Saturday, February 03, 2007

New thread

I have nothing to say - what have you been reading?

Fresh Thread


Freedom to be A Fan Act

I can get behind this.

Blogroll Clarity

Look, I'm adding links back to the blogroll slowly as I think "gee, I want to read that blog, where's the damn link?" It's a work in progress, and the ones currently up aren't the only ones which will make the cut.


And the horrible death toll continues to rise from the bombing in Iraq today.

Still, I know this is all just a fantasy concocted by the terrorist lovers at the Emm Ess Emm. How do I know this? I know this because The Last Honest Man told over a year ago:

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do.

And Saint John McCain, maverick that he is, told me over a year ago:

And I'd also suggest--and again, I'll probably--I'm not in any way concerned about saying this--that we will probably see significant progress in the next six months to a year.

And these are the very serious people, the kinds of people that we're supposed to take sage advice from about what to do in the world.

Happy Blogroll Amnesty Day

Hey, the blogroll is gone.

As I wrote earlier, one of the big complaints by new bloggers is that it's impossible to get onto blogrolls because established bloggers tend not to add them. They're right. A big reason for that is that everyone feels a wee bit guilty about removing blogs from their blogroll, so they're hesitant to add new ones to an ever-expanding list.

I long ago decided that my blogroll should consist of blogs I read. I want to grow it again naturally, adding blogs I find myself wanting to read on a regular basis.

This is not an opportunity for people to send me an email saying "please check out my blog!" That's the worst way to get someone to check out your blog. There's nothing wrong with the fine art of blogwhoring, but it is a fine art. If you have something specific on your blog you think I might be interested in send me that.

Wanker of the Day

Glenn Reynolds.

I have never come across a person so proud of their own profound stupidity.


My big pet peeves are the widespread belief in this society that:

a) it's your right to tell other people how to be parents


b) mothers must achieve a perceived standard of "perfection" which is absurd.

You must literally be nuts to suggest that a parent (mother, specfically, natch) can't have a drink if children are under their care because maybe, just maybe, they'd have to drive them to a hospital if a kid got hurt.

If I had a sick kid I'd hail a cab to the hospital, now that the one a block from me has closed and I'd no longer be able to just quickly walk to one.

Adelman's Final Friedman

On July 4 he'll say it's hopeless.

July's a big month. I think half of Washington has made a "six month/last chance" statement which comes due then. Not that it'll stop them from rebooting and starting the Friedman process all over again.

Meanwhile, CNN says 45+ 55+ 80+ 100+ killed in suicide truck bomb attack.


Well, not exactly swampland, but in this edition Swampland's Jay Carney reveals his definition of mainstream:

CARNEY (1/31/07): What Biden was saying, and this is Biden’s fault for not being clear in what he was saying in this interview, is that there hasn’t been a candidate, a viable African-American candidate with all those qualities in one.

MATTHEWS: And mainstream.

CARNEY: Who is mainstream.

MATTHEWS: Mainstream is the key to me.

CARNEY: Who didn’t come from the civil rights movement, you know, who came up through elected office, who wasn’t, you know, simply a boutique or fringe candidate...

There you go.

Sunday Bobbleheads


Meet the Press" Guests: Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

• "This Week" Guests: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.; Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York.

• "Face the Nation" . Guests: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

• "CNN Late Edition" Guests: White House budget director Rob Portman; former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack; former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel; Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

• "Fox News Sunday" Guests: Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C.

Morning Thread

Just until Dad gets up.
--Molly Ivors

Friday, February 02, 2007

"The Political Center"

Supports full withdrawal in a year.

They must all be orthodontists.

They Do Interviews

The good Klein interviews John Edwards.

Poor Tom

He does seem to piss people off.

Shorter Stephen Hadley

Hope is the BEST plan!


At Altercation:
Sorry, you pack of smug, insufferable bastards -- a war's gone bad and the country's a mess, and you never were funny, anyway, not like Molly was. So go and take your little slambooks and wreck some other profession for a while. The grown-ups have work to do.

"The Political Center"

What will it take for people in the media to recognize that people hate Bush and hate this war.

The Big Money

Another $245 billion down the hole.

I'm reasonably sure that's enough money to fully fund every major infrastructure project even fantasized about by planners in the top 10 US cities.

Shorter NIE

The term "civil war" doesn't adequately capture how fucked up things are.

They Get Jobs

Glenn Greenwald is absorbed into Salon.

I think that's a smart move, on both sides.

Lessons Not Learned

I fear the good Klein is correct.

One Krauthammer

Two months ago, Chuckles Krauthammer wrote:

The United States should be giving Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki a clear ultimatum: If he does not come up with a political solution in two months or cede power to a new coalition that will, the United States will abandon the Green Zone; retire to its bases; move much of its personnel to Kurdistan, where we are welcome and safe; and let the civil war take its course. Let the current Green Zone-protected Iraqi politicians who take their cue from Moqtada al-Sadr face the insurgency alone. That might concentrate their minds on either making a generous offer to the Sunnis or stepping aside for a coalition that would.

That didn't happen. So, what does he say now? Well, last week he wrote:

What is missing is a fourth alternative, both as a threat to Maliki and as an actual fallback if the surge fails. The Pentagon should be working on a sustainable Plan B whose major element would be not so much a drawdown of troops as a drawdown of risk to our troops. If we had zero American casualties a day, there would be as little need to withdraw from Iraq as there is to withdraw from the Balkans.

We need to find a redeployment strategy that maintains as much latent American strength as possible, but with minimal exposure. We say to Maliki: Let us down, and we dismantle the Green Zone, leave Baghdad and let you fend for yourself; we keep the airport and certain strategic bases in the area; we redeploy most of our forces to Kurdistan; we maintain a significant presence in Anbar province, where we are having success in our one-front war against al-Qaeda and the Baathists. Then we watch. You can have your Baghdad civil war without us. We will be around to pick up the pieces as best we can.

This is not a great option, but fallbacks never are. It does have the virtue of being better than all the others, if the surge fails. It has the additional virtue of increasing the chances that the surge will succeed.

In other words, another ultimatum.

And this week he has a pissing contest with Zakaria in which he whines that IT'S NOT OUR FAULT DAMNIT.

Go Bears!

In case you need a reason to choose a team.

Morning Thread



The Rude One has the best tribute I've seen.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Krugman on Ivins

Krugman takes a look at some of her columns:

I’ve been going through Molly’s columns from 2002 and 2003, the period when most of the wise men of the press cheered as Our Leader took us to war on false pretenses, then dismissed as “Bush haters” anyone who complained about the absence of W.M.D. or warned that the victory celebrations were premature. Here are a few selections:

Nov. 19, 2002: “The greatest risk for us in invading Iraq is probably not war itself, so much as: What happens after we win? ... There is a batty degree of triumphalism loose in this country right now.”

Jan. 16, 2003: “I assume we can defeat Hussein without great cost to our side (God forgive me if that is hubris). The problem is what happens after we win. The country is 20 percent Kurd, 20 percent Sunni and 60 percent Shiite. Can you say, ‘Horrible three-way civil war?’ ”

July 14, 2003: “I opposed the war in Iraq because I thought it would lead to the peace from hell, but I’d rather not see my prediction come true and I don’t think we have much time left to avert it. That the occupation is not going well is apparent to everyone but Donald Rumsfeld. ... We don’t need people with credentials as right-wing ideologues and corporate privatizers — we need people who know how to fix water and power plants.”

Oct. 7, 2003: “Good thing we won the war, because the peace sure looks like a quagmire. ...

“I’ve got an even-money bet out that says more Americans will be killed in the peace than in the war, and more Iraqis will be killed by Americans in the peace than in the war. Not the first time I’ve had a bet out that I hoped I’d lose.”

(via E&P)

Fresh Thread


Shocking Development

Well, not really.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military drive to train and equip Iraq's security forces has unwittingly strengthened anti-American Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, which has been battling to take over much of the capital city as American forces are trying to secure it.

U.S. Army commanders and enlisted men who are patrolling east Baghdad, which is home to more than half the city's population and the front line of al-Sadr's campaign to drive rival Sunni Muslims from their homes and neighborhoods, said al-Sadr's militias had heavily infiltrated the Iraqi police and army units that they've trained and armed.

"Half of them are JAM. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia's Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."

Nice Polite Republicans

NPR getting fair and balanced.


Stop it.

Brain Exploding

CNN can segue almost seamlessly from a puff piece on a potential Newt Gingrich run to a discussion about how Gavin Newsom's affair might be a "career breaker."

Conservative Idiots

K. Lo thinks it's "brilliant" that a wingnut legal group has nominated Rush Limbaugh for a Nobel Peace Prize.

If by "brilliant" she means "stupid as usual" she's correct, as there isn't an open nominating process for the award.

Nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize is by invitation only. The Nobel Committee sends confidential forms to persons who are competent and qualified to nominate. The names of the nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later.

(ht pony boy)

...adding, to be clear, there are lots of people with the power to nominate, but this doesn't qualify as a "nomination."

Dear Dr. Mjos:
Landmark Legal Foundation herewith submits the name of Rush Limbaugh as
an unsolicited nomination for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
We are offering this nomination for Mr. Limbaugh's nearly two decades
of tireless efforts to promote liberty, equality and opportunity for all
mankind, regardless of race, creed, economic stratum or national origin. We
fervently believe that these are the only real cornerstones of just and
lasting peace throughout the world.
Rush Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host in the
United States and one of the most popular broadcasters in the world. His
daily radio show is heard on more than 600 radio stations in the United
States and around the world. For 18 years he has used his show to become
the foremost advocate for freedom and democracy in the world today.
Everyday he gives voice to the values of democratic governance, individual
opportunity and the just, equal application of the rule of law -- and it is
fitting the Nobel Committee recognize the power of these ideals to build a
truly peaceful world for future generations.
Thank you for your thoughtful and serious consideration of this
nomination. Should you require additional information, please don't
hesitate to contact me.

Mark R. Levin

McCain Messiah Watch

How about it, Tim?

Getting So Much Better All The Time

Saint McCain continues to contradict himself.

The Mooninites Speak

And play with the media.


Over there:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two suicide bombers blew themselves up Thursday in a crowded outdoor market in a Shiite city south of Baghdad, killing 45 people and wounding 150, police said.

The attackers strolled into the Maktabat outdoor market in the center of Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, about 6 p.m. as shoppers were buying food for their evening meals. Police thought one of the men appeared suspicious and stopped him, according to police.

The bomber then detonated his explosives. The second attacker who was walking behind him then set off his own explosives belt, police added.

By tomorrow the Pentagon will tell us that this attack was unprecedented in its sophistication and something that dumbass Iraqis couldn't have possibly accomplished without help from some clever and canny Persians.

From the Wonderful Folks

Craig Unger writes about how we've always been at war with Iran.

It really is depressing how our media have apparently learned nothing. They say "eek! Iran" and Barbara Starr dutifully shows up on CNN to uncritically tell us about it.

I don't know what to do about this.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Commander Bunnypants edition.

Fresh Thread

I got nothin'.

Someone Call Deval Patrick

My guess is a pardon is the only thing which will put a stop to this nonsense.

They Get Jobs

Shakes gets assimilated.

I keep waiting to be Raptured up into the Biden campaign.

Wanker of the Day

Papa Bear.

Morning Thread


More Children

Okay, I guess I should offer more of an explanation. Highlight to read as there are probably spoilers involved.

I tend to react negatively to anything which floats above, or suggests that floating above, the muck is the only productive or honorable course. This is the view of David "pox on both their houses [especially the Democrats] " Broder, the "everybody but us are losers" attitude of the South Park guys, Nader's Gush and Bore, etc... And, ultimately, this is part of the message of Children of Men. The government is right wing and bad. The dissenters are left wing and bad, and so bad they team up with Islamic terrorists and see revolution as an end in itself. Salvation is to be found not within but outside the system. Only those who set up camp outside the existing order offer possible salvation.

I've got nothing against those who see the corruption of the system as an insurmountable problem, it's those who apparently see human nature as an insurmountable problem but then imagine there are Super Humans who can somehow transcend this.

Within that framework the movie had a lot of interesting and perceptive bits, but too often the motives of the political actors were left unexplained. Why was the government obsessed with deporting foreigners? No clear rationale (reasonable or not) was offered. Why were the revolutionaries obsessed with revolution as an end in itself? Why were they united with the Islamic terrorist/revolutionaries?

The political message of "everyone sucks" but "somewhere saviors exist" is a very common one, and it tends to come from people who lack their own coherent ideological foundation.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Children of Men

Jeebus, I liked that movie better the first time I read the story... when it was called Atlas Shrugged.

Slight spoilers, highlight text to read:

And, no, that's not an entirely fair comparison, but the basic framework of the whole society is a mess and people of all political stripes are screwed up and the only hope of progress comes from a bunch of possibly mythical smart people who have dropped out of society and are holed up in an isolated location was still eerily reminiscent.

He's Good Enough, He's Smart Enough

And doggone it, he's going to make a run for the Senate.

Late Night Thread


Gang Pluck

Sadly, Molly Ivins has passed away.

She made the world a better place while she was here.

Fresh Thread


Good for Him


I didn't take Senator Biden's comments personally, but obviously they are historically inaccurate. After all, we've had presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Mosely Braun and Al Sharpton. They gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns and no one would call them inarticulate.

Click through for Digby's post on the subject.

Those Clever Persians

So, according to CNN the whole "Iran is behind the kidnapping/killing!!!!!!!!" story is only based on "suspicion" because the operation was so "sophisticated."

Those poor stupid Iraqis couldn't have possibly been behind it.

The crazy season is ramping up again.

For the Record

The New York Times shouldrefer to me as "Dr. Black" from now on.


I'm not sure what Garance's point is here. No one should ever be surprised that outsider candidates of any kind are treated with disdain by Washington power brokers and High Pundits, but the fact that Washington insiders didn't want to have much to do with Jesse Jackson has little bearing on the fact that the guy had fairly broad appeal and managed to attract a hell of a lot of votes, quite possibly many more votes than Obama will eventually receive (this is not judgment or prediction, just highlighting the fact that no one's, you know, cast a vote for the guy yet). He certainly had, by the only measure which is really important, a hell of a lot more broad mainstream support than did the very serious mainstream Joe Lieberman. I have serious doubts that he'd have managed to actually win the presidency had he won the primary, but he couldn't have done much worse than Mike Dukakis.

Jackson also ran in 1984, and got 20% of the Democratic primary vote and 10% of the delegates.

Boston Boxes of Doom

The race is on to determine whether they were put there by a right wing nut or a left wing nut.

...ah. Neither. Marketing for Aqua Teen Hunger Force.



In this edition, Joe Klein channels the collective wit of Jonah Goldberg and Mallard Filmore and refers to John Kerry as "Frenchy," and then channels the blogger ethics of Andrew Sullivan and edits it out.

(ht hesiod)

Wanker of the Day

Richard Cohen.

...adding, some actual coverage from Hardball yesterday:

MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.

Another day of testimony in the Scooter Libby trial. Former “New York Times” reporter Judith Miller took the stand today, the first time she testified publicly against Libby, who was the source she chose to protect, leading her to spend several weeks—many weeks in jail.

HARDBALL‘s David Shuster is standing by at the courthouse.

David, I was shook today to hear that Scooter Libby told Judy Miller, told Judy Miller, that it was the vice president‘s inquiry about a uranium deal in Africa that led to Joe Wilson‘s trip. This is the first time we‘ve heard out of the vice president‘s office, even secondhand, ad admission, a confession that that trip was because of a question raised by the veep, not because Mrs. Wilson, Valerie Plame, thought her husband needed a junket.

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Right, I mean, it was the missing piece of the puzzle that the vice president‘s office has been loathe to acknowledge these last three years and that certainly Scooter Libby has not want to come out of this trial. But it did happen when Judy Miller was testifying about a conversation with Scooter Libby in June of 2003. And she testified that Scooter Libby brought up Joe and Valerie Wilson.

And it was during this testimony, when Judy Miller said that she was told by Libby about the genesis of Joe Wilson‘s trip, and that it was the vice president who had asked the CIA about an intense report that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger in 2002, and that, according to Miller, Libby told her that the CIA then followed it up with Joe Wilson, but that Libby was also adamant, according to Miller, in saying the vice president‘s office didn‘t know anything about this trip, the vice president‘s office didn‘t get a report from the CIA, it was the fault of the CIA.

And, Chris, what was so remarkable is the glimpse that Judy Miller‘s testimony offered us again, about the extent that—extent to which the vice president‘s office wanted to blame everybody else for the faulty intelligence. They were blaming the CIA for not getting back to the vice president‘s office. They were blaming the State Department and the Energy Department for having a footnote in a report that expressed the dissension about what aluminum tubes were for. And according to Miller, Libby said, “It‘s not our fault that we didn‘t see this in this report.”

It was always somebody else‘s fault. And it goes to the idea, Chris, that even after the war had begun, the vice president‘s office was adamant about suggesting that everybody else was unanimous in agreeing that Iraq was trying to expand a nuclear program.

Tim Hates Chris

Ana-Marie confirms that is indeed what Matalin said.

The cocktail parties just got a bit more uncomfortable.  Here's a preview of tomorrow's column from David Broder:

Patrick Fitzgerald came in here and he trashed this place, and it's not his place.

"He Hates Chris"

Do Libby's notes really say that Mary Matalin said that Tim Russert hates Chris Matthews?


Joementum II: The Legend of Curly's Gold

The heavily moderated comments at Joe's blog are hilarious.

More Charitable

As I said, there are more charitable ways to characterize what Joe Biden said, but even in those readings it's still extraordinarily offensive.

And lets stop writing the 1988 presidential primary out of history. Whatever spot in our political landscape Jesse Jackson currently holds, he was a very mainstream African-American presidential candidate then who got, IIRC, about a third of the delegates.

JMM on Joe

I'm not sure about the reflexive "extremely knowledgable on foreign policy" praise as it seems like everyone who is "extremely knowledgable on foreign policy" seems to get everything wrong these days, but otherwise Josh has the right take. The are more and less charitable readings of what Biden said, but there's no way to read it which doesn't reflect very poorly on Biden.

Slave State

Biden flashback.


Volumes could be written about all that was wrong with what Biden said about Obama, but I believe we've just witnessed the shortest presidential run in history.

Silly Sully

Unlike Heritage, which knows what they're doing, I'm reasonably sure Andrew Sullivan is just an idiot. He really doesn't understand this stuff at all.

Joementum II: The Final Sacrifice

Joe Biden says that Barack Obama is "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."




Why is Kenneth Pollack on my TV?

Morning Thread


In Which Atrios Links to a Nonwhite Artist

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Late Night

You blanks.

More Thread

Rock on.

They Get Jobs

Amanda is assimilated into the Edwards Borg.

Wanker of the Day

Little LuLu.

Obama Press Release

Here it is.

Obama Introduces Iraq Plan

From CNN, legislation to force redeployment of all combat troops by March '08.


So, the wise old men of David Broder's beloved Iraq Study Group testified to the Senate today. From what I gathered from CNN coverage just now, they support sending more troops to Iraq (James "Give it a chance!" Baker more than Hamilton), but they warn that nothing will improve unless there's also diplomacy with Iran and Syria.

Personally, I don't really understand their obsession with diplomacy with Iran and Syria. It's probably a good idea on its own merits, though what it has to do with Iraq I'm not sure.

Still, they say they support sending more troops to Iraq. Then they say it needs to be accompanied by things which won't happen.

I just don't understand this game anymore.

...adding, of course regional diplomacy is going to be necessary, I just don't think it's particularly useful until the people in charge acknowledge a few elements of reality that they are unwilling to acknowledge. Their unwillingness to engage in diplomacy is a problem, but there isn't much point in engaging in Iraq-related diplomacy until they're willing to see reality a bit more clearly.

Today In Sociopathy

Treason-in-defense-of-slavery Yankee edition.

They Write Letters

Jim Webb writes to Condi Rice.

Who the Hell is Johnny Isakson?

A complete wanker, a senator from Georgia, and the occasional reminder that as much as I pay attention to this stuff there are senators whose names I just do not know.

Manufacturing Reality

The press makes stuff up about Kerry.

sun rises.

Judy's On the Stand

fun fun fun.

What Should He Have Said?

Rich "We're Winning!" Lowry is mad at the objective of K. Lo's love for not talking about the war. I'm really curious about just what your basic National Review reading wingnut wants Republican presidential candidates to say about Iraq. I feel that even though they'll abandon Bush on just about every issue, they'll cling to The Great and Glorious Iraq war until the end.

In Which Mara Liasson Makes a Useful Observation

"That's the press."

Years later, they still dream of the Tubesteak Messiah. They really need to get some help.

Dreaming of Dead Americans

Wingnut Mike Gallagher hopes thousands of Americans are slaughtered.

Seeing Jane Fonda Saturday was enough to make me wish the unthinkable: it will take another terror attack on American soil in order to render these left-leaning crazies irrelevant again. Remember how quiet they were after 9/11? No one dared take them seriously. It was the United States against the terrorist world, just like it should be.

It's time to stand tall, speak loudly and defend America against these enemies like Hanoi Jane.

She's back. Are we going to let her get away with it....again????

(emphasis mine. ht reader c)

Flip Flop

More nonsense from the patron saint of liars.

Libertarian Jacksonian Whig


Bank Wal-Mart

I actually don't have any established opinion on this, but at first pass I don't see why this is a good idea.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Democrat and Republican on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Monday introduced a bill that would ban Wal-Mart (WMT.N: Quote, Profile , Research) and other commercial companies from owning a type of bank known as an industrial loan company (ILC).

The bill was co-sponsored by Barney Frank of Massachusetts, a Democrat who is chairman of the panel, and Paul Gillmor of Ohio, the ranking Republican.

"We are seeking to prevent the expansion of a historically small special niche into a full-fledged alternative banking system, which dissolves the line between banking and commerce," Frank said in a statement.

But, anyway, open for discussion.

Curtains For Big Time?

I really don't see it happening.

Punting for the Boy King's Ego

Your courageous Republicans:

Even Republicans supporting President Bush's new Iraq strategy have been saying this is the last chance for the Iraqi government, and there may be an underlying message for the President there as well. US News Political Bulletin hears from GOP strategists with close ties to Capitol Hill that the President and his senior aides are too optimistic about keeping GOP congressional support for the Iraq war over the long term. One senior Republican adviser says Bush has "until April or May" to improve things in Iraq. If he cannot, he could face a GOP rebellion that could result in reductions in spending for the conflict and legislation to start bringing the troops home.

Things will still be awful by the end of May, and most Republicans won't change their position at all.

Drunks with Guns

Cyborg lawyer nirvana.

Morning Thread


Monday, January 29, 2007

The Second Stupidest Fucking Person On the Face of the Planet

Yes, it's Gregg Easterbrook.

Stupid Chris Bowers

He forgot:

7. They're being paid off, or hope to be.

The fact that he left this one off the list leads me to conclude that Chris Bowers is a wholly owned subsidiary of the DLC.


I'll be charitable and offer the possibility that neither is lying, but there is a serious discrepancy between what Ari Ari Bo Bari testified to today and what Dickerson had previously reported.

Bugs and Features

Kenneth Pollack and friends:

US troops, says the study, should withdraw from Iraqi cities. This was "the only rational course of action, horrific though it will be", as America refocused its efforts from preventing civil war to containing its effects.

The unremittingly bleak document, drawing on the experience of civil wars in Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia, Congo and Afghanistan, also offers a remarkably stark assessment of Iraq's "spill-over" potential across the Persian Gulf region.


In a "war game" testing US options, the Saban Centre for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution found that, as the descent into civil war gathered pace, confrontation between the US and Iran intensified, and Washington's leverage on Tehran diminished. Civil war in Iraq would turn Iran into "the unambiguous adversary" of the US.

Indeed, everything indicates that that is already happening. The study appeared on the same day as the Iranian ambassador in Iraq told The New York Times that Tehran intended to expand its influence in Iraq. US commanders now claim that thousands of Iranian advisers are arming and training Shia militias.

Of course, to the administration this is a feature not a bug.

More Thread


Record Vacancy

I've been keeping one eye on housing market developments, and the increase in the housing vacancy rate is huge.


Why do they never stop digging...

Fresh Thread


Plame Game

Kevin's obsessing about Bob Novak and his use of Valerie Plame, believing that it's significant. Clearly, Bob Novak wasn't too happy when one of his then-colleagues was going to ask about it. My guess is lots of people know what the deal is, but as has always been the case with this story they aren't bothering to share.


In this edition, Joe Klein earns the coveted wanker of the day award.


Only our lunatic beltway press could imagine that when Hillary Clinton referred to "evil men" that she was referring to her husband. Do these people live on this planet?

For my own personal irrelevant reasons I've always hoped she wouldn't run, because when it comes to the Clintons members are the press literally live in a different universe, they feel entitled to say anything, and this drives me crazy. Can you imagine any other politician being asked if they thought their spouse was evil?


Aside from the obvious inanity of the horror that is our elite discourse, I do find it really quite fascinating how so many of our elite pundits really seem to think that when voting for a candidate for high office their personal idiosyncratic likes and dislikes are actually important. I mean, I'm sure lots of people actually vote this way, but I would've thought that people who spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff should be able to get beyond "ewww, that person's icky!" as an important determinant of their vote or support. Isn't the point of elite punditry that maybe these Wise People Who Go On TV can help try to simplify and explain and highlight important issues to us rabble, instead of elevating personal navel gazing and the ultimate in trivia? Though, really, Sullivan's too stupid to actually understand policy at any level so this shouldn't be especially surprising.

Yes, I know, simple answers to simple questions blah blah...

The Women I Know

Personally I was pretty horrified at the Hirshman column. Argument by anecdote (and, no, the plural of anecdote is not data) is usually inappropriate, especially when the argument is that women are a bunch of clueless nitwits.


I'd call John McCain a lot of things, but I wouldn't call him a traitor. Really awesome, National Review Institute!


White hot stupid!!!!!!!!

Go Bears!

In case you were looking for a reason to choose a team.


Why is Kenneth Pollack on my teevee?

...ah, this is it. Apparently the civil war in Iraq is now the central front in our war on civil wars.

The Double Talk Express

Cliff Schecter and friends bring us The Real McCain.

Morning Thread


Late Night

Rock on.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dealing With the Freak Show

I'm not optimistic it will continue, but I hope the the more responsible players in the mainstream media increasingly understand that part of their job is dealing with the right wing freak show which has had such power over them for so long.

Even my good friend Howard Kurtz was showing some signs of life on Reliable Sources this morning.

Promise and Greatness

Bob Herbert:

The public is way out in front of the politicians on this issue. But the importance of Saturday’s march does not lie primarily in whether it hastens a turnaround of U.S. policy on the war. The fact that so many Americans were willing to travel from every region of the country to march against the war was a reaffirmation of the public’s commitment to our peaceful democratic processes.

It is in that unique and unflagging commitment, not in our terrifying military power, that the continued promise and greatness of America are to be found.

The public, though not always exactly where I would have wanted them to be, has always been out in front of the politicians on this war. The sad truth of the last 4+ years is that too many of our leaders failed to lead.

This fact reminded me of this passage in an article about Scooter Libby by a self-described "old friend."

For all these reasons, I want to insist that Scooter's respect for power is not just a front for cold self-interest. At bottom, there's a kind of innocence about Scooter. He has submitted to masters like Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney because he respects them, just as a Zen novitiate submits to a meditation master or a young violinist reveres the prodigious talent of her teacher. This attitude was zealously nurtured by the prep schools we attended, where conformity to power was called "leadership" and submission to the system understood as "success." And it is Scooter's celebration of this attitude -- not the sex scenes unfairly ridiculed by the New Yorker -- that makes his novel "The Apprentice" so interesting today. The book tells the story of a young man just like Scooter, a man with the humility to bow before a master warrior and undertake a life of apprenticeship to figures mightier than himself.

I'd never really quite thought about it in that way, that "conformity to power" is too often confused with "leadership" in David Broder's Washington.

But there you go.

Evolution in Action

The return of glennocide.

The Lieberman Problem

Well, we tried to warn them. Anyway, if Joe doesn't have a prime time spot at the RNC in '08 I'll be shocked. I think he's gonna put his chips on a cabinet seat in (what he hopes will be) the next Republican administration.


Murray Waas takes a look at Huckabee's MTP appearance.


While doing some opposition research on Matt Stoller (otherwise known as He Who Must Be Destroyed), I came across this pic from Seattle.

When you're done gazing at the beautiful people you can continue on to the open thread.

Soothingly Sensible

Same shit, different publication.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.

Blogger Ethics Panel

Please, media, when quoting people saying negative things about a candidate please check to see if they have connections to another candidate. Can we have more of that transparency you all keep pretending doesn't exist for bloggers?

Lies and the Lying Liars

Dick Cheney edition.

Last Chance


Like other GOP lawmakers, McConnell said time is running out for the president.

"I think everybody knows what the consequences are. The president doesn't have a stronger supporter in the Senate than the person you're looking at, but I repeat, this is the last chance for the Iraqis to step up and demonstrate this government can function," he said. "The message to the Iraqi government could not be more clear."

...and then what?

"Last chance" talk is all the rage these days. I put people down for a Friedman when they use the phrase.

In Which I Apologize to Tim Russert

Contrary to my prediction, he did in fact ask Huckabee about Wayne Dumond. I'll have to wait for the transcript to judge how he handled it, but he did at least broach the topic.

The Tears of John McCain

Newsweek calls Chuck Hagel a "rebel."

Wanker of the Day

Joe Lieberman.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" - Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; actor Kevin Bacon.


CBS' "Face the Nation" - Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa.


NBC's "Meet the Press" - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and David Vitter, R-La.; former presidential speechwriter Michael Gerson; Kenneth Pollack, a Brookings Institution analyst.


CNN's "Late Edition" - Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele; Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.


"Fox News Sunday" - Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation.


TEH STUPID! IT BURNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Morning Thread

Because posting it will immediately cause Atrios to post the Bobblehead thread.
--Molly Ivors

The C&P Troll

The most pathetic troll of all.