Friday, April 11, 2003


I was brought up in a fairly benign brand of Protestantism, and so my knowledge of End Times theology is limited.

The following, however, made me think of a question:
"There would be an economic alliance of the nations of the Old Roman Empire. It would have a military capability.This is an exact description of the European Economic Community today (the EEC), which has already adopted the one-currency system for many of their member nations. It is written, IN THE DAYS OF THESE KINGS (these nations, which is now) SHALL THE GOD OF HEAVEN SET UP A KINGDOM-Dan 2:44.


"THE TRIBULATION is the worst time in history since man has been on the earth. Immediately following the Rapture, the man of sin (called the Antichrist) comes forth and assumes control of the EEC. "
This is from an evangelical website that is attempting to leach off of Atrios by having a domain name that is a slight misspelling of his URL (which I will not link to, as I have no desire for my site to show up on the site's server logs). The rest of the site is pretty much your standard issue "repent ye sinner" born-again pitch, complete with Biblical quotes proving that the Bible is true.

My question is this: given what End Times theology says about Europe, is there a significant portion of the Jesus-is-coming-any-day-now crowd that believes that one of the major European leaders (Chirac, Schroeder) is the literal AntiChrist?

It could certainly be a supplemental reason why the French and the Germans are currently so hated on the Right (the main reason being "Because William Kristol and Rush Limbaugh said so").
Dennis Miller Grants Sexual Favors To Satan On National Television

Dennis Miller decided that it would be an original idea to make fun of everyone even vaguely associated with anti-war or anti-Bush sentiment on Leno tonight. In what was obviously a bit that he had carefully written beforehand, he ranted about how stupid and weak protestors are, how the only actors that spoke out against the war are unemployed, and how Michael Moore is fat. He also seems to feel that everyone who doesn't support the President should shut up.

Fucking hell, when did this man become an erudite version of Rush Limbaugh with a really annoying voice?

Good job on being a free-thinking iconoclast, Dennis. I'm sure glad we have you to afflict those in power.

Because God knows there aren't enough people mocking dissent in this country right now.

That long line of ground-breaking comedians that supported their President at all costs must be very proud of you today.

If anyone out there just happens to know Mr. Miller: to quote Eddie Murphy channeling Richard Pryor, "You tell that muhfucker I said to suck my dick."

Edit: Hmm. While this isn't actually what any reasonable person would call a family blog, perhaps screaming out the exact sexual favor Dennis Miller performed on the Prince of Lies in the boldface title of this post was a bit rash (suffice to say, I have already made known my preferred term for what others call "drinking the koolaid"). After all, subtlety is the soul of something or other, and you never know who's reading my blog while children run around underfoot. So, I toned it down a bit. Not that there is any less vehemence in the sentiment, however.
Signs From God

...that it's time to update my version of the Opera browser. For a number of different blogs, I have to reload the page several times in order to get them to display properly.

After loading up Atrios' site a couple times (and an hour after I had joked in his comments section that I would be the one to do it), I ended up being visitor number 2,000,000.

Good times.

Congratulations to the Anonymous One.

Thursday, April 10, 2003


Sullivan today:
"IS THIS IT? Fox News reports on a labyrinth of tunnels and labs in Southern Iraq, where buildings are testing positive for radiation. This may not turn out to be a nuclear research facility. But it strikes me as a sign of what we might soon find."
Looking at the world through my Andy Goggles, I see that while my burnt-out headlight may not turn out to mean that my car is totaled, this strikes me as a sign of what soon might happen to my car!

Is there one single reason why I should ever take Sullivan seriously? One?

What a fucking joke.

Edit: Removed the words "ever again" from the end of the penultimate sentence, because they imply that there was once a time when I did take him seriously. An amusing idea, no?
Explanation, Celebration, and Condemnation

Over the course of the last year, my brother has become increasingly obsessed with starting his own business.

He's already tried it, on a limited basis, a few times before, with reasonable success. This has increased his confidence in his abilities, but the rest of the family has been less sure, as his previous efforts were on a very limited scale (cell phone reselling and a local two person web-design outfit) with little collateral at risk.

However, since roughly this time last year, he has been focusing his efforts on building an actual business, with employees, clients, assets, and all.

Unfortunately, a close inspection of the specifics of this endeavor revealed that it was more than a little risky; there were a lot of unknown factors, and if things went wrong, or the economy refused to pick up, or one of a whole lot of other potential problems occurred, my brother stood to lose a lot of money.

Lacking both funds and the credit to secure the necessary startup loans, he approached my grandparents, trying to get them to lend him the money to start his business. When they hesitated, unsure that it was a good idea and afraid that he was going to lose his shirt, he became petulant, and said some things he shouldn't have. My mother has been desperately trying to mend the falling out they had ever since. But my brother became increasingly determined to start this business.

I don't need a car where I am currently living, and so my car has been sitting at my parents' house for several months now. A few months ago, without my knowledge, my brother took the car and sold it, and used the cash for collateral on a startup loan.

Because he knows my social security number and various other pieces of personal information about me, he was able to use me as a co-signer on the loan (it's complicated).

The end result was that he got the money, started the business despite all the risks and over the objections of most of our family, and put my personal finances in just as much danger as his own.

But then, last week, due mostly to the skill and hard work of the people my brother employs, the business landed a huge contract. Absolutely huge. And suddenly, there is enough money to not only repay the loans, but to make both my brother and I a lot of money. Suddenly, I don't have to worry about tuition, no matter how much more education I decide on getting. I can also buy a new car whenever it becomes necessary.

In other words, his risk paid off. One of the best possible scenarios has come to pass.

There are still significant dangers ahead; for instance, if something happens to the company that gave us that big contract, we're screwed. I'm not going to stop trying to force him to get us onto more stable ground by investing wisely, and I'm still going to scream my head off if he looks like he's about to do something stupid with the business.

There is also the issue of the relationship with my grandparents. I am afraid that it is going to take a long time for him to patch things up with them; the relationship became so rancorous that I'm afraid some of the damage might be permanent.

But, right now, things are looking promising. My brother and I could potentially, depending on how we conduct ourselves from here on in, make a great deal more money.

So how do I feel about the whole thing right now?

I am still extraordinarily angry at him for his treatment of our grandparents. They do not deserve the bile he has been spewing at them for months. Beyond that, the way in which he brought the business into existence was inexcusable. He lied, he cheated, and he put me at great risk. I am still angry about that, and am not going to let him forget it for a long, long time. I am also still cautious, and nervous about the future, because we are, after all, still on somewhat shaky ground.

But right now, things are looking pretty damn good, and I am overjoyed at our good fortune.

Today is a day for celebration.


In case you haven't figured it out yet, none of this is true.

I still have my car, but unfortunately, I do not have sudden piles of cash lying around the house.

My brother is in high school and, while he does have an amazing ability to accumulate funds, he has no immediate plans to start a business.

And, aside from my grandmother's slightly annoying refusal to accept that her hearing is less than perfect, things are just fine with my grandparents.

But I think this story provides a fairly accurate depiction of, and explanation for, the way I feel about the war in Iraq right now. Just substitute the administration for my brother, the war for the business, our allies opposed to the war for my grandparents, and the celebrations in Iraq and the cautious approval seen in various parts of the Arab world for the big contract.

I don't think that it is too presumptuous to say that my feelings are shared by a majority of the anti-war contingent.

Looking around at some of the prominent war-supporters, I see that they have gotten it into their heads that victory in Iraq is somehow a defeat for everyone who did not actively support the war. Haughty "I-told-you-so"s are currently streaming forth from the likes of Glenn Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, and virtually the entire staff of the National Review- each one of them more venomous than the last, and each one promoting the dishonest and divisive notion that those who opposed the war are made unhappy by the images of Iraqis dancing on Saddam's fallen statues.

They say these things as if we had less to lose than they did if things went poorly in Iraq, or that we somehow gain less than they do from the fall of Saddam.

I reject this idea, and I condemn the politically motivated liars who advocate it. Regardless of how we feel about this war and its prosecution, we are all American citizens, and we all stand to gain or lose equally from our actions in Iraq.

We who were against this war disapproved, for various reasons, of the risk the administration took, but because our well-being was just as much at risk as those who approved, we have every reason -- and every right -- to celebrate the fact that it has apparently gone well, even as we acknowledge the dangers and hardships that lie ahead.

And damn what the liars say.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Wednesday Track Listing

1. Korn - ADIDAS techno remix
2. Rob Zombie - Go To California
3. Rancid - Ruby Soho
4. Notorious BIG - Hypnotize
5. Beatles - She Said She Said
6. Marilyn Manson - I Don't Like The Drugs
7. Kid Rock - Wasting Time
8. Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
9. Notorious BIG w/ Method Man - The What
10. Wyclef Jean - Perfect Gentleman

It's a bright, sunny day here in my corner of the continental United States, and I'm in an appropriately "up" mood (the large ammount of caffeine I've ingested doesn't hurt either). Nothing too esoteric on the list today; mostly turn-up-the-volume-and-scream-along-with-the-chorus stuff.

A special note needs to be made of Gimme Shelter - I know that I'm retreading ground that has been stomped flat by legions of folk already, but I need to say that it is one of the greatest songs ever written. From the opening guitar riff to the amazing backup vocals, this is one of those songs that makes me want to be driving at high speeds through the middle of a major city with a carload of friends on the way from blow up party to blow up party. I may have my issues with Mick Jagger (who is quite possibly the Ugliest Man Alive), but this song is absolutely brilliant.

Also, I should use this opportunity to point out that the world would be a better place if there were more MCs out there with the skill of BIG and Method Man. I am continually impressed by even their older stuff. I mean, come on, how many people can come up with a line like:

"Assume the position,
Stop look and listen,
I spit on your grave then I grab my Charles Dickens,

Do you have any idea how many people I've wanted to say something like that to, but just couldn't come up with the proper formulation? Civilized? Absolutely not. But still brilliant. And damn good fun. Useful in various late-night bar situations.

Edit: djhlights has been kind enough to point out to me one of the primary dangers of dealing with songs downloaded off the net...getting the name of a song wrong, and looking like a buffoon (and making it quite obvious that you weren't born early enough to experience a song at its peak of popularity). Oh well. This post has been edited accordingly.
Traditions! Traditions! Who Wants New Traditions?

CalPundit has made it a point to post pictures of his cats every Friday, a practice that he urges other bloggers to mimic as a way of temporarily stepping away from politics and reminding everyone that, despite the critical and occasionally vicious words we hurl at each other, we are all actual human beings with lives beyond our computer monitors.

What a typical bleeding-heart Communist hippie idea. Would you like some granola to munch on while you snap those pictures, Comrade Drum?

I'm kidding, of course. It's actually a fantastic idea, one that should be taken up by more people.

I don't have any cats - I am, in fact, mildly allergic to them (nothing that a low dose of benadryl can't handle though). Beyond that, I need to be rather careful about posting pictures on VeryVeryHappy; I don't need to annoy the people who run the hosting service I use for images by chewing up excessive bandwidth. So, instead of posting cat pictures, I think I will begin the practice of posting on Wednesdays about the music I'm listening to at the time.

Music, because it gives a tiny, non-intrusive glimpse of my life outside of VeryVeryHappy that satisfies the theme of proving that I'm a real-life person with interests outside of politics, without being so exclusively related to my own life as to be obscenely self-indulgent (something that I despise about blogs in general).

Wednesday, because that's the day that my schedule provides the least amount of free time to sufficiently update myself on the news and various discussions to comment with any kind of coherence.

Not quite as serenity-inducing as pictures of Kevin's cats curled up in the sun, perhaps, but a reasonable distraction nonetheless.

Sometimes, I'll just list the tracks I'm currently listening to; sometimes, I'll get into something I like or dislike about a specific song, album, band, or genre. And I may end up moving it to a different day of the week.

Whatever. VeryVeryHappy is my house, and I'll do whatever I damn well please in it. If you don't care for this particular feature, feel free to not read it. Like CalPundit's cats, it's only once a week or so.
A Useful Tool

While re-reading my last post (I do that from time to time; the editors here at VeryVeryHappy are overworked, and so the staff writers have to pick up the slack), I realized that there is another use the Greens could be put to: knocking off Republican incumbents.

Take a moderate district where a Republican currently holds office. The Greens could send in a candidate to maul the shit out of him- go negative as hell and throw every vote that somehow hurt the community in his face, being as rude as they want and screaming their positions to the world. Then the DNC sends in the money and the troops to back a strong Democrat in the district.

Bang. Instant triangulation. If the cards are played right, the Democrat walks into office looking like a clean-livin' moderate, unsullied by the mud the Greens are throwing.

Now, this would of course mean that the Greens would have to be willing to take one for the team, by no means a sure proposition. But if you don't think that two national parties can somehow work together in grand strategy terms, you're probably also one of those people who think it was merely a coincidence that Buchanon's strongarm takeover of the Reform Party just happened to occur during an election season when the GOP absolutely could not afford to lose votes to a third party.

Is it possible to reign in the Greens like this? Who knows. I certainly don't. But it certainly seems like something that should be pursued. After all, look at how effective such tactics have been for the GOP, using the multitude of allied Right-wing groups (Focus on the Family, Christian Coalition, NRA, etc. ad nauseum).

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Rhetorical Agent Orange (Get It? Get It?!?)

Via Matt Yglesias, himself via Jesse, I see that the Greens are looking to target Senator Barbara Boxer in next year's elections.

Before I begin, I want to make clear that the following does not apply to Ralph Nader. I will get to him in a future post (yes, I've said that before...I mean it though). Briefly, Ralph Nader and the Green Party are separate entities which need to be approached in different ways. For now, though, let me repeat, this does not apply to Ralph Nader.

Having said that, are these people fucking insane?!

What the HELL is wrong with these idiots?

Good God. The Greens have always struck me as amateurs with just enough teeth to hurt their friends, but this is ridiculous.

I understand and approve of the passion and commitment of a lot of the Greens, but they don't have nearly enough political bloody-mindedness to actually make the kind of impact they want. This business with Sen. Boxer is, unfortunately, rather typical. By targeting Boxer, they run the risk of alienating one of the few major politicians who actually agrees with most of their positions, or, heaven forbid, handing her seat to a Republican. And we all know what kind of lunatics the GOP likes to run in California.

It's a classic case of choosing the battles they have the best chance of winning, and in doing so, guaranteeing that they lose the war.

This really should be obvious; if you pick off your friends one by one, you are eventually left with nothing but enemies. And in American politics, the only enemies the Greens have are to the Right of them.

This is not a good thing.

One has to wonder where the Green Party leadership's heads are. They are not nearly big enough to actually win any critical offices yet; for the foreseeable future, the Greens are going to have to accept the fact that they are little more than a stick with which to hit their enemies, not a viable replacement for them.

It's a question of resources: in terms of funding, Party machinery, and popular support, the Greens currently have very little, and are trying to do as much in as many places as possible with what they do have. However, in doing so, they are wasting what could potentially be a powerful force on the Left.

"He who defends everything defends nothing."

Frederick the Great said that, and he is generally considered to have been a Winner, so for now I will accept it as Truth. It can be applied to the Green Party in this way: By spreading thin their national resources by running as many candidates in as many races as possible, the Greens set themselves up for failure. Building a widespread foundation for the Party is critical, but simultaneously running all kinds of hopeless candidates in races they cannot win hurts more by wasting resources and making the Party look weak than it helps by improving name recognition.

The Greens want to be taken seriously. Well, fair enough. But this scorched earth thing, attacking those that agree with them, is massively counterproductive. The banes of their existence are politicians like Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller. These two men are the embodiment of the Democratic Party's Rightward shift, voting with the Republicans and business interests on nearly every bill that comes before them.

If you are going to use your party as a punishment to those whose views differ from yours, the smartest course of action is to use that punishment on the people whose views are furthest from yours, not closest. While such discussions are moot when it comes to Miller, who has declared that this term is to be his last, a concentrated Green campaign against the next Senate run of Lieberman (who, if God loves us, will be trounced in the Presidential primaries, never to be heard from on the national stage again) could be extremely effective, for two reasons.

First of all, there is an outside chance that Lieberman, afraid of losing enough votes on the Left to make him vulnerable to the Republicans (no matter how much he seems to enjoy cooperating with the GOP, he's a smart enough politician to know that if he looked vulnerable enough, they wouldn't hesitate to attack him with all the fury they could muster), would actually make some concessions to the Left. But more importantly, it would serve as an incentive to keep the rest of the Democratic steers inside the Lefty corral.

No wandering outside the pen or ZAP! goes the big Green cattleprod.

This is the ideal role of the Green Party, at least until they build up more party infrastructure and manage to get a James Carville-type to show them how to actually win things.

But, for now, as much as I hate to jump onto the bandwagon with the nitwits who deride the Greens as nothing more than granola-munching hippies, I have to say that the Greens are running in exactly the wrong direction, and until they get a major course correction, I'm going to have to continue to condemn them.

Shorter Mighty Reason Man: Until they build a more powerful national apparatus, the Green Party should use what influence it has to act as the Enforcer of the Left, keeping the Democrats in line by slapping Right-wing Democrats like Joe Lieberman, not Left-wingers like Barbara Boxer.

I was excited today.

The illustrious Mr. Reynolds came so close to writing something that doesn't make me want to hit someone:
"ERIC MULLER doesn't think much of the pro-war country song Have You Forgotten? (though he gives appropriate degree-of-difficulty credit for finding a rhyme for "bin Laden"). I haven't heard it, (I haven't even heard Toby Keith's hit pro-war song) but I'll assume it's as dumb as he says."
Well, shit. Good call, Glenn. I'm even going to give him points for implying that Toby Keith's song is equally dumb.

But then he has to go and fuck it up:
"But isn't it a significant cultural indicator that this time around the dumb hit songs about war are pro-war?"
There are a lot of things that can be said about the cultural significance of popular music, but arguing that a blatant attempt on the part of country singer relatively unknown outside of his genre to capitalize on the issue of the day signifies the feelings of the country is, well, dumb.

Setting aside the fact that there are a lot of artists much more popular than Darryl Worley who no doubt would be penning anti-war songs were it not for the fact that the company that virtually controls rock and country radio in this country seems to have the nasty habit of blackballing bands that voice any sort of significant dissent, drawing any sort of comparison between the likes of Worley, Keith et al. and Buffalo Springfield and Creedance Clearwater Revival (by saying that anti-war songs are equally as dumb as pro-war songs) would earn Glenn a well-deserved pitcher-of-beer-in-the-lap in any bar I've ever been to.
Andrew Sullivan Is A Responsible And Fair-Minded Journalist

I just wanted to see if I could write that sentence without suffering a massive aneurysm.

I haven't, and so I can safely conclude that I am not yet immune to humor and irony.
And Another Thing...

Speaking of historical comparisons, it amuses me to no end when Republicans use the successful rehabilitation of Germany and Japan after World War II as examples of countries that we have conquered that ended up better off than they were before.

The obvious response to such (admittedly [at least by me] flawed) historical analogies is: "Well, yeah. But look at who was running the show back then."
Smarty Pants

As a minor aside, while looking up articles that compared Bush to Lincoln (and there are more than a few of them), I stumbled across this gem from the National Review Online.

Here in the VeryVeryHappy household, it doesn't matter how logical or reasonable your argument is. It doesn't matter how much you might know about a given subject. It doesn't even matter if most people agree with you.

The second you use the term "smarty pants," you lose the argument. No exceptions.

Sorry, Mr. Owens. Come back when you are able to get over the grudges you held against the smart kids in junior high.
Inconsistency, Why Do You Plague Them So?

This post by MacDiva reminded me of something that has bothered me for a while.

Republicans have been busy over the last few months comparing George Bush to every conceivable historical figure, including Winston Churchill, both Presidents Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

This last is interesting, because, as MacDiva points out, Republicans, particularly in the Confederacy states, seem to have a tendency to piss on Lincoln's grave whenever it is politically convenient.

Let's not be naive. In politics, you have to play to your audience no matter what party you belong to. But it really is pushing it to declare to one half of the country that yours is the party of Lincoln, and try to lay claim to all the respect and reverence that that entails, while quietly agreeing with the other half that Lincoln was a monster who deserved what he got. You know, Sic Semper Tyrannis and all.

Of course, as far as GOP audacity goes, this is really rather minor.

But that doesn't mean it doesn't piss me off.
Lame Excuses

Went to grandparents' cottage for the weekend. No net access in such remote environs. Am back. Returning now to regularly scheduled posting.