Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wanker of the Day

Hurdling over the finish line it's...

Fred Hiatt.

Pach Speak

You listen.

More Thread

Please don't shoot anybody in the face.

Evening Thread


Lies and the Lying Liars

Chris Wallace edition.

Joke Line

From Kevin Baker's review of Joe Klein's latest book in Harper's (not online).

Far from the objectivity that he claims, Klein exists at a perfect confluence of infantalism: all politics must be directed towards meeting his personal needs and prejudices, and all politicians must constantly entertain him.

Smoking Ban

Since discussions on this subject are even more heated than the windows/apple wars...

Mayor Street said yesterday that the city will begin enforcing the new smoking-ban law "immediately," a development that caught a number of bar and restaurant operators by surprise.

"We can't pick and choose when we enforce the law," Street said. "When a law is passed and it says 'immediate,' then immediate is immediate... . We are going to enforce the bill and we will enforce it according to its terms."

What that means is that the city will start accepting citizen complaints at the city's environmental-health complaint line, 215- 685-7495.

Said City Solicitor Romulo Diaz Jr.: "We will begin to accept complaints immediately. Health inspectors will respond to the complaints. On the first violation, we will be issuing a warning notice. On the second violation, the fines are $25."

Thereafter, the fines can rise to $300 per incident.

This seems like a bit much given how long Street sat on the bill before signing it.

Anyway, as I've written before I think that on balance this is a good thing though I'm sympathetic to the opposing view.

Fight away!


Joe doesn't care how his favorite war is being conducted.

This is the kind of responsible leadership David Broder thinks is important.

"Clinton Gets Crazed"

Always fair and balanced.

Fresh Thread




*BAGHDAD - A car bomb killed 26 people and wounded 29 others when it exploded in Baghdad's Shi'ite slum of Sadr City, police said.

*NAJAF - Gunmen shot dead Fadhil Abu Seybi, the head of a local tribe and a member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a prominent Shi'ite party. Police said Abu Seybi was killed outside his home in the holy city of Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad.

*MAHMUDIYA - Police found five bodies bearing signs of torture and bullet wounds, in different parts of the small town of Mahmudiya just south of Baghdad, police said.

George Bush says Iraq is the Most Important Thing Evah. He's sure fucking it up.

Morning Thread


Friday, September 22, 2006

Late Night

Decemberists - 16 Military Wives


AmandaAcrossAmerica will visit Chez Atrios tomorrow.


Fox Transcript.

Wallace: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I have to say I was surprised, most of them wanted me to ask you this question. Why didn't you do more to put bin Laden and al-Qaeda out of business when you were president? There's a new book out, I suspect you may have already read, called The Looming Tower. And it talks about the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, bin Laden said "I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of U.S. troops." Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the Cole.

Clinton: OK let's just --

Wallace: May I just finish the question sir? And after the attack, the book says, that bin Laden separated his leaders, spread them around because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is always 20/20 --

Clinton: No, let's talk about it.

Wallace: But the question is, why didn't you connect the dots and put him out of business?

Clinton: Let's talk about it. I will answer all those things on the merits, but first I want to talk about the context in which this arises. I'm being asked this on the FOX network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative running their little pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 commission report with three things asserted against me directly contradictory to the 9/11 commission report. And I think it's very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who
now say I didn't do enough claim that I was too obsessed with bin Laden.

All of President Bush's neo-cons that I was too obsessed with bin Laden, they had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say I didn't do enough, said
I did too much, the same people. They were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in Black Hawk Down and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations.

OK, now let's look at all the criticisms, Black Hawk Down, Somalia, there is not a living soul in the
world who thought Osama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk Down or was paying any attention to it, or even knew al-Qaeda was a going concern in October 93.

Wallace: I understand.

Clinton: No, no, wait. Don't tell me that -- you asked me why didn't I do more to bin Laden, there was not a living soul, all the people who now criticize me wanted to leave the next day. You brought this up, so you get an answer. But you -- secondly ...

Wallace: .. bin Laden says, but it showed the weakness of the United States.

Clinton: Bin Laden may have said it -- but it would have shown the weakness if we left right away. But he wasn't involved in that, that's just a bunch of bull. That was about Muhammad Aidid, a Muslim warlord, murdering 22 Pakistani Muslim troops. We were all there on a humanitarian mission; we had no mission, none, to establish a certain kind of Somali government or keep anybody out. He was not a religious fanatic ...

Wallace: Mr. President ...

Clinton: ... there was no al-Qaeda ...

Wallace: With respect, if I may, instead of going through '93 and ...

Clinton: No, no -- you asked it. You brought it up.

Wallace: May I ask you (INAUDIBLE) question, and then you can answer?

Clinton: Yes.

Wallace: The 9/11 commission, which you talk about -- and this is what they did say, not what ABC pretended they said ...

Clinton: What did they say?

Wallace: They said, about you and President Bush, and I quote, "The U.S. government took the threat seriously, but not in the sense of mustering anything like the kind of effort that would be gathered to confront an enemy of the first, second or even third rank."

Clinton: First of all, that's not true with us and bin Laden.

Wallace: Well, I'm telling ... (CROSS TALK)

Clinton: Let's see what Richard Clarke said. Do you think Richard Clarke has a vigorous attitude about bin Laden?

Wallace: Yes, I do.

Clinton: You do, don't you?

Wallace: He has a variety of opinions and loyalties, but yes. (CROSS TALK)

Clinton: He has a variety of opinions and loyalties now, but let's look at the facts: he worked for Ronald Reagan, he was loyal with him; he worked for George H.W. Bush, he was loyal to him; he worked for me, and he was loyal to me; he worked for President Bush, he was loyal to him. They downgraded him and the terrorist operation.

Now, look what he said -- read his book and read his factual assertions -- not opinions, assertions. He said we took vigorous action after the African embassies, we probably nearly got bin Laden ...

Wallace: But what ...

Clinton: Now, wait a minute -- wait, wait, wait. (CROSS TALK)

No, no -- I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him. The CIA was run by George Tenet that President (Bush) gave the medal of freedom to, and he said he did a good job setting up all these counter terrorism things. The country never had a comprehensive anti-terror operation until I came there.

Now if you want to criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this: after the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan -- which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that bin Laden was responsible. While I was there, they refused to certify. So that meant I would have had to send a few hundred special forces in in helicopters, refuel at night. Even the 9/11 commission didn't do that.

Now, the 9/11 commission was a political document, too. All I'm asking is, anybody that wants to say I didn't do enough, you read Richard Clarke's book ...

Wallace: Do you think you did enough, sir?

Clinton: No, because I didn't get him.

Wallace: Right.

Clinton: But at least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try, they did not try. I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clark, who got demoted.

Friday Cat Blogging

Think good thoughts for Waffles.


New radio ad.

O'Reilly Fun

Media Matters on O'Reilly's latest nonsense.

O'Reilly recently claimed to have thwarted an attempt by Media Matters to review Culture Warrior prior to its release. On the September 21 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, he noted that his publisher had refused a request to provide an advance copy to "a guy who writes for the left-wing smear site Media Matters." "Nice try," O'Reilly said, "no book." Nice try, Mr. O'Reilly.

Obviously, MMFA got the book.

Media Matters is trying out a new embedded video feature.

Fox News Fun

Well, I hear that Clinton had his interview with Chris Wallace, which will be aired on Sunday. Apparently Wallace had promised that the first half of the interview would be about the Clinton Global Initiative, but he broke that promise and for his second question he said something along the lines of "what my viewers want to know most is why you didn't do more about terrorism and Osama Bin Laden."

I've been told Clinton responded with a massive smackdown, putting Wallace in his place with a defense of Democrats and his administration's record.


Schmidt Calls it for Ben

Mean Jean takes her eye off the ball and plagiarizes an op-ed.


Okay, shouldn't jump on stupid press stories. Just in rather a bad mood today about this crap.

They Write Books

Hey, Bill Scher wrote a book.


All of us.


Okay, this is better.

Tony Snow: Supremos Don't Decide Constitutionality

Well, down to one branch.

Me: But isn’t it the Supreme Court that’s supposed to decide whether laws are unconstitutional or not?

Tony: No, as a matter of fact the president has an obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. That is an obligation that presidents have enacted through signing statements going back to Jefferson. So, while the Supreme Court can be an arbiter of the Constitution, the fact is the President is the one, the only person who, by the Constitution, is given the responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend that document, so it is perfectly consistent with presidential authority under the Constitution itself.



Q Sir, are you satisfied that Osama bin Laden is at least a kingpin of this operation?

THE PRESIDENT: There is no question he is what we would call a prime suspect. And if he thinks he can hide and run from the United States and our allies, he will be sorely mistaken.

Wanker of the Day

Rob Simmons.

Heh. Indeed.


The New York Times has the right of it here, limning the pathetic gullibility at the heart of the "compromise." There is nothing in this bill that President Thumbscrews can't ignore. There is nothing in this bill that reins in his feckless and dangerous reinterpretation of the powers of his office. There is nothing in this bill that requires him to take it -- or its congressional authors -- seriously. Two weeks ago, John Yoo set down in The New York Times the precise philosophical basis on which the administration will sign this bill and then ignore it. The president will decide what a "lesser breach" of the Geneva Conventions is? How can anyone over the age of five give this president that power? And wait until you see the atrocity that I guarantee you is coming down the tracks concerning the fact that the president committed at least 40 impeachable offenses with regard to illegal wiretapping.

And the Democratic Party was nowhere in this debate. It contributed nothing. On the question of whether or not the United States will reconfigure itself as a nation which tortures its purported enemies and then grants itself absolution through adjectives -- "Aggressive interrogation techniques" -- the Democratic Party had…no opinion. On the issue of allowing a demonstrably incompetent president as many of the de facto powers of a despot that you could wedge into a bill without having the Constitution spontaneously combust in the Archives, well, the Democratic Party was more pissed off at Hugo Chavez.

This was as tactically idiotic as it was morally blind. On the subject of what kind of a nation we are, and to what extent we will live up to the best of our ideals, the Democratic Party was as mute and neutral as a stone. Human rights no longer have a viable political constituency in the United States of America. Be enough of a coward, though, and cable news will fit you for a toga.

No Contracts for Democrats

I remember when the media cared about this stuff.

Something All Congressional Candidate Web Sites Should Have

A district map.

Uh, Democrats?

This is the ball.


In Iraq:

BAGHDAD - Residents of the religiously mixed Hurriya district in northwest Baghdad clashed in mid-morning with gunmen who set two houses on fire, an Interior Ministry source said. Firefighters were fired on when they came to tackle the blazes.

BAGHDAD - Police found 10 bodies, including those of two women, in different parts of Baghdad since early on Friday. Most bore signs of torture and had been shot, police said. The two women were found in the western Shi'ite district of Shula. None of the bodies was immediately identified.

MOSUL - Police found two bodies, one beheaded, in a western part of the city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, morgue and hospital sources said.

KIRKUK - Police found a woman's body dumped on the side of the road in the small town of Taza, 20 km (12 miles) south of the northern oil city of Kirkuk, police said.

DIWANIYA - Three gunmen in a car opened fire and killed Nomass Atout, a former Ba'ath party member, near his house in Diwaniya, a Shi'ite city 180 km (112 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - One U.S. soldier was killed late on Thursday after the vehicle he was traveling in was struck by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement.

Call Huckleberry Graham's Office

Thank him for taking a courageous stand in support of torture and against habeas corpus.

Washington Office
290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-5972 phone

Morning Thread


Late Night

Sleater-Kinney - "Jumpers"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Late Night


Too Predictable

Yes, McCain sells out the country and Democrats look like crap.

Shame on me for allowing myself to get a tiny bit optimistic just for a moment.

Wanker of the Day

Bill O'Reilly.

Oh My

Poor Ruprecht Broder. He's going to cry when the savior of civilization Mike DeWine loses.

CLEVELAND -- A Channel 3 News Survey USA poll taken this week shows Democrats Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown winning in their races against Republican Ken Blackwell and incumbent Republican Mike DeWine.
Here are the survey questions and results:

1 If the election for Governor of Ohio were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for? Republican Ken Blackwell? Democrat Ted Strickland? Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis? Libertarian Bill Peirce? Or some other candidate?

35% Blackwell (R)
56% Strickland (D)
2% Fitrakis (G)
2% Peirce (L)
6% Undecided

Asked of 490 Likely Voters
Margin of Sampling Error for this question = plus / minus 4.5%

2 If the election for United States Senator were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for? Republican Mike Dewine? Democrat Sherrod Brown? Or some other candidate?

42% DeWine (R)
52% Brown (D)
7% Undecided

I Hope This True

I really hope Republicans just punt everything until after the election and get down to the important business of making nasty attacks on their political opponents. They're much better at at that than governing anyway.

Froomkin and the Beard


On the dominant issue of our time, the president is in denial.

By most reliable accounts, three and a half years into the U.S. occupation, Iraq is in chaos -- if not in a state of civil war, then awfully close. But President Bush insists it's not so.

He says the people he talks to assure him that the press coverage about how bad things are in Iraq is not to be trusted.

You might think that the enormous gulf between Bush's perceptions and reality on such a life-and-death topic would be, well, newsworthy. But if members of the Washington press corps consider it news at all, apparently it's old news. They report Bush's assertions about Iraq without noting that his fundamental assessment of the situation is dramatically contradicted by the reporting from their own colleagues on the ground.

And in the rare circumstances when they directly confront the president with observations that conflict with his own, they let it drop too quickly.

Case in point, Wolf Blitzer's lackluster interview with the president on CNN yesterday. (Here's the transcript ; here's some video .)

"BLITZER: I'll read to you what Kofi Annan said on Monday. He said, 'If current patterns of alienation and violence persist much further, there is a grave danger the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of a full-scale civil war.' Is this what the American people bought into?

"BUSH: You know, it's interesting you quoted Kofi. I'd rather quote the people on the ground who are very close to the situation, and who live it day by day, our ambassador [Zalmay Khalizad] or General [George] Casey [the top U.S. military official in Iraq]. I ask this question all the time, tell me what it's like there, and this notion that we're in civil war is just not true according to them. These are the people that live the issue. . . .

"The Iraqi government and the Iraqi military is committed to keeping this country together. And so therefore, I reject the notion that this country is in civil war based upon experts, not based upon people who are speculating. . . .

"That's how I learn it. I can't learn it -- I can't -- frankly, can't learn it from your newscasts. What I have got to learn it from is people who are there on the ground."

Blitzer let the issue drop.

Imagine If You Can

There are times I sit there trying to picture how our press corps would be behaving if, say, Democrats controlled all branches of government. Would the New York Times run the equivalent of Bumiller's (now retired) weekly love letter? Would Republican press conferences be almost entirely ignored? Would guests on Sunday shows lean liberal as much as they now lean conservative or would, as I suspect, the conservative tilt be maintained to provide balance to the "unfair" advantage the majority had?

I've said this before, I think, but our current press has been trained to follow the Republicans. It's hard to see that changing no matter what happens.

A Win is a Win

Al Wynn is a very bad man.

Joe for Joe

Even his ad campaign can't transcend his narcissism.

Waste more money, please.

He's Stupid And He's Ugly

And nobody likes him:

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- The front-runners in the race for Senate and governor maintained their leads as televised political advertising increased, a statewide poll released Thursday found.

For the Senate, Democratic challenger Bob Casey led incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum 45 percent to 38 percent among registered voters, according to the Keystone Poll from Franklin & Marshall College. The result was virtually unchanged from the pollsters' August survey.


Santorum aired a spot featuring actors supposedly portraying four big donors to Casey's campaign meeting in a smoke-filled jail cell. The senator's campaign later conceded that none of the men had given money to Casey's Senate campaign and that two had contributed to Santorum's campaign, which donated the money to nonprofit groups.

Game On

Lieberman, Lamont, and Schlesinger to debate.

The Cult of Centrism


“Sensible Liberalism” is basically Liebermanism. Like the man the ideology is vain, recalcitrant, unable to see when it is finished, unable to see why it is finished. Its pretense is to ‘objectivity’ and ‘even-handedness’; in actual practice, it is power-worshipping and elitist, ever willing to bite the hand that has fed it for the sake of some ‘principle’ it has pulled right out of not its own ass, but out of the ass of a wingnut — which amounts to the same thing, which is really the point. We are witnessing if not its death throes, its twilight time. And as its senile dementia becomes more intolerable, it’ll be harder and harder to resist kicking its wheelchair down the stairs once and for all. Or we can put it in a nursing home. Either way, it’s out of our home, which is a good thing, since it never was really a part of our family.

Lies and the Lying Liars

But they're NOT about blowjobs SO DAVID BRODER SAYS THEY DON'T COUNT!!!

Good Tweety Makes an Appearance

On Imus.

Tweety wants to have it both ways. He has a nightly television show on which the occasional negative word about the war is heard, though that's overwhelmed by criticisms of the war's critics.

When he was on Colbert Tweety said something along the lines of "I'm a critic of the war in my columns." Of course, he hasn't written a regular column since... 2002. Though, it is true his farewell column was as anti-war as you get.

This isn't about a purity test. This is about Tweety having a prominent and influential outpost for the past 3 and a half years. Use it, man.

Colbert Battles Evil


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Overlooked Again



Congrats to the local Litpac organizers - there was a full house at the Khyber this evening for readings/Lois Murphy fundraiser.

As I tried to explain in my brief chitchat I really think that things like LitPAC are incredibly important. We supposedly have the academic and creative communities on our side, but we don't seem to put them to much good use. It's good to find ways to get them involved.

Thanks to the authors who attended. Buy and read their books:

Jennifer Weiner, Buzz Bissinger, Ken Kalfus, Lise Funderburg, Elise Juska, and Curtis Sittenfeld.

The Dean

Might as well have Ruprecht write for the Washington Post. Or Nyhan.


The Gallup poll was, obviously, an outlier. Bush at 37% in NYT/CBS poll. Dems up by 15 in generic ballot.

Jane on TV

Jane on Countdown.

Fresh Thread

The good news is, however, that I've been asked to quit my gig at the National Review so I should have more time for this blog now.


Boehlert on Bush, the press, and the polls:

Here then, is some much-needed historical perspective to put Bush's standing in context:

* According to Gallup, on the eve of President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination, he was suffering the worst job-approval ratings of his presidency -- 58 percent.
* In 1968, when the war in Vietnam was claiming hundreds of U.S. casualties each week, President Lyndon Johnson was considered so unpopular that he didn't even run for re-election. Johnson's average Gallup approval rating for that year was 43 percent.
* When Reagan's second term was rocked by the Iran-Contra scandal, his ratings plummeted, all the way down to 43 percent.
* This year, according to the Gallup numbers, Bush has averaged an approval rating of 37 percent.

Na Ga Do It

None of these things are going to happen.

What Michael Smerconish Finds Appalling

The phrase "Habeus Corpus matters."

And that's pretty much all you need to know about Michael Smerconish, the shame of Philadelphia.

Dangerstein Lies Again

This guy can't help himself.

Event Update

I've been informed that the Patrick Murphy event today at the Happy Rooster has been cancelled, so don't go there.

However you can still go to this LitPAC event in support of Lois Murphy.

Good thing there are so many Murphys.

Iraq for Sale

Went to a screening of Robert Greenwald's movie, though I had to duck out early in the middle of Q&A. It's disturbing movie, and certainly one of his best, and anyone who watches it is going to want to shoot a lot of people in the face.

Bush and the Republican congress used the war as an excuse to hand over billions of dollars to unaccountable companies who aren't doing the jobs they were tasked to do, all of which has had a tremendously detrimental impact on American troops, troop retention, and of course the Iraqi people. Why those on board for Little George's Grand Imperial Adventure aren't more outraged by this stuff is truly bizarre.

Democrats have tried several times to introduce accountability measures and the Republicans have shot them down on party line votes. Favorite movie moment: the evil little troll Jeff Sessions lecturing the Democrats to stop highlighting allegations of bad things instead of emphasizing the good.

They've been telling us to clap louder for 3 and a half years, and this is the consequence.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

I really don't understand the basic ethical compasses of the guardians of our discourse are so screwed up.

Good Theater

The Harry and Dick show.


Good GQ article about the CT primary.

Lamont blog has good excerpts.


As Joe notes, the ballot initiative in South Dakota to overturn their draconian abortion law is indeed important. If you have some extra scratch consider giving to the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families.

It's time to tell that twisted pervert Napoli that the uterus is not his property:

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Napoli says most abortions are performed for what he calls "convenience." He insists that exceptions can be made for rape or incest under the provision that protects the mother's life. I asked him for a scenario in which an exception may be invoked.

BILL NAPOLI: A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged. The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life.

Concern Trolls

Tom Kean, Jr. campaign busted.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Yglesias asks:

Jokes aside, though, I prefer not to get too thick in the weeds of exactly when we should leave Iraq. The main point, from where I sit, is that we not stay on this current track where we're going to be there essentially forever. So the question, to me, is always "well, if in 1 Friedman or 0.5 Friedmans or however many Friedmans you like, Baghdad still isn't secure, then can we leave or does this need to continue forever?"


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

Morning Thread


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why Oh Why


They don't think of it that way. The fact that Easterbook's writing is "lively" and "provocative" and that he is a member of the appropriate social networks is sufficient reason to publish him as a "science writer." The fact that this has an effect not just on how good their operations are at delivering accurate information but also on how the scientifically-literate regard their operations as a whole--I don't think that's something that enters Weisberg's (or Foer's) mind at all.

Mass Gov

I never really paid any attention to the race, but lots of people seemed to think that Deval Patrick was a good guy.

Looks like he's won the primary.

The Plan

While I obviously think that those who think that invading Iraq was a Good Idea are foolish at best, it's more important to be puzzled at the fact that most of those people who thought Iraq Was a Good Idea And In Fact The Most Important Thing Evah are the ones who are least troubled by the Bush administration's incompetent handling of the whole thing. I don't subscribe to their views, but it's precisely their vision that Bush has royally screwed (aside from, you know, all the dead people).


The idea was that we were going to reconstruct Iraq into a stable, unitary, liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East. The odds of achieving this were always extremely low.

But it’s worse than that. “We” were going to reconstruct Iraq into a stable, unitary, liberal democracy in the heart of the Middle East so that the rest of the Muslim Middle East would remake itself in Iraq’s image so that a violent fringe of the Muslim Middle East would cease committing terrorism against the United States and the mass of the Muslim Middle East would drop its objections to American policies in the region because they now basked in the sunshine of freedom. The standard theory, you’ll recall, is that oppressive governments denied self-expression to their people, bamboozling them with anti-Israeli and anti-American propaganda. The most restless among their subjects turned their violent frustrations outward instead of upward. Democratic reform in the Middle East would change all this. That was how the conquest of Iraq would win the Global War on Terror.

The Iraq War could only count as a victory, on its advocates’ own terms, if the rest of the Muslim Middle East set about emulating a stable, unitary, liberal democratic Iraq and anti-American terrorism ended because of that.

Of all the reasons the Big Idea should strike you as self-evidently stupid, the biggest, I think, is what we might call the attitude problem. The Big Idea is monumentally condescending. Those silly Hajis don’t know their own minds! They say they hate our policies, but that’s just confusion!

Fresh Thread

mmm... freedom fries...

Na Ga Do It

Following up on the post below for the other (similar) thing nobody listens to me about, Poppy Bush is not going to (through James Baker) convince his son to get the hell out of Iraq. Lee Hamilton is not going to convince Bush to get out of Iraq.

Bush will not make the slightest move to leave Iraq until we find the pony.

Nobody Listens to Me

I've long been saying there wouldn't be any troop reductions in Iraq for the forseeable future barring a massive political shift.

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military will likely maintain or possibly even incre/ase the current force levels of more than 140,000 troops in
Iraq through next spring, the top US. commander in the Middle East said Tuesday in one of the gloomiest assessments yet of how quickly American forces can be brought home.

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, said military leaders would consider adding troops or extending the Iraq deployments of other units if needed.

"If it's necessary to do that because the military situation on the ground requires that, we'll do it," he said. "If we have to call in more forces because it's our military judgment that we need more forces, we'll do it."

Remember what Joe Lieberman had to say on July 6?

So I am confident that the situation is improving enough on the ground that by the end of this year, we will begin to draw down significant numbers of American troops, and by the end of the next year more than half of the troops who are there now will be home.

And then from July 19:

BRIDGEPORT — U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman believes the U.S. will withdraw a "solid' contingent of its military forces in Iraq by the end of the year because of gains made by the Iraqi armed forces.

"There really has been progress made by the Iraqi military," Lieberman said Tuesday during a meeting with the Connecticut Post's editorial board. "Two-thirds of it could stand on its own or lead the fight with our logistical support."

The three-term U.S. senator said he believes a complete withdrawal is possible by late 2007 or early 2008.

Now Joe won't tell anybody what he thinks about Iraq. And this is the guy the Bullshit Moose thinks is "serious."

Searching for Ponies

The Iraq Study Group says Iraq needs to find a pony:

WASHINGTON -- U.S. experts studying what to do next in Iraq said Tuesday that the Baghdad government must prove it deserves continued support.

"The Iraqi government must act," said Lee H. Hamilton, co-chair of the independent, bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

The 10-member panel is working at the request of Congress to advise lawmakers and the Bush administration on the way forward in the beleaguered Iraq campaign. The commission has been working quietly for six months, meeting with more than 100 U.S. and Iraqi military and civilian officials to assess progress in the war and make recommendations.

"Prime Minister (Nouri al-) Maliki has been in office since April and his government has been complete since June," Hamilton said at a downtown Washington news conference. "The people of Iraq are looking to him urgently for leadership."

Hamilton and his co-chair, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, said Baghdad's government needs to secure a capital reeling in sectarian violence, make progress on national reconciliation, and provide electricity, water, and other services that Iraqis need.

"No one can expect miracles, but the people of Iraq have the right to expect immediate action" on those issues, Hamilton said.

"The next three months are critical," he said.

And, with that, we have another time unit. One Hamilton is equal to 1/2 a Friedman.

Conveniently, Hamilton's 1/2 Friedman comes due precisely when Joe Klein's "one last shot" comes due. Dec. 19 will be a busy day.

Idiots for McCain

Sadly, this is going to be a growing epidemic.

Good Coup Bad Coup

I know nothing of the political situation in Thailand. Literally nothing. So my question is whether the Bush administration will consider this a good coup or a bad coup. The failed coup in Venezuela was a good coup, it certainly would be considered a good coup if whoever they consider to be the forces of good and light seized power in Iran, they explicitly advocated such a thing in Iraq, etc...

Obviously our own country is not a stranger to chucking out rulers it doesn't like, but still the question lingers... when is a coup a good coup?

Your Liberal Media

Still not liberal.

Bubble Boy

Two things are clear. One, our president has no idea what's going on the world. I assume that the people writing his speeches don't believe any of this stuff.

Two, he might as well be peeing all over the UN delegates. This isn't a speech to them, it's a speech to the Murkan people.

He's Stupid and He's Ugly...

and he sure is pissy.

Plays for longer

So, Microsoft has spent a lot of time and money developing and marketing their DRM-crippled music format... and they're going to abandon it.


So, the Democrats tried to get read of the Medicare Donut Hole which is that lovely little feature in the Medicare drug plan which requires you to keep paying your premium even though you aren't actually getting any coverage.

And No Show Joe skipped the vote to go fundraise.

Murphy Madness

For local people there's a fundraiser for Patrick Murphy at the Happy Rooster at 5:30 tomorrow.


Joe's 5th on the ballot and I have to believe far more people will vote for the Republican on the ballot than polls suggest.

Joe's got problems.

Genuine Lunatics

I don't share Yglesias's optimism.

Real or Theater

CNN is reporting that the Senate Armed Service Committee has rejected the Bush's latest "compromise" offer on torturing people. I have yet to figure out if this is a real conflict or an elaborate dance.


This is bad news.

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Housing construction in the U.S. declined more than forecast last month to the lowest level in three years as waning demand left builders with a growing number of unsold homes.

The 6 percent decrease in housing starts to an annual rate of 1.665 million followed a 1.772 million pace in July, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Building permits dropped for a seventh straight month to the lowest level in four years and a sign home construction will keep slowing.

The battered U.S. housing market poses a risk of a larger slowdown in the economy and reinforces economist forecasts that Federal Reserve policy makers tomorrow will keep interest rates unchanged for a second month. Producer prices rose less than forecast last month, suggesting inflation is cooling along with economic growth, a Labor Department report showed today.

``There's no doubt the housing market is declining and we expect it to continue to decline through most of 2007,'' said Phillip Neuhart, an economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. ``Combined with the PPI data, it really sits with the Fed-on-hold scenario.''

The real risk to the economy isn't falling home prices IMHO - though that combined with ARM resetting could cause misery for a lot of people and certainly won't help the economy - it's the obliteration of jobs in housing construction.

Bush Justice

So, in Bush's America it's ok to kidnap a Canadian citizen and send him to Syria to be tortured. Turns out he's not guilty of anything.

Of course, we already knew that because he can't be guilty until... he has a trial.

It's possible that it could've turned out he was actually a bad guy. But they didn't know he was a bad guy. So he didn't have a trial. They just had him tortured.

Freedom. Smell it! Smells like freedom fries.

Almost There

$95 more and Karl goes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

More Thread


Fresh Thread


Date Rape


I just saw John Fund on Hardball saying over and over again that the president and John McCain would find a reasonable compromise on the torture issue that will satisfy everyone. I find that amusing. It was as if government was working as it should with the president debating the opposing party and coming to a nice bipartisan outcome.

The only problem, of course, is that is isn't really "bipartisan" at all, is it? It's a stragely public debate between a nutball Republican president and a nutball Republican senator. Can there be any question that "bipartisanship" and "compromise" between these two, six weeks before an election, would not result in John Fund being satisfied? I thought not.

I hear Joe Lieberman is running on his bipartisan credentials these days too and it's not surprising either. His definition of bipartisanship is also to take sides with John McCain in a Rovian kabuki with George Bush, follow the script, get rolled and then call it a compromise.

George W. Bush doesn't actually compromise with Democrats and Republicans in congress have consciously governed without Democratic input for six years. There has not been any birpartisanship as it is commonly understood since Bill Clinton was president. (And when Bill Clinton was president, Lieberman sided with the same Republicans he sides with today and called that bipartisanship too.)

This new definition of bipartisanship means Republicans like Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Lindsay Graham are considered the loyal opposition to a Republican president.

I don't think that's very good for America, do you?

Yeah, I stole the whole post, but sometimes blogofascism requires it.

Aside from the catastrophic Homeland Security Department, a disaster on the policy and the politics, what did Joe's bipartisanship ever do for Democrats?

Onward to Iran!

Well, we've been waiting long enough. It's about time!

Lies and the Lying Liars

No show Joe edition.

Stellar job, AP.

George's Pals

A bunch of wingnut extremists went to the White House...

Ney Ney

If Ney Ney won't resign I'm guessing that there's some financial benefit to sticking around a little longer - salary, pension, insurance, etc. It doesn't seem like the wingnut welfare squad is leaping to help him out.

Give a Little

Still a few more thousand to go before we can say bye to Karl.

It's quite possible we can win in November.



Afternoon Thread

I got nothing. Generalissimo Kos forgot to send out the daily memo.


Feel that Bush bounce!

Add to that list the Harris poll which has him at 38.

Time to reboot the Bush bounce story, Gang of 500 Wankers. Never fear, it will return...

Tied for Third Again

Or, fifth place on the ballot for Lieberman. Does anyone know how ballot placement is determined in CT? I spent some time trying to figure it out a few weeks back and couldn't.

Big Ideas

Replacing the payroll tax with pollution taxes sounds like good big idea.


Even more fascinating than Reynolds' speculation that Iran already has nukes is his speculation that the Bush administration is capitulating to nuclear blackmail.

I don't understand how their brains work. I really don't

Your Liberal Media

Still not liberal.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Assrocket edition.


Joe, Dangerstein and TamSun are doing a heckuva job.

lmost 50 years ago, a reporter asked President Dwight Eisenhower what major contributions his vice president, Richard M. Nixon, had made to the Eisenhower administration. Ike's response was telling and hilarious. He said, "If you give me a week, I might think of one."

Well, a few days ago, our incumbent junior senator, Joe Lieberman, a former candidate for president and vice president of the United States, told reporters that he needed a few more days to formulate, and properly articulate, his position on the war in Iraq. He wouldn't be talking about it with them until then.

This man has been in the U.S. Senate for 18 years and he doesn't know what he thinks, or how to express what he thinks, on the war in Iraq?

Like a kid who is flunking an exam because he doesn't know what to write, Lieberman said he needed "more time." He's had 20 years in politics, but give him another week.

Click through and read on. It gets even more shrill!


Another union runs from No Show Joe.

Fear of Nuclear Annhilation

I'm a bit younger than Josh, but I'm just old enough to remember. It was real. The sense that it could all go horribly bad suddenly and the world could be destroyed was pervasive. Even aside from the nukes the Soviet Union had a very real conventional military. The possibility of a massive conventional war against a well-armed adversary was also very real. What do you think all those troops are doing in Germany?

The Right truly has thrown its lot in with dishonest idiots. I guess it's all they have left.

He's Stupid and He's Ugly...

...and he's a WATB with a potty mouth.

NEW YORK Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), in a bruising race for re-election, slammed a Pennsylvania newspaper -- literally -- this weekend.

The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., report that Santorum, who trails Democrat Robert Casey in most polls, referred to his "rocky relations with the press" as he moved from room to room to attend regional caucuses earlier at a GOP state committee meeting in a hotel in East Pennsboro.

Later he refused to talk when a Patriot-News reporter, Brett Lieberman, approached with a question about Iran -- and again complained about what he called biased coverage.

"I have to raise tens of millions of dollars because of the junk you feed the people of Pennsylvania," he said, according to the paper. It added that he "then used an expletive to describe the coverage and slammed down a newspaper."


Advanced Age Ezra says something which isn't said enough:

Somehow, the case against protectionism in those sectors tends to be less persuasive to an intellectual class convinced of their own unique abilities and irreplaceable contributions. But little would be better for the developing world than to train more of their best and brightest in the lucrative, elite professions that drive global commerce and command global respect. And whatever inefficiencies and inflated costs that currently exist in the manufacturing sectors are miniscule compared to those in the protected, professional sectors. Plus: Deep down, don't we all really want to see Tom Friedman's column reach its logical extension and get outsourced to a bright recruit from elsewhere in this flat world of ours?

Aside from the class bias in policies, the class bias in attitude is really appalling. The degree to which those of a certain professional class imagine their contributions to society to be special and unique really fascinates me.

I'm not against all forms of elitism or for an absurd kind of egalitarianism - there's nothing wrong with having a great respect for the truly skilled - but plenty of highly skilled individuals exist outside the narrow world of the chattering classes. And Jeebus knows most of the country operates on higher intellectual level than billionaire Tom Friedman, unless for some reason the ability to manufacture and abuse an endless supply of truly awful mixed metaphors is a demonstration of genius.

Wanker Clarified

Following Max, the reason for the wanker designation was not that the DLC had their tax emempt status removed, the reason was (mostly) their (to them) unironic argument that their positions have more support from Republicans than Democrats. This is entirely separate from the complicated legal question of whether their status is deserved or not, and the broader issue of unbalanced enforcement by the IRS on such questions.

7 Weeks

Only about 7 weeks until election day. Only about $4000 more and Karl goes away.

More Yoo

Aside from the evil, it's a sad comment on our mainstream media institutions that they continue to put the imprint of respectability onto someone who is clearly a vapid hypocrite.

While those who wield the actual power are ultimately responsible, for some reason there is as DK suggests something extra evil about those who made their arguments for them.


I'm fascinated by John Yoo's continued expression of his desire to solidify his place in the pantheon of Truly Bad Actors in American political history.

Go West, Young Man

I'll be doing this event for Foolproof in Seattle on October 7. Come on out. There are more exciting people on the bill, too.

And, while I'm plugging things which are ALL ABOUT ME ME ME ME, I'll be helping out with a fundraiser/reading for LitPAC at the Khyber this Wednesday in Philadelphia at 7pm.



ept 18 (Reuters) - Following are security and other developments in Iraq reported on Monday, as of 1100 GMT:

BAGHDAD - Fourteen bodies, tortured and with bullet holes in the head, were found in different districts of Baghdad on Monday, a Ministry of Interior source said.

NEAR KUT - Three border guards were killed and six wounded by a roadside bomb when they were searching a village near the Iraqi-Iranian border east of Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said.

KERBALA - Gunmen killed four men in different incidents in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala, 110 km (68 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

BAQUBA - Gunmen killed four members of a Shi'ite family and wounded five as they were leaving their homes after receiving death threats in the religiously mixed city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

HIBHIB - Gunmen killed two members of a Shi'ite family and wounded two others as they were leaving their home after receiving death threats in the small town of Hibhib, near Baquba, police said.

MOSUL - Police found the bullet-riddled corpses of four women in different districts of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. One of the bodies showed signs of torture, police added.

MOSUL - Three civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near an Iraqi army patrol in Mosul, police said.

Wankers of the Day

The DLC.

CNN on the Duquesne Shootings

"This is an urban campus, but by all accounts a safe campus..."

(story here)

...adding, it is true that violent crime rates are higher in urban areas - I'm not disputing that - it's just that the the dichotomy set up here of "safe/not safe" is absurd, as is the implicit "urban=YOU'RE GOING TO DIE." Bad things happen everywhere.

Yes I live in the city. No I don't worry much about random crime in my neighborhood though of course it does happen. Yes much of this city does have a lot of violent crime.

Morning Thread


Sunday, September 17, 2006

For the Record

Ezra is 58 years old.


Drudge has discovered Roger Waters doesn't like George Bush or Maggie Thatcher. Shocker. I know I'm always shocked when rock stars are anti-authority. That's so against everything rock music was about.

Here's Roger Leaving Beirut.

Late Night


...okay, add in SusanG's post which makes me want to shoot people in the face.


Joe Lieberman says we're not involved in the war in Afghanistan?


Thumbs Down

Joe, Dangerstein, and TamSun are such losers.

Letting Their Minds Go Completely

The inability of people to come to terms with their own screwups is really depressing.

Stay, Ney Ney, Stay

Stay, Ney Ney, Stay
They have no legal claim,
No shadow of a shame
Will fall upon thy name.
Stay, Ney Ney, Stay...

Shorter Jonathan Chait



They Write Letters

Ruthalice Anderson writes to Romenesko:
Reading David Broder's answers to online questions clarifies the problem many people have with mainstream opinionmakers like him -- lack of common sense. Repeatedly asked to compare Bush and Clinton's lies, he again and again argued that Clinton's lies were too egregious and that he should have resigned. Bush's lies, however, arouse much less ire or even concern with Broder. What can you say about a man who is more upset about lies about sexual indiscretions than about lies that cost tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars? Worse, what can you conclude about any paper that gives a megaphone to someone with such a distorted sense of justice?

Not Just Good

I do agree with Tristero's take on how they came to put juvenile idiots in charge of our pet country, but it's also important to understand the fundamental pscyhological detachment of these people from reality. They were going to knock off a leader and assume control of a country, and they thought that the most important things to do were destroy the existing civil service, privatize government assets, create a modern stock market, institute a flat tax, and ensure that abortion was outlawed (Remember earlier reports that one of the young puppies in Iraq involved with crafting the constitution didn't want there to be an independent judiciary because they might make abortion legal. You can't make this stuff up.)

In short, they were sociopaths who lacked any genuine empathy for the people they were supposedly liberating and were convinced that if they'd just put into practice all the crap they'd been fed by Limbaugh and the College Republicans that they would create in Iraq the Fountain of Eternal Ponies.

For those who think that Iraq was and is The Most Important War ever, perhaps it's time to ask how the president fucked it up so badly.

Afternoon Thread

Go Eagles.

The Internets

You know what's really cool? Anyone can set up a blog on the internets for free!

Just thought I'd share.

Sunday Bobbleheads


ABC's "This Week" (7 a.m., Channel 9, 99475) — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz; national security adviser Stephen Hadley; singer and songwriter Jewel.
CBS' "Face the Nation" (10:35 p.m., Channel 13, 7 on Comcast, 2351562) — Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Hadley.
NBC's "Meet the Press" (8 a.m., Channel 4, , 21036) — Sen. George Allen, R-Va.; former Navy Secretary James Webb, Allen's Democratic challenger.
CNN's "Late Edition" (8 a.m., check listings, 359901) — Hadley; George Soros, Democratic financier; Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni; Iraqi national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie; Ali Mohammed Jan Aurakzai, governor of Pakistan's Waziristan province; Sens. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and John Cornyn, R-Texas.
"Fox News Sunday" (8 a.m., Channel 11, 85272) — House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio; Hadley.
Sunday's TV News Shows


I guess the only good news is that we don't hear any whining about the "liberal media" covering up the good news.

Morning Thread