As It Turns Out, 'RAND' Is French For 'Duh!'

This progressive blog would be remiss if it did not mention the RAND Corporation study. For this, I am borrowing the “Speak Truth To Morons” category from Papa Bonk. Because that is precisely what this is.

All terrorist groups eventually end. But how do they end? The evidence since 1968 indicates that most groups have ended because (1) they joined the political process (43 percent) or (2) local police and intelligence agencies arrested or killed key members (40 percent). Military force has rarely been the primary reason for the end of terrorist groups, and few groups within this time frame have achieved victory. This has significant implications for dealing with al Qa’ida and suggests fundamentally rethinking post-9/11 U.S. counterterrorism strategy: Policymakers need to understand where to prioritize their efforts with limited resources and attention. The authors report that religious terrorist groups take longer to eliminate than other groups and rarely achieve their objectives. The largest groups achieve their goals more often and last longer than the smallest ones do. Finally, groups from upper-income countries are more likely to be left-wing or nationalist and less likely to have religion as their motivation. The authors conclude that policing and intelligence, rather than military force, should form the backbone of U.S. efforts against al Qa’ida. And U.S. policymakers should end the use of the phrase “war on terrorism” since there is no battlefield solution to defeating al Qa’ida.

Bear in mind, RAND is the think-tank where Condoleezza Rice interned and served as trustee and where Donald Rumsfeld was once Chairman of the Bored, and which is not at all associated with John Kerry—who was pilloried in 2004 for similar musings.

Time's Fun When You're Having Flies

CQ columnist Craig Crawford, on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, described the strategy of the John McWeirdsmile campaign—for which the candidate himself does not actually speak—in a way that tickled me silly.

Someone who practices these dark arts once told me he called this the “red frog, green frog” strategy. What it means is that you shake a big, ugly frog at your opponent’s face and to voters, and you say, “Look at this ugly frog!” And then, just as they’re reacting to it—and dissecting it—then you get another frog up there, and say, “Look at this frog!” And you just keep switching the frogs, the ugly frogs, and that’s what this strategy appears to be.

The imagined visual on this vignette is priceless. And accurate.

Who said that?

The following, in its entirety, is from today’s Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.  I suspect its the first time in a hundred years there has been a real D in D&C.  Thumbs Up, DnC!!

McCain’s Latest Flipflop
It was inevitable that the tired, racially divisive debate over affirmative action would be trotted out in this year’s presidential campaign. And as could be expected, longtime affirmative action foe Ward Connerly is again striking matches beneath the combustible issue.

To some surprise, Republican John McCain is helping to light this fire. Unlike 10 years ago, when he opposed an anti-affirmative action proposal in the Senate, McCain’s now supporting Connerly’s initiative on the Arizona ballot in November.

No doubt, McCain is trying to exploit the misguided belief by some that affirmative action represents reverse discrimination. They wrongly insist that affirmative action establishes a quota system.

The reality, however, is that simply is wrong and McCain knows it. Affirmative action acknowledges hardships faced by people of color. For example, employers in seeking to fill a job may make special efforts to ensure that people of color are in the pool of applicants and are given serious consideration for the post.

People like Connerly, a staunchly conservative African American who has made fighting affirmative action a life mission, know well the ramifications of their crusade. In Washington state, California and Michigan, similar initiatives were adopted by wide margins after stirring white anger.

Even more is at play. The initiative will also be on the ballots in Arizona and Colorado, both key states that could go blue or to the Democrats’ side of the ledger. By energizing conservatives with the ballot initiative, McCain’s campaign stands to benefit greatly.

It’s a dastardly political trick. Rather than offering new ways to fix an old, perplexing problem that seems to only surface during election years, McCain chose to be politically expedient. Why can’t voters see that?

Jaded Much?

I blew a chance to catch a glimpse of Mr. Obama today. I probably should have took it. But I generally as a rule eschew rubbernecking.

I was walking to the bank. I saw a crowd in front of The Mayflower. A hundred people or so. I asked someone what the hell they were doing there. He said they were waiting for Barack Obama to come out. (Please. No Spitzer jokes. The man was fund-raisin’.)

I went to the bank and then back to my office. I know. Sometimes, I am defeatingly ho-hum. But I’ve done my time waiting outside for hours for some fancypants (Dan Quayle) to come out and give me a quote. It’s really not all it’s cracked up to be.

Besides. One never knows when Bob “I Publicly Identify Covert CIA Operative In The Newspapers And I Run Over Pedestrians In My Black Corvette” Novak might be looming. These streets are not safe.

For All The good These Are Doing Me, I Might As Well Be Shoving Them Up My Ass

Aside from the shitty headline writing, this story may be worth a read. It seems that the Tennessee shooter has way overdosed on The Suppositories. Dude. It only takes one. Really.

Tennessee church shooter angry at ‘liberals’: police
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) – A man who opened fire inside a church, killing two people with a shotgun hidden in a guitar case, was frustrated at being unable to find a job and blamed liberals and gays, police said on Monday.

“It appears that what brought him to this horrible event was his lack of being able to obtain a job, his frustration over that, and his stated hatred of the liberal movement,” Knoxville Police Chief Sterling Owen told reporters of Sunday’s incident at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

Suspect Jim Adkisson, 58, who was being held on $1 million bond, had previously worked as a mechanical engineer in several states. He described his violent plans in a four-page letter found at his home, which also explained that his age and “liberals and gays” taking jobs had worked against him.

Another recent setback was that Adkisson’s allotment of government-issued food stamps had been reduced, Owen said.

Ahem. Do I even need to comment?

The church outside Knoxville, Tennessee, where some 200 people were watching a children’s play at the time, had been in the news recently for its “liberal stance,” Owen said.

Adkisson did not appear to belong to any organized groups and had no immediate family, Owen said. He did not appear to be targeting anyone, though he may have avoided shooting at children, he said.

Adkisson purchased the 12-gauge shotgun from a pawn shop about a month ago and brought it into the church inside a guitar case, Owen said. Police found 76 shotgun shells, along with another gun belonging to the suspect.

“I don’t think he expected to leave there alive, and were it not for the hasty actions of some of the other people in the sanctuary there may have been more fatalities,” Owen said.

The suspect fired three blasts before being subdued by congregants.

Therefore but the grace of God go Sean Hannity.

Many condolences to the victims and their families.

The Liberal Media

I’ve said for many years that anyone who claims that there is a liberal media in America has never worked in it. They’ve never been pinned down by an over-made-up big-haired ad rep, telling you that you should do a business feature on her friend Marlene’s Pampered Chef franchise because, after all, Marlene had placed an ad in the newspaper. They’ve never actually witnessed how many decisions are often made in a typical newsroom, how often those decisions are made by the guy who owns the media outlet, who is often a guy who is as stupid as the day is high, and how he’s often making those decisions because his stupid media outlet is failing miserably, and he wants the business owners to like him so they might buy advertising and save his wretched failing business. This is the actual bias that pervades most media outlets in the Untied States of America. It does not even make sense to suggest that the media leans left, not even on its face, especially these days, when television networks specifically expect their news divisions to be profit centers.

There are some good examples today of real media bias at Balloon Juice and at Old Fashioned Patriot. And, of course, a weekly must-read is Media Matters for America.

Cassandra, Get a Life!!

I have been complaining to the bakers at Wegmans’ about the fact that they have discontinued their bran muffins. Until about six months ago, maybe longer, Wegmans was the last place you could get a real bran muffin, everyplace else having gone to a doughy cake-like mass with berries in it. (I have to footnote this… I was in Arlington, VA, last week and discovered that Heidelberg still makes a real bran muffin.) Today I got what passes for an answer. Wegmans is doing research into bran muffins, the baker explained. They want to make a new one that rises up tall, and looks more like the cakey, doughy things that pass for muffins these days.

As I understand it, bran muffins… and the world’s only other acceptable breakfast baked thing, the blueberry cake doughnut (either Wegmans or Duncan’s) lost a great deal in the way of texture and eye appeal when the baking world retreated from trans fats. (Wegmans discontinued the blueberry cake doughnut. Duncan still makes it, but it is now more like a Tim Horton thingy than a real doughnut.) Apparently, without the miracle of trans fats, the bran muffin comes out short and squat and is not appealing to tennis moms. I told the Wegmans baker that I liked the muffins the way they were. It was taste and a perception of wholesomeness that made the muffins appealing. Not so, he insisted. If they don’t look tall and puffy, they don’t sell.

I am always on the wrong side of these issues. I think the test of a muffin should be taste and nutrition. Everyone else thinks it should be appearance. The test of a car should be efficiency and comfort and reliability. If everyone agreed with me, cars like my 2002 Saturn, which got 39 mpg on my last trip to DC, would be commonplace. SUVs would be rare, and we would send a lot less money to our Saudi enemies. At the height of his folly, that moron George W. Busch enjoyed a plus 60 approval rating.

The willingness of my fellow citizens to succumb to the blandishments of hype is stunning even if it may ever have been thus. Emerson noted the same phenomena. “Society is everywhere in conspiracy against the manhood of everyone of its members. Society is a joint stock company in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each share-holder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater.”  (Self Reliance)

Emerson maintained that the stubborn exercise of self reliant judgement was sufficient. I am not so certain. I can’t get a decent bran muffin without driving 400 miles to Heidelberg’s, my gas costs $4.25 a gallon, global warming is real and that moron George W. Busch was elected president twice.

Bite me you Morons!!!  Bite Yourselves.

McWeirdsmile Predictions

I predict that “presumptive” “presidential” “nominee” John Sidney McWeirdsmile will announce his pick for “running” “mate” by COB Aug. 1, and probably sooner than that, probably more like Monday, July 28. The McWeirdsmile campaign had a horrific week, and they know they need a bump. They’ll announce and try to ride the glide for a month.

I also predict that there will be a serious bid to unseat McWeirdsmile as the Republigoat nominee from the floor of the Republigoat convention (Sept. 1-4, Minneapolis-St. Paul, where bridges fall out of the sky). It will be a serious enough bid that the party will have to either let it go to the floor or will have to bargain it away, serious enough certainly to make news. Party “loyalists” haven’t been happy with the nod in the first place because they think that a man who can’t comb his own hair is a spawn of the devil. Now that McWeirdsmile’s impression of Tim Conway’s “The Old Man” in the cheese aisle has been made public, many in the party will decide that their “nominee” is unelectable and will try to unseat him.

Predicting is fun.

It's Like Rain On Your Wedding Day

Is it just me, or are most folks missing the real irony in the story about Robert Novak, who publicly identified a covert CIA agent in the newspaper, hitting a pedestrian the other day a block from my office? And no, it’s not that Bob “I Publicly Identify Covert CIA Agents” Novak drives a black ‘Vette.

Here it is.

The pedestrian, a 66-year-old man who was not further identified by authorities, was treated at George Washington University Hospital for minor injuries, according to D.C. Fire and EMS.

See, she sold her hair so she could buy him a watch chain, while he sold his watch so he could buy her some combs…

Update: D’oh! It turns out that they are identifying the hit-and-run-eee, Don Likinquist, 66. KIAV props out to Likinquist for a speedy recovery. As for Novak, who publicly identified a covert CIA agent in the newspaper, tell you what: We’ll buy you a Metro SmartTrip Card. Stop driving. You fuckpig.