I’m a little bit tired of the meme that Obama has been “indecisive” on Afghanistan. We’re coming off an Administration and a punditsphere that spent years telling us that all was well in Iraq; that the perceived violence was just a fiction of the evil liberal media; that anyone calling for more troops or the firing of Rumsfeld was a RINO and a triator.

Then, when they lost an election, they suddenly realized we need a change of leadership, a change of strategy and more troops. And they’ve spent the last three years claiming credit for that.


The more I watch the debate over Iraq and Afghanistan — especially from the neocon side — the more I realize that this is just a fucking game to them. Thousands of lives, national credibility and future terror attacks are background to their insane political game. There are plenty of true patriots out there within the Republican party and the commentariat . But the to likes of guys like Bill Kristol and Karl Rove, the WOT is just a means to score points against their real enemies — the Democrats.

Read the Bill, Or Not

I think I agree with Bartlett. These calls for lawmakers to read the bill — which started with the Patriot Act — are bit misguided. The bills are written in massive legalese and the final version is often wildly different from the early versions. There is little point in wasting their time on this.

I think these people are missing the forest for the trees. The problem with the bills isn’t that Congress Creatures don’t read them; the problem is that they are so complicated in the first place. The problem is that citizens are expected to have read these laws and may get fined or jailed if the violate Section (1), subsection 9, paragraphs 9, sentence 2, John 17:3. It’s almost as if the law were written in Martian — you’ll know when you’ve broken it when the cops arrest you.

Robert Heinlein once suggested that we needed a “Plain English Amendment” to the Constitution that would require laws to be comprehensible to educated citizens. He was thinking specifically of the tax code, which is so badly written that even the damned IRS doesn’t understand it. I’m sure there are big unintended consequences and 70 lawyers would be happy to tell me why laws have to be written in such legalistic jargon. But I still think Heinlein had a point. It’s not reasonable to expect citizens to have their own lawyers to interpret 2000 pages laws for them.

Weekend Linkorama

  • Ouch.
  • More adventures from Maricopa County.
  • Friersdorf has a great open letter. The problem with the GOP is not the RINOs. It’s the corrupt lying “real conservatives”.
  • A heartbreaking story.
  • I think it’s great that the federal government is protecting us from … brass?
  • All across the world, they comin’ to America. Hey, if they want to work and obey the law, welcome aboard.
  • You stay classy, WBC.
  • Thursday Linkorama

  • What? Not another sex scandal involving one of these uber-moral conservatives standing against homosexual hedonism?
  • Wonderful. The Iraqis are using pseudoscience to find bombs.
  • I agree with Lindsay Graham. The GOP can not get too fixated on ideological purity if they want to become a political force again. There are many districts, particularly in the northeast, where a hardline conservative can’t win but a moderate can. If the GOP runs such moderates, they won’t get their “pure” conservative Congress. But they will shift the Congressional Gaussian significantly to the right.
  • The Dems want to put nutritional info on vending machines. I guess because putting it in restaurants worked so well.
  • Occasionally, the Obama Administration makes me happy. When they are at least acknowledging the problems that Sarbanes-Oxley has created, that’s a good thing. And more than the last “pro-business” Administration did.
  • I have this crazy idea that one day government will fix problems before they blow up in our face.
  • Why the GOP is still irrelevant. They can’t even come up with earmark reform.
  • Megan McArdle explores the idea that the VA is a model for healthcare reform. The most important point? The VA provides less than half of the healthcare veterans need and receive.
  • The New Yorker asks why our murder rate is so high. I reject all the conventional arguments, which seem to be focus on our not worshiping government enough.
  • Dumb Ideas

    Huffpo has a rundown of 15 stupid products. My beloved Hawaii Chair is represented. This has to be one of the funniest ads ever, watching the actors bravely pretend to work while this thing lurches back and forth.

    The bed shotgun rack makes its obligatory appearance. I’m not sure why. I know a number of people who keep guns near their bed. I even know one person to whom this was useful, when she used it to chase a way a guy who had broken into her house. Same goes with the “Bumpits” thing. I know women who use similar devices (although not at $19.99 and not with such a stupid name).

    I will say one more thing. $55 for the Kush?! The product is stupid (and exploitive) enough, but to charge that much for it? Good Christ.