Monday, May 29, 2006

War has many faces

The Mandarin is one of the few people who still watch the CBS evening news (when he gets home from work early enough to catch it). CBS rotates a couple of faces through its Baghdad bureau, and one of them is the excellent reporter Kimberly Dozier. Not long ago, after Bob Woodruff of ABC was wounded, the Mandarin had a premonition that something similar would happen to Ms. Dozier. Today it did.

Two members of a CBS News team, veteran cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed and correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was seriously injured Monday when the Baghdad military unit in which they were embedded was attacked.

They were reporting on patrol with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, when their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb.

CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, sustained serious injuries in the attack and underwent surgery at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad. She is in critical condition, but doctors are cautiously optimistic about her prognosis."

Shrub has already lost the support of a majority of the nation for his crusade in the Middle East. Very few people are buying his ever-shifting line on the war any more, whether to find non-existent WMD, or to avenge Saddam's attempt to assassinate Shrub's father (the Mandarin's personal favorite), or to "spread freedom" in countries where free elections will probably result in victory for Islamic fundamentalists who hate us for our support of Israel's actions in Palestine,...

The number of military dead and wounded in Iraq is approaching 20,000. To borrow an image from President Bush (Shrub's daddy), these casualties produce "a thousand points" of outrage and grief. Those points are gradually coalescing into a national will so strong that not even Shrub can ignore it. Public reaction to casualties among well-known people like Bob Woodruff, or Pat Tilman, or now Kimberly Dozier, may also help hasten the end of Shrub's not-so-excellent adventure in Iraq.

The Mandarin is grateful for free speech (without it John Ashcroft or Alberto Gonzalez would have jailed the Mandarin a long time ago) and especially a free press. But defending our freedoms has a price, both abroad and at home - where we should always remember the wise words of Ben Franklin:

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.

The Mandarin wonders if old Ben had a premonition, too.

Friday, May 26, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?

One of the Mandarin's favorite loyal readers (that small, elite group) passed along this picture. The Mandarin struggled with a few sarcastic captions, but eventually decided just to let the word speak for itself.


1: the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations; also: the skilled use of reason

2: the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one's environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)

3: the act of understanding

4: information concerning an enemy or possible enemy or an area; also : an agency engaged in obtaining such information

Antonyms: denseness, density, doltishness, dopiness, dullness, dumbness, fatuity, feeblemindedness, foolishness, idiocy, imbecility, senselessness, simpleness, slowness, stupidity.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A true believer breaks with Shrub

Richard Viguerie has been dubbed the "funding father" of modern conservative strategy, having pioneered important tactics in computerized direct mail strategy in the 1970s and 1980s. He is considered the direct mail titan of the right. (ex Wikipedia)

Well, at long last, Viguerie has finally had enough of Shrub's shenanigans.

The patriarch of US conservatives has urged his followers to halt their financial support of the Republican Party and start an independent movement, signaling a major political shift that could result in heavy losses for the US ruling party in upcoming elections.

Richard Viguerie, who was instrumental in cementing the winning coalitions behind Ronald Reagan in 1980 and George W. Bush in 2000, declared that conservatives were "downright fed up" with both the president and Republican-controlled Congress.

James Dobson, Patriarch of the Wingnut Christian Right has joined Viguerie and is singing the same tune:

"There is a growing feeling among conservatives that the only way to cure the problem is for Republicans to lose the Congressional elections this fall," said Richard Viguerie, a conservative direct-mail pioneer

Mr. Viguerie also cited dissatisfaction with government spending, the war in Iraq and the immigration-policy debate…. "I can't tell you how much anger there is at the Republican leadership," Mr. Viguerie said. "I have never seen anything like it."

In the last several weeks, Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and one of the most influential Christian conservatives, has publicly accused Republican leaders of betraying the social conservatives who helped elect them in 2004. He has also warned in private meetings with about a dozen of the top Republicans in Washington that he may turn critic this fall unless the party delivers on conservative goals.

The Mandarin feels their pain. The real conservatives deserve their own political movement, and if that means seceding from the Bush-Cheney-Schwarzenegger-Giuliani Republicans, forming a third party and giving Congress back to the Democrats in 2006, well, sometimes you have to break eggs to make an omelet (or should the Mandarin have said "egg foo yung" 芙蓉蛋?)

And how about that Al Gore? We're talking tanned, rested and ready. He was elected President once, so the second time should be a piece of cake. Especially with people like Viguerie and Dobson sitting on their hands, or supporting fellow wingnut Tom Tancredo in a right-wing splinter party in 2008.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I guess I'll have to call this blog "The English"

The Senate has voted to make English,... well, it got a little confusing:

The Senate first voted 63-34 to make English the national language after lawmakers who led the effort said it would promote national unity.

But critics argued the move would prevent limited English speakers from getting language assistance required by an executive order enacted under President Clinton. So the Senate also voted 58-39 to make English the nation's "common and unifying language."

Well, whichever, I guess the national melting pot, or ethnic salad, or whataver you prefer, may be getting a little blander.

Perhaps the first step will need to be translating all those foreign words on restaurant menus into English. Somehow "sauce" for salsa and "stir-fried leftovers" for chop suey just don't have that,... je ne sais quoi.

UPDATE: Stop the presses! El arbusto se opone a declarar inglés la lengua nacional. Or, perhaps the Mandarin should say: 灌木反對宣稱英語為國家語言. But, on second thought, maybe he opposes it because he's not fluent in English?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Great Moments in Presidential Ventriloquism

Dick Cheney has broken new ground in the highly specialized field of political ventriloquism. Some ventriloquists amaze audiences by throwing their voices while drinking water or smoking a cigarette. In his never-before-seen photo, Cheney has actually introduced two unprecedented innovations: 1) he has taken his left arm and hand completely out of the socket in Shrub's back, and 2) he is actually throwing his voice while sleeping.

Until now, when Cheney dozed off at Cabinet meetings, the others present had to endure extended pauses in Shrub's remarks until someone reached over and poked Cheney to wake him up. Now, it appears those days are over.

Talk about raising the bar! The Mandarin can only imagine what wonders are still to come from this circus act....

Original photo caption: U.S. President George W. Bush speaks during a meeting about the situation in Iraq with current and former U.S. secretaries of state and defense at the White House in Washington May 12, 2006. From left are Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Friday, May 12, 2006

The old 80/20 rule

Shrub's approval rating has sunk to 29%, so can the reverse of the 80/20 rule be far off now, a 20% approval rating?

Even at 29%, it means he is even losing part of the faithful bedrock: fiscal small government conservatives (what we used to call "Republicans") and the nutcase Christian right (what we used to call "the nutcase Christian right") who combined with five Supreme Court justices and Katherine Harris to put him in the White House in the first place.

The Mandarin was magically reading Karl Rove's mind last night during one of the commercial breaks on the "Colbert Report," and -- you're reading it here first -- he learned what Karl is cooking up for 2008. The plan now is in three steps. First, Dick Cheney will resign this year for health reasons and devote himself to the cause of homeless victims of hunting accidents. Second, Shrub will nominate his brother Jeb as Vice President. Third, (and shhh.... Shrub doesn't know this part yet) Shrub will be persuaded to resign ("abdicate"?) in Jeb's favor, thus setting up the battle of the titans in 2008: incumbent President Bush III vs. challenger Clinton II.

Actually, the Mandarin isn't sure what Rove was smoking at the time, but the odds of that happening are about, what... 20/80?

Original photo caption: US President George W. Bush, pictured here late on 11 May 2006 steping off Air Force One under stormy skies, according to a recent poll, only 29 percent of Americans now believe he is doing a good job.(AFP/File/Paul Richards)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sometimes the Mandarin thinks news photographers do this on purpose

Creative cropping, that is. I'm sure the Shrubbites thought this one was funny.

Can we get some completely new candidates this time?

Original photo caption: U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) discusses the negative impact of the Bush/Enzi health bill and women's access to contraception and abortion prevention efforts while at a news conference in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, May 10, 2006.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Slow News Day

The Mandarin is under the weather for a few days, but couldn't resist sharing another "Curious George" shot.

Original photo caption: President Bush shakes hands after delivering a speech about taxes and spending to the American Council of Engineering Companies meeting on Wednesday, May 3, 2006 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Colbert Rapport

The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday. Events can change; this man's beliefs never will.

Steven Colbert is a national treasure. Here is a complete transcript of Colbert's roasting of Shrub (who was seated a few feet from the podium) at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. If Shrub knew who Queen Victoria was, he might have said, "we are not amused."

Original photo caption: President Bush listens to a speaker during the White House Correspondents' Association's 92nd annual awards dinner, Saturday, April 29, 2006, in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

UPDATE: Links to the video have come and gone, but here is one on Google Video endorsed by C-Cpan, so it should stay up.