Kay to Prez – “Come Clean”

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

Looks like David Kay is getting more and more peeved with the administration.

David Kay, the man who led the CIA’s postwar effort to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has called on the Bush administration to "come clean with the American people" and admit it was wrong about the existence of the weapons.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Kay said the administration’s reluctance to make that admission was delaying essential reforms of US intelligence agencies, and further undermining its credibility at home and abroad.

As Calpundit sez, perhaps Kay will be doing commercials for Kerry soon.

Because Mickey Might Expose Himself?

Ken AshfordPopular Culture, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

Without comment, this:

Disney Removes Statue Inspired By Janet Jackson

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Walt Disney Co. has quietly shelved a life-size statue of Mickey Mouse inspired by singer Janet Jackson, who was roundly criticized for a risque Super Bowl halftime performance.

The 6-foot, 700-pound statue was one of 75 unveiled at Walt Disney World in Orlando last fall to celebrate the 75th birthday of Mickey Mouse (Photos from 75th celebration). The statues were inspired by celebrities such as tennis star Andre Agassi, actress Jamie Lee Curtis and comedian Ellen DeGeneres.

The Jackson statue used a tight black outfit Jackson wore in 1990 after the release of her album, Rhythm Nation 1814. It was replaced by a spare statue designed by Luis Fernandez, an in-house Disney artist.

New Bush Ads

Ken AshfordElection 2004Leave a Comment

You can see them here.

It’s pointless for me to review them objectively (as I originally intended). I can’t possibly be objective. But I would be interested to know what Bush supporters think. I’m even more interested to know what independents think (do these ads reach out to you or not?)

It’s clear that Bush is (for now) going for the positive. The first ad ("Lead") is the least convincing. Bush repeatedly says "I know. . .", as in "I know where I want to take the country . . . I know what we need to do to make this country safe . . . I know what we need to do to ensure the American dream . . . " (paraphrase). Any chance he might clue us in, or should we just vote for him based on his mere representation that "he knows" what he’s going to do?

The other two ads ("Tested" and "Safer, Stronger") predictably invoke 9/11. Both are interesting in that (a) there are no words (and few pictures) of GWB ("Safer, Stronger" has no spoken words at all), and (b) it appears to give "credit" to being "safer, stronger" to the American people, rather than George Bush.

Sadly, the two ads which have almost no George Bush in them are the better ads, in my view. Even the "Lead" ad relies heavily on Laura Bush as a supporting player. Which says a lot about the candidate, as well as (perhaps) the re-election team’s lack of faith in him.

But y’all decide for yourselves.

Update: Josh Marshall has a different — but equally unobjective — take on the ads.

Upon further reflection: I stated above that two of the ads reminded America about the tough times it had faced, and how Americans have persevered. Now that I ruminate about it, the ads gave no reason to vote for Bush. We, the people, are given credit for persevering. But couldn’t we persevere just as well under, say, any President???

Kerry’s VP

Ken AshfordElection 2004Leave a Comment

So now the guessing game begins. Edwards? Dean? Gore? McCain? (Kucinich???)

The most interesting potential nominee I’ve heard discussed is Clinton. No, not Hillary. I’m talking ’bout Bill.

A couple of potential stumbling blocks: the 12th and 22nd Amendments, which read (respectively, in relevant part):

But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of the Vice-President of the United States [12th Amendment]

and

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected as President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. [22nd Amendment]

The operative words are "(in)eligible" (in the 12th) and "elected" (in the 22nd). My former NYU Law Professor Stephen Gillers — correctly in my view — says that nothing in the 22nd prevents Bill from becoming Kerry’s VP and even succeeding Kerry as President (should Kerry die from an overinflated ego or whatever). He even says (at the Volokh Conspiracy) that the 12th is not a stumbling block (I’m less sure he’s right on that one).

Anyway, I seriously doubt that Bill Clinton is even on the short list, but for law geeks like me, it’s an interesting issue to think about.

Tell Me Something I DON’T Know . . .

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

A recent Knight-Ridder investigation concluded:

The administration’s case on ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda relied on intelligence that was weaker than that on Iraq’s illegal weapons programs.

The article linked above discusses some of the "evidence" that has been paraded about (here and elsewhere) purporting to show the alleged connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.

Yes, this too, like the (lack of) WMDs, will be an election issue.

Physician, Heal Thyself!

Ken AshfordScience & Technology, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

Dr. Paul Cameron is the founder of the Family Research Institute, and is cited often and reverently by the anti-gay (and anti-gay marriage) crowd. Recently, he opined on what was at stake in the present controversy. His belief is that in a few generations, homosexuality will become the dominant form of sexual behavior. Some selected quotes, based on his "research":

"If you isolate sexuality as something solely for one’s own personal amusement, and all you want is the most satisfying orgasm you can get – and that is what homosexuality seems to be – then homosexuality seems too powerful to resist."

"The evidence is that men do a better job on men and women on women, if all you are looking for is orgasm."

"People in homosexuality are incredibly evangelical. It’s pure sexuality. It’s almost like pure heroin. It’s such a rush."

"Martial sex tends toward the boring end. Generally, it doesn’t deliver the kind of sheer sexual pleasure that homosexual sex does"

I think the good "doctor" has some . . . uh . . . issues of his own that he might want to deal with. Not that there’s anything wrong with homosexuality, but there’s something wrong with not being able to admit it, while dictating to others the impropriety of it.

Tenuous Connection . . .

Ken AshfordGodstuff, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

Dennis Prager at TownHall.com has an interesting perspective:

America is engaged in two wars for the survival of its civilization. The war over same-sex marriage and the war against Islamic totalitarianism are actually two fronts in the same war — a war for the preservation of the unique American creation known as Judeo-Christian civilization.

One enemy is religious extremism. The other is secular extremism.

One enemy is led from abroad. The other is directed from home.

Actually, one enemy wants to blow you up and destroy your home. The other wants to make you look faaaab-u-lous and redecorate your home on national television.

Seriously, if Dennis Prager was doing satire, I’d laugh my ass off. But he’s not. He’s just plain scary.

Flight 11 Recording

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

As far as I know, this is the first (and only) recorded excerpt available to the public which reflects communications between one of the flights on 9/11 and someone on the ground. Recently posted at the Memory Hole, the tape is Betty Ong (flight attendant on Flight 11) calling the American Airline Reservation Desk.

In an abundance of caution, I think I should warn that the tape may not be suitable for everyone. It’s not gory or anything like that, but unsettling; for me, hearing the tape brought back that day in a profound way.

Groupthink 101

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Science & TechnologyLeave a Comment

Okay. You’re President. You have some big decisions to make, and you want the best information possible. So you gather up all the information, hear all sides of the arguments, get all the viewpoints and perspectives, and then . . . you make your decision. Right?

Not if you’re GWB . . .

President Bush yesterday dismissed two members of his handpicked Council on Bioethics — a scientist and a moral philosopher who had been among the more outspoken advocates for research on human embryo cells.

In their places he appointed three new members, including a doctor who has called for more religion in public life, a political scientist who has spoken out precisely against the research that the dismissed members supported, and another who has written about the immorality of abortion and the "threats of biotechnology."

* * *

Bush created the council by executive order in 2001 to "advise the President on bioethical issues that may emerge as a consequence of advances in biomedical science and technology." He recently renewed its commission for another two years.

I mean, what’s the point of forming an advisory panel if you are only going to fill it with people who will just conform to your pre-determined outcome? (And yes, I do see the similarities between this and the run-up to the Iraqi War). Read more about this story here. Read a previous post regarding GWB misuse of science here.

Gary Bauer Prefers Unbridled (get it?) Gay Promiscuity

Ken AshfordConstitution, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

Gary Bauer, in explaining his opposition to gay marriages, gives this as one of the reasons why states should ban it:

More importantly, however, the government has an obligation to promote public policy that is best for the general welfare and to discriminate against behaviors that adversely impact society and public health. Tobacco use is heavily regulated by the state and smoking is strongly discouraged. A major study conducted by Oxford University demonstrated that homosexual conduct is three times more deadly than smoking. Homosexual behavior is fraught with adverse health affects. Again, this is not opinion, but documented medical fact.

Now, I don’t know what study he is referring to, but presumably, Gary is talking about sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDs — which (I guess) is far worse in the gay community than in the straight one.

Gee, if what you say is true, Gary, one would think that states should be encouraging marriage and monogamy among gays.

Maybe They Should Drop 3,000 Balloons, Too?

Ken AshfordElection 2004Leave a Comment

The Hill reports on the GOP plans for their national convention in NYC. Among the many gaudy ideas (e.g., rotating stages that come up from underground) is this sickening one —

"Or, and this is a real possibility, we could see President Bush giving his acceptance speech at Ground Zero," he added. "It’s clearly a venue they’re considering."

Via Calpundit

NOTE: The "he" is a "GOP insider", so take that for what you will.

Now, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the GOP convention is going to try to tug at America’s heartstrings (and fear-strings) by referencing the events of 9/11 and playing them to the hilt. But this exploitation of 9/11 for political purposes is beyond the pale. It is disgusting and should be universally condemned.

Would You Care to Elaborate, Mr. President?

Ken AshfordBush & Co., CrimeLeave a Comment

Last month, President Bush spoke with Argentine President Nestor Kirchner at a summit meeting in Monterrey, Mexico. Kirchner told Bush that all but one of the Argentine delegates to the summit meeting were imprisoned during the military dictatorship.

Bush responded, "I was a prisoner too, but for bad reasons."

Aside from being a dumb thing to say (was Bush implying that his Argentine visitors had been imprisoned for good reasons?), I just wanted to know what Bush was referring to. My Spanish is rusty-to-nonexistent — was Bush referring to his drunk driving ("en estado de ebriedad"?).

In any event, I can’t believe we let this guy talk to foreign leaders.

Thought Experiment

Ken AshfordConstitution, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

On a particular listserv I follow, the following wonderful questions were posed:

(1) Is it fair to say that all single adults have a fundamental right to marry?
(2) If so, do biologically transgendered folks (those that have mixed genders — not those that opt to surgically or hormonally change their gender) have a right to marry?
(3) If so, which gender can they marry under a legal regime allowing marriage only between persons of opposite genders?
(4) Would they be legally required to choose a gender and undergo (if medically possible) surgery or hormonal therapy to change their gender in order to marry?

Because the listserv is "private", I will not identify the author — I will say only that he is president of an international human rights organization. His concern — obviously — is not about the right of "transgendered folks" to marry, nor is he attempting to make an analogy. But I think the answers to his questions help frame the debate on the FMA, and might cause some to reconsider what "marriage" supposedly is, and how we as a society define it.