Scott's Soapbox

Sunday, January 15, 2006

L. Paul Bremer and Mistakes in Iraq

I happened to catch L. Paul Bremer on Meet The Press this morning (you can see the video here) as he was discussing his new book My Year in Iraq. While I haven't read the book, I have read some of the excerpts. He claims to harrived there and immediately been struck by the "chaos" of Baghdad, as his first chapter is named. While Donald Rumsfeld back in Washington was disregarding accounts of widespead looting, on the ground, Bremer realized how badly it was hurting us. He asked for more troops to secure things and was turned down by first Rumsfeld and then by the President. Both men say they took his request seriously and discussed it with the military leadership. Andrew Sullivan reacts to this and other Runmsfeld-related things here.

He also places blame for many of our problems in Iraq on the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority placing "too much emphasis on large-scale reconstruction projects. While the urgent need for modern highways, electrical generating plants and the like was clear, we should have anticipated that building them would take a long time," he wrote. "Our earlier efforts should have been directed more tightly at meeting Iraqis' day-to-day needs," he added.

It's a depressing read. The storyline seems clear to me, I fail to see why so many people have trouble grasping it. I could never figure out why people said they were confused by John Kerry's position on Iraq during the campaign. I wasn't. I shared it. Let me try one more time to explain that, and what we should be doing my next post.

It's About Time...

But David Duval is finally back playing great golf. After a strong performance at the Dunlop Pheonix late last year in Japan, today he shot a bogey-free 63 in the Sony Open in Hawaii today. It has been a long road back for the former number 1 player- as he has struggled with injuries, a break-up with his fiance, and a malaise about the game of golf and his place in it. Following his first major win, the 2001 British Open, he seemed to look around from golf's mountaintop and ask "Is this all there is?" Since then, he has married into a family, inheriting three children, and late last year had the first of his own. He says now he wants to play well for his children, who have never seen him play well.

Life, unlike golf, has never been easy for Duval. It looks like now, with his life happier than it's ever been, golf is coming back to. I wish him the best.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Green Eggs and Green Ham?

Green transgenic pigs. Picture included!

Strange indeed!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Isn't It Nice...

That the top two coaches in the NFL this year are both blacks, and no one seems to notice that. Another coach in the top 5 is Marvin Lewis, who despite his loss today deserves so much credit. He has simply turned the whole Bengals' operation around, seemingly by his very will. He has given them a swagger and a whole new attitude, and they made the playoffs for the first time since 1990. There has been a whole culture of losing down there, and it is now 180 degrees the other way. That is coaching and that is leadership.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Jack Abramoff's Restaurant

Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo has been taking sugestions for the new name of Jack Abramoff's restaurant Signatures as well as for menu suggestions. I wrote in last week with my hurricane Katrina-influenced ideas:

I think the new "signature" dessert would have to be Mike "Heckuva Job" Brownies! Perhaps they could be "drowned" in some kind of chocolate sauce? "Swirled" with peanut better?

It could be a game played there with a table full of diners to see how long everyone can indifferently ignore the dessert before someone finally cracks (losing the game) and digs in...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pat Robertson is Still Nuts

Here he claims Ariel Sharon was struck down (via stroke and hemmorrhage) by God for attempting to divide Israel.

The fact the so many Americans (and so many high powered Republicans) take this guy seriously scares me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sometimes People Make Something Out Of Nothing

Andrew Sullivan points out this preposterous story about the Barbie web site. No, I'm not making this up. Apparently, there is a survey on there asking young visitors (one would assume mostly girls, no?) there age and gender. It reads (see here) "I'm a girl, I'm a boy, I don't know." Ok, kind of funny. But maybe a really little person might not know. Or might be playing as their gender-neutral stuffed animal. Or their Dad might be doing it. I can see me showing my little girl how to navigate through. Or whatever.

Did you immediately assume that Mattel (the makers of Barbie) had some agenda and were trying to confuse little girls as to their gender while encouraging society's acceptance of lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. No, of course not, because that would be totally f-ing crazy, right? Meet Bob Knight.

Not the famously temperamental basketball coach, this Bob Knight is the director of the Concerned Women for America's "Culture and Family Institute (wouldn't this logically be, you know, a woman?), and he says Mattel was being influenced by the "transgender movement." (There's a transgender movement? Who knew?) According to ABC, to pose "this transgender question at little girls, they've really crossed the line," Knight said, who added that "bisexuality gender confusion" is the Web site's agenda, which is "very dangerous."

I'm going to make a sneaky little bet that their "agenda" is to sell more Barbie dolls! To make to website fun and encourage brand loyalty. To make little girls cry, and plead, and beg for the new Barbie they just have to get this year or their whole life will be ruined, right. I really doubt Mattel sat down and had a meeting wherein someone asked- how can we encourage the transgender movement this year? Oh, right, the Barbie website.

Shouldn't the "Concerned" Women for America be concerned about something real, that actually matters to people? How about poverty? Equal opportunities for women? Unwanted and uncared for children? Woman's health issues? Breast cancer? Anybody?


He's Berry Berry Sorry

I concur with Jason Zengerle- there's always more layers when D.C.'s former mayor is involved. Does this story seem even plausible to you?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Actually, I Just Wanted to go Potty

It seems some copies of "Potty Time With Elmo," an interactive book designed to help parents coach children learn to use the toilet instead asks something else- "Who Wants to Die?" Hmmm, not me, guess I better just stay with diapers. There have been several other complaints, and the matter is under investigation.

follow the link, watch the video and scroll over the other "strange news" videos. Lots of crazy stuff happening in Central Florida it seems! Woman hit by bullet falling from the sky, raw meat in a Christmas iPod box (done by a "former" Wal-Mart employee, and a dog buried alive in his owner's backyard. The dog is okay- he survived...but unfortunately so did the owner. Sicko.

Clarett's In Custody

This may be the last we hear of him...

Have you seen Maurice Clarett?

Because the police would like to.

Clarett, former Ohio State running back, allegedly helped rang in the new year with a little aggravated robbery. After robbing people behind a bar while brandishing a handgun, the suspect hopped into a white SUV and took off. That this vehicle was driven by A.C. Cowlings is merely the author's suggestion, and is uncorrobated. What is it with felonius running backs and white SUVs?

Just one more strike against the Ohio State football program- enjoy the game today. The starting quarterback Alex Smith gets into altercations outside dorms in the wee hours in the morning when he's not busy throwing illegal booster cash around a shopping mall. There have been wide-spread athletic/academic scandals. The coach aggresively uses his Christianity as a get-out-of-jail free card while not holding anyone accountable.

The only problem is, they're playing against Notre Dame! Everybody hates Notre Dame right? The most arrogant, holier-than-thou school ever? Might be a good time for me to go get a haircut, groceries, and an oil change while everyone else watches tonight. Enjoy the game.