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  Saturday, September 17, 2005

I haven't read a David Brin novel in a while. But his blog posts are just fantastic, almost all of them. He brings a balanced eye to a wide range of topics and refuses -- which is hard, hard -- to buy into the left/right split. He's provocative, original, and backs up what he says with facts. (Which is also often hard.) Maybe sometimes he's a bit self-congratulatory about the predictions he made in a novel of his, but he did make those predictions, and they do seem to be coming true. His blog is must reading, and at the top of my list.
1:02:05 PM    comment []

George W. Bush says he plans to pay for his ill-designed smorgasbord of Katrina relief problems by cutting "unnecessary spending".

Presumably, at some point an intrepid reporter will ask him which $200 billion he plans to cut. But that will leave another question:

Mr. Bush has been President for four and a half years now, and his party has had complete control of Congress for two and a half of them. So why have he, and they, left $200 billion in cuttable waste in the budget?

Hats off to Mark Kleiman.

(Via No More Apples.)

12:49:50 PM    comment []

All the world's a stage, and George W. Bush is merely a player.

Josh Marshall brings this example of Bush photo-op faking to our attention:

I am duty-bound to report the talk of the New Orleans warehouse district last night: there was rejoicing (well, there would have been without the curfew, but the few people I saw on the streets were excited) when the power came back on for blocks on end. Kevin Tibbles was positively jubilant on the live update edition of Nightly News that we fed to the West Coast. The mini-mart, long ago cleaned out by looters, was nonetheless bathed in light, including the empty, roped-off gas pumps. The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Reminds one of the tale Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) related about her tour of the levees with Dubya.

But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment.

(Via No More Apples.)

12:49:03 PM    comment []

Despite crucial differences in geography, climate, history, culture, ethnicity, religion, politics, and international context; there remain disturbing parallels between the United States’ interventions in Vietnam and in Iraq. Some of these parallels are listed below.

1. Both wars seen as noble causes and each justified as part of a much broader war

2. Misleading statements about the reasons for intervention

3. Understatement of costs and avoidance of budgetary transparency

4. Indigenous opposition views U.S. intervention as a legacy of their colonial past

5. Initial U.S. lack of appreciation of the effectiveness and tenacity of the enemy.

6. Initial U.S. misperception of the nature of the war: counterinsurgency

7. Once U.S. troops are committed, U.S. international credibility said to be at stake

8. Official U.S. optimism about the outcome despite deteriorating situation on the ground

9. Lack of a sufficiently legitimate indigenous government

10. Lack of credible indigenous military capacity

11. Broad international condemnation of U.S. actions

Most important difference:

The Vietnamese just wanted the U.S. to leave.

Radical Muslims want to use Iraq to fuel and legitimate a holy war against the U.S.

(Via POTUS.)

10:35:35 AM    comment []

This Instapundit "poll" is really stupid, and makes only the stupidest of points. Maybe, given Glenn's track record, that's to be expected. Of course, they should be check boxes, so you can choose more than one of the items. Beyond that, the politics and economics are dopey: does public broadcasting cost as much as Iraq? We wish! He only mentions DARE, but how about the whole waste that is the war on some drugs? Why just DARE? And for farm subsidies, how about subsidies of Archer Daniels Midland, compared to subsidies that might have saved my family's farm a couple years ago? But of course, any kind of real decisions or subtleties are beyond the Instapundit.

8:57:00 AM    comment []

by Stirling Newberry

The edge of the gas giants

(Via BOPnews.)

12:43:35 AM    comment []

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