Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More About Columbia's Hypocrisy

From the comments section of the New Republic's Marty Peretz's Spine, about Columbia U President Bollinger and his aiding/abetting anti-Semitic nonsense:
When there was a scandal at Columbia with anti-Semitic professors in 2005, he named a committee to investigate that.

Of the five faculty omn the committee, two had signed anti-Israel boycotts (Farah Jasmine Grifin and Jean Howard - subsequently promoted university vice-president). A third (Mark Mazower) had written Israel is Nazi and should not exist. A fourth was none other than lovely Lisa Anderson.

Lisa Anderson had been the PhD advisor of Joseph Massad (and recruited him as a faculty subsequently), one of the most anti-Semitic professors and one of the accused. So much for the honorable lawyer Bollinger handles conflict of interest. Lisa Anderson, as a dean, also invited Khaddafi at a Columbia conference (he din't come but addressed them by video) and then, one year later, invited Ahmadinejad at Columbia.

The man overseeing Bollinger's committee was Nicholas Dirks,a university vice-president who was one of the initiators of the anti-Israel boycott.
Not so surprising that Aminabalajad was invited, eh?

{2009 Update: pic from here.}

More About Ahmadinejad

It still sounds like the Columbia gambit was a fiasco. Was there any other outcome? The hubris of the university and its feckless president - they conceive themselves as international wheelers and dealers, as a sovreign nation with the president as a head of state.

As this analysis from today's Haaretz by Yossi Melman shows, the whole prospect was ludicrous:
50 minutes of fame - Khamenei still calls the shots
By Yossi Melman

The easy questions of Columbia University's moderators enabled him to repeat his familiar mantras, while appearing open to dialogue and both willing to persuade and to be persuaded. But there is no chance of persuading an ideologue whose world view is as clear as Ahmadinejad's, a member of the most radical messianic stream in his country. He is so extreme that his spiritual mentor is Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, a man whom even Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, the leader and founder of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, thought should be placed under house arrest.


These questions are especially inviting for him, and reflect something of the naivete and liberalism characterizing American academics, who have difficulty understanding that it is almost impossible to have a dialogue between a fanatic religious ideologue and people who truly believe in the freedom of information and human rights. Ahmadinejad took full advantage of this naivete on the stage he was given without even asking. The university had invited him at its own initiative.

Ultimately, the importance of Ahmadinejad's appearance in the United States should not be overestimated. He is not the man who calls the shots in his country. The leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran is Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei who, as the supreme religious authority, head of state and supreme military commander, is the guardian of the revolution. Khamenei brought Ahmadinejad to power, when he supported him against his old rival, former president Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Therefore it is all up to Khamenei. When he decides Ahmadinejad is more of a burden than an asset, he could remove his support. It's doubtful Ahmadinejad would be allowed to present his candidacy for president in the elections due in about two years without his approval.

Alternatively, Khamenei could support a rival against him altogether.
So even Bollinger's inane conceit - that by inviting Ahmadinejad, Columbia would help him lose more power by losing Iran's elections - is disproven because the real power doesn't lie in the electorate.

Academics are no better than politicians at learning from mistakes, so I'm sure this folly will be repeated. But let's at least get the idiocy on record.

{2009 Update: the great pic is from here.}

Monday, September 24, 2007

Is it Worth It?

Columbia President Bollinger, in his introduction, really lets Iranian President Aminabalajadalad have it. Bollinger just insults him to his face. And he claims that Iranian experts predict that by letting Aminalalaalahajad say ludicrous things in a public forum, Aminalahaghjdad actually loses power in Iran.

What a noble sacrifice by Bollinger. And he clinches his heroism by saying (and I'm paraphrasing until I can get a transcript)
"I'm only a Professor who is also a University President and today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for, I only wish I could do better. Thank you [end of speech]."
Oh, poor Bolly. You took a bullet for all of us.

Again, even with his ability to mock Aminabalajdad to his face, to express his contempt for what he stands for, is it worth it to invite him to your University? To give a propaganda-spouting terrorist - probably the number one bad guy in the world right now - a platform?

I read some live-blogging transcripts of Aminahahdadlhad's statements and I just don't see the value. Someone needs to explain it to me.

h/t TPM.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Constantine (2005) & Half-Breeds (Spoiler Warning)

I like the movie Constantine (2005). Yes, I know Keaneu Reaves is in it and it's not as good as the comic book, blah blah blah. I've read some of the comic and it's badly drawn and the hero is supposed to look like Sting. The movie doesn't commit those sins, so it's a leg up.

This movie is part of a genre I particularly like - vampire hunting movies, something I wrote about in the older blog. "Vampire hunting" is not exclusive to vampires but to any bad thing hunted by People With The Knowledge. So Constantine joins movies like Blade II, Hellboy, Vampires, Aliens and Ghostbusters. What separates the Vampire Hunter genre from the pissant Horror Film is the amount of power and know-how given to humanity. In a horror film, the villain is so monstrous that people are overpowered, outmatched, and one talented person is little more than prey (and/or lunch).

Vampire Hunting movies are where the Villain of the horror movie is hunted by people who have learned how to kill 'em. It's a satisfying, even uplifting, genre. Horror makes you feel bad to be human; VH makes you proud.

Often, the VH movies are mostly supernatural (e.g. Blade, Ghostbusters), the rest are sci-fi (Aliens). The supernatural ones often use some mishmash of Catholicism and cheap Kabbalah, especially when they involve Demons and Angels. Constantine is no exception, but even with sci-fi they make up their rules when they need to.

Constantine has as it's central plot-point a major league invention which, alas, the movie does not adequately explain (when it's not contradicting itself). Every review online mentions that psychics (like our eponymous hero) can see "half-breeds" and that the hero's self-appointed job is to deport transgressing half-breeds back to hell.

What are the half-breeds (hereafter "HB") and how do they compare to demons and angels? Dunno. The movie is filled with satisfying mumbo jumbo about The Rules (a genre defining characteristic - all Vampire Hunting movies require the establishment of the rules, not only to give the movie an understructure, but to prove that humanity's great gift of reason can be used to kick keister). But the status of the Half Breed is left murky... which is a problem because the whole plot depends on this question.

The best thing I can do is analyze the facts given in the movie and to search online (especially for the question "What is a half-breed")

Facts from the Movie
  1. The good HB are shown by having blue eyes, bad HB with red. This may be in addition to when - using the special psychic sight - they are shown as having wings or demonic faces (cf. the liquor store aftermath).
  2. In Midnite's bar, we see bad-HB eating what looks like a person, and a good HB making water into wine, and a good HB snogging a bad HB. This stuff could just be what it means to be on neutral territory.
  3. Balthazar is established as a HB. He has red-eyes, he's shown as demon face.
  4. Balthazar says "fire?! I was born of this!" when hit by dragons-breath.
  5. In that same scene, Bal seems to consider Hell is home.
  6. Constantine, Angela, Hennesy & Midnite are all psychics and not considered HB
  7. Constantine 'deports' demons either through exorcisms (which could be how bad HB are created), or through destroying them with his cool weapons.
  8. Chaz says that HB's will have their outer shell damaged by holy-water
  9. the Scavenger finds the spear of destiny and is possessed by it - not a freewill action - yet he leads all the bad HB. Unclear, here, of the distinction.
  10. The bad HB speak 'hellspeak' - another proof they're demonic.
  11. Gabriel is called a half-breed, yet has the powers we associate with an Angel and seems to know Lucifer personally (and professionally) as one of the Host. Being called a half-breed may just refer to the fact that Gabriel's mission is on earth.
  12. The big rule is 'The Balance' - that heaven and hell cannot interfere directly in human affairs. A second big rule is that demons can't cross over into our 'plane' (but they do a bunch of times in the movie; suggesting either that the rule is wrong or that the rule is part of the Balance).

Conclusion: A Half-Breed may just be a specific type of demon that hides in a human shell so it can do hell's work... just as a half-breed angel is a real Angel just in human form. They aren't real people. The term is not about their parentage (as some have suggested, e.g. calling them Nephilim as in Gen. 6); Constantine says "I call them Half-Breeds" but it's a confusing term (like he cares). The rules state that neither side can interfere, but they WANT to interfere, so they do so by inhabiting a human form and 'whisper' in the ears of humanity. But demons, being evil, constantlyt break the rules. Simple rule breaking (e.g. directly interfering with humanity, like when Balzathar KILLS somebody) will get you deported. If a demon is on our plane, then that's a major rule break. As we see from the end of the film, Lucifer honors the agreement (by not letting his son take over). How did the full demons get to romp around all through the film? They were being protected by an Angel: Gabriel.

Backpost, from March.

Marcel Marceau, Presumed Dead

Yup, Marcel Marceau died.

Two thoughts
1. I had no idea he was still alive
2. How could they tell he was dead?

Columbia: Bad

As you doubtless have heard, Columbia University has invited Iranian "President" Mahmoud Aymamzer to speak at the University. Many have speculated whether Columbia would have been so gracious to even Hitler. Well speculate no longer, according to this clip, the Columbia dude says '(Zeig) Heil Yes!'

Note, as much as I'm loath to use Fox "News" as proof, it's been recycled through Vosizneias.com, so it's kosher.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shotgunning Those Puppies

The Times, top newspaper in human history, has this headline: "Bush Assails Democrats Over Child Health Bill."

Note: 'assail' is journalist lingo for 'lie.' Evidently.

Bush attacks the Democrats in Congress for passing a bill that is not quite evil enough for his tastes. The lead line of the attack:
“Democratic leaders in Congress want to put more power in the hands of government by expanding federal health care programs. Their S-Chip plan is an incremental step toward the goal of government-run health care for every American.”
Somehow, Bush thinks that this is an attack; that people within the sound of his weenie voice will be outraged that Congress wants to make health care more available. To people. And chlidren! How disgusting!

George's alternative:
“I have a different view,” Mr. Bush went on. “I believe the best approach is to put more power in the hands of individuals by empowering people and their doctors to make health care decisions that are right for them. Instead of expanding S-Chip beyond its original purpose, we should return it to its original focus, and that is helping poor children, those who are most in need.”
Aside from the outright lies - which a newspaper is supposed to highlight and expose - Bush's squeaky plea is supposed to resonate with the 29% of the population who hate children. And why is he not yet impeached?

{2009 Update: pic from here.}

Proof I Like Guns: MadOgre

[Backpost addendum: I've made a few posts that talk about gun control, but this is to show how I do like guns]

So I do like guns and have for years. When I was a early teenager in Ithaca, I would like visiting the Uris Library reference room because they had many references books on weapons.

Totally True Story: This acquired information came in handy on my first day in Machal in Camp Moshava I/O. How I got to that camp is a whole other long story, but for the purposes of this anecdote, know that this was the first and only year I was there and I didn't come with a cohort of friends (most people there had been going for years with the same group of friends). So I was settling into my bunk, getting used to the filth and squalor of Moshava back in 1987, and a bunch of these New Jersey yeshiva H.S. kids were trying to size me up. One of them, a very big guy with muscular arms, I'll call him Jacques, took out two knives and held them up by his head, facing me, and asked if I had ever seen such great knives before.

I was a cagey survivor type, even back then, and coolly I replied that I prefer guns to knives, specifically the Browning High Power 1936 because of it's large ammo capacity and significant muzzle velocity. Jacques kinda blanched, thought that I had a good point in the gun/knife debate, and we became friendly. This was the only time, so far, that I can say that guns saved me some weird violent grief.

Anyway, as I've mentioned elsewhere, the amazing internet has saved wee lads like myself from needing ink and pulp encyclopedias to get our recondite info and fulfill masculine fantasies. So in my online searches, I came across a fun gun info place: MadOgre. Note, like many of the pro-gun camp, he feels the need to craze out with anti-Democratic-Party screeds. Ah well. Ignore that part and his gun knowledge and attitude is worth the read.

Probably his best stuff are his analysis of gun-use in particular movies. He suggests how and why characters are using the guns they do. Note, this is basically Ogre critiquing the specific movie's gun-tech expert - because it's rare for a big budget action film to not have some ex-IDF nudge on the payroll to choose hardware. Taken in that light, it's like hearing how those movie-gun-techs go about their decisions.

As a result, I thank Ogre for cluing me into Boondock Saints, which I like, and Equilibrium, which was OK. Here's a list of the articles:

The Guns of the Matrix

The Guns of HEAT

The Guns of RONIN

The Guns of Equilibrium

Backpost finished 2009-12-03.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Times, Free at Last (Again)

TimesSelect, the grasping boneheaded grabasstic NYTimes ploy to charge for parts of their website, has died a deserved death. The bone of the boneheadocity was the concept that people would find the Times columnists and archives so valuable, that they would pay a premium to read their golden words. Except, uh, they may be good but not nearly as good as the FREE stuff we get online.

The online world is free and evolving (for now) and in the two years since NYT locked themselves behind a Dickensian wall of greed, Wikipedia and Youtube exploded and took control of news and information. Now, two years later, the Times needed to drop their scrooging because they were being left way behind.

As proof for my analysis, I just noticed on the online 'front page' of the Times that they are introducing a blog for my man, Paul Krugman. Considering that I get most of my online news and analysis from the incredible blogs on the Atlantic, Harpers, and from independents like TPM and Michael Totten, I'm glad the Times is starting off right.

Don't Forget to Duck

Backpost from June

Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Using guns.

P.S. I found a link to the story from this online community:, The Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association. Here's what these gun-advocates have to say:
  • From 'Gorgon': "[The article says:]They plan to begin patrolling Monday evening in two-person teams wearing "Edgewood Park Defense Patrol" T-shirts and carrying concealed, licensed firearms. While I'm sure the weapons will be concealed, the T-shirt would seem to advertise the fact that you are carrying..."
  • 'Skuggi' responds: "I think that's the point, I think unlike here there are laws up there against open carry."
  • 'Penguini66' adds: "Something tells me that this is going to end up bad."
  • To which 'Bubba23' responds: "Yep, I got the same gut feeling. I am also concerned about two-person teams. That is simply not realistic. There are many situations where two trained LEOs can't safely handle a situation. I wish them the best and applaud their efforts, but still not sure..."
  • 'Penguini66': "I'm also worried about the legality of the act. Advertising an armed citizens patrol is going to PO some LEO [Law Enforcement Officer] I'd imagine."
  • 'Bubba23' concludes: "I think it would have been much smarter to forget the t-shirts and the name. The t-shirts are just targets and calling yourself a patrol might be a problem. Why not just be a few citizens out for a walk. If you have a right to carry, so be it. Anything else and you play right into the definition of vigilante: vigilante - someone who takes the enforcement of law or moral code into his or her own hands."
Note, these are all gun-carry advocates. And even they know the patrols are dangerous, counterproductive, and geared to annoy the police.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Boo Freakin' Hoo

From the front page of tonight's NYTimes:
Isolation of Gaza Chokes Off Trade

With Gaza almost entirely shut off from normal trade, Palestinian businesses are enduring a deep depression.
Aw. I am all, as they say, choked up. I wonder why Gaza is so isolated? Could it be that it's a terrorist state that has been given many gifts from Israel only to use those gifts to slaughter anybody with whom they disagree? Hamas is a criminal, bloodthirsty organization of killers and thieves. I'm surprised the Times doesn't have a story about those poor mobsters who can't feed their families with all that pesky FBI crack-downing.

{2009 Update: Pic from here.}

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kosher Alert: Lady Liberty Cheez Balls

From the OU:
September 11, 2007
Lady Liberty Cheez Balls
Company: M-C McLane International- The Woodlands, TX
Issue: This product, reportedly sold in Hong Kong, bears an unauthorized OU symbol and is being withdrawn from the marketplace. Consumers spotting this product are requested to contact the Orthodox Union at 212-613-8241 or via email at kashalerts@ou.org.
This is a travesty! They should be considered kosher just by the name alone.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hillary's Experience

There's this concept that Hillary Clinton has 'experience' (and Obama does not). A number of people have wondered what exactly this means since she has only been in the senate for ONE TERM. And, sure, she was first lady of Arkansas, and then the U.S. But, to put it bluntly, is sleeping with an important person considered leadership experience?

Because I'm sympathetic to feminist principles (no, I can't call myself a feminist), Hillary's whole candidacy drives me crazy. Her claim to high office - first for Senate and now President - is based entirely on HER HUSBAND. And don't give me the guano that Bill would be nothing without Hill. She is the very worst thing about Bill - she's got a tin ear for policy, governance, people, emotions. He is a galvanizing speaker, a charismatic thinker, and a very very smart man. She is a dime-a-dozen Wellesley grad with an average mind and average talents. Am I missing anything? Would she be anything but a lawyer if she didn't marry Bill?

Anyway, I believe the "experience" canard is actually a code-word. It' shorthand for "My Husband." Many people are going to vote for her because they want 4-8 more years of Bill Clinton. I can't blame them. And, anti-feminist as it is, that is exactly what she's selling: hire me because I'm only my husband's wife.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Moment of Historical Maturity

Are we as a country mature enough in our collective ego and our adherence to justice to admit that our government has perpetrated crimes against humanity, and to bring the criminals to justice?

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Gonzales, Addington, Yoo, Rove etc. They are clearly guilty. Will we do what is right and just?

The next president will need to do that; which candidate will? No republican, for sure. Edwards, maybe. Obama, maybe. Clinton, probably not.

Late Season Simpsons

I had heard that the Simpsons - the best show ever produced for TV - has 'jumped the shark.' I admit that I'm guilty of the urge to declare the show jumpsharky, but mainly because I was unable to keep watching it regularly. As such, schadenfreude forced me to desire that the show upsuck, to validate my inability to keep watching.

But this is unfair of me. A show that has given me so much... the least I could do is try to judge its twisted corporate sellout hack soul fairly. Ahem. So, through the miracle of Youtube, I'm going to see how much of the last two seasons I can glimpse and thus make a better scalded judgment.

1. Couch gag roundup [Link dead].

: These were pretty good; i especially like the couch monsters

2. Test Episode 1 [link dead]

: Ugh. Very few jokes, most of them telegraphed (i.e. i could write them, especially the asinine grandpa jokes). I had to pause it after 3 minutes because Homer was irritating me too much and then stop it completely after 5 (the chicken joke... who didn't see it coming??).

3. Test Episode 2 [link dead]

: OK, this was intolerable while seeing what the Simpsons looked like 20 years ago. But then the Marge running sequence (the quads line, the Raising Arizona music) was pure gold. Then the dentist scene... oh baby. And while the "Fox" jokes have been largely telegraphed, I'd say that they are still great when they stick to parody.

4. Test Episode 3. [link dead]

: OK, now this is disappointing. Because it's a parody and they were pretty bad at it. Its dumb Homer, too. And it gets worse as it goes on. Ugh.

Now, I realize that the people uploading and splicing the clips may be responsible for taking out good stuff and highlighting crap, but I dunno!

5. Test Episode 4. [Link dead]

: a '24' parody. I've seen only a third of one show (which I thought sucked), but I know enough of the show through natural Zeitgeist portals, that I could get the 'inside' jokes; and it seems to be pretty good within the parody framework. Still some telegraphed jokes. Yet you can have Groundskeeper Willie saying the phrase "weiner soakin's" all day long for my tastes.

6. Test Episode 5 [Dead link]. This is from the 18th season acc. to the Wiki.

: OK, in the first few seconds, a crappy Iraq joke. Dumb Homer to the rescue! The heavy French humor is OK, but you can tell they don't know who they're writing for anymore by the fact that we need to focus on Wiggim's siren. Anyway, since its a parody it works pretty well. (good lines: "rat helmet" "ooh, a penny" "Suzette!")

7. Test Episode 6. [Dead link] This appears to be from season 17 (sez wiki)

: It starts off with a poke at itself ('classic grandpa' - a good joke because I was getting a bit horrified). Then, soon after, another poke at the past. Hmmm. Then a bunch of Irish nun jokes (which sounds better than they are). Actually, these Irish jokes are getting a wee bit too horrible. If they were Jewish jokes, I'd be miffed. Although the Saint joke is good ("I forgive thee, now die!"). The Simon Says line is good too. Homer appears to be crazy so far... does it last? Ooh, a good laugh... Well, it's gotten better - especially in snarking about how 'cool' priests work. And some good pokes at the inanity of Protestants and Catholics considering themselves different... And the fact that the mobsters are in the Catholic church and THEY DIDN'T FOCUS ON THEM! Just a quick throwaway gag, like in the good old days.

And I like the name of the Lovejoy's sect (acc. to the Wiki): The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism.

All said and done, crazy Homer may only be present when its a Bart and/or Marge focused episode. But, as we've talked about, that was like that a decade ago as well (maybe not as bad).

8a. Test Episode 7 [Dead link] Acc. to Wiki this is in season 18.

: Bad premonition in that the obligatory guest star is Meg Ryan. [Homer Shudder] A decent Bush joke slipped in. Oh, and it looks like a Bart episode, which should mean crazy Homer. Hmm, nope. It's a maudlin "My Father is a Bad Father" Episode. Why?!? Who needs that?!?

But there is a nice insight about how psychiatry is akin to romance (and/or prostitution). But they play it to death.

The small Krusty interlude makes me realize what a missed opportunity the movie was (again). What they should have done was spend the time concentrating a plot on some of the best minor characters: Ralph Wiggum, Krusty the Klown and Willie. And if necessary only on Ralph. A Ralph-o-centric movie would have been great!

8b. This is part 1 of the previous episode. [Dead link]

: Hmmm, nice Edward Gorey satire - actually, I'm glad they did this because Gorey was a real sicko. Actually, this whole clip is good! Which gives evidence to the idea that the idiots who chop up the episodes and put 'em on youtube are not capable of knowing what's good and what's not.

It's actually a good paradox: the type of personality that records a TV show, transfers the show to a computer and uploads a few minutes onto YouTube is probably not the type of personality that can appreciate what is good in a Simpsons.

9. This is the Family Guy in Iraq (it was linked, kinda). [Dead in 2009]

Styx: I am laughing more during the first scene than in the 6 previous simpson clips. Dammit! They seemed to have made Brian more pathetic (why?) but they also don't seem to care about reality. And I don't get half of the references. But, ooh, good fakeout on the cutaway. Har. Aaaand, thank you for the Stripes music.

I'm not happy about this experiment.

Top pic from here (a good essay BTW). Backpost finished on 2009-11-25. Most of the text was there, but for some reason I didn't finish it up.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Harry Potter Torah

A friend had asked if there was any good essays from a Torah perspective about Harry Potter. I responded with these links:
  1. Rabbi Gil Student's Hirhurim blog

  2. And this whole blog devoted to Harry Potter and Teshuva

1976 Election Map

Speaking of Carter, I looked at the Electoral Map of the 1976 Election and its a collection of states I never expected to be bunched together in a modern election. Check it out (note: Carter is Red, Ford is Blue).

Holy Frijole. Jimmy won the South! And New York, but not California. Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - but not Virginia or Illinois. Massachusetts, but not Connecticut or New Jeresey.

That's one weird election.

By the way, I've downloaded all the election maps from the beginning till now. If I learn the technology to convert it to a small movie, I think it would be illuminating.

For now, let's just see how Jimmy did in 1980:
Here Carter is Blue, Reagan in Red. Awww, Jimmy, you got smooshed!

St. Bush

During the Bush Honeymoon Period (from 9/11 until Katrina), when he seemed unstoppable, triumphalist Christers would state proudly that they love the fact that a devout Christian was in the White House. Even back then, I was advising them to not adopt him as their own as he appeared to be a mean and stupid person. We can't always choose who will be successful from our ethnic/cultural subgroup, but we can choose to adopt the person as a hero. As a Jewish-American, I want to adopt Albert Einstein (even though he wasn't very religious) and not Jonathan Pollard (who has found Jehovah in prison, I've been told). So it is with religious Christians and Bush... don't adopt him! - he's a cruel moron! - but I'm not sure they've gotten the message yet.

Here's a list of 50 quotes from Bush about his religious faith from the Aug 8 2007 London Times, compiled by their Religion reporter Libby Purves.

In the list are famous lines (like #17 "I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah" - White House, Dec. 10, 2001), but also just inane statements of his "simple" faith. I say simple because he seems as committed to religious terminology but not religious behavior. He probably likes praying because it's done alone and in direct communication with his chosen, self-defined Deity. As such, it is an act of egotism, not devotion. Minyan forces you to pray with others, to depend on others. Kneeling on your rich carpet to communicate one-on-one with Heaven as if you were a modern-day Moshe Rabbeinu is barely tolerated in halakha.

And outside of prayer, what does Bush do that can be called religious? I doubt he gives much to charity (I'm trying to find the numbers online; download his disclosures here). And let's not forget about the last president who was gloriously touted as a religious man who'd bring Christian principles to bear on White House policy: James Earl Carter.

America vs. Constitution

Because the Bush Administration seems on a mission to ignore and/or destroy the Constitution, I just wanted to make a quick point:

America = the Constitution.

Being anti-Constitution is being anti-American... and nothing else.