Thursday, October 18, 2007

A stranger wanders back from the wilderness...

or: how the Armenian genocide is still relevant.

In the Detroit News today, an opinion piece by syndicated Thomas Sowell attacks the Democrats for supporting what he is calling the "Anti-Turkey" bill but is officially known as the Armenian Genocide Recognition Resolution (H. Res. 106) because hey, what's a little genocide between friends?

Thomas starts near the top of the piece by warning us:

Make no mistake, that massacre of hundreds of thousands -- perhaps a million or more -- Armenians was one of the worst atrocities in all of history.

okay. so. Problem solved. The Armenians were systematically raped and murdered by the Ottoman Empire which is now modern day Turkey, based on their religious beliefs on scale that at the time was completely unheard of. Thanks for helping me avoid that mistake Mr. Sowell.

But wait. He goes on.
Historians need to make us aware of such things. But why are politicians trying to pass congressional resolutions about these events, long after those involved are dead and the Ottoman Empire no longer exists? The short answer is irresponsible politics.
No. No, i'm pretty sure the answer is because, like you said, it was an atrocity on a massive scale. The death of 1.5 MILLION people should never be associated with the last sentence i quoted. You can't dismiss what you just called "one of the worst atrocities in all of history that easily". You don't get to gloss over it so simply.

Ah, but Mr. Sowell has yet to bring his A-game.

They want a resolution to condemn what happened as "genocide" -- a word that provokes instant anger among today's Turks, since genocide means a deliberate government policy aimed at exterminating a whole people, as distinguished from horrors growing out of a widespread breakdown of law and order in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.

These are issues of historical facts and semantics best left to scholars rather than politicians. (emphasis mine)

There it is. There's the cookie i'm looking for. Because, you see, the systematic extermination of a people, by a government, based purely on religious differences should not be recognized by our government as "genocide" merely because it was, well, genocide, but Turkey's a bit touchy about the word. Not about the act mind you. Just the nasty word. Because it's semantics. Yeah, it HAPPENED, just don't call it that.

So, what are the consequences if we actually call a genocide a genocide? Mr. Sowell is glad we asked.

Large numbers of American troops and vast amounts of military equipment go to Iraq through Turkey.

Turkey has also thus far refrained from retaliating against guerrilla attacks from the Kurdish regions of Iraq onto Turkish soil. But the Turks could retaliate big time if they chose.

Turkey has already recalled its ambassador from Washington to show its displeasure.

In this touchy situation, why stir up a hornet's nest over something neither we nor anybody else can do anything about today?

Yes, why indeed? They have land! Right next to Iraq!!! And we don't have a time machine to go back and stop it!!! So let's all just pretend nothing ever happened!

Whether Turkey attacks the Kurd's in northern Iraq have nothing to do with this bill. That makes as much sense as if we invade Canada because France signed the Kyoto treaty. That's a false argument. It's something that shouldn't get any traction in the national press. I can't find any representative of the Turkish government saying that they'll promise not to invade Iraq if we promise not to pass the resolution. If someone wants to do the google search on that one, mine came up with nothing.

Here's the thing. And again, i go back to Mr. Sowell's first quote: it was one of the worst atrocities in all of history. How do you now go forward with any kind of moral authority when it comes to Darfur, Rwanda, and the world over, if we can't even acknowledge this.

And finally, why it's being done now and why it wasn't done back in 1915, and with this i yield to NPR:

The U.N. convention on genocide didn't become law until 1951, after 20 U.N. members had signed it. The United States was the last of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to sign it – in 1988 – and it didn't begin to be enforced until the 1990s, with prosecutions for genocide in Kosovo and Rwanda.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Detroit News wonders why Democrats refuse to be clubbed like baby seals

I will give the Detroit News this: in their editorial in todays paper the Detroit News came at the Fox/CBC debate drama from a different angle than I've been hearing. The argument from the right has been more of a "why wouldn't democrats expose themselves to more voters by going on Fox "News"? It's a chance to get their message out to the masses". And along those lines it's easy to dismiss that argument given Fox's obvious and consistent smear of our candidates.
But the Detroit News goes at it differently"

"It's a natural fit. The Congressional Black Caucus is led by Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Congressman John Conyers is a founding member of the group. Both of their districts include Detroit. In addition, both of the state's U.S. senators are Democrats as well as the governor and mayor of Detroit.
Surely that kind of clout ought to help convince John Edwards as well as Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to participate. The three presidential hopefuls said this week that they'll boycott the event because it's being hosted by Fox News, which they say has a bias against liberals.
...Would they ban Fox News reporters, or other alleged or confirmed conservatives, from White House press briefings? And how would they handle confrontations with world leaders?"

It tripped me up because i expected the same generic response from these guys. So, kudos to you Detroit News for coming at the debate with a fresh argument instead of peddling the same old bilge. The problem, of course, is still Fox "News". Let me put this in a way that maybe will make some sense to the Detroit News. Would you go to a proctologist to get your dental work done? Especially if you're already scheduled to see the dentist a few times already?

There's absolutely no doubt that Fox "News" is biased. It's been well documented. I think even Republicans behind closed doors will readily admit that there is a serious conservative bias on Fox News, and that a debate of the Democratic candidates held by Fox "News" would only serve to provide glee as they make them damn liburls squirm. It'd be like American Idol, you don't watch for who is good, you watch to see the disasters.

I love how the Detroit News telegraphs the boycotting of the debate into the candidates ability to take heat and answer tough question, which becomes a question of how well they'd handle dealing with world leaders. Nice job. That makes complete sense. If John Edwards doesn't go on Fox "News" to be bludgeoned with wild character assassination, how on earth can he handle foreign policy?

What will the Democratic candidate do once they win the Presidency in 2008 regarding Fox "News"? I'm sure they'll keep Fox "News" in the loop and take their questions. Give them the rope with which to hang themselves so to speak. We all saw how people responded when President Clinton gave it right back to Chris Wallace. Let them ask their dumb questions and respond like an adult to a petulant child.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Detroit News - Daniel Howes gets bored, takes sad, half-assed swing at Dan Mulhern

Normally I respect, although usually disagree with the writing of Daniel Howes. He is one of the few "names" at the Detroit News i would usually not bother responding to because his columns and arguments are well thought out, and although flawed, usually provide more insight into the thought process of pro-business Republicans than the usual mindless drivel.
That's why I was really surprised when I read this column, where in Daniel Howes states:

"If the symbolism of leadership means anything -- which it does -- what's the unintended message from the closest adviser to Michigan's chief executive? If nothing else, it's that the Granholm-Mulhern administration's coastal-elitist leanings tend to disconnect it from the parochial concerns of working folks and Michigan's own automakers.

"I just can't think of worse timing," says a General Motors exec, adding that colleagues were "fuming" about Mulhern's missive and what it suggests about the governor's support for Michigan business in general and Detroit's automakers in particular."

Wow. Mulhern must have done something terrible. If you read the whole column, and I recommend you do, Daniel Howes spends all 762 words on questioning whether Dan Mulhern is in fact "even thinking at all?"
So, what was the terrible gaffe that Dan Mulhern made? What did he do to earn the scorn of not just Daniel Howes but also unnamed execs at GM and Ford? Well, allegedly (because I haven't actually seen it) in an email sent monday, the first Gentleman wrote:

"These Toyota execs are like those I have gotten to know from Fortune magazine's '100 Best Companies to Work For,' in that they get totally fired up when they start talking about the culture in their companies. The Toyota folks and the great company folks know that 'culture beats strategy' every time. They have strategies to achieve results."

So. Toyota, one of the most profitable and generally regarded as one of the most business savvy car companies, their executives are pretty intense about cars. Huh. A guy currently writing a book about leadership was impressed with the executives of a lean and undeniably successful company, and in no way denigrated or dismissed the big three. Oh, and as Daniel Howes notes, Mulhern's father worked at Ford for 38 years and he still drives a Ford.

That's it? That's what you got a quote from Rep. Joe Knollenberg for? What about that quote is actually bad? Let me put it this way. I work in advertising. If someone says to me "You know what commercial I like? The 'Emerald Nuts' one with Robert Goulet." I don't get offended. My company has nothing to do with Emerald Nuts and compete directly with their ad agency for accounts. But a comment like that has no effect on us.

I realize there's a lot of sensitivity about the auto industry right now, but there are much bigger and better targets out there than Dan Mulhern's emails. Mr. Howes, this column is beneath you. Please use your writing skills on bigger and better issues.

UPDATE: Cathleen over at for my amusement only... has a fuller and much better written takedown of Daniel Howes.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Detroit News Editorial could have been written by a teenager.

Selling lottery may be winning ticket

So, sayeth the editorial of the Detroit News. I will give them this, at least the put the qualifier "may" in the title. Selling the state lottery may be the winning ticket in the same way that Iraq "may" have weapons of mass destruction and Dick DeVos "may" be a successful businessman instead of the scion of Amway.
Anyhow, the Detroit News finds the idea of selling the lottery "exciting". Why they find it so is beyond me. They discuss how much money and how much good the lottery is doing the school system presently, and then go on to claim that it could be worth a lot of money in one lump sum, or in payments over the course of many years. Then they state that

"But there's a possibility that the state could reap even more revenue by selling the lottery and investing the proceeds."

They then fail to say what investments would constitute. At some point they announce that "Lots of factors could turn this into a bad deal for taxpayers." Shhhh, baby. Please don't elaborate. That would make us consider both sides of the issue, and nobody wants that. Lets just leave it as some ambiguous warning to cover your ass if things fall apart.

Let me summerize the editorial for you:

They're advocating, sort of, looking at selling the state lottery. Unless it's a bad deal. In which case, then, don't. But it is good that they're considering it, which they are.

So, what's your fucking point? What opinion is being expressed here?
This is about as non-editorial of an editorial that you can get. They could have written the title to this piece and just left it and you'd be as informed as having actually read through the whole thing.

Moving on:
The Conservative Media has been putting up some really good stuff on their blog recently. I recommend checking it out. They highlight the smear campaign that's started against Senator Levin.
Send them some love.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dick Cheney's daughter and irony found skipping hand in hand through the Washington Post Op-Ed.

I know I normally stick to Michigan related posts on this site, but...

Hooo boy. via MSNBC per the Washington Post.

So much is wrong with this i almost don't know where to begin. Let's start with a summary statement:

Liz Cheney gives Sen. Hillary Clinton a courtesy clap for being a woman and running for President, and then attacks her for not having "spine" for the Iraq debacle.

from MSNBC story:

"Anyone who has watched her remarkable trajectory can have no doubt that she'll do whatever it takes to win the presidency. I wish she felt the same way about the war," Liz Cheney, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, said in an opinion article in The Washington Post.

Yes. Indeed. She'll do whatever it takes to win the presidency, instead of running on the high moral ground her father and W. ran on in 2000 and 2004. And apparently Sen. Clinton's views finally coming into line with that of the majority of the public and the majority of her constituents represents doing whatever it takes. God forbid she actually listened to the voters that elected her. In a weird way it implies that if it weren't for her attempt at the presidency that Hillary might be all for this flawed, widely criticized meaningless troop increase. Which, honestly, i highly doubt.

The next part of the MSNBC article, and Liz Cheney's op-ed piece is the best to me:

"I suppose Hillary Clinton's announcement was a sign of progress. In 2007, a woman can run for president and show the same level of courage and conviction about this war of her male colleagues have," Cheney wrote. "Steel in the spine? Not so much."

Yes, Hillary's announcement was definitely a sign of progress for women everywhere. That she can run for President, my how far women have come. How very noble of you to acknowledge that Hillary Clinton is a woman forming an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States of America. Except this was a sign of progress in 1999 when Elizabeth Dole ran for President (remember that?) She actually waited until after the Iowa Caucuses to withdraw, so, maybe google before you start typing?

And the last part quoted in the MSNBC article:

"In fairness, Clinton, with her proposal for arbitrary caps on troop levels and hemming and hawing about her vote for the war resolution, has company on both sides of the aisle," Cheney wrote.

"Let's be clear: If we restrict the ability of our troops to fight and win this war, we help the terrorists," she wrote.

No, let's be PERFECTLY clear: the number is NOT arbitrary. It's not a number pulled out of thin air. The number represents the current troop levels on the ground. And there's a reason there's questions about the latest escalation in on both sides of the aisle. Because the strategy is flawed. They're trying to prevent more people from being blown up needlessly.

They are NOT restricting the ability of our troops to fight and win this war. The military targets have been accomplished for years. Right now we are policing a civil war. In order to "win" the war in the terms that Liz Cheney is talking about, according to most experts and generals, you would need FAR MORE TROOPS than Bush is proposing to send. And in this political climate, with all of the poll numbers so low, that will not happen.

We are NOT helping the terrorists win. By all accounts we're dealing with "sectarian violence" in Iraq. Nobody associates the war in Iraq with the war on terror no matter how many times you say it. The "war on terror" is like the "war on drugs" and so on. There is no battlefront, all you can do is hope to stem the tide.

I can't believe i'm actually writing in defense of Hillary Clinton. Out of all of our presidential candidates I like her the least. She's been too hawkish on the war and too DLC friendly for my taste.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Detroit News seen mumbling incoherently to self about charter schools, many worry if sanity has slipped away forever.

In today's updated online editorial the Detroit News pleads for the cap of 150 charter schools to be lifted as a cure for what ails detroits students.

"Charter schools are independent public schools, usually chartered by a state university, that operate outside of some work rules imposed on standard public schools. They are variable in quality -- but parents, especially in Detroit, should be given more options to escape a clearly failing school system."

Ahh, yes. The tried and true "deserve more options" option. That bastion for the free flowing of thoughts and ideas to solve problems in a serious way. Results be damned. Sure, the education your child receives may be worse than the one in the Detroit Public School system, but, garsh darn it, your child DESERVES to underachieve. Aren't you happy? You get a choice!

Are Detroit Schools falling apart? I dare anyone to argue otherwise. But sending more money out of the district? That doesn't seem like long term solution. It sounds like adding more anchors to a ship that's listing badly. Now, here comes the part where a Republican would attack my stance on this issue.

What's my solution? Don't have one. That doesn't make adding even more charter schools with questionable results to the mix the solution. Here's the thing. There is no easy fix. There really isn't. Adding more charter schools adds more mediocre options to an already bleak education situation. And the "well at least it's SOMETHING" argument falls flat. I'm all for education. I think education is one of the big keys for any sort of economic development in this state. It has to be a place that's attractive to employers. If they are to live here, and their children, and their workers children to attend the schools in the area, it's essential to have good, quality schools. I'm in favor of raising the quality of the education system, but i think spreading the education dollar even further across this area is a mistake.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Detroit News is living in pre-1989 world, woefully seen wearing shoulder pads, large bangs

I think someone should make it a full time job to monitor the meds and alcohol that the fine people over at the Detroit News seem to be mixing.
Let me explain.
In an editorial today titled "Larger military needed to face growing threats" wherein, get this, they take to task the Bush Administration for not spending enough money in Defense spending and military troop strength. They bemoan that troop levels have fallen so much since the cold war, and that an increase in troop strength of up to 25% will be necessary "if America is to meet the long term threat from terrorists, extremists and rogue regimes. "

Oh. My. Fucking. God.
Follow me on this little journey and watch how i come to completely different conclusions than the Detroit News.
Terrorists and extremists were responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center. A 25% increase in military troop strength would not have prevented that in any way shape for form. The only reason we would have to increase troop strength is because we are bogged down in Iraq. Kinda seems like troop strength wouldn't be such a critical issue if not for that disaster.

Now, I'm not associated with the military, I have no actual knowledge about the real world needs of our military and troop strength thereof. But I doubt the Detroit News does either. I would love to know where the 25% troop increase number came from. It's thrown out there as though it were fact, when they site no studies to that effect. Further they argue that funding for a much larger military will be a strain on the government but absolutely necessary.

I say bullshit. I say that what threatens our country, when it comes to actual physical harm, comes from "terrorists and extremists" so to speak. They are defeated with better intelligence, not bigger guns. I submit that had our military been triple it's current size on September 11th, 2001 that the results would have been the same. I submit to you that with better intelligence and allegedly more sharing of information among agencies, then and only then would you have had a shot to prevent the tragedy that got us stuck into this quagmire that we call Iraq.

Someone call a
Proctologist, the Detroit News has their heads up their asses again.