Raznor's Rants

Costarring Raznor's reality-based friends!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Been a while since this page updated
Posted by Raznor

So I'll get busy.

Pandamanda received an interesting e-mail from one of her readers:

The Florida parental consent law goes into effect shortly.
To me, the part of the bill that makes it stand out is one of the exceptions. You see, the contention of the "moderate" pro-lifers is that children should never have non-emergency medical procedures performed without parental consent -- that this is the same as making sure parents are notified of, say, a dental procedure.

And when you look at the exceptions to the bill, this falls apart completely.

You see, if the girl already has a child, she can have an abortion without parental consent. Why? It's still a medical procedure. She's still underage. So why doesn't she have to tell her parents?The answer: because they already know she's not a pure and holy virgin.

This isn't a bill to prevent abortions. It's a bill to force girls to tell their parents they're having sex, even when that might have negative consequences. The reason there's an exception for those who already have kids is that their parents won't be horrified and angry that the girl is pregnant.

Mark my words: pro-lifers WANT these young girls to be hurt by their parents. They WANT the parents to be stunned and angry and to lash out. That's not just a secondary effect of the law, it's the primary purpose. If it wasn't, if this really was about making sure all children's medical procedures were approved, those exceptions wouldn't be there.

Not that that's at all surprising, or anything, but it's always shocking when anti-choicers barely even try to hide thier intentions.

Meanwhile, posting at This Modern World, Billmon has a nice little summary of the Bush Administrations desperate Orwellian attempt to redefine the insurgency.

And if you missed last Thursday's The Daily Show, you must watch Stephen Colbert's report on Marie Carie. Damn fine television.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bill O'Reilly: total asshole. Sky: still blue.
Posted by Raznor

Well, this has been making the rounds, but in case you missed it, here's what O'Reilly said on his radio show:

O'REILLY: And when he [Durbin] went out there, his intent was to whip up the American public against the Bush detainee policy. That's what his intent was. His intent wasn't to undermine the war effort, because he never even thought about it. He never even thought about it. But by not thinking about it, he made an egregious mistake because you must know the difference between dissent from the Iraq war and the war on terror and undermining it. And any American that undermines that war, with our soldiers in the field, or undermines the war on terror, with 3,000 dead on 9-11, is a traitor.

Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less.

Wow, I've got to head to the shower for the next 30 minutes to wash out the smell of bullshit.

Okay, I'm back. Anyway, let's take a closer look at what O'Reilly said:

And when he [Durbin] went out there, his intent was to whip up the American public against the Bush detainee policy. That's what his intent was.

Okay, fine, we get it. It was his intent. Good for him. And his intent.

His intent wasn't to undermine the war effort, because he never even thought about it.

How surprising, that when bringing up horrible abuses of detainees in a US military base in Cuba, he never thought how that would undermine the war that's happening on the other fucking side of the world.

He never even thought about it.

Okay, Bill, I get it. You're insane.

But by not thinking about it, he made an egregious mistake because you must know the difference between dissent from the Iraq war and the war on terror and undermining it.

Right you must. But if criticizing torture is undermining the war then uhhhh. Okay, I'm confused as to what Bill O'Reilly thinks the difference is. But O'Reilly's a nice, ethical guy. He won't accuse people of undermining the war effort without giving even a cursory explanation of how what they're doing is undermining the war effort.

And any American that undermines that war, with our soldiers in the field, or undermines the war on terror, with 3,000 dead on 9-11, is a traitor.

Okay. Maybe, maybe not. He still hasn't defined what undermining the war effort is. I mean, if by undermining the war effort you mean, say, giving insurgents lots of weapons and exact troupe locations, then yeah, I can see how that's traitorous. But if it means going on, say the radio and saying your beliefs, why calling that treasonous would be a tad tyrranical, wouldn't it?

Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it?

Okay, he's repeating himself again. Does he think his audience are as dumb as Bush? Well, maybe that's a safe assumption. (Yeah that's right, people who like Bill O'Reilly, I just implicitly insulted you)

So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately.

Okay, 'cos those clowns over at the liberal radio network are, I'm assuming, sheltering Bin Laden? This has to be the case, right? He'll specify this, I'm sure in what he says next.

Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less.

Okay, that's it. And you know what's missing? Any idea of what would qualify as dissent without "undermining the war effort".

Oh, I looked into it, and you know, Air America? They're not harboring terrorists, or giving weapons or information to Iraqi insurgents. They're dissenting. Which is fine, according to Bill O'Reilly. That is until he decides the FBI should arrest them.

Remember when Bush said the terrorists hate freedom? He's wrong. The terrorists merely hate America, and by extension Americans. It's O'Reilly who hates freedom. It's John Ashcroft, and Sean Hannity, and Pat Robertson, everybody who claim they love freedom except when people they don't agree with enjoy it, these are the people who hate freedom. And we should never forget it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Nader Demands to Know Why Ring of Power Hasn't Been Destroyed

Posted by Ross

Consumer Advocate/Bizarro World President Ralph Nader has been demanding to know why the Ring of Power, recovered almost two weeks ago from Dark Lord/Vice President Dick Cheney, has yet to be destroyed.

“It’s altogether evil,” Nader said, “and to be destroyed, it must be thrust into the fires from whence it came, or its malice shall live on.”

“I found it. It’s mine I tell you… My precious,” President Bush said in a press conference held in a dank cave somewhere in the Misty Mountains. He then reached one of his hands into a midnight black reeking pond, pulling out a wriggling fish.

“Fishes, fishes. Yummy, slimy, we love’s them, don’t we, precious?” The President then proceeded to devour the still-living fish, taking particular delight in its eyes, which he greedily slurped out of their sockets.

“Besides,” he added, wiping the fish's slimy entrails from his mouth, “Nader’s a dick.”

He then vanished into thin air.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Batman Begins
Posted by Raznor

Yeah, so I saw Batman Begins Saturday, and utterly loved it. An excellent cast (especially Michael Caine as Alfred, I've never seen Caine in a movie I haven't loved him in), a great service to Batman's best and scariest villain, and most importantly, brilliant direction by Christopher Nolan. Like in his other films (The Following, Memento, and Insomnia) Nolan has a brilliant method of visual storytelling, that keeps things coherent enough so that it's not too hard to follow, but disorienting enough to keep things intriguing.

Keith Phipps sums up really what struck me as great about the movie:

Superheroic theatrics hardly get left out of the equation, of course, but the film lets them grow out of the psychological and social issues it establishes from the start. In Batman Begins, crime is an act of the desperate and the greedy, who are seldom one and the same. Evil can be stopped only when good people take a stand. Of course, that's a gross oversimplification of the how the real world works, but it still has real-world relevance. And that's ultimately why superheroes still matter. Characters like Batman didn't come to be from nothing. They were born from the hopes and—especially in Batman's case—fears of the society around them, and they're kept aloft only so long as they continue to reflect those hopes and fears. A rousing, reverent, often brilliant re-creation of a seminal comics character, Batman Begins proves Batman is at home in the 21st century as he was in the 20th.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Model rockets . . . OF TERROR!!!
Posted by Raznor

In case you're not infuriated currently, here's some help:

A Canadian teen, who has been labelled as anti-American by prosecutors after he wore a "Joe Canadian" T-shirt to court, was found guilty yesterday in a plot to bomb his school.

Travis Biehn, 17, was led away from the courthouse in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in handcuffs and leg irons after the guilty verdict was rendered.

Judge Kenneth Biehn, no relation, ordered Travis held for 20 days for a psychiatric evaluation after he was found guilty of uttering terroristic threats and possession of incendiary devices.

Believe me, the more details you hear, the more pissed off you'll be. The kid makes model rockets, so of course they said he had all the materials to make a bomb. Do you mow your lawn? Because the fertilizer and the lawn mower give you enough materials to make a bomb. Enjoy prison, terrorist.

And what else pisses me off, is he was declared "anti-American" because he was wearing what appears to be a pretty cool shirt:

The raid's findings were enough for police to arrest Travis, who, at the time he was picked up, was wearing the popular Molson Canadian T-shirt with its famous "rant":

"I have a Prime Minister, not a president. I speak English and French, not American... I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack. I believe in peace keeping, not policing, diversity, not assimilation and that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal. A tuque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch, and it is pronounced 'zed' not 'zee', 'zed' !"

Travis was still wearing the shirt -- he hadn't been allowed to change -- when he was brought to court the next day. Images of Travis in his "anti-American shirt" appeared on newscasts and in area papers.

When I spent my semester in Budapest, I got this cool shirt from Statue Park. The front says "Simply Red Band World Tour" with Lenin, Marx, Engels and Stalin in the front posed like on an early Beatles album (Stalin is the Ringo). On the back are the tour dates - a list of countries and the year they fell to Communism. With an ominous "???" under "Afghanistan - 1979". The t-shirt's hilarious, but I'd hate to think what would happen if I happened to be wearing that shirt on the day one of my students decides to finger me as a terrorist to the authorities as vengeance for giving him an F just because he never showed up or turned in a homework assignment.

Welcome to Bush's America.

. . . via August, whose new comic is hilarious, by the way.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Supporting the troups
Posted by Raznor

Via Echidne, Jim Lampley writes the following in the Huffington Post.

A Bush-watcher website identified as TBRNews.org is reporting under the byline of "domestic intelligence reporter" Brian Harring that the Department of Defense is using a cynical tactic to mislead the public regarding the true death toll for American military personnel in Iraq. Harring claims he has an internal pdf. file from the D.O.D. which establishes that nearly 9000 Americans have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but that the official number has been held to 1713 by designating as Iraq deaths only those who perish on Iraqi soil. The remainder, he says, are military personnel who have died en route to Germany or in German hospitals-- casualties of the war, but not listed in the official death toll.

If this is true it would explain the apparent statistical discrepancy between dead and wounded. A combat action which produces nearly eight times as many officially wounded-- 13000 plus-- as officially dead...well, it's not the norm. It goes without saying it would also further jolt a public majority already disturbed by the war's "progress" and eager to see the troops come home. (link in original)

If true, this is truly disgusting. (And Lampley goes on to write about how the writers of this report are attempting to confirm it, so we'll know how true it is soon enough) For all those who claim criticizing the President is not supporting the troupes, pay attention to this. This would show nothing short of a huge dishonor by the Administration of those men and women who died in the unnecessary conflict they started. But what can we expect? As Lampley adds, the Bush Administration already bans showing flag-draped coffins. When Gary Trudeau or Dan Rather list the names of those killed, radical right wingers go rabid. Supporting the war has never been about supporting the troupes. It's about ignoring the troupes except indirectly, as they are the means by which racist assholes can vicariously torture Ay-rabs, and for Bush-cultists to worship their president.

And you know what, while I'm on the subject: Newt Gingrich- fuck off.

Jeb Bush pulls a Farnsworth
Posted by Raznor

In case you missed this most recent bit of Jeb Bush's personal smear campaign against a private citizen in his state, check this out:

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday that a prosecutor has agreed to investigate why Terri Schiavo collapsed 15 years ago, citing an alleged gap in time between when her husband found her and called 911.

"It's a significant question that during this ordeal was never brought up,'' Bush told reporters, saying he wasn't suggesting any wrongdoing by Michael Schiavo.

No, he's merely implying wrongdoing by Michael Schiavo.

Leela: Are you saying I'm crazy?
Professor Farnsworth: No, no, no one's saying that. But I sure am thinking it loudly. Oh yes.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Congratulations are in order
Posted by Raznor

to August Pollak. He's been listed in THE NETWORK.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Wit and Wisdom of Carl Everett

Posted by Ross

Carl Everett, the productive DH/Outfielder for the first-place Chicago White Sox, has some OPINIONS!

ESPN reports on an interview Everett gave for July's Maxim.

Here's one of gentle Carl's enlightened musings:

"Gays being gay is wrong. Two women can't produce a baby, two men can't produce a baby, so it's not how it's supposed to be. ... I don't believe in gay marriages. I don't believe in being gay."

Looks like someone's got a case of the "S'posed tas"!

President Bush Introduces Powerful New Weapon That Will “Break Insurgency”

Posted by Ross

The war in Iraq will be over “swiftly.” Or so claims the White House.

Press Secretary Scott McClellan announced today the President has “found the most powerful of weapons, and soon America shall be victorious in its mission of eradicating the Iraqi insurgency.”

When asked whether this powerful weapon was “nuclear in nature,” McClellan simply shook his head.

“It is far more powerful than any nuclear weapon,” he said with a hiss. “It has the power to rule the world. I am… its humble servant.”

The press conference ended earlier than expected when Tobias Hopson of the Washington Post asked why, instead of his usual coat and tie, Mr. McClellan was dressed in all black robes which obscured his face.

Instead of responding, the Press Secretary let out a shriek that would chill the bones of the recently-deceased, removed a poison-tipped dagger from beneath his robes and stabbed the reporter in the shoulder.

Doctors treating Hopson say the tip of the blade broke off and is slowly making its way to his heart. Without the healing touch of Elrond, he shall soon become a wraith.

In a related story, an unconfirmed report confirms that, should the Michael Bolton nomination be struck down by the Senate, President Bush is prepared to nominate McClellan in his stead.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Eli Andersen Hits the Water

Posted by Ross

The adventure begins Posted by Hello

Last Wednesday, Eli Andersen slid his handmade kayak into the water in Juneau, Alaska, beginning an epic 90-day solo trek southwards to Olympia, WA.

Crazy post roundup
Posted by Raznor

So, for those who've been paying attention, you'll note what started as a random humorous post by Ross turned out into a full-blown crazy news cycle with contributions from all three bloggers at this site. For those who haven't been paying attention, here's a roundup with links to appropriate posts:

Air Force 2 TP "not as nice" as Air Force 1 TP, muses Cheney
'Air Force 1 is WAAAAY better than AF2,' says Bush
Air Force 1 Vandalized!
Federal Agents Raid Cheney’s Bunker. Ring of Power Seized!
Darth Scalia unphased by death of Apprentice Cheney, tells General Franks "Soon I will have a new apprentice."

More to come, maybe, should I or Ross or the Bekka feel like it.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Posted by the bekka
Associated press
In a rare, late-night radio address, the President of the United States has issued the following statement, transcribed here in its entirety:

"Ladies and people of America, this evening I was surfing the ol' 'Gore' Wide Web-heh heh heh, anyways-when I came across something that troubled me. So let me make this plain 'n simple to all y'all out there in this great nation of ours: your president ain't no goofy elf-loving hobbit. I repeat: the liberal media would have you believe that these so-called "Tolkien fans" are giving you the truth. But I must ask you this - whose truth do you feel like believing more? You ask yourself that. Then we'll see who's the elf-lover here. (Loud bang here-president slams fist on desk) All right, then. Thank you America, and good night. For the White House, I'm George W. Bush. (slightly muffled) I've always wanted to say that."

Darth Scalia unphased by death of Apprentice Cheney, tells General Franks "Soon I will have a new apprentice."
Posted by Raznor

News of the death of the apprentice of Darth Scalia seemed not to disturb, or even surprise the Sith Lord, sources reported earlier.

"It was a necessary sacrifice," Scalia reportedly told General Franks when Franks informed him of the news. "Soon I will have a new apprentice. One slightly younger and theoretically more powerful, maybe."

Sources were unsure as to who the new apprentice would be, but Scalia has been invited to Bush's ranch in Crawford.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Federal Agents Raid Cheney’s Bunker. Ring of Power Seized!

Posted by Ross

In the dead of night, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez led a deadly force of FBI agents and Ninja assassins into Vice President Dick Cheney’s home/impenetrable Bunker of Doom, where they were pinned down for hours in a fearsome firefight with Zombie Cyborg Sentinels.

The raid was begat at the behest of President Bush who believed Cheney responsible for masterminding the infamous TP-ing of Air Force One.

“This ain’t no yeller cake uranium kinda lead or nothin’ neither,” the President said as he watched from a command post not thirty yards from the pulse-pounding Hollywood-esque action scene, “I know a guy who said he saw Dick tossin’ the TP on my plane.”

After two platoons of Iraq-bound Marines were sent in and subsequently slaughtered and eaten by the Zombie Cyborgs, President Bush activated a powerful magnetic pulse that shut them down for good, allowing the Attorney General to push deeper and deeper into Cheney’s lair.

Downward they pushed, deeper and deeper, into the very core of the Earth, until finally they arrived at a bubbling pit of lava.

On a platform in the middle of this pit was none other than Dick Cheney, his eyes dancing with a satanic fury, laughing the screams of a thousand damned souls.

“He’s gone completely fucking mad!” Karl Rove screamed, leaping across the lava like a bullet and engaging the Vice President in hand-to-hand combat. It was an epic duel, but ultimately, Rove was no match for the Dark Lord of Morgoth, who wielded, as his weapon of choice, the One Ring to rule them all.

Necromancer Cheney cast an evil spell on Rove and all stood in horror as they watched his head explode, sending chunks of brain - still, no-doubt, calculating how to maintain GOP power in the House and Senate in ‘06 - splattering every which way.

Gonzalez and his men cowered, looking on in hopeless, mindless terror.

And just as things looked their bleakest, President Bush himself stood before Cheney, wielding the gleaming Anduril “Flame of the West.”

“Dick,” he screamed, “YOU’RE FIRED!”

And with that, the President hewed the great hand of Dick Cheney, severing the One Ring.

Cheney’s power was instantly broken, his physical form shattered into a million fragments, before being swept away by a cleansing ethereal wind.

“It’s the damndest thing,” Gonzalez said later, “everyone down at the JD, myself included, always thought Dick was an Evil Sith Lord.”

The Evil Sith Lord, as it would turn out, was Antonin Scalia, who remains at large, currently the third most wanted man by American authorities after Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarkawi.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Amnesty blogathon over at Pandagon
Posted by Raznor

Starting tomorrow at 8am eastern time, Jesse and Amanda with some guests will be doing a 24 hour blogathon to raise money for Amnesty International. Head over there and check it out. And donate some moneys. I gave $20 earlier this week.

Breaking News:
Air Force 1 Vandalized!

Posted by Ross

President Bush looked on in slack-jawed shock this afternoon when he stood on the runway, beholding his beloved Air Force 1 covered in cheap-o single-ply toilet paper.

"Look at this mess," he muttered to henchman Karl Rove. "No doubt clean-up will be at taxpayer expense."

Though many in the administration believe Vice President Dick Cheney, or one of his Halliburton lackeys, were responsible for the prank, efforts by the President to obtain copies of video surveillance that may shed light on the culprit were blocked by the Vice President's office, citing, as precedent, the Supreme Court's recent refusal to allow information from Cheney's energy task force to be released to the public.

After a day of binge drinking and duck hunting with Chief Justice-in-waiting Antonin Scalia, in which a member of Cheney's Secret Service detail mysteriously lost a toe, the Vice President returned to his undisclosed bunker somewhere in the bowels of planet earth, where he released a statement to the press addressing the situation:

"Fuck off. Suck my balls. Burn in hell.

"In closing," Cheney continued, "I would like to address the unrelated recent disappearance of all the toilet paper from Air Force 2 by requesting legislators re-stock the plane with Charmin. It's gentler on the 'roids."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN), whose office oversees funding for presidential and vice presidential toiletries, was unavailable for comment.

'Air Force 1 is WAAAAY better than AF2,' says Bush
Posted by the Bekka
At a meeting in the Oval Office today, and in response to Vice President Cheney's allegations of the "suckiness" of Air Force 2 and its accomodations, President Bush was heard to comment, "Nyah nyah na nyah nyah. That's why it pays to be president, boo-yah! In your face, bee-yatch!"

President Bush then proceeded to do a "touchdown dance" on the carpeted presidential seal in front of his desk. Vice President Cheney was unavailable for comment.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Air Force 2 TP "not as nice" as Air Force 1 TP, muses Cheney

Posted by Ross

The door to the Air Force 2 lavatory swung slowly open and Vice President Dick Cheney emerged with that trademark scowl on his face as he returned to his seat beside Chief Justice-in-waiting Antonin Scalia. The two were en route to a long weekend of duck hunting/dismantling the US Constitution.

"I'm literally sick of this shit," Cheney murmered to Scalia. "I know Air Force 1 is slightly cooler than Air Force 2, but does that mean I have to wipe my ass with sandpaper?"

Scalia then reached into his tote bag stowed underneath the seat in front of him, removing a roll of toilet paper and showing it to the vice president. "That's why, when I travel with you, I always bring my own," Scalia said.

"A little late for that now," Cheney replied as he settled into his seat, his knees bumping the semi-reclined chair in front of him, rousing a member of the Secret Service from his nap.

"Another thing," Cheney said, "the leg room on this plane sucks balls."

Rest in peace, Mrs. Robinson
Posted by Raznor

Anne Bancroft died. A great actress, no doubt, but let's let a great director give his opinion:

Mike Nichols, who directed her in "The Graduate," said she was a masterful actress.

"Her combination of brains, humor, frankness and sense were unlike any other artist," Nichols said in a statement released by a publicist. "Her beauty was constantly shifting with her roles, and because she was a consummate actress she changed radically for every part."

Oh, how the mind wanders
Posted by Raznor

Via Oliver Willis, this:

At the behest of a lobbyist now under criminal investigation, two Indian tribes paid $25,000 each to a conservative tax-exempt group to underwrite an event that scored tribal leaders a private meeting with President Bush.

reminded me of a Roy Cohn line from Angels in America:

I have sex with men. But unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true, I bring the guy I'm screwing to the White House and President Reagan smiles at us, and shakes his hand.

which of course reminded me of JimmyJeff GannonGuckert. Coincidence?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Quote of the Day
Posted by Raznor

Jesse Taylor:

Listen, just because I think that the Declaration of Independence should be officially changed to "The Declaration of Independence from British Sheepfuckers" doesn't mean that I want to institutionalize pornography into the public sphere. I just happen to think the colonial British were sheepfuckers.

Eli Andersen and the great outdoors

Posted by Ross

Long-time friend Eli Andersen departed yesterday from Juneau, Alaska, beginning a 1250-mile solo trek in a kayak he built himself, that will end in about 90 days upon his arrival in Olympia, WA.

More information is at:

People: Traveling Light: Eli Andersen sets off in kayak to paddle Inside Passage, Puget Sound

Stay posted for more news.

Monday, June 06, 2005

More on Nixon and Vietnam
Posted by Raznor

For those who read the context of the Peggy Noonan column I discussed in this post will note that Noonan was agreeing to a Ben Stein quotation.

Here's the thing. Ben Stein is saying that Nixon would have won Vietnam. This is contradicted by the fact that Nixon announced the withdrawal from Vietnam in November, 1969. He did so in a speech. A speech likely written by his speechwriter, that being Ben Stein, so Ben Stein knew about this speech. So when Stein says something like that, he's either being a complete lying asshole, or he's completely senile and can no longer remember what happened 30 years ago. Either way, I don't know why we have to listen to him.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

History is fun to ignore
Posted by Raznor

Norbizness does a nice little fisking of Peggy Noonan's latest tripe about Deep Throat. I'll leave you to click the first link and read his capable dissection of this badly written column. Go ahead, have fun. Take your time, I'll be right here when you get back.

Okay, you're done? Pretty good huh.

Oh wait a minute, did you just skip over the link and continue reading this long post. Shame, no more reading this post for you until you've finished reading Norbizness. Go ahead.

Okay, now we we can go on.

Anyway, I have to take some issue with this paragraph from Noonan:

What Mr. Felt helped produce was a weakened president who was a serious president at a serious time. Nixon's ruin led to a cascade of catastrophic events-- the crude and humiliating abandonment of Vietnam and the Vietnamese, the rise of a monster named Pol Pot, and millions--millions--killed in his genocide. America lost confidence; the Soviet Union gained brazenness. What a terrible time.

Okay, I know more than my share fair on the history of the Vietnam War, so I thought I'd go over this point by point. However as an initial disclaimer, I don't really know that much about Pol Pot or the rise of the Khmer Rouge, so I'll mostly skip that one. However, I was under the impression that the Khmer Rouge came to power with the backing of the US in order to counter the North Vietnamese infiltration of Cambodia, but I may be mistaken about the details and certainly don't have any of the nuances. If you know more about this than me, hey, that's what comments and trackback are for. Also e-mail.

Anyway, as for the paragraph, let's talk about the first statement, that the Watergate incident let to the "ambadonment" of Vietnam. I think I'll begin by quoting Nixon's Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, on this, from his book Diplomacy*, chapter 24, p 604:

My own brief acquaintance with de Gaulle provided a stark introduction to his principles. Our first encounter took place during Nixon's visit to Paris in March 1969. At the Elysee Palace, where de Gaulle was hosting a large reception, an aide located me in the crowd to say that the French President wished to speak with me. Somewhat awestruck, I approached the towering figure. Upon seeing me, he dismissed the group around him and, without a word of greeting or other social courtesy, welcomed me with this query: "Why don't you get out of Vietnam?" I replied with some diffidence that a unilateral retreat would undermine American credibility. De Gaulle was not impressed, and asked where such a loss of credibility might occur. When I indicated the Middle East, his remoteness turned into melancholy and he remarked: "How very odd. I thought it was precisely in the Middle East that your enemies were having the credibility problem."

Take note of this, this was 1969, 2 months after Nixon's inauguration. And as insistent as Kissinger may have been, his response paints a bleak picture for the situation in Vietnam, when the only reason for staying is for credibility, as it certainly wasn't for a foreseeable military victory. De Gaulle recognized Vietnam for what it was - a lost cause. Just like it had been for the French 15 years earlier.

1968 began with the Tet Offensive, which although a military victory for the United States, proved that the North Vietnamese were capable of launching a major attack, simultaneously hitting several South Vietnamese cities at once. This went against everything the American public was led to believe regarding the North Vitnamese military capability, thus the US military, already having credibility problems, had lost a little more of the American public's trust. What followed this was the bloodiest year in the Vietnam War. For info, I'll direct you to read the book After Tet if you have the time.

So things were looking bad by the time Nixon took office. Nixon's solution for this was Vietnamization, which amounted to the slow withdrawal from Vietnam, leaving the South Vietnamese to fight their own battles. Nixon announced this plan in November of 1969, and by 1973 American troups had fully withdrawn except for a small presence in the embassy in Saigon, and in 1975 the North Vietnamese unleashed a major invasion on the South hence uniting the entire country under Communist rule. For more on this, check out chapter 7 of America's Longest War

So going back to Noonan, and look at the chronology - in 1969 Nixon announced a slow withdrawal from Vietnam - nearly three years before the Watergate breakin, then in 1973 Nixon's planned withdrawal was completed, a year before he was impeached and resigned in disgrace. So the Watergate investigation led to the withdrawal from Vietnam apparently by going backwards through time.

As far as Soviet brazenness? Puh-lease. This was a mere 15 years since the Soviet Union brutally crushed a Hungarian revolt. A mere 10 years after Kruschev attempted to solidify his negotiating position regarding Berlin by placing missiles in Cuba. And a mere 5 years after Soviet tanks were rolling down the streets of Prague. I don't think the Soviets needed any help in being brazen.

*- Note to my readers, even if your as arch liberal as me (or even moreso) I strongly recommend picking up Kissinger's Diplomacy. Whatever you may think of him as a policy maker or even human being, it cannot be denied that he is one of the premiere diplomatic historians of the past 50 years, and a good writer at that.

Euro Pic Post
Posted by Raznor

Take that security - this is one postcard worthy pic

It's been a while since I posted pics from my Euro pic from last summer, so I thought I'd do this one. And I know I usually do this on Fridays, but hey, it's Friday in Greenwich Mean Time, so that'll do. This was at the old Prussian Imperial Palace in Potsdam, the picture is of the interior of the Chinese tea house. Immediately after taking this pic, security told me to put the camera away. Ha ha ha, I thought while complying, too late. You fools!! Then I laughed inwardly.

Unfortunately I didn't get a nice panorama, but hey, whatcha gonna do?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Toon-Grievous would kick CGI-Grievous' ass anyday
Posted by Raznor

The new VG Cats is a nice little sumup of the new Star Wars movie. Particularly deadon with the second panel.

Meanwhile, what did I think of Revenge of the Sith? I liked it. Like, a lot. Actually, already saw it twice, and it held up the second time. The love scenes, though annoyingly badly written, were at least extremely short. And the light saber scenes - awesome. As a guy who really - really - likes swords, I appreciate when a movie shows choreographed sword fighting scenes that exhibit some awesome techniques. So I really particularly loved the attention to detail ROTS displayed. For example (kind of a spoiler alert) if you watch closely in the fight between Anakin and Saruman (okay - Dooku is the dumbest name ever, and hearing a wheezing Grievous say it over and over again certainly didn't help) you'll notice that when Anakin's and Saruman's light sabers are engaged, Anakin is holding his light saber with two hands, Dooku with one, so Anakin is able to grab Dooku's right wrist with his left hand, essentially gaining control of Dooku's light saber, that allows Anakin to disengage his own light saber and slice through the octagenarian Sith Lord's forearms. (Meh, he had a long life)

Okay, I'm a sword fight geek. Still, as for reviews, the best I've read, that really sums up how I feel about the movie comes from Keith Phipps.