Saturday, August 30, 2008
Gold Wreath Discovered In Northern Greece:
A priceless gold wreath has been unearthed in an ancient city in northern Greece, buried with human bones in a large copper vase that workers initially took for a land mine.
The University of Thessaloniki said in a statement Friday that the "astonishing" discovery was made during excavations this week in the ruins of ancient Aigai. The city was the first capital of ancient Macedonia where King Philip II — father of Alexander the Great — was assassinated.
The find is highly unusual as the rich artifacts appear to have been removed from a grave during ancient times and, for reasons that remain unclear, reburied in the city's marketplace near a shrine of the goddess Eukleia.
I eat this stuff up. I'm an unabashed love of history and a wanna-be archaeologist. Greece has long been right up there with the UK and France (ancestral homes of the Foresters -- Natch) as one of my top travel destinations.
Friday, August 29, 2008
The Boston Globe's Articles of Faith blog has the skinny on Sarah Palin's religious views and how they dictate her politics. Here's a clue, it's not pretty:
"We've both been very vocal about being pro-life," she said in the AP interview.But wait, there's more:
In October of 2006, the Anchorage Daily News described Palin's positions on social issues in a lengthy profile:Her science teacher mom must be soooo proud.
"A significant part of Palin's base of support lies among social and Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed), physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and supports a constitutional amendment to bar them)."
And earlier that year, the Anchorage Daily News reported that Palin said the following about creationism at a debate:
"Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information....Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides.
*Update: Over at TPM Cafe Ruth Rosen investigates Feminists for Life's intellectual dishonesty -- an organization of which Sarah Palin is a proud member.
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is McCain's VP pick. TPM has everything you ever wanted to know about Palin here. Josh serves up the shorter version too.
*Update 1: Booman chimes in.
**Update 2: ThinkProgress lays out Palin corruption scandal investigation deets.
- Barack Obama has perfect pitch.
- John McCain is very wrong. And out of touch. And completely fucking crazy...if he thinks he's going to win.
- I could so go gay for Rachel Maddow. I'm not exactly sure what that means other than painful surgery in my immediate future.
- Tweety showed multiple signs of being human.
- As much as I hate to admit it, Pat Buchanan did too.
- Michelles Obama and Bernard are so smart. Unbelievably hot-smart.
- They're easy on the eyes too.
- Keith Olberman is a great American.
- Charles Babington is most certainly not.*
- Jesse Jackson is again relevant to media types for the first time this decade.
**Update: The McCain campaign's defense needs more work than my beloved New England Patriots:
"Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama," spokesman Tucker Bounds said. "When the temple comes down, the fireworks end, and the words are over, the facts remain: Senator Obama still has no record of bipartisanship, still opposes offshore drilling, still voted to raise taxes on those making just $42,000 per year, and still voted against funds for American troops in harm's way. The fact remains: Barack Obama is still not ready to be President."Weak. Very, very Weak.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
As part of the relentless conservative push to canonize Ronnie (or a least bump the eminently worthy Alexander Hamilton off the $10 bill), Reagan acolyte Henry R. Nau is not content with revisionist history. In his LA Times op-ed today, How Reagan would've dealt with Georgia, Nau opts for revisionist historical speculation.TM
I'll give Nau credit. He's quite crafty about it:
The question of whether diplomacy or the use of force is best to meet such foreign challenges and promote freedom is hardly new in American foreign policy. Two long-standing traditions offer some answers.Sorta like George Bush. But I digress...
Liberal internationalism, which is identified with Woodrow Wilson, seeks to reduce the role of force by promoting peaceful diplomacy through multilateral institutions. It expects expanded trade and modernization to slowly defuse global tensions and advance freedom.
In contrast, the classical realist tradition, practiced most notably by Teddy Roosevelt, carries a big military stick, defends free countries by balancing foreign powers against each other and worries that modernization may not lessen tensions but rather strengthen adversaries that continue to oppose freedom.
The problem with both traditions is that they fail to integrate force and diplomacy.
There's a third tradition that pays more attention to combining force and diplomacy. Call it conservative internationalism. It's conservative because, like classical realism, it assigns a significant role to the use of force. It's internationalist because it seeks to spread freedom, a principal goal of liberal internationalism. Four U.S. presidents have successfully practiced conservative internationalism: Thomas Jefferson, James K. Polk, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan.Oh Please. Fuck that shit in the neck. Now.
While I do find interesting that Nau compares Reagan to the iconic Jefferson as well as Democrats Polk & Truman, it's thru these comparisons that Nau that perpetuates the Reagan-worshipers favorite whopper:
Reagan waged an arms race primarily to bring freedom to nearby Eastern Europe.I don't think so. I've previously railed about how this hagiographic view of Ronald Reagan's "legacy" is an absolute fraud.
Reagan waged his arm race because he was an uber-hawk. His friends were hawks. His campaign contributors were hawks (and/or key cogs in the military-industrial machine). His cabinet and administration was populated with hawks including one young Henry R. Nau. Secretary of State Alexander Haig was a retired four-star general and a vet of both Korea and Vietnam -- wars that resulted in a "tie" and a "loss" to Communism respectively. No small point there. (Not coincidentally, many of Nau's mentors and peers make up the delusional "We cannot afford to lose in Iraq" contingent).
Then as now these "conservatives" were desperate to put up a "W." So when he hit the lottery with the Berlin Wall coming down on his watch, these folks gave (and still are giving) all the credit to Ronnie's diplomatic genius. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was the Russkies' Afghanistan adventure not Regean's ingenious "conservative internationalism" posture that stretched the Soviet Union to its breaking point.
The Soviet-Afghan War lasted the entirety of Reagan's two terms. Official Soviet reports place the total war dead near 15,000. Actual dead were easily triple that and possibly more. The numbers of sick or wounded were in the hundreds of thousands. There were other important far-reaching casualties:
- The previously "invincible" Soviet military was thoroughly. It created an irreparable rift between political leadership & the military.
- It caused Soviet leadership to become increasingly insecure in their ability to maintain their empire through military might.
- It bankrupted the Soviet economy. This war cost the Soviets an estimated $9 billion per year (not adjusted for inflation). The USSR found itself without the necessary resources to keep its satellites in line and eventually to keep itself together.
- It was a long, extremely unpopular war. The hardships suffered caused a completely new generation of Soviet citizenry to question the efficacy, legitimacy and very purpose of communism.
Where's the balls in that? How the fuck is that conservative internationalism, huh Hank? Tell me 'cuz I really wanna know. That tack eventually spent over $40 billion (split largely betwixt the US & the Saudis) and took a decade to end the Soviet-Afghan War. Oh, and it set the stage for 9/11 too. This fails every conceivable litmus test for conservatism.
This is not the first time Hank Nau has serve up such nonsense. For more laffs check out Nau's March 2005 defense of "Bush's classic conservatism." It mines some serious comedy gold:
Do Europeans understand President George W. Bush any better after his recent trip to Europe? They may. But they would be wrong to dismiss Bush's previous diplomacy as aberrant.
Bush is unusual. He is a conservative internationalist. Europeans have heard of liberal internationalists, such as Bill Clinton. And they know about conservative nationalists such as Pat Buchanan or Ross Perot.
But they have probably never heard of conservative internationalists. Indeed they might think, as many liberal Americans do, that the term is an oxymoron.
Well, it's not. Conservative internationalists exist in the American diplomatic tradition, and Europeans - as well as liberal Americans - should recognize this school of diplomacy even if they disagree with it.
Further on in this International Herald Tribune/NY Times
parody satire op-ed, Nau alternately compares Bush to Jefferson, Jackson and Reagan.
I dare you to read this without laughing so hard you lose your vittles. I double dare you.
Note: I find it absolutely unconscionable for the LA Times to print such crap from Henry R. Nau without any indication whatsover that this guy served on Reagan's National Security Council from 1981-1983. Par for the course yes, but shame on them.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
...To Be The Next Ted Kennedy.
Let's be crystal-fucking-clear about one thing, for their championing of social programs & social progress, FD-fucking-R & Ted Kennedy are hands down the two greatest Democrats (and thus party boosters) of the last hundred years. That's why the cons and neo-cons expend so much effort trying to cut them down.
Upon review we must recognize that if Sen. Kennedy had been elected prez on any of his multiple tries, he would never had nearly the astounding overall positive impact he had on our lives. Yet, as profoundly ill as he is and as he has done time and time again, last nite Kennedy smacked one outta the park with perhaps his most iconic speech. Obviously, sadly, Ted's time is drawing to a close.
But with her speech tonite, it seems Hill has more fully embraced her opportunity to grasp Teddy's baton and run with it. I can think of no other more noble role for New York's junior Senator.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Oil prices actually drop 5%+. The stated cause for the biggest one-day decrease in 4 years: "dealers turned their focus to rising supply levels and weakening global demand."
Who makes this shit up anyway? Might as well say gas is cheaper this month 'cuz everybody in China (and the rest of the fucking world) stayed at home to watch the Olympics.
Yeah. Right. There's absolutely no connection to newly lowered oil prices and the upcoming US Presidential election. None at all. In spite of OPEC's increasing shrieks about slashing production, the tagger per barrel will continue to dribble south only to shoot back up sometime after 11/04. Fuckers.
And that will be the new Dem. Prez's fault.
Here's my ASIAF exclusive preview of Big Oil's post-election response to renewed allegations that they play politics with oil prices:
"Look! Over there! Behind you! Is that Halley's Comet?"
Mark my words.