Sep. 18th, 2003

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I'd like to thank the concerned citizens who have written expressing their concern about the size of my penis.

I've always thought that I had at least an average-sized penis for a biological-mother-type female, which has always been OK with me - I understand they spoil the line of knit skirts without special arrangements, and I have a hard enough time keeping track of my standard undergarments.

Apparently some of you have heard differently, however (damn - are there no gentlemen left?) and you've chosen this face-saving way to let me know.

Well, pfui.

I'm perfectly content that the penis I don't have is tastefully discreet, and I'm quite sure I wouldn't need the viagra either (boy, someone has a big mouth out there).

As with most household tools, if I find I need one for a specific task, I intend to go on as I've started and borrow my husband's.

Thank you for your concern, though. It's noted.
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On the race for the Democratic nomination:

"They (Republicans) may not want to wish too hard (that Howard Dean is the candidate). This is not George McGovern. [Dean] is an NRA member. This is someone who has been a centrist governor.... Does he have what it takes to win the nomination? I don't know. You can't predict that just yet. But there is certainly a high level of intensity (and) support (among) the Dean people and I would suggest that he probably, barring anything unforeseen, has his tickets to the Boston convention. Now the issue I think is who is the other candidate [who will make it all the way to Boston.]."


On economic insecurity:

"Let me jump to what I think will be one of the major issues and that is economic insecurity. (We) have asked questions for 10 years, one of which is are you or anyone in your household afraid of losing a job in the next 12 months? It was 11 percent in 1999, it is 22 percent today.... When you ask people earning $75,000 a year or more, those households, it has gone from 9 percent who say they are afraid of losing their job in the next year in 1999 to 24 percent. That kind of insecurity is a difficult thing for an incumbent to overcome, especially if the economy stays the way it is...."
On the California recall election:

"I can't predict what the courts will do but I do think that (Governor Gray) Davis will probably win this."
On whether the war in Iraq will permanently tarnish President Bush:

It is "way too early to say 'permanently tarnish' and way too early to say that it will be forgotten. Where we stand right now, the president is in trouble. The president is in trouble because of the economy and insecurity and the president is in trouble because of the Iraq peace and the sense of a lack of stability in the region."

Always interesting to hear from the guy with the raw data, don't you think?

Zogby tends to slant right.

This is not good for Bush.
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Here are the defenders: The Supreme Court stood for the broad principle that similar votes could not have different weight, and that is all the 9th Circuit decision demands. These exercises are mostly Talmudic. As is the case with every legal precedent, arguments may be made to extend its reach to a new set of facts or to limit its reach to the facts of the original case. That is what judges do all day so that we pundits can nap and golf. The real problem with all this analysis is that the high court expressly disallowed this kind of application of Bush v. Gore as precedent. With its now-famous disclaimer, "our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities," the court explicitly limited the reach of the equal protection application to the 2000 election. The Supreme Court, seeking to wade into a political catfight yet indemnify itself from ever having to do so again, insisted that their holding was good for one ride only.

The problem was that it was only a one-way rideƑin favor of George W. Bush, and a lot of enraged liberals have spent the intervening years grinding their teeth over the unfairness of it all. We couldn't riot, we couldn't hunger strike. And there was no opportunity for payback; no opportunity to really stick it to the Supremes for rigging the election and using bad law to do it. Until now.

There's really only one way to read the panel's decision from Monday. It's a sauce-for-the-gander exercise in payback. Pure and simple. The panel not only refused to accept the Supremes' admonition that the nation would not be fooled again; it refused even to address it...
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But McArmy is failing the test. Rumsfeld's downsized force of 140,000 troops -- including some 40,000 mostly Hispanic green-carders -- are stretched too thin to protect themselves, let alone prevent looting, sabotage and attacks on Iraqis who cooperate with Americans. They lack the language skills and cultural preparation necessary for effective peacekeeping. They were trained and equipped to deliver "shock and awe" and little else. They were prepared only for cookie-cutter roles, for the short horizon, not for the more complex constabulary role that would be required of them.

McArmy might have been adequate for the first phase of the war, George Ritzer told Salon. "In terms of fighting the war, the McArmy idea apparently worked well. It's with winning the peace that it doesn't work well. You can't just go in and level town after town and still win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis."

While it is true, he says, that those whom McArmy is fighting or occupying are its consumers -- "reluctant consumers," he adds -- Americans back home are consumers at another level, and they are seeking a predictable experience. "The message in fighting the war both times in Iraq was: We can do this pretty easily and without much cost to us," he says. "And then we're kind of ill-prepared for what we now face." The expectation of a predictable experience has created, in Ritzer's view, "a crisis of expectations."

Privatization itself -- apart from McDonaldization -- has led to other problems. Many of the logistical components such as modular barracks, field kitchens, and mail delivery were outsourced to private contractors. The result? Months into the war, GIs were still camped out, still eating the loathed MREs, and are still without adequate water. Mail is backlogged for weeks.

"We thought we could depend on industry to perform these kinds of functions," Lt. Gen. Charles S. Mahan, the Army's logistical chief, told journalist David Wood in an interview for Newhouse Publications last summer. But, as Linda K. Theis, who oversees some civilian logistics contracts, reminded Wood: "You cannot order civilians into a war zone." Replacing 1,100 Marine cooks with civilians seemed like a bright idea to someone two years ago. But during the bloody Battle of the Bulge in 1944, Army cooks doubled as riflemen; in McArmy, civilian cooks can walk off the job.

Similarly stalled is the task of rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure -- outsourced to Halliburton, Bechtel, and other big contributors to the Bush campaign. Baghdad stays paralyzed, without reliable electricity. Even in Basra, where the Shiite clerics were most oppressed by Saddam Hussein, anger is growing against the occupiers. The desert is hot, the stench of sewage ubiquitous, potable water scarce.

Assessing all this, one has to ask of the Pentagon's new planners: What were they thinking? The answer, perhaps, is that they were not thinking. The privatization zealots running the Pentagon and the White House are paid handsomely not to outthink their corporate sponsors. Which highlights the glaring flaw in the neocon mythology: The profit motive does not always serve the public good...
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The first federal law that would restrict a woman's right to abortion moved a step closer to President Bush's signature today when the Senate, which had refused to send the bill to conference with the House, agreed unanimously to do so.

Backers of the measure, which would outlaw the late-term procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion, say they hope to have it on Mr. Bush's desk later this fall. The only remaining obstacle is a provision, contained in the Senate bill but not the House version, that affirms Senate support for the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion.

As part of today's action, the Senate voted 93 to 0 to affirm that right again and disagree with the House bill.

But the unanimous vote - which opponents of abortion said reflected their desire to get the larger bill to conference - provided little comfort to advocates for abortion rights because both Democrats and Republicans expect the Roe language to be stripped from the final measure.

"It won't be a problem," said Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania and a chief sponsor of the larger measure. "It's extraneous to the matter at hand."

Senator Santorum, if you recall, took his wife to the hospital for a "partial-birth abortion" which was made unnecessary when she went into premature labor and delivered a baby, which died. A "partial-birth abortion" (the Senator's chosen shorthand for the procedure in question) is a late-term procedure which takes place when the baby is not going to survive and natural delivery could be harmful or fatal to the mother.

Presumably Mrs. Santorum's health was more important.

Yours isn't.
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Something about Clark makes people bristle. He is undoubtedly brilliant -- a Rhodes scholar and first in his class at West Point. He is a fine athlete and a Vietnam combat veteran who was decorated for bravery. He won the respect, even the awe, of his colleagues, but too much of the time he did not win their friendship.

The rap on Clark is that he lacks precisely those qualities that define a politician, particularly warmth and affability. David Halberstam, in his book "War in a Time of Peace," writes of Clark that even his most steadfast champion in the army, Gen. John Shalikashvili, recognized that Clark was too brash, too cocky, too driven, too self-absorbed, too hard on subordinates, too dismissive of critics and criticism -- but also too brilliant and talented to be overlooked. Shali promoted him.

Shalikashvili's bottom line is precisely what I kept finding in the people I talked to. To a person, they acknowledged Clark's flaws but said they were minor compared with his assets. One former Clinton administration official described Clark as "a little arrogant . . . not beloved by his colleagues . . . self-centered . . . high-maintenance" but said he would support him in a heartbeat...

Cohen's point? Clark is too weird to be president.

Clark was too brash, too cocky, too driven, too self-absorbed, too hard on subordinates, too dismissive of critics and criticism -- but also too brilliant and talented to be overlooked.

Except for the brilliant and talented thing, and the small matter that he knows how to run a war, this sounds a great deal like the guy we have now.
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Last week, Texas GOP lawmakers celebrated a victory when they broke the unity of 11 Democratic state senators who had fled to New Mexico, forcing them to return to the State Capitol and take up the redistricting proposal in the third consecutive special session called by Gov. Rick Perry (R) since early this summer.

Before dawn this morning, the Republicans, who control the Texas House and Senate, pushed a new congressional district map through the House over bitter objections by Democrats.

But the House's version is unacceptable to some moderate Senate Republicans, and a public squabble over district boundaries between one west Texas state senator and the speaker of the Texas House{ndash}both Republicans -- has stalled progress toward a new map, at least temporarily.

The intraparty dispute has become so intractable that Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), the House majority leader who has been actively involved in pushing the redistricting idea in the state legislature, flew to Austin last week to broker a compromise among the Republicans. He failed.

For their part, the Democrats, even while licking their wounds, are hoping that the GOP's fraternal quarrels may yet delay any new redistricting plan from being implemented in time for next year's general election.
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supergeenium is an opaque, thin turquoise liquid distilled from the flower of a stunted oak.
jmhmium is an opaque, acidic black liquid leeched from the leaves of a wolfsbane plant.
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sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
but you guys, be safe, OK?

(Especially you, Miss [ profile] t_l)

oh, damn.

Sep. 18th, 2003 04:31 pm
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Lisa English's little boy is ill.

Please leave a note of support for her over at Ruminate This.


Sep. 18th, 2003 07:05 pm
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I've just realized, reading the two-year-old first post from the talking dog (happy blogiversary!), that two years ago I was in England.

That was a month of nasty shocks, and I kept myself toasted pretty brown whenever I could make shift to - my perennial response to an overload of nasty shocks - but it didn't do much good.

Oddly, I noticed it not doing much good.

Hoa, my icon, is a souvenir of my trip, as are a number of excessive ornaments from the V&A and the memory of any number of appallingly expensive bad meals and a bottle of tea-tree oil that I still haven't used up and finally seeing Moulin Rouge, which might have made an interesting video if it had been about two hours shorter.

So I guess What This All Goes To Show (I know, how sitcom to have a lesson waiting at the end) is that being scared won't kill you.

And that being the case, there are better things to worry about.


Sep. 18th, 2003 07:30 pm
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