Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blown out by K-State?

I've always had my doubts about Colt McCoy:

1. He's kinda goofy looking.

2. The whole "small town kid born and bred and destined to be legendary UT quarterback" thing is just too much. Thank you Brent Musberger.

3. So he's from a small town. Big F'ing Deal. A 2A high school? So what.

4. Ever notice that instead of regular eye black, he wears those super-gay stickers with little longhorn logos on them? Kill me.

And anyway, last year I was skeptical about his actual on the field play. He throws some great passes occasionally, but there's rarely a game where he's consistently great. Take the flashes of awesome, mix in the flashes of crappy, and you've got an average quarterback.

But today, he was beyond crappy. He was flat awful. 19 of 39 for 200 yds, with 4 (count 'em, FOUR) interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. There were several other passes that could have been intercepted, and several that never got more than 6 feet off the ground and were either batted down or pinged off the backs of helmets of offensive linemen.

People have been trying to compare this guy to Major Applewhite. I think a more appropriate comparison is Pete Gardere. Pete Gardere had his moments (4-0 against OU), but he and the teams he played for were mediocre at best.

There was one play, 4th and 8 or so, late in the game, down by 13, where McCoy threw a 2 yard pass to a receiver who was obviously going to be immediately tackled. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. Game over.

UT will never get through a season without a loss with Colt McCoy at quarterback. And now, after watching the Longhorns get blown out by 3 touchdowns, at home, to K-freakin'-State, I've got a very dreary 3 more months of college football ahead of me. Bleah.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Satan conferences with U.S. religious leaders

From the NYTimes:
After two days of prickly confrontations with critics at Columbia University and the United Nations, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran held a friendly, even warm, exchange yesterday with Christian leaders from the United States and Canada convinced that dialogue is the only way to prevent war.
I think this is how people and nations go about living together on the same planet without bombing and killing one another.

Doesn't always work, obviously. Sometimes, bombing and killing is the only solution. And certainly we should never put ourselves in the position of being unable or unwilling to bomb and kill when necessary. But attacking other countries, and slaughtering their people, when they haven't attacked us, are not threatening us, and, in fact, are incapable of attacking us, is: (a) a bad idea, and (b) wrong.

Stretched thin

From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday he's inclined to approve an Army proposal to spend nearly $3 billion extra to accelerate the expansion of its active-duty force.

Army Secretary Pete Geren said speeding up the growth of the force, stretched thin by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, would mean recruiting faster and increasing the number of soldiers who re-enlist.

I've got a better idea: bring back The Draft.

Once some of these rabid Young Republicans -- who sit on their couches watching Fox News and vehemently cheerleading the Iraq War and vociferously advocating starting new wars -- or the sons (or daughters) of adults who do the same, start getting drafted and actually sent to fight in Iraq or Iran or whatever country we attack next, I predict there will be a sharp and immediate change in our national discourse regarding U.S. foreign policy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Let's all go into a fetal position: big bad Ahmadinajad has spoken!

I am cowering under a table as I write this. Any moment now, something horrible and cataclysmic will occur.

I mean, how can we, as Americans, not be scared, knowing that right now, today, the Evil and Scary Ahmadinajad is walking around Manhattan, which I believe is in New York City, which is... in America! Here, in this country! Even worse, some commie A-rab-loving liberal college let him give a speech and answer questions(!!!).

I fear that anyone in that audience is going to go right out and join up with the jihad. I mean, just hearing this guy spew his hateful Arabic propaganda is enough to turn even New York Jews into Jew-hating holocaust-denying suicide bombers. Watch the fuck out!

But that's not all. Any minute now, Iranian nuclear bombs may start falling from the sky. After all, allowing this guy to visit our country and giving him a forum to spew his crazy! loony! vile! despicable! jihad talk will only embolden the Evil Iranians in their psychotic determination to develop nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

Some people might tell you not to panic, and point out that Nikita Khrushchev, who had vowed to bury the U.S., and who was the leader of a country had actual nuclear weapons, loaded onto actual ICBMs, which were actually aimed at every major U.S. city, spent 11 days touring the United States, meeting with Eisenhower and various other national leaders from all segments of society. But these people, who would tell you this, are trying to lull you to sleep, so that the jihadists and their Nuclear! Weapons! can kill you while you sleep, unaware of the Dangerous! Horrible! threat!

And besides, that happened back when our country was strong and courageous. Not now, today, when The Paradigm Has Shifted, and we are defenseless and scared.

Oh sure, some people will try to calm you down by saying that Iran barely even has any fissile material, much less the scientific know-how to put a bomb together, much less the highly advanced missile technology to actually deliver such a bomb across a few continents to America. Don't be fooled! Nuclear bombs are scary! Mushroom Clouds!!! Your children, dead!!!!1

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fortunately, our country ain't quite that fragile

This whole big fracas about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia is fascinating to me. Here are some random thoughts:

1. Apparently the Dilbert cartoonist has him some Politics. In this blog post, Scott Adams has some really snarky thoughts on Ahmadinejad and the controversy involving same. It's a really funny piece, and I think I agree with his overall sentiment, though I'm not sure I understand all the underlying facts well enough to wholeheartedly agree with him. One of many money quotes: "Ahmadinejad believes his role is to pave the way for the coming of the Twelfth Imam. That's a primitive apocalyptic belief! I thank Jesus I do not live in a country led by a man who believes in that sort of bullshit. Imagine how dangerous that would be, especially if that man had the launch codes for nuclear weapons."

2. Predictably, all the presidential candidates have made statements in opposition to Ahmadinejad, and to Columbia for allowing him to speak. You need not read them all: Democrats very critical, Republicans (and Hillary, who other than the health care thing might as well be a Republican) severely, shrilly critical.

3. I read through this very long transcript of Scott Pelley's recent "interview" with Ahmadinejad. Pelley acts like a 10 year old with Dick Cheney whispering into his earpiece. A lot of questions that should never have been asked were repeated over and over, while several questions that should have been asked were inexplicably not brought up. He asked the guy 4 times what he could find to "admire" in President GWBush. That's a difficult question for any reasonable person to answer, much less someone who GWBush has villified and threatened to nuke (for the record, Ahmadinejad answered much like I would have: "well, nothing, at all, from what I know of his public life, but maybe I could find something I liked if I got to know him on a personal level, but no, really nothing I can think of right now. What, you want me to repeat that, what I just said, three more times? Ok then..."). And but then instead of searching for detailed, definitive answers on arming Iraqi insurgents, building nuclear bombs, holocaust denial, oppressing his own people, etc., Pelley keeps trying to get the guy to make these binding, enforceable, policy commitments about various things: "I hereby swear, on the holy altar of 60 minutes, that as long as I serve as President of Iran, my country will never ever _________". Really effective, because, you know, world leaders often make binding policy commitments regarding complex issues, on the spur of the moment, on a fucking teevee show. Yep, happens all the time.

4. In the course of reading the aforementioned transcript, I found it very difficult to get a good idea what this guy is all about. He seems fairly reasonable most of the time, but he sure gets dodgy when addressing certain, um, sensitive issues. My overall impression is that he definitely opposes some ardently held western beliefs (example: he believes Israel, as a sovereign nation, does not have a right to exist), and he definitely knows where his bread is buttered in terms of the religious ideologues who hold the real power in Iran (the point being: he ain't about to turn his country into a open, secular society), BUT he didn't appear to me to be a raving lunatic, and I sincerely doubt he has some secret plan to overthrow or otherwise exercise influence over governments or societies or even the views of people outside of Iran's immediate neighborhood. His basic desire seems to be to get rid of western influence so that Middle-Easterners can be left to their own devices. Which, granted, isn't necessarily the kind of idea our country can completely get behind, at this point (but that is a whole other ball o' wax). So I guess what I'm saying is, there's a lot in his worldview that even the most liberal folks over here will (and should) legitimately disagree with, but that fact (i.e., that the leader of another country doesn't share our ideals) should not, in and of itself, mean we oughta be warming up the jets for bombing runs, as it appears we very well may be.

5. What I find most ridiculous about the whole thing is this idea that letting the guy come and speak at Columbia, or even allowing him to appear at the 9/11 site, will somehow destroy our country, our way of life, etc. Sure, the guy has some whacky (and even repellent) ideas, and sure, he is pretty squarely opposed to U.S. policies in many significant ways. But since when does that mean a guy shouldn't be allowed to speak? If for no other reason, we might learn something that will help us oppose him. And, in point of fact, the guy was allowed to speak, and did speak, and the world didn't, or so far hasn't, come to a crashing halt.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If you're bored

and want to read something that will piss you off: an excerpt from what looks like a good book.

UPDATE: here's a review. wow, check this out:

Before the war began, Frederick M. Burkle Jr. was assigned to oversee Iraq's health care system. He had a résumé to die for: a physician with a master's degree in public health, and postgraduate degrees from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Berkeley. He also had two bronze stars for military service in the Navy, as well as field experience with the Kurds in northern Iraq after the 1991 gulf war. A week after the liberation, he was told he was being replaced because, Chandrasekaran writes, ''a senior official at USAID told him that the White House wanted a 'loyalist' in the job.''

That loyalist was James K. Haveman Jr., who had been recommended by the former Michigan governor John Engler. Haveman's résumé included running a Christian adoption agency that counseled young women against abortions. He spent much of his time in Iraq preparing to privatize the state-owned drug supply firm -- perhaps not the most important priority since almost every hospital in the country had been thoroughly looted in the days after Hussein was overthrown.

On page after page, Chandrasekaran details other projects of the C.P.A.'s bright young Republican ideologues -- like modernizing the Baghdad stock exchange, or quickly privatizing every service that had previously been provided by the state. Some of these ideas would have been laudable if they were being planned for a country with functioning power and water supplies, and that wasn't tottering on the brink of anarchy.

Say what you want about the ACLU...

...just don't say they don't stand on their principles.

They have filed a brief with a Minnesota court in support of Idaho Senator Larry Craig, he of the foaming mouth, anti-gay, "traditional values" hypocrisy -- and noted frequenter of airport men's rooms meat markets. Larry Craig, according to the ACLU's own information, previously compiled, is virulently anti-civil rights.

Wringing of hands

Truly, the media and Republicans came unhinged over the "Betray Us" thing. A certain delusional right-wing commenter became apoplectic over on Liberal Lean when Barry posted a link to the ad.

Apparently, according to these folks, General David H. Petraeus is a paragon of objectivity, floating high above politics and partisan considerations, and would never, ever, even think of shilling for the WH. And to even suggest that this might not be the case is -- not to put too fine a point on it -- outright treason.

Apparently Chuck Hagel, Republican Senator of Nebraska, didn't get the memo:

Maher: Isn’t a dirty trick on the American people when you send a military man out there to basically do a political sell-job?”

Hagel: It’s not only a dirty trick, but it’s dishonest, it’s hypocritical, it’s dangerous and irresponsible. The fact is this is not Petraeus’ policy, it’s the Bush’s policy. The military is — certainly very clear in the Constitution — is subservient to the elected public officials of this country.. but to put our military in a position that this administration has put them in is just wrong, and it’s dangerous.”

Monday, September 17, 2007

Let the disavowing begin!

Romney may have a hard time explaining this campaign flier from his Gov of Mass days.

GOP base will not stand for this type of tolerance. They need someone to hate, and homosexuals (along with A-rabs) top the list. They won't vote for any candidate who doesn't share this hate.

Oh, sure, they understand that in ;these the aughts you can't, as a candidate, come out and actually say you hate gays, but the proper expression of tolerance is always accompanied by the subtle signs of it, just enough for the haters to latch onto.

This flier contains nothing like that, and appears to be an unqualified message of support. I predict some quick (and not-so-subtle) bashing designed to counteract this potentially fatal discovery.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Alan Greenspan is going senile

Or so it appears. He is claiming "the Iraq war is largely about oil." Everyone knows that only the dirty fucking hippies say such things. This is a discredited, crackpot, tin-foil conspiracy theory, worthy only of ridicule. Serious, mainstream sane people know that the Iraq war was really about freeing our Iraqi friends from the grips of an evil dictator and ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East region. Oil has nothing to do with it.

Therefore Alan Greenspan must be either a leftist commie crackpot hippie conspiracy theorist, or a victim of a terrible, debilitating old-age brain disease which only started to take effect once he resigned his post as Fed Chairman last year.

Of course, there's always the small possibility that he's a pretty bright guy, a lifelong conservative Republican, who is now free to speak his mind.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ok, but why?

You can read the post below, but after I had written it I started to think it was overkill.

For purposes of this post, let's consider it established that the government is engaged in a massive p.r. strategy to keep our military in Iraq indefinitely (or until we achieve "victory", which looks to be the same thing).

The question then: why?

The answer seems to me to be some combination of: (1) our leaders' refusal to admit error in order to protect their egos and/or legacies, and (2) fear of the consequences of withdrawal from Iraq.

Of course, option (2) is more charitable and is in line with the public statements of our leaders. This option can be further broken down into distinct elements: (a) perceived lessening of our nation's so-called "energy security", (b) increased threat of terrorism, and (c) widespread death and destruction, including genocide/ethnic cleansing/balkinization.

An analysis of these elements is to a certain extent a reflection on the real reasons we went into Iraq in the first place (surely everyone except the stupid (and the willful blindness victims) realizes by now that WMD was just a cynical excuse). I will assess these elements in order of importance to our leaders, from least to greatest:

(c) will there be widespread death and destruction if we withdraw? Probably. Will it be worse than it is now? Maybe, but it is hard to imagine it would be much worse than what is occurring now. But based on our government's track record, it is even harder to imagine that this is of much importance to our leaders. The death of brown "folks" half a world away doesn't appear to rate very highly with Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz/Lieberman types.

(b) the increased threat of terror in the event of a U.S. withdrawal is entirely speculative. On the one hand, the country might fall under the control of Taliban-like elements, thus providing the dreaded "safe haven" for people who are admittedly very bad and intent on our destruction. On the other hand, it would decrease the "recruitment" factor we are continuing to foster by virtue of our occupation, and, more importantly, it would allow redeployment of forces and redirection of resources toward prevention and counteraction of terrorist elements, not only within Iraq but on a broader global scale. Of course, prior to our invasion of Iraq, there were virtually no anti-American terrorists operating in Iraq -- and now there are.

(c) decreased energy security. This is the big one. And I am entirely convinced it was the major factor in our leaders' decision to invade Iraq in the first place. This opinion has been very successfully portrayed (i.e., vociferously shouted down) by Bush followers and corporate media as being an outrageous tin-foil conspiracy theory. The right-wing defense to this has been to focus on the "blood-for-oil" aspect, wherein the superficial (and overly simplistic) claim is made that Bush/Cheney (both oilmen), along with their smoky room big oil friends, hatched this plan in order to loot a faraway country's resources for their own personal enrichment, the counterargument being that only a lunatic would believe that two people elected, in a great and successful free and democratic society to the highest offices in the land could be so cynical, so greedy, so evil, as to have hatched and executed such a plan.

These twin oversimplifications (argument and counterargument) have made it easy to dismiss this view (i.e., that the Iraq war is and was always, primarily, about oil) as a paranoid delusion held only by the lunatic fringe. I hope to successfully argue (soon, hopefully), that it is not at all a crackpot theory, but on the contrary the most plausible explanation of a seemingly inexplicable (and catastrophic) foreign policy decision.

Pink elephant, Part II

Apropos of the post below, there are many semi-intelligent people who have so much invested in their support for our government's war policies that they are willfully blind to the fact that the government has waged a month-long P.R. campaign to rally support for these policies, and that the star of this campaign has been General David H. Petraeus.

These willful-blinders insist on deluding themselves that the General is a straight-shooter, a paragon of objectivity, an unbiased soldier who just happened to find himself in the middle of a political conflict, and who will do the very best he can to give the most candid, straightforward assessment of the "facts-on-the-ground" regarding the success (or failure!) of the mission he is commanding in Iraq.

The teevee medium generally reinforces this idea, along with talk radio (obviously). The newspapers are somewhat more skeptical, but the willful-blinders can skip over those articles as soon as they begin to take a questioning bent.

And, of course, for those so inclined, left-leaning blogs are easily avoided. Which is a propitious state of affairs for those folks, because if they were to accidentally come across this article (or this one, or this one, for example), they might begin to see that the General, far from being an objective investigator and unbiased reporter of facts, starts to look much more like the Baghdad station chief of the WH Communications Office.

And if, through misfortune, a blissfully ignorant champion of the General were to make a misstep leading to this page, he or she would find there a catalog of the many many previous statements made by the General extolling the wonderful progress of each of the various, different (and failed) occupation strategies employed in Iraq over the last 3 years.

Misclicking onto this page would reveal a link to the General's Washington Post op-ed wherein, shortly before the 2004 presidential election, with his boss, the president, under fire for his war policies and in dire need of positive war news, the General saw "tangible progress" toward the training of Iraqi security forces (a mission he himself, the General, was in charge), "progress in the effort to enable Iraqis to shoulder more of the load for their own security", "reasons for optimism", "highly successful operation[s]". The General predicted lots more progress "within the next 60 days" (soon after the election, if you're counting), since "considerable progress is [now] being made in the reconstruction and refurbishing of infrastructure", and "momentum has gathered in recent months", leading him to believe that "this trend will continue."

Unfortunately, the Great Progress in the training of Iraqi security forces ultimately came to very little, if anything, and certainly not enough to allow U.S. forces to withdraw.

What pink elephant?

In law there is a concept known as "willful blindness". As its ordinary meaning would suggest, it refers to someone who engages in criminal (or civilly actionable) behavior where the malfeasor has good reason to suspect that his/her actions are wrong, but avoids looking far enough into the situation to determine this to a certainty in an attempt to shield themselves from liability while still engaging in the behavior and benefiting from it in some way.

An example would be where a person who is about to travel across a border is given a mysterious package, and told that if they deliver the package to the other side, they will be paid $1000. Instead of asking what is in the package, or looking for themselves, they decide to go ahead and deliver it. When caught at the border with a kilo of coke, the person can honestly claim that they didn't know what was in the package. (Hint to potential smugglers: this defense does not work, ever.)

I explain this because (of course) it appears to be the position of many of the less stupid defenders of our current government's terrible policies. In particular (of course), Iraq. This really only applies to the "less stupid", because the more stupid people truly do not have the mental acuity to know the things that make it evident that the policies are terrible. For example, as shown by this poll (scroll down to question 88), 33 percent of Americans "think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon". Yes, these are the stupid ones.

On the other hand, I have seen commenters on blogs, people who are clearly intelligent enough to read and write and think somewhat analytically, and who are in possession of or have access to a computer and an internet connection, who, despite the mountain of readily available evidence to the contrary, not only strenuously support the government's terrible Iraq policies, but also appear to support each and every one of the shaky, false, or transparently idiotic premises that such policies are built upon.

Given that these folks aren't stupid, this is clearly "willful blindness" at work. They don't want to know. Why? Well, there are various explanations I can think of, but the most likely seems to be that a person, having invested so much time, emotion, and mental resources in a particular idea, would suffer a devastating blow to his or her ego if he or she were forced to admit such a profound error to himself or herself.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Maybe someday they'll call this one the Two Hundred Years' War

Today is the day we hear from Saint Petraeus. He will go in front of congress and many teevee cameras and tell us that the awesomeness of The Surge is working, that there is Great Progress in Iraq, but also that much work remains to be done, and therefore if we are patient, and continue funneling money and soldiers in his direction, then in just a few mere Friedman Units, we will achieve Glorious Victory, there, in Iraq.

How do we define progress? What constitutes victory? What goals do we hope to achieve in Iraq? Obviously these are rhetorical questions. The answers depend on what suits the WH public relations team on any given day.

Or, if you are a Democrat in congress, the answers depend on how frightened and pathetically impotent you feel at any given moment.

As has been predicted here and elsewhere, the WH has no intention of changing its course in Iraq. The congress has no intention of trying to stop them. None of the likely presidential contenders have stated unequivocally that they intend to change course to any significant degree. Therefore, certainly in January 2009, and probably far beyond that date, the clusterfuck in Iraq will still be ongoing, with hardly any change at all.

Public opinion, elections, and the like do not seem to have any effect whatsoever -- a circumstance I find bewildering. With opinion clearly, strongly against continued substantial commitment of money and soldiers and political capital and other resources in Iraq, and with a fairly recent election which strongly showed the electorate's will against this commitment, the status quo continues unchecked. We now have 20% more troops in Iraq than before the election.

What does the public, the electorate, the sovereign body politic, get in return for its clear statement that it wants to end the country's openended commitment to an endless war in Iraq? Saint Petraeus tosses a few crumbs:
Gen. David H. Petraeus
Army Gen. David Petraeus has indicated a willingness to consider a drawdown of one brigade of between 3,500 and 4,500 U.S. troops from Iraq early next year... The pullouts would be contingent on the ability of U.S. and Iraqi forces to sustain what the administration heralds as recent gains in security and to make further gains in stabilizing Iraq.
I hesitate to offer further comment, as it really seems superfluous in the face of such obvious, spectacular bullshit, but in order to add just one tiny speck to the historical record:

1. Notice the contingency, which basically means: maybe, if we want to, but, um, actually, don't fucking count on it.

2. And so even if this actually came to pass (did I mention: don't motherfucking count on it?), that would mean that 15-18 months after this country, a godamn democracy, held an election in which voters loudly and unequivocally stated they wanted this country to get the hell out of Iraq, we will still have 25,000 MORE troops there than before the election.

3. And then so this General expresses his "willingness" to fucking consider possibly sending home a small portion of some of the additional troops that were sent to Iraq after the aforementioned election where the voters loudly and unequivocally stated they wanted us to get the fuck out of Iraq?

I believe this is known as hubris. Though there are many other names I could put to it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Bill O'Reilly is a great human.

Ok, well, maybe not a great human, but a human nonetheless. A human who has apparently become unmoored from characteristics typical of most humans, such as the capacity to identify facts and reason logically based on those facts.

Of course, he is also personally despicable, but many others have documented this fact far more cleverly than I am capable, so I will leave that aspect of Falafel Boy (as he is known) mostly to the side and focus rather on one of his most recent bizarre and fact-free diatribes.

Yes, Bill-O has moved on from his highly successful campaign to "destroy" Now on his agenda is the destruction of a couple of other websites: and

I have not spent a lot of time on either of these sites, but in my limited experience they are typical "liberal" sites that advocate typical liberal views. Media Matters, as its name suggests, focuses on debunking and correcting errors made by, or countering the biases of, more mainstream media outlets. Moveon is primarily concerned with organizing grass roots political activities that further the views and agendas of its members.

But O'Reilly describes these two sites as follows (all direct quotes): fringe elements, crazy, radical, vicious, far-left, fanatical, assassins, and the most vicious element in our society today.

He goes on to say that they are sliming, blackmailing, and extorting those who don't agree with their crazy, radical, fringe views.

And what, you may ask, are these radical fringe views? He's somewhat, uh, thin on specifics, but he does mention offhandedly that "they want open borders, they want one world government, they want legalized narcotics, they want -- you know, I mean, it's just crazy"

But, well, for those of us with a tenth grade education and access to a computer, it has, today, in these the aughts, become technologically possible for us to actually navigate to these sites, and, wonder of wonders, actually read the content on them, thereby actually discerning what their views actually are. In reality.

For those of us with these extraordinary capabilities, a quick surf through both sites reveals no references (literally, none) to open borders, drug legalization, or world government, but does turn up the following extremely radical platform: (1) invading Iraq was a bad idea, (2) occupying Iraq was a bad idea, (3) we need to get out of Iraq as soon as possible, (4) we should be concerned about what we are doing to the environment and try to do less of the things that are bad, (5) we should provide some minimum level of healthcare to sick people who can't pay for it, and (6) like-minded persons should be voicing the foregoing views to our elected representatives.

Now of course maybe it's me that is the mis-informed idiot, but these views seem rather mainstream to me. Let's take them one by one:

First, in the last presidential administration, the president of the United States attempted to implement a system of universal health care, similar to the systems in effect in most developed countries throughout the world. (He failed.) But, whether or not you agree with this idea, it is far from radical.

Second, our most recent ex-vice president, with the support of a sizable portion of the citizens of this country, has long been on a well-publicized (and well received) campaign to lessen the damage that we are doing to our environment. You may well disagree with some of the measures advocated by Mr. Gore or his many adherents, or you may well think the whole idea of sacrificing a single thing in contribution to this cause is worthless and stupid, but you will convince no reasonable person that the basic concept is radical or relegated to fringe elements.

And finally, in the last election, a solid 57% of voters in exit polling expressed disapproval of the war in Iraq, with 41% strongly disapproving. Radical indeed.

O'Reilly goes on to focus on Moveon's incipient campaign to lobby and/or oust congressman Brian Baird, Democrat of Oregon, as a result of his stated support for George W. Bush's failed and irredeemable Iraq war policies. This -- in contrast to just about every other statement made by O'Reilly -- is actually true: Moveon has posted Baird's office phone number and email address to facilitate messages from constituents who disagree with this position. They have also suggested that another Democrat, with views more in line with his district's constituency, run against him in the next primary, and that like-minded voters support this new candidate.

O'Reilly refers to this campaign variously as "sliming", "extortion", and "blackmail". But you might know these radical, fringe, vicious techniques by their more common appellations: free speech and representative democracy.