Sunday, June 20, 2010

Obama VS Clinton: Obama's military actions.

Part of the Obama Vs Clinton/From the Left discussion...

One of the things I said I'd consider Obama to be a success at was if he had fewer troops in the Middle East - a third was what I was looking for - two years into his administration.

He's certainly taken them out of Iraq, but a heck of a lot of them have been heading straight to Afghanistan. According to this one Canadian "Defence Watch" website, as of late May 2010 there were 94,000 in Afghanistan and 92,000 in Iraq, for a grand total of 186,000 deployed in the theater. (Actually I don't know if the theater is the same, officially, in the military sense. But that's what I meant by Middle East.)

The wonderful report from the Congressional Research Service in 2009 "Troop Levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2001-2012" says it clearly; the peak of Bush era deployment was 187,600. Meaning the drawdown is practically nil. But - if we pull fully out of Iraq by 12/31/2011, then we'll be down to 68,000.

So regarding my assessment: I'm being told that in another year and a half it'll be down to where I wanted it. But as of right now, there's as many as ever before. Looks like Obama's failing on that point.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Left Analysis: Who is worse, Obama or Clinton

A fellow lefty friend of mine and I had this discussion leading up to the Obama election: which would be the biggest sellout to the corporate right, Obama or Clinton. Actually, we framed it as 'who was worse, Clinton or Obama'. But I realized that just saying it like that would be an invitation for rightwing trolls, wingnuts, and tea-baggers to come boiling out of the woodwork and saying 'BOTH', and that's not the point.

I said in 2008 that we would have to wait for a little bit to see, like two years into the term. Which is about now!

So we've got to come up with the criteria for analysis. And some kind of judging system. We've wagered a night out on this, so it's something we need to give some thought to.

This is just a starting post, so he and I get on with it.

Quick recommended link: Juan Cole on BP and Iraq

Juan Cole is worth reading for a number of reasons - he's a lefty prof who understands the middle east from serious experience (living there many years, extensive reading of sources in their native languages) and every so often he goes off on the right-wing in wonderful, hard-hitting, factual but passionate rants.

And so when he draws the correlations between Iraq, an oil-based deadly disaster, and the BP oil spew, another oil-based deadly disaster, he does it with style.

Here's one hot paragraph. Read the whole thing.

Both the Iraq tragedy and the BP tragedy are testimonies to greed and hubris. They speak of gigantic endeavors undertaken with insufficient forethought and too few resources. They are enterprises that made a handful of ruthless men wealthy, and impoverished everyone else. In the cutting of corners for short term petty profit, in the extractive determination, in the disregard for any rule of law or prudent regulations, these two projects were both stamped with the personality of Dick Cheney (who met with energy corporations and worked tirelessly to remove them from regulatory oversight, so that he is at the matrix of both disasters).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Two gay kids in New York elected prom king and queen

Aww... this is so sweet. Look at the pictures! (credit to the Albany Times Union)

On June 5, what began as a lark turned into a celebration of their courage to attend high school as openly gay young men. Seniors Charlie Ferrusi and Timmy Howard were crowned Hudson High School's prom king and queen in an open vote of their classmates.

"It was so cool when they called our names. Kids were screaming and cheering for us," recalled Ferrusi. "I gave Timmy the biggest hug ever. I was shaking with excitement. People were taking our picture. Everyone was going crazy."

Now, kids across the country have been denied the opportunity to run as gay couples, or boys running for prom queen or girls for prom king. This school had a close vote a couple of years ago where a young man narrowly lost for prom queen. But apparently the superintendant got the clue and he said this:

"The principal and I are in full support of the outcome of the prom vote," Howe said. "The students had a great time and they selected the prom king and queen they wanted. We are a diverse student body and we celebrate our diversity."

Good going, Hudson High! And hat tip to Shakesville!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Well. I started a statement on pseudonymity that looked as arrogant as heck. Even though I have the ability to be a total dickwad (see photo) I still try not to. At the same time that I think - oh, it is all about me. (Well, who doesn't?)

I am choosing to blog under nihilix for a couple reasons - journalistic voice and I can just vent more freely. If you have any feedback about this, let me know.

But FB's minutia-based communication system is definitely infecting how I'm writing this post - a long status update!

Anyway, Penny Arcade is what I'm reading right now, and they get credit for the image: I quit keeping up with various webcomics etc. some years ago, and I'm on a 'crawl out of the archives' there. I'm up to about 2007. I'm also reading Questionable Content, from 2003 to 2006. Questionable Content is going faster, because I'm also reading Tycho's web posts, which slows things down.

I'm also gardening, getting the last of the Friend's Plant Sale plants in the ground (or in pots).

I've been following the Israeli/Gaza blockade story, the imprisonment of Peter Erlinder, reading about race at a couple places (Ta-Nehisi and Racialicous) and playing WoW. My newest character just hit level 65.

There you go - FB style minutia with links!

Friday, June 11, 2010


There's this one vocal track at the beginning of Irresponsible Hate Anthem from Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar... that's the sound of me coming back to the blog...

ohhhh.... ohhhh....

Feel like a zombie blogger coming back to the windlass that I used to wind when I was alive...

(probably partially a result of listening to Marilyn Manson) (as well as not blogging in like FORever...)

Anyway, I'm getting bored with WoW for not being self-improving enough. See if I start doing stuff here.

(I've been bookmarking articles. Much like a bird gathering twigs, this is an indicator that I'm feeling the itch again...)

(corporate zombie credit nikholmes)