Saturday, August 04, 2007

Late Night Thread


Saw this happy news on the news feed monitor in the elevator.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's electricity grid could collapse any day because of insurgent sabotage, rising demand, fuel shortages and provincial officials who are unplugging local power stations from the national system, electricity officials said on Saturday.

Already Snapped up

Bill Kristol doesn't need Murdoch. Time Magazine is happy to pay him.

Every Conflict The Exact Same Thing!

Moderator Matt Bai reliably suggests that one cannot want to withdraw from Iraq while simultaneously supporting some sort of measures in Darfur.


Sitting here at the candidate forum at Yearly Kos. I believe it's on the teevee or intertubes somewhere. This has the potential to be truly weird and different. Or maybe not. We'll find out. Exciting!

...intertubes watching here.

...Richardson panders nicely, suggesting his admiration for Whizzer White may have been misplaced.

...Edwards comes out as the noncompromise candidate. Something like "I don't think insurance companies, drug companies, and oil companies will willingly give up their power..." ..."We have to take their power from them."

...Dodd fails to understand Markos's place in the theological universe. One should not thank the Lord that the Great Orange Satan exists.

Postal Jim Cramer

This is a bit ominous and creepy.

Simple Ideas Our Very Serious People Don't Understand

Juan Cole:

As for the mostly sane Democrats, could we please stop talking about whether we are going to nuke our allies? I mean, I know that Obama and Clinton are afraid that their Republican rivals will talk tougher than they and will depict them as soft on terrorism. But I can't imagine that the electorate wants to hear that nukes are on the table with regard to the tribes of northern Pakistan!

And if you were Iranian and heard the Clinton and Tancredo remarks, wouldn't you tell your nuclear scientists to start putting in overtime? Wouldn't such talk actually spur nuclear proliferation in the Muslim world?

Or, to put it another way, imagine if Pakistani or Iranian politics was dominated by discussion about whether or not nuking the US was "on the table."

Wanker of the Day

Harry Reid.

Doughy Pantload, Literally

The NRO Cruise will have to stop in Canada, alert the media, eh.

Yeah, those stupid Canadians with their cheaper universal health-care and thinking invading Iraq was a bad idea beforehand. Damn their insolence!

And Molly I. reminds us, Pantload meant it, while THIS is actually satire:

Stuff to read

Let's hope Duncan's getting some sleep. Meanwhile...

Turley and Olbermann on FISA.

Stephen Crockett on Collapsing Bridges vs. War in Iraq at

Jay Leno interviews Darth Cheney.

Not Atrios

Vast and Left

It's late and I should go to sleep.

Late Night Thread

Friday, August 03, 2007

More Thread


Good Memo

Samantha Powers takes on "conventional wisdom."

Without being all that interested, at the moment, in all of the specifics ,it really is the case that candidates are judged by the rather arbitrary rules of the "foreign policy community" which demand they engage in these absurd rhetorical dances so they can fit themselves into the Grand Foreign Policy Community Consensus. Anyone who just tells them to shove it is doing the right thing.

A Corrupt Cartel

Matt provides us with some talk from Steve Clemons about the foreign policy community.

They're very serious people.

Bringing the Band Back Together

Sitting here at the how the hell did Ned Lamont lose panel, and Lamont himself just showed up.

Still, we must remind ourselves, that Joe Lieberman is very serious.

Nothing really to say, except the whole thing is very depressing.

Wanker of the Day

Kit Seelye.

Fresh Thread


Convention Fun

Jill Filipovic, Glenn Greenwald, Jay Carney, Mike Allen, and Ari Melber, together at last. Interesting!

And you can watch it here.


That is, indeed, the question. The broader one, of course, is why 5 years later the category of "people who opposed the war to begin with and get to appear regularly on the teevee" is shockingly small one. It's related to, though not fully explained by, the discussion question posed below.


As Ezra says, little Petey says much more reasonable things these days. In truth, before the war started Petey was, while pro-war, fairly respectful of opposing viewpoints on that issue especially relative to the general media hostility to people opposed to the worst idea ever. It wasn't until after the Kerry loss that he apparently lost his mind and started lashing out at the dirty fucking hippies.

Discussion question: Why is there a "foreign policy community?"


Last night I was chatting in a small group and suddenly found myself being introduced to, and shaking the hand of, spite girl Kit Seelye.

Now little Petey Beinart, age 12, is telling me what to think about foreign policy.

..."My record of predictions on Iraq is poor..." Indeed.


This isn't good.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. plans to close most operations on Friday and said nearly 7,000 employees will lose their jobs as the lender becomes one of the biggest casualties of the U.S. housing downturn.

Experts said it is likely the Melville, New York-based company will have to seek bankruptcy protection, and no later than Monday.

In a statement, American Home on Thursday night confirmed earlier reports that it was ceasing most operations. The company said its employee base will be reduced to about 750 workers, down from the 7,409 it reported at the end of last year. The terminations are effective Friday.


Quite a few reports came out about how July had the least number of casualties this year, or the least number of casualties since November.

According to ICC, July troop casualties, at 81, were at the same level as February and March.


Dodd and O'Reilly.

..oops, this is it.

Call me Madly Irresponsible

But isn't it rather indicative of sanity to say you "won't nuke" a city in Pakistan "JUST" to kill Osama?

Somehow making this rational (and obvious) statement means you are irresponsible and naive, while the person who says "I won't say I won't drop the big one" is the true statesperson.

And then, of course, there is this guy.

Early Morning

Roy has a point.

So go read it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Late Night Thread

Thread Me


Al Qaeda Web Ad

Is there some internet advertising company handling this? Should I be mad at Blogads for not being very successful in getting the lucrative al Qaeda account?

Obviously I'm kidding, but what does it mean to call it a "web ad" and say it was "posted on the internet?" Strange lack of specificity.

Catapulting the Propaganda

The most trusted name in news, and their very serious host Glenn Beck, had Michael O'Hanlon last night. Here's what the very serious Glenn Beck said about two men who supported the war and have continued to support the occupation, and who nonetheless are the left flank of acceptable discourse on foreign policy in this country.

Michael, I`ve got to tell you, I would imagine -- I don`t know this for sure -- but I would imagine your name or Ken Pollack`s name doesn`t come up in pleasant terms at the White House very often.

Yes, George Bush curses Ken "The Threatening Storm" Pollack and Michael "[the surge is] the right thing to try" O'Hanlon a regular basis.

Feeling the Doddmania

Chris Dodd has some fun with falafel boy.

They Write Op-Eds

Big Media Matt:

The United States is now well into the fifth year of a war in Iraq that has, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, managed to get more Americans killed than 9/11 while alienating global opinion, undermining our strategic posture around the world, arguably speeding nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran and detracting from American efforts against Al Qaeda. The nation's elites, ever vigilant, have located the source of the problem: Public outrage over the sorry situation.

Washington Post foreign affairs columnist David Ignatius, for instance, wrote on Sunday that "a good start" in finding an exit from Iraq "would be for Washington partisans to take deep breaths and lower the volume."

That same day, Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of Princeton's prestigious Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, argued in the Post that, in the foreign policy realm, "the fiercest battle is no longer between the left and the right but between partisanship and bipartisanship." The former, with its hard-right hawks and strident antiwar types, is bad, of course.


Meanwhile, the very elites we're supposed to trust can't seem to get their stories straight. Ignatius says everyone's looking for the exits in Iraq, and we should just calm down. O'Hanlon and Pollack want us to stay put. And as TPM Media's Greg Sargent pointed out Monday, the optimism of O'Hanlon and Pollack is at odds with the conclusions of Brookings' own Iraq Index project. It reported July 23 that "violence nationwide has failed to improve measurably over the past two-plus months," and that -- contrary to their enthusiasm about the provision of electricity and other essentials -- "the average person in Baghdad can count on only one or two hours of electricity per day," far less than they had under Hussein. More ironically still, the person in charge of the Iraq Index is none other than Michael O'Hanlon!

Speaking of Michael O'Hanlon

Guests on Fox News Sunday include... Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack.

While people like this get ignored.


In Michael O'Hanlon's pet war:

BAGHDAD: A suicide car bomber slammed into an Iraqi police station northeast of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, police said.

Most of the victims were policemen and recruits lining up outside the station in Hibhib, a town 20 kilometers (13 miles) north of Baqouba, a police officer said on condition of anonymity out of security concerns. Baqouba is the capital of Diyala province, which lies northeast of Baghdad.

Bridges Fall Down

Being out of the high tech media room in Eschaton World Headquarters, I heard about the collapsing bridge story rather late.

It's horrible story, but hopefully some good will come out of it which might prevent future catastrophes. Whatever the causes of this event, there are crumbling bridges everywhere. Deferring maintenance has been a favorite save a few bucks tactic of state and local government for a long time, often at tremendous subsequent cost (though not, usually, tragedy).

Then we can start on the water and sewage systems..


I haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but apparently Brit Hume is going after us dirty bloggers.

Wanker of the Day

Arlen Specter.


The lack of a little in-room coffee maker in this hotel is having a seriously detrimental effect on my ability to blog.

Mystery Senator

This, of course, won't happen. The Iraq "strategy," as it is, is to "stay the course" until January '09. Period.


Rudy and Fred tell us all about it. (I'd forgotten about that Rehnquist quote - I love it when they really speak their minds.)

Not Atrios

PS. Atrios attacks!

Dead of Night

RIP, Tommy Makem. Slán a chur le duine.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Late Night Thread

No music. Heh.

Evening Thread

Don't Get It

I'm really not sure why the Dems are even bothering to pretend (or, jeebus, not pretending) to take Bush seriously on this FISA stuff. He's been breaking the law for years.

Just Say No

President Bush is planning to do lots of vetoing in the near future. He has threatened to veto the long-awaited legislation to shore up hurricane protection along the Gulf coast. And he has threatened to veto the Lilly Ledbetter legislation which would extend the time frame for employees to sue a firm on the basis of wage discrimination. And he has also threatened to veto legislation to broaden the State Children's Health Insurance Program so that it would cover the health insurance needs of more children. So it goes.

Not Atrios.


MSNBC is on the really important stuff. Like all day. Maybe Dennis Kucinich could streak through Yearly Kos or something, just so we could change the subject. I hear there's a war on?


Finally completed my journey. Chicago seems nicer than I remember, something which seems to be true of most major US cities when I visit them. Point being they're getting better.

Afternoon Thread


--Another Person Who Is Not Atrios

Americans will ride on top of the Mittmobile!

Apparently Mitt thinks Universal Health Care (Hezbollah Style) is a GREAT idea for the rest of the world...on America's dime.

But not for Americans.

It's what New World Jesus Would Do.

-Also Not Atrios


Somewhat ominous.

Chairman Waxman:

Much of our focus will be on a ‘Personal For’ message, also known as a ‘P4,’ that Major General Stanley McChrystal sent on April 29, 2004. This P4 alerted his superiors that despite press reports that Corporal Tillman died fighting the enemy, it was ‘highly possible that Corporal Tillman was killed by friendly fire.’ Three officers received this P4 report: Lt. General Kensinger, General Abizaid, and General Brown… The Committee did issue a subpoena to General Kensinger earlier this week, but U.S. Marshals have been unable to locate or serve him.


Someone tell Little Mikey O'Hanlon, age 6, and Little Kenny Pollack, age 9.

BAGHDAD (AFP) - The number of Iraqi civilians killed in the country's brutal civil conflict rose by more than a third in July despite a five-month-old surge in US troop levels, government figures showed Wednesday.

At least 1,652 civilians were killed in Iraq in July, 33 percent more than in the previous month, according to figures compiled by the Iraqi health, defence and interior ministries and made available to AFP.

AFP is lying, however. The surge didn't start for real until June or July, even though a Wank of Kagans told me it was working in March. So, during the start of the "real" surge, violence went up.

Stand Up So I Can See You

Travel day. Off to frolic with the rest of the great orange Satan worshipers.

Light posting for a bit.


In Michael O'Hanlon's war:

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc announced its withdrawal from the government Wednesday, undermining efforts to seek reconciliation among the country's rival factions, and two bombing attacks in Baghdad killed at least 67 people.

In one attack, 50 people were killed and 60 wounded when a suicide attacker exploded a fuel truck near a gas station in western Baghdad. Another 17 died in a separate car bomb attack in central Baghdad.

Rotten to the Core

Indeed. It's been awhile since I've said, but imagine the reaction if this had been the Clinton administration...

Good question

Lambert wants to ask the Democratic candidates, "What is the Democrats' plan to restore Constitutional Government?"

Hm. Maybe we should ask our reps, too.


Update: Look, I'm not saying we should bash the Dems. I'm saying it's a real issue and no one else is going to ask them, so we have to.

Healthcare is an issue, and we should ask them about it. The war is an issue, and we ask them about it. And restoring Constitutional government is an issue we should ask them about.

It's a question about one of the important issues of the day, and they should be able to answer it.

The Democrats are under tremendous pressure from the right-wing spinnners on The Hill and their media handmaidens to ignore these important issues. They're going to ask them about haircuts and cleavage.

So, when we have a chance to get them to talk about important questions, we'd damn well better take it.

We have to push back. That's what democracy is all about: We have to tell them what we want - and when they are running for office, we have to ask them how they plan to give us what we want.

They're only human, you know - if all they hear in the public sphere is right-wing smoke, they will think they'd have to be crazy to go against it. Yearly Kos is a great place to bring these things out into the open.

Not Atrios

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Evening Thread

Rock on.

Rummy to Testify

Apparently Rumsfeld has changed his mind and will now testify to the House Oversight Committee regarding Pat Tillman (via email from a staffer).

Waiting for Arlen

Given our history with the senior senator from Pennsylvania, I'm sure he could get a letter like this from Abu G:

Dear Senator Arlen,

I made poopy in my pants.


Alberto G.

And Arlen will deem it satisfactory.

Surge Proponent Supports Surge

And CBS misleads you.

Thanks, Dick


In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Gonzales, now attorney general, said he had visited the ailing Ashcroft in the hospital to discuss "other intelligence activities," not the surveillance program.


Q In that regard, The New York Times -- which, as you said, is not your favorite -- reports it was you who dispatched Gonzales and Andy Card to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft's hospital in 2004 to push Ashcroft to certify the President's intelligence-gathering program. Was it you?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't recall -- first of all, I haven't seen the story. And I don't recall that I gave instructions to that effect.

Q That would be something you would recall.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I would think so. But certainly I was involved because I was a big advocate of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, and had been responsible and working with General Hayden and George Tenet to get it to the President for approval. By the time this occurred, it had already been approved about 12 times by the Department of Justice. There was nothing new about it.

Witness for the prosecution...


Senator Ted on CNN (transcript via email):

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's going on is that Senator Stevens really has been hard to find today, Wolf. In fact, I want to set the scene for you.

Take a look at some pictures from outside of Senator Stevens' main office here on the Capitol complex. Reporters, cameramen, they've been hanging out waiting to find him and to talk to him all day long.

They've never seen him.

In fact, Senator Stevens has been actively trying to avoid us all day long. He did attend the Republicans' weekly lunch in the Capitol, but he slipped in and out a back door, down a back stairway in the Capitol.

I found him at the bottom of those stairs and really had to kind of run after him to get some questions to him. He was pretty angry. Take a listen.


SEN. TED STEVENS (R), ALASKA: I put out a statement and I'm not saying anything to anybody beyond that statement.

BASH: Can you say, sir, why the federal agents went to your House or what they took?

STEVENS: Can you understand English? That's the only statement I'm going to make.

BASH: I do understand that sir, but obviously this is a very important issue, when federal agents and IRS agents come to the home of a U.S. senator.

STEVENS: I understand you're recording this, but I told you again I made the statement. It's issued, that's what my lawyers told me to say, and that's all I'm going to say.

and she seems to have picked up on Senator Ted's careful parsing, though she doesn't quite make it clear.

BASH: Well, there's an Alaska oil executive who is a big financial contributor to Senator Stevens, who just a couple of months ago pleaded guilty to bribing state officials. And what the feds apparently are trying to figure out is whether that executive's company, called VECO, whether that -- that company at all improperly paid for some of the renovations, big renovations, on Senator Stevens' House outside of Anchorage. The one that the feds actually did raid yesterday.

It's unclear whether that is the case. And I should say that Senator Stevens has very carefully in the past said that he and his wife paid every bill that was presented to them.

Right. Every bill that was presented to them.

Not Good

Mortgage market news:

merican Home Mortgage Investment Corp. shares plunged 89 percent after the lender said it doesn't have cash to fund new loans and may have to sell off assets.

Investment banks cut off credit lines, leaving American Home without money yesterday for $300 million of mortgages it had already agreed to provide, the Melville, New York-based company said in a statement today. It anticipates $450 million to $500 million of loans probably won't get funded today.

``They can't function without access to capital,'' said Bose George, an analyst with KBW Inc. in New York. ``The company either has to file for bankruptcy or go through some type of rescue or restructuring, and either way will leave almost nothing for the common shareholders.''

Ballpark guess 1500 people are about to find out they aren't buying that house after all.

Covering the War

Form press liaison in Iraq:

[oops, hadn't meant to C&P the whole thing]
Matthew Felling: On the issue of polarization, one of your quotes that got massively publicized was when you compared Fox News Channel to Al Jazeera. In your book, you mention a few anecdotes about how Fox was reporting on the war. How did you view their coverage?

Josh Rushing: When I would go out and give reasons why we were going to invade Iraq, having been given the messages from a Republican operative that was my boss, he would give me the theme of the day. Sometimes it would be “WMD,” others it would be “regime change” and others it would be “ties to terrorism.” I would go out to a Fox reporter and they would say “Are there any messages you want to get across before we get to the live interview?” And we would script the interview around the government messaging, and they would thank me for my service at the end of it. And out of fairness, that wasn’t just Fox. There were a number of American networks who did it. The reporters were in a position where there was no way their editorial leadership or their audience for that matter, wanted to see them be critical of a young troop in uniform.

But the devious part of that, is that the administration knew that and understood that and used young troops in uniform to sell the war in a way it knew couldn’t be questioned or criticized. If you look at MSNBC, they packaged their coverage with a banner that said “Our Hearts Are With You.” So when that banner is under my face and I’m giving the reasons why we need to go to war, is anyone going to ask me a critical question? Of course not, their hearts are with me. And there’s a danger in that.

The media’s purpose in a democracy is to be professionally skeptical of anything that anyone in a position of authority or power says. If they’re not, who is? Nobody, and then the people in authority and power can say and do anything they want. So I was disappointed in that.

There are other examples, with Fox in particular. Fox likes personalities, and Geraldo Rivera covered the war on my TV and was giving away future troop movements by drawing a map in the sand.

There was another case where a Fox reporter was reporting live from in front of an Abrams tank that was on fire. The conventional wisdom was that Abrams tanks were impervious to the technology that the fedayeen had, small arms. But it turns out that if you did hit an Abrams tank in a certain spot with a rocket-propelled grenade, you could stop it and destroy it. So the Fox correspondent is reporting that, live on television: where the weak spot is and how this must have happened. Anyone watching that stuff, Iraqi intelligence officials, fedayeen soldiers – and we know they were watching it – would be like ‘great, next time I see an Abrams, I’m gonna save my shot until I see the money shot and aim for the vulnerable spot I saw on TV. Thank you, Fox News.’ Or anyone being watching the live report from Geraldo – where he’s drawing the map in the sand – could say ‘great, I know where coming and they’re bringing Geraldo with them.’ There’s a danger in that.

And the thing is, Fox likes to see themselves as so pro-military and patriotic and they like to share their knowledge, like they’re one of the guys. It’s also interesting to note now how little Fox covers the war. MSNBC covered the war three times as much as Fox, I think in June. You’ve got to be kidding me. The number one cheerleader for this war is now just leaving it behind?

If There Were Liberals on the Teevee

This is the kind of thing which might actually get some attention, but most likely the general public will be blissfully unaware of Bush's veto when it happens.

Michael Moore is fat.


Contact CNN. Ask them if someone who told her listeners to jam a voter hotline is really someone appropriate for "The most trusted name in news."

And The No Liberals On The Teevee Rule Continues

Laura Ingraham gets to keep Paula Zahn's chair warm until Mrs. Baghdad Dan Senor takes over permanently.

Oh My

Senator Ted's got problems.

WASHINGTON - A Senate clerk who helped maintain Sen. Ted Stevens' personal financial records was recently called before a federal grand jury in a public corruption investigation that has been joined by the IRS and the Interior Department.

Barbara Flanders, who serves as a financial clerk for Stevens on the Commerce Committee, testified in the past several weeks and provided documents regarding the senator's bills, according to an attorney in the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury matters are secret by law.

(ht pony boy and p'oneill)

That's Some Serious Wanking

It'd be funny if this stuff wasn't important.

Still, he's very serious.

Who Cares?

I have to say I've been following with some amusement a lot of the fretting over at Romenesko and elsewhere about the sale of the WSJ to Murdoch, which has apparently gone through. The basic storyline seems to be that there's something wrong with Murdoch's approach to "journalism." It isn't that I disagree, it's that where are these critics day after day? Murdoch's news organizations maintain their legitimacy in large part because the rest of the media treats them as legitimate. Most members of the industry happily buy into the fiction that Fox News isn't simply a propaganda arm of the GOP. They treat Murdoch's existing organizations with respect.

The WSJ's editorial page has been insane for years. And there's going to be a market for good business reporting. If Murdoch doesn't provide it, someone else will.

Hail Mary

Missed this one. One F.U. and 21 days ago, our pal O'Hanlon:

O'HANLON: He has one last shot, and that's the way to look at it, I think. It's Hail, Mary time.

And a rare moment of self-awareness:

MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: So each year the theory of victory, or the theory of ultimate success, that we had was either invalidated or displaced by something else.

Michael O'Hanlon, wrong for 4+ years and counting. Of course it doesn't matter much as his paycheck keeps coming while US troops keep getting killed.

The Very Important Things

I, too, want party invitations.



I spent yesterday and today reading through virtually all of the writings and interviews of these two Brookings geniuses over the past four years concerning Iraq. There is no coherence or consistency to anything they say. It shifts constantly. They say whatever they need to say at the moment to justify the war for which they bear responsibility. It is exactly like reading through the writings of Bill Kristol, Tom Friedman and every other individual who flamboyantly supported this disaster and -- motivated solely by salvaging their own reputations -- are desperate to find some method to argue that they were right.

Even though I write frequently about how broken and corrupt our establishment media is, witnessing these two war lovers -- supporters of the invasion, advocates of the Surge, comrades of Fred Kagan -- mindlessly depicted all day yesterday by media mouthpieces as the opposite of what they are was really quite startling. After all, there is a record as long as it is clear demonstrating what they really are.

But in order to maximize the potency of their propagandistic Op-Ed, they proclaimed themselves to be "analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq" and -- just like that -- Americans hear all day about the magical and dramatic conversion of these deeply skeptical war opponents who were forced by the Grand Success they witnessed first-hand in Iraq, as much as they hate to do it, to admit oh-so-reluctantly that the Surge really is working! Well, if even these Howard-Dean-like War Opponents say it, it must be true. That was the leading "news" story all day yesterday.

What's amazing how simple it is, how willing our media - universally - are willing to catapult George Bush's propaganda. I do not believe they are all that stupid, so they are willing accomplices in this disgusting game which perpetuates misery, death, and destruction. If our grand poobahs in the mainstream media want to know why us dirty fucking hippie bloggers hate them, this is why.

Hulk Tie Blocking My Tubes

I think Senator Ted is having his revenge on me by blocking my intertubes.

Six Months

Republican strategist and regular Lou Dobbs guest Ed Rollins, one F.U. ago...

The bottom line is that we've got about six months to fix this problem, and I think that everybody's pretty much in unanimous opinion of that.

Six Months

One F.U. ago...

WASHINGTON (AP) - Several leading Senate Republicans who support President Bush's troop- boosting plan for Iraq say they will give the administration and the Iraqis about six months to show significant improvement.

"I don't think this war can be sustained for more than six months if in fact we don't see some progress," Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said Wednesday. Until this month, he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Roberts' comments came two days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the new U.S. military push was the Iraqis' "last chance."

Got Until Summertime

When people make these seasonal predictions without qualifiers I'm never sure if they mean the beginning, the middle, or the end. In this case I thought roughly the middle was appropriate.

He's got until summertime to show some results, and if he doesn't, he's got to start pulling out, too," one of the President's closest associates said yesterday. "The fact of the matter is, most of the public isn't with him now, and the rest aren't going to stay with him unless this last-chance surge works.

Won or Lost

One F.U. ago Clap Hanson wrote:

The war will be won or lost, like it or not, fairly or unjustly, in the next six months in Baghdad. Either Gen. Petraeus quells the violence to a level that even the media cannot exaggerate, or the enterprise fails, and we withdraw.

Wanker of the Day

Tucker Carlson.


Roll Call (sub. req.) has a bit more on Senator Ted:

At issue is a 2005 earmark for the SeaLife Center, a marine wildlife research center and tourist attraction. The center -- which according to published reports has received more than $50 million in federal funding since it opened in 1998 and has long been a pet project of Stevens'-- was given a $1.6 million earmark in 2005 to purchase an adjacent property that was owned at the time by McCabe.

Initially, McCabe had sought to sell the property to the NPS as part of a massive office construction project the service had planned for Seward. But negotiations for the building collapsed in 2005, according to an April 2006 story by the Anchorage Daily News.

The shift in funding turned out to be controversial in the small community. Former City Manager Clark Corbridge warned in a letter to the center in 2006 that the city should be allowed to approve the purchase so as to avoid "future problems and possible allegations of impropriety," according to the Daily News article. Corbridge did not return calls for comment.

The center went forward with the plan and purchased the property from McCabe's company, the Centennial Group, for $558,000.

Additionally, at the time McCabe was a business partner with Stevens' son, Ben, in a consulting firm that has come under scrutiny from federal investigators in a separate investigation.

During the time of the sale, McCabe also had reached a separate agreement with the center to operate boat tours for the facility through Alaska Outfitters, a second company owned by Stevens.

According to sources close to the investigation, federal investigators have focused on how the decision to purchase the property was made, as well as other potentially problematic earmarks in the past. These sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that in addition to the interviews with NPS employees, investigators also have interviewed a number of other individuals connected to the center and the sale.

Rumbled... The General, who writes to Bill O'Whatsis.

(At least he didn't call me a "pinko".)

Not Atrios

Monday, July 30, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

Evening Thread

Let's all raise a glass to Intertube Ted.


--Molly I.

Evening Thread

Here's some fresh gypsy shit.

....Oh My. Hot off the wires..

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The FBI says its agents and those from the Internal Revenue Service are searching the home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

The Ken and Mike Show

Years later with polls being what they are I can't believe the media still serves us up this shit sandwich.

Mackris v. O'Reilly: The Oratorio!

Because it had to happen.

Falafel Day

Line 81.

During the course of Defendant BILL O'REILLY's sexual rant, it became clear that he was using a vibrator upon himself, and that he ejaculated.

Impeaching Abu G

Inslee says it's game time.

Falafel Day

Line 78, in which the falafel appears.

Well, if I took you down there then I'd want to take a shower with you right away, that would be the first thing I'd do ... yeah, we'd check into the room, and we would order up some room service and uh and you'd definitely get two wines into you as quickly as I could get into you I would get 'em into you ... maybe intravenously get those glasses of wine into you...

You would basically be in the shower and then I would come in and I'd join you and you would have your back to me and I would take that little loofa thing and kinda' soap up your back ... rub it all over you, get you to relax, hot water .... and um ... you know, you'd feel the tension drain out of you and uh you still would be with your back to me then I would kinda' put my arm -- it's one of those mitts those loofa mitts you know, so I got my hands in it ... and I would put it around front, kinda' rub your tummy a little bit with it, and then with my other hand I would start to massage your boobs, get your nipples really hard ... 'cuz I like that and you have really spectacular boobs....

So anyway I'd be rubbing your big boobs and getting your nipples really hard, kinda' kissing your neck from behind ... and then I would take the other hand with the falafel (sic) thing and I'd put it on your pussy but you'd have to do it really light, just kind of a tease business...

Falafel Day

Line 66.

During the course of O'REILLY's telephone monologue on August 2, 2004, he suggested that Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS purchase a vibrator and name it, and that he had one "shaped like a cock with a little battery in it" that a woman had given him. It became apparent that Defendant was masturbating as he spoke. After he climaxed, Defendant O'REILLY said to Plaintiff: "I appreciate the fun phone call. You can have fun tonight. I'll appreciate it. I mean it."

Falafel Day

Line 54.

If any woman ever breathed a word I'll make her pay so dearly that she'll wish she'd never been born. I'll rake her through the mud, bring up things in her life and make her so miserable that she'll be destroyed. And besides, she wouldn't be able to afford the lawyers I can or endure it financially as long as I can. And nobody would believe her, it'd be her word against mine and who are they going to believe? Me or some unstable woman making outrageous accusations. They'd see her as some psycho, someone unstable. Besides, I'd never make the mistake of picking unstable crazy girls like that.

Line 55.

If you cross FOX NEWS CHANNEL, it's not just me, it's [FOX President] Roger Ailes who will go after you. I'm the street guy out front making loud noises about the issues, but Ailes operates behind the scenes, strategizes and makes things happen so that one day BAM! The person gets what's coming to them but never sees it coming. Look at Al Franken, one day he's going to get a knock on his door and life as he's known it will change forever. That day will happen, trust me.

Falafel Day

Line 37:

When Plaintiff responded that she never engaged in phone sex, Defendant BILL O'REILLY professed disbelief, and told her that the sexual stories he told were all based on his own experiences, such as when he received a massage in a cabana in Bali and the "little short brown woman" asked to see his penis and was "amazed." Defendant BILL O'REILLY then suggested that he tell Plaintiff the same sexual stories, which he knew she would "just love." Shocked and embarrassed, Plaintiff ANDREA MACKRIS informed Defendant in no uncertain terms that she was never experienced in nor interested in gaining experience in telephone sex. Defendant expressed disbelief.

Truly Shocking



As a commenter at Swampland says, this Opus cartoon is really all one needs to understand the Fred Thompson campaign.

And More Housing Trouble

I'm sure this will be good news for Republicans.

Even Awesomer

Regular readers know my occasional reference to Philly Car Share, the local short term car rental non-profit that we have here. On Aug. 1 they're changing their pricing system which will reduce the price of many cars in their fleet to just $2.90/hour/$29/day during the week. That's cheap.

Minsky Moment?

Roubini explains.


I've been thinking about about certain Bushies - Bush himself, obviously, and Condi Rice - who seem to honestly believe that "will" and "resolve" are the way one gets things done instead of, you know, actually getting stuff done. I've finally decided that they're basically people have always gotten where they were by manipulating others into doing things for them, and so for them getting things done is all about wanting it to happen bad enough.

While one can certainly go through life quite well getting others to take care of your bullshit for you, this type of thing does not really scale upwards to the level of global diplomacy very well. One can't will success in Iraq, Maliki's "resolve" can't actually cause people to stop killing each other there, etc.

But, hey, Bush just told us that Gordon Brown is resolved and firm. Good for him.

Kicking the Can

I know readers of this blog understand this, but it's amazing that the rather obvious fact that for years the entire "Iraq policy" has simply been to postpone leaving until after Bush leaves office has managed not to penetrate the skulls of some of our very smart pundits.

Catapulting the Propaganda

Surge architect McMaster:

In the near future the best that can be hoped for is what he calls “sustainable stability” – a low level of violence that would allow US troops to withdraw and Iraqis to live relatively normal lives while hoping that their government and armed forces eventually get control.

Classified Iraq plan:

The classified plan, which represents the coordinated strategy of the top American commander and the American ambassador, calls for restoring security in local areas, including Baghdad, by the summer of 2008. “Sustainable security” is to be established on a nationwide basis by the summer of 2009, according to American officials familiar with the document.


"Sustainable security is, in fact, what we hope to achieve. We do think it will take about that amount of time ... to establish the conditions for it," General David Petraeus told ABC News when asked about media reports that Washington envisaged a big troop presence in Iraq until then.

Administration sock puppets Pollack and O'Hanlon:

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms. As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration’s miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily “victory” but a sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with.

Makes me pine for the days of "clear, hold, and build."

And the fjords.


For a brief reminder of how we got here, I present to you a 2003 era memo from the then-publisher of Slate.

Dear Brad:

As per my voicemail earlier today, I would like to bring to your attention an ongoing problem we're experiencing at Slate.

A prominent East Coast newspaper, The New York Times, has been poaching from Slate, taking key writers and editors invaluable to our evolving franchise. Several years ago I viewed these departures as testament to Slate's reputation within our industry. Being recognized by the media establishment as a breeding ground of top journalists was rewarding. But no longer do I hold these egress offenders in such high regard.

Granted the New York Times has been experiencing talent problems of their own lately, but that's no excuse to "brain drain" us. In my seven years with Slate, I've seen the Times make off with no fewer than five Slatesters. And just last week, they tried to hire away our esteemed editor-in-chief, Jacob Weisberg, according to this item in the New York Post. While the opportunity offered Weisberg was beneath his abilities, I'm thankful he didn't follow his former colleagues.

Our mantra at Slate is to support budding journalists growing in their profession. Should a better opportunity present itself, by all means go forward. But this trend must cease. Our staff are bound by the non-compete clause they signed upon employment, and I was wondering if you could spare some time for Slate now that the DOJ case is behind us? This tortuous contractual interference is beginning to have adverse effects on us.

It's improbable we'll be able to recoup our losses. But just in case, we'd like all of them back except for Paul Krugman.

I appreciate your help and look forward to hearing from you.



Remember, back in those ideas all the cool kids thought snarking on Krugman was the height of wit because of his failure to genuflect appropriately to commander codpiece.


Vanity Fair takes a look at Judi Giuliani.

Wanker of the Day

Michael O'Hanlon.

Though, frankly, the real wankers are the teevee producers and newspaper editors and journalists who keep going back to the same well of idiots who brought us this disaster.

"Vocal Critic"

That's how CNN describes Ken Pollack.

Please kill me.

Time is Short

One F.U. ago Admiral Fallon told us that time was short.

WASHINGTON: The navy admiral poised to take command of U.S. forces in the Middle East warned Tuesday that "time is short" to change the course in Iraq, but he said that this still might be achieved through a "more realistic" approach combining intense political and economic efforts with military persistence.

Admiral William Fallon also bluntly told the Senate Armed Services Committee, at a confirmation hearing, that "what we've been doing is not working." It was time to "redefine the goals" in Iraq, he said.

As Fallon was somberly laying out the challenges he is expected to inherit, another key administration figure — the man who would head diplomatic efforts to address the sectarian conflicts in Iraq — described the situation there as at a "precarious juncture."

Six Months

One F.U. ago, Bay Buchanan said:

BUCHANAN: Well, I think they have six months, for this reason.

I don't see Congress moving to cut anything. And, so, if they don't do that, the president can continue. And, then, if, in six months, the president is now saying, we're now pulling back, we're turning this area over to such and such, and we're going to do this, then, the American people are going to relax.

Give It A Chance

Six months ago, James Baker said regarding the "surge":

Give it a chance.

Meanwhile, in the places useful idiots O'Hanlon and Pollack didn't go:

A minibus exploded Monday in a Baghdad market, killing at least six people - a brutal reminder of the dangers facing Iraqis, who only hours ago were joyously united after their underdog national soccer team won the prestigious Asian Cup.

The U.S. military also said three soldiers had been killed in fighting in Anbar province west of Baghdad last Thursday. The deaths raised to at least 3,651 members of the U.S. military who have died since the start of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

In all, 58 people nationwide were killed by bombings and attacks.

Just like Philly.

Why Are Kenneth Pollock and Michael O'Hanlon In My Newspaper?

And I liked it a lot better the first time I read it, in May of 2005 when it was written by Rich Lowry.

"The Iranian Threat to Saudi Arabia"

Just heard on CNN. And the crazy continues.

Mo(u)rning Thread

R.I.P. Ingmar Bergman

Tom Snyder too.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Rock on.

Stupid Congress Tricks

Jeebus, this is supposed to be the stuff they know something about.


Just kill us all.


I take pity on commenters on dial-up.

While you're here, an old favorite.

Not Atrios

Evening Thread

Just sit back and let the Wise Old Men of Washington do their jobs. After all, what could go wrong?

The Village

It took a long time for me to understand that Washington was a just a provincial company town, possessed of a hierarchy whose elites fight to preserve their power and status.


Little Jimmy Hoagland, age 10:

The most vindictive bloggers and many others eager to push the mainstream media, established politicians or other remnants of the status quo off a stage that they want to occupy smash reputations with abandon to call attention to themselves. What do they have to lose in the unpoliced badlands of the ether? They contribute to a general deepening of cynicism in the land at no perceived cost to themselves.

But deeply polarized nations that devote an inordinate amount of their time and energy to hunting and prosecuting both real villains and convenient scapegoats -- at the expense of failing to recognize and respect heroes and helpers of the common good -- do pay an enormous collective price. Such nations descend into easily manipulated despair and resentment that inevitably lead to ever greater destruction. Americans would do well to ponder that in a summer of doubt and division.

Hoagland, you may remember, was Chalabi's man in Washington, and is now unsurprisingly a chief advocate of accountability free Washington.

Cheap Money

While it's rather obvious, sometimes I think the "how'd it happen" of the housing bubble isn't explained clearly. The short answer is that cheap money was made available to more and more people.

Potential home buyers for the most part don't really care what the sticker price is on the house; they care about the monthly mortgage payment. In the early days of the house price boom, the "culprit" was simply low long term interest rates. People with good credit were getting cheap 30 year fixed rate mortgages, allowing them to buy a more expensive home for a cheaper monthly payment. As housing prices started to go up, subprime lenders started to jump in and widened the pool of people for whom cheap money, at least temporarily, was available. Uncle Alan Greenspan blessed the use of ARMs, and lenders began offering very low teaser rates that would balloon after a few years. People either didn't understand what they were getting, other than that promised home, or assumed that they'd be okay because continuing positive housing price trends would always give them a way out. Later, more corrupt lending practices grew, with lenders handing out high rate no doc loans to anyone who asked. And then, of course, there were the flippers, the amateur investors who dove in towards the end of the boom, as always happens in bubbles, further driving up prices.

Housing is a bit different than financial assets are - they're illiquid and also something people use and not simply investments - and the bubble's decline won't really seem like a "burst" (though the bursting in related markets, such as financial assets spun off from mortgages, might come with a tremendous popping sound). Still it looks like we're heading towards bad.

But I thought this would happen a couple of years ago, so what do I know.

...and here's Barry's version of this post.

Fresh Thread


Run Away

Abandoned homes in suburbia.

Carr doesn't have statistics but said home foreclosures are rising and along with them code violations. His counterparts in Mesa, Gilbert and Peoria said the phenomenon is affecting those municipalities, too. A significant portion of the recent Chandler complaints are from newer neighborhoods in southeastern parts of the city where homes once sold for $400,000 or more and values have dropped, Carr said. Buyers who divorce, lose a job or can't afford rising adjustable-rate interest are finding they can't sell their houses for what they owe on them, he said.

One abandoned home in the Brooks Ranch subdivision near Chandler Heights and Gilbert roads has a $499,000 assessed value for tax purposes, tall weeds and a green pool. Carr said he hasn't been able to contact the owners and has asked Maricopa County to treat the pool so mosquitoes won't breed in it. In that same neighborhood a home that sold for $701,000 in March is on the market for $689,000.

Sun Groves resident John Simpson lives across the street from an abandoned house in a 5-year-old subdivision. He said it has been an eyesore for almost a year even after he repeatedly called and e-mailed city and county officials.

"The former owners sold the house for double what they paid, but the new owners got divorced and left."

They even left their Dalmatian in the backyard," he said. "We have the dog now."

No Takers

Even Orrin's not so thrilled with Abu G anymore. I thought I sensed a slight change in Pony Blow's enthusiasm for Bush's BFF this past week.


New York Times zombie lies still eat your brains, and Maureen Dowd still has a column.

An article last Sunday about politicians’ choice of clothing while campaigning referred incorrectly to the role of Naomi Wolf in Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. She was a consultant on women’s issues and outreach to young voters; she was not Mr. Gore’s image consultant and was not involved in his decision to wear earth-toned clothing.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

# Meet the Press" Guests: Dan Balz and Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd of NBC News, Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times and John Harwood of CNBC.

# "This Week" Guests: Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Bob Dole and Donna Shalala, co-leaders of the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors; Computers for Communities founder Jacob Komar.

# "Face the Nation" Guests: Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

# "CNN Late Edition" Guests: Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; National Urban League President Marc Morial, Family Research Council senior fellow Ken Blackwell.

# "Fox News Sunday" Guests: Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.

Wanker of the Day

David Ignatius.

Dead of Night