Well, it seems our Russian "allies" were
involved in Iraq. They were just involved on the other side
, providing nightvision goggles and satellite-guidance jammers to Saddam.
Certainly this is proof-positive that we ought to subcontract our defense policy to nations which actively and flagrantly arm our enemies.
Perhaps we ought to simply cut out the middle-man and elect Kim Jong Il as our President.
Or, worse yet, Howard Dean.
Dems Deem Dim Dean Doomed?
Oh, sure, the story's stale by now, but we just thought up the headline last night. The Dallas Morning News
has an update.
NOTE: Link actually leads to Free Republic posting of story; DMS has an annoying registration. The hell with them.
Analysts Again Boost 2004 Growth Projections
After the dismal December jobs numbers, this is a welcome bit of good cheer.
Analysts have hiked their projections for 2004 growth by .2%, up to 4.6%.
Deanie Cultists Perform Strange Ritual at Altar
This is getting scary.
If the hours upon hours of devotional hymns sung to their dark master weren't enough to make your skin crawl, now Dean's non-Iowan cultists are actually getting married to Iowans in quickie Las Vegas weddings.
Just so they can participate in the upcoming caucuses-slash-sacrificial ceremonies.
Def Progressive Jam
Howard Dean, aka The Love Doctor, aka Howard the Doc -- rocks the house,
Ron Delzner style, on a website where his supporters-slash-cultists sing devotional songs to the petite high priest of progressivism.
Where are the Weapons? I Got Your Weapons Right Here
soften some of the feminine taunting from our true patriot friends.
But probably not.
American Attack Chopper In Action
WARNING: REAL-LIFE VIOLENT CONTENT.
The infrared gun-camera from an American attack bird
records the killing of three Iraqi guerillas.
We had real trepidations about posting this. We're not especially proud of liking this video. It's not the most evolved or humane response.
But the recent killing of nine American boys aboard a Black Hawk copter has made us yearn for a bit of tangible evidence that we're giving as good as we're getting.
And the fellows in this video give real good. Ferocious good.
Good, bad, or ugly, this is news. So there it is.
From Free Republic.
The Conservative Celebrity Gap
We conservatives would sound more credible in our complaints about empty-headed celebrities vacuously pimping liberal candidates if we ourselves weren't so damnedably desperate
to bask in a little low-watt celebrity light ourselves.
Case in point: Newsmax
getting all giddy about Don King supporting George Bush. Not just supporting him-- supporting him 1000%.
Hmmmm... a 1000%, you say? Sounds suspiciously like a management-cost-recoupment clause in Larry Holmes' old contract.
Newsmax is probably more giddy about the fact Bush has a black supporter than the fact he has a celebrity supporter. But honestly, 10% of blacks do in fact vote Republican; that's not a lot, but we don't need to go all crazy just because a very shady boxing promoter/convict is endorsing Bush.
We will have black Bush backers-- not nearly as many as we'd like, but some. We shouldn't break out the cellphone in the endzone when we get the endorsement of scary-influential Don King.
As they say: Act like you've been in the endzone before, and expect to be there again.
Dirty Dean Does Dual Cheat?
the Gephardt and Kerry campaigns accused Howard Dean's campaign of busing non-residents into Iowa to fraudulently take part in the caucuses.
Now, professional paranoiac Josh Marshall
notices the most recent ARG poll's press release came with this odd caveat:
Over the past 2 days of calling, a number of older respondents registered as undeclared voters have reported that they have received telephone calls from a campaign informing them that they will not be allowed to vote in the Democratic primary because they missed the deadline to switch parties. A respondent discovered, however, that when she told the caller that she was thinking about voting for Howard Dean, the caller told her that she would be eligible to vote.
Marshall called ARG's president and learned that "a campaign" was calling New Hampshire residents and telling them, falsely
, that Independents are not allowed to vote in the Democratic Primaries. (In NH, Independents are allowed to do just that-- witness the flocks of Independents (as well as Democratic trouble-makers) voting for John McCain in 2000).
The one specific anecdote provided -- a voter saying that she was first told she couldn't vote, and then told that she could vote, after she volunteered she would probably vote for Dean -- suggests the Dean campaign behind this.
So does a "who benefits?" conspiracy analysis. Dean is far more popular among Democratic voters than he is among the general voting population. Independents would, it seems, be more likely to support a Gephardt, Clark, or Lieberman.
Marshall, spinning like a left-leaning top as usual, just can't let a Dirty Dean Deed pass without suggesting that, somehow, in some way, it's all the Republicans' fault:
If true, it's the slimiest stuff imaginable -- the kind of trash tactics Dems are used to seeing from the other side.
Yeah... okay, Josh.
Still, we owe a bit of thanks to the conspiratorially-febrile mind of Mr. Marshall. Unless he is withholding credit from someone else, he's the first to notice this in the ARG press release, and the first to follow up on it. One wonders if Mr. Marshall would have been such a bear for details had the details hurt the chances of one of the candidates he supports, but still, a good catch.
Mr. Dean should
be closely questioned about this. And so should his campaign staffers, and so should the telemarketers conducting his polls (both push- and otherwise).
But our objective media -- the one we're always being told will go after any juicy story, no matter which party it seems to hurt -- will not do so. They already have too much invested in Mr. Dean. And Mr. Dean will once again emerge unscathed by scandal.
Every once in a while, the liberal media works in the interests of conservatives. And it it is sweeeet
. (As Dave Chappelle noted about racism.)
And we're the first (at least as far as we know) to introduce the "Dirty Dean" meme. And we just couldn't be more proud.
"He had absolutely nothing to do with the guerilla movement"
A senior British official says, "The results of the capture of Saddam were greater than we were ever expecting."
It seems some in America are willing to play grandstanding defense lawyer for Hussein at the drop of a hat. There are a whole host of crimes many of our "true patriots" are willing to swear Saddam Hussein to be absolutely innocent of.
One would imagine that Saddam had at least some interaction with the jihadists and bandits attempting to recapture the country for him. It's one thing to swear on a stack of Bibles that one can testify as a character witness that Saddam would never
have anything to do with Osama bin Ladin. But to claim that he didn't even have any "connections" to the guerilla/terrorist war being waged in his name?!?!
But that's what many of our "true patriots" declared. Within hours of his capture, pro-Saddam/anti-Bush spinners were pronouncing that Saddam obviously had nothing at all to do with these attacks.
"After all," they said, with the same sort of sage military analysis they've been providing for three years, "He was living in a hole. His hair was all ookie."
Well, once again, they were wrong. Saddam was
directing some guerilla attacks, and his satchel contained a bonanza of intelligence on guerilla leaders.
Has any one of the "true patriots" who immediately declared that Saddam had "nothing" to do with the attacks on our soldiers confessed error? Recanted? Apologized for speaking hastily?
Have any of you
seen such a statement?
Thanks to Phil for letting me know one of my quotation-marks was all funked up.
Grad Student Indicted for Aiding Terrorism
a Saudi computer student at the University of Idaho has been indicted for using his technical skills to materially aid recruitment and donations to terrorist groups.
Saddam Given PoW Status
that Saddam has been afforded POW status, and thus will enjoy the protections afforded such persons under the Geneva Convention.
This is both prudent and harmless.
It is prudent: The Geneva Convention states which enemy combatants will be afforded the protections of a POW. Among other requirements, they are required to wear a recognizable uniform and avoid inflicting casualties on civilians. Most of the terrorists attacking our troops are not
such legal combatants, and therefore are not POW's when captured.
Saddam certainly wasn't wearing a uniform when caught. And he was apparently directing some guerrilla operations. However, it would simply be too difficult to argue he was an illegal combatant, in military courts or the courts of public opinion. He wasn't caught red-handed
committing acts of terrorism or sabotage while out of recognizable uniform. It is prudent, then, to treat him as a POW.
It is harmless: The prudence of granting Saddam POW status is buttressed by the harmlessness of doing so. Typically, one can't threaten POW's very much at all within the confines of the Geneva Convention. (Although most POW's are threatened, and more
than threatened.) It is of course against the Conventions to beat or torture POW's.
And it is also illegal to threaten them with criminal punishment, since POW's -- legal combatants -- are not in fact criminals.
But Saddam is, actually, a criminal. Not for fighting the US; no, we won't be prosecuting him for planning the killing of American soldiers. Enemy troops, even those as loathesome as Saddam, are expected to fight when at war, and killing the enemy (in this case, our American heroes) is not a crime.
But he will be prosecuted for crimes against humanity by the Iraqis themselves, and possibly for war crimes -- actions which clearly violate the Geneva Convention -- committed against the Iranians, the Kuwaitis, and yes, as our President often says, "even his own people."
That is leverage. Serious leverage. When the Iraqis convene their courts, they will not be seeking to imprison Saddam in a clean, dry and warm Dutch cell for six or eight years. They'll be looking to kill him.
Given that, we have all the leverage we could possibly want against Saddam, even while affording him his full POW protections. There is no need to subject him to Guantanamo style detention. While the Geneva Convention protects him with one hand, it dooms him to hang with the other.
Saddam isn't talking yet.
But just wait until they begin framing the gallows.
Because while we won't be trying Saddam, we do have custody over his person.
And soon he's going to realize that our decision regarding the tribunal to which we deliver him is one of (his) life and death.
A cooperative Saddam might be handed over to a nice, forgiving, soft European court.
A silent and sullen Saddam will be delivered to the Shi'as and Kurds.
FoxNews: Senator Tom Harkin Endorses Dean
Another "moderate" Democrat (Liberal rating 80% in 2002, according Americans for Democratic Action, self-described as "America's oldest independent liberal lobbying organization")
endorses fellow "moderate" Howard Dean.
America is a funny place. Apparently there are almost no liberals here. All political disagreements occur between "mainstream moderates" and "right wing conservative extremists."
Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy!
Iraqi smugglers are running Demon rum
into theocratic Iran.
The collateral damage from Bush's unilateral war continues apace.
Entrepreneurship, initiative, hooch, & giving the finger to an evil regime of murderous theocrats -- we'll drink to that.
Iraqi Governing Council Agrees to Autonomous Kurdish Region
The IRC has agreed
to grant three Kurdish provinces the same level of political autonomy they had under Saddam Hussein (and, of course, under the guardianship of the US & UK no-fly patrols). This agreement will become part of Iraq's "fundamental law."
They've also agreed to a federal-style system, which makes an awful lot of sense given the heterogeneous nature of Iraq. Hopefully, a federal system will make it far less likely that a Islamist regime can be imposed on the entire nation. If some provinces choose to live under such a backward system of law and governance, that's their own (poor) decision; but at least a federal system suggests that such Talibanism will be confined to those areas where a majority of persons actually want it.
Tim Noah at the must-miss webzine Slate
has been running a "Kurdish Sell-Out Watch" for lo the past year or two. Mr. Noah's interest in Kurdish autonomy and freedom seems to have been sparked at precisely the same time he saw an opportunity to bash Bush over the topic.
Perhaps, after suggesting for two years that securing Kurdish autonomy was the key goal of the Iraq war -- in the sense that, were such autonomy not granted, the war would be unjust and Bush diminished for failing to secure it -- Noah will treat us to a piece celebrating this success. It seems to us that if failing to secure Kurdish autonomy would be judged a great failure and display of moral cowardice by Bush, then success at securing such a thing should be, reciprocally, judged a great success and display of moral courage by Bush.
If a failure to secure Kurdish autonomy would be a "sell-out," in Mr. Noah's own juvenile formulation, then success at same must be a show of integrity.
So we here at the Ace of Spades Free Kurdistan Now! Committee are waiting anxiously for that admission by Noah.
Any day now. Any. Day. Now.
We were wrong about Noah -- sort of
! See "IMPORTANT UPDATE," following "UPDATE," below.]
UPDATE: Compare this to the complaint of Gregg Easterbrook.
For months, the New York Times and Washington Post gave front-page prominance and crisis-style coverage to the need to reduce air pollutants. But when the Bush Administration actually moved to enact such reductions (doing so through executive regulations rather than legislative law, as the Energy Bill remains stalled in the Senate), the New York Times and Washington Post suddenly found the issue scarcely worth reporting on at all. Both reported the story deep in the interior, under ambiguous headlines giving the reader little clue as to whether the changes instituted by Bush were for good or for ill.
Funny that, eh? When Bush hasn't cured the problem, it's front-page news, a major story, a crisis facing the nation. When Bush substantially solves the problem, it's a yawner.
Our objective media can't have it both ways. If the problem is a front page headline, then so too is the solution (or substantial amelioration, at the very least).
If the solution is relegated to page A27, then the problem should have been on A27 too.
It simply cannot be the case that "Bush Takes No Action" is a front-page slammer and "Bush Acts" is hidden between the obituaries and the latest "Where We Stand" snoozer by the NEA.
Or rather: Of course they can. They've been doing so for a long time now.
But they can't do so without it being noticed. And they cannot do so and claim to be objective.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Well, we called Slate "must-miss" for a reason: we usually take great pains to miss it. And so we did in fact miss Tim Noah's January 6 piece
which at least acknowledged that the Kurds would now be free.
Of course, Noah claims that it was a conspiracy of "cosmic" "luck" that granted autonomy to the Kurds. Not a decision by the Bush administration to assist a people craving self-determination; no, rather, it was all due a series of comic mishaps whereby Bush tried
to sell-out the Kurds as hard as he could, but, incompetent that he is, his nefarious schemes to enslave Kurdistan continuously backfired on him.
Noah makes the concession that "it wasn't just luck." No, it was more than simple luck-- it was also the Bush Administration's diplomatic bumbling, alienating the world, making the Kurds one of the few people in the world that liked us and therefore one we were more willing to do favors for.
So it wasn't all the Kurds' luck at having such an idiot running the American government -- it was also them having more luck
at having a medically-diagnosable moron
in the White House!
That's the good thing about having an incompetent like Bush in office, I guess: Though he is of course Pure Evil, he's also Pure Idiot. Though his heart be as black and malformed as Ernst Stavro Blofeld's, his mind is as tiny and addled as Inspector Clouseau's.
It was a case of evil vying with idiocy in the Bush Administration, according to Noah, and fortunately for the Kurds, idiocy won.
So we were wrong to suggest that Noah had not yet dealt with this issue. He had-- in fact, he had commented on these events before we did.
But a reading of his tendentious, typically-childish piece reinforces the main point: Having accused Bush of trying to "sell out" the Kurds for over a year, Tim Noah refuses to admit that Bush chose not to sell out the Kurds at all. In his objective, non-partisan analysis, Bush tried his level-best to deny freedom to the Kurds; he was just too much the bumbling dunderhead to succeed.
Coming next from Noah: Bush Attempts to Put America Into 1930's Style Depression; But "Cosmic Luck" Conspires to Keep Economy Growing at 4.5% Rate!
Weak Jobs Report Sends Dow, S&P Down
A weaker-than-expected jobs report
-- a scant 1,000 non-farm payrolls added in December -- has sent the Dow falling from its multiyear highs.
There is still good reason to be optimistic about both the economy and job-creation in particular. The first-time jobless claims remain lower now than they were during the last months of the Clinton administration. The economy may have produced jobs sluggishly during December, but the economy also seems to be shedding fewer jobs when Clinton turned the economy over to Bush. This caused the unemployment rate to fall .1%, to 5.7%.
It should also be kept in mind that job-creation numbers are revised when more data come in. The job-creation numbers for August were originally posted at 57,000; they number was later revised upwards to 150,000.
Lastly, there is (or, at least, there historically has been
) a certain inevitability to job growth during economic expansions. Employers may be resisting hiring, but usually resistance is not perpetual.
Paul Krugman and like-minded political partisans have, however, just received at least a month's reprieve. There is no point denying that. For at least another month, they can continue claiming that the expanding economy is actually the worst economy in the history of the known universe.
Dow Now Higher than at Bush's Inauguration
So, last week, first-time jobless claims were down to a level lower than on the day Bush became President; jobless claims are therefore lower than they were at the end of "the Clinton Boom."
No one in the media seemed to notice this. It just sort of slipped past them. Probably due to all the really big news that broke last week. Like-- well, we don't know. Howard Dean said that Osama bin Ladin shouldn't be prejudged as guilty; do those sorts of batshit-crazy comments from Dean even count as news anymore?
Today the beleagured-but-battling-back Dow rose above the level at which it stood when Bush took the oath of office.
noticed. I don't think that Tom, Dan, Peter, or Judy will.
Now That's My Kind of Gerrymander!
Rep. Turner (D-TX) won't seek re-election
Jan. 08, 2004
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Jim Turner, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, will not seek re-election after his district was significantly altered under Texas' new Republican-drawn congressional map.
"I have no realistic opportunity to seek re-election to Congress," he said in a news release this week. Turner, who said in the release he would finish out his term, wouldn't comment further Thursday.
His 19-county, rural East Texas district was split among six predominantly Republican and more urban-suburban districts. His hometown of Crockett is now in the district represented by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis.
Two down. And jeepers, it's not even February.
From Free Republic.
Space: The Final Jihad
This James Lileks
piece is very funny -- and also very sad, in its reality-is-stranger-than-parody way. Via Instapundit
I respect Michael Kinsley, but...
The ever-diminishing Michael Kinsley realizes
that some people attempt to have it both ways when debating an issue. They wish to confront a generally-popular point of view but they sometimes lack the guts to do so overtly. He thus takes former free-traders to task for claiming they support free-trade, but...
He's quite perceptive to realize that sometimes people will falsely claim general support of a broad goal while expressing their true feelings of disagreement by niggling over every single particular policy taken in furtherance of that goal. Such dishonest advocates hope to shape the debate under false pretenses, by posing as supporters of a goal while working hard with every new objection and small-bore criticism to defeat that goal in detail.
Why, it almost
reminds me of his own position on the War on Terror: He's in favor of it, of course, but...
January 1998 Interview Shows Howard Dean Planning Future Campaign Strategy
From MSNBC News
, an old tape reveals Howard Dean figuring out what it will take to win the 2004 Democratic Presidential Nomination:
If you look at the caucuses system, they are dominated by the special interests in both parties... [And] the special interests don't represent the centrist tendencies of the American people. They represent the extremes. And then you get a president who is beholden to either one extreme or the other, and where the average person is in the middle.
Ah-hah...! So he planned this all along. Give the man credit-- at least he understood the milieu
he was operating within.
Maybe You Need to Change Video Stores
From the New Yorker's
tastefully-teasing cover story on lipstick lesbians in love:
The media have long depicted lesbians as sexless beings in lumberjack shirts...
Not the media that we here at Ace of Spades HQ enjoy watching. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact.
But perhaps we're just more progressive on these issues than the mainstream media.
DNC Rues Clues it Might Lose Jews, Part Deux:
Koch Choose-Views Give Dems News-Blues?
Sometimes we abuse Part Two's. But former NYC Hizzoner
endorses George W. Bush in the Jewish Forward.
Via Free Republic.
Proudly Presenting: The Dowd-O-Matic!!
How does she does it? How does Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, the Doyenne of Ditz, produce one thought-provoking, cogently-argued column after another?
We've all wondered. All of us, every one of us, has pondered the very impossibilty of the Ms. Dowd's consistently high-quality analytical output. (Or "Money" Dowd, as we call her. As in, "That lady is nothing but money!
We're sure that you, just as we, have wished for the ability to write as smartly as Ms. Dowd. But that, surely, would be impossible.
By subjecting all of Ms. Dowd's oeuvre
(that's a French literary term meaning "soft eggs") to rigorous computerized statistical and etymological analysis, we at Ace of Spades HQ have determined that each of Ms. Dowd's brilliant columns follows a pattern
By identifying the contours and parameters of this pattern, we have discovered that each one of Ms. Dowd's Pulitzer-Prizing columns contains precisely four (4) "seeds," each seed selected from a menu of twelve (12), and only twelve (12), possibilities.
The first seed is a Slapdash Reference to Current Political Events.
These vary over time, but we've been able to positively identify the only twelve current political subjects discussed by Ms. Dowd over the past four years.
The second seed is a Strained Connection to Some "Hot" Pop Culture Trend
Such "hot" pop culture trends are chiefly visible (if at all) in the tony urban neighborhoods Dowd frequents. Often these "hot" pop culture trends are simply determined by whatever was on HBO Signature
last night. Sometimes they're not even real trends at all, but rather hoaxes invented by harried magazine writers on a deadline (i.e., "metrosexuality," the fad that's positively sweeping the world).
The third seed is an Equally Strained Connection to Some Retro Trend Half-Remembered From Dowd's Increasingly-Distant Youth
. Simple enough. Do you remember the 80's? Ms. Dowd doesn't. Set the wayback machine to the Age of Elvis for this one.
Finally, all columns require a fourth seed, which is not a topic but rather an attitude or tone -- or, perhaps more accurately, a Posture
-- which superficially unites the three other story-seeds.
To generate your own Maureen Dowd column, simply roll a twelve-sided die (or "d12") four times, consulting one of the following tables per roll. If you don't have a twelve-sided die (and really, if you don't, don't you think it's about time you considered investing in one? ), you can draw cards from a standard deck, treating aces through tens as numbers 1 through 10, Jacks as 11's, and Queens as 12's. Ignore all Kings and Jokers.
Table 1: Slapdash Reference to Current Political Events
1. John Ashcroft
2. John Ashcroft's Prayer Sessions
3. Saddam Hussein (BONUS: Connect Hussein's disheveled appearance at his capture to some recent fashion disaster seen at a Hollywood awards presentation)
4. Dick Cheney
5. Dick Cheney and Halliburton
6. Dick Cheney's "Undisclosed Location"
7. Don Rumsfeld
8. Paul Wolfowitz
9. President Bush
10. The Bush Twins
11. The Bush Extended Family (BONUS: Be sure to refer to Bush Senior as "Daddy" or "Pop-Pop")
12. The Bush Family's "Bizness" and Mob-War with Saddam Hussein (BONUS: Refer to James Baker as consiglierte
Table 2: Strained Connection to a "Hot" Pop Culture Topic
2: Lesbian chic ("chick on chick chic")
3: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
4: Queer as Folk
(Consult your Showtime Viewer Guide for air times)
5: Will & Grace
6: Sex & the City
7: "Where Have All the Male Television Viewers Gone? (And Isn't it Just Wonderful That They Have
Gone? More Sex & the City
For Us Alpha Girls!") [Cf.
Number 8, infra
8: "Alpha Girls"/Grrrl Power
9: The Sopranos
(Connection to the Godfather saga obligatory)
11: Rich Girls
/The Simple Life
/"Isn't it a Crushing Burden to be Hot, Rich, Famous and Fabulous Like Me?"
12: Reality TV (BONUS: Try to work in the gag-line, "I'm a Feminist! Get Me Out of Here!")
Table 3: Equally Strained Connection to Some Retro Trend Half-Remembered From Dowd's Increasingly-Distant Youth
2. Mood Rings (BONUS: Be sure to connect to Color-Coded Terror- Alert System)
5. Rosemary's Baby
6. Donna Reed
7. The Stepford Wives
8. Light Petting
10. Plato's Retreat
11. "Hef" and the Mansion
12. "I once hot-tubbed with David Crosby, Joan Didion, and Dr. Benjamin Spock"
Table 4: Attitude/Tone/Posture/Pose
12. "Make the Bad Men Threatening Us, and Especially As the Equally Bad Men Protecting Us, Go Away Already!!"
"Don't hate me because I'm vapid!"
Once you've generated all four seeds, write your column! Don't worry about smooth transitions or even logical connections between topics-- Ms. Dowd doesn't!
And then just sit back and wait for that tasty
Pulitzer money to start rolling in!
UPDATE: We didn't even bother to read Ms. Dowd's current column before writing this; we merely picked up, from other bloggers, that it discordantly mixed some petulant Bush-bashing with some panting lesbian-boosting.
So we were pleasantly surprised to find that Money Dowd came through for us, yet again:
Showtime has a vampy new program about lesbians in L.A. called "The L Word."
Well, dear. Of course
Some columnists get criticized for relying too much on Lexis/Nexis. But what do you say about someone whose primary research tool is a TiVo?
We here at the Ace of Spades Symposium for Cultural Studies watch an awful lot of TV, too. Not as much as Ms. Dowd, it seems, but plenty
Howard Dean is Large; He Contains Multitudes
"Straight-shooter" Howard Dean has now reversed himself
on the issue of requiring the UN's permission to defend American interests; he now takes the radical position that the US doesn't actually need the permission of anyone except its people acting through their elected representatives to vindicate its security interests. Via Andrew Sulivan.
Furthermore, he says he might just drop that "repeal the entire Bush tax-cut" jazz that so fired up his enthusiastically pro-tax base, and instead is considering supporting a "middle class" tax cut.
(In Clinton-speak, a "middle class" tax cut means a "phantasmal" tax cut.)
And of course this committed secularist, with his purported New England reserve about discussing religion, who once left the church of his birth over a dispute about a bike path
, is now praising Jesus (at least in the South) and boosting his favorite book of the New Testament: Job.
You know, Job-- the apostle who wrote Epistles to the Corinthians while setting up a congregation inside the belly of whale. "If you know the Bible well," as Dean humbly says he does, then you know that that whale, unfortunely, later crashed into Noah's Ark, killing Jason and the Arkonauts, thereby opening up Pandora's Box.
[If you need more details, consult Raiders of the Lost Ark,
Chapter 3, Verses 4-17. See
, especially, Raiders 3:9-11:
Yea and verily, And then Indy explained the Ark to the G-Men, who believed him not;
And how it was hidden in the Well of Souls, amidst a frenzy of cruel serpents;
And he was well afraid. For Indy hated snakes
Vote for Howard Dean! If you don't like his positions, try back next week-- he's probably changed them more to your liking. (At least until he next needs to pander to a particular consituency.)
The Vile Primary
From the Daily News,
, Arianna Huffington -- bored socialite turned political beard turned conservative turned Newt-Groupie turned aged-hippie populist turned Friend of Franken turned gubernatorializing clown turned bored socialite-- supports Dean.
On the other hand, Drudge scoops
that Madonna -- dancer turned pop singer turned exhibitionist turned pornographer turned children's book author -- supports Clark.
Tough decisions out there for non-vile Democrats.
UPDATE: Madonna opines that the current adminstration lacks "consciousness." Does she mean "conscience," and is too dumb to realize there are two different words that sound kind of alike? Or does she mean that the administration lacks the zen-ish connection with the Earth-Mother Oversoul that some dopes like to call "true consciousness"?
We're not sure which is worse. Either meaning is possible; both meanings are vile.
Dick Morris: Dean "Unstoppable"
is actually much more caveated than the headline (blame the NYPost's editor, probably).
His big point is that Dean's early victories will knock out opponents (Gephardt in Iowa, Kerry in NH), and that that's bad news
for Dean. Because Dean, being something of a fringe candidate (though a front-running one), can only reliably garner 25% of the vote in each state. That will win primaries and caucuses in badly-divided fields.
But once the field winnows to two or three candidates, Dean will need to win a greater share of the vote to capture delegates. And Morris wonders if he can.
He concludes that Dean will
achieve victory in spite of the coming higher hurdles, partly because of the severely-compressed primary schedule, which will not give anti-Dean Dems time enough to rally around other candidates.
Now, that's all perfectly cogent analysis. Trouble is, Dick Morris has been wrong in almost every prediction he's made since 1998 (and we've been counting!).
Which means, sadly, that Dean will lose the nomination, and that the much stronger candidate Wesley "TimeRanger" Clark will win.
Deadly Mortar Attack in Iraq
Another grim day. One soldier killed, twenty six injured but not seriously, eight injured "more seriously." (The article does not say what that means. They had to be airlifted out for further medical attention.)
The residents of Fallujah are, shocker!, seething. They're absolutely stunned that after they lobbed grenades into a our GIs' sleeping quarters, soldiers came looking for the culprits.
This seems to be a pattern among some of our enemies. Attack, destroy, kill; then express perfect bafflement and outrage about anything untoward being done in response.
DNC Rues Clues it Might Lose Jews?
Wouldn't that be wonderful news?
Via Free Republic
, the Republican Jewish Coalition
Some at the Democratic strategy meetings worried that Jews believed the party was taking the community for granted because of its overwhelming support in previous elections.
That notion was reinforced by exit polls after the 2002 midterm elections, which showed a return to Reagan-era numbers when Jews voted Democratic by a 2-1 margin, not the 5-1 or 6-1 ratios of the Clinton era.
The exit polls had unreliably small samples, but Democrats were rattled.
But let's not get all messhugeneh
about this. The GOP has been anticipating nine of the last zero Jewish realignments into the conservative camp. But O, what a mitzvah
it would be.
That Club for Growth Anti-Dean Ad...
... is just terrible.
First of all, the "noun-verbing, noun-verbing" style of chain insult is, like, so Ann Richards 1988. Sure, it's occasionally fun to do, but it's not new and therefore just isn't as arresting as it was fifteen years ago.
Second of all, a string of insults directed at a candidate does nothing
to persuade. At best, you can fire up some of the already-convinced, but I doubt the ad is strong enough to even do that.
If you want to hit Dean, then hit Dean on policy. Weak on war, US needs "permission" from UN to act in its national interests, gay marriage, etc. Yeah, the ad opens with the question, "What do you think of Howard Dean's plans to raise taxes on families by $1900," but the rest of the ad is so lacking in seriousness that it undermines the charge it opens with. (Besides-- no one believes the numbers in political ads, at least not without some sort of superficial substantiation.)
This ad is so bad, and so unconvincing, that we wonder if it is meant to actually harm Dean in Iowa at all. It is strange for a pro-Republican group to attempt to sabotage the candidate that most agree would run the weakest against George W. Bush. Republicans should be boosting
this guy in Iowa, not taking out ads against him during a deliciously-bloody intramural scrum.
And who knows? Maybe the Club for Growth is doing just that. Maybe the ad is designed to be both weak but taunting in a juvenile manner, to get up the dander of all those leftist Democratic activists. "Why, call me
a latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, sushi-eating left-wing freak! I'll show you what for, by gum!! Martha, get my lucky caucus slippers. We're voting for Dean!!!
Stupid theory? We admit: The theory is stupid.
try otherwise explaining this choir-preaching, culture-warring, liberal-baiting, Blue-State-alienating, weak-hitting, gravitas-deflating, moderate-baffling, Spike-Lee-plagiarizing excuse for a junior-high AV Society School Spirit clip.
[Even the acting is bad! -- ed.
We're not Mickey Kaus
-- we don't do that cutesy-cute internal banter with editors. Actually, we don't even have
editors. Sorry. It won't happen again.-- ed.
Fine. Take care that it doesn't. Now take your thought-interrupting, premise-undermining, word-count-fattening ass back to Vermont. Where it belongs.]
Great web-animation video of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades," featuring bad-ass, card-sharping, hog-riding, law-breaking kittens.
Neither Motorhead nor the folks at matazone.co.uk have any affiliation with Ace of Spades HQ, and didn't record this song or create this animation in our honor.
As far as we know.
Taliban "Apologizes" For Massacring Wrong Victims
, MSNBC reports
that the Taliban is aplogizing for its recent Kandahar bombing which took the lives of 16 Afghans, including at least eight children.
A wonderful gesture. I wonder if their apologies will ease the pain of the families of the slaughtered dead, or help cure the wounds of the 50 people injured by the attack.
It's probably silly to read anything into this choice of target. But it does occur to us that Al Qaeda and its affiliates are being forced to commit their vile murders in a shrinking arena. Turkey, Bali, Saudi Arabia; now Kandahar, once a stronghold of the Taliban.
Not the U.S. And now, quite far from even Kabul.
They're still killing innocent people, but increasingly (maybe) far from their first choice of killing fields. And when you start butchering people in your own backyard, the civilians you hide amongst might just start getting a little sick of your psychopathic death-cult activities.
Or so one hopes, at least.
Halliburton Cleared of Wrongdoing in Gas-Importing "Scandal"
The Army Corps of Engineers has deemed Halliburton's (actually KBR's) prices for imported gas to be "fair and reasonable"
under the circumstances, which should result in an end to the Pentagon audit.
There are rumored to be some people "deeply saddened" by this finding.
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
The House of Love
is a new feature to Ace of Spades HQ. In The House of Love
, we show we care by committing random acts of kindness and selfless acts of charity.
Today, we make Princeton economist and New York Times editorialist Paul Krugman our inaugural inductee into The House of Love. And the man needs it.
A year ago, Paul Krugman was riding high. He was making bold predictions about Bush's "disastrous" economic policies. In one column, he gleefully wondered whether the recession would be a "W" shaped one (cute, huh?)-- he wondered whether Bush's tax cuts and other economic policies would plunge us into a double-dip (the two bottom points of the W). Or, he supposed, we might be entering an "L" shaped trend -- fast decline, then flat-lining economic activity; sort of a semi-permanent recession.
But 2003 has not been kind to Mr. Krugman. 2003 featured astounding growth in the 3rd Quarter -- and expectations for strong, if not similarly stellar, growth in 4Q. See, for example, this piece
discussing the growing global economic boom, and the glittering forecasts for job-creation.
Mr. Krugman has been attempting to spin his previous dire predictions as being about the long-term economic picture only. Did he predict a W or L shaped economy in 2003-2004? Oh, good Heavens no! He was merely talking about 2015
, silly! Like a millenialist preacher predicting the end of the world, all of his apocalyptic prophecies have needed to be, well, adjusted
, pushed back further in time, into the conveniently-distant -- and conveniently-unknowable -- future. (How General Wesley "TimeRanger" Clark's time-travel hypotheses are implicated by any of this is currently unclear.)
Poor Mr. Krugman has been left sputtering by the roaring economy. When asked by Brian Williams about the explosive growth in America's GDP, he answered:
"Um, it's definitely an upturn, I mean, uh, you can't, uh, you know I, what do you say?'
Indeed! What can you say? To find such precise and articulate economic analysis, one must usually turn to the classified section of High Times
might be churlish and petty and simply pile on the diminutive, discombobulated professor. But we here at the Ace of Spades Economic Forecasting Subdivision are not so vindictive.
For obvious reasons, Mr. Krugman seems less and less eager to write about actual current economics. Sure, he'll occasionally write tendentious pieces claiming that the unemployment rate is much higher than the mere numbers would have you believe. But lately American economist Krugman has been thrashing about, looking for topics other than the American economy to write about.
The House of Love
shall assist him in this endeavor.
Forthwith, then, here is a list of titles
for Mr. Krugman's 2004 columns. These proposed titles have been carefully hand-crafted to provide Mr. Krugman with interesting, engaging topics to shriek hysterically about; but we've taken the greatest care to insure that not a one of them actually implicates Mr. Krugman's asserted expertise in economics. We are, as they say, nothing but heart.
Proposed Column Titles for Paul Krugman Which Avoid Any Mention of Economics
* That "New Car Smell" -- What Is That, and Why Doesn't Some Madison Avenue Wizard Make a Cologne Out of It?
* Short Men Make Better Lovers (or, At Least, Not as Bad as You Might Think)
* In Praise of Kurt Rambis
* What I'm Watching Right Now-- Becker
* Rethinking the 11th Amendment and Nineteenth Century Jurisprudence Regarding State Sovereign Immunity to Citizen Lawsuits
* I Remember When Stamps Cost a Nickel
* Steely Dan-- Loved Steely, Hated Dan
* Ben Gazarra On My Mind
* Breaking the White Supremacist Code: Crypto-racist Messages in the Lyrics of Wilson-Phillips
* An Open Letter to That Super-Cute Chick on The O.C.: I Know More About the Female Body than All Your Twenty-Year-Old Hollywood Pretty-Boys Put Together
* Duel in the Deep: The Naval Strategies of Admirals Nimitz and Yamamoto
A Three Part Series:
* Part I: What the Fuck Was Don Fucking Johnson Doing with 8 Fucking Billion Dollars in His Fucking Car?
* Part II: Does This Still Fucking Bother Anybody Else?
* Part III: Seriously. I Mean, What the Fucking Fuck? Right? Fuck'n A Right.
* A Comparative Etymology of Etruscan and Basque Word Fragments
* Vagina (A Love Story)
* The Most Dangerous Progressive Voice in America Today: Jm J. Bullock
* Why Would My Sister Jude Think That I'd Want the Fucking Special-Edition DVD of Under Siege 2: Dark Territory
as a Birthday Present? What, Like I'm Some Fucking Big Eric Bogosian Fan or Something?
* Hillary Rodham Clinton: Nothing But Class
* Building the High-End Stereophonic Audiosystem That's Right for You
* Pretty, Quick!-- Paul Krugman's Ultimate
List of Five-Minute Makeovers
* "Morning Thunder" Tea: Pure, Unadulterated Dogshit in a Mug
* Retrofitting Your 1969 Camaro With a Rear Spoiler From a 1977 Corvette
* Great Licks: Paul's Classic-Rock LP Collection
* The Other Melissa: That Chick Who Went Blind on Little House On the Prairie Still Gives Me Boners
* The Great Unravelling
: An Autobiography
These, combined with his usual 3R's -- his go-to topics of racism, Republicans, and the "right-wing" media -- should tide Mr. Krugman over to mid-November.
Are you a Putz...
when you play Trivial Pursuit? BostonIrish is big funny here.
Some sharp-eyed editor at Lucianne.com
pointed this out:
Check out Dennis Kucinich's pants. More specifically, the distance between the floor and his cuffs.
Case closed: This is a guy who surely must know his way around a twenty-sided die.
"I saw the Devil dancing with Michael Totten!"
Michael J. Totten, a liberalish kind of guy who has nevertheless been generally supportive of Bush's efforts in Bush's War on Terror, has been dogged by liberal inquisitors demanding that he confess his previous heresies and declare his unequivocal acceptance of the One True Faith.
Their demands that he prove that he is "One of Them" in Word, Deed, and Thought has finally produced a result:
And the end result of all this has been for me to finally agree and say to heck with it, I'm not one of you after all. I'm an Independent now. And despite the fact that I still hold several liberal opinions, I no longer feel any sense of loyalty or affection for the Democratic Party.
Nice work, guys! Smart! Like, Fredo
There's a saying that liberals look for heretics, while conservatives look for converts.
Or, as Spinal Tap's manager said, "I wouldn't say our appeal is shrinking. I'd say rather that our appeal is becoming more selective
Governor Schwarzenegger (and man, does it look cool to write that in a public document) says he'll be reducing spending
Maybe Bush should ask him how he manages such a seemingly-impossible feat.
From Drudge, the key quote: "Never again will government be allowed to spend money it doesn't have."
Ouch. Seriously, Mr. Bush, I like you as a President. But if you keep up this very bad habit, you're likely to wind up one day in the same position as Gray Davis. You'll one day be forced to accept that fact that the nation's budget is in crisis, and that it all happened -- all of it -- on your watch.
I'd like to keep the tax cuts. The only way we can keep the tax cuts if you restrain spending.
No more budget-busting Farm Bills or drug-benefits. You've spent enough
for all eight of your years in office.
Quick Quiz. What horribly unappreciated early-eighties comedy contains this exchange?
Man sits in front of a doctor. Man says, "Doctor, I can't piss any more." Doctor asks, "How old are you?" Man replies, "Ninety." Doctor says, "You've pissed enough."
Gnome Not Home
Via Donald Luskin's essential site for Krugman-busting
, a laugh-out loud funny site about the crime that shocked a community.
Make sure you check out this guy's other interests, apart from ceramic gnomes. This is a guy I've got to party with.
Or so "President" Bush claims. As well as his stooges at N.A."S."A.
I'm pretty sure that , somewhere in the "Martian" landscape, you can see the same "ripe dates" seen in the "Saddam" "capture" "photos."
And big deal anyway. They haven't caught Osama bin Laden yet.
All kidding aside-- great pictures. It's nice to have NASA ocassionally fulfill its real core mission of sparking our sense of wonder about the universe. One grows weary of the sort of $1.98 experiments being done on the Space Shuttle, the kind where they try to determine how spiders weave their webs in zero-g.
Three-Judge Federal Panel Okays Texas Redistricting
says redistricting is legal and it does not violate minority-voting protections of Voting Rights Act.
The decision sends the matter to Supreme Court for final review.
Mrs. Clinton Makes a Funny
Didja hear the one
about Indians running all our gas stations? Hey, even Mahatma Gandhi ran a Texaco, it turns out. That's what our junior Senator from New York says.
I just can't wait
until the liberal media begins lambasting Senator Clinton as ethnically insensitive! I'm sure they'll be all over this story
Okay, we won't be doing that
again. What a nightmare. No more posting pieces before they're actually finished. That's our promise to you, the reader. That's the Ace of Spades Total Customer Satisfaction (TCS) guarantee.
A Question of Character: The Definitive D&D Guide to the Democratic Presidential Candidates
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.
n/a (see below)
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
n/a (see below)
n/a (see below)
n/a (see below)
n/a (see below)
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.
n/a (see below)
n/a (see below)
n/a (see below)
n/a (see below)
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?
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