Saturday, November 26, 2005

High-End Titty Bars

You know you can't resist.

Can I Get a Libertarian?

Oh, fucking great, domestic spying by our own military.

I'm really starting to miss the black helicopter crowd.

Fresh Thread



I do like it when they tell us what they really think.

In its denial of the basis of Western Civilization it is so transgressive that it deserved to be and was persecuted. People who deny there were witches because they don't like how the religious treated them are akin to the Left denying there were Communists because they don't like that Americans reviled them. Jews too were justifiably, though unnecessarily, persecuted for their beliefs and inability to conform to social norms.

There you go.

Bugging Out?

I understand Steve's point - that staying in Iraq is by reasonable standard impossible over the longer run due to resource constraints (lack of soldiers). The thing is, I don't think the president understands this. I don't think anybody's told him.

Every Day I Get Down On My Knees

And thank the good Lord for the existence of Markos Moulitsas.

Open Thread

Onward through the thread, onward through the night of my life.

Open Thread

If we reason with destiny, gonna lose our touch. Don't kill the thread.


I didn't think Aaron Brown was anything close to perfect and I don't mind Anderson Cooper, but I'm not surprised that Cooper's ratings aren't so great. Brown's show, though flawed, offered a slightly different approach to the news than is the norm these days. I think it was actually appointment viewing for some people.

CNN booted Aaron Brown two weeks ago, hoping that a more exciting personality would boost ratings for the 10 p.m. timeslot. That more exciting personality was Anderson Cooper, still basking in kudos for his Hurricane Katrina coverage.

But while Cooper may have wowed audiences reporting from New Orleans, he's off to a poor start anchoring CNN’s revamped primetime news show.

For the week ended Nov. 13, its first week, “Anderson Cooper 360,” as the new 10-to-midnight show is called, averaged 593,000 viewers, according to Nielsen.

That’s down 27 percent from October's 813,000 average for “NewsNight,” on which Cooper and Brown shared hosting responsibilities for the past month. It’s also well below the 842,000 Brown’s show averaged during 2004.

Declaring Victory and Pretending to Get Out

Attaturk's got the right idea. Certainly, as Josh says, this is all about the 2006 elections bt it's more complicated than that. I'm sticking with my "we're never leaving while George Bush is in office." The number of troops in Iraq is now at near record levels, so decreasing that number somewhat is possible simply by reverting back to the average. Perhaps they'll go down to 100,000 as that's a nice round number.

Still, it isn't just the fact that the troops are there that's a problem it's the fact that they're dying. If troop strength is decreased simply for electoral purposess and the declining numbers leave those who remain more vulnerable then that's a problem.

Open Thread

How can the thread with its arms all around me?


Was searching for something and randomly came across the White House's robot.txt file which discourages search engines and from searching/providing a cache of the web pages in it. No idea if this is a new exciting discovery.


Pass the Popcorn

Almost sad to see my good friend Bob with such troubles:

The Justice Department's wide-ranging investigation of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has entered a highly active phase as prosecutors are beginning to move on evidence pointing to possible corruption in Congress and executive branch agencies, lawyers involved in the case said.

Prosecutors have already told one lawmaker, Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), and his former chief of staff that they are preparing a possible bribery case against them, according to two sources knowledgeable about the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The 35 to 40 investigators and prosecutors on the Abramoff case are focused on at least half a dozen members of Congress, lawyers and others close to the probe said. The investigators are looking at payments made by Abramoff and his colleagues to the wives of some lawmakers and at actions taken by senior Capitol Hill aides, some of whom went to work for Abramoff at the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, lawyers and others familiar with the probe said.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I Believe


Masters of Horror

Best not to say too much, but I'd highly recommend anyone with Showtime (and I think it's their free promo weekend, so that probably includes most with cable) tune into the Friday December 2 episode of that series. Called Homecoming, it's directed by Joe Dante and it will probably cause a shitstorm of rather epic proportions.

Leak it to me! Leak it to me!

I want to publish the memos!

(via jmm)

Open Thread

No thread can take your place, you know what I mean. We have the same intrigue as a court of kings.

Open Thread

As I see a new thread in me, I can also show if you and you may follow.

Freedom Farts In Our Faces

Smell it:

On this latest trip to Baghdad, the bubble shrank even more. No roaming the Green Zone. Not even a stop at the convention center. The press corps, including veteran war correspondents, was sequestered in Hussein's old palace for most of the seven-hour stay. We were discouraged from wandering the palace and were provided escorts to go to the bathroom.

Our one venture out was a short hop to the nearby prime minister's office, also in the Green Zone. All we saw were new barricades trimmed with razor wire, concrete blast walls, roadblocks and time-consuming identity checks. No Iraqis. No vendors. In October 2004, the bazaar had been attacked, one of two almost simultaneous suicide bombings inside the Green Zone that together killed 10, including four Americans.



...Oh, and shorter PJ Media editorial board:

Uh, does anyone know what the fuck we're supposed to be doing here?



NBC did not interrupt its broadcast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade yesterday to bring viewers the news that an M&M balloon had crashed into a light pole, injuring two sisters.

In fact, when the time came in the tightly scripted three-hour program for the M&Ms' appearance, NBC weaved in tape of the balloon crossing the finish line at last year's parade - even as the damaged balloon itself was being dragged from the accident scene. At 11:47 a.m., as an 11-year-old girl and her 26-year-old sister were being treated for injuries, the parade's on-air announcers - Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Al Roker - kept up their light-hearted repartee from Herald Square, where the parade ends.


When the balloon failed to arrive at Herald Square at the appointed time, she said, "we rolled with some previously recorded footage."


The neverending story.

Open Thread

Onward through the thread, onward through the night of my life.

Open Thread

More in the mind than the body this feeling, a sense at the end Of a circular thread.

Open Thread

I asked my love to give me shelter And all she offered me were threads.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Open Thread

Threads speak much louder than words.

Open Thread

More in the mind than the body this feeling, a sense at the end Of a circular thread.

Open Thread

Onward through the thread, onward through the night of my life.

White Guy Entitlement Syndrome

I've said this about Alito from the beginning, so I'm not surprised he was a member of an organization which was actively against the admission of women and minorities to Princeton. We're not just talking about opposition to affirmative action, we're talking about preserving Princeton as a club for the "right" kind of people - wealthy white sons of privilege. It wasn't simply for admission limits for women, but also for perpetuating and expanding affirmative action for children of alumni. A wealthy white boys club, no women or minorities need apply.

Repeat, by Request

Our little Thanksgiving tradition. Has it really been two years since they tried to claim to the press that at 30,000 feet in the middle of the night another pilot visually ID'd air force one "sneaking" to Iraq? Since there was a fake photo op of Bush handing out turkee to the troops? Jeebus.

IF Stone Where Are You Now?

Shocking lack of FOIA requests by our journamalists.

(via Desi)

Open Thread

Thread comes to you and you follow - lose one on to the Heart of the Sunrise.

Open Thread

Threads speak much louder than words.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Open Thread

Our thread is our world, our life.

Open Thread

No thread can take your place, you know what I mean. We have the same intrigue as a court of kings.


Posting will be inconsistent over the next couple of days (with the exception of trusty threadbot) as I do things like eat and go to the market 586 times to prepare for eating. Enjoy your turkee...

Jonah's Girls

What nutcase would imagine this would be appropriate for Teen People?


Big Time, 9/2002

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The regime says it has no weapons of mass destruction, but we know that is a lie.

At another time:

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think they know the same information. I think the fact is that, in terms of the quality of our intelligence operation, I think we're better than anybody else generally in this area.

I think many of our European allies, for example, who are reluctant to address this issue, or who have been critical of the suggestion that somehow the United States wants to aggressively go address this issue, I think many of them do not have access to the information we have.


BLITZER: General Grange, I know you can explain this to our viewers who may be confused. Well, why doesn't the United States simply share this intelligence with those close allies?

GRANGE: Well, some close allies, in fact, we do, but some of them we don't. And it's tiered depending on the reliability and the different treaties we have with different allies. Some ongoing operations that are supported by some intelligence that the United States has may not be able to be shared because it will compromise that particular mission.

So when the time comes, I believe that more of this will come out in order to gain some support. But it'll never be 100 percent.

More Kaplan

From Sam Rosenfeld:

To the extent that a choice between liberal internationalism and coldhearted realism is framed as a choice between support for the Iraq war and opposition to the Iraq war, you're going to be seeing ever-increasing numbers folks aligning themselves with the realists. But the blame for that unfortunate development lies most clearly with the Iraq war and those war supporters -- like Lawrence Kaplan -- who constantly argue that the only alternative to endorsing their position is pledging allegiance to Henry Kissinger. I, for one, opposed the war but also have little love for Kissinger. I even wrote an article, with Matt, about the danger that the war poses to the viability of a reality-based liberal interventionism. Kaplan is kind enough to cite it over the course of a piece that manages to prove our point all over again.

Gaffney: Oh Just Blow It Up

Gaffney suggests it'd be okay to blow up Al-Jazeera.

As with many issues we keep running into these days it shouldn't be necessary to explain why targetting journalists might not be such a good idea. In this case not the least of which being that Al-Jazeera is happily housed in Qatar, a country we aren't actually at war with. Maybe it's not such a good idea to start bombing yet another largely secular Arab country, especially for committing the High Crime of freedom of the press.


But in an interview with CNN, she said, "I suspect that the American forces are not going to be needed in the numbers that they are there for all that much longer because Iraqis are continuing to make progress in function, not just in numbers but in their capabilities to do certain functions like, for instance, holding a highway between the airport and the center of the city, something that our forces were doing just a short time ago, they're now doing."

"I think that's how the president will want to look at this," she said.

I know lots of people think the Republican Cut&Run shuffle (which is entirely different from any cutting and running suggested by Democrats in ways which are clear if you live in Wingnuttia) is inevitable. I don't. I think they'll continue to make noises about future withdrawals, but there won't be an actual serious withdrawal. Bush has said the terrorists want us to leave so we have to say. Leaving=losing. We'll be in Iraq at roughly current levels until the day he finally goes back to Crawford for good (well, at least until that campaign prop is sold).

Wanker of the day

Lawrence Kaplan.

Bad Day for Ney

Good day for America.

Time for the Weekly Wanker

It's wankerwingerific.

Kind of Sickening


Blue America

It's a beautiful country.

Poor Crazy Jean

She's stupid and she's ugly and nobody likes her.

Judging by her words yesterday -- the first after avoiding the public for three days -- Schmidt doesn't understand what the fuss is about, and sees herself more as victim than villain. "I am amazed at what a national story this has become," she said in a statement. "I have been attacked very personally, continuously since Friday evening."

Not even the ball.

Open Thread

On the darkest night so painful do you hunger for thread midst the torture of being one?

Balzac Media

There's an idea...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Has some fun with some idiotic Republicans.

The Mad Scientist

I've met him, and I agree, he's nuts. But not, you know, Crispin Glover on the Letterman show nuts. More, sorta, Malcom McDowell in Clockwork Orange nuts.


Rice on CNN to John King, just now, responding to King pointing out that Democrats didn't have the same intelligence as the White House. It's her shiny new talking point. Shr grinned triumphantly as she said it:

They had the intelligence that made the case that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his biological and chemical weapons and was at least on the way to reconstituting the nuclear weapons.

Right, they had the intelligence that made the case, but not the intelligence which pointed out that that intelligence was full of shit.

Nice follow up (not) King.

Call the Wahmbulance

Crazy Jean:

My good friend Representative Bubp called me to discuss this plan during the House debate on the issue of immediately removing troops from Iraq.

I relayed our conversation with Representative Bubp on the House Floor.

Since that moment I have been attacked from across the country by the left.

I never meant to attack Congressman Murtha personally. I sent him a personal note of apology on Friday evening moments after my words. While I strongly disagree with his policy, neither Representative Bubp nor I ever wished to attack Congressman Murtha. I only take exception to his policy position.

I am amazed at what a national story this has become. It was never intended.

I am thankful for the thousands of supportive messages I have received from the people I represent and others across the nation since Friday. But this story has been way too focused on me, my conviction and word selection. Instead this story should be focused on the extremely poor policy the minority now propose. A policy, I might point out, that through this media storm has now been repudiated by dozens of leading members of the minority.

I have been attacked very personally, continuously since Friday evening. I am quite willing to suffer those attacks if in the end that policy I so strongly oppose is exposed as unsound. First and foremost I support the troops. They dodge bullets and bombs while I duck only hateful words.

uh, Jean? Even Bubp has called you a big liar.

Just keep your eye on the ball.

Open Thread

Threads speak much louder than words.

On Traffic

People can believe whatever they want, but I just wanted to address something for those of us in the reality-based community. Among Althouse's baseless claims is that the only reason this site gets any traffic is because all of the commenters keep reloading the page and then rushing off to the comments section. Of course, the comments don't impact traffic, one doesn't have to reload the page to get to the comments section, and only a tiny minority of readers actually participate in the comments section.

It's certainly the case that no internet traffic stats program is perfect. Sitemeter, the one used by most bloggers, claims to record "visitors" using a method which excludes people who reload the page within an hour. One can also look at page views, which sitemeter does also, or unique visitors which extreme tracking does. None of these are perfect, but presumably they get roughly in the ballpark of the right answer.

I felt the need to respond because I do like to make a few bucks off this site so I can feed the cats and since Althouse is apparently trying to discourage advertisers by writing things like:

Thus, I see his high traffic as rather bogus. And it's bad for advertisers who rely on the number, because visitors aren't staying on the page with the ads, but going onto the comments window, which doesn't have ads.

Anyway, according to extreme tracking The site had 188,886 views yesterday. About 21.5% of those were reloads, and about 78.5%, or 148224, were unique. According to sitemeter it was about 225K of the former and 200K "visits" as it measures them. Blogads lists me at about a million page views for the week.

In any case Althouse is entitled to her pet theories about the value of internet real estate, but those are the facts.

63% Want Out

It really is a sad state of affairs that it's been over 3 years since the sudden need to attack Iraq magically appeared on the radar and the media still doesn't even come close to representing the range and balance of public opinion on this subject. 63% want to get out over the next next year. How often does that idea get expressed on CNN?

Sixty three percent of those surveyed were in favor of bringing US troops home from Iraq in the next year, up two percent from August, while 35 percent thought they should be kept in large numbers until a democracy is established, down one point from August.

Open Thread

Onward through the thread, onward through the night of my life.


Still full of shit after all these years.

Peeholes Media

All the secrets revealed.

Limbaugh: Murtha "Useful Idiot"


Open Thread

your eyes.

Legitimate Right of Resistance

So, Iraqi leaders say that insurgents have the legitimate right to kill US soldiers.

Why are we there?

Crazy Jean

So, apparently Jean Schmidt is just a total liar.

Nice to hide behind one marine to call another marine a coward.

Sounds like Jean's taken her eye off the ball. NO! NOT THE BALL! The BALL WILL COME BACK AND HARM US!

On Comments

Once more, with context.

Wankers of the Day

The Washington Post.

Open Thread

No thread can take your place, you know what I mean. We have the same intrigue as a court of kings.

Open Thread

Threads speak much louder than words.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Make sure to stock up.


Pajamas Media is dead.

Long live Open Source Media.

Open Source Media is dead.

Long live Pajamas Media!

Looking for Ponies in All the Wrong Places

Eugene Robinson in the WaPo:

The administration is losing the public debate because of its many missteps and failures, but also because of its insistence on conflating the war in Iraq with the larger "war on terror." Does anyone understand what "war on terror" means? The country was attacked by a murderous association of Islamic fundamentalists led by Osama bin Laden. Last we heard, he was still alive and well, probably in some cave in northwestern Pakistan. That's a long way from Iraq.

The president says that Iraq is a test of our nation's resolve, that anything less than victory will confirm the enemy's view that America lacks the stomach for a fight. But "stay the course" doesn't play as a strategy when the course seems to lead nowhere. What is victory in Iraq? When will we know we've won? When the simmering, low-level civil war we've ignited sparks into full flame and somebody takes over the country? When a new government in Baghdad declares its eternal brotherhood and friendship with Tehran?

The mess that George Bush and Co. have created in Iraq doesn't have an unmessy solution. Murtha's plan -- just get out -- isn't really attractive, but at least it's a plan. The saying goes that when you're in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. But the president, like the optimistic kid in the old joke, just keeps burrowing deeper into the pile of manure, even though by now we can be pretty sure that there's no pony down there.

More Booby

John has good analysis, but I want to add one more thing. Previously Booby had claimed the conversation was off the record. It's already been pointed out that's a bit weird to take an off the record conversation and casually tell your colleague of that conversation (as he claims he did to Pincus). But the other thing is if the conversation was off the record how is it possible that he may have (he says he doesn't remember) asked Libby about Wilson's wife working for the CIA?

What the hell does off the record mean?

Booby Still "Confused"

In the transcript linked below, Booby says:

And there was a sense before the indictment, "Well, this is kind of interesting, but it's not clear what it means." Then, the day of the indictment, I read the charges against Libby and looked at the press conference by the special counsel. And he said: The first disclosure of all of this was on June 23, 2003, by Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, to "New York Times" reporter Judy Miller.

uh, Booby, Fitzgerald made clear it was the first "known" disclosure. A bit different.


Althouse responds, combining the best of Michelle Malkin (Eeew! Look at all the nasty things the liberals wrote, missing the intended irony in most cases. Shocked that was the "best" she could do, really.) - with the best of Ann Althouse (how dare you understand what I clearly wrote instead of knowing what I really meant!)

But, fair is fair, go take a look. answer Althouse's question, the reason I assumed that she hadn't "been a feminist all along" was because she wrote:

Are there any feminists around to see when it's happening and say a little something?

Meaning, quite clearly, that feminists are other people. Had she written, "as a feminist, I think it's important to point these things out" or something similar taking ownership of the label I (and proud feminist Echidne) wouldn't have responded the way I did.

I of course haven't devoted my life to reading the entirety of Althouse's body of work, on her blog and elsewhere, though I certainly am no stranger to it. If Althouse would like to point me to something she's written which, for example, happened "say a little something" when it wasn't directed at her I'll happily make the correction. more thing, I agree that it's understandable if people find ironic jokes about racism or sexism genuinely inappropriate or offensive. Sometimes those jokes are almost indistinguishable from genuine racism and sexism, no matter the intent of the person making them, and I'm not going to tell people what should or shouldn't offend them.

But I do miss King Leopold.


Here's the transcript so you don't have to watch.

Have at it.

More Booby

Think Progress has transcript and context.


Blitzer just played a clip from Larry King where we learn how Booby got involved. After he read Fitzgerald's report he called the source and said whatup with Fitzgerald not knowing about you, and the source said he had to go to the prosecutor and "tell the truth" (no mention of whether s/he had lied before or not). Booby then asked if he was free to testify since the source was going to the prosecutor anyway and the source said yes.

Weird, really.

Bye Bob and Tom

For the record Rep. Ney was very nice when I testified before his committee.

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- For more than a year, Michael Scanlon has been a shadowy presence behind former partner Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist at the center of a corruption probe. Now, Scanlon may help prosecutors raise the investigation to a higher level.

Scanlon, a former aide to Representative Tom DeLay, is scheduled to appear today in U.S. District Court to present a plea bargain with the Justice Department likely to lead to his cooperation with investigators. His testimony would ratchet up the pressure on Abramoff and aid prosecutors in widening the investigation to members of Congress, such as Republicans DeLay and Representative Robert Ney of Ohio.


I think there are probably several members of congress who just soiled themselves.

Michael Scanlon, a former aide to Rep. Tom DeLay, pleads guilty in conspiracy to bribe public officials.

Shorter Joe Biden


I have seen nothing in the past few years to make me think that George W. Bush may not listen to my sage advice.

...let me just add what the real point is. Let's assume that Biden is right - do what he says, and things will improve. The corollary to that is if we don't do what he says, things won't improve. The probability of the Bush administration taking advice from Joe Biden is about 0. So what Joe Biden should understand is that lots more American soldiers are going to die while he sits around and waits for Bush to take his calls. And, then, a year from now he can give the damn speech again, perhaps with an "I really mean it this time" tacked on. Rinse, repeat.


They're really into the idea that if you've served in the military you shouldn't run for office because you've been "out of town too long."

Iraq Leaders Demand Timetable

Over to you, Dick:

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Iraqi leaders, meeting at a reconciliation conference in Cairo, urged an end to violence in the country and demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of coalition troops from Iraq.

In a final statement, read by Arab League chief Amre Moussa, host of the three-day summit, they called for ``the withdrawal of foreign troops according to a timetable, through putting in place an immediate national program to rebuild the armed forces.'' No date was specified.

``The Iraqi people look forward to the day when the foreign forces leave Iraq, when it's armed and security forces will be rebuilt and when they can enjoy peace and stability and get rid of terrorism,'' the leaders said in the statement. The session was broadcast live from the Egyptian capital by al-Jazeera.


Just go read Digby.

Poor Little Ricky

He's stupid and he's ugly and nobody likes him.

WASHINGTON - After 11 years in the Senate, Rick Santorum has become one of the most powerful and influential leaders in state and national politics.

He boasts a close relationship with President Bush, he's the No. 3 GOP leader in the Senate, and he is frequently mentioned as a potential candidate for the White House.

An incumbent running for re-election with such credentials normally would scare off most challengers and have few political worries.

Yet low public approval ratings, a well-liked opponent, an increasingly unpopular president mired in an equally unpopular war, an unhappy electorate, public perceptions of ethics lapses by Republicans and Santorum's own miscues have turned next year's Senate election upside down.

Advisers to Santorum concede they are growing increasingly frustrated by his weak support and the tactics of state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr., his likely Democratic opponent.

Some analysts and party officials say Santorum's campaign tactics, such as calling for 10 debates a year before the election, are bordering on desperate, particularly for a two-term incumbent.

When asked about what he would do when he left the Senate, Santorum said he was considering opening a chain of kennels.

Open Thread

Listen, should we thread forever Knowing as we do know fear destroys?

NYT Gets Snarky

Though as funny as this was I don't actually think it deserves 30% of their front page.

Straight Racist

I'll never understand certain liberals love affair with John McCain. I'll set my bar slightly higher than "not as obviously incompetent and evil as George Bush" thank you.

Now we find out that McCain is speaking at a fundraiser for George Wallace, Jr, someone who gave a speech to the Council of Conservative Citizens four times, including once this year. Here's the SPLC on Wallace.

From their statement of principles:

We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called "affirmative action" and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.


Still lying after all these years.

7 Figures

I hope that when I use this blog to peddle lies to lead us into war I remember to negotiate a 7 figure severance package with myself before I do it.

BoBo's World

Savannah, GA edition:

A Savannah youth pastor's confession led police Sunday to his wife's body, buried on the outskirts of Chatham County, police said.

Around 12:30 p.m., a man called police to say that his brother-in-law, Eric Brian Golden, 35, had confessed to killing his wife, DeeDee Marie Golden, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Sgt. Mike Wilson said.

Great American hero

If there's any confusion about what the Republicans have been up to over the past couple of years it should all be put to rest by their professed love of Joe McCarthy.

Wankers of the Day

New York Times.

Open Thread

On the darkest night so painful do you hunger for thread midst the torture of being one?

Top 10 Movies You Hate

Amy H gives hers.

For the record, I liked Chuck&Buck. Thought Supersize Me was entertaining but not ultimately illuminating. Think Grease 2 sort of deserves Rocky Horror/MST3K type respect. Didn't see the rest.

Won't do a well thought out version myself, but those that leap to mind:

The Piano
The English Patient
The Fountainhead
The Three Amigos
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Meet Joe Black
Pretty Woman
Mission Impossible 2

...and, no matter how much your hate matches hers, her discussion of the contemporary ensemble movie is fascinating.


I'm not going to fault Bush for this, as security requirements (genuine or imagined), make getting out a big deal. But Jeebus Christmas on a Cracker who the fuck are these people?

For the president, it was a rare moment of fun on an otherwise dreary overseas trip. In five years in the presidency, Bush has proved a decidedly unadventurous traveler, an impression undispelled by the weeklong journey through Asia that wraps up Monday. As he barnstormed through Japan, South Korea and China, with a final stop in Mongolia still to come, Bush visited no museums, tried no restaurants, bought no souvenirs and made no effort to meet ordinary local people.

"I live in a bubble," Bush once said, explaining his anti-tourist tendencies by citing the enormous security and logistical considerations involved in arranging any sightseeing. "That's just life."

The Bush spirit trickles down to many of his top advisers, who hardly go out of their way to sample the local offerings either. A number of the most senior White House officials on the trip, perhaps seeking the comforts of their Texas homes, chose to skip the kimchi in South Korea to go to dinner at Outback Steakhouse -- twice. (Admittedly, a few unadventurous journalists joined them.)

And, I include the journalists. I mean, what the fuck? If nothing else one can go grab some Korean BBQ which is not going to be a big shock to the American palate. I understand that when you're in a grueling travel schedule a little familiar comfort is appreciated, but aren't these people curious at all?

Barking Mad

There's no one thing, but if you read through the transcript on Blitzer it's pretty clear that our Secretary of Defense is, in a word, nuts.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cleveland Rocks

I agree with the General.

Time to Leave

I understand why conservatives desperately want to cling to their pet war and well-meaning liberal hawks desperately want to think that that there's some chance that what they endorsed won't end up being a geopolitical and humanitarian disaster of immense proportions. Even I'm tempted at times to hold out hope for the possibility that there's something, anything, that we can do to unshit the bed just a little bit. While I never thought this would end well, I did think there were opportunities for it to end less badly. But whether or not disaster was inevitable it obviously was not preventable by the ridiculous and incompetent clowns who run our government and who ran the CPA. Krugman's Monday column explains it rather clearly:

So the question isn't whether things will be ugly after American forces leave Iraq. They probably will. The question, instead, is whether it makes sense to keep the war going for another year or two, which is all the time we realistically have.

Pessimists think that Iraq will fall into chaos whenever we leave. If so, we're better off leaving sooner rather than later. As a Marine officer quoted by James Fallows in the current Atlantic Monthly puts it, "We can lose in Iraq and destroy our Army, or we can just lose."

And there's a good case to be made that our departure will actually improve matters. As Mr. Murtha pointed out in his speech, the insurgency derives much of its support from the perception that it's resisting a foreign occupier. Once we're gone, the odds are that Iraqis, who don't have a tradition of religious extremism, will turn on fanatical foreigners like Zarqawi.

The only way to justify staying in Iraq is to make the case that stretching the U.S. army to its breaking point will buy time for something good to happen. I don't think you can make that case convincingly. So Mr. Murtha is right: it's time to leave.

Open Thread

Lost in trance of dances as thread takes another turn. As is my want, I only reach to look in

Fresh Thread


Calling the Plumber

I saw this the other day because my Google Desktop is for some reason obsessed with Ann Althouse. Waaah! Why won't feminists speak up for me!!! wahhh!

The underlying issue is, of course, a real one. Critics across the political spectrum (and of both genders) are quick to jump to use sexist and sexual language when criticizing women. Still, the "I can ignore it until it happens to me" game is annoying.

Open Thread

On the darkest night so painful do you hunger for thread midst the torture of being one?

No Exit Strategy

(title thanks to hontlia)


I already linked to the story, but Patrick Lang provides some highlights of the LA Times' Curveball story.

Got what a bunch of fucking losers run our country.



The president strode away from reporters looking annoyed after one said he appeared "off his game".

President Bush tugged at both handles on the double doors before admitting: "I was trying to escape. Obviously, it didn't work."

Mr Bush flies to Mongolia on Monday to complete his East Asia tour.

bloggity blog blog bloogy blogger blog

You know, I don't care if Michelle Malkin writes her blog all by herself or if she has her army of flying monkeys do it, but it seems reasonable to be up front about it either way.

Someone Call the Wahmbulance

Roger Simon responds to Dennis the Peasant.

What They Knew

Bob Graham:

In February 2002, after a briefing on the status of the war in Afghanistan, the commanding officer, Gen. Tommy Franks, told me the war was being compromised as specialized personnel and equipment were being shifted from Afghanistan to prepare for the war in Iraq -- a war more than a year away. Even at this early date, the White House was signaling that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein was of such urgency that it had priority over the crushing of al Qaeda.


At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used senatorial authority, I directed the completion of an NIE.

Tenet objected, saying that his people were too committed to other assignments to analyze Saddam Hussein's capabilities and will to use chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. We insisted, and three weeks later the community produced a classified NIE.


Under questioning, Tenet added that the information in the NIE had not been independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States. In fact, no such person was inside Iraq. Most of the alleged intelligence came from Iraqi exiles or third countries, all of which had an interest in the United States' removing Hussein, by force if necessary.

Wankers of the Century

The Bush administration.

The White House, for example, ignored evidence gathered by United Nations weapons inspectors shortly before the war that disproved Curveball's account. Bush and his aides issued increasingly dire warnings about Iraq's biological weapons before the war even though intelligence from Curveball had not changed in two years.

At the Central Intelligence Agency, officials embraced Curveball's account even though they could not confirm it or interview him until a year after the invasion. They ignored multiple warnings about his reliability before the war, punished in-house critics who provided proof that he had lied and refused to admit error until May 2004, 14 months after the invasion.

Wanker of the Day

Washington Post ombudsman Howell.

Open Thread

your eyes.

Open Thread

Onward through the thread, onward through the night of my life.