Archive for May 22nd, 2008

Flying Penis Attack!!!

OMG.

Flying peniscopter attacks chess champion Gary Kasparov.

The bar has just been raised several miles – eggs and pies just won’t cut it anymore.

(From news.com.au, by way of Greatscat!)

2 comments May 22nd, 2008 at 10:34pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weirdness

Oh, This Can’t Be Good…

Sounds like Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Sistani has reached his limit:

Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric has been quietly issuing religious edicts declaring that armed resistance against U.S.-led foreign troops is permissible – a potentially significant shift by a key supporter of the Washington-backed government in Baghdad.

The edicts, or fatwas, by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani suggest he seeks to sharpen his long-held opposition to American troops and counter the populist appeal of his main rivals, firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia.

But – unlike al-Sadr’s anti-American broadsides – the Iranian-born al-Sistani has displayed extreme caution with anything that could imperil the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

(…)

So far, al-Sistani’s fatwas have been limited to a handful of people. They also were issued verbally and in private – rather than a blanket proclamation to the general Shiite population – according to three prominent Shiite officials in regular contact with al-Sistani as well as two followers who received the edicts in Najaf.

(…)

It is impossible to determine whether those who received the edicts acted on them. Most attacks – except some by al-Qaida in Iraq – are carried out without claims of responsibility.

It is also unknown whether al-Sistani intended the fatwas to inspire violence or simply as theological opinions on foreign occupiers….

(…)

In the past, al-Sistani has avoided answering even abstract questions on whether fighting the U.S. presence in Iraq is allowed by Islam….

The subtle shift could point to his growing impatience with the continued American presence more than five years after the U.S.-led invasion.

It also underlines possible opposition to any agreement by Baghdad to allow a long-term U.S. military foothold in Iraq – part a deal that is currently under negotiation and could be signed as early as July.

Al-Sistani’s distaste for the U.S. presence is no secret. In his public fatwas on his Web site, he blames Washington for many of Iraq’s woes.

But a more aggressive tone from the cleric could have worrisome ripples through Iraq’s Shiite majority – 65 percent of the country’s estimated 27 million population – in which many followers are swayed by his every word.

A longtime official at al-Sistani’s office in Najaf would not deny or confirm the edicts issued in private, but hinted that a publicized call for jihad may come later.

“(Al-Sistani) rejects the American presence,” he told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment to media. “He believes they (the Americans) will at the end pay a heavy price for the damage they inflicted on Iraq.”

Juan Cole, a U.S. expert on Shiites in the Middle East, speculated that “al-Sistani clearly will give a fatwa against the occupation by a year or two.” But he said it would be “premature” for the cleric to do so now.

Great, wonderful.  So even if he doesn’t openly call for violence against American forces, he’s sure as hell giving it the green light.  And if both al-Sistani and al-Sadr call for jihad at the same time, the Iraqupation is over.  And not in a good way.

(h/t gorilla’s guides by way of Siun)

May 22nd, 2008 at 09:24pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,War

Surrounded By Appeasers

This just gets better and better.  Dubya tells the Israeli Knesset that anyone who would negotiate with terrorists and rogue states (*coughcoughObamacoughcoughcough*) is an appeaser like Neville Chamberlain (which is a very creative definition of appeasement, by the way), then a few days later we hear that he was actually insulting his hosts.

Now here’s Dubya’s favorite surgin’ general, in a written statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee:

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, President Bush’s nominee to lead U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, supports continued U.S. engagement with international and regional partners to find the right mix of diplomatic, economic and military leverage to address the challenges posed by Iran.

In written answers to questions posed by the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he will testify today, Petraeus said the possibility of military action against Iran should be retained as a “last resort.” But he said the United States “should make every effort to engage by use of the whole of government, developing further leverage rather than simply targeting discrete threats.”

But wait, there’s more!

On the cover of a new book titled “The China Diary of George H. W. Bush: The Making of a Global President,” edited by Jeffrey A. Engel, our 41st president is quoted as saying, “I was a big believer then, and still am, that personal diplomacy can be very useful and productive.” That’s not a quote from the diary, which covers Bush’s time as the head of the United States Liaison Office in Beijing from 1974 to 1975. It’s from a preface Bush penned specifically for this book.

(…)

“I took some hits for not being tougher on the Chinese,” he writes, “but my long history with Deng and the other leaders made it possible for us to work through the crises without derailing Sino-American relations, which would have been a disaster. I was a big believer then, and still am, that personal diplomacy can be very useful and productive.” At no point in the preface does Bush object to establishing relations with a tyrannical regime.

Et tu, Poppy?

May 22nd, 2008 at 08:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iran,Politics,Republicans,War

Whatever You Do, Don’t Give The Troops An Education – They Hate That.

Lindsey Graham is a strange and clueless man:

Just over an hour ago, the Senate voted overwhelmingly — a veto-proof 75-22 — to approve Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) 21st Century GI Bill, which would expand educational benefits for veterans who joined the service after Sept. 11, 2001.

Before the vote, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced his own watered-down, paltry version of the GI bill, exhorted President Bush to veto the measure, as he has indicated he will. Graham also insisted that his Republican colleagues would “get rewarded in the next election” if they vote against GI benefits:

This is a defining moment for the Senate, for the Republicans, and this war. I can tell you if we leave the generals alone and support our troops, they will win this war. And to my Republican colleagues, if we’ll stand firm for a fair procedure and a sensible solution to the veterans’ problems, we will get rewarded in the next election, not punished. If we give into this, we don’t deserve to be here.

So apparently, not offering the troops a college education is supporting them, but offering them one is not.

Out of the 22 Republicans who voted against the bill (even Lieberman voted in favor!), it looks like Jeff Sessions (AL), Mitch McConnell (KY), Thad Cochran (MS), Lamar Alexander (TN), John Cornyn (TX), John Barrasso & Mike Enzi (WY), and, of course, Graham, are the only ones actually running for election this year, and McConnell and Cornyn are probably the only two whose seats are not comfortably safe.

Also worth noting that McCain is virulently opposed to Webb’s version of the GI Bill and prefers Graham’s lame one, but he couldn’t be bothered to actually show up for the vote (he was off fundraising in CA).

I’m a big believer in holding Republican incumbents accountable for their most heinous votes, but it doesn’t look like this one is going to have a huge impact on the 2008 Senate elections – and I don’t know if it’ll still be fair game in 2010.

On the positive side, it could be a big millstone for McCain’s presidential campaign, and the Democrats essentially used the Republicans’ own support-the-troops narrative to shame and scare the most embattled ones to vote for something good for the troops. (No, I do not believe that voting to extend the war indefinitely counts as “supporting the troops,” but obviously I’m just a crazy person.)

I think we’ll see more votes like this over the next five months, as Republicans try to distance themselves from the Dubyatross to save their electoral skins.  Hopefully voters’ memories will go back far enough to remember the seven years when those same Republicans enthusiastically gave Dubya everything he wanted.

Oh, and when Liddy Dole either loses her seat or gets fired as NRSC Chair, can the Republicans name Graham as her replacement?  Pleeeeeaaaase???

May 22nd, 2008 at 07:22pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

Goat Or No Goat

I’m actually afraid to ask.

May 22nd, 2008 at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics

Meltdown

Heh heh heh…

Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.) is and will remain the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, but House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) demonstrated this morning at a Conference meeting who’s really in charge by announcing a series of changes designed to shake up the campaign arm in the wake of three special election losses in the span of two months (and a financial scandal).

Democratic victories in Mississippi, Louisiana and Illinois special elections had prompted many in the GOP to call for Cole’s head or, short of that, for the leadership to make wholesale changes at the committee. After several “frank” meetings with Cole, Boehner announced this morning that:

(…)

* There will be an “audit” of the three special election losses conducted by two as-yet-unnamed Republican lawmakers, designed to figure out what went wrong and how to avoid repeating those mistakes in the future. This could be an embarrassing exercise for Cole and his top staff, but they agreed to it, likely because they didn’t have a choice.

Recommendation 1: Do not have a destructive idiot of the same party affiliation as president.

Recommendation 2: If you absolutely must have a destructive idiot of the same party affiliation as president, do not give him everything he wants.

Recommendation 3: Try to convince everyone that the destructive idiot is absolutely nothing to do with you, and just some sort of rogue “bad apple.”  Try not to be seen in public or otherwise associated with him.

The GOP’s problem is not strategy and tactics, it’s the field of play itself.  No matter what they do, voters will remember who got us into this mess.  One of the best indicators was when Lincoln Chafee got voted out despite being an antiwar moderate and having a fairly high approval rating.  He lost simply because he was a Republican.  There’s going to be a lot of that this year, and I can’t wait.

(h/t dakine)

2 comments May 22nd, 2008 at 07:48am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Elections,Politics,Republicans


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