Saturday, January 06, 2007

Open Thread

Romo Fingers.

Saturday Night

Please don't shoot anyone in the face.

Painting Schools

First, I thought that's what we'd spent the last close to four years doing. Second, doesn't anyone in the administration have any creative ideas for putting unemployed Iraqis to work?

In all seriousness, of course throwing huge amounts of money at Iraqis to rebuild the country is the obvious thing to do. It was such the obvious thing to do that some of us were a bit confused when we realized they weren't doing it. Had there been a massive public works program which hired Real Live Iraqis instead of whoever the hell Halliburton was importing to do the work, and instead of painting the goddamn schools they'd managed to turn the lights on for more than a couple of hours per day there's some chance things could've worked out a bit better. My opposition to the war was never based on predictions of the disaster we have now, the scope of which is at least in part due to the fact that we have drooling imbecilic ideologues who couldn't run a lemonade stand running this thing. I'm not saying the "incompetence dodgers" have a point - the war was a horribly wrong idea for so many reasons - just that it is clear that had there not been so much incompetence things would be at least a bit better.

The Worst Person in The World

Saint John McCain, the patron saint of liars.

Gay Baiting

Obviously I understand that the point of this kind of thing is pure gay baiting. Nancy Pelosi is going to force you to be gay, as all people in San Francisco are required to be by law.

Still I find the attempt to demonize San Francisco rather odd. It's a pretty nice place. Lots of people travel there for tourism, not because they want to experience forced gayness, but because they hear it's a fun place.

I have no doubt that this kind of thing works for the 30 percenters, but I still think this kind of regional demonization the GOP has been doing for years just doesn't have the broader appeal it once did.

Don't Talk About the Escalation

The silence of the editorial pages is deafening.

Operation Forever

Yglesias notes that The Plan is just another version of Operation Forward Together. Still, he fails to note that after Operation Forward Together we had Operation Forward Together II, and inbetween we may have had Operation Together Forward.

Needless to say, all of those failed spectacularly. Why we didn't stick with the "clear, hold, and build" plan I do not know, as Joe Lieberman told me over a year ago that it was working.

"Isolationist Left"

The Editors deal with Lord Weisberg's wankery fairly well, but I'd like to highlight something else. When did the "isolationist Left" become some sort of important force in American politics, or some sort of named movement? I, like most people who did, opposed the Iraq war because it was The Worst Idea Ever transparently marketed with lies swallowed by rubes like Lord Weisberg and embedded in a political campaign which involved impugning the patriotism of, you know, people like me simply because we opposed The Worst Idea Ever.

Isolationism in the US has long found its home on the Right - from opposing entry into WWII to opposing any and all participation in international institutions to Bob Dole's "Democrat wars" to George "We don't do nation building" Bush. Fuck the world, we're taking our ball and going home has long been part of the conservative genetic code.

Now, if you start asserting that the opposite of "isolationism" is "blowing shit up whenever someone makes us mad" and there is nothing else such as, you know, engaging with the world by creating and maintaining and whenever possible working within established international institutions so beloved by that ultimate Truman Democrat known as Harry S. Truman, then there's a case that can be made that there is an "isolationist Left." If you mean that some people on The Left are so silly and naive to think that sometimes foreign policy decisions - including the beloved Blowing Shit Up one - are made by people who have more narrow interests in mind than the nebulously abstract The National Interest, then I suppose you would be correct that those dirty fucking hippies must be smoking that Isolationist ganja. Stop dropping the brown acid you dirty fucking hippies!

Being less than enthusiastic about blowing shit up does not make one "isolationist," but we are stuck with very silly people like Lord Weisberg who when they look at the Iraq war see little other than a referendum on the brilliance of Lord Weisberg.



Three months ago today Senator John Warner said:

In two or three months, if this thing hasn't come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control … I think it's the responsibility of our government, internally, to determine: Is there a change of course that we should take? And I wouldn't take off the table any option at this time.

Well, it's three months later. And I guess he got his wish - the policy will be changed, and The Decider is going to Decide that other people need to sacrifice for his disaster.

Wankers of the Day

The right wing wankosphere.


Over there:

BAGHDAD, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Iraqi police clashed with gunmen in central Baghdad on Saturday when they went to investigate a report that 27 bodies had been found in one location near a cemetery, police and interior ministry sources said.

Dozens of bodies are found every day around Baghdad, many tortured and shot dead, the victims of militia death squads.

A source at Baghdad police headquarters said local police in the area near Haifa Street, in central Baghdad, had found 27 bodies and called in reinforcements. When they arrived, they came under fire from gunmen.

And Bush is about to implement the McCain doctrine I see. Thanks Oh Wise Old Men of Washington.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

During a June 2006 appearance on Meet the Press, New York Times reporter Anne Kornblut claimed that the Democrats were "bracing incredibly for the Karl Rove cut-and-run accusation."

Of course, that "cut-and-run accusation" came and failed spectacularly, as the American people overwhelmingly disapprove of the Iraq war and the Republicans' handling of it.

Yet Kornblut continues to insist that Democrats must be wary of being given the "cut-and-run" label. During a January 4 appearance on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, she declared, "I think the biggest nightmare for some of the Democrats in the Senate would be a Democratic Party that looks as though it just wants to, from -- the words from 2004 -- 'cut and run.' "

Kornblut describes "cut and run" as "words from 2004" -- never mind that those words were prominent in 2006 and that they didn't work. Never mind that Kornblut herself spoke of the attack in 2006. Kornblut simply disappears that inconvenient truth, focusing instead on 2004. We've said it before, we'll say it again: This isn't 2004 any more. This isn't 2002.

People. Don't. Like. This. War.

How hard is that to comprehend? It's been the truth for a long time. A very long time. President Bush and John McCain are pushing an Iraq policy -- escalation -- that has the support of only about 11 percent of Americans. Eleven percent! That's in "would you like to be kicked in the head" range. People overwhelmingly oppose this war; they want to end it; and leading Republicans are talking about escalating it.

Surveying these facts, pundits declare that Democrats better watch out, lest they be branded "cut-and-run[ners]." And these people get paid to utter this nonsense!

Damn I'm glad I was on vacation.

Damn You Al Gore!

RIP, Maria Leavey

Sad news arrived while I was gone, the passing of Maria Leavey. I imagine few people reading have heard her name. I only met her a few times, and mostly knew her through email and some conference calls. Honestly, to this day, I never really knew who, if anyone, Maria worked for. All I knew was that she was always working, doing important work that no one else seemed to be doing, trying to fill the gaps that never seemed to get filled on their own. She did a lot, and she just... well, did it. She will be missed, and probably in many more ways and by many more people than I can begin to know.

The Sound of Silence

Well, where I was at my undisclosed location there were no tubes or trucks for the internets, just tin cans and strings. It's probably the first time I almost entirely tuned out the blog and related for more than a day in quite some time. My lack of internet access was such that I didn't even have a chance to read this blog, so hopefully it hasn't become a haven for Prussian Blue fans or something (I'm looking at you Attatturk).

So, while tuning out, I had a chance to think about what it was like when I was tuned in... why it's always, strangely, tiring. The best comparison I could come up with is that it's as if, day to day, I'm trying to follow along with 75 simultaneous conversations and make sense of them all in realtime.

This isn't a whining post. Frankly I have the coolest "job" in the world. Still, it was nice to shut off the voices for awhile.


5 billion emails to sort through...

Like Crickets in the Country

Roy sure has a way with a simile.

Friday Cat Blogging

Just for the sake of nostalgia, here is Mike.

What a Surprise!

Right wankosphere proved wrong about Kerry photo.

And should we expect a chorus of "whoopsies"?

Sadly, no.

UPDATE: Apparently I had not considered all the angles on this. From the comments:


Brazilian Wax Time?

Waxman is a good name for the person to carry out this task:

TRANSPARENCY. We all knew that House Government Reform Committee chairman and oversight superman Henry Waxman will be one to watch in the 110th Congress, and this sounds very promising indeed:

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has created a new subcommittee that will tackle decisions made by the Bush administration regarding which government records should be made available to the public.

Whatever my general opinions might be on waxing, I say "Go Henry!"

Prime Scrapple

I don't have a DSM IV handy but there's must be some term for the psychological mix of narcissism, delusion and misanthropy in these two remarks:

Lieberman: Iraq War has the next relationship to the next war as the Spanish Civil War had to World War II.


Kristol: Based on what I've been able to learn about the situation on the ground, and based on conversations with soldiers and experts, I think a new strategy for victory supported by additional forces has a good chance of success.

Maybe I just need to hit my head on Watertiger's desk.

Or better yet bring it down upon the brow of others?

UPDATE: Just to further the absurdity of this whole escalation-surge-bump scenario, there are not 50,000 more troops available, there are not 40,000, there are not 20,000. No, there are 9,000 available.

This is as big a murderous fraud as the original war was to begin with.

Chairs use em!

Glenn Greenwaldian UPDATE II: Chicago Dyke actually attended today's experiment in cognitive dissonance and makes a report.

Mea Culpa? by Trent Lott

Here is what Lott said about the information that led to the Iraq occupation:

Matthews: I think [Vice President] Cheney had his thumb on the scale, do you agree? That they were pushing this war so hard, they were working to look at any evidence that backed the war and ignore any evidence that didn't back the war.

Lott: They were pushing the evidence that justified going to the war, a lot of us, Republicans and Democrats, were concerned about what we were told, and we bought the packet.

It may be unnecessary to point out that the last sentence doesn't really make sense. If "a lot" were concerned, why did they buy the packet?*

Hmmm. The times they are a-changing. Or the poll numbers, at least, given that most Americans think the Iraq adventure was a mistake.

Now even Oliver North is opposed to any manly surge in Iraq.
*It was pointed out in the comments that this makes perfect sense if what "a lot" were concerned was the contents of the evidence rather than its credibility. But then the question I have is why experienced politicians would simply buy evidence that was being "pushed" at them.

Burying New Orleans

Will there be one of those wonderful musical funerals? And will the powers-that-be come to sing and dance and wail behind the coffin that contains the remains of one of the most artistically and historically fascinating cities in this country?

The story of the long death-struggle of New Orleans has been told by many. Two good discussions are by Barbara O'Brien and by scout prime.

Pander Bear McCain

Long, interesting profile of St. McCain of Media in Vanity Fair:
But then, out of nowhere, he adds, "Could I just mention one other thing? On the issue of the gay marriage, I believe if people want to have private ceremonies, that's fine. I do not believe that gay marriages should be legal." There: he said it, the right words for his right flank. It might seem that this audience, the sons and daughters of a socially conservative and culturally traditional bellwether state, would accept, if not approve of, what McCain has just declared. But they are the Wi-Fi wave of the future, and they can smell a pander bear as surely as they can a hog lot. They erupt in a chorus of deafening boos. "Obviously some disagreement with that last comment," McCain says tightly. "Thank you. It's nice to see you."
"Pander Bear" as a term for McCain has a lot of potential...

Quasi Open Thread

Just to get a new thread started, you may "rock" if you wish -- or whatever it is that you crazy kids call it nowadays with your Fergies and your OK-Gos.

But I also point out to you that some things are transcendent and among those things are Cliff May & Dana Rohrabacher and the stupid and how it burns like the fiery heat of a thousand suns.

Continuing Wanker Education Seminar

If you don't get enough credits each year, they kick you out of the Project for the New American Century. Ladies & Gentlemen, don't get "Francis Fukuyamad" keep your credit hours current (no ethics hours required of course).

Today's seminar:

Start: Friday, January 5, 2007 11:00 AM
End: Friday, January 5, 2007 1:30 PM
Location: Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
Directions to AEI

10:45 a.m. -- Registration (no, not for military service silly)

Panel I: Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq (yeah, we're finally gettin' round to that)
Panelists: Frederick W. Kagan, AEI; General Jack Keane, U.S. Army (retired)

12:00 p.m.

Break (because the "war of ideas" works up an appetite for more than other people's blood & cool videos)


Panel II: Reports from Iraq [At least the safe parts] (As authentic as your 11th Grade Book Report)

Panelists: The Honorable John McCain, U.S. Senate; The Honorable Joseph Lieberman, U.S. Senate

1:30 p.m.

Adjournment (check listings at exit door for time that your bus leaves for FoxNews interview, AEI custodial staff will mop up splooge for your convenience)

Sadly, the event appears to be sold out for us mere mortals. But if you want to be in the general proximity of the event to RESPECTFULLY demonstrate your views on the matter now you know where those upstanding members of polite society shall be calling for the sacrifice of more human beings in the name of the vanity of a small group of assholes national security.

I'm no economist

And I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night -- I've been banned ever since that unfortunate mishap with a liver transplant, sorry Mickey -- but in my capacity as guest blogger I'll take the non-official position of betting the "under" on the forecasted 115,000 new jobs (per CNN). Yesterday, Pony Boy bet the way under.

Other guest bloggers and, of course, Atrios may differ, please no wagering.


U.S. payrolls up 167,000 in December. I tell you, I should really leave these sort of things to blogging professionals.

I believe "the Man" would say


Bush's Job Approval Rating 30%

Bush's Job Handling Iraq Approve 23%, Disapprove 72%

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Late Night

Hey, we have a new governor in New York! And he doesn't suck! Just the beginning, too.

Superchunk, "First Part"

The haggle

Many of us have been talking about the need for Democrats to start high before going to the bargaining table. This is not a radical new idea - everyone knows that when you dicker for a good price, you don't start with the "reasonable", "compromise" figure.

But Democrats seem to have lost the idea of haggling. If they want single-payer healthcare, they ask for single-payer healthcare. (Or worse, they do what the Clintons did and try to offer the insurance companies something, which kills the whole idea.) If they want a minimum wage of $7.25, they ask for a minimum wage of $7.25.

This is not, of course, what the Republicans do. They've always got some wingers out there arguing for an extreme position way to the other side. What they would like right now is to avoid raising the minimum wage at all, but sure enough, as Attaturk noted earlier, George F. Will is already out there for them proposing the even more extreme position of eliminating the minimum wage altogether. At this rate, we'll be lucky to get a raise up to $6.00.

As David Sirota points out, the unions were prepared to push for $8.00, but the Dems were afraid that would sound like they were criticizing Democrats for not asking for the higher figure. Can you imagine the right-wing doing this? They've had people out there advocating nuking Iraq just to make Bush seem reasonable, but unions shouldn't be asking for a higher figure than Democratic legislators because it might look like criticism? Yikes!

I want single-payer to pass, but I think single-payer would sound much more reasonable if there were people out there demanding a fully-socialized healthcare program like Britain's NHS (as Nye Bevan designed it, not the anemic thing successive governments have been turning it into). Go all-out: Demand an NHS, and single-payer will sound nice and capitalist and moderate - as it is.

And $8.00 was a good figure as long as the Republicans were just grumbling about raising the minimum wage, or wanting to attach poison pills to it, but once you get George Will out there talking about abolishing it altogether, you need stronger stuff. My suggestion was ten bucks with built-in annual cost-of-living raises, but one of my commenters, Mike, said* that, "The high position on the minimum wage is not automatic cost-of-living increases, it's automatic increases in line with growth in salaries or growth in GDP." (Discuss.)

Really, we need a think tank that does nothing but come up with "unreasonable" demands, to give Democrats in elective office plenty of room to move.

Good Grief

This is... I have no words, but horrible seems not inappropriate...
Police and family members said a 10-year-old boy who died by hanging himself from a bunk bed was apparently mimicking the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Via Ror.

Free Sparky

New Yorkers! Sign the petition to restore This Modern World to the print edition of the Village Voice.

Otherwise, use this thread to continue honoring Derval Patrick. But, as always, NO FLIRTING!

UPDATE: It occurs to me that like a lot of people I first got into this "blogging" thing through This Modern World. The first time I read Eschaton was following a link Dan Perkins put up to the "indefatigable Atrios." So, I owe him one favor, at least. Or two. Go sign the petition twice.

Open Thread To Honor Deval Patrick, The New Governor of Massachusetts

Rock on.


For Charlie Brown has had the football yanked out from under foot yet again!

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.

Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.

The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.

H/T to Hadenough

This Thing Still On?

I think a truck ran over the only intertubes at my undisclosed location, so I have no idea what's going on. It appears that the guest bloggers are fast making me redundant so all is well.

I'll be back tomorrow evening if all goes as planned.
Until then... rock on.

Let Me Be Frank about Frank

From Matt Stoller:
Barney Frank is the incoming Chair of the Financial Services Committee, and he has come in and committed himself to a very progressive agenda. The first piece of his remarkable speech was his sharp point that the intentional neglect of the housing situation of Katrina victims was 'ethnic cleansing through inaction...

After listening to Frank, I'm a lot less worried that the Democrats are going to fold to right-wing economic interests. Frank understands that political and economic elites have betrayed this country, and is going to reign them in. I wouldn't want to have someone as smart, experienced, and tough as Frank as my opponent, and I certainly wouldn't have needled his character, insulted his intelligence and offended his values for years. Which the Republicans have done. We have a friend in Frank.
Go watch the video.

A Polite Request

Because it is the era of new bipartisanship, at least based on what I hear from the right of the political aisle, I have a very minor request:

Would it be too difficult for all you conservatives to stop dropping the "ic" at the end of the Democratic party? It's like that Obama-Osama thingy. Probably just an oversight, but as we are now all civil and courteous, how about fixing this little irritation?


Nancy Pelosi just officially elected Speaker of the House.

Please continue to discuss Echidne's excellent post below, though. I'm simply noting the moment.

George Willified

Attaturk mentioned in a previous post that George Will might qualify for today's Wanker Award based on his opinion piece on the unnecessity of a federal minimum wage. Will ends his column with this:

But the minimum wage should be the same everywhere: $0. Labor is a commodity; governments make messes when they decree commodities' prices. Washington, which has its hands full delivering the mail and defending the shores, should let the market do well what Washington does poorly. But that is a good idea whose time will never come again.

Why not allow the minimum wage be negative? Workers could pay the employers. There is nothing magical about the number zero, once one starts walking down the path Will has chosen.

And an odd path it is. Take this, for example: Will gives us a lot of data about how unimportant the minimum wage is in general, and one of these data is the number of people earning it:

Most of the working poor earn more than the minimum wage, and most of the 0.6 percent (479,000 in 2005) of America's wage workers earning the minimum wage are not poor.

Ok. And where might he have gotten these numbers?

Could it be from the government sources? Like this one:

Of those paid by the hour, 479,000 were reported as earning exactly $5.15, the prevailing Federal minimum wage. Another 1.4 million were reported as earning wages below the minimum.

Bolds are mine. Note how conveniently George forgot to include the information I bolded in his column.

Guest Blogging Is Hard. It's Hard Work.

Gotta be faster on the trigger finger. I was going to post on this little morsel from Patrick Healy and Ad Nags' article on Hillary, but I see Ezra beat me to it:
Mrs. Clinton has gone to great lengths to try to keep these meetings private. She and her aides have strongly asked Democrats not to report what has taken place there, from what she says to what she eats, and where (she had the lamb at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Washington, the Dover sole at the Four Seasons in New York).
As Ezra says, not at all subtle. Good for you, intrepid NY Times reporters. What a noble use of the sacred journalistic principle of anonymous sourcing. Why, without it, we wouldn't have known that the NYTimes WMD reporting was dicey, and now we are informed about Senator Clinton's dinner selections. The public interest is served! (I of course do appreciate the need for anonymous sourcing, but if it's elevated over the principle of informing the public about things that actually matter, it can be dangerous, or, as in this case, even kind of childish and snotty.)

Anyway. I don't suppose it's possible to stop the Ad Nags of the world from gushing over gossipy trivia like junior high school kids hopped up on Skittles and Mountain Dew. But what the hell will it take to make Democratic insiders stop feeding it to them? Haven't they watched the last two presidential election campaigns? Oy.

Open Thread

Rock on until one of the other guest bloggers says otherwise.

And then you better cease rockin' right that very minute or we will turn this blog around right now!!!

Oh, and my smiley is taunting you:

You cannot find a pony without a load of manure

The irony of Victor Davis Hanson mocking someone else as a "deep thinker" is rich enough. But the inability of the folks that have screwed up so badly to face reality and take ownership of their errors is stunning. In Hanson's case, it kills other folks so they can be used as extensions of his manhood and allow him to quote Pericles.

Hanson loves war, pure and simple, especially wars in which he has no risk of partaking .

It's the kind of cognitive dissonance any cult leader could be proud of.

"I've Got Your Mail"

Okay, self-described civil libertarians when the fuck are you going to give a damn?

President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned.

The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.

Bush's move came during the winter congressional recess and a year after his secret domestic electronic eavesdropping program was first revealed. It caught Capitol Hill by surprise.

I guess Glenn Beck will care when his "Juggs" magazine arrives late, but being a dirty fucking hippy I'm mad now.

You know, good on the NY Daily News for noticing this but why, after all the prior discussion of Bush's use of signing statemenTs, did it take two weeks for someone to do so?

Above my Station

I know that Thers managed to do it extremely well yesterday, and perhaps Echidne or Avedon will also give it a shot today. However, this "Wanker of the Day" responsibility that Atrios has taken upon himself is a far more difficult business to engage in then it appears.

It is indeed too much for a consonant-level blogger like me, a mere doughy-Midwestern boy with just a blog and a dream.

In the Washington Post today, we have George Will waving the bloody ascot and wanting to eliminate the minimum wage; we have right-wing radio chatters calling for the assassination of Democrats; we have the Bush Defenestration torturing citizens into insanity, if they haven't already been flooded into despair.

And then we have the human detritus that is Glenn Beck bloviating away with doughier than thou Bush-snuggler Mike Allen -- saying that admitting to having tried cocaine as a youth makes one a former "junkie". And then we have the general banter that passes for "light-hearted" in the repressosphere.

But I can say, in my mere guest-blogging-non-official opinion, that tomorrow's wankers are clear. The allegedly Bipartisan Comedy Team of McCain & Lieberman performing their thigh-slapping comedy routine of needlessly expanding Arlington National Cemetery and calling it V-I-C-T-O-R-Y (aka 'Triple Depresso') at AEI tomorrow.


On the recommendation of Zap, and with the Steve Simels Seal of Approval -- TV on the Radio doing "Wolf Like Me."

Wanker of the Endless Night

It occurred to me about an hour ago that we haven't had a Wanker of the Day, and That Must Not Stand.

Now, with the Right Whine-o-sphere and the Polite Punditry and that lot, you'd think this would be easy, but a cruise through both Lower and Higher Wingnuttia, as well as a tour of Upper Cognoscenti, failed to unearth anything very remarkable. Oh sure, there was lots of the usual idiocy, bad faith, pomposity, catachresis, goat-blowing stupidity, etc., but nothing that just screamed out, "Hear My Savage, Sticky Yawp!" (Though I was tempted to put forward Insty, for something Roy deftly disposed of well before tiffin -- yadda yadda, the Singuarity will give him Godlike Hehindeed Powers, hooray for the Robofuture, let's contemplate Citizen Journalists with Laser Beam Bellybuttons, bleah.)

So I'm left with the easy pickings: Dean Barnett, at Hugh Hewitt's, for this fine illustration of the Wingnut Foreign Policy Syllogism:

1. Major Premise: The Islamic Hordes Are Shockingly Uncivilized.

Barnett treats us to such Nuggets of Wisdom as "The Islamic world hasn’t really excelled at living in peace over the past several decades. More specifically, Shiites and Sunnis have never been great in the peaceful coexistence department." Also, "Angry Shiites can be a handful," and "Iraq’s Sunni population is no day at the beach."

2. Minor Premise: The Islamic Hordes Are So Gosh Darn Uncivilized, They Will Never Be Civilized.

Barnett opines, wistfully: "There is a deep undercurrent of savagery in the Iraqi culture that will not just inhibit the growth of a peaceful democracy there, but probably prohibit it." These are indeed Tough Noogies. The Administration erred, sadly, in believing the benighted Iraqis were desirous of not getting shot at all the damn time. Alas! George Bush's sin is that he fell prey to the Melancholy Fallacy of Excess Nobility. The poor, sad-assed motherfucker.

3. Conclusion: We Need to Bomb the Everliving Shit out of These Ungrateful Little Ill-Mannered Foreign Peckerheads.

No, he really says that. The only answer, as it has always been, is to stamp out that ferocious, pitiless savagery ferociously and savagely, without pity.
At the end of this war, Iraq must necessarily be composed of people who always wanted to live in peace and the one-time enemies of peace who have come to realize they have no other choice but to live in peace. How much killing will this take? That will depend on how many enemies of peace there are and how determined they are to live in a state of war.
Though he does add, "One thing's for certain - the more resolute we are, the less killing there will be." Indeed. The more people we kill, the fewer people we will, uh, have to kill.

The reason this whole Iraqi adventure was always doomed was precisely this inability to decide if we were out for retribution or justice, revenge or charity, occupation or liberation. A war of choice cannot rest on one asscheek alone.

As I've said before. Shorter warbloggers, war planners, and wingnuts:
Exterminate all the brutes.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Late Night Thread

Open thread

I think Echidne seems to be the only one of us who didn't slip in any blog-whoring today, so give her some love.

Some folks say there are no accidents.

How many times can the "professional" news media confuse the names of Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama before someone starts to ask them how this keeps happening?

Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo

Joe Lieberman no longer runs Connecticut for Lieberman.
The Connecticut for Lieberman Party, the minor political party created by Sen. Joe Lieberman for his successful independent bid for re-election, has been taken over by a longtime critic of the senator.

Fairfield University political science professor John Orman's takeover has been recognized by Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

Orman is the sole member of the party and filed paperwork with Bysiewicz's office naming himself chairman. The state officials accepted Orman's takeover and his bylaws which limit membership to critics of the senator and anyone named Lieberman.
Seems like there might be something here to snark about...


The deep military policy stylings of Fred Kagan:

“If we surge and it doesn’t work,it’s hard to imagine what we do after that.”

I'm guessing it'll be part of the continue to die plan.

Women's Brains, Well Drinks, and Monica's Knight

Phila very patiently explains why studies focusing upon 19th century Mormon women don't necessarily explain very much about the evolutionary reasons why women are, as he puts it, " so goddamn picky about the people they're willing to have sex with."

Amanda looks in annoyance at people whining about the Savage Injustice of women's fiendish power to get cheap drinks at nightclubs.

Watertiger wonders what's up with Richard Cohen writing curious paragraphs like this one, on Monica Lewinsky's Chances for True Love:
But she is now a woman with a master's degree from a prestigious school and is going to be 34 come July. Her clock ticks, her life ebbs. Where is the man for her? Where is the guy brave enough, strong enough, admirable enough to take her as his wife, to suffer the slings and arrows of her outrageous fortune -- to say to the world (for it would be the entire world) that he loves this woman who will always be an asterisk in American history. I hope there is such a guy out there. It would be nice. It would be fair.


Remember the idea of giving workers flexitime? Making it easier to cope with family obligations without necessarily reducing productivity at all?

Well, now flexitime has quite a new definition; one which turns it upside down and makes family obligations harder to combine with work:

Wal-Mart is moving towards widespread implementation of new employee scheduling software. Sounds innocent enough -- the software tracks customer habits over seven week periods, and reschedules workers for each one. Moreover, it also creates a range of daily possibilities, allowing Wal-Mart to schedule workers to be on-call during surges, or send them home during lulls, or implement a variety of other strategies to create a more flexible, adaptive, workforce. All sounds routine enough, right?

But pity the workforce. The new software will make advance scheduling and reliable paychecks a thing of the past. According to The Journal, "experts say [the program] can saddle workers with unpredictable schedules. In some cases, they may be asked to be "on call" to meet customer surges, or sent home because of a lull, resulting in less pay. The new systems also alert managers when a worker is approaching full-time status or overtime, which would require higher wages and benefits, so they can scale back that person's schedule...That means workers may not know when or if they will need a babysitter or whether they will work enough hours to pay that month's bills. Rather than work three eight-hour days, someone might now be plugged into six four-hour days, mornings one week and evenings the next."

Neat. Unpredictable work schedules are exactly what Wal-Mart workers need.


Malkin to Eye-rack...

I've misplaced my Alanis Morissette translator, is it ironic if the Iraqi Government puts her in protective detention?

But hey, best of luck to her.

Odd Juxtapositions

Remember how general John M. Shalikashvili recently called for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell? This is what he said:

I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

Nice. Gay men and lesbians might get the same right to die in Iraq and Afghanistan as everybody else! But they cannot get married, except in Massachusetts, and even there the fight to "defend" marriage is well and alive:

"It's in the best interests of children and society for marriage to be defined as between a man and woman," said Glen Lavy, a senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which strongly favors banning gay marriage. "The battle to preserve marriage in Massachusetts as between a man and a woman is alive and well."

Equal for war but not for love?

The Curious Case of Mow Baker

From America-hater to Saddam-Hater and (disputed) ersatz documentarian.

The Iranian-connected folks in the Iraqi Government that American kids get blowed up for nowadays.

Invest in Duct Tape Futures!

Uh-oh. God told Pat Robertson that we're in for bigtime terrorist activity in '07.
Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a "mass killing" late in 2007.

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."

Robertson said God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat.

God also said, he claims, that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.

It's annoying how God couldn't get more specific, really, if He genuinely wanted to be, you know, helpful. Sheesh. Via Tapped.

Stupid. And Vicious!

Mike Adams, Townhall cretin, on Katrina victims:
I suspected that the failure of so many people to take heed of the oft-repeated hurricane warnings had something to do with the proliferation of mind altering drugs in the Big Easy.

Another Pamphlet for the Ol' "Prezinential Lieberry"

The Decider told Karen Hughes he wanted an OpEd for Christmas and the Wall Street Journal gets around to publishing it.

This, of course, joins the many famous Bush-writings of the past, from "Let Freedom Reign" to my personal favorite:


I was just reading Digby and thinking about this stupid meme the media is carrying about how suddenly the Democrats have to end the "partisanship" in Washington.

So I think we should straighten them out.

In our Image

You have to hand it to the Bush Administration, they've managed to oversee the creation of an Iraqi government ("government?" let's be generous) that was obviously put together to handle situations with the same level of "competence" and "integrity" as their patrons.

...a prosecutor at the trial that condemned Mr. Hussein to death, said that one of two men he had seen holding a cellphone camera aloft to make a video of Mr. Hussein’s last moments — up to and past the point where he fell through the trapdoor — was Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Mr. Maliki’s national security adviser.

But they are going to "investigate" so I am sure that the fact 'Maliki's Stephen Hadley' was going all Cellphone B. DeMille (as well as mocking Hussein and dancing around the gibbet) will have no affect on the impartiality of the inquiry.

If this guy really is the Stephen Hadley of Iraq, I figure he probably dances like Elaine Benes making things even more absurd (they took it to "11").

And just to note the nature of guest-posting, I had originally written a much more pungent post about this matter but thought I really shouldn't curse so much on another person's blog. But if cursing is what you want (and really you know it is), you can get it here.

Late Night

Comes with the Steve Simels Seal of Approval. Night!

The Hold Steady, "Chips Ahoy"

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Bad Scene

The more I read about the "investigation" the Iraqi government is going to launch into the circumstances of Saddam Hussein's execution, the more appalled I get, and I thought I'd hit my "appalled" limit a long time ago. A government that runs an execution of this sort is not really worthy of being called a government. And remember, we're soon going to be sending more soldiers to Iraq in order to protect and strengthen a regime that operates like hoodlums when it has the eyes of the entire world watching its behavior. From the WaPo:
Iraqi officials said a committee from the Interior Ministry would likely question everyone, including senior Iraqi officials, who was present at the hanging, where witnesses mocked and jeered the ousted president as he stood at the gallows. Hours later, grainy video of the event, taken with a cellphone camera, was broadcast around the world, bringing more pressure on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take action....

U.S. officials have declined to comment publicly, but have privately expressed concern at the hastiness of the execution, which came just four days after an appeals court upheld Hussein's death sentence.

The video was the latest example of how amateurs using modern technology are exposing abuses and holding the powerful to account. The investigation, officials said, would focus not only on who hurled the taunts but also on how the video was leaked, damaging the government's credibility. Maliki's political adviser, Sadiq al-Rikabi, said the prime minister was "disappointed about that film."

An investigation of a circus crime run by clowns is not likely to discover that it was the guy with the giant round red nose that did it, but it's a sure bet that whoever the real culprit was, he was wearing big floppy shoes.

And note this sentence from the WaPo article: "The video was the latest example of how amateurs using modern technology are exposing abuses and holding the powerful to account."

Wha? How do they know the motives of guy who took the footage? Would even the Pajamas Media geniuses go so far out on a limb with such citizen journalism happy horseshit as does the WaPo here? (For a perhaps more hardheaded perspective on this question, Josh has some suspicions.)


On Sacrifice

Constitutional crisis

Well, yes, we are in a Constitutional crisis, but when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court says so, we should pay attention, right? Only... you'll never guess what he thinks the crisis is.

Least. Encouraging. Headline. Ever.

Iraq Plans Enquiry into Hussein Execution.

Long Walk. Short Pier.

Good grief. Dave at LGM finds a set of Althouse posts even more, uh, remarkable than usual. And in following the links, I saw this, and then this, and then it got weirder with this, and then, By The Holy Tits of Santa, this. And even this! Makes even my modest contribution here seem tame, and I'm a total and complete bastard.

This is all a bit Inside Blogball, so if that's not your thing, sorry, but, well, if Atrios didn't expect me to gaze aghast at the spectacle that is Althouse, he wouldn't have given me the blog-keys, dammit. Anyway, the upshot is that Ann Althouse has managed to alienate pretty much everybody in the blogosphere except for Glenn Reynolds. Congratulations!

To be fair, her defense is here, and here. And to be even more fair, I have some sympathy for her position, having been at academic conferences myself where my position was the odd one out, and it's no fun at all. And if as Ron Bailey writes, one dinner conversation ended with Althouse in tears and leaving abruptly (an event she concedes actually occurred) -- well, I've seen far stranger behavior at academic conferences (as well as in corporate offices). Also, I think she actually does have a point about how frustrating it can be to argue with someone who keeps presenting hypothetical "thought experiments" at the expense of examining the historical record.

But that said... if you are invited to a conference on a topic and in a format that will annoy you, my advice is don't go. (And a conference on the topic of Frank Meyer sounds about as horrible an experience as can be imagined, this side of bamboo shoots up the fingernails.) But if you do go, well, the general rule about how to behave in Rome applies. And if you deliberately take a contrarian position, to "provoke," you lose sympathy when you complain if someone gets, well, provoked. And when you then get all gnomic about how you're up to some secret juju in your blog posts, and how none of your adversaries "get it," and how you have a "25 year history of scholarship!" that you won't discuss... well, you come across as a self-absorbed adolescent.

Anyway. How 'bout those Broncos!

Open Thread

Tucker Carlson is like Charles Manson...JACK!

BTW, It will get better tonight on MSNBC as Olbermann is back from vacation and even has a "Special Comment" about Bush & Sacrifice.

Alert Bob Geldof


Scarcely a day into the New Year and the right blogosphere was already floating a new theme song:

Why oh why can't the US be more like Ethiopia?

Yes, these are the depths to which the debacle in Iraq have driven them: extolling the martial virtues of plucky little Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, of course, is truly one of the worst governments on earth (a competition of no small measure in Central and Northeast Africa).

Sauce. Goose. Gander.

This will be interesting to watch:

Republicans aren't yet an official minority in the House, but they're already beginning a campaign to portray themselves as victims of a heartless Democratic majority.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter circulated to fellow Republicans, three House GOPers are trying to push a "Minority Bill of Rights" -- based on a two-year-old proposal by then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).


When Pelosi made her proposal to protect Democrats in 2004, GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert (IL) refused to entertain the idea, let alone reply to her correspondence.

One can only assume that McHenry, Cantor and Price are hoping for a more sympathetic audience with Pelosi than the one she received then.

We are going to hear much about the return of civility in political life, just in time for this reversal of fortunes, I predict.


Via Maple Syrup Boy -- Apple is getting sued for acting like an illegal monopoly:

As if its options woes weren't trouble enough, Apple Computer Inc. said Friday it is facing several federal lawsuits, including one alleging the company created an illegal monopoly by tying iTunes music and video sales to its market-leading iPod portable players.

The case, filed July 21, is over Apple's use of a copy-protection system that generally prevents iTunes music and video from playing on rival players. Likewise, songs purchased elsewhere aren't easily playable on iPods.

Surprisingly, MSB is actually correct on this one -- I just don't see how Apple is a monopoly here; iPods & iTunes aren't exactly Windows.

"McCain Doctrine"

A nice bit of framing, from John Edwards -- tagging the "troop surge" as the "McCain Doctrine."

The "McCain Doctrine": "When you're hip deep in shit, dig faster, until you're in over your head."

Via Greg Sargent.

The Faces Of The Dead

But only the American dead. Imagine how large a picture would be needed if all the Iraqi war deaths were included.

Fresh Thread

Plane takes off, plane returns to airport.

The Apotheosis of Jerry

For a ceremony that is repeatedly referred to as humble, the press sure has spent the last week deifying Gerald Ford -- all without any real context besides "pardoning Nixon" was surely good as it kept the riff-raff from demanding justice. A theme amplified on Saturday by Cheney like he was lunging for a nitroglycerin tablet. It's almost as if Crash-Cart thinks he'll be needing the benefit of a pardon in the future.

Tweety this morning stated (paraphrasing but not much) the following:'

"The last time I talked to President Ford he was lying down much like he is now"

He also made a remark about how hard it is for politicians like Ford to spend time with their wives, nice.


I have to say Matthews is the most bizarre narrator I've ever heard on these events. Several times this morning he has pointedly, for no reason, dissed Rosalyn Carter while in the same breath mentioning how fantastic George H.W. Bush looks. He referred to the Capitol with its "glitering dome" as "the Helmet of the Country".


I'm usually allergic to year-end lists, roundups, and rankings -- but Roger's year end quiz is always fun. "The Year in Republicrime" section is especially entertaining.

Wankers of the Day

The Associated Press.

On the road for a few days, not sure how much internet access I'll have. Some friendly subs will hopefully be around.


Is really the whole point for staying in Iraq now -- Saving Bush's Privates (please keep your filthy consonants away from this phrase). Building upon Atrios's well-proven statement that Leaving = Losing, the Decider Ditherer is finally set to give what some say is a "speech" revealing his not well-hidden policy of perpetual disaster on an even grander scale.

The BBC is reporting that Bush will set forth his E-S-C-A-L-A-T-I-O-N plan in the middle of next week (if all the present former Presidents remain standing):

Its central theme will be sacrifice.

The speech, the BBC has been told, involves increasing troop numbers.

The exact mission of the extra troops in Iraq is still under discussion, according to officials, but it is likely to focus on providing security rather than training Iraqi forces.

The proposal, if it comes, will be highly controversial.

Already one senior Republican senator has called it Alice in Wonderland.

They have another week to "create" a mission out of their asses.

Steve Gilliard also has something on this, and when it comes to Bush & Iraq he has pretty much batted with as high an average than any other blogger I know.

(cross-posted from my blog because I'm lazy)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Shorter New York Times

Bush equates staying with winning and leaving with losing.

I could've told you that, guys.

Wanker of the Day

Mickey Kaus.

All By Themselves

Just echoing Jane regarding the huge number of comments on Joe Lieberman's Washington Post Op-Ed, I noticed late at night when I first read it and then the following morning that it had already amassed a relatively large number of (mostly negative) comments, and I couldn't find any "big blog" that had as of that moment linked to it.

Once upon a time it took a concerted effort by whatever large liberal internet forces existed to make any kind of blip. Now these things happen without any of the big traffic generators trying to make it happen.

Whether that reflects changing public opinion overall, greater liberal saturation of the internet generally, greater willingness of people to step up and participate, or just a wider awareness by people who don't need bloggers or other major liberal websites to point them to stuff, I don't really know, but in any case it's the kind of thing which really shows how much things have changed in the years since I started fighting politics on the internets.

GYWO Off Broadway

Someone pointed me to GYWO which I haven't looked at recently and I see the Rude Mechanicals' stage version of GYWO is heading to NYC.

I saw this a few months back when it appeared a the Philly Fringe/Live Arts Festival, and it's actually pretty good. So, if you're in the area go support shrillness in all of its forms.

Evening Thread



The mind of K. Lo is a difficult thing to comprehend, so what this means I do not know.

Identity Politics

What Thers says:

It's funny, but for all the whining about "identity politics," nobody is more tied to it than "movement conservatives." So tied to it, in fact, that they have to invent their own "intellectual tradition" out of old Norton Anthologies and a firm conviction that Edmund Burke would be high-fiving Alexis de Toqueville right now over the passage of the Patriot Act. More relevant to the Right Wankosphere, they're compelled to adopt a tortuous stance of "civil discourse" in order to pinch-hit for the intellectual capital they sense they lack, an attitude that in the end amounts to the contention that their insane enthusiasm for incompetent warmongering is a perfectly reasonable "intellectual position" simply because they don't use the word "fuck."


More Thread - Meta Edition

Eschaton sucks, Duncan Hack sucks, the comments section sucks, things used to be so much cooler here. Discuss.

Afternoon Thread



McCain and Lieberman don't want this family to be happy.


Krugman reminds us of just how stupid and expensive our health care system. I tend to side with him that constructing elaborate and insurance-industry-plans is likely a sucker's game, but I think what's most important is convincing enough politicians that universal health care is something they should get behind. The details, while important, are something we can fight about.

Krugman leaves out one thing - not only do we spend more than everyone in the world on health care, our government spends more than other governments spend on health care.

Can't Do Anything Right

And the Times finally gets around to pointing out that there was plenty that was rather off about the process surrounding Saddam's execution.

Happy 2007

Now we dance.

Open Thread

Do something "rocking on" related.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Small Reminder of How We Got Here

Included in the excellent novel A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, by Ken Kalfus, was this quote from Leon Wieseltier:

How can any liberal, any individual who associates himself with the party of humanity, not count himself in this coalition of the willing?

A Number

And the 3000th member of the American military has died for the vanity of silly old men in Washington.

Hoping, but not optimistic, for a better year.

More Thread

Rock on.

Fresh Thread

Light posting for next 24 hours or so. Happy New Year.

The End of the Year

Well, it's here. The Last Honest Man The Candidate said:

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.

But, he's a very serious person to the Wise Men of Washington, because he's always wrong in the way that they are always wrong.

Dear Media

A "sustained surge" is an escalation.




I'm so glad CNN takes the news seriously, unlike those wacky bloggers.


Why people go to Times Square for New Year's Eve.

...adding, this isn't a cranky old man "why do people go outside and spend time with other people" post. What I mean is that it looks like a no booze/high security/no bathroom nightmare. Large gatherings of partying people make me happy.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

Meet the Press" Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw; journalist Bob Woodward.

• "This Week" Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., presidential candidate, and his wife, Elizabeth Edwards.

• "Face the Nation" Alexander Haig, former White House chief of staff; journalists Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post and Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News; Gerald Ford biographer James Cannon.

• "CNN Late Edition" . Feisal Istrabadi, Iraq's deputy ambassador to the United Nations; Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.

• "Fox News Sunday" Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., former Gov. Tom Vilsack, D-Iowa, presidential candidate.