He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. “This administration is soaring, not sinking,” he said. “They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg.”
Colbert told Bush he could end the problem of
protests by retired generals by refusing to let them retire. He
compared Bush to Rocky Balboa in the “Rocky” movies, always getting
punched in the face—“and Apollo Creed is everything else in the world.”
Turning to the war, he declared, "I believe that the
government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by
these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."
Observing that Bush sticks to his principles, he
said, "When the president decides something on Monday, he still
believes it on Wednesday - no matter what happened Tuesday."
Ow. But then:
Also lampooning the press, Colbert complained that he
was “surrounded by the liberal media who are destroying this country,
except for Fox News. Fox believes in presenting both sides—the
president’s side and the vice president’s side." He also reflected on
the good old days, when the media was still swallowing the WMD story.
Addressing the reporters, he said, "You should spend
more time with your families, write that novel you've always wanted to
write. You know, the one about the fearless reporter who stands up to
the administration. You know-- fiction."
Duncan calls Bush "Lord High Pissypants" for not being amused by Colbert's bit, but I wonder if it went a little too far. After all, it isn't the job of the President of the United States to sit around listening to people complain that he got every single major decision of his term in office completely, dead wrong. It's the job of the President to be surrounded by people who tell him everything he does is absolutely wonderful and that anyone who disagrees must be on the terrorists' side. Anything less than complete agreement with the government in a time of war borders dangerously on treason.
Except for two years, I've lived here since 1990, and while I love the people in the city of Philadelphia, I do not love its government. It's a carnival of corruption and incompetence, but I think incompetence is winning.
For example, the city has this wonderful sporting event every year called the Penn Relays, which attracts thousands of people from all over the country and from other countries. And every year they jam the streets around Penn during the day, and at night a fair number of them get stumbling-ass drunk. Especially on the Saturday night, the last night of the relays.
Which was last night. And as I was driving home around, oh, 12:14 a.m. eastbound on Baltimore Avenue at 46th Street, I noticed the driver in front of me was weaving a little. Then more than a little. Then he was weaving a whole lot, and he almost sideswiped some parked cars. At that point I started looking for a cop to flag down. He came close to hitting parked cars twice more, then he had to slam on his brakes not to rear-end someone at a light.
So I called the cops and told them that the driver of a gray Plymouth minivan, PA license plate GDZ 5221 appeared to be very drunk, what he had done, where he was and which way he was heading. The dispatcher listened to me babble for about 50 seconds and only said, "We'll look into it" in a way which told me what the response would be.
Just to be sure, I followed the guy. He pulled over to the side of Baltimore Ave. around 45th and so did I. And waited and watched to see if a police car came by from any direction. It didn't. The guy started driving again down Baltimore Avenue, turned left onto University Avenue, went past 38th Street and HUP, where he got onto the Schuylkill heading west, and I continued on over the 34th Street bridge. During all that time I did not see a police car once.
I provide these details in case he killed himself or someone else on his way to wherever he was weaving, so that the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of those who allowed it to happen. I, for one, would really like to meet that dispatcher.
The title of this piece is apparently "Lowest Rate Approved":
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Think about it. If I were a poet, what better way to publish than to email my stuff to strangers, like me, mitch.mulhall, mitchell_5e6, mitchellbumgardner, mitchelspinkajzry, mitcon, mithrandir2003cz [geek!], and firstname.lastname@example.org?
A bad cameraphone shot, but I could not pass this by unphotographed. "Psyshic"? "Walkings"? I suspect Engrish based solely on high awfulness factor, but could be wrong. The weirdest part is that rent on South Street is really high; how does a place like this afford it?
The Iraq War currently costs the United States about $1.8 billion (with a b) per week, it's estimated.
Total combined expenditures for 2003, 2004 and 2005 were $180 billion, but we're projected to spend more than half that again this year - $94 billion in 2006. Estimates for 2007 were not provided. Anyone want to bet they'll go down next year? Me, either.
Imagine what we could be doing with that money - say, securing our nation's ports, or aiding peaceful democratic change in the Middle East, or improving disaster preparedness, or even just paying down the $8 trillion public debt.
There are about 27 million people in Iraq. By the end of this year, we will have spent about $274 billion on the war. We could have sent teams into Iraq to kill Hussein and his family, installed a puppet government by bribing a few generals and officials with $200 million, given $10,000 to every man, woman and child in the country, and still have come out ahead. Per capita GDP is $3,400, so it would have been a sizable injection of capital into the country. How popular would the U.S. be in the region if we had done that?
Put another way, if you had wanted to destabilize the Middle East, foment civil war in Iraq and extend Iran's influence in the region, weren't there cheaper ways of doing it?
Here's video with sound from two cameras showing front view and driver's reaction when a minibus' steering linkage breaks, and the bus flies off an embankment over parked cars and lands in a parking lot. Pretty funny stuff.
The video is from DriveCam, a San-Diego based company that installs camera systems in fleet vehicles. About the video, DriveCam says, " It’s important to reinforce the positive aspects of the DriveCam program to gain driver acceptance. In this instance, the evidence is indisputable and the camera protects the driver of Vehicle #1 as well as ABC Parking from any legal responsibility. Culpability could be more challenging without this video." In other words, people don't like to be taped, so tell them it's for their own good.
Constant surveillance by private companies and individuals is just a fact of life as this technology gets cheaper. Naturally, people want to keep an eye on their stuff. Companies want to watch employees; parents want to watch children; everyone wants to watch their homes and cars. If DriveCam is profitable now, in a few years everyone will be able to install cameras that upload video to the web full time. Who sideswiped my car? Is Junior going straight home from school? Who knocked over my garbage cans? Log in and find out. Or companies might offer real-time aerial video surveillance featuring high-resolution cameras on stationary blimps for traffic reporting, mapping, agricultural or ship navigation purposes. Go outside and wave to the nice Google maps camera, dear.
We rightly fear the government as Big Brother, but like with other technology, video monitoring is primarily privately done. The United States needs a comprehensive privacy law like Europe's, so we can constrain the most intrusive corporate monitoring systems that may be coming down the pike.
I like Philadelphia, but someday will need to move from this area. One of the many factors I consider important in picking a new place to live is how easily I can avoid the followers of the Invisible Cloud Buddy. Fortunately, maps have been published that show their concentration around the country. The lightest-colored areas have the smallest numbers of religious people:
Northern California, Oregon and western Washington, circled in blue, look promising. Northern Arizona could be good, but I wonder whether there are urban areas there I would find appealing. (Of course, that could be true of most of the circled area, too - I am aware of only Portland and Seattle in there.) Other places have large swathes with low-bunkum concentrations, but either are again probably not populated (West Virginia, southern Ohio) or are too cold for me (Michigan, Maine). Nevertheless, grist for the mill.