Saturday, August 29, 2009

Avast, Me Hearties!

Via Strategy Page, comes this update on the state of the piracy business on the high seas off the Somali coast. Business, it appears, is not booming:
August 24, 2009: Off Somalia, 136 ships have been attacked so far this year, and 28 (21 percent) have been taken. Last year, the pirate success rate was 40 percent. Moreover, 80 percent of the attacks defeated do not involve the foreign warships now patrolling the coast. The merchant sailors, and the ship owners, have adopted defensive measures that have become remarkably successful in defeating pirate attacks.

It's that last bit that's really got my attention. As much as I feel the piracy situation warrants very serious attention, up to and including military involvement, the latter would not be my first choice, given the nature and scale of the mission, and the fearsome expenditures (to uneven benefit) it demands. Stepped-up patrolling is helpful and necessary, but maritime laws put suffocating constraints on the Navy's rules of engagement, not to mention the maddening tangle of statutes on the disposition of prisoners. And the geopolitical implications of any direct action against headquarters ashore give me a headache even to contemplate.

It is encouraging, then, to hear of merchant vessels' crews training in countermeasures against pirate pursuit and boarding. They are learning to zig-zag a freighter at flank speed (and so creating dangerous wakes for pursuing speedboats), training with water cannon and long poles, stringing barbed wire across vulnerable spots to repel boarders. They are setting up "panic rooms," provisioned with food and water, and (perhaps most importantly) radio gear. These all make a world of sense and have apparently been hugely successful. Holed-up sailors can call for a patrolling ship, sticking pirates with the choice of waiting for the Navy on a ship they can't operate, or beating a hasty (and trackable) retreat. It's a nice 'force multiplier,' since it gives time for sea-borne assets to reach the scene (which means they don't have to try and be everywhere at once).

Indeed, given the legal complexities involved in arming merchant ships (e.g., many ports won't let ships with unlocked weapons --or any weapons at all-- come in and dock), it would even make sense for small teams of Special Forces operators to make the rounds of merchant vessels, providing training in defeating would-be invaders. Providing SF expertise on everything from passive countermeasures to hand-to-hand combat could in many cases obviate the need for weapons lockers, and make in-theater military assets more effective.

Ultimately, anything that makes the job of pirating more expensive, difficult, and risky is worth doing. If this can be done without so heavily leveraging the (already-stretched) wealth of nations by calling upon their militaries, then so much the better.

So, to the rigging, m'lads!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bizarro Governors

South Carolina's Mark Sanford is like the anti-Palin.

Sarah saw that the ability of her administration to pursue its ends was hamstrung by a constant barrage of expensive nonsense which bore virtually no relationship to her actual conduct as a Governor and a human being. She made the extremely risky and unconventional choice to bow out, so that her loyal Lt. Governor, Sean Parnell could continue the work and go into the next election with the advantage of being an incumbent.

Sanford brought the rightful ire of both parties onto himself (and the Conservative brand) through his personal and (apparently) professional shenanigans. His increasingly beleaguered and impatient Lt. Governor has asked him to do the right thing, and so contain the damage to the SC GOP for the sake of pending business and future elections (not to mention what's left of the office's dignity). Yet Sanford lacks the integrity to swallow his vanity (not to mention a good 85% of his words) and step the frack out of the way.

If these two contrasting characters were presented in a novel, I would call the parallelism hopelessly contrived.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pushback in Iraq

Just came across this article over at the Long War Journal, in which Bill Roggio cites credible intel about the perpetrators of recent bombings in Baghdad:

Al Qaeda front group the Islamic State in Iraq has claimed responsibility for last week's deadly truck bombings in Baghdad.

The bombings, which targeted Iraqi's foreign and finance ministries, killed more than 100 Iraqis and wounded hundreds more. The bombings took place less than two months after the Iraqi security forces took control of security in the cities, and US forces withdrew to bases. The Iraqi government was also beginning to remove the concrete barriers that line the city streets.

Al Qaeda in Iraq said its "sons launched a new blessed attack at the heart of wounded Baghdad," designed to "wreck the bastions of infidelity."

The attack was designed to shake the Iraqi people's faith in the government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and show that the Iraqi Security Forces are incapable of providing security...

A couple of thoughts: I had suspected and ---weird as it may sound to use this word in this context-- rather hoped that this might be the case. My fear had been that some new collection of insurgents was rising, and/or vying with the remnants of existing insurgencies to destabilize the hard-won gains in Iraq. The worry would be that a comprehensive power vacuum was perceived, which a variety of actors was emerging to fill. That would be Very Bad, since it would represent a groundswell of chaos the likes of which are devilishly difficult to turn back. This was the case in 2006, and it would be a long bet that the kind of lightning which Coalition Forces and their Iraqi counterparts were able to wield then would be available again.

Instead, it appears that the usual suspects have seen an opportunity to cash in on the anxiety which accompanied the withdrawal of Coalition forces from urban areas and back into their bases, in keeping with the Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Further, if these miscreants did indeed succeed in bribing elements of the Iraqi Security Forces to soften up key checkpoints, then they get the "twofer" of undermining confidence in both the capability and integrity of the ISF. But fundamentally, if Roggio's sources turn out to be correct (and he does have a pretty stellar track record), then we are looking at a rather predictable tactical setback which will require proportional adjustments...but which leave the overarching strategy essentially unchanged.

Yes, Maliki appears to have jumped the gun somewhat on the removal of blast barriers in Baghdad and courting an array of foreign investors. Yes, the degree to which AQI can count on shelter and support from Syria still argues against loosening of the screws on Damascus (are you listening, Hillary?). Yes, some re-vetting and remedial training is pretty clearly in order within the ISF (though, for the most part, they are keeping the peace quite ably in most of the country). And yes, it may be prudent to work in conjunction with the Iraqi Government to revisit some of the pacing issues with respect to the total withdrawal of Coalition forces as per the SOFA (sidebar: would a truly "Imperial" power have sat still on its bases while this was going on?).

But AQI still is still not controlling any appreciable amounts of territory, and remains relegated to the status of savage vandals, whose lashings-out are if anything brought into higher relief due to the overall level of sustained security across the vast majority of the lately war-ravaged Iraq.

AQI's leadership are bloodthirsty nihilistic psychopaths, cloaked in the rhetoric of piety, but they are not fools; they understand as well as we do that the success of counterinsurgency operations keys on the host nation population's sense that their lives and livelihoods are effectively protected by their government and its duly designated (and appropriately controlled) wielders of force. AQI knows that it has precious few windows left for de-legitimizing the elected Iraqi government and its security forces. They know they have a non-zero probability of success if they can make the Iraqi people believe that it was only the presence of the Infidel Occupiers which enabled the Iraqi Government to keep the peace. They will try to shame that government, to paint it as an impotent lap-dog of foreign masters. They will try to make the people yearn for the harsh but sure hand of a strongman (Baathists) or a theocrat (Salafist Jihadis) to make the chaos go away. And they know they don't have long to make their case.

These are delicate, dangerous times for Iraq (beginnings always are). But thus far I have not seen any real game-changers. This is not something I am taking for granted, and neither should you. But beware also the inevitable cries of "Quagmire" in the coming weeks and months. This is push-back, and only triumphalist fools should be surprised at it. But only equally foolish defeatists would not see this as the occasion to dig in and push back even harder. Maliki appears to have slid a bit in the former direction (mainly for political purposes), and he's got a well-earned bloody nose for it. But in the past he's shown himself to be a tough and resilient leader when it's counted. This would be another one of those times.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bajíos y Honduras, Parte Dos (Updated) (UPDATED again, now with 50% More Stupidity!)

Thank goodness for Hot Air, for finding this bit of news about the situation in Honduras, given how quietly yet comprehensively it has fallen from the radar screen since shortly after I last addressed it.

Seems the Honduran Supreme Court has had the temerity to hold fast to its own ruling regarding the underhanded and unconstitutional efforts of erstwhile Presidente Zelaya to ignore and ultimately overturn the laws of his nation and set the stage for his ascension to the office of Chavez-Lite. Thus have they unconditionally rejected the so-called "compromise" offered by the apparently well-meaning but sadly off-target president of Costa Rica, which would have had Zelaya re-installed to the Honduran Presidency until the elections in November. The Organization of American States (OAS) had been waiting for this compromise, in order to restore aid to Honduras and declare an end to this whole nasty business (have you heard that they consider it a "Coup?" I seem to recall a few news outlets referring to it as such...).

Muchisimos Kudos to the Honduran legislature and judiciary for standing fast in the face of withering international hassles and ruinous financial coercion. Now the stage is set for the Honduran Constitution to do its stuff --interrupted neither by local proto-tyrants, nor by scheming international pressure groups. Micheletti has no plans to run for the presidency, and Zelaya has an express ticket to the pokey if he so much as plants a toe in Tegucigalpa. That leaves a clear field for the Honduran people truly to put an end to this: by voting for President according to the laws which the fellow they last elected came within a hair's breadth of nullifying for his personal aggrandizement.

I can only hope that this situation will act as a spur to the Honduran people to make their government accountable for the sad state of their economy, and to work toward greater autonomy from future blackmail-through-aid. If ever there was a country which knew who its friends were (and weren't), it's Honduras today. I do also hope that there is some accounting for the arguably extralegal manner in which the legal warrant against Zelaya was served. It really was over the top, and did nothing to dispel the PR machine which has so enthusiastically striven to paint this as just another Cavendish Coup.

In the meantime, I'll be adding some Honduran coffee and cigars to my shopping list.

UPDATE: Memo to Obama Administration: When you find yourself in a hole, it is best to stop digging. As ever, I expect this advice to be ignored. Smart power, indeed.

UPDATED AGAIN: Gosh, just when you think this Administration has reached the limit of its jaw-dropping, facepalming, abject, drooling fatuity and breathtaking arrogance on this matter, they up and double down. I am simply speechless. Yeah, why not punish a whole lot of poor people because their impudent government has elected to obey its own laws, and not the august decree of the One and his fellow-travelers. Abominable.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Terror Alerts Raised for Political Gain?

[by Mr.Hengist]

Former DHS head Tom Ridge has a book coming out, and as is the custom of the age, he's disclosed some titillating revelations to boost sales.

I'm particularly interested in his claim regarding terror alerts because this is a topic that came up during the conversation between Noocyte and myself during the summer of 2004. Although I was already passingly familiar with the accusation that the DHS terror threat level was being raised to distract attention from bad news, I thought it best to review the data to which he linked in order to evaluate it more closely. What I found was that there was no demonstrable correlation between these events. The threat level and the events cited were up to two weeks apart in either direction, and "bad news" events were frequent enough that there was no significant correlation between them and the threat levels being raised. That is to say, the threat level being raised had a high probability of being within a two week vicinity of a bad news event because the bad news events of the caliber cited by these accusers happened with such frequency. I also pointed out to him that the data shows that support for POTUS Bush went up by only a few percentage points after the threat level was raised, and it dissipated quickly after that, in a matter of a handful of days, thus demonstrating that if they were being used as a means of garnering support for the Bush Administration, they were, consistently, having a remarkably weak effect and were short-lived as well, thus calling into question the rationale of continuing to do so.

At any rate, I imagine the children of Kos will be frothing at the mouth over their supposed vindication. I'd like to point out that the claims being made by the lunatic Left back then were in regards to all instances of the terror alert status being raised, whereas Ridge is making a claim that is pertinent to one and only one event - the one before the 2004 election. In fact, as the book has not yet been published, it's not possible to say for certain just what his claim is. If it is as is claimed in the U.S. News & World Report "Washington Whispers" blog, then it would seem to undercut the argument they made during those turbulent years. Of all the terror level raising events in question - and that's all of them, according to the lunatic Left - apparently only one is believed by Ridge to have been politically motivated. The key phrase here is "believed to have been," as Ridge does not seem to claim that it was politically motivated; he only claims that he believed it to be so.

His accusation is that it was his suspicion, but presumably he was not instructed to raise the terror threat level on explicitly political grounds. In order for his accusation to have merit it would have had to have been explicit because we are and were facing an enemy which is and was avowedly opposed to democracy and elections in general. I submit that, absent political considerations of the Bush Administration, it would have been negligent to have kept the terror threat level at its pre-election level in light of the anti-democratic aims of our enemies: Al Qaeda and their like-minded brethren. In light of that, it would not have been enough for Bush Administrations to tell Ridge that the terror threat level should be raised in advance of the 2004 elections; in order for the accusation Ridge has made to have merit he would have had to have been told explicitly that the purpose of pushing him to raise the threat level was to boost the reelection chances of Republicans.

If what he was told was that explicit - and, remember, from what we now know he bases his claim on his judgment alone - then I will concede that this was a dastardly deed. Short of an explicit connection then this accusation is some weak tea indeed.

As an aside, it's also worth noting that pushing Ridge to raise the threat level is not consistent with an administration that had plans to fix the election, thus, once again, undercutting the suspicions of the Left that Bush stole the 2004 election.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Outlander" Review (UPDATED)

Vikings vs. Aliens. What's not to love?

A few years back, I read a very favorable review on Aintitcool news of a movie called "Reign of Fire," a tale of post-apocalyptic Brits vs. the dragons which had decimated the Earth, with some help by a motley platoon of bad-ass Yanks (led by an altogether unrecognizably buff Matthew McConaughey).

I know; right?

And yet, it muscled its way incongruously onto the short list of the most effective, tightly-crafted monster movies I'd seen in a long time. From the mostly quite deft pacing, A-list production values, and (at times simply jaw-dropping) visual effects, to the surprisingly well-executed character work, "Reign" did things with a pretty absurd premise which led me to markedly expand the parameters of what I was willing to buy as raw material for a well-told story.

Which is why, when I read this review of "Outlander," I did not immediately click back to my newsfeed. This is not a choice I regret, having just watched it.

Is it as good as "Reign of Fire?" Hell, no. Does it deliver the crap sandwich you'd expect from the headline (interstellar traveler crash lands in 8th century Norway, inadvertently delivering a terrifying extraterrestrial beastie into the territory of a Viking king, with whom he must join forces to vanquish the creature that had killed his family on a distant colony world)? Oddly, no.

Part of the credit goes to the casting, with a gravelly John Hurt as the King Rothgar (no, not "Hrothgar" but the ref was not lost) delivering a much-needed gravitas to the fur-sporting Vikings (among whom there was a welcome absence of horned helms), to John Caviezel as the stranded star man, Kainan, and the ever-spunky and appealing Sophia Myles as the king's daughter, the cast plays it straight. This is a good thing, since with a story like this, even the slightest wink would take one dangerously into "SyFy" territory.

Caviezel's Kainan is a haunted, traumatized warrior with a stain on his conscience, and a major score to settle, but he is fundamentally a good man, whose frustration with the barbarians among whom he has landed is balanced by the debt he owes for the calamity he has inadvertently brought down on their heads. The process by which he wends his way into their reluctant good graces unfolds with a surprisingly satisfying exhibition of quiet virtue and bluster-free valor. Some will find his performance flat and monotonous, but I found subtleties which quite compensate for the lack of scenery-chewing machismo (the Vikings shoulder that burden with a delightfully over-the-top mannish elan).

Jack Huston plays Wulfric, the impetuous heir of Rothgar's kingdom with a nice blend of obnoxious testosterone and a promise of unpolished wisdom whose development through the course of the story is surprisingly effective, given how badly you want to brain him with a battle axe at the beginning of the story. His clumsy courtship of Myles' Freya and his bull-headed hostility toward Kainan form the concrete expressions of Rothgar's otherwise generic-sounding reservations about his readiness to claim the throne. We can actually see where he falls short in the role of a true leader, and we get to watch him confront those shortcomings, learn just the right amount of humility, and grow both as a character and as a king-in-waiting. It's a good turn for Huston, somewhat reminiscent of Karl Urban's Eomer in "The Lord of the Rings." He's one to watch, as he brings an appealing humanity to a role which was seemingly made for a cardboard cut-out treatment.

And then there's the creature, a coal-black, vaguely reptilian monster known as a "Moorwen." It's an all-CG creation which still manages to convey terrifyingly realistic presence and menace. The physics engine used in the rendering of the creature was expertly deployed; the beast never violated the rules of its motion and mass, moving with impressive speed and grace, but still conveying a daunting sense of weight and power. It phosphoresces with eerie beauty in the night, before striking with its long, whip-like tail, slicing through Vikings like a hot knife through butter. Best of all, as we learn more about its back-story, even the creature takes on a distinctly sympathetic dimensionality, without ever losing its brutality (and, again, the "Beowulf" reference is in evidence, as there are clear but non-slavish affinities with Grendel). The SFX team struck just the right balance between preserving the mystery of the thing's appearance, and refraining from annoyingly coy concealment.

Yes, it drags a bit in the third act. Yes, some of the "comic relief" was a bit broad. No there was not nearly enough of the great Ron Perlman as a rival tribesman. Yes, Kainan's Honorary Viking Costume was laughably silly.

But c'mon, it's Vikings vs. aliens. What're you expecting, King Lear?

[edited for late-night grammatical miscarriages]

UPDATE: Here on AICN are some neat making-of featurettes which do not appear on the US DVD, but are planned for inclusion on the upcoming UK Blu-Ray release (there is at this time no planned US Blu-Ray release for this film...and what's up with that?!). Some spoilers, but nothing too earth-shattering, and they do give a nice taste of the film (worth it just for Ron Perlman's brief, hilarious interview). Recently watched it again (before returning to NetFlix). Held up surprisingly well on re-watching, and even grew on me a bit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

An Unhealthy Dynamic

You may be getting the impression that I've seized on the issue of so-called healthcare "reform" with an intensity previously reserved for counterinsurgency and the Presidential election of 2008. That impression would be correct. Quite apart from the utter catastrophe which the slide toward a single payer system would represent for our already-precarious economy, this debate has highlighted in unusually high relief the tension between the centralizing tendencies of the Democrats, and the Conservative and Republican (at least theoretical) predilection toward individualism and free-market principles. Further, the tone and mode of the debate has simultaneously revealed the rank hypocrisy of the Left (for which vigorous dissent is only acceptable/legitimate if it originates from their camp), and the long-overdue awakening of the sleeping giant which is the Center-Right voice of most of America. Interesting times.

"Doctor Zero," one of the rising stars over at Hot Air posted a splendid editorial which discusses the full meaning and extent of the well-deserved damage which the Democratic party is doing to itself in this imbroglio. Here's a sample:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, wrote an interesting op-ed column in USA Today, calling the increasing numbers of Americans who are asking tough questions about the Democrats’ health-care scheme “un-American.” I know “interesting” probably isn’t the first adjective most people reading this would choose to describe it. It is interesting, though. It’s a desperate play by nervous politicians to extinguish resistance to a massive takeover they’re drooling with eagerness to complete. It’s the arrogant response of a political elite that sees itself as royalty, clad in the unimpeachable moral authority of democracy - a ruling class of philosopher-kings that only expects to be challenged once every couple of years, in carefully controlled local races they have a 90% chance of winning. Pelosi was elected from San Francisco in 1987, while Hoyer has been perched atop the 5th Congressional District of Maryland since 1981. To say that neither of them is used to sustained, energetic, effective resistance to their agendas would be an understatement.

The most interesting thing about Pelosi and Hoyer’s brand of McCarthyism is how pathetically ineffective it is. To their great surprise, calling the protesters “un-American” isn’t shutting them up. Today’s USA Today op-ed is the latest variation on one of the oldest plays in the Left’s playbook: painting their opposition as fundamentally illegitimate. It’s time for them to replace that page in their playbook, because it will never work again.

I tend to share the optimism here, if only due to the trends in the polls on Obamacare. It sure does look like people are responding to the voices of opposition, and that does not bode well for the the oligarchical thinking which seems to permeate the Democratic party. It really is stunning to see the looks of outraged incredulity on the faces of congresscritters who are challenged by voters who dare to question them passionately. It is telling that the only explanation they can provide is that these people are being steered by sinister forces. The problem with statists is that they are all-but congenitally unable to grasp that people can self-organize in ways which are rational, since their world-view holds that --populist polemics aside-- such organization can only descend from Central Planning Committees and the like.

But, as Mr Hengist rightly pointed out, this explanation only takes one so far. If the Democrats' unwavering faith in centralizing organization (and lack of faith in the collective effects of free, individual thinking) were the only factors in play, then the so-called "astroturfing" of GOP and Industry lobbies would be seen as no less legitimate than the "community organizing" of their own crowd. They would approach this matter as a robust contest of competing influence groups for the hearts and minds of the people, and the rhetoric would sound very different. Instead, we get the "Mob for thee, Energized Community for me" approach which is so definitively allowing the mask to slip from over the disdainful elitism and cynical opportunism which permeates the highest echelons of the Democratic party.

Further, the chilling irony of the Left decrying so-called "thuggish tactics" from those on the Right (and the Center, and anywhere else) is there for all to see (not a big fan of Michelle Malkin, but she does bring it together nicely here). Doctor Zero's post rightly points out that the current and evolving shape of the information landscape is already making it more difficult for the Democrats to shape the narrative as comprehensively as they once did. Even an indecently compliant media is finding itself forced to compete on a much wider playing field for control of the story.

And we all know how the Liberal elites feel about competition.

UPDATE (8/13/2009): I've been noticing in recent days that the term "teabaggers" has slid insidiously into the mainstream of how those who speak up in town halls, and demonstrate against oppressive government overreach are referred to. I'm finding it in the "official" mailings I get from MoveOn, etc. The epithet has been around for a while, but it appears to be spreading and becoming more entrenched. Way to stay classy, "Reality-Based Community." After all, nothing says 'moral high ground' like name-calling and crass sexual innuendo.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Krugman Unhinged

Via the ever-reliable New York Times, comes this screed by Paul Krugman. I've passed on many an opportunity to vent on the egregious spleen vomited forth by those who would silence the legitimate concerns of dissenting citizens on the question of healthcare "reform." I simply have not been able to rely on myself to remain even remotely civil in commenting on the sneering hypocrisy of the very voices who declared dissent to be the highest form of long as that dissent took the form of exercising their freedom of speech to declare (largely unchallenged) that George W Bush was squashing dissent.

I am no longer all that concerned about remaining civil.

Krugman is so far off the deep end with his assault on the legitimacy of his (cough) fellow citizens' expressions of discontent, that he couldn't touch bottom from a diving board which required oxygen supplies:
That is, the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that’s behind the “birther” movement, which denies Mr. Obama’s citizenship. Senator Dick Durbin has suggested that the birthers and the health care protesters are one and the same; we don’t know how many of the protesters are birthers, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s a substantial fraction.

Really? The "Birthers" (those who question Obama's citizenship and thus his qualification to hold the office of POTUS) are a fraction of a fraction of the farthest fringe of the conservative movement, scorned by all mainstream conservative spokespeople. Krugman's and his Democratic fellow-travelers' disingenuous attempt to conflate this gang with the broad spectrum of Americans who object to the Democrats' attempted phagocytosis of the world's premier healthcare system by yet another bloated, deficit-funded bureaucracy is the very depth of demagoguery.

This is not about race. It is not about "astroturfing." It is about political (and literal!) thuggery of the most base sort, with a liberal dose (pun intentional) of snide elitism (right down to the ever-so-cleverly embedded Yeats reference in Krugman's penultimate paragraph).

The people who are organizing (as a community...) to protest this Rube-Goldberg of a healthcare takeover are not "brownshirts." They are not funded by nefarious corporate cabals. They are not motivated by racism, nor are they ignorant of the issues. They are our neighbors, our relatives, our friends. They are Americans. These attempts to vilify and silence them are a nauseating disgrace, a perversion of the very essence of political discourse in this Republic.

And, as is becoming increasingly clear, there will be a price.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thoughtful Post on Healthcare

I've been sitting on this link for about a week, waiting till I felt I could do it justice with a more long and thinky post. Belatedly, I've just come to the conclusion that there's really nothing I have to add to the basic "Read The Whole Thing" message.

So, go forth and savor the wisdom.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Trojan Man

A little prophylactic medicine can go a long way, when the illness it heads off would penetrate so many sectors of one's life.

In this case, here's a very instructive vid (via HotAir) about the doubleplus-ungood doublespeak making the rounds on this matter of whether the fortunately-imperiled "public option" is intended (as it's being sold) to provide healthy market-like competition for the private health insurance sector...or whether it was always intended as the skinny edge of the wedge for a single-payer system down the road. It's no mystery where I stand on the matter.

One may believe that single-payer is the fairest and best way for this country to go, healthcare-wise, or one may think that it will be a ruinous wet blanket on a flawed but enviably vibrant and innovative system. Where I hope we will all agree is that these issues should be debated soberly, transparently, and comprehensively, and that this kind of kabuki maneuvering is insultingly out of place.

And for those who would argue that the GOP is engaging in similar gamesmanship by endeavoring to delay this issue till after the August recess (mission accomplished!), it is worth reflecting on what possible gain Republicans could have hoped to achieve unless they believed that further scrutiny and discussion would ultimately erode popular support for the public option. Seems it'd be kind of foolish to be seen as obstructing something they truly felt the people would support even after getting a good long look.

Again, no matter where you stand on Universal Healthcare, this kind of pillow talk doesn't seem especially democratic. Unfortunately, it does appear to be all-too Democratic.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Timely Tunes

Just a little ditty that's been on my mind, these last six months or so...