Sure, we hear about where the candidates stand on the so-called "issues." We read their resumes, their five-point plans for improving this or reinventing that.
But all that is trivial. What we all want to know is: What kind of characters would these guys play in a Dungeons & Dragons game? And what kind of players
would they be? Role-players or merely roll
-players? Would they come in costume? If they played an elf, would they come to your house in Spock-ears, or what?
And what about ethics
? If you let, say, Joe Lieberman borrow your +3 Dancing Flame-tongue Blade while your rogue sneaks through a narrow cavern in a warren of kobolds, would he give it back to you when you returned? Or would he, like, completely
dick you over?
Heady issues, certainly. But we here at Ace of Spades Central Command soar where the media big boys fear to tread. And so, here you go. After analyzing the various Democratic Presidential candidates for a good ten or twenty minutes, we proudly present this definitive D&D guide to the Democratic hopefuls.
Character name: Etrias Elvenbow
Class/Level: 6th Level Ranger
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral (Good)
You know, in any other presidential year, Dick Gephardt would deserve to be ripped a new one. But this is no ordinary presidential year. This is the year when Wesley Clark, John Kerry, and (good Lord All Mighty) Howard Dean are considered the class of the Democratic Presidential contenders. Given that, Dick Gephardt starts to look positively statesmanlike.
You want to hear something scary? The other day, a guy says to me, "You know who's got some really fresh ideas and moral courage? Dick Gephardt
." True story.
How scary is that
So let's go easy on Dick Gephardt. He'd be a Ranger, because he'd probably be good at camouflage, what with the way his eyebrows just sort of blend into the scenery. He'd have a high Armor Class, due mainly to his +5 Ring of Protectionism
And that's pretty much that. What the hell else is there to say? This is Dick Fucking Gephardt
we're talking about. Not even Dick Gephardt has much to say either way about Dick Gephardt.
Character name: Haggard Halfstep
Class/Level: Eighth-level Cleric
Joe Lieberman's alignment is easy -- clearly, he'd play a True Neutral. True neutrals are balanced perfectly between both Good and Evil, torn e'er betwixt the lure of both Law and Chaos. And such is Joe Lieberman. Yes, perhaps we need to experiment with school vouchers; but oh no, we can never do so now. Of course Bill Clinton committed perjury and broke trust with the American people; but alas, we certainly mustn't do anything about that. Perhaps the American people deserve a tax-cut; then again, maybe not.
His Class is similarly a no-brainer: Cleric. While the media is constantly on guard against George W. Bush's plans to re-make America into a Christian White-Supremacist Theocracy, they scarcely seem bothered by the fact that Joe Lieberman can't so much as adjust his tie without fulsomely praising God:
"O Glorious Day! I've gotten the Democratic Vice-Presidential nomination! All praise to the Author of All Blessings!!"
"It's a beatitude that I'm here with you fine Democratic activists in scenic Ocala, Florida! Let us sing hymns to the Maker of Miracles!"
"Another Arby's along Route 95! Weaver of Wonders, Transcendent Creator of Economy-Priced Roast-Beef Sandwiches, I kneel before you in tender supplication!"
This guy can't get fresh pepper on his soup without quoting extensively from the Book of Ruth.
He's a cleric, then, but one with a very mild heretical streak. He's willing to occasionally attack his fellow liberal True Believers, but, being a cleric, he can only use a blunt weapon
when doing so, and thus never inflicts any real damage.
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Human (Butterball Boy-Child)
0-Level Spectator/Geek Wannabee/Snack Fetcher
John Edwards doesn't even have a D&D character. He aspires
to one day have a D&D character.
He's like the chubby kid brother of one of your players, but who's just too young, too immature, and too hyperactive to actually be allowed in the game. He doesn't know the rules and doesn't have a lick of understanding about what any of you are doing, but he just hangs around the table while you're playing, watching in wide-open wonderment at all the incredible adventure. He's just never seen anything like it.
"Go scamper off and grab me a Diet Mountain Dew," you tell him, hoping to make the little butterball useful. But he's just too enraptured by the ongoing bartering session between your Rogue and a nameless merchant about the proper price for rope, and he absolutely refuses to leave the table until the epic negotiations are concluded. "He's got the merchant down to two
copper pieces per yard!" he exclaims, voice squeaking into its most childlike upper register. "I just can't afford to miss what happens next!"
"I swing my crossbow!!!"
Every once in a while the kid gets too damn excited and impulsively grabs a big handful of random dice between his pudgy little fat-kid fingers. He rolls like six d8's, three d12's, a d4 and a couple of tokens taken from your Star Wars Stratego
game to boot. And he cries out, "WOW!! I just rolled a forty-seven plus three Bespin Miners! Do I hit the dragon?!!"
And you just say, "Yeah, you hit the dragon, Kid. You knocked him silly. Now... about that Diet Mountain Dew you and I were just chatting so amiably about."
Character name: Sss'kilith (alias John "Kid Irish" Goldberg-Kerry)
Race: Doppleganger (but appears Human; see below)
Class/Level: Second-level Fighter
Alignment: Neutral Evil
An agent of the shape-shifting race of Dopplegangers, John Kerry has successfully infiltrated the highest ranks of human society, using his mutable cellular structure to appear as a tall, thin, somewhat bizarre-looking human. His powers of shape-changing have allowed him to appear, variously, as a WASPy Boston Brahmin, a scrappy Dublin immigrant boxing under the nickname "Kid Irish," and well-respected Jewish podiatrist Dr. Abraham Goldberg.
If Kerry survives the race long enough to campaign in Florida, no doubt he will "discover" that his real name is Juan Carlos Reyes-Royas, and that he's the long-lost great nephew of deposed Cuban strongman Fulgencio Battista.
His doppleganger heritage grants him the ability to use the spell Polymorph Voting Record
five times per day, allowing him to claim that he voted for the war, no, against it, oops I mean for it, but only as a threat, and only with UN permission. Wait, no, I'm sorry, he voted against it. Check back with his press secretary for further updates. His contradictory, alien thought patterns render his political philosophy entirely immune to press scrutiny.
But enough about the actual, real-life John Kerry. What sort of D&D character
would he play?
Obviously, he'd be a fighter. He was a decorated veteran in the Battle of the Land of Green Rivers, and he'll never fucking let you forget that
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The annoying thing about Carol Mosely-Braun is that everyone is expected to pretend she's a real candidate for president. She's not. It's a big goof. Apart from kissing up to venal dictators and the occasional bout of corruption, her resume is pretty thin.
She's a real presidential candidate like that retarded kid was a real "assistant coach" for your seventh-grade soccer team. Yeah, you all pretend he's an assistant coach, but really you're just being nice to a retard.
And so that's what Carol Mosely-Braun is. She's got her "#1 Special Assistant Coach" baseball cap on, and she's got the "special coach's whistle" hanging around her neck. The "whistle" is "special" in the sense that they took the little pea-ball out of it, you know, the part that actually makes the whistling sound, so the whistle is effectively silenced. Because you know you can't just go around handing out whistles to retards. Retards love whistles. That's just asking for a brain aneurysm, that's all that is.
But "Coach Carol" keeps puffing on that whistle anyway, making no more coherent sound than if you rubbed a sock on a marshmallow, giving you the sort of advice you'd expect from a retarded soccer "coach," like telling you to choke up on the bat and wait for the right pitch. And you're just like, "Okay, sure. Nice call, Corky."
Well, other people can play that game. I won't. I'm not making up a character for Carol Mosely-Braun. The hell with all that. I'm doing important work here, and I can't be bothered with such nonsense.
Twelfth-level Druid/Fourth-Level Shiftless Dreamer
The interesting thing about making up a D&D character for Dennis Kucinich is that you know, with a very high level of confidence, that he's made up D&D characters for himself already. If there's one Democratic candidate who knows how many hit dice a Gelatinous Cube has, it's Dennis Kucinich. You've gotta know that somewhere in the back of his one of his closets is a first-print copy of the Fiend Folio
, pages stuck together with decade-old bong resin.
Obviously, he's a Druid. You know, the whole Commune with Nature
thing; he's like a Vegan, sickly-pale Beastmaster. He doesn't actually fight monsters; instead, he casts one of his many Summon Squirrels
spells, shouting out, "O, my Friends of the Silver Forest! Come to me, O Woodland Creatures! Protect me from this fell beast!" You know, that kind of pansy shit.
And the big problem isn't that he's played the game. No, the problem with Dennis Kucinich is that he's the guy that got way, waaaaay
too into D&D. The guy you worry
He's the guy that just can't limit himself to a two page character sheet; no, he's written a sixteen page opus about his character, tracing his family's lineage back to the Age of Chaos, and he's spent three months sculpting his own miniature because it's just imperative that his figurine displays his correct arms (broadsword in the right hand, sickle in the left) and armor (dragonhide studded leather). He's always talking in that godawful British accent he got from hearing other people
repeat Monty Python bits, and he's forever nattering on about his character's improbably-convoluted backstory, how he was the bastard son of the Black King Gondorad, how he served in his youth as a guard in the King's Royal Concubinage (and what ribald tales he can tell you of that!), and that his evil half-sister Orgasma is forever scheming against him, lest he ever lay claim to the Black Throne.
And you're like, "Dude, that's all well and good, but I just need to know your Armor Class so I can see if this gnoll hits you with the stick."
And he's just so freaky and creepy, you're all on pins and needles around him, wondering when exactly this lunatic is going to have his next regularly-scheduled psychotic break. The Dungeon Master in particular is absolutely scared shitless, and always fudges his saving throws to keep him alive, because you just know that if his Druid Lord ever goes down in a fight, Dennis Kucinich is going to go all Mazes & Monsters
on the whole group. He'll kill you, skin you, make soup out of your meat, and store your polished skeletons the crawlspaces of his parents' basement.
And so that's how it goes. Every time you find a treasure, the Dungeon Master is like, "Oh, look, Dennis, another +6 Vorpal sword for mighty Baradach Brightsword!" Until he's got like eight of the frigging things, like they're a set of Ginsu steak-knives or something. And when the other players complain -- "Why does Dennis keep getting all the kick-ass magic items?" -- the Dungeon Master just takes them aside and says, "Dude, give me a break. This is life and death here. I want to live long enough to make blue belt in my aikido class."
2nd level Cleric/8th level Demagogue
Well, that's all too easy, isn't it? "The Reverend" is a 2nd level Cleric of Malebolge, Demon God of Racial Tension, and an accomplished Demagogue as well.
He's armed with a Staff of Racial Arson
, allowing him to cast incendiary fireballs into any racially charged situation. The Staff is +3 against White Interlopers, and does double damage
against Jewish shopkeepers. He has been known to wear a Jogging-Suit of the Judgment-Proof
, making him completely immune to creditors and defamation lawsuits.
Finally, he also wears a Medallion of False Moderation
, giving him a limited mind-influencing power to convince anyone with Intelligence and Wisdom scores of 6 or less that he is in fact now a "mainstream, respectable" political leader, because, hey, he hasn't incited any race-riots in the past six months. What, are all of you still hung up on Crown Heights? It is time (as it is always time) to "move on."
Fortunately for The Reverend, most of the American media does, in fact, have low Intelligence and Wisdom. Chris Matthews (3rd level Newstwit) is particularly susceptible to the Medallion's
effects, and takes -6 on any saving throws to resist the charm's power.
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Basically, the key to Wesley Clark is this: On the campaign trail in New Hampshire, he decides to boast of his strong belief in time-travel. It's not as if there are pressing, real-world issues to talk about. Just a global war on terror, an economy producing an anemic rate of job-growth, and perhaps the most ideologically-important election in, oh, fifty years or so. But General Wesley Clark has his eyes on the really big issues -- you know, like the various plot inconsistencies in Quantum Leap.
Geeky as I am, even I look down on this guy. Sure, I'm sitting here making up D&D character sheets for presidential candidates, but this guy is on the campaign trail debating the feasibility of the solar-slingshot time-displacement maneuver in Star Trek.
I can't wait to see this guy's detailed four-point plan for improving job-growth:
1) Federally-funded job retraining programs
2) "Fair trade" rules imposing penalties on countries with substandard worker and environmental protections
3) Increasing the tax credits for the working poor
4) Flux capacitors
So that's key. That's the central insight into determining what sort of D&D character Wesley Clark would play: he wouldn't be playing D&D at all. He'd be playing his own lavishly-detailed science-fiction homebrew game, mixing elements of Traveller
, Gamma World
, and Call of Cthulhu.
You try to get this guy to roll up a D&D character, and he's like, "Oh, no, I couldn't possibly, I'm far too busy detailing the interplay between the Zhodani psionic nobility and the cultists of Hastur the Unspeakable."
"Bugbears...? Highly illogical."
And it only gets worse. Because his preference for sci-fi also destroys your seventh-grade blues-rock band. You and the rest of your friends have decided you're going to be a Zeppelin-tribute band, writing songs entirely about Tolkein's Lord of the Rings (you've even got a great name -- Simarillion
-- how can you fail?), and this miserable dweeb starts making trouble, pushing for you all to be a Rush-influenced band, insisting that you all write songs all about the Dune
series. He just never shuts up about it, completely undermining the morale and integrity of the band; he's like a Bene Gesserit Yoko Ono.
It all comes to a head when he writes a pair of songs he claims are "totally killer." One's the pretentiously-titled Triumph of the Mind: Warsong of the Fremen
, which is a forty-minute minor-key free-form jazz-improv piece which only contains a single lyric -- "The Spice," heavily filtered and modulated through his cousin Stevie's Casio synthesizer, repeated over and over at odd points of the song. The other one is Knights of Dune Sandworms
, and it's even worse, because it's just a shameless ripoff of the Moody Blues' Knights in White Satin
, except the poetry is even more vile now that it's larded up with obscure references to Arrakis and stillsuits and embarrassingly-forced rhymes for "Atreides."
And, in an attempt to make peace with this guy, you all agree to at least give his awful songs a fair hearing. But he accuses you of "phoning it in" during the third
extended drum solo in Warsong of the Fremen
, and then he and his cousin Stevie split the band, taking away that cool-ass Casio synthesizer. You later hear that he and Stevie have formed their own two-man band --called Duncan Idaho and the Guild Navigators -- and both of them got the shit beaten out of them at a grade-school Battle of the Bands competition.
And sure, you take some small satisfaction in that, but your own band falls apart shortly after. You just never realized how much your band's sound relied upon cousin Stevie's laconic-yet-funky keyboard stylings. Wesley "TimeRanger" Clark has ruined everything, and Simarillion
will never get to record that four-disc concept album you'd planned.
You gotta hate this guy. What a fucking asshole.
Evil, Mutated Hobbit
Tenth-level Bush Basher/Seventh-Level Character Assassin
Full-on Chaotic Evil
Mesmerized by the prospect of reclaiming the One True Ring of Presidential Power once possessed by his political party (if not himself), the strange little being once known as "Deangol" has been warped into a hateful and pathetic creature of the night.
Ever his mind is fixated on the ring; it drives him with a will and a hunger of demonic intensity.
Who can doubt that Howard Dean is in the late stages of a monstrous transformation? Listen to the strange gurgling sound he makes at the end of his statements, a bit like an evil duck gargling with rocks as it chokes down a meal. Can one but doubt that by November, that gurgling will become a full-throated "Gollum! Gollum!
Just examine his positions:
On the environment: The environments is preciousss, yess, preciousss it isss. We loves the cariboussss
On pre-emptive military action: We wouldn'ts hurts a fly, gollum, gollum
On white Southern men: We lovessss men who drive pick-up truckses with Confederate flagsss on the bumperssss, we do, we do. We jussst want to kiss their foreheads and pat their golden hairssss. Praise Jesusses!
On the Bush tax cuts: We wantsss thats moneys back! We wantsss it back, we do!
And on Bush himself: Nasty, false, trickssy Bush! We hates the Bushesess! We hates it forever!!
Although a thoroughly repellent creature in every respect, Deangol/Gollum is a potentially formidable foe. His near-midget size grants him a +3 Armor Class adjustment when battling beings of greater stature and gravitas.
His levels in Character Assassin
give him the ability to disseminate vile Internet conspiracy-theories in broadcast interviews without the establishment press so much as batting an eye.
His special ability of Dark Charisma
has allowed him to Enchant
a half million evil henchmen to support him, all similarly twisted by hate, anger, and covetousness for raw political power. Deangol/Gollum can call upon these wretched folk to donate 1000-20,000 gold pieces (d20x1,000) to his coffers per month.
Finally, he proudly wields the Bloody Shirt of Florida
when campaigning. When he waves this evil garment, red-stained with Gore, he drives all allied henchpersons within a 1000 foot radius into a seething, frothing beserker rage
He is therefore a dangerous opponent, and not to be taken lightly. But he does have one weakness:
The Bush clan are all Texas Rangers
(even though they were all born as Patricians), and they have all selected Liberal Hobgoblins as their favored enemy
. All Bushes therefore get a +4 bonus to hit against such silly creatures, and furthermore inflict triple-damage
when wielding negative ads.
Leonard Nimoy Sings Geek
This scares me.
Thanks to the geeks who pointed out that the man's name is spelled "Nimoy."
Howard Dean May Have Solved NK Nuke Stand-off
Another victory for Howard Dean! Before the very first caucus-vote in Iowa is so much as cast, the good doctor just might have solved
the NK Nuke Crisis. NK is now making offering more generous concessions regarding its nuclear activities.
We owe Dr. Dean a great deal of thanks. This is an important step, and this plucky parvenu -- whose previous foreign-policy experience was in the high-stakes, glamorous world of the trans-Canadian milk-cow trade -- has made this step possible.
Well, North Korea now understands that George W. Bush will be re-elected, and of course the stridently left-wing candidacy of Dr. Dean is partially responsible.
The North Koreans know that after
November, Bush will have the strongest possible hand in dealing with them; having just been reelected by a historically-large mandate, he'll have the power, if he so chooses, to take the country to war or near-war, in the form of a hard blockade, against North Korea.
The North Korean's greatest chance for the best possible deal is to negotiate and end to the crisis before
Bush receives a strong popular mandate.
Dr. Dean-- your tired McGovernik liberalism, your flippantly ignorant attitude towards life-and-death matters of American security, and your positively batshit-crazy conspiracy theorizing have convinced the North Koreans that Bush is unbeatable. And therefore that the best time for them to deal is now
. You have, in your own pothead-stupid sort of way, made this world a safer place.
And we at the Ace of Spades Command Bunker salute you for that, Sir. Huzzah!
Thanks to Drudge
-- whom the mainstream media really will have to admit soon to be perhaps the most influential single person in the news business -- we have yet another Bush=Hitler ad, again from our good friends at MoveOn.
Perhaps MoveOn should heed its own advice.
The ad's text reads, "Lies fuel fear. Fear fuels aggression."
It's been said better, before:
Quoting the fortune-cookie pacifist aphorisms of Jedi Master Yoda now, are we? I think perhaps this guy must be a Wesley Clark
supporter (scroll down).
No caption. Not necessary.
Thanks to on-line blogbuddy rdbrewer.
Big Day at Ace of Spades HQ...
Somehow we got ourselves linked by National Review Online's gang-blog "The Corner."
How did this happen? Beats us! But now things are really starting to happen, and we at Ace of Spades HQ can practically hear
all that crazy blog-money starting to roll in.
The D&D link has been updated. The character sheets of all presidential candidates except for Howard Dean are now finished and available for your inspection.
Thanks, K-Lo! And thanks to everyone who bothered checking in today.
But you know, what is up with that link? "This scares me"? What the hell is that? It's not precisely a ringing endorsement, now is it?
I get the feeling that K-Lo understood that some other people -- strange people -- seemed to find it funny, but it was all but incomprehensible to her. Which, I suppose, should be counted as a mark in her favor.
Now that I think about it, the piece scares me, too. Good Lord in Heaven, what the hell was I thinking?
Well, even so. Thanks, K-Lo! Bad press, good press. We don't care. Just keep linking us!
Oliver Willis: Scary Talented
As someone once said (though referring to Al Franken), "There are some things in life that just aren't funny, and one of them is Oliver Willis
He's juvenile without actually being clever about it, and he regurgitates only the stalest and most predicatable liberal talking points. Can someone please tell me why Instapundit
is constantly boosting this obnoxious ninny?
Challenge to Instapundit: Please, sir, find for me a small selection of posts which you believe best demonstrate Mr. Willis' smarts, humor, and judgment.
So says this amateur ad
submitted to, and displayed by, Moveon.org.
So, let us see: We're not allowed to suggest those who actively pray for American battle deaths
in order to hurt Bush's political fortunes are in any possible way less than fulsomely patriotic. But liberals are allowed to suggest that Bush is the New Hitler.
As has been said many times before: If it weren't for double-standards, liberals would have hardly any standards at all.
Afghanistan agrees to Constitution
Afghanistan -- the "forgotten front," the Land that Bush Forgot, the Place That's No Better Than it Was Under the Taliban and in fact is Now More Dangerous Than Ever -- will now be governed by a constitution agreed to by the various feuding factions in its loya jirga
No constitution is a guarantor of freedom and peace. Certainly the world is full of countries where a constitution was discarded or mooted by a military coup.
But this constitution was not imposed primarily through outside force or by an unresponsive elite; it was actually debated by a group of un
like-minded individuals comprising a representative sample of the nation.
It's not the end of the war of freedom and progress versus tyranny and medievalism. But it is a small victory in that campaign. The front-lines have slightly changed. Liberty and peace are on the advance, pushing back despotism and mass-murder as a foreign-policy imperative.
What do fresh links look like?
has bad news for Kerry, bad news for Democrats hoping to recapture the House, and questions about the comedy stylings of Charles Grodin.
What he doesn't have is paragraphs. But I'm told they're on order.
Three More American GI's killed; five more wounded
Conservative blogs, I think, just don't report American combat deaths in Iraq frequently enough. Because it's bad news, and no one likes dwelling on bad news.
But here, I'll try to post stories
about American (& foreign civilian) casualties in the War on Terror & the War in Iraq. Tonight, three more American boys are dead, one falling to a mortar attack, two more falling to yet another roadside bomb. Five more soldiers were wounded in the attacks.
The victory in Iraq is not, and never was to be, cost-free. The War in Iraq is important, but it comes at a painful price. Real American boys (and some girls) are dying over there. We show respect for the battle dead by keeping them in mind, and we keep our analysis honest by doing so, too.
Left-wing blogs have been quite diligent in reporting the deaths of American soldiers. I'll try to be as dilligent. I just won't be as celebratory
about American casualties as many of our left-wing "new patriots" seem to be.
And there may just be some belated but good news coming. Wars are won frequently through innovations and adaptations by one side, to which the other side cannot adapt quickly enough. The dreaded roadside bomb has been one innovation used by the enemy which we Americans haven't yet been able to nullify. Scores of Americans have been slaughtered by these simple but viciously effective bombs, and hundreds more wounded.
But innovation in war is rarely a one-sided affair, and it may be that we've innovated a partial defense against roadside bombs.
have made clearing roads of explosives a priority, and they're using brand-new equipment to do so. New explosive-detecting-and disarming vehicles, as well as precious real-world experience and know-how in detecting and disabling hidden mines, have been brought in from South Africa.
Will this turn the tide in the Battle for the Highways? It just might. The enemy's tactics often seem insuperable until you figure out how to defeat those tactics. Ask the men who won the Battle of the Atlantic
By the way: Is anyone else annoyed at the media constantly calling roadside bombs "IED's," or Improvised Explosive Devices?
This is typical of the media. Reporters don't tend to know a lot about the subject they're covering; that's forgiveable. They are, after all, reporters on a field, not experts in a field. But much too often they attempt to pose as experts in the field by repeating the jargon they hear. They attempt to sound like an expert by using the jargon and lingo of an expert.
"IED" has meaning to the military. It means, I imagine, a homemade explosive, or a jerry-rigged explosive device (i.e., an artillery shell with a timed detonator). The military uses this jargon to distinguish an IED from a mine, which is an explosive specifically manufactured to be buried under the earth in order to kill people or destroy vehicles that pass over or by them.
It is, I suppose, informative for the media to mention that the particular explosive that killed an American is an IED as opposed to a mine. But too often they lead their story with that bit of jargon, as if it's terribly important to Americans to know first if a bomb which killed one of our sons is a homemade bomb rather than a mine.
There's a simple, compound noun that clearly and perfectly describes the devices killing our soldiers: roadside bomb. If you want to specify later in your story that it is, yet again, an IED, feel free to do so. But please stop using that bit of jargon in your leads. The lead is "Roadside Bomb Kills American Soldiers." The particular make of the weapon is a fairly minor detail.
"Roadside bomb" is a perfectly accurate descriptor. You in the media might not sound like an in-the-know expert when you use such a simple, mundane bit of clear English to describe the explosive, but do try to keep in mind: This isn't primarily about you. Yes, more than likely, it will be you in the media -- the college educated, the elite, the tastefully conflicted on the issue of the Iraq war, the Sex & the City devotees -- that HBO will be doing movies about three years from now, while our soldiers are assigned bit parts in your much more important and telegenic story.
But while the war is on, let's give our soldiers their due. To soldiers, it's an IED. To you, reporting to a general audience, it's a roadside bomb. 'Kay?
ABCNews' Unending Quagmire
Who's winning the war-- ABCNews or the facts? ABCNews continues making bold-but-risky advances, but they continue taking unacceptable levels of casualties from the large and growing army of undauntable facts
constantly harassing them, sniping their reporters and sabotaging their psyops efforts.
ABCNews takes a big but difficult to defend position here.
They attack the notion that Saddam's capture was militarily significant and assail the idea that the war in Iraq is winnable:
The likelihood exists that the resistance could intensify in a way similar to what occurred after the killing of Hussein's sons in July. Far from being a turning point for the better, their deaths plunged Iraq deeper into the throes of violent upheaval and turmoil.
ABCNews boldly proclaims a new plan of action. Well, not "new." It's the same plan they've been pimping for, oh, the last two years: We have to deputize America to Europe and the UN, and become the grunts and cannon-fodder for the wise decisions made by our intellectual and cultural betters across the Atlantic Ocean. In ABCNews' view -- and in the view of most American liberals and Europeans -- we live in a Planet of the Apes
type world, with the UN as the Orang-Utans, the Europeans as the Chimps, and the brutish, stupid, violent Americans as the Gorillas, happily carrying out the orders given to us by our superiors, content to yield all decision-making to our more highly-evolved cousins.
But the "facts" are pummelling the ABCNews salient. Is it true that their is a "likelihood" of increased
Iraqi resistance due to Saddam's capture?
From Yahoo News...
MOSUL, Iraq - A dozen former leaders of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Baath Party have handed in weapons caches in northern Iraq (news - web sites) to curry favor with the U.S. military and claim a role in a new Iraqi leadership, the commander of the Army's 101st Airborne Division said.
"They're coming to us, saying they want to be part of the new Iraq," Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. "It has slowly sunk in that Saddam isn't coming back."
It's sinking in among the B'aathist hardliners, but apparently it's not even begun to penetrate the perpetually, and pompously, furrowed brow of Peter Jennings.
Another Al Qaeda Drug Boat Siezed
US forces have seized a ship loaded with 1.3 tons of hasish in the Persian Gulf. The proceeds from drug sales would have financed Al Qaeda terrorist operations.
Yeah, it's really crazy for the Bush administration to make the linkage between drugs and terrorism.
One thing you've got to say for potheads-- despite their frequently addled thinking, they sure know how to prioritize
. They have a list of the most important issues facing society, and easy access to pharmacological luxury goods (i.e., mind-altering drugs) top that list by a wide margin. They focus on access to pharmacological luxury goods like a laser-beam, to the exclusion of virtually all else. They will let nothing at all -- certainly not these trivial effluvia we call "facts" -- in any way harsh their mellow.
Yes, yes, I know: Oil is linked to terrorism, too. But here's the difference: I admit that linkage. I do not scream at the top of my lungs that no such link exists, as the Pharmacological Luxury Goods Entitlement brigade does with drugs. And I simply point out that while the entire global economy depends on petroleum, drugs are, in fact, luxury goods, and as such unnecessary.
That doesn't mean they have no value-- they have no value to me personally, but I admit there are a lot of folks out there to whom their VERY valuable indeed. (Too valuable, in most cases.) But they are, yes, unnecessary, just as tobacco is unnecessary. You would freeze to death in the winter, and most likely starve to death during all other seasons, without petroleum to heat your homes or provide a cheap and plentiful energy source for transporting food throughout the world. In fact, without oil, you wouldn't have cheap luxury pharmaceuticals, either.
I can't see Western civilization coming to an end because the supply of high-quality hashish is interrupted. But an end to the flow of oil would plunge the entire advanced-economy world into a instant economic depression.
So continue nattering on, hash, coke, and heroin users. You are funding worldwide terrorism -- actual murders, actual human deaths -- in order to fulfil a rather decadent need for luxury pharmaceuticals.
FoxNews Breaking: Senate-side of DC Capitol Building evacuated due to possible bioweapon detection
Probably nothing at all. Vigilance is important. So is staying calm.
Bush Plans to Slow Growth of Government
Well, plans are one thing. Actually doing is another. But for what it's worth, Bush plans to trim domestic spending beginning 2005.
How much is Bush to be blamed for the runaway spending? Obviously, he should be blamed to one degree or another; he is, after all, the man who ultimately signs the appropriations bills. The man who occasionally threatens a veto, but never actually follows through on the threat.
I have to say, though, that it might just be possible that, given the one-vote majority in the Senate, Bush is partly held hostage by the first-priority need to actually govern. With such a razor-thin working majority, perhaps recalcitrant senators are able to extract more spending for local pork than they'd otherwise be able to-- and their pork provokes other Senators to get their pork, etc.
Bush has to get the budget under control. It is non-negotiable. Hopefully, he'll have three or four more Republican senators in 2005 and he'll be able to negotiate lower spending. If he does not, he will go down in history as the man who blew up the budget and really did threaten America's future prosperity.
A Question of Character: The D&D Guide to the Democratic Presidential Candidates [LINK MOVED]
The guide is now completed, and has been moved to the top of the page. Click HERE
to go to the guide's new home.
Or just scroll up, you lazy thing you.
US Manufacturing Surges in November
According to the Bloomberg News Service,
the November ISM Manufacturing Index (a snapshot of the nation's factory activity) rose to 62.8, its highest level in two decades:
The Institute for Supply Management's factory index increased to 62.8 last month, the highest since 69.9 in December 1983, from a 45-month high of 57 in October. November was the fifth straight month of readings higher than 50, indicating expansion.
``We are in the midst of a sharp acceleration in factory activity,'' said Rick MacDonald, an economist at MMS International, a Belmont, California, forecasting firm, before the report. ``Manufacturers now have no choice but to keep up with ongoing strong demand given depleted inventory levels.''
Factories are benefiting from the fastest three months of U.S. economic growth since 1984, housing sales close to record rates and profit gains that favor business investment in plant and equipment. Deere & Co., the world's largest maker of farm equipment, is among manufacturers expecting demand to increase.
It's always important to beat expectations. And we did:
Economists had expected a reading of 58.2 in the factory index, based on the median of 64 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.
The rise in activity is driven especially by new orders, which exploded to 73.7 from October's level of 64.3, the higest since 1994. (Which was, near as I can estimate it, when the so-called "Clinton recovery" -- traceable back to the 1st quarter in 1992, when Bush I was President -- really began in earnest.)
But mere numbers do not employ blue-collar American factory workers, do they? Where are the jobs,
Oh, well, it turns out they're in there too. The manufacturing employment index shot up to 51 from October's 47.7.
Somewhere in South Dakota, I have to imagine that there's a shortish fellow feeling "gravely concerned" and "deeply saddened."
Buck up, chum. The expanding economy means you'll have plenty of offers for private employment come November 2004.
Al Qaeda's Deadly Dildoes?
The source is the always trashy, frequently sensationalist, and consistently anti-American leftist tabloid The Mirror (UK)
. But this story
, if true, is distressing in its implications.
Long story short, intelligence sources say that Al Qaeda has female suicide plane-bombers who intend to smuggle ten ounces of plastic explosives in their vaginas. They'd then take the explosives out in the privacy of the bathroom and detonate the plane. They'd like especially to blow up a plane over a major Western city-- Washington, DC is named in particular.
Airport security experts claim it's "impossible" to simply subject "all" women passengers to the sort of intrusive body searches that would catch out such snatch-blasters; they could not ask a woman to consent to such a search without extremely specific intelligence. And indeed, they're right.
This story, if true, puts the whole question of ethnic/religious profiling squarely before us, and this time, there's no wiggle room. If this is true -- and one wonders why it wouldn't be; indeed, the plan seems rather obvious -- then we are either going to have to routinely subject women from certain cultures and countries to this sort of intrusive examination, with no specific reason to suspect them other than the typical soft profile indicators, or else we're just going to have to live with air-travellers being killed by the hundreds every other month.
There is no ducking the question. We cannot ask every woman flier to subject herself to a gynecological exam before warning. And we also cannot live with planes exploding every other month.
I'm not sanguine about having to subject Muslim women to this indignity. It's intrusive, it's insulting, it's humiliating. But what else are we supposed to do? How many mass-murders can we bear before deciding that some humiliation is the lesser evil?
Update to Deadly Dildoes link
I'm sorry to make light of this, but, if we are no longer able to crack juvenile jokes in the face of mass-murder and psychopathic death cultists, then truly the terrorists have won.
From the Mirror's story, regarding Al Qaeda she-bombers smuggling explosives on to aircraft by hiding them in their vaginas:
Defence analyst Paul Beaver said: "We have got intelligence, I am told, that there was a plan to take the aircraft and destroy it over Washington or fly it into something."
Well. I suppose he'd be the one to know, now wouldn't he?
Governor Dean: "Distracted" from Guarding Vermonters against Al Qaeda
Apparently Governor Dean's unilateral, obsessive drive to provoke "regime change" in the United States wasted precious resources and caused him to be "distracted" from the fight against Al Qaeda. A news report states that Vermont had one of the shoddiest security records in the nation during Dean's last year of governance
Blogger BostonIrish lays down the law.
THE SPY WHO SNOGGED ME
Joe Wilson, the guy who drank "sweet mint tea" for eight days when he was supposed to be conducting a probe into Niger's uranium trade, further bolsters his credibility by detailing "heavy make-out sessions" with his wife.
Don't worry-- he absolutely protects the sanctity and privacy of their marriage. As far as I can tell, there is no detailed description of actually porking
Valerie Plame, Super-Spy.
God. A fifty year old man still telling hero stories, and about his fucking wife
to boot. Gee, Joe, did you go under the shirt, over the bra? I feel like I'm in the The Breakfast Club
, but starring fat, old people.
Dean Suspicious of Timing of January 1st
Dean: New Year 'Ball Drop' Timed to Benefit Bush -
(2003-12-31) -- The precise timing of the descent of a Waterford Crystal ball above Times Square at midnight tonight may be another example of Bush administration "stagecraft," according to Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean.
"The ball is a powerful symbol for America," said Mr. Dean. "And it's natural to ask 'Who stands to benefit from the appearance of stability and comfort that comes from the smooth, timely, joyful nature of this event?' First we catch Saddam, then Libya gives up its WMD, the U.S. economy is recovering...and now the ball drop. It's a brand new year...morning in America again. To suggest that this harmonic convergence of events was merely coincidental strains credulity."
Mr. Dean insisted he was not suggesting that George Bush personally coordinated the timing of New York City ball drop, "but it is an interesting theory that's out there," he said.
From the indispensible Scrappleface News Service.