Today's Blogs

The V-Word

Bloggers are aghast at Bush’s Vietnam analogy, awestruck by Google Sky, and atwitter over photos of a shirtless Vladimir Putin.

The V-word: In a speech to a VFW convention Wednesday, President Bush made a startling comparison between the Vietnam War and America’s current war in Iraq—startling both for its unorthodox conclusions about the U.S. exit from Vietnam, and because until now Bush has steadfastly denied any similarities between the two wars. “The price of America’s withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens,” Bush said.

“[T]he VFW speech is a fascinating list of every other war rationale the Bush administration has tried and failed to make stick,” observes Monika Bauerlein at Mother JonesMoJo Blog. “There is the ‘the war in Iraq is all about fighting al Qaeda’ line, with its easy conflation of insurgents and jihadists. … And the ‘if you’re not with us, you’re with them’ smear, reincarnated as ‘peaceniks lost Vietnam, and that’s why the terrorists are winning.’ ” Larkin at Wizbang Blue and Ben at Eclectics Anonymous helpfully point out the president’s historical inaccuracies and dissect the speech.

Shaun Mullen at the independent Moderate Voice calls President Bush’s handlers “extraordinarily dumb” for their decision to “bring up the worst defeat in American military history to defend staying the course in Iraq.” Blogging at the Muncie Free Press,teacher Bob Hertzog gives Bush an F for a badly constructed argument: “I always told my students that analogy is the weakest from of evidence in an argument, but if you use one, you don’t get to pick and choose the parts of the analogy that fit your view and disregard the remainder.”

On the other side of the aisle, Neo-Neocon says, “President Bush gave the reconstruction efforts in Iraq the historical context some of us have been writing about for some time: the need to avoid the sort of bloodbath that followed the Vietnam abandonment, and the need to try to mimic as much as possible the post-WWII success in Japan. Of course each situation is not analogous to Iraq in its details. But there are still lessons to be learned from both histories about what to avoid and what to pursue.”

Writing at Commentary magazine’s Contentions blog, former Bush deputy assistant Peter Wehner quotes—from Henry Kissinger’s autobiography—a Cambodian official declining the chance to leave his country when the United States left. The official died when the Khmer Rouge took over. “This is a sober reminder that there are enormous human, as well as geopolitical, consequences when nations that fight for human rights and liberty grow weary and give way to barbaric and bloodthirsty enemies,” Wehner writes.

Read about Bush’s Vietnam analogy.

Watch the skies: It seems like only yesterday that bloggers first got starry-eyed over  Google Earth. Now they’re turning their collective gaze to Google Sky, which lets Google Earth users cruise the cosmos with the click of a mouse.

Astronomers and serious amateurs aren’t wowed, but they generally agree that Google Sky could become a useful tool for stargazers. Mere mortals, though, think it’s way cool. As Richard Banks at Richard’s Braindump writes from Sydney, Australia:”They’ve added the ability to look from the centre of the earth toward the heavens – now you can check out start, nebulae, constellations and more. Very cool, especially if you don’t own a whacking great big telescope.”

“Once real interactivity is built into it — a way to see what’s up now, or tomorrow night, or on my trip to Alaska at 2:00 a.m. — it will begin to realize its potential,” Boulder, Colo., astronomer Phil Plait says at Bad Astronomer. “Until then, I’d rather go straight to the Hubble site to view images, and if I want to know what’s up now, I’d rather use some free apps to map the sky.”

Google Sky’s poor showing compared with other software doesn’t bother Dave Pearson at davep’s astronomy. “I doubt that’s really the point of it. As I see it, the one important thing that Google Sky offers is a common meeting ground for lots of little projects that people have yet to think up. We’ve seen this with Google Maps, Google Earth and lots of other Google projects.”

Rich Tehrani at VoIP Blog gets distracted by down-to-earth concerns of future space travel: “Will there be good cell phone coverage in space? Will they use GSM? Will the iPhone work?”

Read about Google Sky. 

Putin’s pecs: “Vladimir Putin … recently went on vacation to Siberia, and he went fishing with Prince Albert of Monaco,” reports RomanHans at World Class Stupid. “Maybe he got wet, or maybe he was just enjoying the sunshine, but for whatever reason he decided to doff his shirt. And the entire world went nuts.”Click here to see why.

Now take a moment to compose yourself.

“I vote we nickname him ‘Comrade Dreamy,’ ” hoots SanAntonioRogue at Drudge Retort. Wonkette begs to differ: “The natural reaction to such weird photos of a middle-aged guy with man titties is revulsion, but in crazy Russia the people thought that was the sexiest thing since Stalin showed his thong.”

Sister Toldjah would prefer not to look, thanks all the same: “I don’t really cotton to seeing shirtless pix of world leaders because that’s not the way I really want to look at them - unless they looked like Hugh Jackman or Matthew McConaughey, which in either case would mean I’d be forced to make an exception to my rule.” But Texan CC McGoon at jobsanger surely speaks for us all when he says, “Personally, I’m just happy that he wasn’t caught in a Speedo.”

Read about Putin: hot or not?