Friday, November 18, 2005

N to the izzle Serves Up Some Krauthammer

Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God.

Frequent comment contributor and all-around classy fellow, Mr. Nizzle (Esq.) sent me a link to "a conservative eviscerating intelligent design," and I thought it was worth reposting the link HERE.

Mr. Krauthammer (excellent name) makes all the points I've scattered throughout this blog, and does so in a way that is far more concise, elequent, and thought-out than the paint-ballesque spatters of color I've splashed here at Codemorse.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

That's The Sound Of The Men Workin' On The Cheney Gang


In the sharpest White House attack yet on critics of the Iraq war, Vice President Dick Cheney said on Wednesday that accusations the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify the war were a “dishonest and reprehensible” political ploy.

Cheney called Democrats “opportunists” who were peddling “cynical and pernicious falsehoods” to gain political advantage while U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Cheney was “playing politics like he’s in the middle of a presidential campaign.”

“I would urge the members of the Bush administration to stop trying to resurrect their political standing by lashing out at their critics,” he said. “Instead, they need to focus on the job at hand, giving our troops a strategy for success in Iraq.”

Two thoughts:

First, Reid is "playing politics" here. Pot, this is the kettle. You're black. Even the intelligence supplied to the dems by the administration was full of holes and easily countered by solid fact. That's why people like myself were against the war from the get-go. If you were misled, prove it. Otherwise, accept that you bowed under pressure and voted for something you didn't believe in, and start working to clean up the mess you helped to make.

Second, the administration should stop being so defensive and start putting together some sensible schedules. It's ridiculous that they sent our troops in as under-prepared as they did. Their post-invasion plans were, even at the outset, overly optimistic. Stop complaining about the guy throwing spit-balls in the back of the class and DO SOMETHING.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Getting Some Tail

I love Lost.

Tonight's episode, The Other 48 Days, was another fantastic episode.

We learned that:
- Ana Lucia had, or tried to have, children at some point
-That she says she's not a Doctor, but see that she knows CPR
-Mr. Eko is a badass.
-He's also a mysterious cat, opting not to speak after slaughtering two of the "Others" for the obviously-significant period of 40 days.
-Boone was talking to the Tail-End survivors when he used the radio last season.
-There is some specific future significance to the one woman from the tail being a clinical psychologist. She's mentioned it twice in two episodes. My guess? She was Desmond's partner in the hatch, and wasn't actually on the plane.
- Most importantly, Goodwin, the "Other" who infiltrated the tailers, mentions that the children they've taken are "fine. They are better off where they are." He also says that the people on the Others' list were the "good" people, and that's why they were taken.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Who Do You Trust?

Frequent comment contributor Captain Eucalyptus has his own blog, Wrandom Ramblings (linked on the side of the page under "fellow chud chewers," for future reference). He's posted some thoughts on public displays of religion in government spaces, and it's worth a read.

Get religion HERE.

Common Sense

I don't know how anyone can say with a straight face that when we voted to cut spending last week to help deficit reduction, we can now then turn around two weeks later to provide tax cuts that exceed those reductions.

-George Voinovich, Republican Senator, Ohio

Damn straight, George.

(quote courtesy of Newsweek)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Jedi or Sith?

You are one of the wisest Jedi of them all, and have had a very eventful career full of failures and successes. You are a skilled fighter, having defeated many powerful opponents in your time. You are not overly aggressive, though. You are more reserved and collected. Your sense of morality is without question, and you are a model Jedi.

Are you Jedi or Sith?

And on a less playful, but thoroughly mind-blowing note, check out this Jung Typology Test. I did it on a whim, and it nailed me to the wall with its observations. Scarily accurate.

Condescension Junction, What's Your Function?

To paraphrase Jonah Goldberg's November 9th column, "Patriotism Is Not All That," let us now sing against the questionable practice of making specious claims about vaguely-defined entities.

In his column, Goldberg talks about the "patriotism" of the media in ways confusing, roundabout, and to my mind, objectionable. I read Goldberg for the same reason that I read Andrew Sullivan, Michelle Malkin and other conservative commentators: to get a sense of the territory, the arguments, and the philosophy. This is, perhaps, not wise. What I've discovered is that, with the possible exception of Sullivan, most of these commentators seem far more interested in stirring up controversy or in illustrating their own education than they are in making themselves heard outside the sphere of those who already agree with them.

Reading what I've written, it's possible that someone could make the same argument about me. After all, this blog is basically my public journal, and it's no secret that I have strong opinions. But at Codemorse, I try to give credence to all sides of an argument. If I'm wrong about something, or if someone presents to me a credible alternative viewpoint, I'm willing to hear them. You'll see Malkin douse herself in syrup and roll on an ant-hill before you'll hear her make an admission that she may have been wrong.

In that spirit, let's take a look at Goldberg's thoughts, and why they frustrate me.

Quoting Mike Wallace:
“Look, you know as well as I, reporters are in the business because they want to be — first of all, they’re patriots just as much as any conservative. Even a liberal reporter is a patriot, wants the best for this country. And people — you know, your fair and balanced friends at Fox — don’t fully understand that.”

Well, not only is that more than a little condescending. It’s highly concentrated damn foolishness. What Wallace doesn’t fully understand is that lots of people have good reason to suspect that media Brahmans like him are less patriotic than the average Joe.

Now, I'm not sure about you, but answering percieved condescension with your own brand of same seems a mighty peculiar way to be taken seriously on a topic. Unless Goldberg is referring to the media as the concept of the unchanging, infinite, immanent and trancesdent reality that is the Divine Ground of all being, he's most likely referring to the "media Brahmans" in a more pejorative sense. Perhaps he's implying that the media is like unto "a group of aristocratic families in the New England area of the United States. Since that's spelt "Brahmin," though, I assume he does not.

So, maybe he just means "media Brahmans" in the sense of cattle. That's pretty damn condescending in its own right. It's especially so if Goldberg is being all subtle on us and using Brahmans as a way of implying that the media is a "Sacred cow," unreasonably immune from criticism. Which is ironic, because the unspoken subject of his column is whether America's government should be criticized by the media, and how much criticism is "patriotic," apparently on some sort of metaphorical sliding scale.

Goldberg's overall point, at least, from what I'm able to suss out, seems to be that just because you claim to be patriotic doesn't mean that you possess the same level of patriotism that other people (presumably Goldberg, amongst other unnamed parties) do.

While Goldberg is correct in the literal sense, I don't really see the point of the argument save to further savage the patriotism credentials of the mainstream media through the implication that they are too "cosmopolitan" to possess the same loyalty to country that others hold.

Goldberg undermines himself in his use of Walter Cronkite as an example. He cherry-picks his Cronkite anecdote while avoiding an enormous logistical pitfall. Yes, Cronkite wore an American military uniform during World War II, but he was also the journalist responsible for bringing the reality of the Vietnam War in all its horrific splendor into the living rooms of previously ill-informed citizens. Cronkite would seem to be a less-extreme example of exactly the sort of Dispassionate Observer that Goldberg questions, more outwardly opinionated in his reportage of the two, but no less willing than Wallace would be to report upon the government in actions both admirable and less-than.

In today's commentator climate, Cronkite would be savaged for his impertinence and his lack of "patriotism," decried by supporters of the war as a leftist communist. By logical default, in the eyes of those watchdogs, you must report loyally and in favor of America. To do otherwise is to render yourself a) A tool of the liberal, opinion-saturated media establishment, b) to give succor to our enemies, or, as Goldberg puts it, c) be a detached "citizen of the world" with less patriotism than other, still unnamed parties. What other option is a reporter left with?

Goldberg either dismisses or willfully ignores the value of reporter as Dispassionate Observer, a mistake which reduces the persuasiveness of his argument greatly. One of Journalism's mandates is to report the facts, and those facts may not always be favorable to one's country. The value inherent in a free press comes from the ability of our reporters to deny "the party line" (whether left or right of it) and report what has happened, not their "take" on events.

It's up to columnists like Goldberg to then give opinions on the news they read, not to give opinion on opinion. That's why we have separate sections for "News" and "Editorials." That many news outlets have blurred the lines between the two is a cause for enormous concern. If anything, I'd argue that impartiality and detachment are qualities needed in much greater amounts than what we currently recieve. I'd argue that getting the facts out to the people, especially in the face of possible falsehoods (or, put more plainly, lies) is patriotism defined.

As for the implication-as-question that American journalism does too much in revealing our nation's problems to the world: it is, at heart, an argument for censorship. Were Goldberg speaking of revealing national secrets, the locations of our troops, our plan of attack and/or defense, I would agree that journalistic revelation is an ill, and one that said-journalists would do well not to engage in.

But he is not, I think, referring to these things at all. He is referring to journalism that questions the decisions and motivations of our government, things made public to the American people and open to the public debate. It is a strength of democracy to have a press which reports unsparingly upon its own government in this manner.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Good God

Then Elijah the prophet wrote Jehoram this letter: "This is what the LORD, the God of your ancestor David, says: You have not followed the good example of your father, Jehoshaphat, or your grandfather King Asa of Judah. Instead, you have been as evil as the kings of Israel. You have led the people of Jerusalem and Judah to worship idols, just as King Ahab did in Israel. And you have even killed your own brothers, men who were better than you. So now the LORD is about to strike you, your people, your children, your wives, and all that is yours with a heavy blow. You yourself will be stricken with a severe intestinal disease until it causes your bowels to come out." Then the LORD stirred up the Philistines and the Arabs, who lived near the Ethiopians, to attack Jehoram. They marched against Judah, broke down its defenses, and carried away everything of value in the royal palace, including his sons and his wives. Only his youngest son, Ahaziah, was spared. It was after this that the LORD struck Jehoram with the severe intestinal disease. In the course of time, at the end of two years, the disease caused his bowels to come out, and he died in agony. His people did not build a great fire to honor him at his funeral as they had done for his ancestors. (2 Chronicles 21:12-19)

My new favorite Bible passage.