Saturday, December 16, 2006

Everybody Gets a Trophy Day

I'm not without any sympathy for the thought processes behind Time's choice, but I nonetheless basically agree with August.

It's a truly wonderful thing that the internets lets everyone self-publish for free and potentially have an influence. But, you know, most people don't actually do any of that. And fewer of those who try have any success.

Usually with these types of things they choose someone or something which is somehow representative of the underlying phenomenon, like when Jeff Bezos was their pick. Along those lines "the youtube guys" or maybe, as Salon chose, S.R. Sidarth, would've been appropriate.

Keeping with my "it should have gone to the dirty fucking hippie" position, the fundamental political shift in 2006 was on the Iraq war so it could've, say, gone to Murtha or maybe people who got it right to begin with (ha ha, just kidding).

I'm still clueless why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was even on the notional "short list." The dude really hasn't actually been of any real significance.

America, The Beautiful

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

Place Your Bets

Time's Person of the Year announced in a few. For some reason I expect this year's one is going to be about 180 degrees from something appropriate.

Meet the Self-Parody

Meet the Press's only advertised political guest tomorrow is Newt Gingrich.

Stay Away From Teh Funny, Wingnuts

The inability of conservatives to grasp basic concepts of humor is an endless source of amusement.


This is not going to be a good thing. Thanks St. John McCain and the Last Honest Man.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.

What is That I Sense?'s...ummm...not quite sure...oh...ah, yes, it's someone pissing their pants.

And, for the record, I'm a coward who has absolutely no desire to go to Iraq because I tend to believe the press reports about, you know, all those people getting killed.

Edwards To Announce

Not exactly a big surprise.

Dead Wrong

There's no reason to respect John McCain. He's a pandering buffoon whose appeal to the Broders of the world says all you really need to know about him. But, otherwise, good for Richardson for calling him out. McCain is wrong, very wrong, and his position is very unpopular. It's time for more Democrats to stop hoping they can bask in his reflected glory and start pointing out that he's actually a very bad person.


May 3, 2003, New York Times

The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.


If the administration plan is carried out, the effect would be to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq from over 130,000 soldiers and marines at present to 30,000 troops or fewer by the fall.

This probably was the plan, but that's when Everyone Still Hearted The War, dirty fucking hippies were mocked for not clapping loudly enough, and no one put The Decider on the defensive. Once people started telling Bush he was fucking things up, he responded by deciding to stay.

Not Going to Happen


A frighteningly large number of people seem to be counting on the idea that the war will be mostly over and the troops mostly withdrawn by 2008. But then again, people said Bush would "declare victory and go home" in time for the '06 midterms. And they said he would do it in time for the '04 election. But it's not going to happen. The troops will leave if and only if a new political leader is elected and that leader wants to withdraw the troops.

Indeed. I don't know why it seems like inhabitants of a certain corner of the blogosphere seem be the only ones who understand this, though I suppose people are finally starting to get it. I imagine Bayh dropped out in part because he recognized that the Iraq bed isn't going to unshit itself. While I've been rather disappointed in Obama's leadership on the subject, he did at least call for the beginning of troop withdrawal in a few months (the question is what he says when that doesn't happen). That of course leaves Clinton who is busy protecting us from violent video games.

Anyway, I try to resist criticizing the presidential hopefuls too much (except for, you know, the ones I clearly find comical) and I recognize that these people don't have magic powers which allow them to cause George Bush to do something different. But aside from the fact that they're running for president and I'd like one of them to win, these people will increasingly be the face of the Democratic party. More than Reid and Pelosi they will be the leaders from the perspective of the media. Given their lack of superpowers it isn't necessarily the case that what they say about Iraq is all that important right now, but at a bare minimum what they do need to understand is that two F.U.s from now the Iraq bed will still not be unshitted. At that point the media will be hanging on their every word, including probably a few they just make up. Serious candidates need to understand that whatever they're saying about the subject now, they need to say it based on the understanding that things are not going to be better a year from now.

Most importantly, they need to know what they're going to be saying a year from now.

I know I'm just a dirty fucking hippie with the stupidest blog on the internets, but I've known for a long time that Iraq is not going to magically get better and that George Bush isn't going to leave because he equates leaving with losing. One of the biggest disappointments with our broader political class is due to the failure of them to understand this rather obvious point. George Bush is stubborn and incompetent, wishes are not ponies, and hope is not a plan.


I guess that's what it looks like.

Something About Mary

Left out of all the coverage of Mary Cheney's pregnancy is the fact that her mother, in 2000, freaked out when Cokie Roberts suggested her daughter was a lesbian and asserted that it was a lie that she had ever claimed to be.

Mary has never declared such a thing. I would like to say that I'm appalled at the media interest in one of my daughters. I have two wonderful daughters.

Of course, Mary had declared such a thing. What an awful person Lynne Cheney is.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Well, I didn't think it'd happen so soon, but...

Late Night

Rock on.

Stop It

CNN has taken to referring to Rick Warren as "America's Pastor." Well, they put quotes around it so maybe they just mean that someone somewhere has called him that. Look, I know it's assholes like me who are always accused of being hostile to religious people, but that kind of thing from a major news network should be deeply hostile to people with or without faith. America does not have a pastor. America does not have a single religion. America does not have a single faith. America does not need CNN anointing a pope or choosing the county's religious leader.

Feel the Tomentum!

Tommy Thompson gonna run for prez too.

So Many More Friedmans

Well, the wise old men of Washington appear to have gone from worshipping the ISG, desperately awaiting the release of its report, to declaring it dead and telling us to prepare for many more Friedmans.

I hate to say I told you so, but, well...

Fresh Thread

I got nothin'.

Down the Memory Hole

Greg Sargent reminds us that we've all collectively forgotten Bush's repeated assertion that he'd make decisions based on the recommendations of his generals.


And the self-similarity of the wingnut function continues.

Whither Broder

The ISG report had one fan with a tremendeous crush: David Broder. Will Bush's rejection of it make him cry?

Three Way

Yes, I'm trying to avoid even writing about this stuff, but...

I think the primary thing that an Obama run does is kill what was the long held conventional wisdom that the race would be between Hillary and someone who manages to emerge as the Not Hillary. Obama could've been the Not Hillary if he'd gone that path, but his knee-jerk tendency to triangulate has made that unlikely. So, right now we're looking at Hillary, Obama, and NotHillaryOrObama, who will probably be Edwards.

And all this could change in a month.

Moral Relativism

Jonah Goldberg is like most of our trolls. You can't really debate him because he's just really really stupid.


These kids are American citizens, and they've just had their parents stolen from them. Some of whom were apparently improperly detained because they are here legally.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Ezra asks:

When will the media realize Bush doesn't care what they think, cease talking about what he should do, and begin, relentlessly and mercilessly, talking about what he is doing?


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

But, okay, I can't resist the longer answer. Magical thinking has long pervaded this entire enterprise, and the pundits who supported this whole thing long ago decided that they could evade responsibility for their role in this by continuing to come up new Pony Plans. They can't come to grips with the fact that this whole enterprise is doomed - and, in fact, has long been doomed - and they can't come to grips with the fact that no matter what they say George Bush is the decider.

The choice has never been between Pundit Fantasy Plan and getting out. The choice has always been between George Bush's Plan and getting out. The punditocracy has chosen to operate in the fantasy realm, pretending that their Pundit Fantasy Plan is an option. It's allowed them to continue to avoid looking at the real choice and concluding, as anyone should, that getting out is a better choice than continuing with The Decider's Plan.

And why are they doing that? Because they'd rather be wrong than agree with the dirty fucking hippies, even though few of us actually smell like patchouli. The impact of their fantasy thinking is to ensure that George Bush continues to be able to fuck things up. And they say we're unserious.


Operation Forward Together

Spencer takes a look at Bill and Fred's Plan for an Excellent Adventure, but aside from that I'm struck by the complete lack of short term memory among our media when it comes to Iraq. He reminds us of Operation Forward Together, which you may remember was the Last One Last Shot, before the current one. And before that, about a Friedman Unit earlier, we had "clear, hold, and build" which was our One Last Shot.

Down the memory hole.


They like us! They really like us!

I'm not a super smart political strategist, but if I were looking at data which told me that Generic Democrat was kicking ass by 18 points, and Real Live Democrats were not, it might occur to me that the way to win an election was to stop the triangulation bullshit and start running as a proud Democrat.

But, hey, I'm just some lunatic on the internets.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Josh asks:

To the extent there still is such a thing, most of the US foreign policy establishment is against it. Who's on this bandwagon beside the president and the pundits?

Other than St. John McCain and The Last Honest Man, no one.

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


The very serious Joe Lieberman who said in July:

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

Is now calling for more troops.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Jonah Goldberg memories:

Anyway, I do think my judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture. So, I have an idea: Since he doesn't want to debate anything except his own brilliance, let's make a bet. I predict that Iraq won't have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I'll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now). This way neither of us can hide behind clever word play or CV reading. If there's another reasonable wager Cole wants to offer which would measure our judgment, I'm all ears. Money where your mouth is, doc. One caveat: Because I don't think it's right to bet on such serious matters for personal gain, if I win, I'll donate the money to the USO. He can give it to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or whatever his favorite charity is.

Juan Cole was repulsed by the concept of the bet and didn't take it.


At some point over the last couple of years I actually gained a bit of grudging respect for the conservative Christian critique that the media didn't reflect their views. It's certainly the case that the media is overly deferential to religious views generally and conservative religious views specifically. But I came to understand that mere deference wasn't enough. There is a conservative Christian worldview which no matter how much deference or respect it receives is still not quite reflected in contemporary news coverage. The story, as they see it, is not being told.

I'm not suggesting that the mainstream media has an obligation to tell that story, which may or may not have much to do with reality, but I came to understand how this group of people could feel that the story as they saw it was not being told.

Other claims to victimhood I don't have much tolerance for. Unlike godless liberals like myself, their views are given respect, so the claims that the news media has contempt for them are ludicrous. Still, even given that, I can understand how their antagonism towards the media exists. Their version of The Story of current events isn't being told.

But, frankly, neither is ours. The story which is being told is the story as understood by the beltway media. It isn't specifically liberal or conservative, though it's highly influenced by the conservative media. Ultimately, those in the Washington political journalism game are writing the story as understood by their kind. Their own presumptions and assumptions are difficult to challenge. As Stoller writes:

My guess is that journalists are no longer communicating in a way that makes sense to voters. For instance, if you look at most Connecticut papers, you would find almost no coverage of the fact that Lieberman misled voters on his main campaign promise to bring the troops home as soon as possible, or that Lamont's claim that a vote for Lieberman is a "vote for more war" happens to be true. The campaign is over, so it's apparently not relevant that Senator Lieberman just called for more troops, which simply cannot be taken as anything but a call for more war. This isn't just sour grapes; it would have been incredibly tough for Lamont to win regardless, but the fact that Lieberman was able to utter statements in the post-primary which are now revealed as lies, and have basically no coverage in local papers, is remarkable. It's shallow. It disempowers Connecticut voters, who are not told the truth about what they voted for.

I don't really have an answer for irresponsible lack of follow-on coverage, or the boring scandal-driven untrustworthy nonsense that passes as news. At this point we still need the press, I suppose, and we need them to dig up credible information so that we can consider public discourse reasonably and responsibly. Still, it would be nice if journalists considered a lack of trust from the public as an identity crisis rather than an opportunity for snark. In the meantime, the press will continue to lose relevance and other more unpredictable social structures will take its place.

I think many members of the press think they inhabit an imagined center, and take pride in the fact that people on the left and right often object to the way in which they tell the story. Both sides complain, they must be doing something right. But this imagined center has nothing to do with any kind of actual "political center." It is, instead, the dominant narrative as expressed by an elite class and subculture who inhabit the world of Washington journalism. It isn't left or right per se, and certainly is not "the center," but simply the reflection of the values and worldview of the self-appointed but largely out of touch arbiters of sensibility.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.

Much Much Worse

As Greenwald argues, the "new way forward" in Iraq is very likely to make things worse. I wish we could, just this once, hold all the pundits to their Biden Shot commitments, that we would agree that, well, yes for One Last Time we're going to get Dear Leader try to salvage things and when, predictably, things get worse we agree to put the Dirty Fucking Hippies in charge. But it won't happen that way. One last shot will happen and, then, miraculously we'll have to have yet another last shot.

NPR handed over about 8 minutes to Fred Kagan this evening, without any opposing view hinted at or expressed, to advocate for a position that only 8-16% of the population support and which not even the president has yet advocated. Still, the Pundit Class knows it must continue, that Saint McCain, who last year boldly predicted that by now things would be oh so better, surely must Be Wise when he suggests it and that no matter how strong of a majority they represent, the dirty fucking hippies must not be given access to the airwaves to express their highly popular viewpoint.

Rinse, repeat, and you'll get to read this post again in a couple of F.U.s. The B.S. will never stop.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Standard Republican lawmaker edition.

Body Counts

The decision to begin using body counts as a metric of success gives us some advance warning about where we're going.

Not Dead Yet

Look, I understand that the potential for the Senate to remain in Republican hands is a legitimate angle for coverage of Senator Johnson's health troubles, but there have been plenty of senators who had serious illnesses without being talked about as if their death was imminent. Biden was out of the Senate for quite some time. Specter has had multiple major illnesses.

CNN's correspondents seem to mostly be approaching this reasonably, but the anchors who are framing the issue are totally focused on the possibility that the Dems won't be able to take control.

...adding, there's an additional reason people try to keep their jobs even when they're sick - employer-based health insurance. The idea that they're going to throw a sick guy out of the Senate because he's gonna miss some work days is absurd.

Fresh Thread


Saddam Gibson

I have no idea what the point of this is, but it's pretty funny whatever the intent.

Shorter Adam Reilly

Bloggers are big hypocrites for praising the media when it does something they approve of and criticizing it when it does something they don't approve of and this undermines their credibility terribly.

Something about the word blog just turns people into morons.


So, let's do a recap on the Very Serious junior senator from Connecticut.

About a year ago Lieberman wrote:

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

In March Lieberman was still claiming that things were getting better.

In June he said:

I believe, that we will be able to withdraw a significant number of our men and women in uniform from Iraq by the end of this year and even more by next year. And I express that optimism based on the election and formation of the new Iraqi unity government, the increasing capacity of the Iraqi security forces to protect their own people, and the commitment of the new government to disarm the sectarian militias.

In July he said:

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

A little later in July he said:

BRIDGEPORT — U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman believes the U.S. will withdraw a "solid" contingent of its military forces in Iraq by the end of the year because of gains made by the Iraqi armed forces.
"There really has been progress made by the Iraqi military," Lieberman said Tuesday during a meeting with the Connecticut Post's editorial board. "Two-thirds of it could stand on its own or lead the fight with our logistical support."

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

Apparently all of that is no longer operative and now he's standing with St. John McCain calling for more troops.

Joe Lieberman, wrong about everything, yet still a very serious person.

Wanker of the Day

Laura Bush.


One of the not-talked-about-enough aspects of the immigration mess is that a lot of people who are here illegally are the parents and guardians of children who are citizens. Whatever one thinks about immigration generally, taking parents away from their children isn't especially good policy.

Malkin to Iraq!

Well, kudos if she actually goes, ventures outside, and reports honestly.


Fox is salivating.

Four Fools Go to Iraq

Oh Lordy. Huckleberry Graham, Saint John McCain, The Last Honest Man, and Susan Collins went to Iraq.


Uh, dude? You've had over three and a half years to think about your pet war.

Morning Thread


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Late Night

Michael Penn -- Walter Reed

"Economic Espionage"

Slipped into this NPR report about whether and when we spy on our allies was a quick comment about how we don't generally spy on their governments but we do engage in "economic espionage."

In other words, our intelligence agencies are used to further specific US business interests by spying on their competitors.


Peter Boyle, RIP

Ixnay on the ottenray.

Ney Ney Needs My Help!

I will of course write a letter for my BFF.


Still bouncing:

Bush's overall job approval rating is 34 percent, which is another all-time low for the president in the poll.

Wanker of the Day

Jeff Greenfield.

And for that, we get a re-run of my favorite Jeff Greenfield act of journamalism:

Even more damning was a "Nightline" report broadcast that same evening. The segment came very close to branding Hillary Clinton a perjurer. In his introduction, host Ted Koppel spoke pointedly about "the reluctance of the Clinton White House to be as forthcoming with documents as it promised to be." He then turned to correspondent Jeff Greenfield, who posed a rhetorical question: "Hillary Clinton did some legal work for Madison Guaranty at the Rose Law Firm, at a time when her husband was governor of Arkansas. How much work? Not much at all, she has said."

Up came a video clip from Hillary's April 22, 1994, Whitewater press conference. "The young attorney, the young bank officer, did all the work," she said. "It was not an area that I practiced in. It was not an area that I know anything, to speak of, about." Next the screen filled with handwritten notes taken by White House aide Susan Thomases during the 1992 campaign. "She [Hillary] did all the billing," the notes said. Greenfield quipped that it was no wonder "the White House was so worried about what was in Vince Foster's office when he killed himself."

What the audience didn't know was that the ABC videotape had been edited so as to create an inaccurate impression. At that press conference, Mrs. Clinton had been asked not how much work she had done for Madison Guaranty, but how her signature came to be on a letter dealing with Madison Guaranty's 1985 proposal to issue preferred stock. ABC News had seamlessly omitted thirty-nine words from her actual answer, as well as the cut, by interposing a cutaway shot of reporters taking notes. The press conference transcript shows that she actually answered as follows: "The young attorney [and] the young bank officer did all the work and the letter was sent. But because I was what we called the billing attorney -- in other words, I had to send the bill to get the payment sent -- my name was put on the bottom of the letter. It was not an area that I practiced in. It was not an area that I know anything, to speak of, about."


Normal blogging to resume shortly.

Arresting Legal Workers

How lovely.

Fresh Thread

Busy/travel day. Deep in the heart of the vast left wing conspiracy.

Open thread

Here, read some Krugman: The Great Wealth Transfer.

The Grand Iranian Conspiracy

We must remember that there are crazy people running our government, and the crazy may not be over yet.


Why is Ken Adelman on my teevee?

More importantly, why isn't there a dirty fucking hippie on my teevee?

...he just called for a one F.U. last chance. Now that's an opinion you never hear on the teevee.


Been busy today, but holy crap, Ciro won!


Dvorak Cello Concert, 1st movement.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More Thread


Double Down

Looks like the McCain/Lieberman war is about to escalate.

I do not think the presidential candidates, on either side, have really come to terms with the fact that two F.U.s or a few more B.S.s from now Iraq will still be a problem. Iraqis will still be getting killed. American soldiers will still be getting killed. The war and its architects will remain incredibly unpopular.

As Henley writes:

The pattern has always been:

1. Declare that we must stay in Iraq to prevent some Bad Thing from happening.

2. Bad Thing happens anyway.

3. Declare that we must stay in Iraq to prevent some Worse Thing from happening.

4. Worse Thing happens anyway.

5. Reiterate sequence.

At no point does the “Sensible Center” consider that the previous failures implicate our ability to fulfill the new mission, which is always paradoxically grander in scale while being a retreat from previous ambitions.

Can't Resist

This is a silly list of people, but I recommend voting for The Moderate Voice.


Unsurprisingly, Tom DeLay doesn't write his own blog.

Also unsurprisingly, the posts he doesn't write get posted to Red State.

The War on The War on Terror

Rumsfeld enlists.

Fresh Thread


More on Today's Wanker

Spencer makes Matt's basic point a bit more succintly, but there's an additional point. I think comparisons between Castro and Pinochet are largely specious. They aren't really the yin and yang of authoritarian dictators. But, since they're all the rage I'd suggest that what Hiatt misses is a key difference between Chile and Cuba has nothing to do with their nominal position on the left-right political axis, but rather the fact that Castro's dictatorship has long been propped up by the US's long isolation of that country, both during its time as a Soviet client state and after. Whatever the underlying motives for that basic policy, it certainly achieved the opposite of its stated goal of ending the Castro regime.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

Travel Day

So, intermittent posting for a bit.

Duck Soup

Another conservative lawbreaker:

Hoosier Edward Bruce Tinsley, creator of the conservative comic strip Mallard Fillmore, was arrested in Columbus Dec. 4 and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence -- his second alcohol-related arrest in less that four months, according to the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department.

Tinsley, 48, who lives in Columbus, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 -- almost twice the level at which an Indiana driver is considered intoxicated. He posted $755 bond.
On Aug. 26, Tinsley was arrested for public intoxication, according to the sheriff's department.

Morning Thread



effing hell

Iraqi police say a suicide car bomber in central Baghdad has killed at least 40 people and wounded 34 others.

Late Night

Dvorak Cello Concerto, 3rd movement.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Silliest Season

And the silly people are trying to outdo each other for Silliest Shit Imaginable already.

Gonna be a long and silly two years. Stock up on liquor.


CBS has Bush approval bouncing all the way to 31%.

Iraq approval at 21%, with only 47% of Republicans approving.

Fresh Thread


Elizabeth Edwards

One of the never-picked-up-on stories of the 2004 election was the fact that Elizabeth Edwards actually spent quite a bit of time hanging around blogs and online forums. I kept waiting for the fake "Elizabeth Edwards posts on a forum where some other commenter once said something bad..." controversy, which mercifully didn't happen. And, she's still hanging out.

Talking to Walls

Almost there.

Two more years.


At least someone's saying it. Joe Galloway.

They Write Letters

Greg Sargent writes to John Carroll.

Wanker of the Day

David Frum.

The War on Christmas

Look, it's very simple. There are two Christmas holidays. One is the secular holiday, decreed by the federal government to be a national holiday, which is celebrated and marked with festive displays of trees, lights, fat guys with beards, and elves, along with lots of shopping and the giving of gifts. The other holiday involves a celebration of the birth of the Messiah, and is celebrated with religious rituals and displays of nativity scenes and other religious imagery.

Public displays of secular Christmas imagery? fine.

Public displays of religious Christmas imagery? less fine.

Christmas trees in airports? fine.
Baby Jesus scenes in airports? less fine.

World Gone Mad

Perusing an old Robert Kaplan piece, Spencer responds:

For myself, I wonder: I read this piece at the time. Why didn't it wake me up as to what was really going on?

In the pre-war period in this country there was something truly wrong with our country. Madness had taken hold and infected our public discourse. Those of us who came to the rather obvious conclusion that the notion that Saddam Hussein was any kind of threat to this country was absurd, and that we should invade Iraq because maybe some day in the future he could become a threat was even more absurd were treated with derision and scorn and utterly marginalized.

What was so frustrating at the time was not simply that a bunch of otherwise intelligent people seemed to have come to the horribly wrong conclusion that invading Iraq was a good idea. What was more frustrating is that there was a collective blindness to the dishonest and destructive way the war was sold, that it seemed not to bother these people that the multiple and shifting dishonest rationalizations for war suggested that there was something deeply wrong with the whole endeavor. It was frustrating that people who supported the war were happy to climb on board not just with the war but with the truly awful people who were the architects of both the war and the propaganda war which, among other things, involved tarring war opponents as brutal-dictator lovers. It was frustrating that they signed up for the whole goddamn enchilada.

Frequently it's been pointed out that they shouldn't have trusted these people to "do it right." But more than that it should have been obvious that they shouldn't have trusted these people to "do the right thing." They made clear during that time that they were, in fact, very bad people.


A new record! GO PHILADELPHIA!

A weekend of gunfire that killed three men in Kensington and another in Fairhill pushed the city's 2006 homicide tally beyond last year's total, police said yesterday.

With 21 days remaining in the year, the city has had 384 homicide victims, four more than in all of 2005.

Poor taste humor aside, this is of course really awful. Some of it's drug-related crime and robberies, but a huge chunk of it seems to be people getting pissed off and shooting each other. I'm not especially enamored of harsh gun control laws, but nor am I enamored of the various crazy people who seem to think that if only everyone were armed in self-defense then we'd reach an equilibrium of no killing. If guns weren't so freely available a lot of these murders wouldn't happen.

Speaking of Accountability

The High Temple of Elite Punditry is truly an accountability-free zone.

Look, on every defining issue I can think of over the past decade or so the consensus view of elite pundits and the master narrative perpetuated by them has been utterly and completely wrong. Whitewater, the Lewinsky scandal, impeachment, the 2000 election, the 2000 post-election, the 2004 "mandate," Iraq, ... and those are just the big ones. And they just keep on writing.

One Thing We Could Do

Which we aren't, because it'll make the boy king look bad.

WASHINGTON -- Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have fled their homeland are likely to seek refugee status in the United States, humanitarian groups said, putting intense pressure on the Bush administration to reexamine a policy that authorizes only 500 Iraqis to be resettled here next year.

The official US policy has been that the refugee situation is temporary and that most of the estimated 1.5 million who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and elsewhere will eventually return to Iraq. But US and international officials now acknowledge that the instability in Iraq has made it too dangerous for many refugees, especially Iraqi Christians, to return any time soon.

Ellen Sauerbrey, assistant secretary of state for refugees and migration, said that while the Bush administration does not think resettlement is needed for most refugees, its policy could rapidly change.

"It is quite possible that we will in time decide that because of vulnerabilities of certain populations that resettlement is the right option," Sauerbrey said. While acknowledging that the administration originally set a quota of no more than 500 Iraqi refugees, she said the president has the legal authority to admit 20,000 additional refugees.


Arthur E. "Gene" Dewey, who was President Bush's assistant secretary of state for refugee affairs until last year, said that "for political reasons the administration will discourage" the resettlement of Iraqi refugees in the United States "because of the psychological message it would send, that it is a losing cause."

There you are. We can't accept refugees from Iraq because it might contradict the elaborate fantasy world the Bush has created for himself.

These people have broken brains and souls.


Whenever journalists scoff at the undifferentiated mass that is "the bloggers" they inevitably bring up the issue of "accountability" or, more specifically, the lack of it.

Years later I still have no idea what they have in mind. What kind of accountability are they talking about?

In any case, I doubt John Caroll is going to resign in shame from his media and faculty gigs, so I suppose there's no accountability in his world either. Whatever that means.


People seem to be fretting about all the bad things that could happen if we leave Iraq, and also fretting about all the bad things which could happen if things just continue as they are. So, everyone's busy concocting Cunning Plans so that neither of those scenarios happens. But, uh, helping to forcibly partition a country? Relocating people at gunpoint based on their ethnicity?

Iraq might end up being partitioned. That partition might include neighborhood ethnic homogeneity. But why on Earth would anyone think we either should or could have anything to do with that? Why would we have to participate in such a thing? What possible benefit would our presence add to such a process, even if it became inevitable?

Please, Quiet Americans, just stop. Really.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Late Night

Please don't shoot anyone in the face.

Evening Thread

Rock on.

Really Drunk Now

Found another Biden Shot. From a 12/13/2005 press conference, almost exactly a year ago:

The dividing line is whether or not, as in the case of Jack Murtha and me -- Jack Murtha, God love him, I think he believes that we have gone beyond the pale, that there is no reason to think the president is going to change course and the only rational position in the Hobson's choices we're left with is over time redeploy American forces because there's no winning strategy.

I added it in to the post below, too.

The world ran out of Friedmans, but it appears we have many more Biden Shots ahead of us. Not sure how much more of this B.S. we can take.

Thank God They Didn't Find The Pony

Really all you need to know about the children who run our government can be found in this excerpt:

Dan Senor, a former administration spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, said that in conversations with administration officials, they had dismissed many of the report’s recommendations as “not terribly realistic from an operational standpoint.”

He said former colleagues had told him they felt comforted by the recognition that there were no good options, because despite all of the intellect brought to the endeavor, the members of the panel had failed to make the leap from strategy to implementation. “It’s easy to suggest these steps in theory, but we haven’t been able to figure out the how,” Mr. Senor said. “Now, neither have these 10 wise men and woman.”

First the honesty. When has anyone in the Bush administration said that "there were no good options." For quite some time "stay the course" was painted as a delightfully wonderful option which was unearthing huge quantities of ponies.

Second the priorities. What's important to the people in the Bush administration isn't actually finding the pony in Iraq, it's not being blamed for the disaster. Now if I were presiding over a catastrophic pony hunt which had killed thousands and thousands of people, and a bunch of "wise men and women" tapped me on the shoulder and said hey, kid, here's how you find the pony, I would be very pleased. I would be glad that maybe someone had helped me find a way to end the catastrophe.

Members of the Bush administration, however, would rather continue with the catastrophe than have to admit that maybe someone else has more of a clue . They are comforted by the fact that there's no way to find the pony, even though they, you know, started looking for the damn thing to begin with.

These are people with broken brains and souls.

Very Silly People

I don't know who Ali Eteraz is, but he's yet another very silly person who has invented, or co-opted, or whatever, yet another silly name for another imagined silly movement.

One Last Shot

Biden on This Week:

Everyone from John McCain, who says it a different way, to Joe Biden, to -- across the board -- is saying, we have one last shot to figure out how to deal with the chaos in Iraq. If we can't, you better get out.

Joe Biden, Imus, 8/17/06:

Because there's a civil war, and you got to -- if there's a civil war, Don, where you have the Mahdi army, as well as what they call the Badr Brigade, which is the Iranian-trained outfit that works for the -- that's the Shia outfit with the Dawa (inaudible) party. If those guys start shooting at the same time the insurgents are, all the king's horses and all the king's men aren't going to keep that country together again.

We've got one last shot here to separate these parties, and you have to do it politically. And if you don't do the kind of thing we did in Dayton when we settled the situation in Bosnia -- and I might add, no one died in the last (inaudible), no American has died, and now they're more of a united country -- if we don't do something like that, we will have traded a dictator for chaos on this guy's watch.

Joe Biden, 12/13/05 press conference:

The dividing line is whether or not, as in the case of Jack Murtha and me -- Jack Murtha, God love him, I think he believes that we have gone beyond the pale, that there is no reason to think the president is going to change course and the only rational position in the Hobson's choices we're left with is over time redeploy American forces because there's no winning strategy.

Joe Biden, Fox News, 11/21/2005:

WALLACE: As we've been saying, Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha this week called for bringing U.S. troops back home. Is that a good idea?

BIDEN: Not immediately, no. I can understand Jack's frustration. This is a guy who has concluded that so far we've handled this effort incompetently, but it seems to me that we have one last shot at getting this right.

Joe Biden, Charlie Rose show, June 21, 2005:

I personally think we should not set an exit date. I personally think we should take one last shot at trying to do this the right way. I think it still can be done, although more difficult.

Joe Biden, Face the Nation, 6/19/2005:

We need time. There's one last shot at getting this right in Iraq.

Joe Biden, Hardball, May 24, 2004:

We've made significant mistakes. Our one last shot to get this right, unite the world, convince the Iraqi people that this is not just a U.S. occupation, is June 30.

Biden 11/7/2003:

"I am convinced we have one last shot at bringing the world into Iraq," said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. "We must do everything in our power to seize it.

"I'd like to see President Bush go to Europe, call a summit and ask - ask - for more help. We might have to give up some more authority to get it. But as I keep saying, we've got to stop treating Iraq like some kind of prize."

Only the Good Die Young

Pinochet has died.

Your Liberal Media

This week's Meet the Press roundtable:

Neoconservative and former Bush adminsitration official Ken Adelman.
Neoconservative Eliot Cohen.
Former Bush administration official Richard Haass.
Tom Ricks, reporter, Washington Post.


A selection of Tony Blair quotes from his This Week appearance:

Well, I think, to be absolutely blunt about it, we have to make sure this works.


We are in a situation where we need to act urgently, in my view.


I think we've got to plan to succeed.


What we've got to do is get the right strategy to achieve it. You know what I mean?


You know, identifying what needs to happen is -- I don't say it's easy, but I think it is relatively straightforward. Getting it done requires immense focus and attention.


Well, you see, you've got to ask, why is it that we have the problem now? And we have the problem now because people are giving us this problem.


I think what is important is that we make sure that nothing is left undone that could be done to achieve that success. Because if we do succeed, I think, in the end, the whole of the region will change and for the better. And if we fail, the consequences are very serious.

Deeply Immoral

Senator Smith certainly deserves no profile in courage award for finally saying this stuff, but it's nonetheless important that more people are coming around.

Deep Thoughts From the Wise Old Men of Washington

Bob Woodward on the Chris Matthews show:

Somebody can come up with some idea. And one idea I heard is that the president has to get- and the Secretary of Defense and the NSC needs to get its finger out of the eye of the military. This is one thing that defined the Rumsfeld era. He was always micromanaging. Find a general. Put him in charge. Say, "You're Eisenhower. You go over there. And figure out what to do."


Over there:

BAGHDAD - Shi'ite militias attacked Sunni homes in Baghdad's religiously mixed Hurriya district on Saturday, Interior Ministry officials and witnesses said. More than 30 families fled after the militias torched homes and killed at least one person, witnesses and officials said.

BAGHDAD - A total of 40 bodies -- many of them shot and tortured -- were found across Baghdad on Saturday, an Interior Ministry source said.

The Stupids

While I wouldn't say that journalists I've met haven't had any kind of sense of humor, many of them do seem to have this weird kind of hyperliteralism which often prevents them from getting the joke.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

“Fox News Sunday,” Guests: Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, Indiana Democrat, co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group; Sen. Christopher Dodd, Connecticut Democrat; Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican; Marvin Hamlisch, composer.

NBC’s “Meet the Press,”Guests: Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, Indiana Democrat, co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group.

ABC’s “This Week,” Guests: British Prime Minister Tony Blair; Sen. Joe Biden, Delaware Democrat; Sen. Gordon Smith, Oregon Republican; Ed Asner, actor.

CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Guests: Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, Indiana Democrat; co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group; Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat; Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican.

CNN’s “Late Edition,” Guests : Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, Indiana Democrat, co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group; Rep. Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican; Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat; Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq; Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres.