Saturday, July 21, 2007

New thread


Not Atrios

Saturday Thread

Rock on.

Decent Journalism



Without expressing any opinion about Ron Paul, let me just remind the world that the "wackos" are the ones who suggested Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, that he possessed weapons of mass destruction, that he was in any way a threat to the United States, that invading the country with 130,000 troops would be a walk in the park, etc...

The fact that substantial numbers of our elite media and political industrial complexes are members of this group of Wackos does not render the term inappropriate, it simply serves to remind us of just how fucked up our elites are and just how large a problem we face.

Wanker of the Day

Yeah, I could've done this one at 6:30 when I woke up.

Fred Hiatt!

And more

and more

and more

and more

Who Cares What I Think?

I think Chris is overthinking this. I didn't endorse anyone in '04, though I would've described myself as a "Dean sympathizer." In '04 the issues were Iraq and getting rid of Bush before he did all the things we imagined he'd do. So you had support for Dean and Clark (Iraq issue) and to a lesser extent Kerry (he's the most electable one).

Of all the reasons Chris lists for people not endorsing any presidential candidates, "divided community" is the only one that probably has any real legitimacy for me, and I felt the same way in '04.

But most importantly, who cares what I think? I certainly express opinions about the candidates, and those opinions might carry some weight with some readers, but I don't imagine that aggregating all of that into an "endorsement" of one candidate would really sway people. More than that, I don't see myself as the Voice Of Authority as editorial boards have forever.

If I woke up one day and really had a strong sense of which candidate I favored, I'd probably say so as more of a transparency issue, but I still wouldn't think of it as an endorsement.

Besides, I only go to dive bars to hang out with dirty fucking hippie bloggers. Otherwise it's only the finest restaurants for me!

Name That Decade

Had it been a bit more fun than the freak show it has been I'd have been in favor of the naughty sounding "Naughties." Zeroes it is.

Fresh Thread

Harry Potter is Luke Skywalker's Father!



As I wrote earlier, I understand that the state of the president's health is of genuine interest to the country, but does CNN really need to be running with that chyron for hours?

I mean, if he'd had a health event or something I'd understand. You know, "following heart attack" or whatever. A colonoscopy is fairly common diagnostic procedure that those of us with health insurance are encouraged to get at some point in our lives.


Mitt's supporters.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.


One of the (numerous) extraordinarily ignored events was when, last Spring, Bush kept saying that the failure of Democrats to pass a spending bill quickly enough was going to cause longer deployment times for troops. This, of course, didn't make any sense at all, but as it goes these days it didn't stop the press from reporting it as if it made sense.

And then, of course, someone in the Pentagon leaked the fact that the plan was to... extend troop deployments.

And we all just moved on. La la la la la.

Poor Confused BoBo

He's so confused about Iraq.

On March 9 he said
"we'll know... in a few months whether it works or not."

On March 23 (almost 4 months ago), he said:

If you can reconstitute those neighborhoods and the surge does succeed in Baghdad, then it will look very different in four months. If it doesn't succeed, if we continue chaos, than this vote won't matter.

Simple Truths

Reading Joe Klein lately I was reminded of something Oliver wrote recently:

A long time ago I used to believe that a lot of these people were just talking over my head, their discourse too lofty for a regular guy like myself. But that isn't true. They're just stupid.

Part of the problem we face is that too many people fail to understand this. A lot of our elite scribblers and chatters are just truly and profoundly stupid.

Last Chance

One Friedman Unit ago today, the very serious and saintly John McCain said:

I think this is our last chance.

and then what...

Morning Thread

Mitt Romney wants your kids to get molested quietly.

"Senator Obama is wrong if he thinks science-based sex education has any place in kindergarten," Romney told some 150 people at a restaurant in the northern part of the state. "We should be working to clean up the filthy waters our kids are swimming in."

Obama, campaigning in New Hampshire, told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that Romney was only trying to "score cheap political points." He said he was noting in his comments that he supported laws in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in which local communities and parents can decide how to provide children with information about sexual predators.
Romney's campaign later released a statement touting himself and criticizing Obama. The headline on the statement: "A record of promoting abstinence, not sex education for kindergartners."

While governor of Massachusetts, Romney funded abstinence education over family planning and abortion services. But in 2002, he also checked "yes" in a Planned Parenthood questionnaire that asked: "Do you support the teaching of responsible, age-appropriate, factually accurate health and sexuality education, including information about both abstinence and contraception, in public schools?"

Earlier this week, Obama told a Planned Parenthood forum that he considers sex education for kindergartners appropriate if it is geared to their age level.

Obama also recalled being lambasted for his position during his 2004 Senate race against GOP opponent Alan Keyes. Obama said then _ and repeated to the Planned Parenthood supporters _ that the type of health education he supports is, for example, warning young children about inappropriate touching.

--Molly I.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

P.S. CNN is the most trusted name in news.

Surge On

They managed to get all the bobbleheads to agree that June was the real no we're not kidding you this time we mean it beginning of the surge.

WASHINGTON, July 20 (Reuters) - Attacks in Iraq last month reached their highest daily average since May 2003, showing a surge in violence as President George W. Bush completed a buildup of U.S. troops, Pentagon statistics show.

The data, obtained by Reuters from the Defense Department, showed an upward trend in daily attacks over the past four months, when U.S. and Iraqi forces were ramping up operations against insurgents and militants, including al Qaeda, in Iraq.

Pentagon officials were not immediately available to comment on the statistics.

The June numbers showed 5,335 attacks against coalition troops, Iraqi security forces, civilians and infrastructure.

June's total was 2.5 percent below an October 2006 peak of 5,472 attacks and slightly lower than the 5,365 attacks in May.

But because June has only 30 days, the average daily number of attacks was 177.8, higher than the 176.5 last October and 173.1 in May.

This cannot be true, as our very serious media has provided a platform for four score and seven Kagans to tell me that the surge was working...even before it began!

Can't We Do Both?

This is the blog post version of an argument, which is to say short and relatively uninformed (though not entirely), but I'm not sure why there's an implied tension between these two approaches. Certainly there have been policies in place which have led to the concentration of poverty, which has been to some degree a bad thing. There have been other policies in place (as well as overall changing employment composition and other issues) which have led to certain types of jobs not being located near those concentrations of poverty. I see no inherent contradiction between policies which encourage a reduction in poverty concentration (especially by changing those policies which probably help cause it) and those which help revitalize those areas by helping to bring back the jobs.

Your Liberal Media

Meet the Press roundtable Sunday:

David Brooks, Stephen Hayes, and Bob Woodward.


This cannot be true, as only dirty fucking hippie bloggers use obscenities. The very serious and civil members from Connecticut do not.

More Thread

Get knitting.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Lisa Murkowski's real estate developer pal edition.


At Altercation:

However, where in hell do we go with that last passage there, about how the haircuts matter because "a healthy chunk of the political press corps" doesn't like Edwards, and how they're staying away from a sauce-for-the-goose position on Mitt Romney's makeovers because of their own private calculations of the relative electability of the two candidates. OK, here's the deal. Every member of that "healthy chunk" of the press corps should be fired. Today. This minute. Without pay or recompense. Let them all walk back inside the Beltway from Cedar Rapids if they have to. I value what I do. I value the work of the people in my business who do it correctly. But, holy mother of god, these people do not do what I do. It's OK to sneer at a candidate if you don't like him? It's OK to create a destructive narrative out of unmitigated piffle because he doesn't kiss your ass with the regularity you think you deserve, or because his press buses don't run on time, or because one of his staffers was late with the Danish in Keene? I watched a roomful of them boo Al Gore seven years ago, behavior that would have gotten them run out of any press box in the major leagues. Do you think one of these jamokes -- or jamokettes -- is thinking, "Maybe we should lay off the haircut thing because of what we all did to Gore in 2000, and look how well that worked out." Please.

Here's what I think -- the majority of people who cover national politics believe that history is whatever happened in the MSNBC Green Room 15 minutes earlier. I believe the campaign is covered by people with a completely unjustified sense of their own superiority, since not many of them understand or ever care about most of the issues, much less the horrendous bills that are going to come due upon whichever of these poor sods winds up with the job. I believe these people care more about their reputation around the bar at the Wayfarer in Manchester than they do about the interests of the people they purportedly serve. And, were I an editor, and someone brought me a story about John Edwards' hair or Mitt Romney's skin, that person would do it once. The second time, the lazy bastard would find himself typing bowling agate on Wednesday night.

18 Months to Go


Anyway, thought I'd take an opportunity to look back 18 months.

Joe Klein was still wanking.

We were in the middle of Little Debbie Howell's Abramoff nonsense.

We were in a EEEEK IRAN phase.

Rumsfeld was still Defense Secretary, Republicans still controlled Congress, and almost 1400 US troops had yet to lose their lives.

Proto-Wanker Koch bails

Comes out in support of "strengthening our country's enemies."

Afternoon Thread



Bad California.

At least here in PA it seems that the legislature has finally passed a funding plan which will, at least in the medium term, ease the perennial funding woes of SEPTA, our transit authority.

Still, there's not yet any money to "think big." There are limits to how much desirable gentrification can happen without improved intra-city transit links.

Sticking It In The President's Ass

I was going to post that while I appreciate that the president's health is of interest to the nation, that a "routine colonoscopy" could've just been described as a "routine health exam."

Then I realized that the real news is that Cheney's in charge for a bit.

God help us all.

Wanker of the Day

George W. Bush.

Sunk Costs

One of the economic concepts more people should really understand.

BAGHDAD: If the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq is reversed before the the middle of 2008, the military will risk giving up the security gains it has achieved at a cost of hundreds of American lives over the past six months, the commander of U.S. forces south of Baghdad said Friday.

Maj. Gen. Richard Lynch, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, mentioned none of the proposals in Congress for beginning to withdraw U.S. troops as soon as September. all. But he made clear in an interview that in his area of responsibility south of Baghdad, it will take many more months to consolidate recent gains.

"It's going to take through (this) summer, into the fall, to defeat the extremists in my battle space, and it's going to take me into next spring and summer to generate this sustained security presence," he said, referring to an Iraqi capability to hold gains made by U.S. forces.

Vitter Resignation Watch

Hannity AND K. Lo.

The Failure of the Blogosphere

It's true that pretty much everyone who reads liberal blogs thinks Tom Friedman is a complete buffoon, but as this commenter says Friedman is indeed a Very Serious Person to many people of a certain class and station in this country.

I don't know what to do about that.

Falafel Boy

I've long wondered why even careful historical comparisons being actions of a government and events in 1930s Germany, when made by a liberal, are the Worst Thing Evah, while the branding of hundreds of thousands of average citizens as Nazis is a-ok. Well, no, I don't really wonder.

Still, it's pretty funny that Susan Collins' guy has thrown his lot in with Falafel Boy, he of the alleged multi-million dollar sexual harassment suit. And he, like good Catholic Bill, still doesn't know that the pope is indeed a proud Primate.

Collins' opponent, Tom Allen, released a statement:

Senator Susan Collins’ internet director and blogger Lance Dutson of the Maine Web Report has joined Bill O’Reilly’s smear campaign against the progressive online movement calling it “hateful.” Wrote Dutson of the positive relationship Congressman Tom Allen shares with the community, “Tom Allen has shown a breathtaking lack of judgment.”

Tom Allen believes otherwise. "I appreciate the millions of Americans, especially those from Maine, who participate in the online community. The internet has opened up new ways for us all to communicate, and put the power of information back where it belongs, with the people. I welcome the support that I have received from the online community. And look forward to continuing to have a dialog with the people of Maine and America online,” he said.

Not bad, but should go further and suggest that Collins isn't too wise to tap dance to Papa Bear's tune. Remember what happened when she tangoed with Joe?

Allen's on the Eschaton challengers list.

Bye Denny

I'm sure it isn't because he's on any lists or anything.

Worst America Birthdays

Happy birthday to Tom Friedman, who turns 108 Friedman Units today. Here at Eschaton we'll honor him with his most profound quote:

What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, "Which part of this sentence don't you understand?"

You don't think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna to let it grow?

Well, Suck. On. This.


That Charlie was what this war was about. We could've hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. We coulda hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.

Bogus Badges

Wow. Romney's entire campaign is a criminal organization.

Morning Thread

Unchecked Executive Privilege edition.

--Molly I.

Aside from the Rest

If nothing else, catastrophically pointless invasions of foreign countries require rather high levels of confiscatory taxation. I'm so old I remember when libertarians hated that shit.

Rogue Presidency


I never really thought it was a Bushism

The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rubbing My Eyes With Habaneros

Earlier I came across some dispatches from 2001-2002 era blogworld. It was even worse than I remembered. Even people I remember liking and respecting devoted their blogs to hunting down obscure "lefties" with no influence or political power to hold up as examples of the evils of American liberalism.

What a bunch of wankers.


That's absurd. The surge didn't start until like yesterday, and they need at least a Friedman or so from then before they can judge. December, earliest.

Not as Nasty as Saudi Arabia

Which was why people who don't normally care about human rights talking about killing people in Iran in the name of human rights should be laughed at.

More Thread

Or you could take a reading test by parsing this statement by Rudy G.:

"Neither one of these two wars – the one in Afghanstan/Pakistan or the one in Iraq – was nearly at the level of the planning we had done for the two wars we would have to fight at once," he said. "Both of them would be considered small wars in comparison to that. So it would seem to me that we should have organized ourselves so that we could accomplish in Iraq what we had to accomplish without taking anything away from accomplishing in Afghanistan and Pakistan what we had to accomplish."

Fresh Thread

Rock on.

Puerile Nonsense

This has been another edition of What Digby Said.

Fresh Thread


Michael Duffy Memories

Zappatero reminded me of this.

ah, good times.

Status Quo 4evah!

That's what idiots like Michael Duffy enable as they play these fucking games. It's all just a goddamn game to them.

Wanker of the Day

John Dickerson.

Afternoon Thread


"Just Last Month Since The Surge Began"

CNN, repeating Odierno's words.

But that's not possible, because Robert Kagan told me it was already working in early March. And he's very serious because he gets to write op-eds for the Washington Post and go on NPR on a regular basis.

Truly Bizarre People

Certainly art generally and movies specifically can have an impact on public perceptions about current events, but this is even one step removed from the Tinkerbell Theory of Iraq. If only good conservatives spend their time and money making awesome conservative movies, then people will clap louder, and THEN the pony will arrive.

While war propaganda during WWII probably helped contribute to the cause, it's because a lot of the war propaganda actually encouraged people to make various sacrifices which probably were necessary, or at least very helpful, to a continued war effort. Clapping louder wasn't especially important. Enlisting was a help.


The conclusion of this op-ed in the LA Times:

Looking back over a quarter of a century of chronicling current affairs, I cannot recall a more comprehensive and avoidable man-made disaster.

This is the basic point, but it's also something that has not penetrated the brains of the Very Serious People who rule our elite discourse. They fucked up. Lots of people died. Lots of people continue to die. Each of them, in their own little way, contributed to this "comprehensive and avoidable man-made disaster," and most of them are unwilling and unable to face up to that fact. This is truly the era of Bush, where accountability is for suckers, and I've come to conclude that's pretty much the dominant cultural fact of elite Washington.

And still the very serious people imagine they know what to do. I'd say there's about a 30% chance that come September the Maliki government will "fail," and that "soft partition," as discussed in the article, will be the new Pony Plan. Just give it a couple of Friedmans, why don't we.

Now a pained and painstaking study from the Brookings Institution argues that what its authors call "soft partition" — the peaceful, voluntary transfer of an estimated 2 million to 5 million Iraqis into distinct Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions, under close U.S. military supervision — would be the lesser evil. The lesser evil, that is, assuming that all goes according to plan and that Americans are prepared to allow their troops to stay in sufficient numbers to accomplish that thankless job — two implausible assumptions. A greater evil is more likely.

In an article for the Web magazine Open Democracy, Middle East specialist Fred Halliday spells out some regional consequences. Besides the effective destruction of the Iraqi state, these include the revitalizing of militant Islamism and enhancement of the international appeal of the Al Qaeda brand; the eruption, for the first time in modern history, of internecine war between Sunni and Shiite, "a trend that reverberates in other states of mixed confessional composition"; the alienation of most sectors of Turkish politics from the West and the stimulation of authoritarian nationalism there; the strengthening of a nuclear-hungry Iran; and a new regional rivalry pitting the Islamic Republic of Iran and its allies, including Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.

For the United States, the world is now, as a result of the Iraq war, a more dangerous place. At the end of 2002, what is sometimes tagged "Al Qaeda Central" in Afghanistan had been virtually destroyed, and there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq. In 2007, there is an Al Qaeda in Iraq, parts of the old Al Qaeda are creeping back into Afghanistan and there are Al Qaeda emulators spawning elsewhere, notably in Europe.

Osama bin Laden's plan was to get the U.S. to overreact and overreach itself. With the invasion of Iraq, Bush fell slap-bang into that trap. The U.S. government's own latest National Intelligence Estimate, released this week, suggests that Al Qaeda in Iraq is now among the most significant threats to the security of the American homeland.

The U.S. has probably not yet fully woken up to the appalling fact that, after a long period in which the first motto of its military was "no more Vietnams," it faces another Vietnam. There are many important differences, but the basic result is similar: The mightiest military in the world fails to achieve its strategic goals and is, in the end, politically defeated by an economically and technologically inferior adversary.


Credit where credit is due.

Bad Apples

Recently spent some time among people not like me - Republicans - and had a chance to get a mild dose of wingnuttery. The topic of conversation was immigration, and while this particular person was married to an immigrant - one of the good ones! - he was overly concerned about all the "bad apples" that were legally or illegally arriving here.

While there are presumably lots of things he might have meant by "bad apples," the most logical one is that they're criminals. In truth, immigrants are much less likely to be incarcerated than native born people.

(via max)

The Devil Writes Copy for the Post

I was trying to convince someone who disagreed that the Washington Post's Shailagh Murray was, in fact, the devil. Now I didn't mean in the sense of literally being the Lord of the Underworld, but a very bad reporter who has a very twisted sense of how American democracy and press do and should operate. So, I make the case. First we have this.

Washington, D.C.: I am somewhat surprised at the debate about the surge. In October, The Post's own polling showed that 19% of voters favored an immediate withdrawal. Yesterday, CNN reported that more than 50% want an immediate or by year's end withdrawal. Still, the politicians debate more or less, not sooner or later. Why won't the politicians follow the polls when it comes to leaving Iraq?

Shailagh Murray: Would you want a department store manager or orthodontist running the Pentagon? I don't think so. The reason that many politicians are squeamish about hard and fast goals of any kind in Iraq is that there is no simple response or solution -- it would have emerged by now. A withdrawal by year's end carries enormous, very serious implications.

And then, of course, is her regular habit of suggesting that opposition to the war is anti-military.

Her falsehoods about polling on Bush's illegal wiretapping.

Her misrepresentation of the Lieberman campaign.



I'm really trying to figure out why the fact that Dennis Kucinich is a vegan is relevant to the story of his getting food poisoning. It's an innocuous detail, but it is basically there to imply some sort of contrast or irony. I don't know why Dennis Kucinich is a vegan, but I doubt "because it'll make me less likely to get food poisoning" is especially high on the list of motivations. Poorly washed and contaminated vegetables are a common culprit in food poisoning cases, including e. coli.

For the record, I eat everything, including Panda veal.

Dry Season

This is not a plea for me, as in the grand bloggy scheme of things I do fine and, besides, George Soros has already offered to put a second level on the roof deck, but you may have noticed that there have been fewer than normal blogads populating the various sidebars of the lefty blogosphere. And while blogging doesn't provide the primary income for very many, it does provide that little extra for a lot of bloggers which helps justify the time they spend to themselves and families, or helps to get them through to the end of the month.

So consider dropping a few pennies into the tip jar or paypal account of your favorite bloggers if you've got a bit extra.

In Which I Go Insane

Washington Post's Lyndsey Layton:

Crestwood, N.Y.: Lyndsey, I like this Harry Reid strategy of late night theater to break the filibuster, because it underlines how many of the GOP Senators are making touchy-feely speeches about opposing the war, but refusing to support any real efforts to end it. I think the next step should be to hold up votes on almost anything Bush wants a vote on, starting with his judicial nominees. I know that this back-fired on Newt Gingrich in the '90s when he tried it on Clinton, but can anybody remember what noble cause Gingrich was fighting for back then? Ending this war is of a different order of magnitude, and I think the voters appreciate the Dems finally, finally taking a strong stand on something instead of wringing their hands about the iniquities of the senatorial system. Your take?

Lyndsey Layton: Hi Crestwood,

I'm not as certain. Recent polls show Americans are frustrated with this Congress and its inability to pass legislation. If the Democrats start blocking every initiative - even in the name of a cause that 70 percent of Americans support - it'll be hard to peel off the obstructionist label. As it is, the party is worried that it won't have enough of a legislative record to tout during the '08 campaigns.


When Joe Lieberman looks at this chart, he sees progress.


Why isn't Karl Rove in jail yet?

Jill posted a lot of good stuff yesterday at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Not Atrios

Decipher This

Your assignment this evening is to decipher this article. It is a true test of your understanding of the material.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wanker of the Day


Evening Thread

Rock on.


Apparently she forgot to tell everyone that she's incompetent.


I don't see him winning the nomination, though it's hard at this point to see any of them doing so, still I doubt that his nomination would by itself lead to a Democratic landslide. Romney'd find away to get those voters to come around.

Doing it to the Military

I never claim to know what members of the military who are in Iraq want, aside from what credible poll numbers suggest. They're human, not machines, and therefore have a diversity of viewpoints on things. I'm sure some are barely political at all, some don't see the question of whether they should be in Iraq as something they should spend time thinking about, some want to get the hell out for purely personal reasons (it sucks), some think being there is the right thing, etc...

But gaze, if you will, into the mind of Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray.

Our Discourse is Ruled by Fools

Really, these people are just fucking nuts.


Been in Boston the past few days which is why posting's been a bit irregular.

Afternoon Thread

Enjoy Generation Chickenhawk.

I freaking hate College Republicans.

--Molly I.

Oh My

Larry Flynt shocked "especially at one senator..."

Oh the possibilities...

...killed the hamster, here's the passage.

KING: Does that mean you have phone numbers that you're following up?

FLYNT: Not just phone numbers.

KING: Names?

FLYNT: We've got good leads. We've got over 300 initially. And they're down to about 30 now which is solid.

KING: When are you going to print?

FLYNT: Well, the last thing now is we don't know if we want to let it to drip, drip, drip or we want to go with everything at once.

KING: You mean you might release 30 names at once?

FLYNT: A good possibility.

KING: Will we be -- I don't want to get into names yet. Will we be shocked?


KING: Were you shocked?

FLYNT: I was shocked, especially at one senator but...

KING: One senator especially?


Go Figure

And I'm sure no smacky-face was involved.

On A Somewhat Related Note

Subprime mortgage hedge fund worthless.


One of my guilty pleasures these days, as a member of the loser renter class and as a former resident of Irvine, is the Irving Housing Blog, schadenfreude central for the housing bust.

But more generally, here's the latest from Roubini.

First, the credit crunch in the subprime market will reduce the demand of new home by potential subprime borrowers. Goldman estimated this effect to be as large as 200k less new homes sold this year.

Second, about $1.5 trillion of ARM will be reset this year and next: a rising fraction of these borrowers will be unable to afford the much higher rates on their mortgages and will be forced to sell their homes.

Third, it takes about six months or so for a subprime mortgage deliquency to lead to foreclosure, and the bank taking over the home and then putting it on sale in the market; once that occurs, the supply of homes in the market will increase. Some forebearance will occur but many homes will end up in foreclosure and then sold by the creditors adding to the housing supply glut.

Fourth, folks who bought homes in the last two years for speculative reasons with little equity (the condo flippers) will sell their homes as rapidly as possible as now falling home prices are wiping out the little equity they did have in these homes.

In summary, all four factors will increase the excess supply of unsold new and existing homes and will push further downward home prices. The housing carnage will get much worse before it gets any better.

"Staged By Senate Democrats"

That's how CNN just described the Republican filibuster.

The Forgotten Attack

The wiping of the anthrax attacks from our collective memory has been one of the weirdest developments over the past few years. Even David Corn, in an otherwise good column, seems to have forgotten.

Perhaps more than the events of 9/11 the anthrax attack scared the shit out of people. The 9/11 attacks were spectacular and scary, but they were still isolated. People could reasonably imagine that improved airport security would quickly reduce the likelihood of a repeat of such an attack. But the anthrax attack was diffuse and uncertain. It lacked a centralized geography. It was coming through the goddamn mail. It said shit could happen to anyone at any time.

"In cipro we trust." Remember?

Crass Commercialism

Just in case you haven't ordered the latest Harry Potter yet.

Et Tu, Candy?

If true, this really is a change. For so long literally anything which could get the people on the teevee talking about terra terra terra was framed as good news for Bush, even more than the general "this will be good news for Republicans" which is applied to most news stories. One would hope that years later, after commander codpiece singlehandedly won the Global War On Terror TM, some evidence that maybe all was not well on the world wouldn't actually reflect well on his presidency.


Check out your "liberal" media - apparently don't even know what "filibuster" means.

Not Atrios

Dead of Night Filibuster Buster Thread

Music for the vigil. The specific song is for Atrios & the lovely and brilliant Mrs A. And also for SallyH.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Late Night

Happy 8th anniversary to Mrs. A and me.

Help Josh

He's keeping an eye on you-know-what.

Evening Thread


Harriet the Missing

Harriet refuses to show again, unsurprisingly. Note that any hypothetical claimed privilege doesn't allow her to simply refuse to comply with the subpoena. She needs to at least sit her ass in the chair and explain what the privilege is, or take the 5th, or whatever.

If she can refuse to comply with a congressional subpoena then anyone can. Haul her off to jail.

Vaunted Boroughs

While I agree that sneering at Bloomberg over this is a bit silly, in truth California's doing okay.

California apparently has the 8th lowest per capita gas consumption in the country, though New York is 2nd only to D.C.


Glancing through the now quite long Harry Potter thread at a Yglesias's place I'm rather amused. Or bemused. Or something.

I always find it quite fascinating when people seem to get angry because you don't like stuff they like or like stuff that they don't like. It's one thing if someone's making a definitive claim such as "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the greatest novel in the English language since Middlemarch," or similar. Such statements can inspire genuine discussion and/or argument. But that's something different than "I like Harry Potter" being responded to with "You're an idiot for liking Harry Potter."

Most of us like and enjoy a full range of stuff from low brow to high brow and everything in between. High culture, pop culture, trash culture are all part of the mix. I'm sure there are a few of those rarified individuals who are never sullied by anything that the rest of us mere mortals enjoy, but who the hell wants to talk to them.


The press rediscovers the word, and decides that it's the Democrats who are doing it!


This cannot be true because until dirty fucking hippie bloggers came to town, profanity was unheard of in Washington.


Agreed with Matt. I mean, feel free to hate Harry Potter - or anything else - but the healthier impulse is to figure out how to exploit it as a gateway drug to other better stuff. Lots of people who don't read much do read Harry Potter. That suggests they might like to read more, and read "better" stuff, if only they knew where to turn.

I managed to complete an actual novel without the word Potter in the title recently. Two thumbs up!

Bye Jim

Veterans Affairs Secretary Nicholson has resigned to spend more time with his bank account.


Aside from leading me close to accepting that maybe there is someone in elite punditry who is even stupider than Gregg Easterbrook, Applebaum's column highlights something inflicted many of our elites at the moment. They're all Hamlet, unwilling to decide on a course of action, and more than that all they can do is disparage anyone who tries to do so. All of this serves to reinforce the primacy of the status quo - George Bush's continuing epic fuckup - instead of allowing for any possibility that sensible people will be able to make any decisions.

But they're very serious and humble.

Wanker of the Day

Anne Applebaum.

Professional Blog Warriors


The Pope is a Primate

That's what falafel Bill is upset about? Probably it's this comment here, which is obviously meant to be humorous. As in, the Primate of Italy accepts that he's a primate.

Freak Show

Yes the Politico sucks. No I don't care how much Mitt Romney spends on makeup. Yes, all intelligent people know that politicians need to figure out how to look good on the teevee. Yes, this costs money. No it isn't news.

What Was That Word?

It's quite impressive how when the minority party's name began with D regular Senate actions were described as "obstructionism" or as "filibusters," while since the minority party's name started to begin with an R all the news consuming public has learned that fact of life that every Senate action requires 60 votes.

It's getting late

See if you can find something to read here:


Echidne Of The Snakes

First Draft


Rising Hegemon


And, of course, me, I'm talking about ending the war.

New Thread

Weed King!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

Manhole of Promise

There are moments when I begin to believe that many of the characters who inhabit this universe have been put there by some supreme deity just to fuck with my mind.

Fresh Thread

I got nothin'.

Tommy's Fault

I mean to write about this after Bush's speech but never got around to it. Froomkin:

President Bush says that he should be trusted on military issues because he listens to his commanders. But he has a tendency to celebrate his generals when they're providing him political cover -- then stick a knife in their backs when they're no longer of any use to him.

Last week, Bush rejected any blame for the chaos that ensued in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion. So whose fault was it? Bush pointed the finger at Gen. Tommy Franks, the Central Command chief at the time. "My primary question to General Franks was, do you have what it takes to succeed? And do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein? And his answer was, yes," Bush said.

That's the same Tommy Franks to whom Bush awarded a Medal of Freedom in 2004.

And when virtually all of Bush military line of command, including the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, opposed his "surge" proposal late last year, Bush responded not by listening, but by removing the top two commanders responsible for Iraq and replacing them with more amenable leaders, including Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus.

I heard a great new to me word the other day: blamestorming.

Game On

Reid forcing real filibuster. Should make them do it until the Iraqi parliament comes back from vacation.

...Bob explains the details.


How 'bout them (your team here)?


In this edition, Time Magazine Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney acknowledges that Time magazine "star" columnist Bill Kristol is a mendacious hack.

Quiet Americans

Please stop listening to these people.

Here were the things I learned from O'Hanlon last December on NPR:

* 2007 is the "make or break year" during which we need "one last gasp" and "one last try"
* He supports escalation, but only if a bunch of things which aren't going to happen do happen, but on balance he supports escalation
* We were never able to implement the "clear, hold, and build" strategy which I know is a lie because The Last Honest Man told me he saw that it was working.
* I turned it off, so maybe he said it, but I didn't hear what we should do if two F.U.s from now things are still FUBAR


Brookings' Michael O'Hanlon has informed us that "2007 will be make or break time in Iraq." Actually, that's not true, as tends to happen with this issue he informed us that it will "very likely" be "make or break time." A year from now we'll find out that no, 2008 is Pony Time. And O'Hanlon also tells us that if 2007 leans towards break instead of make, there are some wonderful New Ideas to try like, say, "a plan to help people to where they feel safer within the country." Which, once you run that through the Quiet American decoder ring, actually means "forced ethnic partition and mass relocation." Because once we do that there will surely be nothing to fight about anymore. Whatever.

And this is the Left Flank of acceptable elite discourse on the subject, almost 4 years after the dirty fucking hippies were proved fucking right.

Sock Puppets for McCain


Jones's likely replacement is Jill Hazelbaker, who has been handling New Hampshire press for McCain. Prior to her work for McCain, Hazelbaker worked press for the 2006 Senate campaign of New Jersey state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R). Sources cautioned that the Hazelbaker deal was not official yet but that the conversation appeared to be moving in that direction.

Where have I heard that name before? Oh yes...

The Internet postings came from people calling themselves "cleanupnj," "usedtobeblue" and "AmadeusNJ." They said they were concerned Democrats, "lifelong liberals," and they were troubled by the United States senator from New Jersey, Robert Menendez.

Mr. Menendez, they said, was up to no good. For instance, did you notice that a Congressional lawyer who Mr. Menendez said cleared him of ethics issues regarding a controversial real estate deal died last year? Wasn't there something fishy about that?

But the liberal Democratic hosts of, the Web log where such comments were posted, smelled something fishy about the postings, and said they traced them to a computer inside the campaign headquarters of Mr. Menendez's Republican opponent, Thomas H. Kean Jr.

They suspect the person behind the postings, which have appeared on the site regularly since July, is Mr. Kean's campaign spokeswoman, Jill Hazelbaker. Ms. Hazelbaker called the accusations "nonsense," and said neither she nor anyone else she knows of in the office had anything to do with the postings. "I've never e-mailed them nor posted on the Web site," she said on Wednesday. "It's a blog. You can't believe what's posted on blogs." She declined to make Mr. Kean available to discuss the matter.

...more here.

What It's All About

MSNBC just now:

All the Bush administration has to do is get through this week and then they have until September.

And then...

Charlie Brown, Meet Football


The secretary of State was cordial, but forceful and insistent. Wait until September, Condoleezza Rice told Sen. Susan Collins of Maine over the phone last week. Wait until the commanders on the ground can report their progress. "It was a strong plea for me not to join in any calls for a change of mission in Iraq," Collins recalled to NEWSWEEK.


Collins believes her plan—broadly similar to others floating around Congress—will result in a "significant drawdown of our troops." Maybe. But military experts whom NEWSWEEK interviewed (among them senior officers serving in Iraq) suggest that for such a combination of missions to be done effectively, there would be little allowance for any reduction in troops

This last part doesn't get enough emphasis, as all the very serious people in Washington are contemplating the "leaving without leaving" plan, pulling out some troops without really deciding that the occupation of Iraq is not really in the US's long term interests. In practice what they're advocating is doing the same "job" we're doing now but with less troops. This is pointless at best (troops will just spend their days twiddling their thumbs on bases) and catastrophic at worst (troops will be insufficient to support and defend themselves, maintain supply lines, etc...).


Over there.

KIRKUK, Iraq -- Twin suicide car bombs exploded within 20 minutes of each other in northern Iraq today, killing at least 80 people and wounding around 150 in attacks that ripped through an outdoor market, police said.


Broder's boy bounces 3 points all the way to 29%.

Early Morning Bill Kristol Nostalgia Thread

The 1970s when Irving said "I have no son!"

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Meet the White Guys

Another week on Meet the Press.


More thread

Joe's Folly

Bill Curry in the Hartford Courant.

Joe's "new course" is escalation. Smart of him not to mention that in any ads. He's one of Bush's two best spear carriers, the other being John McCain, currently being trampled by Republicans.

This past week, the White House issued an interim Iraq report. It claims progress on just eight of 18 "benchmarks" and stretches even for that. Iraq was supposed to complete a constitutional review, but gets a passing grade for forming the committee. And so on. To read it is to be sick at heart.

Unless, of course, you're Joe Lieberman, who says he read it and found nothing to cast the least doubt on our plan of action. In fact, he's now sure the war can only be lost by "defeatists at home."

Meanwhile, our intelligence says that since we invaded Iraq, al-Qaida has grown stronger, including in its capacity to strike us at home. It only confirms what we all should know: The war is a debacle. Each day we fail to end it endangers the life of every American, especially the soldiers we have sent and sent again to fight it.

The most important bipartisan movement in a generation is taking shape on Capitol Hill. But ironically, Joe Lieberman isn't part of it. Instead, he joins Bush in attacking the "defeatists." Yes, we've come to that phase of a war when disgraced leaders blame the outcome on those brave enough to oppose them. Sadly, Lieberman shows signs of giving in to the temptation.

In doing so, he would forsake civility along with bipartisanship and end up standing only for war. I hope he opts instead to take responsibility for his own folly, as the man I met so long ago surely would have done.

Wanker of the Day

Lindsey Graham.

And On And On

Bill Kristol today:

We are not in a civil war.

Kristol about 3 Friedmans ago.

There is not a civil war in Iraq.


Over there.

A car bomb packed with explosives detonated Sunday in a central Baghdad square, killing 10 people and wounding 25, the deadliest attack on a violent day that claimed the lives of at least 18 others.

Still, a U.S. military spokesman on Sunday that the month-old American offensives in and around the capital were starting to have an effect, reducing violence and civilian deaths. He did not cite figures.

Bandar's Boy

There's one country we never hear bad things about, despite the fact that by just about any measure of "bad" you can come up with it pretty much tops the list.

Add another one. Most "foreign fighters" in Iraq come from Saudi Arabia.


I bet I could raise $380,000 for my longshot presidential bid.

Bobblehead Thread

Document the atrocities.

C-Span’s Washington Journal: 7:45am - Linda Douglass, National Journal, Contributing Editor; 8:30am - Newspaper Articles & Viewer; 9am - Stephanie Miley, Fmr. Provincial Reconstruction Team Leader; 9:30am - Phoner From Khandahar, Afghanistan: Sarah Chayes, Author, The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban

ABC’s “This Week”: National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley; Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind.

CBS’ “Face the Nation”: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Mark Kimmitt, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East.

NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Jim Webb, D-Va.; Republican strategist Mike Murphy and Democrat strategist Bob Shrum.

CNN’s “Late Edition”: Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Hadley; and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

“Fox News Sunday”: Hadley and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

--Molly I.

Did I mention ....

It's just my opinion, but everyone in the country really should watch the video of John Nichols of The Nation and Bruce Fein of The Washington Times explaining to Bill Moyers why we should and must impeach them.

(There's a transcript if you can't watch the vids.)

And then you might find this information useful if it inspires you. And this.

Not Atrios