30 June, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

The religious right - always good for a laugh:

Auto-correct can be a very helpful feature of any word-processing program. But when conservatives use it, they run the risk of embarrassing themselves.

Some far-right sites that subscribe to the Associated Press feed, for example, will use auto-correct to change “Democratic Party” to “Democrat Party.” This, of course, is because they have the temperament of children.

But the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow website takes the phenomenon one step further with its AP articles. The far-right fundamentalist group replaces the word “gay” in the articles with the word “homosexual.” I’m not entirely sure why, but it seems to make the AFA
happy. The group is, after all, pretty far out there.

The problem, of course, is that “gay” does not always mean what the AFA wants it to mean. My friend Kyle reported this morning that sprinter Tyson Gay won the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials over the weekend. The AFA ran the story, but only after the auto-correct had “fixed” the article.

That means — you guessed it — the track star was renamed “Tyson Homosexual.” The eadline on the piece read, “Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic trials.” Readers learned:

Tyson Homosexual easily won his semifinal for the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and seemed to save something for the final later Sunday.

His wind-aided 9.85 seconds was a fairly cut-and-dry performance compared to what happened a day earlier. On Saturday, Homosexual misjudged the finish in his opening heat and had to scramble to finish fourth, then in his quarterfinal a couple of hours later, ran 9.77 to break the American record that had stood since 1999. […]

Every once in a great while, I get asked why I won't cite right-wing religious nut sources as credible. There's your answer. It's not just the quote-mining, the creative misinterpretation, the completely batshit insane worldview, or the raving lunacy: now there's autocorrect.

I wonder how the AP feels about having their articles "corrected"?

Well, it's another day ending in "Y". I wonder what incompetent fuckery will be revealed? Let's check in on the war against Terrah and see how that's going, shall we?

Oh, not too good:

In late 2007, Bush administration officials drafted a secret plan, giving the Defense Department’s Special Operations forces greater ease to go into the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan, with the goal of targeted al Qaeda’s top leaders.

The plan, codenamed “Operation Cannonball,” sounded very encouraging on paper — it would sidestep turf wars between Washington and Islamabad, and target high-value targets where we know they are. So, what happened? More than six months later, the plan has not yet been executed, and the Special Operations are still standing by, waiting for orders. Bureaucratic
disputes within the administration have slowed the whole initiative down to a stop.

The NYT reports it’s all part of a broader problem with Bush’s counter-terrorism strategy.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush committed the nation to a “war on terrorism” and made the destruction of Mr. bin Laden’s network the top priority of his presidency. But it is increasingly clear that the Bush administration will leave office with Al Qaeda having successfully relocated its base from Afghanistan to Pakistan’s tribal areas, where it has rebuilt much of its ability to attack from the region and broadcast its messages to militants across the world.

Just as it had on the day before 9/11, Al Qaeda now has a band of terrorist camps from which to plan and train for attacks against Western targets, including the United States. Officials say the new camps are smaller than the ones the group used prior to 2001. However, despite dozens of American missile strikes in Pakistan since 2002, one retired C.I.A. officer estimated that the makeshift training compounds now have as many as 2,000 local and foreign militants, up from several hundred three years ago.

Is there anything this Administration hasn't managed to fuck up spectacularly? Anything at all? And why the fuck, in the fact of overwhelming evidence, do people still believe the Republicons are the ones who're good at warfighting? These fuckwits should've been laughed off the national stage long ago.

Well, we've had our daily dose of incompetence. How's about some corruption? Ah, there we are:

We learned a couple of weeks ago that several Western oil companies — Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total, Chevron, and BP — are putting the final touches on no-bid contracts with Iraq’s Oil
Ministry to service Iraq’s largest fields. More than 35 years after Saddam Hussein rose to power and threw the companies out, the Oil Ministry completed these lucrative and “unusual” deals at a convenient time.

As Daniel Altman put it: “Imagine. At the precise moment when demand for oil was the highest in history, a recently democratized country with enormous reserves had the chance to sell extraction contracts to the highest bidder. This was a country that desperately needed the revenue to help rebuild its schools, power grid and water supply after a long internal
conflict. So why did it hand out the contracts with no auction at all?”

And Andrew Sullivan answered the rhetorical question: “Because the US told them so.”

We didn’t know for sure, however, that this was the case. It certainly looked like the Bush administration had helped make the no-bid deals happen, but we didn’t have confirmation of the U.S. role. That is, until today.

A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say.

The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts’ announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush administration in deals to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism.

It’s a helpful reminder that it’s hard to be too cynical when expecting the worst of the Bush administration.

At this point, I'm not going to be surprised at all if revelations emerge that Bush and Cheney really did hold baby-eating contests in the White House dining room.

Just remember, though: Iraq wasn't about oil. Not. At. All.

I'd ask the Administration to pull the other one, but I'm already suffering from repetitive motion injuries in that leg.


Cujo359 said...

I'll just throw this question out there in case there are people reading here who frequent all these "family" sites - do they change the text of other people's writing without admitting they've done it? It sure looks like that's what they're doing.

I've never done that without using the square brackets '[]', and only then to make the meaning clear, or correct spelling. The whole point of using a quote is to show what they author was writing, not what I think he was writing.

You'd think the AP would be on their case instead of harassing us.

Efrique said...

It would be amusing to set up an "anti" site that did the text-substitution thing with all their stuff.

My bet is they'd be apoplectic while still maintaining their own right to do it.

Hypocrisy is next to godliness.