Archive for December, 2005

“On the other hand, what if we threw a war and everybody showed up?”

December 27th, 2005 — Wordman

Which of the following is an impeachable offense for a United States President?:

  1. Spending most of your presidency under the influence of mind-altering chemicals.
  2. Using various government agencies to eavesdrop/investigate political enemies (take your pick).
  3. Privately negotiating with an enemy nation to keep American hostages in captivity until after you are elected.
  4. Selling weapons to an enemy nation and using the proceeds to fund the former forces of a dictator to oppose the elected government that deposed him.
  5. Being unable to remember that you sold weapons to an enemy nation and used the proceeds to fund the former forces of a dictator to oppose the elected government that deposed him.
  6. Abandoning allies after they defeated your sworn enemy, then ignoring them as they build a regime that ultimately attacks the US.
  7. Allowing a satellite owned by a political contributer to be launched by a foreign power.
  8. Lying to congress about an extramarital blowjob.
  9. Lying to congress about the reasons for taking the country to war.

(Extra credit for Ann Coulter: which of the above are treasonous?)

Clearly #8 is the correct answer, as it actually happened. I think everything else on the list is monumentally more severe, however. Item #9 became more topical a few weeks ago, when Bush held an interview that gave the distinct impression that a) he would have invaded Iraq anyway and b) he was not interested in invading Iran, a country that arguably is trying to develop WMDs. Some have taken this as a concrete admission that he lied about why we are at war, though it’s pretty clear the administration has been backpedaling on the reasons for war for some time.

While there will be some easily forgotten furor from the left about this, it won’t turn out to be nearly the uprising that it probably should be and some really foaming voices on the left will wonder why, genuinely baffled that the public isn’t furious for being duped.

I think the reason the public won’t be furious is that none of them were really that misled. Take you, for example: did you honestly, truly, deep-down believe that Saddam Hussein was rapidly preparing nukes, chemical and germ weapons to the extent that attacks with them against the US were a imminent threat clear and present danger? I didn’t. I don’t know anyone who did. I don’t know anyone who thought that the “WMD rationale” was anything other than a pretext.

Basically, the public gave Bush a pass on lying to us, just like we seem to always do with our leaders. I suspect we won’t be so forgiving about the lie that more executive power is needed to make us safe, but more on that later.

Do you wonder what I wonder

December 15th, 2005 — Wordman

According to Matthew, three magi brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold had value then, like now, though it’s valuable today for somewhat different reasons. Though cheap now (~$2.50/oz.), at the time, frankincense was one of the most valuable commodities on the planet. Myrrh, likewise, was highly prized. So, what did Mary and Joseph do with these gifts? It seems like such valuable presents would have made them pretty well off, but they are never depicted as such.

Since Mary didn’t put out, I bet Joseph blew it all on hookers. Or, maybe they stashed it away, and gave it to Jesus as a bar mitzvah gift and he went gonzo with it, until he spent it all and had to wander around in robes. Maybe that’s why the lost years have been erased.

I’m going to tell you something…

December 11th, 2005 — Wordman

After the 50th time listening to Paul Maguire tell me that he is going to tell me something right before telling me something, I thought I should come up with a Sunday Night Football drinking game. As with so much on the net, it’s been done.

I’d also add a rule that you must sip anytime Berman uses a “cute” nickname for a player. Also, drink anytime the camera focuses on a cheerleader. Chug if she isn’t a blonde caucasian.

Felines coming out of the closet

December 8th, 2005 — Wordman

Perhaps predictably, some atypical venues, such as NPR, editorial departments and various Christian sects are devoting mindspace to the film release of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, based on the novel by C.S. Lewis. Lost in all this undeservedly grandiose commentary about the mix of religion and cinema is one of Lewis’ much better works: The Screwtape Letters.

The book contains a series of letters from an senior demon, Screwtape, to his happless nephew demon Wormwood, offering advice on how to successfully corrupt his target human, a Christian. Naturally, this work features religion far more overtly than the Narnia books. The audiobook version of this work is blessed by perfect casting, featuring John Cleese as Screwtape. Having listened to dozens of audiobooks, I’d place this perfect match between reader and material at the top of the list but, unfortunately, the sound mix on the cassette version is dreadful. It may be that the audible.com version is better.

Lewis followed up this book 17 years later with an essay entitled Screwtape Proposes a Toast.

When horses fight

December 7th, 2005 — Wordman

I don’t usually make sports predictions, but this one seems clear to me. I predict that the Denver Broncos will stun NFL fans at some point during the playoffs by absolutely dominating the Indianapolis Colts for three and a half quarters. They will then completely screw up the finish, and lose in the last 15 seconds. You heard it here first.