ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, March 23, 2007

Towards an Islam that's Tolerant of Women

We can only pray that it happens.

Saw this interesting article by Reuters about an attempt to drag Islam into the 21st century:

Woman re-interprets Koran with feminist view
Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:25 PM ET

By Manuela Badawy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.

The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women's council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women.

In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word "idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.

"Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away'," she writes in the introduction to the new book.

The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose illwill you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!"

Instead, Bakhtiar suggests "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God."

Some Muslims said the new interpretation strayed from the original. Omar Abu-Namous, imam at the New York Islamic Cultural Center Mosque, questioned Bakhtiar's interpretation. [ed - Nice to know that we have moderate Muslims in New York]

"There is nothing to stop a woman from translating the Holy Koran [ed - although you get the feeling that the fact that he has to point this out as a novel concept means that it's unusual to view women as intelligent enough for the task]. The translator should have good command of the Arabic language in order to convey it and translate it into other languages. I don't know if Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar has good command of Arabic," Imam Abu-Namous said.

"Maybe she is depending on other translations, not on the original," he said.


Bakhtiar defended her work, telling Reuters she translated from the Arabic text and that she "reads and knows classical Arabic."

The New York imam also said the passage she is challenging speaks of when a woman wants a divorce, and only allows a man to "hit his wife, according to the Prophet, with a 'miswak,'" or a twig of a pencil's length, on her hand.

Arabic Language Professor at the American University in Cairo Siham Serry said her interpretation of the word "idrib," was "to push away," similar but slightly different from Bakhtiar's "to go away."

She said she agrees with the imam that 'miswak' means twig and that the Koran does not encourage the harm of women. But she also said that men can interpret that passage to justify their own behavior.

"How can you hurt someone by hitting her with a very small, short and weak thing?" she asked by telephone from Cairo. "But sometimes the interpretation of the Koran is according to men, and sometimes they try to humiliate the woman."

Bakhtiar writes in the book that she found a lack of internal consistency in previous English translations, and found little attention given to the woman's point of view.

In other changes to the text, she cites the most accurate translation of the word traditionally translated to mean "infidel" as "ungrateful."

And she uses "God" instead of "Allah," saying that God is the universal English term.

Bakhtiar has been schooled in Sufism which includes both the Shia and Sunni points of view. As an adult, she lived nine years in a Shia community in Iran and has lived in a Sunni community in Chicago for the past 15 years.

"While I understand the positions of each group, I do not represent any specific one as I find living in America makes it difficult enough to be a Muslim, much less to choose to follow one sect or another," she writes.

The new text is published by Islamic specialty bookseller Kazi Publications, which has a store in Chicago and online.

Upon hearing of this new publication, Muslim men sighed and resumed beating their disobedient wives, whipping rape victims, leveraging daughters as objects in business relationships, and allowing children & pre-teens to be married off. Hey, if it's good enough for the Prophet, it's got to be good enough for your average guy in Saudi Arabia! Am I right, people?!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Why No Impact Environmentalism Won't Catch On

Two Words - Toilet Paper.

Check out this story in today's NYTimes:

March 22, 2007

The Year Without Toilet Paper

DINNER was the usual affair on Thursday night in Apartment 9F in an elegant prewar on Lower Fifth Avenue. There was shredded cabbage with fruit-scrap vinegar; mashed parsnips and yellow carrots with local butter and fresh thyme; a terrific frittata; then homemade yogurt with honey and thyme tea, eaten under the greenish flickering light cast by two beeswax candles and a fluorescent bulb.

A sour odor hovered oh-so-slightly in the air, the faint tang, not wholly unpleasant, that is the mark of the home composter. Isabella Beavan, age 2, staggered around the neo-Modern furniture — the Eames chairs, the brown velvet couch, the Lucite lamps and the steel cafe table upon which dinner was set — her silhouette greatly amplified by her organic cotton diapers in their enormous boiled-wool, snap-front cover.

A visitor avoided the bathroom because she knew she would find no toilet paper there.
Welcome to Walden Pond, Fifth Avenue style. Isabella’s parents, Colin Beavan, 43, a writer of historical nonfiction, and Michelle Conlin, 39, a senior writer at Business Week, are four months into a yearlong lifestyle experiment they call No Impact. Its rules are evolving, as Mr. Beavan will tell you, but to date include eating only food (organically) grown within a 250-mile radius of Manhattan; (mostly) no shopping for anything except said food; producing no trash (except compost, see above); using no paper; and, most intriguingly, using no carbon-fueled transportation.

Mr. Beavan, who has written one book about the origins of forensic detective work and another about D-Day, said he was ready for a new subject, hoping to tread more lightly on the planet and maybe be an inspiration to others in the process.

Also, he needed a new book project and the No Impact year was the only one of four possibilities his agent thought would sell. This being 2007, Mr. Beavan is showcasing No Impact in a blog ( laced with links and testimonials from New Environmentalist authorities like His agent did indeed secure him a book deal, with Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and he and his family are being tailed by Laura Gabbert, a documentary filmmaker and Ms. Conlin’s best friend.

Why there may be a public appetite for the Colin-Beavan family doings has a lot to do with the very personal, very urban face of environmentalism these days. Thoreau left home for the woods to make his point (and secure his own book deal); Mr. Beavan and Ms. Conlin and others like them aren’t budging from their bricks-and-mortar, haut-bourgeois nests.

Mr. Beavan looks to groups like the Compacters (, a collection of nonshoppers that began in San Francisco, and the 100 Mile Diet folks ( and, a Vancouver couple who spent a year eating from within 100 miles of their apartment, for tips and inspiration. But there are hundreds of other light-footed, young abstainers with a diarist urge: it is not news that this shopping-averse, carbon-footprint-reducing, city-dwelling generation likes to blog (the paperless, public diary form). They have seen “An Inconvenient Truth”; they would like to tell you how it makes them feel. If Al Gore is their Rachel Carson, blogalogs like Treehugger, and are their Whole Earth catalogs.

Andrew Kirk, an environmental history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, whose new book, “Counterculture Green: The Whole Earth Catalog and American Environmentalism,” will be published by University Press of Kansas in September, is reminded of environmentalism’s last big bubble, in the 1970s, long before Ronald Reagan pulled federal funding for alternative fuel technologies (and his speechwriters made fun of the spotted owl and its liberal protectors, a deft feat of propaganda that set the movement back decades). Those were the days when Stewart Brand and his Whole Earth writers, Mr. Kirk said, “focused on a brand of environmentalism that kept people in the picture.”

“That’s the thing about this current wave of environmentalism,” he continued. “It’s not about, how do we protect some abstract pristine space? It’s what can real people do in their home or office or whatever. It’s also very urban. It’s a critical twist in the old wilderness adage: Leave only footprints, take only photographs. But how do you translate that into Manhattan?”

With equals parts grace and calamity, it appears. Washed down with a big draught of engaging palaver.

Before No Impact — this is a phrase that comes up a lot — Ms. Conlin and Mr. Beavan were living a near parody of urban professional life. Ms. Conlin, who bought this apartment in 1999 when she was still single, used the stove so infrequently (as in, never, she said) that Con Edison called to find out if it was broken. (Mr. Beavan, now the family cook, questioned whether she had yet to turn it on. Ms. Conlin ignored him.)

In this household, food was something you dialed for.

“We would wake up and call ‘the man,’ ” Ms. Conlin said, “and he would bring us two newspapers and coffee in Styrofoam cups. Sometimes we’d call two men, and get bagels from Bagel Bob’s. For lunch I’d find myself at Wendy’s, with a Dunkin’ Donuts chaser. Isabella would point to guys on bikes and cry: ‘The man! The man!’ ”
Of course, this is the common Manhattan lifestyle. And it's sad. And it's sad that the Times & Co think that cooking your own food is so unique and amazing.
Since November, Mr. Beavan and Isabella have been hewing closely, most particularly in a dietary way, to a 19th-century life. Mr. Beavan has a single-edge razor he has learned to use (it was a gift from his father). He has also learned to cook quite tastily from a limited regional menu — right now that means lots of apples and root vegetables, stored in the unplugged freezer — hashing out compromises. Spices are out but salt is exempt, Mr. Beavan said, because homemade bread “is awful without salt; salt stops the yeast action.” Mr. Beavan is baking his own, with wheat grown locally and a sour dough “mother” fermenting stinkily in his cupboard. He is also finding good sources at the nearby Union Square Greenmarket (like Ronnybrook Farm Dairy, which sells milk in reusable glass bottles). The 250-mile rule, by the way, reflects the longest distance a farmer can drive in and out of the city in one day, Mr. Beavan said.

I'M THROWING A FLAG!!!! It appears that Mr. Beavan's consumption of produce and dairy is directly tied to vehicular transportation. I assume that there isn't a horse being whipped across the Brooklyn bridge, but I could be wrong. And even if there was a horse involved, think of all the CO2 that the poor animal is exhaling as it's whipped by its cruel master. I hope Mr. Beavan sleeps well at night.
Olive oil and vinegar are out; they used the last dregs of their bottle of balsamic vinegar last week, Mr. Beavan said, producing a moment of stunned silence while a visitor thought about life without those staples. Still, Mr. Beavan’s homemade fruit-scrap vinegar has a satisfying bite.
hmmmm, homemade fruit-scrap vinegar
The television, a flat-screen, high-definition 46-incher, is long gone. Saturday night charades are in. Mr. Beavan likes to talk about social glue — community building — as a natural byproduct of No Impact. The (fluorescent) lights are still on, and so is the stove. Mr. Beavan, who has a Ph.D. in applied physics, has not yet figured out a carbon-fuel-free power alternative that will run up here on the ninth floor, though he does subscribe to Con Ed’s Green Power program, for which he pays a premium, and which adds a measure of wind and hydro power to the old coal and nuclear grid.

The dishwasher is off, along with the microwave, the coffee machine and the food processor. Planes, trains, automobiles and that elevator are out, but the family is still doing laundry in the washing machines in the basement of the building. [Let's hope they're front loaders!!!] (Consider the ramifications of no-elevator living in a vertical city: one day recently, when Frankie the dog had digestive problems, Mr. Beavan, who takes Isabella to day care — six flights of stairs in a building six blocks away — and writes at the Writers Room on Astor Place — 12 flights of stairs, also six blocks away — estimated that by nightfall he had climbed 115 flights of stairs.) And they have not had the heart to take away the vacuum from their cleaning lady, who comes weekly (this week they took away her paper towels).
Oh, dear God!! People - There's a reason why people are smart enough to make elevators. and vacuums.
Toothpaste is baking soda (a box makes trash, to be sure, but of a better quality than a metal tube), but Ms. Conlin is still wearing the lipstick she gets from a friend who works at LancĂ´me, as well as moisturizers from Fresh and Kiehl’s. When the bottles, tubes and jars are empty, Mr. Beavan has promised her homemade, rules-appropriate substitutes. (Nothing is a substitute for toilet paper, by the way; think of bowls of water and lots of air drying.)

Yet since the beginning of No Impact, and to the amusement of her colleagues at Business Week, Ms. Conlin has been scootering to her office on 49th Street each day, bringing a Mason jar filled with greenhouse greens, cheese and her husband’s bread for lunch, along with her own napkin and cutlery. She has taken a bit of ribbing: “All progress is carbon fueled,” jeered one office mate.

Ms. Conlin, acknowledging that she sees her husband as No Impact Man and herself as simply inside his experiment, said she saw “An Inconvenient Truth” in an air-conditioned movie theater last summer. “It was like, ‘J’accuse!’ ” she said. “I just felt like everything I did in my life was contributing to a system that was really problematic.” Borrowing a phrase from her husband, she continued, “If I was a student, I would march against myself.”

Ms. Conlin went on to say, "But of course, I'm a complete idiot!"
While Ms. Conlin is clearly more than just a good sport — giving up toilet paper seems a fairly profound gesture of commitment — she did describe, in loving detail, a serious shopping binge that predated No Impact and made the whole thing doable, she said. “It was my last hurrah,” she explained.

It included two pairs of calf-high Chloe boots (one of which was paid for, she said, with her mother’s bingo winnings) and added up to two weeks’ salary, after taxes and her 401(k) contribution.

The bingo windfall points to a loophole in No Impact: the Conlin-Beavan household does accept presents. When Mr. Beavan’s father saw Ms. Conlin scootering without gloves he sent her a pair. And allowances can be made for the occasional thrift shop purchase. For Isabella’s birthday on Feb. 25, her family wandered the East Village and ended up at Jane’s Exchange, where she chose a pair of ballet slippers as her gift.

“They cost a dollar,” Ms. Conlin said.

It was freezing cold that day, Mr. Beavan said, picking up the story. “We went into a restaurant to warm her up. We agonized about taking a cab, which we ended up not doing. I still felt like we really screwed up, though, because we ate at the restaurant.”

How dare you!!! you sons-of-bitches! ate in a !@#$ing restaurant!?!? Don't you know how much you've damaged the environment by doing that?!

He said he called the 100 Mile Diet couple to confess his sin. They admitted they had cheated too, with a restaurant date, then told him, Yoda-like, “Only in strictness comes the conversion.”
Nah, environmentalism isn't a religion or anything. Sure, it's got sins, conversions, and idiots in San Francisco that talk like Yoda, but it's purely a scientific and rational experience.
Living abstemiously on Lower Fifth Avenue, in what used to be Edith Wharton country, with early-21st-century accouterments like creamy, calf-high Chloe boots, may seem at best like a scene from an old-fashioned situation comedy and, at worst, an ethically murky exercise in self-promotion. On the other hand, consider this response to Mr. Beavan’s Internet post the day he and his family gave up toilet paper.

“What’s with the public display of nonimpactness?” a reader named Bruce wrote on March 7. “Getting people to read a blog on their 50-watt L.C.D. monitors and buy a bound volume of postconsumer paper and show the filmed doc in a heated/air-conditioned movie theater, etc., sounds like nonimpact man is leading to a lot of impact. And how are you going to measure your nonimpact, except in rather self-centered ways like weight loss and better sex? (Wait, maybe I should stop there.)”

Indeed. Concrete benefits are already accruing to Ms. Conlin and Mr. Beavan that may tempt others. The sea may be rising, but Ms. Conlin has lost 4 pounds and Mr. Beavan 20. It took Ms. Conlin over an hour to get home from work during the snowstorm on Friday, riding her scooter, then walking in her knee-high Wellingtons with her scooter on her back, but she claimed to be mostly exhilarated by the experience. “Rain is worse,” she said.

Perhaps the real guinea pig in this experiment is the Conlin-Beavan marriage.

“Like all writers, I’m a megalomaniac,” Mr. Beavan said cheerfully the other day. “I’m just trying to put that energy to good use.”
Of course, I hope that his laptop is being powered by the energy of his two year old daughter in some super-sized hamster wheel. Because this man really is a fraud. A stupid, idiotic, smelly fraud who is a Luddite masquerading as an environmentalist. I wonder whether he, his wife/partner, and his child take medicines produced by some corporation farther than 250 miles away. Or perhaps they allow for some exceptions - ie, they're willing to put up with poor hygiene, but will ship in the birth control or high cholesterol pills.

Of course, the lifestyle described in this article is held up by the Times as some cool and hip way of living. One wonders how the Times would cover the daily chores of an Amish or Mennonite family, as they eschew modern conveniences for a simpler life. Of course, they would view such practices as completely alien and dorky. But chalk the Luddite impulses up to Zero Impact and Environmentalism and the Times is totally on board.

What the people living a "No Impact" lifestyle fail to understand is that we have modern conveniences for a reason. There is a reason that we aren't wiping our rears with leaves anymore. I'd be curious to know what Michelle Conlin's No Impact method of dealing with her more feminine needs. Let's hope that there are some things that Conlin is not willing to give up. I remember watching a program on PBS called Frontier Home (or something like that). Let's just say that modern conveniences were developed for a reason.

This idiocy has got to be stopped. No impact isn't about the environment. It's about stopping free market interactions. While the Times thinks this is a great idea, I do not look forward to the day when we're all huddled in our apartments, shivering in the glow of Lucite candles as the smells of our in-house compacter permeates our abode.

Others weigh in...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Glorious European Union

Saw this post on DanielDrezner (via Instapundit) and found it interesting. The post contains an excerpt from of a cover story in Newsweek's international editions by Andrew Moravcsik which celebrates the European Union's 50th anniversary:

American Alone. While Europe Slept. Menace in Europe. As the European Union celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding Treaty of Rome, the pundits agree: Europe is in terminal decline. It is a continental-size museum dropping into the dustbin of history....

To most who live in Europe—or have visited lately—all this seems wrong, even absurd. As the European Union turns 50 this week, let us consider all that has been achieved. Europe arose from the ashes of the Great Depression and World War II to become whole and free. Half a century ago, only a utopian would have predicted that, today, one can traverse Europe from Sweden to Sicily without encountering a border control and—most of the way—using a single European currency. Or that a tariff-free single market would exist, cemented by a common framework of economic regulation.

Europe is now a global superpower of world-historical importance, second to none in economic clout. It has constructed one of the most successful systems of government—the modern social-welfare state, which for all its flaws has brought unprecedented prosperity and security to Europe's people. It is the single most successful advance in voluntary international cooperation in modern history. The original European Economic Community of 1957 has grown from its founding six members to 27, knitting together just under 500 million people from the western Aran Islands of Ireland through the heart of Central Europe to the Black Sea. Its values are spreading across the globe—far more attractive, in many respects, than those of America. If anything, Europe's trajectory is up, not down.

Drezner provides some excellent analysis, but here are my two cents.

First, it should be noted that the success of Europe today, when viewed from the perspective of what has been achieved in the past 50 years, must take into consideration that America is the primary reason for such success. Yes, only a utopian in the 1940's could imagine that would arise "from the ashes of the Great Depression and World War II to become whole and free." Thanks to America's involvement in World War II and its leadership and economic support in the post-war era, Europe saw significant economic and political success. In exchange for the spilled blood and economic support, we only asked for some patch of land to bury our dead and the thanks from those we liberated.

Second, Europe's economic and political success, and their "successful" modern social-welfare state can be directly attributed to the military protection that the US has provided during the post-war period and which continues to this day. (As I pointed out in this post, it's time to pull our troops out from the front lines in Europe.) Without our protection, either the Soviets would have taken over Europe or the social-welfare states would've collapsed under their own weight.

Now, as Drezner points out, I don't think the prospects for Europe are that great. For while the Germans and the French are okay with some degree of free market competition between their relatively comparable economies, there is a high degree of suspicion and fear of the central European states like Poland, Hungary, etc. The economic statism of France and Germany as it pertains to labor mobility will surely result in on-going tensions between these "modern" economies and those with lower costs of labor.

Finally, as Mark Steyn points out relentlessly in America Alone and in most of his columns, the demography of Europe just isn't trending in the right direction for economic prosperity or a positive future. And it should be noted that the modern social-welfare state may very well be one cause for the EU's poor demographic trends. If they fail to begin reproducing at somewhere near replacement rate, it will not be long before the values of the EU are more closely aligned with Lebanon or Pakistan than Western civilization.

Only time will tell, but my prediction is that the next 50 years of the EU will be less successful than the first 50.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Replacing US Attorney's and the Gonzalez Mess

This is a mess of the making of the AG's office and the White House.

In the first place the AG's office should not have gotten cute with Congress about why these US Attorneys were removed.  They should simply have told the truth.  It was done because they wanted to remove them and they could remove them.  It was a perfectly normal thing to do.  

But that is not how they handled it.  They gave Congress a line of BS trying to look like it was not a brutal exercise of executive power. That blew up in their faces.

Once the bovine excrement was in the fan, the White House stepped up to the plate, or rather did not step up to the plate, and tried to mumble their way out of this.  That did not work.  And so the whole thing escalated into a scandal and resulted in an ill-advised amendment to the Patriot Act.

A few minutes ago, the President finally took to the airwaves and gave a lame defense of the AG and at the same time caved in to Congress to a degree that can only harm the executive and fail to satisfy the loons trying to get Rove under oath. This is your basic cluster you-know-what.

I await Senator Schumer's next move... what joy.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

We Love Animals!! KILL THEM!!!

From Germany, particularly known for its history of humane treatment for other people:

'We want this baby polar bear dead' say animal rights lobby
By ALLAN HALL - More by this author » Last updated at 16:03pm on 20th March 2007

Tiny, fluffy and adorable, Knut the baby polar bear became an animal superstar after he was abandoned by his mother.

He rapidly became the symbol of Berlin Zoo, whose staff bottle-fed him and handed out cuddles in between

At three months old, however, the playful 19lb bundle of fur is at the centre of an impassioned debate over whether he should live or die.

Animal rights activists argue that he should be given a lethal injection rather than brought up suffering the humiliation of being treated as a domestic pet.

"The zoo must kill the bear," said spokesman Frank Albrecht. "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws."

When Knut was born in December, his mother ignored him and his brother, who died. Zoo officials intervened, choosing to raise the cub themselves.

But Albrecht and other activists fret that it is inappropriate for a predator, known for its fierceness and ability to fend for itself in the wild, to be snuggled, bottle-fed and made into a commodity by zookeepers.

They argue that current treatment of the cub is inhumane and could cause him future difficulties interacting with fellow polar bears. "They cannot domesticate a wild animal," added Ruediger Schmiedel, head of the Foundation for Bears.

The charity cites a similar case of a baby sloth which was put to sleep after being abandoned by its mother last December in the Leipzig city zoo.

But Berlin Zoo holds different opinions. Its chief vet Andre Schuele says the activists' criticisms would make him angry if he could take them seriously. "Polar bears live alone in the wild. I see no logical reason why this bear should be killed."

Schuele also argued that given the increased rarity of wild polar bears, it makes sense to keep them alive in captivity so that they can be bred. "Polar bears are under threat of extinction, and if we feed the bear with a bottle, it has a good chance of growing up and perhaps becoming attractive as a stud for other zoos," he said.

Knut, who recently made the official A-list when he was pictured by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz for an environmental protection campaign, is scheduled to make his public debut at the zoo in the next few days.

Of course, it's not that the Berlin Zoo is being inhumane towards the polar bear - it's that it's being too humane - that has the animal rights whackos ticked off.

The fact that this is evening getting serious debate and coverage in the press tells me that the world is truly messed up.

Hmmmm, I wonder what the animal rights activists would say if a wealthy German would agree to take little Knut off their hands and make him into a nice mini-rug for the fireplace.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

It's tough being the President

From the Hinzsight Report comes this report of George Bush reviewing the damage from a tornado that hit Enterprise, AL.

Of important note:

As he continued his tour of the school grounds he came upon a small group of students standing on an emblem on the floor that read, "EHS, Class of 1965". Having been told he would meet this group from the student body, he asked, "Which one of you is the President?"

Megan Parks raised her hand slightly, then hung her head and began to cry. President Bush put his arms around Megan and Sarah Carroll and all three cried. A secret service officer standing nearby, although not able to hear every word, reported that he could hear the President quoting scripture and then he said, "It's tough being President, isn't it?"

This brings to mind a comment I read in JustOneMinute's open thread for today:

The Administration needs to go on the offensive, big time, right now. Stop cowering.

The problem is they don't and won't. And as a result, I'm just about done with them. We can't hold this world up by ourselves.

I have felt the same issues in my own heart with respect to this Presidency. My political side, wants Bush to go on national television and berate the media's treatment of his presidency, from the war, to the non-scandals of Plame and the firing of the U.S. Attorney's. I want him to send Cheney out to do battle with Matt Lauer and Wolf Blitzer and Tim Russert.

I felt the same way when Bush would reach out to the Democratic members of Congress to pass education bills and to sign McCain-Feingold, et. al.

But stories like these remind me of the man that Bush is. At his heart he's not the leader of his political party, like say, Bill Clinton was, but rather the leader of the nation. He lets the politics be handled by his staff, and I get the feeling that he has no real "taste" for it. It's a means to an end. It's this same attitude however, that allows him to go forward with his policy in Iraq and the War on Terror, despite the media bashing. He does it because he knows, in his heart as the leader of the strongest nation on earth, that its the right thing to do. If he was better at the political game, he might not have been able to ignore the falling poll numbers.

Yes, I'm sure its very tough being the President.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian