Saturday, September 02, 2006

More Thread

Out for the evening, but you can enjoy the news that A Flock of Siegels has agreed to headline Siegel Aid, the Concert Against Blogofascism.

Evening Thread


The Nedster!

Rumor is whiny Dan Gerstein isn't going to be chatting with the press much anymore and instead we're going to be listening to the comedy stylings of former Clintonite/DLCer Tammy Sun.

Asked to comment on the "anti-Democratic" charges against Lieberman, the campaign's new press secretary, Tammy Sun, responded:

"Supporters of the Nedster may be focused on political gamesmanship and party politics, but Joe Lieberman is more concerned about what is best for the people of Connecticut. He believes they deserve better, which is why he's running as an Independent Democrat on a message of unity and purpose."


Lee Siegel is God

Sprezzatura starts a blog.

Joe's Blog

My prediction: Joe's campaign will entirely consist of two months of whining about all the mean things "Ned Lamont Supporters" say in the comments area.

Heckuva Good Day

One year ago.

The Greatest Invention

Like all Tivo owners I'm annoying about it, but in case anyone is interested they're selling a 180 hour dual tuner (record two shows at once) model, including a wireless ethernet adapter and a year of service for $299.

I get no compensation for this announcement, though if you buy one and enter "" in the appropriate box I earn points towards cool stuff.

Latest Tivo upgrades let you download recorded shows to your computer/laptop and also to send shows back to the tivo if they're in the appropriate format.

Or, open thread.

Mr. Fish

Ha ha.

Good Ideas

This is a good idea:

LOS ANGELES - will soon enable members of the popular online social networking hub to sell downloads of their original music directly through MySpace Web pages, company executives said.

The initiative, which is still in a test phase, has the potential to turn millions of computer users, many of them independent or aspiring artists already using the site to build a fan following, into online music retailers.

Los Angeles-based MySpace was expected to formally announce the venture and its partnership with San Francisco-based Snocap Inc., which developed the technology, on Tuesday.

Chris DeWolfe, MySpace's chief executive, said the online music venture is a logical progression for the Internet portal, given changing trends in the music industry that have made it more affordable for bands to make quality recordings and make them available online.

I admit MySpace's popularity mystifies me somewhat as they're all pretty much the shittiest websites on the internets, except maybe for this one. But they did enough right that wasn't offered elsewhere and managed to succeed.

RSS Feed

I'm phasing out the old RSS feed and moving to using Feedburner. Consider yourself warned.

Here's the new feed.


While I spend many days doing not much other than sitting in front of the computer I wasn't actually in the mood for that today. Make it stop.

Strategy for Victory

The NYT reminds us of things a mere 10 months ago.

Missing from Mr. Bush’s latest speeches, at least so far, is detail about the progress of his previous plan, the “Strategy for Victory” of November, billed as the product of a review and rethinking of what had worked and what had failed.

About which Lieberman wrote:

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. Mistakes, some of them big, were made after Saddam was removed, and no one who supports the war should hesitate to admit that; but we have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground. The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

How's that working out, Joe?

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A much-anticipated ceremony to transfer operational command from U.S-led forces to
Iraq's new army was postponed on Saturday at the last minute amid confusion, a U.S. military spokesman said, citing poor planning.

The event had been hailed by the U.S. military as a big step toward Iraq taking responsibility for security, key to any eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces. U.S. commanders, with 140,000 troops on the ground, would still have a big say.

"There was an error in planning between us and the Iraqi defense minister over the ceremony. This all boils down to a bureaucratic thing," said Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson. He said the ceremony had been rescheduled for Sunday.

Johnson played down suggestions the glitch reflected logistic and communication problems between the two forces. Iraq's Defense Ministry had no immediate comment.

Reporters who had been invited to attend the ceremony in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone were left sitting in a bus for more than one hour as the U.S. military first informed them that the event had been delayed for later in the day and then postponed until Sunday.

Bye Lee

Media Needle has a farewell gift for Siegel.

On the general subject of sock puppetry I do agree it isn't necessarily such a big deal, though the details matter. Simply having an alternate identity online is fine. What isn't fine is when there's implicit deception involved which is almost automatic if you're assuming a new identity to defend yourself. There's no reason I have to be "Atrios" everywhere on the internets, but if I assume the name "Atrios Rulezzzz!" and run around the internets talking about how Atrios is human perfection defined then I will have succeeded in making a supreme ass out of myself. And if one, Mary Rosh-like, starts inventing tales (I was in John Lott's class and he was the best professor ever!) then you've moved into the realm of explicit deception, which presumably those in the news media business frown upon or at least pretend to (cough Fred Hiatt cough).

It is, as Ezra suggests, a rather fascinating spectacle. Some people really do have their identities and egos completely defined by their elite writing gigs and are disturbed by the fact that their Authority has been taken away from them.

Newt on Iran

Gingrich, who has my endorsement for Republican candidate for president, is all over the place on Iran.

From January:

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich says that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as big a threat to global security as Adolf Hitler was in the 1930's - and he's urging President Bush to do everything possible to overthrow his regime.

"This is 1935 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as close to Adolf Hitler as we?ve seen," Gingrich tells Human Events. "We now know who they are," he added. "The question is who we are -- are we Baldwin or Churchill?" - referring to the two British leaders at the time who disagreed over Hitler's intentions.


"We should indicate without any question that we are going to take the steps necessary to replace the regime and we should then act accordingly," he told Human Events. "And we should say to the Europeans that there is no diplomatic solution that is imaginable that is going to solve this problem."

Gingrich invoked the example of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to justify a preemptive strike against Iran, recalling: "In September 1941, when we sank a German submarine while we were technically at peace, [FDR] did a nationwide radio address and said, 'If you are standing next to a rattle snake, you do not have an obligation to wait until it bites you before you decide it?s dangerous.'"

Back in November he was channeling his inner science fiction geek.

And now?

ROME -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich this week moved a step further toward casting himself as the conservative alternative to Sen. John McCain in a possible run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
In an impromptu speech during a Mediterranean cruise that hosted scores of conservative donors and activists, the Georgia Republican expressed unexpected skepticism about prospects of military intervention to halt Iran's nuclear program.
"I am opposed to a military strike on Iran because I don't think it accomplishes very much in the long run," said Mr. Gingrich, who supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and has been a strong defender of Israel.
"I think if this regime [in Iran] is so dangerous that we can't afford to let them have nuclear weapons, we need a strategy to replace the regime," Mr. Gingrich said. "And the first place you start is where Ronald Reagan did in Eastern Europe with a comprehensive strategy that relied on economic, political, diplomatic, information and intelligence" means

Republican Assholes for Joe

His BFF's:

HARTFORD, Sept. 1 — An independent group, Vets for Freedom, will begin sponsoring television commercials early next week for Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, thanking him for his support of the war in Iraq.


The group is receiving advice from Taylor Gross, a former White House official; Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard; and the Republican strategist Dan Senor. Mr. Lieberman’s former chief of staff, Bill Andresen, is also helping the group, which by law is prohibited from communicating with the campaign.

In the next two months, Mr. Senor said, the ads will be shown on cable news outlets in Connecticut, but the group will also place them in other national media markets. There are no plans to promote any other candidate, but that could change in the next several weeks, Mr. Senor said.

Morning Thread


Friday, September 01, 2006



An Apology to Our Readers

After an investigation, The New Republic has determined that the comments in our Talkback section defending Lee Siegel's articles and blog under the username "sprezzatura" were produced with Siegel's participation. We deeply regret misleading our readers. Lee Siegel's blog will no longer be published by TNR, and he has been suspended from writing for the magazine.

Franklin Foer
Editor, The New Republic

Almost feel bad for Foer.


My guess is that this weekend might be sprezzatura weekend in the blogosphere...

...more here.

...and here (yes, I was out, just catching up):

Siegel is precisely the kind of voice that is most endangered by the blogosphere. He's written a number of interesting things for a number of different publications over the years, but nothing that distinguishes him to the degree that someone would seek out his work. In the pre-blogospheric era, this was enough to help him achieve a mild degree of fame and a profound degree of self-importance. With the advent of the blogosphere, however, the kind of voice that Siegel offers isn't in short supply. There are many, many writers available now who are smarter, more interesting, and less self-absorbed than Lee. It's not as if projects like this, in which Slate allowed Siegel to publish his meandering observations about his own life for five days, have become worthless, but there's certainly nothing particularly insightful about Siegel's observations that can't be found, for free, at a hundred other outlets. It seemed to me, reading Siegel's rants about the blogosphere and popular culture, that he was raging more than anything else at the loss of his own status as an authoritative voice. In denouncing Kos, or Kincaid, or people who wear baseball caps, what seemed to come through more than anything else was a frustrated "Listen to me!!!! Why aren't you listening to me!?!?" Indeed we did; Siegel was able to capture a bit of notoriety through making the most ridiculous and absurd arguments conceivable, but even that notoriety was dependent on his position at TNR, which now seems to be at an end.

Friday Night


Friday Cat Blogging

Men Without Chests

The internets have taught me that there are more wankers out there than anyone could have ever imagined.

The Last Honest Man

Some times Joe thinks it's important to abide by the will of the voters, sometimes he doesn't.

What a wanker.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions


What would it take for the media to boot McCain off the "Straight Talk Express"?

There's absolutely nothing he could do which would cause that to happen.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

Winger Horseshit

It's everywhere.

The Age of Diminished Expectations

So many people are desperate to put lipstick on a pig.

The Stupidest Trolls on the Internets

Yes, I have them, and they seem obsessed with the fact that I haven't commented on the information that Armitage was apparently Novak's initial source on Plame. I haven't commented because it isn't especially interesting, it doesn't change the basic narrative at all - Armitage was widely suspected of being that person - and it doesn't magically nullify every other factual revelation about the case, including that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source on Plame.

Sadly, it seems, the stupidest trolls on the internet have taken over the Washington Post editorial board. What a bunch of hacks unworthy to even scribble their delusionary nonsense on the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Getting Out in Front

If, as I cautiously predict, we're about to hit a massive foreclosure wave which is going to hit people at just about every income level there is a certain party whose name starts with the letter 'D' which might find it beneficial to start branding themselves as Friends of Homeowners with some smart policy proposals to back them up.

Off the top of my head this could include cracking down on bad lending practices, providing legal assistance to victims of dishonest lending practices, removing impediments to prepayment and refinancing, and, of course, repealing the bankruptcy bill...

Neutron Bomb

This is going to be bad:

There was plenty more going on behind the scenes they didn't know about, either: that their broker was paid more to sell option ARMs than other mortgages; that their lender is allowed to claim the full monthly payment as revenue on its books even when borrowers choose to pay much less; that the loan's interest rates and up-front fees might not have been set by their bank but rather by a hedge fund; and that they'll soon be confronted with the choice of coughing up higher payments or coughing up their home. The option ARM is "like the neutron bomb," says George McCarthy, a housing economist at New York's Ford Foundation. "It's going to kill all the people but leave the houses standing."

Because banks don't have to report how many option ARMs they underwrite, few choose to do so. But the best available estimates show that option ARMs have soared in popularity. They accounted for as little as 0.5% of all mortgages written in 2003, but that shot up to at least 12.3% through the first five months of this year, according to FirstAmerican LoanPerformance, an industry tracker. And while they made up at least 40% of mortgages in Salinas, Calif., and 26% in Naples, Fla., they're not just found in overheated coastal markets: Through Mar. 31 of this year, at least 51% of mortgages in West Virginia and 26% in Wyoming were option ARMs. Stock and bond analysts estimate that as many as 1.3 million borrowers took out as much as $389 billion in option ARMs in 2004 and 2005. And it's not letting up. Despite the housing slump, option ARMs totaling $77.2 billion were written in the second quarter of this year, according to investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc.


Gordon Burger is among the first wave of option ARM casualties. The 42-year-old police officer from a suburb of Sacramento, Calif., is stuck in a new mortgage that's making him poorer by the month. Burger, a solid earner with clean credit, has bought and sold several houses in the past. In February he got a flyer from a broker advertising an interest rate of 2.2%. It was an unbeatable opportunity, he thought. If he refinanced the mortgage on his $500,000 home into an option ARM, he could save $14,000 in interest payments over three years. Burger quickly pulled the trigger, switching out of his 5.1% fixed-rate loan. "The payment schedule looked like what we talked about, so I just started signing away," says Burger. He didn't read the fine print.

After two months Burger noticed that the minimum payment of $1,697 was actually adding $1,000 to his balance every month. "I'm not making any ground on this house; it's a loss every month," he says. He says he was told by his lender, Minneapolis-based Homecoming Financial, a unit of Residential Capital, the nation's fifth-largest mortgage shop, that he'd have to pay more than $10,000 in prepayment penalties to refinance out of the loan. If he's unhappy, he should take it up with his broker, the bank said. "They know they're selling crap, and they're doing it in a way that's very deceiving," he says. "Unfortunately, I got sucked into it." In a written statement, Residential said it couldn't comment on Burger's loan but that "each mortgage is designed to meet the specific financial needs of a consumer."


Most of the pain will be born by ordinary people. And it's already happening. More than a fifth of option ARM loans in 2004 and 2005 are upside down -- meaning borrowers' homes are worth less than their debt. If home prices fall 10%, that number would double. "The number of houses for sale is tripling in some markets, so people are not going to get out of their debt," says the Ford Foundation's McCarthy. "A lot are going to walk."

Jennifer and Eric Hinz of Somerset, Wis., are feeling the squeeze. They refinanced out of a 5.25% fixed-rate, 30-year loan in June, 2005, and into an option ARM with a 1% teaser rate from Indymac Bank. The $1,483 payment for their original mortgage dropped to as low as $747 with the new option ARM. They say they had no idea when they signed up, however, that the low payment adds $600 in deferred interest to their balance every month. Worse, they thought the 1% would last three years, but they're already paying 7.68%. "What reasonable human being would ever knowingly give up a 5.25% fixed-rate for what we're getting now?" says Eric, 36, who works in commercial construction. Refinancing is out because they can't afford the $15,000 or so in fees. "I'm paying more, and the interest is just going up and up and up," says Jennifer, 34, a stay-at-home mom. "I feel like we got totally screwed." They say their mortgage broker has stopped returning their phone calls. Indymac declined to comment on the loan's specifics.

Overs Win!

+128K jobs, just above the forecast, though still not enough to keep up with population growth.

Following the Logic

Dan Senor (a.k.a Mr. Campbell Brown):

But the fact is, is some of the people we are fighting are sort of pushing back a little bit. It's sort of a one step forward, two steps back.

So, each step forward leads us two steps back...heckuva job!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Okay, I'm In

Thomas Frank:

What we have watched unfold for a few decades, I have argued, is a broad reversion to 19th-century political form, with free-market economics understood as the state of nature, plutocracy as the default social condition, and, enthroned as the nation’s necessary vice, an institutionalized corruption surpassing anything we have seen for 80 years. All that is missing is a return to the gold standard and a war to Christianize the Philippines.

Historically, liberalism was a fighting response to precisely these conditions. Look through the foundational texts of American liberalism and you can find everything you need to derail the conservative juggernaut. But don’t expect liberal leaders in Washington to use those things. They are “New Democrats” now, enlightened and entrepreneurial and barely able to get out of bed in the morning, let alone muster the strength to deliver some Rooseveltian stemwinder against “economic royalists.”

Mounting a campaign against plutocracy makes as much sense to the typical Washington liberal as would circulating a petition against gravity. What our modernized liberal leaders offer — that is, when they’re not gushing about the glory of it all at Davos — is not confrontation but a kind of therapy for those flattened by the free-market hurricane: they counsel us to accept the inevitability of the situation and to try to understand how we might retrain or re-educate ourselves so we will fit in better next time.


Everything I have written about in this space points to the same conclusion: Democratic leaders must learn to talk about class issues again. But they won’t on their own. So pressure must come from traditional liberal constituencies and the grass roots, like the much-vilified bloggers. Liberalism also needs strong, well-funded institutions fighting the rhetorical battle. Laying out policy objectives is all well and good, but the reason the right has prevailed is its army of journalists and public intellectuals. Moving the economic debate to the right are dozens if not hundreds of well-funded Washington think tanks, lobbying outfits and news media outlets. Pushing the other way are perhaps 10.

The dominance of foreign policy issues combined with the perfectly justified fear that under a Republican congress the opening of just about any domestic policy door was opening the door to disaster has made me less than interested in wonky domestic policy issues than I would otherwise be.

But, whether we win or lose or November it's time. It was wrong to think that such issues would dominate in 2004, and it's wrong to think they'll be enough in '08, but it's time to make the case for less stupid domestic economic policies.

Late Night

Neko Case - Maybe Sparrow

Frothy Mix

Oddly, he isn't referring to Santorum.

He'll Flip If They Need Him

Yes Dan Gerstein (cough liar cough) has said that Lieberman will continue to caucus with the Dems but I stand by my prediction that the deal is he'll flip if the Republicans need him to flip to maintain control of the Senate.

Webb's Son Going to Iraq


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Senate candidate Jim Webb will miss the Labor Day weekend parades, picnics and speeches that open the fall campaign stretch run to be with his son, who ships out with his Marine unit to Iraq next week.

Webb decided Thursday to skip the traditional holiday gatherings in Buena Vista, Covington and elsewhere that are normally must-attend events for those seeking statewide office.

Marine Lance Cpl. Jimmy Webb, 24, is deploying with his unit to combat duty, and the Democratic challenger to Sen. George Allen chose to visit his son until he leaves.

"I'm very proud of my son. Neither he nor I want him to be viewed differently than any of his fellow Marines. He's a tough young man and a fine Marine," Webb said in an e-mailed statement to The Associated Press.

Buy This Book

Wanker of the Day

David Broder.

Evening Thread


Betting Time

Monthly jobs report comes out tomorrow. Consensus forecast says +125K jobs. As I almost always do, I'll take the under bet.

Buchanan Nation

Proving yet again that there's literally nothing a conservative commentator can say which will keep them off of respectable news outlets.

Liddy's Cash

Thanks for wasting money, Liddy.

Nasty Season

It's getting ugly.

Radicals and Extremists


The Cold War didn't end with wars on the Soviets but with engagement of them and treaties with them, signed by the Neville Chamberlain of the 1980s, Ronald Reagan. Those who considered Reagan a Chamberlain appeaser back then were radicals and extremists (and were viewed as such). They still are extremists, but they also happen to be the ones guiding the dominant political party in our country and they don't just want to prolong the war in Iraq but want several new wars (at least). That ought to be the principal issue in this election.

Purging the Moderates

For some reason this whole Rhode Island senate primary story just isn't getting any play.

Looks like Linc might be toast.

Fresh Thread


Who Are People?

When George Felix Allen says that "people" don't care about his Macaca remark one can only assume he means, you know, "real Americans" unlike that Macaca fellow.

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Watched a copy of the movie the other day, which will be out soon. It was fairly entertaining and a reasonable well done indictment of the power and secrecy of the MPAA, but I think it was a bit too tailored towards a hip insidery audience to be all that effective as a tool of persuasion. We learn that the MPAA operates with extraordinary secrecy, dishonesty, and inconsistency, that it's obsessed with sex and doesn't care too much about violence, that Christian (and only Christian) clergy have always been participants, or at least observers, in the ratings process, and that they often have rather large influence on how movies eventually get made/edited.

Still it's hard to see who, except for those of us who were prone to agree anyway, will find any of this convincing. I agree that it's absurd that sex is treated as something more shocking and dangerous than violence, but I think it's an absurd aspect of our society as a whole. The movie addresses this point, in part, by showing a lot of sex scenes which pushed movies into NC-17 territory but I imagine lots of people would agree that such scenes should push movies into NC-17 territory.

Anyway, it's not bad but I would've preferred it to be a bit more informative and a bit less shocking/jokey/cute.

Changing My Scene

More Like This

Begala yesterday:

BEGALA: For some, yes. I mean, I think the better criticism of Rumsfeld is that he has failed in his job. As I said, bin Laden walks the earth. That is wrong. That is because, I believe, the mass incompetence of Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush.

And so, if you're working at the White House -- if you're Karl Rove, right? And I used to work there -- what do you do? You know, the president is not popular. Mr. Cheney is not popular.

The one person they have is Condoleezza Rice, who the country still likes and trusts. And yet, she's not out there.

Rumsfeld and Cheney and Bush are. And believe me -- you can check -- there are four or five different strains of venereal diseases more popular than Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. And so, as a Democrat, I want to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to...

CLARKE: You've probably been waiting all summer to use that line.

BEGALA: I want them on the (inaudible) every day.

We've finally started to see more Democrats internalize the idea that these people are stupid, and ugly, and nobody likes them. They should be treated with the derision and contempt they've deservedly earned.

Webb and Murtha for Lamont

Good deal:

RICHMOND, Va. -- Democratic Senate candidate Jim Webb, for years a Republican, said Wednesday he would not hesitate to support Democrat Ned Lamont over Democrat-turned-independent Joe Lieberman in Connecticut this year.

Webb, who is challenging Republican Sen. George Allen's bid for a second term, was emphatic in backing his new party's nominee over Lieberman.

"Joe Lieberman got too close to this administration," said Webb, who bolted the GOP in part because of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq and his handling of the war since then.

Webb, a decorated Marine rifle company commander in Vietnam and author of six novels based on his combat there, served as a top military aide in the Reagan administration, including a year as Navy secretary.

Webb wrote before the 2003 invasion that an Iraq invasion would destabilize the Middle East, empower Iran and lock the United States into a long-running Vietnam-style quagmire.

But what the hell does he know. [/sarcasm]

And Murtha:

In response to one question, Murtha also said he would campaign in Connecticut for Ned Lamont if invited.

Follow the Money

It is the case that the Washington Post editorial board positions on educational issues tend to fit remarkably well with the business model of Kaplan.

I'm sure it's a coincidence.

Pundit Life

I was thinking more about Sebastian Mallaby's mocking of requiring insurers to cover wigs. It is, as Ezra suggests, precisely the kind of thing that most people wouldn't think to add to an a la carte insurance policy, precisely because most of us aren't really equipped to sensibly make such decisions. More than that it highlights the pathological lack of empathy someone like Mallaby must have.

Here's a guy who undoubtedly has pretty damn good insurance through his employer. If an illness strikes and he's unable to continue the backbreaking work of typing a couple of columns per week about how other people have too much insurance at a very minimum I'm sure his employment contract contains a long term disability rider to ensure he'll keep his insurance and a hefty percentage of his salary. Since he's one of the gang of tenured pundits it's likely they'll just let him contribute when he can and keep paying him. Given his hairline it's true he might not bother with a wig, but even when he's able to work he'll be able to phone it in from home or the hospital. If he has a family there's probably a spouse who can pick up the slack in the childraising duties. If not, well, there's no problem there then.

I'm not going to claim to have a deep understanding of living life as a member of the working poor - and, no, years of being a relatively impoverished grad student don't really qualify - but I do know the experience of someone in that situation is exactly like Mallaby's... not. To eat and feed their kids - let alone keep their insurance if they have it - they'll have to keep working as much as possible in jobs which require a bit more physical activity then flicking fingers across a keyboard, and a bit more contact with other people than a telecommute.

Clueless pundits.

Republicans Suck

New Ap/Ipsos poll(.pdf). In response to the question:

If you had to choose, who would you say you trust to do a better job of protecting the

37% say Democrats, 32% Republicans. If they push "leaners" they get 47% Democrats 40% Republicans.

60% more terrorism is likely because of the Iraq war.

Time to update the storyline, gang of 500 wankers.

Worthy Dying For

Sean Hannity's view of the world.

Sunset Kiss In Santa Barbara


Poor Gerstein is such a whiner. I'm going to be sad when we don't have Dan to kick around anymore.

Nice sunset, Lamont's folks mocked when the ad first debuted.

"It's actually a sunrise," Gerstein initially insisted. "It's very much a sunrise."

Actually, it's very much a sunset, as pro-Lamont bloggers gleefully pointed out. They even tracked down the video used in the ad on the Getty Images Web page. Clip 843-2: "Wide shot sun setting over ocean/ birds walking along water's edge/ Santa Barbara."

"Wow," said Gazeena, the helpful customer rep at Getty Images. "That's too bad."

There is a 30-day return policy, she offered. But it's only good for half the purchase price, somewhere around $1,000, she said. "And if it's already been used, I'm not sure that applies."

Apparently that's not going to be an issue; Gerstein said they were going to continue to use the ad.

"Of course we will," he said. "Why in God's name wouldn't we, just because Ned Lamont's people reflectively attack us? That's just insane."

Good stuff, Dan, remember? Think about the good stuff ...

(via FDL)

High Holy Day

I really don't understand the fetishization of 9/11 remembrance.

It's weird.

Adapting to Win

Ken Mehlman's been running around berating all the media figures telling them it was wrong to say we were "staying the course" because what we were in fact doing was "adapting to win."

At Bush's little campaign rally last night he said we were going to "stay the course."

Morning Thread


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tofu and Bambi Burgers

I'm quite sympathetic to the plight of the modern vegetarian. It's true that they can't just eat their tofu in peace. Probably a lot of that is innocent. I know that I'm genuinely interested in why people choose to be vegetarians, and therefore ask, but I also know that I wouldn't want to have to explain my eating choices to everyone I meet. Eating is part of that short list of rather fundamental human desires.

When I was in grad school I made a lot of tofu at home becaue it was cheap and because it kept well, and having a car which wasn't surviving the New England winters all that well limited my trips to the supermarket. It can be quite tasty.

But these venison burgers were even tastier...


Will have video up if someone else doesn't get it converted first: it is, at C&L.

The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack.

Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.

Mr. Rumsfeld’s remarkable speech to the American Legion yesterday demands the deep analysis—and the sober contemplation—of every American.

For it did not merely serve to impugn the morality or intelligence -- indeed, the loyalty -- of the majority of Americans who oppose the transient occupants of the highest offices in the land. Worse, still, it credits those same transient occupants -- our employees -- with a total omniscience; a total omniscience which neither common sense, nor this administration’s track record at home or abroad, suggests they deserve.

Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom; and not merely because it is the first roadblock against the kind of tyranny the men Mr. Rumsfeld likes to think of as “his” troops still fight, this very evening, in Iraq.

It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile it is right and the power to which it speaks, is wrong.

In a small irony, however, Mr. Rumsfeld’s speechwriter was adroit in invoking the memory of the appeasement of the Nazis. For in their time, there was another government faced with true peril—with a growing evil—powerful and remorseless.

That government, like Mr. Rumsfeld’s, had a monopoly on all the facts. It, too, had the “secret information.” It alone had the true picture of the threat. It too dismissed and insulted its critics in terms like Mr. Rumsfeld’s -- questioning their intellect and their morality.

That government was England’s, in the 1930’s.

It knew Hitler posed no true threat to Europe, let alone England.

It knew Germany was not re-arming, in violation of all treaties and accords.

It knew that the hard evidence it received, which contradicted its own policies, its own conclusions — its own omniscience -- needed to be dismissed.

The English government of Neville Chamberlain already knew the truth.

Most relevant of all — it “knew” that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated. In fact, it portrayed the foremost of them as a blood-thirsty war-monger who was, if not truly senile, at best morally or intellectually confused.

That critic’s name was Winston Churchill.

Sadly, we have no Winston Churchills evident among us this evening. We have only Donald Rumsfelds, demonizing disagreement, the way Neville Chamberlain demonized Winston Churchill.

History — and 163 million pounds of Luftwaffe bombs over England — have taught us that all Mr. Chamberlain had was his certainty — and his own confusion. A confusion that suggested that the office can not only make the man, but that the office can also make the facts.

Thus, did Mr. Rumsfeld make an apt historical analogy.

Excepting the fact, that he has the battery plugged in backwards.

His government, absolute -- and exclusive -- in its knowledge, is not the modern version of the one which stood up to the Nazis.

It is the modern version of the government of Neville Chamberlain.

But back to today’s Omniscient ones.

That, about which Mr. Rumsfeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy. Still. Sometimes just barely.

And, as such, all voices count -- not just his.

Had he or his president perhaps proven any of their prior claims of omniscience — about Osama Bin Laden’s plans five years ago, about Saddam Hussein’s weapons four years ago, about Hurricane Katrina’s impact one year ago — we all might be able to swallow hard, and accept their “omniscience” as a bearable, even useful recipe, of fact, plus ego.

But, to date, this government has proved little besides its own arrogance, and its own hubris.

Mr. Rumsfeld is also personally confused, morally or intellectually, about his own standing in this matter. From Iraq to Katrina, to the entire “Fog of Fear” which continues to envelop this nation, he, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and their cronies have — inadvertently or intentionally — profited and benefited, both personally, and politically.

And yet he can stand up, in public, and question the morality and the intellect of those of us who dare ask just for the receipt for the Emporer’s New Clothes?

In what country was Mr. Rumsfeld raised? As a child, of whose heroism did he read? On what side of the battle for freedom did he dream one day to fight? With what country has he confused the United States of America?

The confusion we -- as its citizens— must now address, is stark and forbidding.

But variations of it have faced our forefathers, when men like Nixon and McCarthy and Curtis LeMay have darkened our skies and obscured our flag. Note -- with hope in your heart — that those earlier Americans always found their way to the light, and we can, too.

The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.

And about Mr. Rumsfeld’s other main assertion, that this country faces a “new type of fascism.”

As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that -- though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed.

Although I presumptuously use his sign-off each night, in feeble tribute, I have utterly no claim to the words of the exemplary journalist Edward R. Murrow.

But never in the trial of a thousand years of writing could I come close to matching how he phrased a warning to an earlier generation of us, at a time when other politicians thought they (and they alone) knew everything, and branded those who disagreed: “confused” or “immoral.”

Thus, forgive me, for reading Murrow, in full:

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty,” he said, in 1954. “We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law.

“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

And so good night, and good luck.

Making Shit Up

Ah, to be a Reublican candidate for governor...

...but at least he apologized and said he was wrong.

Fresh Thread


Ho Ho Ho

The clueless cruelty of the Washington Post pundit set.

A good example of this came from Mallaby, who mocked Minnesota's insurance climate for mandating coverage of massage and wigs. (Minnesota, incidentally, has the lowest uninsured rate in the nation.) Ho, Ho, Ho. He had a good laugh over that one, I'm sure. Except the wigs are for chemotherapy survivors -- the sort of thing none of us expect to need, but may one day find necessary to continuing our lives. Good wigs, sadly, are very expensive, and few major businesses appreciate Cancer Chic among their employees. Without one, a breast cancer survivor can scarcely hope to continue her normal life. And massages, which sounds silly, are often more effective, less costly, and safer than over-the-counter medicines in treating back pain. Few folks know that. Like Mallaby, they've not read the studies. Unlike Mallaby, they're not professional domestic policy thinkers. Yet if he could make so elementary a set of oversights, why do we expect the average American can do better? And why are we so willing to abandon them if they fail?

Hypocritical, Sad, and Pathetic

Jack Kemp is still alive? I had no idea.

Afternoon Thread

Enjoy This is Our Emergency by Pretty Girls Make Graves.

"Too Much Time"

If Lieberman paid that guy more than $100 to make that ad I'd say the problem is that he isn't spending enough time in the editing room.

Onward to Iran

I don't know how crazy the leaders of Iran are, but I do worry they don't quite understand just how crazy some of the influential people in this country are.

Sunset over Santa Barbara

Poor incompetent liar Dan Gerstein. Is there anything they won't lie about? Putting an ad out with stock footage of a sunset over Santa Barbara and then trying to claim it's a sunrise.

Truly silly people.

Core Inflation

Yes, the focus on core inflation is absurd. The reason that the number is important is because food and energy prices are more volatile month to month so by excluding them you're getting a better sense of the underlying trend. But over the longer term the underlying trends in food and (especially) energy actually matter.

Wanker of the Day

Joe Lieberman.


So Chris Shays says there hasn't been progress in Iraq since January. But in March he agreed with his BFF Joe Lieberman's courageous declaration that there has been progress. In the debate with Lamont, Lieberman (CFL-CT) asked "are we going to abandon them while they are making that progress? "

Shays used to say a timetable was a bad idea. His BFF Joe Lieberman said a timetable would be a victory for terrorists. Now Shays says a timetable is a good idea and his BFF Joe Lieberman says he needs to study Shays' ideas more carefully.

And these are the people the Bullshit Moose thinks are serious about foreign policy.

Did serious become slang for "fucking wrong about everything all the time" while I was sleeping?

Bush is serious, yo.

One Casey

We can now define the unit of time of One Casey as being Equal to somewhere between two and three Friedmans. For simplicity, we'll call it Three Friedmans. On the calendar it goes.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The top U.S. general in Iraq said Wednesday he believes Iraqi forces can take over security with little coalition support within a year to 18 months.

"I don't have a date, but I can see over the next 12 to 18 months, the Iraqi security forces progressing to a point where they can take on the security responsibilities for the country, with very little coalition support," Gen. George Casey said in Baghdad.

That takeover would not mean U.S. troops leaving immediately. It is part of a U.S. military plan to hand over responsibilities, move into large bases and provide support while Iraqis take the lead. A U.S. drawdown would start after that occurred.

Calling Bullshit

Yglesias throws away his sensible liberal membership card.

Hooray for him.

What Is It About Blogs That Breaks Brains?

This is amusingly incoherent.

WaPo Endorses Donna Edwards

That's pretty weird.

You can help Edwards and other fine candidates here.

Hiding Me Head in the Sand

Meanwhile in the forgotten war:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A roadside bomb exploded in Baghdad's oldest and largest wholesale market district, killing at least 24 people and wounding 35, part of a surge in bloodshed Wednesday that left 52 dead, authorities said.

Earlier, an explosives-rigged bicycle blew up near an army recruiting center in a city south of Baghdad, killing at least 12 people.

Violence across
Iraq has spiked in recent days, with more than 200 people killed since Sunday in clashes, bombings or shootings — despite U.S. and Iraqi officials' claims that a new security operation in the capital has lowered Sunni-Shiite killings there, which had risen in June and July.

A U.S. Marine from the 1st Brigade of the 1st Armored Division was also killed in action Tuesday in Anbar province, the U.S. command said.

Kinda reminds me of Philadelphia.


From the Ted Strickland campaign:
On August 20th, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that a Republican named Nathan Estruth showed up at a Clermont County Democratic rally to give Ted a chance to persuade him.


In a county that proudly paints itself political red, where about 70 percent of voters backed President Bush in 2004, Nathan Estruth showed up at a park Saturday morning to hear the blue people.

In particular, he wanted to listen to Ted Strickland, the Democratic candidate for governor who, with U.S. Senate candidate Sherrod Brown, was headlining a three-day bus tour promoting the party's statewide ticket in some of Ohio's most Republican counties.

Estruth, a father of four who typically votes Republican, milled in the back of a partisan crowd of about 100, one of just a handful of people not wearing a shirt promoting a Democratic candidate. At the urging of a friend, he came to give the Democrats, who have been out of power in Ohio for more than a decade, a chance to win his vote.

"It's just common sense that we need change," Estruth said at Veterans Memorial Park in Union Township. "Frankly, it's about change for change's sake."

Unfortunately, Mr. Estruth said he wasn’t convinced.

After the 40-minute rally, Estruth said he was not ready to vote Democratic. He was put off, he said, by their harsh rhetoric.

"I wanted to see if he was an executive with clear plans for fixing the state," he said about Strickland. "What I got was partisan talk. He confirmed my worst fears."

However, there might be another reason that Mr. Estruth wasn’t ready to vote Democratic. Via Buckeye State Blog, we learn that he happens to be the president of Common Sense Ohio, a Blackwell-supporting group that’s been running hundreds of thousands of dollars of advertising across that state attacking Ted.

The BSB post:

Common Sense Ohio:

Common Sense Ohio’s ads began running on August 16th. The president of the group is on the record alleging to be a Republican just “checking out” Ted Strickland at a rally held on August 19th.

Wouldn’t it just be common sense that the president of a group spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to destroy Ted Strickland had already made up his mind?

Morning Thread


Ted Stevens is A Truck Which...

...ah, never mind. It's too late to come up with any comically bad mixed metaphors. Just wait for Tom Friedman's next column.

But he is a wanker.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Poor Kyra

As many reasons as I've had to criticize Kyra Phillips over the years I actually imagine she's probably an ok person, so I do feel a bit bad that her family life has just gone from zero to nightmare in 30 seconds...

``Live From'' anchor Kyra Phillips had apparently left the set around 12:48 p.m. EDT Tuesday for a bathroom break while the news channel carried Bush's speech marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Phillips' wireless microphone was turned on and picked up about a minute and a half of a muffled conversation she had with an unidentified woman where she apparently talked about her husband, laughed and talked about her brother.

``I've got to be protective of him,'' she said without being aware that the mic was on. ``He's married, three kids, and his wife is just a control freak.'' CNN anchor Daryn Kagan broke into the telecast immediately afterward updating viewers on what Bush had been saying.

Late Night


Beyond Macaca

I'm shocked to discover that the racist George Felix Allen likes to hang out with racists.

Evening Thread



at Youtube cglcivics writes:

Ask Your Doctor if Joementum is Right For You.

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Cheney, almost exactly 4 years ago:

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors -- confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth.


The elected leaders of the country have a responsibility to consider all available options, and we are doing so. What we must not do in the face of a mortal threat is give in to wishful thinking or to willful blindness. We must not simply look away, hope for the best, and leave the matter for some future administration to resolve. As President Bush has said, time is not on our side. Deliverable weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terror network, or a murderous dictator, or the two working together, constitutes as grave a threat as can be imagined. The risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action.


The only possible way they're going to win with a write-in candidate in DeLay's district is to actually have her name be on the ballot... so they're going to throw a special election.

Jut Lie Back And Think of Lieberman

Uh, ew?

Bush's BFF


NEW YORK It was on the front page of The Washington Post, and bylined by a well-known and respected name, Peter Baker, but one still had to wonder: Did Borat have anything to do with this?

The Baker story broke news about an upcoming visit to this country by the president of Kazakhstan, an accused thief and "autocrat" who, nevertheless, will soon be receiving a warm welcome both at the White House and the Bush compound at Kennebunkport. With this fresh publicity, he may now be the second most famous Kazakh in America, though still trailing far behind Borat Sagdiyev, the comic creation of Sasha Baron Cohen of "Ali G" fame.

The long-awaited "Borat" movie -- with the title character in the role of foreign journalist traveling the U.S. -- is coming out this fall so normally one might suspect that the Kazakh leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has timed his visit to help boost the movie debut of a favorite son. However, the Kazakh government has blasted Cohen in the past (and threatened legal action) for allowing Borat to, among other things, make fun of his homeland, demean women, slander gypsies and (in a famous song) urge listeners to "Throw the Jew Down the Well."

The Borat movie will be an event...

Concern Trolls

The cutest kind of all.

Great Moments in Cable News

The best political team on television.

From Race-Baiting to Red-Baiting

The last honest man sure is a delightful fellow:

While the Republican-American may be guilty of lax journalism, the real shame belongs to Lieberman's independent campaign, which has spread the Waterbury paper's fantastic claims. The senator's communications director even quoted the editorial in a widely circulated statement on the race.

With the help of the Waterbury Republican-American, Joe Lieberman is keeping alive the politics of another Joe: the one named McCarthy. And in so doing, Lieberman's proving that the shock waves from a primary election in the summer of 1946 are still being felt in this summer of another primary election that has dislodged another senior senator.

Support the Troops

Now would certainly be a good time to cut military brain injury research funding.


I was sitting here thinking about the Lamont/Lieberman race and I suddenly remembered the father and son who came to vote while I was standing outside the polling place in CT. They came together, though in separate cars, and the father rolled down the window and said something along the lines of "I voted for your guy because he won't send my son off to war." Aside from the buzz cut there wasn't anything which identified the son as being in the military in any way, though he certainly could have been.

It's the height of buffoonery to lend support to the lunatics who are running our foreign policy. It is the very definition of "unserious" to support these clowns. The judgment of anybody who supports these people is so flawed as to defy comprehension.

Please consider making a small contribution to one of these fine candidates or to any of your favorites. The end of the quarter is arriving.

Wanker of the Day

Chris Graham.

The Will

Rumsfeld fully embraces the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics.

Rumsfeld said there was no doubt the United States could win militarily in Iraq if it stayed the course.

"The important question is not whether we can win. Of course we can win. We won't lose a single battle," he said. "But do we have the will?"

Magical Thinking

Dionne writes:

The Republicans' restiveness suggests that Bush may not be able to stick with his current Iraq policy through Election Day. Even if he does, he will come under heavy pressure from his own party after Nov. 7 to pursue a demonstrably more effective strategy -- or to begin pulling American forces out.

But he won't. There won't be a more effective strategy. And forces won't be pulled out.

This has been made clear over and over again. I don't know why people refuse to listen.

Morning Thread


Monday, August 28, 2006

No Less


I’m certain that Dole, Rove, Bush and a host of others are peeing themselves at the thought that they might lose the Senate and Democrats might gain subpoena power because they lost control of the extreme right wing of the party. It’s as big a story as the Lamont/Lieberman race, but somehow the media seem not to care, so feel free to poke your favorite wingnut and tell them they really ought to be enraged about this.

We really owe our right wing blog bretheren no less.

It's a bigger story, really.

When I was in Connecticut I tried to kid a NYT reporter by asking if they were going to devote as much attention to the Rhode Island race as they did to the Connecticut race. I got a somewhat confused look, and then in a response a question about how Matthew Brown was doing.

Matthew Brown dropped out of the Democratic primary race in April.

Late Night

To Go Home (legal .mp3 download) from M. Ward.

Fresh Thread



This is not going to be pretty.

Bigger version here.

Open Seat

Someone at the DSCC has the right idea.

It's All Good

Greenwald has a post on something I've discussed a few times, the tendency to spin literally any news as good for Republicans. The Republicans and their lickspittles in the media have used this strategy for so long it's reflexive. They don't even have to think about it anymore. No matter what happens it's good for Bush and good for Republicans.

The problem is that supposedly neutral reporters and even Democrats seem to fall for it every time.


Assuming I counted correctly it's 71 days until election day.

Not the Guy

The guy cable news has been following nonstop apparently did not kill Jonbenet Ramsey.

Cheer up guys. Maybe OJ'll do something soon. Or, you know, you could check out what's going on elsewhere in the world.

Falling Star

It's nice to see Ken Blackwell is probably following Katherine Harris along the path to obscurity.

Wanker of the Day

Saint John McCain.

We Heart McCain

Members of the liberal media try to explain why.

Tucker Carlson's explanation was probably more accurate:

McCain ran an entire presidential campaign aimed primarily at journalists. He understood that the first contest in a presidential race is always the media primary. He campaigned hard to win it. To a greater degree than any candidate in thirty years, McCain offered reporters the three things they want most: total access all the time, an endless stream of amusing quotes, and vast quantities of free booze.


I saw reporters call McCain "John," sometimes even to his face and in public. I heard otherse, usually at night in the hotel bar, slip into the habit of referring to the Mccain campaign as "we"- as in, "I hope we kill Bush." It was wrong, but it was hard to resist.

More on the Wanker Caucus

From Dean Baker:

In addition to conflating Social Security and Medicare as “entitlements” that will pose problems, the column also has a few other standard scare tactics. For example, it projects a rise in spending from approximately 20 percent of GDP at present to 40 percent in 30 years. The biggest part of this rise is due to a rising interest burden. See, if we run larger deficits, and Congress never responds by either raising taxes and/or cutting spending, then we get a rising interest burden. Silly trick, but this is the Post.

Plays for Sure for Real

Someone's conquered Windows' stupid DRM. Good. Maybe they'll stop wasting time trying to make life difficult for customers.

And, no, I'm not advocating piracy.

They Write Books

The accented one has written a book.


Heh. Indeed.

Origination of the soldiers-are-dead-meat-anyway theme can be traced to Brit Hume of Fox News. It should be read in the same context as Mama Bush's observation that the New Orleans evacuees in Houston, considering their origins, had lucked into a pretty good thing.

Nobody combines banality and viciousness like the InstaPundit.

Baghdad BoBo

Of course this is not going to happen as long as George Bush is president. He's told us so.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki predicted it "will not be long" before US troops can start withdrawing from his country but would not commit to a timetable.

Maliki said in an interview with CNN that Iraqi security forces were growing stronger alongside the 138,000 US troops still in Iraq nearly three and a half years after the invasion to oust
Saddam Hussein.

At least 5 more Friedmans to go.

Joementum '08: Biden Boogaloo

I don't know what's wrong with the brains of these people:

Biden dismissed the notion that he was a "Northeastern liberal" who would have a poor showing in the South against other likely contenders such as Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and former Sen.
John Edwards of North Carolina, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee.

"Better than anybody else," Biden said, when asked on "Fox News Sunday" to rate his chances of winning Southern states.

"You don't know my state," he said. "My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state has the eighth-largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a Northeast liberal state."

Car Share for Students

After plugging Philly Car Share yesterday I noticed something I hadn't realized, that anyone 18+ is eligible to join. Unlike the rest of us people that young need to already be covered by basic insurance (very minimal under Pennsylvania law), but a lot of college kids are probably covered under the parents' insurance anyway.

Bloody Hands of the Hypnotized


And what kind of sense does it make to fight Mahdi Army militiamen on the one hand, and on the other hand have the leaders of the Sadr Movement sitting in parliament and in the cabinet?

Certainly isn't like our civil war.[/Rumsfeld]

The Wanker Caucus

Oh boy, Bob Kerrey's in the WaPo again telling us that the richest country in the world isn't going to be able to take care of its old people.

With Brainwashed Pride


DIWANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - Two dozen Iraqi soldiers were killed in fierce street fighting with Shi'ite militiamen in the city of Diwaniya on Monday in some of the bloodiest clashes yet among rival factions in Shi'ite southern

Thirty seven people were killed, according to army, militia and medical sources. Five soldiers were posted missing in a battle officials said began late on Sunday when troops tried to detain men of the Mehdi Army militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

In Baghdad, a suicide car bomber killed 13 policemen and wounded 62 other people outside the Interior Ministry, police said, in one of the deadliest attacks in the city since U.S. and Iraqi troops launched a big security clampdown three weeks ago.

Seven U.S. soldiers were among more than 60 people killed on Sunday in violence that challenged assertions by Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that his forces had the upper hand in violence that many fear could turn into all-out civil war.



Sunday, August 27, 2006

Have You Had Enough?

More from Howie Klein.

Wanker of the Day

Rahm Emanuel.


From Mr. Fish at Harpers.

Evening Thread


So Much Better All The Time

Meanwhile, in the forgotten war;

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A spate of car bombings and shootings across Iraq killed at least 55 people on Sunday, but Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said violence was on the decrease and that the country would never slide into a civil war.

A top government official said Maliki planned to reshuffle his coalition cabinet just 100 days after it was formed because he wanted to root out disloyal or poorly performing ministers and rally factions behind his national reconciliation plan.

More Thread



The stupid! It burns!

Fresh Thread



This Washington Post column on affordable housing is on the whole pretty good, though I have a couple of quibbles. First it overemphasizes "the problem is the government!" rhetoric. It's true, in a sense, as bad zoning laws and community resistance do cause a lot of problems but it's wrong to take away from that the idea that the solution is complete government non-involvement. Better laws, not no laws. Yes, Houston has no zoning laws but it still has building codes.

The second is that it doesn't address directly the undiscussed cost of suburban home ownership - the need for one car per driving age person in the household. It does speak highly of a dense development around a metro station, but I've noticed few explicitly acknowledge the high cost of automobile ownership. Yes people talk of high gas prices, yada yada, but it's important to acknowledge that automobile ownership overall is a tremendously costly and development which allows families to reduce the number of cars per household should be a goal (in tandem with providing decent mass transit, of course).

For local people who wish to reduce the number of cars in their household I highly recommend Philly Car Share. For people who don't need their cars to commute it's a great service.


The man the Bullshit Moose thinks is "serious" about foreign policy says this is the solution for Iraq:

I believe that the best way for us to win the war in Iraq is to come together - the administration, Congress, and Republicans and Democrats - to find a solution that will allow our troops to come home with Iraq united and free, with the Middle East stable and the terrorists denied a victory.

That's a solution? We gather around the campfire and agree on something?

We are truly ruled by imbeciles.


Rock on.