Bourgeois Deviant

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Chock-Full of Lambast!

These 10 steps for Iraq are just what the doctor ordered. Thanks to TPM for the tip. If you look at Juan Cole’s entry, you think to yourself, “Self. Bush is polling at less than 40% in some/most polls. He can’t go down much further.” So, if the guy has nothing to lose, (except American soldiers lives, obviously) why doesn’t he option to get the job done and done the best way possible? I loathe the idea of more troops being sent into a region where they are targets on multiple levels and have to put their lives on the line for a huge mistake. However it needs to be done now.

I hate to be the one to admit it, but I caught myself in a flip flop. For the first few months of the Iraq War, I was solidly against it. As time passed, but my moderate side got the better of me and swayed my opinion to ambivalence in that now that there are troops on the ground, we have an obligation to finish the job. Then, a few weeks ago I lost patience and began to think a swift pullout letting the Iraqis fend for themselves was the way to go. I mean, they hate the infidel anyway. Why not abide by their wishes and get out of dodge? After reading this 10 step plan, I realize that this is not the good or even feasible option.

If we were to pull out of Iraq tomorrow, we would be opening the door to a Pandora’s Box of nastiness that we, America, would be either directly or indirectly responsible for. Firstly, civil war is assured. History gives us many lessons of how awful that can be. And our exit would be the excuse to let it happen. An offshoot of civil war would be genocide. Iraq is ripe for it.

Sunni, Shia and Kurds have been chomping at the bit to clench power and screw the other group(s) over since Saddam was toppled. We all decried the genocides in Rowanda and Bosnia. Darfur is not officially genocide yet, but it might as well be. And, we did little or nothing about those, save for Bosnia and that was bit late.

These atrocities are the SAME as the Jewish Holocaust. Yes, different lands, peoples and all that, but single groups, ethnic or religious were singled out and eradication was what they faced. You can argue over numbers, but then you are asking that nasty question of what a human life is worth. I am not game for it. We just need to do the right thing.

So, obviously there is wavering support for this war effort. Of course! With something so poorly run and with casualties for America’s sons and daughters rising daily, why wouldn’t there be? But again, getting the job done and done effectively would change things slightly. It is one thing to report marked, quantifiable and verifiable progress that all agree on. It is quite another to sling propaganda, rhetoric and inappropriate analogies around just to get people to cheer for a similarity that does not exist. I mean, when our nation’s President has the temerity to equate the moral imperative of Iraq to that of World War II, that is stretching things beyond tolerance. Are Nazi fascism and Japanese imperialism analogous to the Islamic insurgency? Methinks not. However, it is worth it to note that the Islamic insurgents and al Queda may consider us moral equivalents to the Japanese Imperialists. That comparison would certainly be fairer than the one Bush is making.

That being said let me also offer that if the perspective were shifted a little, Bush might not be as open for criticism as he is now. If he told us that we had the moral imperative to “stay the course” (I loathe that phrase) because we have destabilized things so greatly that horrific things (i.e. genocide and a ripe breeding ground for further and more stable terrorist activity) would happen that blood would be on our already bloody hands. However, admission of fault, guilt and contrition are not within Bush’s power, it would seem. Chalk it up to life in the bubble.

And again, the Bush spin machine is feeding the American people false ideas. He is saying that “They (terrorists, etc…) believe that democracies are inherently weak and corrupt and can be brought to their knees.” Uh, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DEMOCRACY! However, it doesn’t help when the President turns around and does this. So, even if these statements are bold face lies, he is making them manifest behind the scenes and providing the false arguments with ample fodder. It is, at the very least, exasperating. When are we going to get a chief executive that is transparent and clearly on our side?

Which brings me to a less retch worthy topic: Even when things are really dark, there are always the voices of reason. Jon Stewart rocks! We are so lucky to have him. Dig this:

Jon Stewart: The people who say we shouldn't fight in Iraq aren't saying it's our fault. . . That is the conflation that is the most disturbing. . .

Christopher Hitchens: Don't you hear people saying. . .

Stewart: You hear people saying a lot of stupid [shit]. . . But there are reasonable disagreements in this country about the way this war has been conducted, that has nothing to do with people believing we should cut and run from the terrorists, or we should show weakness in the face of terrorism, or that we believe that we have in some way brought this upon ourselves.
. .
Hitch: [Sputter]

Stewart: They believe that this war is being conducted without transparency, without credibility, and without competence.
Hitch: I'm sorry, sunshine... I just watched you ridicule the president for saying he wouldn't give.
. .
Stewart: No, you misunderstood why. . . . That's not why I ridiculed the president. He refuses to answer questions from adults as though we were adults and falls back upon platitudes and phrases and talking points that does a disservice to the goals that he himself shares with the very people needs to convince.

Hitch: You want me to believe you're really secretly on the side of the Bush administration. . .

Stewart: I secretly need to believe he's on my side. He's too important and powerful a man not to be.

Hitch: [Sputter]

If in the highly unlikely event that someone reads this and that someone happens to know Jon Stewart well enough to do so, please hug the man for me. Do so weeping tears of gratitude and thank him vociferously from me. (And thanks to Wonkette for hipping me to it.) And if the FCC tries any funny stuff with him, I’m coming out of the booth!

Aside: In the earlier speech where Bush likens Iraq to World War II, Bush also criticized President Clinton for not being tougher on fighting terrorism. That is a big load of hooey. From reading Richard Clark’s Against All Enemies, I remember Clark mentioning at least once that Clinton was very much for the use of force in retaliation for various terrorist attacks. He was met with opposition from the military establishment not wishing to put their troops in harms way for fear of further entanglement. Also, he was advised against it by political aids for fear of criticism from the Republican majority that was dogging him continually anyway. So again, a weak leader is one who tries to pass the blame on. The buck should stop with you, Mr. President. Way to lower the bar yet again and bring further disgrace to the office.

For red staters who still think Bush is on their side, they got a hefty strike against that notion the other day. Poverty is up to 12.7%! This is the fourth consecutive year for the statistic’s rise. The only racial demographic that was inverse were the Asians. A Republican President that is good for business? Maybe not. A Republican President that is good for impoverished Asians? Maybe.

One other little ray of light amidst all this darkness is that Ann Coulter got the boot from the Arizona Daily Star. Here is a media publication that just raised the bar! Now if all the other papers that carry her column would just follow suit.

A quick shout out to the DCeiver for getting the nod from Wonkett on a slick little playlet. Kudos.

I think Cintra Wilson is cool.

As are these images, though not for the faint of stomach.

And, I find this amusing, but it suffers from the same lack of class as the subjects it chooses to berate. Sort of. (Thanks to Tom for hipping me to it.)

And what kind of careless blogger would I be if I didn’t mention Katrina? Talk about FUBAR! The Big Easy is not even the Big Soggy. Its more like the new Atlantis. Need I mention that all of this would be still as catastrophic but slightly more in hand if we had some more National Guard troops to lend a hand? I heard somewhere that Governor Nagin made a comment to the effect that if we weren’t so committed in Iraq, we would have more help with this colossal tragedy. If anyone has a link, please hook me up!

Wait… I see it now! Our misunderstood President has the gift of foresight. One of the things our gulf coast areas need most now is sand! And our National Guardsmen and women happen to have superb access to that raw material. Genius! New Orleans is saved! (And no, that wasn’t me that came up with that. Chalk it up to my prior source.)

Now, I promise this is the last bit. I just read this on CNN: “Gov. Haley Barbour compared the devastation to a nuclear blast Tuesday after touring the coast. "I can only imagine that this is what Hiroshima looked like 60 years ago," he said.” [TPM] I’m sorry, but NO! I don’t mean to belittle the enormity of this tragic event, but without knowing a great deal about the dynamics of a nuclear blast, I can safely guess that flooding is nowhere near as close or accurate as a description. Maybe it could analogize the economic toll. So, here again, we see that is all about the money. Can you guess what party Barbour is?

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Retro Post 1

Just to get some of my old bits onto this site... Some points are still salient. Enjoy.

Dark Cloud Over America: Day 9 (the faint silver lining)

The rats are leaving the ship! Is the ship that is federal American government half full or half empty with water to herald the retreat? Asscroft handed in a multi-page letter of resignation to the Shrub and is headed for the hills. Clearly dillusional, he actually had the temerity to say "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." Too many bare breasted statues in Washington for his weak little heart to take, more likely. Others are following suit. We will see who we get stuck with next.

Then we see this cartoon... Can we say Pat Oliphant rocks? We agree with his take on the situation completely. Here's the thing: Our current system of government, albeit tilted a direction that we don't like at present, is one that was literally hundreds of years in the making. Take some ancient Greece and Roman Empire, a hearty cup full of Magna Carta, add a healthy pinch of Enlightenment thinkers, maybe sprinkle a little Martin Luther in there and slide that concoction into a Dutch oven circa 1600's to early 1700's and let it cook up to 1776. Glaze with a U.S. Constitution and garnish with some Jefferson, Franklin and Washington and you have yourself a phat democracy! Best enjoyed with some John Quincy Adams on the side.

To extend this metaphor train obnoxiously further... If you have ever made bread, you know it takes time and patients. Lots of effort, too. That is democracy for you. America seems to be trying to pawn off a cheap, Wonderbread version on Iraq and Afghanistan. The world knows we have ourselves some delicious Tuscan whole wheat over here, so why would anyone settle for Wonderbread?

We fear the loaf of U.S. democracy either has mold or is growing stale.

More to the point, a democracy is learned and earned, not bestowed. We have a system of government that commands appreciation because of the well documented history of blood, sweat and tears that went into creating it. It is that context and history that only (most) Americans and like established democracies can appreciate. The world of Islam has no comparable history and little impetus to try to get their communal psyche geared to that perspective. (Though they do have plenty of blood spilled, you have to admit. Thank you Crusades!) All that and we are blowing up everything of theirs in the name of democracy and security.

True story time: A group of Spanish conquistadors approached a peaceful tribe of pueblo Indians and the conquistador leader, in his native tongue, decreed to the Indians standing before him that they had about a minute to convert to Christianity or they would all be put to the sword in the name of God and whichever Spanish Monarch was reigning at the time. There was no effort to translate or learn about the people they were addressing. Just the decree. The conquistadors slaughtered the entire community. Substitute Christianity for democracy and modify the rhetoric and this appears quite familiar, doesn't it?

Who would have thought Iraq and the old American west would have so much in common?

posted by A. L. Deviant at 1:19 PM

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blasphemy is cool

This is perfect. I know it is doctored, but so what. It lifts AND separates! Thanks to Dan for the pic.

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AP Errors or Bush Freudians?

Am I reading this correctly? Look at the third paragraph. The AP quotes President Bush as saying ''We'll complete our work in Afghanistan and Iran,'' Bush said. ''An immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq, or the broader Middle East, as some have called for, would only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America and free nations.'' Color me confused.

Do we have troops in Iran? Have I been so pummeled by bad news and executive buffoonery that I somehow missed the invasion or Iran? Or, is it the more likely case that President Bush was riffing and merely gave over to verbal diarrhea and let some secret chicken out of the coop.

Do we have diplomatic engagement with Iran over the nuclear issue? I thought so. Are they a viable threat to the United States? I thought not. In fact, wasn’t it just determined that Iran was, at least technologically, years away from being able to attain nuclear weapons? ... Yes, the last time I checked, for whatever that is worth.

Good lord this is upsetting.

Bush goes on to say that as long as he is President, “we will stay, we will fight and we will win the war on terrorism.” Well, that settles that. Now my fears are somewhat more confirmed than they already were. Comparisons to the Vietnam War are all too common when referring to the situation in Iraq. However, I would think that this statement by the only chief executive of this nation to be installed by the Supreme Court and not the people of the United States portends of the analogy being applied to the War on Terrorism in general.

Vietnam was not winnable. You know why. For those who are raising a quizzical eyebrow, dig this. Vietnam had a centuries long history of invasion, subjugation and colonialization by bunch of different countries, China and France being the biggest offenders. When America came in, the Vietnamese just saw them as another colonialist invading power. It had nothing to do with politics or ideology for them. It was about sovereignty and stopping the violation of their land. Communism was just an organizational tool. The US was fighting something stronger than them. They were fighting an idea and resentment that was hundreds of years old. The Vietnamese would have fought to the last child if they had to. Nothing could have broken that resolve.

Once again, we are involved in a conflict in part of the world where we do not (at least our President doesn’t) fully understand the general perceptions and ethos of the culture we are trying to “save” and democratize. This may seem like pulling dirt out of history’s dustbin, but the Crusades are still very present in the minds of many Arabs. So, once again, you have an invader stomping in and telling them how its going to be. It won’t fly. I will eat my hat if democracy sticks in Iraq.

And Bush is thinking about Iran?

Does the Arab world hate the infidel? Sure. Is that xenophobic, wrong and generally stupid? To us, sure. To them, heck no. We can thank the British, Spanish and Christianity in general for that. We, the United States of America, one of the younger nations on the world stage, march over to the fertile crescent and silk road lands, like true sophomores and think we can fix stuff, mold them in our democratic image? We can’t even get a President properly elected.

The same rules don’t apply in this war game. When people are willing to strap bombs to their chest to get us out, that’s a sign that we don’t belong. When the rules of the game are that different for the two teams playing, that strongly suggests that the game can’t be won. Our President’s myopia is costing us precious lives, truckloads of money and more good will than we can ever recoup. George W. Bush’s choices have written a check that no matter how big of an ass he may be, that ass cannot cash.

You can't kill an idea or attitude with a gun. Just a person. And, as their blood spreads, so does their idea.

BTW, I thought Maureen Dowd was good today.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Robertson & American Empire

We may have a new candidate for douche bag of the week. Maybe, depending on how I feel by the end of this entry, we’ll have a douche bag of the month!

Here is a guy famous for some pretty top-notch comedy in the world of public discourse. With winners like suggesting that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device and saying that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." You knew the guy was bound to have another ripe zinger further down the line. Yesterday, he hit us with it!

This man of god, founder of the Christian Coalition, has called for our US government to facilitate the assassination of Hugo Chavez. This sounds mighty un-Christian to me. Granted that Chavez is a bit of a blow-hard ass, but to pop a cap in him seems a bit steep. Furthermore, the basis for the statement, a fear of Robertson’s that Venezuela may become "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism" is so rife with fallacies that I am not sure I can list them all here.

First, this country doesn’t need or want another Joseph McCarthy. Communism is a non-issue. People saw that it failed in Russia and they see how miserable people in Cuba are. (I’m am not going to touch China.) Communism is the least of our worries. For all intents and purposes, it is a red herring. And, Pat’s memory for history seems a bit foggy. Back in the 80’s, the Reagan Administration supported the Mujuhadin, a.k.a. Islamic fundamentalists, a.k.a. al Queda, to fight the Russian Communists. Thanks Ronnie! Islam has no love of Communism. It can be reasonably argued (unlike most of what Massah Robertson says) that Islam and Communism are completely incompatible. The annoying and sad thing is that lots of people believe Pat is truly doing the Lord’s work, is a good American and bummed that his Presidential bid failed.

The more unnerving thing is that the U.S., to a large degree, is where it is for thinking just like Mr. Robertson. It is because of America’s meddling nature that Islamists hate us and Hugo Chavez has ample fuel to spout off about how bad we are. We have supported regimes that oppress their peoples (remember Vietnam? How about Saudi Arabia?) We have stuck our nose where it did not belong because we want to protect our interests. Someone notable (please, if you know, tell me who, specifically) said that this, our current state of affairs, i.e. Iraq, Afghanistan, world enmity, is the price of empire. Is it worth it?

In the afore linked article, Patsy gets to the heart of it all in saying "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop." Its all about the oil.

As long as we are fat, secure and happy, who cares who we have to kill? Tens of thousands of Iraqis? No problem! So what if the environment is completely screwed. I’ve go my Hummer H2, my plasma screen, a well oiled semi-automatic with armor piercing bullets and more food in my fridge than 3/4 of the world sees in month. So what if our cars are screwing up the environment and creating rising tides that are displacing 20,000 island residents of Bangladesh? Just gimme the oil! We’ve got what we want. Nothing else matters.

I think Agent Smith hit the nail on the head.

Where is American self reliance? Where is Yankee ingenuity and a can do attitude? Where is the American Dream and the notion of sacrificing for the cause? Have we become an empire by default? Is this the fate of every republic? Lastly, communism clearly wasn’t sustainable. Can we follow the signs and determine if a democracy is sustainable?

Sorry for the drama. So, yeah. Pat Robertson is definitely douche bag of the month.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Douche and the Future of the DNC

Last week I, perhaps foolishly, thanked George Allen for being a duplicitous Republican in actually criticizing the President. Well, allow me to retract that. Yes it is cool when the President’s own party shallowly criticizes him on a point of common decency, but here we see George Allan’s complete detachment from reality. All cool points withdrawn. He’s back to being a first class hypocrite. Thank you TPM!

I nominate George Allen as douche bag of the week.

In other news, I watched Meet the Press yesterday and Russ Feingold was on. In his introduction, he was mentioned as a possible contender for the Democratic Presidential nomination. The only things I know about the guy are that he is from Wisconsin (go Packers!) and that he and John McCain (one of the few Republicans I genuinely respect) teamed up to reform campaign finance.

For as much press as the McCain Feingold bill got, this is the first time I have seen Russ’s face. This to me is, initially, encouraging. Here is my reasoning: There are two types of politicians, those who want the limelight and are out amidst the press constantly promoting their agenda and ideas. Then there are those who work diligently on legislation and actually do most of the leg work that makes the legislative world turn. My impression is that Senator Feingold is the latter type of elected official.

So, perhaps Russ Feingold is humble. This would be an asset that would set him apart from Hillary Clinton or John Edwards. I am not against either of those two seeking the nomination, nor do I think they are arrogant, but baggage and disenchantment linger from years and elections past. Senator Clinton has a lot of bad blood with the Republicans from when she was First Lady. And, she has Bubba in tow (both a massive target and a killer advisor all in one)! Edwards is still Mr. Charm and has good ideas, but the sore memory of a losing ticket combined with his general relative lack of legislative experience might be a an Achilles heel.

It is both my hope and my sincere worry that Senator Feingold might be another Bill Bradley candidate. In the 2000 election, Gore blew it, without question or doubt. Bradley would have blown Bush out of the water. That is pure conjecture, but I feel that it would have been the likely outcome. So, I hope that Feingold is as substantive as Bradley was. My worry is that the Democrats will make a similar “go with what we know” kind of choice and select Hillary or Edwards. However, with Dean as the DNC chair, all establishment bets are off. I entreat you, the reader, to share your thoughts on the Democratic hopefuls.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Bloody Unpatriotic

This is getting ridiculous. I have tried to post this thought now twice and either my computer has crashed or blogger has somehow lost my entry prior to publishing. I am beginning to wonder if a rat or fish is getting smelly.

Briefly, if you drive this… or anything like it, you are hurting the United States of America. Stop! Fuel consumption in these and like vehicles are part of the problem. Because I am tired of writing at length, lets just say, you people are why the terrorist what to bomb us into the next dimension. Thanks a bunch. I will make sure to send you the bill for all the incurred losses when next we get hit. And yes. We will get hit again so long as we are sucking Saudi oil because selfish, image obsessed assholes like you are driving these abominations.

What is good for GM is good for America? Hardly. This is more like it:

If ever the expression “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem” were applicable, it is here.

More on this as I have time and ample ire.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Uninformed Musings

Gaza. My gut tells me that the action of Israel handing it over to Palestine is a good thing. I cannot fathom what it might be like to lose one's home because the government says you have to, but one just has to head on over to Prospect Heights, Brooklyn (a.k.a. Ratnerville) to get the crux of that.

Religion does not resonate with me too much. I get that the Jewish world thinks that God wants them to have that land. Palestinians think the same way, but Jehova's name is Allah and after World War 2, the world community wrenched it away from them. So, why aren't these two sides seeing the similarities? Both faiths want their women to be modest. Both cultures have unique but similar dietary restrictions. Both peoples have been displaced.

It did sort of please me that Sharon called the guy who started shooting Palestinians a terrorist. A spade, after all, is a spade. Now, to play with fuel and matches... Why do we care? Why do we pay so much attention to this as opposed to the Sudan or Rwanda or Chechnya? Or *gasp* Afghanistan?

Yes America has a lot of Jews. Ok. Fine. But that aside, our allegiances to Israel don't make a great deal of sense. I say this for strictly economic reasons. We get nothing from Israel. No natural resources, no real product, no viable or lucrative trade. Israel has been a festering burr in the saddle of the US for decades. Yes there is money for arms deals, but that is a micro-sector relative to the world economy. And I hate guns. Talk about breeding bad karma.

At the end of the day, who is any man or woman to say they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the mind and will of god? Are we all not human and, therefore, fallible? The Jews in Gaza... rather, leaving Gaza, need to shut up and deal. And the Palestinians need to pipe down and be humble and thankful that they have gotten this far.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No! Really???

This really bugs me. Again, we have information that US Intelligence (nearly an oximoron now) has had since the Clinton Administration and someone is just reporting it now. Yes the information was just declassified, but if you ever read Against All Enemies or Imperial Hubris (both best sellers), you would be able to make an educated guess to the same effect. It begs the question, is this all being pursued to assign blame (subtext: take some heat off of the Bushies for failing thus far, perhaps?) or to find a pattern, crack the system and solve the problem. I truly hope its the latter.

To boot, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of video and audio tape that bin Laden and his crew have put out stating EXACTLY what they want, think and plan to do. Why are we waisting time and money on something that seems a bit political, like trying to figure out who screwed up?

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What is Bush thinking?

I mean, seriously. The Bush Administration’s choice to not meet with Cindy Sheehan regarding getting our military forces out of Iraq defies all logic. One would think that in light of gravely floundering support for the military effort, Bush, nay, Bush’s advisers would see this as an opportunity to do a bit of positive PR and have our Chief Executive appear to be the compassionate conservative he originally professed to be by granting a meeting with her and providing some semblance of an explanation to why American forces will “stay the course.” Talk about missed opportunity

To aggravate (much to my pleasure) the situation, the Republican leadership is even calling for the President to meet with her. This will be the only time I will ever publicly express thanks to Senator George Allen of Virginia. (And, indirectly, thanks to Frank Rich for hipping me to it.)

When your “base” is telling you it would be common decency to meet Cindy, in elected office, shouldn’t it be logical to maybe take that hint every once in a while? Again, I am loathed to call George Allen a representative of the Republican base, but he sure professes to be. And, since it suites my argument, he is most certainly base. Please allow the double entendre to wash over you fully.

The Bush Administration has been really enigmatic. Either they are oblivious, i.e. they are just completely clueless as to how to intelligently handle this situation, or, slightly more likely, they are the epitomes of hubris incarnate and will not deign to show any fallacy in their governance. It is really hard for me to tell. Certainly the allusions to Vietnam will increase with the increased protest/peace movement. We already have the class A quagmire ready made. Hippies in the 60’s got blamed for lots of society’s ills down the line, but right or wrong, they were spot on when it came to Vietnam.

On the other hand, Bush and crew do have a lot on their plate and could just be flustered and not thinking clearly with regards to Ms. Sheehan’s protest. There is Plamegate, North Korea, the Sudan genocide, skyrocketing fuel prices, and global warming all to consider. The White House claims to have already met Cindy Sheehan, but this is, as yet, remains unconfirmed.

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Getting Started

I figured I would give this a shot. I realize that a majority of blogs fade away shortly after they start, but maybe that won't be me. I have a really boring day job. I need a place to vent. An outlet. So, for whoever cares to check this page out, thanks for your time. I hope you find something that evokes some reaction, be it positive or negative.

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