, the prospect of George Bush being impeached gives me goosepimples. Nevertheless, as a human being who hates lawbreaking and wishes the best from our political leaders, I am hoping that this is not the case. Richard Nixon's resignation was one of America's more humiliating episodes. If Bush is impeached it may well eclipse that moment and bring great shame upon the entire American people - not to mention their system of government.

Update:
It seems as though someone else had the same thoughts as mine, and Josh Marshall has posted them.

From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/



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2005-10-19

OSO presidential poll completed

The results are now in. The presidential poll that you all participated in - and which has been approved by all sorts of reputable polling agencies as being 103% reliable and totally objective in its nature - has been completed. Here are the standings:

At the bottom of the ladder lies Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy with 6 votes each. This doesn't mean that they were good presidents, but it does mean that those clicking on the poll probably didn't have any opinion of them. Obviously Hiroshima, Nuclear testing, Foreign Coups, McCarthyism and Marilyn Monroe have no real effect on today's web surfers.

In eighth place comes that cuddly Teddy-bear Gerald Ford with 8 votes. Maybe some of you didn't realise that Ford is America's only unelected president - and that he pardoned Richard Nixon for Watergate? Whatever, his shortened term in office obviously ruffled few feathers in the OSO-visiting community. He is also responsible for "Operation Bootstrap" which gave Homer Simpson a job.

In seventh place comes Mr Malaise himself - the Nobel Peace Prize winning James Earl Carter Jr. Considering the almost universal belief that Carter was a "loser", obviously the OSO-visiting community did not realise that he was instrumental in creating the 1980 world recession, failing to rescue the Iranian hostages and, in 1969, sighted a UFO. The man whose brother invented "Billy Beer" garnered 11 votes.

In Sixth place is Mr Vietnam war himself - Lyndon Johnson. Maybe people today can forgive the guy for over 50,000 American dead because of his war on poverty and his penchant for drinking Fresca. LBJ garnered 13 votes.

In Fifth place is Mr. Smooth, Bill Clinton. Obviously Bill's relationship with an intern struck a chord of dissatisfaction with many, but reminds us of the good old days when the government ran budget surpluses, episodes of the X-Files were interesting, and when Gaddafi was better known to Americans that Osama. I don't know, maybe some of the OSO-community didn't like Hillary either. Clinton managed to gain 15 unhappy votes without any form of inquiry as to why that was so.

In Fourth place comes the most shocking of all revelations of the OSO-community - their belief that Richard Nixon didn't deserve the no.1 or no. 2 most hated spot. I mean c'mon guys! The guy was a complete Jerk! Tricky Dick managed to get 20 votes, although some may have been placed on an audiotape and erased.

Coming in equal second place is the dynamic duo of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. The fact that these guys have been rated so poorly (in comparison to Nixon) mysifies me. I mean - look at Reagan. He spent the first half of his term eating jelly beans, dissing Russia and having bullets removed. The second half of his term he spent trying to remember what happened in the first half. Meanwhile his advisors ran the country. Reagan was a good actor when it came to being the prez. His offsider, George #1, seemed a little strained throughout his reign, with a thousand points of light illuminating the fact that there would be no new taxes until "HaitchDubya" said there would be. The high level of dissatisfaction amongst OSO-readers is probably due to the fact that he fathered the no. 1 nominee. Both HaitchDubya and Raygun got 21 votes each.

No guesses for the no. 1 bad president. George W. Bush appears to be going where no other president has gone before. No president in living memory has so divided the nation - with around half the nation in blind love as they beheld their saviour, and the other half in blind rage at the appearance of a political antichrist. These days the numbers appear to favour the antichrist view, and only time will tell whether the man they call "&^%&#@#!!!!" will actually make it to 2008. GWB got himself 28 votes.


From the Department of Attempted Humour

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/



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2005-10-18

Blowing my own trumpet #2

I've been checking Blogshares to see where I fit in the scheme of things. Here goes:

I am the #2 blog in Newcastle, Australia. The #1 blog happens to be "DC", the preacher I dissed in one of my critical reviews of "That Newcastle Church".

I am the #48 blog in New South Wales, Australia. Wow, I'm in the top 50.

I am the #15 blog in the Presbyterian category - which is only that way because there aren't many Pressie bloggers out there.

I am the #37 blog in the Anglican category - which is ironic since I stopped being an Anglican in 2000.

I am the #92 blog in the Religious Conservatism category.

Interesting US Newspaper articles

You'll probably need to register with these three newspapers - it's free and they don't annoy you with emails.

The New York Times:

Anne Kornblut reports that the Harriet Miers nomination has got to the point where serious questions are being asked about White House chief of staff Andrew Card - specifically about his ability to advise the president about making good decisions.

Richard Stevenson reports that Bruce Bartlett, a "Republican commentator who has been increasingly critical of the White House", was dismissed from his job working as a senior fellow for the National Center for Policy Analysis. This is a right-wing think tank, and it appears as though Bartlett was dismissed for his critical views.

The LA Times:

The Editorial of the LA Times is highly critical of the management of its East-coast rival, The New York Times, for its handling of Judith Miller. Basically they point out that Miller's refusal to reveal her source was not so much an adherence to free speech as it was being complicit in printing news that had been fed to them by the White House, thus possibly misleading its readers. Robert Scheer also points out the damage this has done to the reputation of one of America's best known newspapers.

David Streitfeld reports that large US firms are beginning to lay off workers or demand massive pay cuts from their workers. These include Delphi (an auto-parts manufacturer who is asking their workers for a pay cut of two-thirds) and Northwest Airlines (mechanics are being asked for a 26% pay cut). Many firms are now refusing to fund workers' health insurance. In response to the crisis at Delphi, "Labor historians say they can't remember a moment during an economic recovery when so many at one company were asked to give back so much all at once".

Michael Stokes Paulsen and John Yoo argue that asking Harriet Miers what she thinks about Roe v. Wade is not an unreasonable question to ask, especially if Conservatives wish to be consistent in their approach over the last 10-15 years.

Bruce B. Lawrence, a professor of Islamic studies, argues cogently that the recent letter from Ayman Zawahiri to Abu Musab Zarqawi - the one that was revealed recently and used by the Bush administration to further its argument to 'stay the course' in Iraq - is actually fake. Moreover, he wonders whether the letter's release time - just before the referendum on the constitution - was deliberate. He only has one culprit for the fake letter - the White House.

The Washington Post:

According to Jim VandeHei and Walter Pincus, Dick Cheney appears to be the source of the Plame leak. If this is correct, then my feeling is that Cheney might be the first vice-president since Spiro Agnew to resign from his position.

Spencer S. Hsu reports that emails that The Post has obtained from FEMA show that the organisation was in total disarray before, during and after Hurricane Katrina. At one point, it is revealed that General Russel Honore, the guy that was leading the emergency forces on the ground in New Orleans, was unable to contact Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, for at least three hours. The reason? No one at FEMA knew where he was or knew his satellite phone number.

Richard Cohen - the same guy who has earned the indignant wrath of many for his suggestion that the Plame/Miller investigation should be dropped - concedes that the president made the wrong choice when he nominated Harriet Miers. He also gives a sheepish message to those who read his controversial previous article that he actually does consider that outing a covert CIA agent to be a serious matter. He doesn't say any more, which essentially means that his message is one of those faux apologies that says "I'm sorry you feel that way".


OSO the Prophet is vindicated yet again

One hour after Harriet Miers was nominated by George Bush to the Supreme Court, I posted what I thought would happen in the weeks ahead. So far, everything that I had predicted has come true:

  • Doubt expressed over whether this is another political appointee.
  • Doubt expressed over whether Miers is qualified.
  • An outpouring of support by Evangelicals, including Al Mohler.
  • Doubts expressed by Moderate Republicans.
  • Dick Cheney says he likes Miers.
  • An even greater dip in the polls for George Bush.
And today, The New York Times has published an article discussing the problems with Bush's inner advisors, with the focus on Andrew Card. This is yet another "prophecy" of mine that has come true from that previous article.

What have I got wrong?

Well, so far nothing. What I didn't expect was the majority of Republicans - moderates as well as mainstream - being exceptionally unhappy with the nomination.

All that's left in my prophecy is Bush retracting the nomination and failing to apologise for it.

From the One Salient Overlord Department

© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/

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