Category Archives: Political

How Many Soldiers Are We Sending To Afghanistan?

The answer? No one knows for sure.  But that won’t stop people from speculating!

The Atlantic:

[T]he increase in troop strength will be about 25,000

The Atlantic (Again):

[E]xpect the commander in chief to approve north of 20,000 additional troops

Times Online:

[A] surge of at least 25,000 new US troops

The Guardian:

[E]xpected to send 34,000 more US troops

The Guardian (Again):

[P]oised to announce early next week the deployment of up to 35,000 more troops

Politico:

[E]xpect him to announce an increase of 20,000 to 40,000 additional troops

Fox News:

[D]eploy an eventual 32,000 to 35,000 U.S. forces

New York Times:

[S]ending about 30,000 additional troops

Basically, no one has any idea.

A Bunch of Republicans Are Bitching About A Dinner They Weren’t Invited To

So, President Obama is throwing a big party for the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a bunch of Republicans aren’t invited – boo, hoo.  Is anyone surprised here?  Why would he invite a ton of Republicans? You don’t invite people to your party that you don’t like.  This is not complicated.  Yet, according to Fox News, President is not following his campaign promise of a post-partisan presidency:

The president didn’t invite his 2008 rival, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, even though Obama the candidate pledged a post-partisan presidency.

Just because he didn’t invite John McCain.

These People Are Pussies

I have many opinions on trying the 5 alleged 9/11 conspirators in New York City.  I’m of the opinion that we should absolutely try them in a Federal Court, not military commissions.  I’m also of the opinion that all Terrorism related cases should be tried in Federal Courts and not military commissions. I assume it goes without saying, but if it doesn’t, I’m 110% against indefinite detention.

One thing I don’t get though is the fear that the Right has indoctrinated upon society about those we’re going to be trying in NYC.  What’s the problem with doing this again?

Federal Courts have tried Terrorism cases before, so it’s not like they don’t know what they’re doing. Furthermore, the vast majority of cases have resulted in convictions.

We have a number of Supermax prisons in which to keep them. I’m pretty sure no one has ever “escaped” a US Supermax prison before.

The claim that the accused will use their time in Court as a pulpit to spew vitriol against Americans just doesn’t scare me.  They’re just words. Are you afraid of words?

The possibility that these people could be acquitted and released into our neighborhoods is absolutely asinine.  Even if, under some crazy weird happenstance, one of them were acquitted, the US still claims that they can indefinitely detain anyone who was involved in “Waging War On America”.  So at the very worst, they’d just go back to some secret prison to rot.

By bringing them to New York, it supposedly makes the city a target for some unknown terrorist act.  Dude, it’s New York, it’s already a ‘target’.  You can say that about any major city though – hell, even cities that aren’t ‘major’.

Anyways, that brings me to this blog that I came across yesterday –  Fraidy Cats.  It’s a nice little blog that’s documenting all the people who are afraid to bring these people to Court in the US.

2009 Oxford New American Dictionary Word Of The Year

I always like to look at the “new words” list that Oxford Dictionary puts out each year.  It’s usually somewhat nerdy and well, that’s me.

Word of the Year – unfriend

Is unfriend Word of the Year material? I dunno, perhaps.  I’ve heard the word used before, it’s a Facebook thing, but I don’t know anyone who ever says it.  Maybe that’s just me though.

Other Word of the Year runners up:

hashtag – This is way nerdy.  I bet most people who use Twitter – origin of this usage – don’t even know this is called a hashtag, they just do it.

intexticated – This is stupid.  No one uses this word. Nor should they.

netbook – I’m kind of surprised this wasn’t a word yet.  I figure younger folk and nerdy types have heard of this word.

paywall – This isn’t a word yet either?  How long as the Wall Street Journal had their paywall up?  Hasn’t it been years now?

sexting – This word is funny and I have used it.  Though, solely for the purpose of making fun of people.  I am too old to sext.  I’m also married now, so that makes sense.

freemium – Eh.  I’ve heard it used so I guess that makes it ok.  Definitely the best word in the Economy words group.

funemployed – Stupid.

zombie bank – Very stupid.

Ardi – How is this a word? You’re seriously going to tell me that people having a conversation really say this?  As if people are talking and someone says “Man, I say Ardipithecus ramidus too much. ” “Hey, I know, let’s just call ’em Ardi for short.”  Yeah, no.

birther – This is definitely a word that’s come up in today’s lexicon.  Synonymous with crazy moron that you should ignore.

choice mom – No one says this.

death panel – Thanks Sarah Palin!

teabagger – Ha ha ha.  See birther.

brown state – This sounds like a turd. Do not say this.

green state – I’ve heard of lots of stuff called green-something.  I guess green state is ok.

ecotown – No one says this either.

deleb – Uh, what? Who comes up with these words?

tramp stamp – The best word on here.  Should have been Word of the Year.  And this is the first year it’s been introduced? Dude, people have said tramp stamp for years.  Ah, college.

Via PC World Business Center.

Stimulus Package Reporting Sometimes Completely Wrong, But That’s OK

So Barrett “Shared in Google Reader” a post about how there is some errant reporting on recovery.gov – the government’s website for publicly displaying how the money for that 787 billion dollar stimulus package that was passed in February 2009.  The website shows jobs created or saved due to the stimulus in many Congressional districts that simply don’t exist.  Clearly, that is a problem.

If you receive money from the stimulus package you are required to periodically report what you spent the money on. The cause of the discrepancies is due to the fact that all information reported on recovery.gov is user submitted and not validated.    The problem here is the lack of validation being performed on the submitted data.  Any good programmer knows you have to validate user supplied data before accepting it.  Why they would choose not to validate it escapes me.  At least a high-level validation should be required, e.g. validating that the submitted district number exists.

That all being said, this is how the website was set up to function.  This isn’t the fault of the recovery website, it is a fault of the users submitting the data.  Could you make the argument that the information being submitted should be validated though, sure.

In a somewhat related tangent, no one would have ever known about this had the website not been created in the first place.  To me, what this shows is that people are actually holding the government accountable for what they’re spending all this money on.  This is a good thing.  Keep that in mind.

Via Barrett’s Google Reader re-post of Reason Magazine’s article That Stimulus is So Freaking Awesome it Has Created or Saved Jobs in Congressional Districts That Don’t Even Exist!.

Rep. Alan Grayson Continues Being A Badass

Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) reserved an hour to speak about health care. Republicans didn’t care for the way he was talking and unsuccessfully tried to cut off his speech.

Alan Grayson has become my favorite Congressman. Please clone yourself, have your clone move to Kansas, and successfully run for Congress. Thanks.

Via The Huffington Post.

AARP and AMA Announce Support For House Health Care Bill

Apparently the AARP and the AMA have announced their support for the House of Representatives health care bill.  Despite covering more people and lowering the US deficit, there doesn’t seem to be all that many groups announcing support for Health Care reform.  Nice to see that starting to change a bit.

Via CNN.com.

Glenn Beck, et. al. vs. Anita Dunn

I don’t know how many Democrats/Progressives/Liberals listen to Conservative talk radio as much as I do, but if you have, you’ve probably heard about this big dust up over a quote by Anita Dunn, talking about how she turns to Mao Zedong’s philosophies for guidance.

For those unaware, Mao Zedong was the first Communist leader of China and also happened to be the leader of the biggest genocide in the 20th century, killing an estimated 49-78 million people – considerably more than Hitler, mind you.

Suffice it to say, a lot of people don’t like him.

So, it goes without saying that one should be a bit careful when referencing the guy, particularly in a somewhat positive light.

That all being said, Anita Dunn, the White House Communications Director, when she was speaking to a group of high schoolers, referenced Mao’s philosophies with the goal of showing that people will have to make choices.

Here’s the full quote referencing the “[one] I turn to most” quote that’s at the heart of all this:

And then the third lesson and tip actually come from two of my favorite political philosophers, Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa — not often coupled with each together, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you’re going to make choices. You’re going to challenge. You’re going to say, “Why not?” You’re going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here’s the deal: These are your choices. They are no one else’s.

via Media Matters for America.

To me, this is just another instance of selective quoting by certain “News” organizations for the purpose of appealing to their base. C’est la vie.

For what it’s worth, numerous other Conservative politicians have also quoted Mao:

Interesting New Washington Post Poll

According to a new Washington Post poll, people have roughly the same opinion of Democrats and Republicans as they did in 2008 and 2006 – the years Democrats made big gains in Congress.  However, I’m still of the opinion that the Dems will lose some seats in the House and the Senate, though still maintaining their Majorities.  We’ll see I guess.

via The Plum Line