Monday, May 10, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Momentarily Disoriented by the Crazy New Blogger Interface.

Dumb and Dumberer [sic] This is a fascinating article about whether George W. Bush is, in fact, stupid. You may think this question has a patently obvious answer: After all, this is the President who consistently demonstrates he doesn't know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, the second and third largest nonmilitary government programs. But as the author shows, it's really more a question of laziness and contempt for learning as a form of snobbery that's the heart of Bush's problem. Fascinatingly, the author suggests that this has to do with W's suppressed resentment of his father (and not-so-suppressed: apparently during a drunken binge in 1973, the future president of the United States challenged his father to a fistfight on the lawn of a neighbor where Junior had crashed his car - John and John Quincy Adams they ain't). Ultimately, the author comes to a conclusion I readily agree with: "Bush may look like a well-meaning dolt. On consideration, he's something far more dangerous: a dedicated fool."

Shutting Up the Kerry-Bashers A friend of mine who works in politics tells me to ignore poll results, because they're all garbage. All except one: "Zogby's the only poll you should pay attention to," he says. John Zogby, a Republican and friend of the Bush family, has nonetheless developed an impressive record of accuracy: In 2000, his was the only poll that accurately had Gore winning the popular vote but losing the electoral vote. So, with treacherous scumbags calling on the Dems to dump John Kerry and smearing him as a "douche bag," what does Zogby say? "Here is my jump for 2004: John Kerry will win the election." Zogby points out that Bush's numbers right now are terrible for an incumbent and that Kerry is known as "a good closer" in elections, but even more so he points to the fact that much of Bush's future rides on situations totally beyond his control. The fact that you're paying two bucks for gas and that the stock market dipped below 10,000 today for the first time in years might not be Bush's fault, but Zogby rightly points out that we're still going to be pissed at him anyway. Let's hope he's right.

Military Papers to Rumsfeld: Seriously, Beat It Today, the four civilian-run newspapers that act as trade papers for the four branches of the US military all ran an editorial calling for the ouster of Donald Rumsfeld in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal. "General Myers, Rumsfeld and their staffs failed to recognize the impact the scandal would not only have in the United States but around the world," the editorial reads. "On the battlefield, Myers and Rumsfeld's errors would be called a lack of situational awareness — a failure that amounts to professional negligence."

Meanwhile, in a Different War Altogether Just days after a mosque bombing in Karachi killed 14 people, jihadi terrorists showed they still have other theaters of operation than Iraq by assassinating the puppet president of Chechnya and 23 other people in a bomb attack. Akhmad Kadyrov was a former Chechen separatist himself who switched sides during the decade-long war against Russia and who appointed his son to head Chechnya's feared secret police. Not a particularly nice guy, but his death now increases the likelihood of Czar Putin imposing direct rule on the Muslim quasi-republic. Hey Vladimir: That didn't work so well in Afghanistan.

Speaking of Torture Scandals... Great Britain, henceforth known as America's Mini-Me, is currently undergoing an Iraqi prisoner torture scandal of its own. After weeks of denying press reports that there was abuse of detainees (and going so far as to say photos that appeared in newspapers were faked), Tony Blair has admitted the government knew for months that Iraqis were being tortured. It's okay, though, because he apologized. I have to say, I hate this new culture of apology that has sprung up in official circles: You know what? Sometimes it's not enough to say you're sorry. Sometimes you actually have to do something, like maybe resign. You dicks.

-Consider Arms