Cell phones and the Iraq army

They were interviewing US Military officers responsible for working with the Iraq Army on the Today show this morning, and the picture was not pretty.  Apparently, before every mission they go on with the Iraqi Defense Forces they have to check all the Iraqi troops and vehicles to make sure there are no cell phones.  Apparently if they have them, someone is sure to warn the enemy. 

Supposedly, we're supposed to “stand down” as the Iraqi Army and police “stand up.”  There's almost 300,000 of them “standing up” now, our theoretical goal.  But apparently it does not actually do much good if they cannot be trusted to actually protect the country.  Check out Kevin Drum's take on the matter here

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After a few drinks

are you tempted to send explicit, solicitous, emails to teenage boys?  Apparently, that's the reason Mark Foley was engaging in such behavior.  It is just laughable that the public is supposed to believe that somehow Foley's alcoholism is responsible for this (just like it caused Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism).  Do people really fall for this?  Foley checks into rehab and we just blame the alcohol?  Of course, he got some help from Good Morning America today, which ran a story which contained the subtitle, “Is Alcohol to blame” for the entire length of the segment. 

Well, the very first website I went to after posting this was Slate.com, where I discovered, much to my pleasure, that William Saletan and I had the exact same thoughts on the subject

Negative Campaigning– Vernon Robinson style

A while back I posted about Vernon Robinson's ludicrously negative attack ads on Brad Miller, the Democratic Representative here in NC's 13th district.  His latest efforts sink to new lows.  Factcheck.org actually does a nice takedown.  The basics of the ad from factcheck:

Vernon Robinson accuses Democratic Rep. Brad Miller of voting
to spend money on silly-sounding sex studies into masturbation, prostitution
and arousal of teenage girls while trying “to deny our soldiers the
body armor they need to save their lives.”

You can watch the rather absurd ad here.  The reality is:

It's true that Miller voted July 10, 2003 against a Republican amendment that
would have forced the National Institutes of Health to cancel five specific
research grants, including the four mentioned in the ad. It
failed narrowly, 210-212. Those who voted with Miller included 164
other Democrats, 46 Republicans and one independent. Those who spoke
in debate did not defend the specifics of the grants, but argued generally that
NIH uses a system of peer review by scientists to allocate research
money, and that the process shouldn't be made political. Democratic Rep.
David Obey of Wisconsin said
, for example, “I would rather trust the judgment of 10 doctors sitting
around a table than I would 10 politicians sitting around a table when we
decide how to allocate taxpayer money for those grants.”

There's plenty more at factcheck about how these ads were actually legitimate scientific inquiry, if you still have your doubts.  The basics of the ad, though, showing a large “XXX” and saying “Brad Miller pays for sex” are really just too much.  Anybody out there, Republican or otherwise, who actually supports Vernon Robinson should be ashamed of themselves.