Saturday, June 02, 2007

Late Night Thread

Rock on.

Evening Thread

Jane remembers Steve.

Horrible News

Steve Gilliard has passed away.

Best wishes to friends and family in this awful time.

I didn't know Steve all that well personally, but he came across as genuinely nice and generous guy. I'm sure the streetfighter online persona was in there somewhere, but he seemed to be a more gentle soul at heart.



WASHINGTON -- At his sentencing Tuesday, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby will learn whether he will go to prison and, if so, whether it will be right away for his conviction in the CIA leak case.

Once Libby's fate is known, then there is this ultimate question: Will President Bush pardon him?

Better question is: Will the press now understand that the White House refusal to answer questions about the subject based on the fact that "there's an ongoing criminal investigation" will no longer be operative?

Joementum II: Cry of the White Wolf

Please tell Joe Biden to go away.

Bye Jerry

Novakula says Jerry Lewis won't seek another term.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

I suppose Joe Klein deserves the occasional pat on the head.

Wanker of the Day

Mike Allen.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.


I dunno, I think the idea that the administration has been a roller coaster only going up suggests that a big fall is coming...

Late Night

Young Doctor House.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Time to Double Down

In November I wrote:

Two Friedmans from now there will be 120,000+ US troops in Iraq.

I'll up it to:

Four Friedman's from then (11/29/06) there will still be 120,000+ US troops in Iraq.

Auxiliary Thread


All the Way Down to 130,000


U.S. officials tell ABC News that the troop levels in Iraq cannot be maintained at the present level, either politically or practically, with the military stretched so thin.

But that does not imply an immediate drawdown. Officials tell ABC's Martha Raddatz the senior commanders in Iraq -- Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno and Gen. David Petraeus -- want the surge to continue until at least December, and expect to report enough progress by September to justify the extension.

The drawdown would begin in February 2008, although each of the two generals supports a slightly different plan.

Plan one, which officials say is being pushed by Odierno, calls for a reduction in troops from roughly 150,000 today to 100,000 by December of 2008.

Petraeus champions a slightly different approach that would be to cut the troops down to roughly 130,000 by the end of 2008, with further reductions the following year.

Too Many to Count


Fresh Thread



Times and the Timesmen continue their pursuit of truthtelling.

Fresh Thread



I'm glad we're having a healthy and honest discussion of religion.*

WASHINGTON _ Florida evangelist Bill Keller says he was making a spiritual -- not political -- statement when he warned the 2.4 million subscribers to his Internet prayer ministry that ``if you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!''


Keller, 49, who has a call-in show on a Tampa television station and a Web site called, on May 11 sent out a ``daily devotional'' that called Romney ``an unabashed and proud member of the Mormon cult founded by a murdering polygamist pedophile named Joseph Smith nearly 200 years ago.

*Not really kidding. Many people are rather wedded to their beliefs and don't think much of the beliefs of others. Best to be honest about that rather than pretend it's just about "faith."


I don't know whether it's good news or bad news that 83% of people think interrcial dating is ok. Obviously the trend is good, but it's still pretty damn scary.


Alison Stewart subbing for Keith:

And then there‘s Senator John McCain and Bill O‘Reilly. Let‘s just say you know you‘re watching Fox News when Mr. O‘Reilly said immigrants would, quote, “break down the white Christian male power structure.”


BILL O‘REILLY, HOST: That would sink the Republican party, I believe, so we‘d have a one-party system, and change, pardon the pun, the whole complexion of America. Am I wrong?



STEWART: Personally, I don‘t really pardon the pun.

It goes onto an absurd segment where Howie Fineman is practically in tears about how awful John McCain must feel about all the lies he has to tell.

Commies and Fascists

CNN - the most trusted name in news.

Back to the 90s

Lizard brain Republicans live in this alternative universe where the 90s were a decade of misery and poverty, presided over by a deeply unpopular president (the media narrative accepts the latter bit.) Everyone else pretty much thought they were great and love Clinton. If Hillary Clinton wins the primary her general election win will be based almost entirely on the disconnect between reality and the media/lizardbrains. Bring up the nightmare of the 90s and that awful Bill Clinton!

Leadership Not Welcome

I don't know if Matt's analysis of the dynamics of political consulting is correct, but if so it explains why there's so little actual leadership from candidates.

Free Stuff Friday - Vienna, VA edition

All tickets gone. Thanks for playing! Your names will be on the list.

Don't say I never do anything for you.

2 free tix to see Hamell on Trial's one man show "The Terrorism of Every Day Life" at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA.

One pair for Tuesday, June 5. One pair for Tuesday, June 12. June 12 tix gone.

First one to email me for each date gets the tix. Must include date wanted (can't say both) and your name so it can be put on the list.

Easily accessible for DC folks, as Vienna is at the end of the orange line.

Not Going to Happen

The Connecticut Post gets it, why can't Charlie Rangel.

WASHINGTON - President Bush will declare victory in Iraq and begin scaling back troop levels in the coming months because Republican lawmakers will repudiate him if he doesn't, Rep. Charles Rangel said Thursday.

"The president knows it's over," Rangel declared in an interview with the New York Daily News Editorial Board. "The Republicans know it's over."

"I think the president's going to come up with some compromise, and he's not going to admit failure. He'll probably say we've won, but it's going to happen . . . and I don't know how many soldiers die while it's happening."

"Republicans are going to make it happen - no, Americans are going to make it happen," he said.


Laundering the lies of your sources! Awesome.

In the January 31, 1999, Times article, Van Natta also separately allowed OIC spokesman Charles Bakaly III to falsely deny that he had been a source on internal OIC discussions. In an October 5, 2000, opinion, Johnson found that Bakaly had confirmed Van Natta's reporting on those discussions -- so Van Natta had to know that Bakaly's denial was false.


Connecticut Post to Shays and Lieberman.

Conventional wisdom has it that Republicans, while sticking with the Bush-Lieberman-Shays line for now, were chastened by last November's election losses, and will not tolerate another election cycle of continued war without end. Don't bet on it. The president has shown no sign he is pulling out troops — none. Instead, he's busy high-fiving himself after Democrats rescinded a demand for timelines to leave that country. As for Shays and Lieberman, their credibility on Iraq is so shot that it hardly matters what they say. They've been wrong over and over, time after time, year after year. Why should anyone possibly care what they have to say?

Bye Dan

Dan Bartlett resigning from White House according to MSNBC.

And we're all going to die from TB.

... David Gregory: "Dan always worked with Karen, and in the 2000 campaign would deal with reporters who were covering the Gore campaign to answer their questions and stay on the offense in terms of their talking points."


New jobs report out in a few minutes. Consensus forecaset is +135K new jobs. I'll take the under bet, as usual.

...and the unders lose! +157K new jobs.

Streets of Philadelphia

Actual footage of the Philadelphia violent hellscape as viewable from your average roof deck.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Roof Deck Blogging

Finally got rid of Joe. That dude really overstays his welcome.

More Joe in Philly

Clearly the man has no understanding of just how dangerous it is here.

Evening Thread


And On and On

Odierno in January:

Speaking of President Bush's decision to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, Odierno said, "Whether it's the last chance or not, I'm not willing to go that far, what I will say, it's not open-ended."

Odierno now:

General Odierno says the troop surge and the new approach to fighting the Iraqi insurgency are making progress, with increases in the number of coalition operations that find weapons caches, bomb factories and insurgent cells. But he also says insurgents attack every day, and he cautions against excessive optimism. The general says he might not be able to make even an initial assessment of the new strategy by September.

Breaking the Law

More problems at DOJ.


I'd been looking for information on when mortgage rate resets were coming due. A lot are coming


Gerth and Van Natta edition.

Everyone to Blame, No One to Blame

No one can take responsibility for this mess.

Why Do We Stay In Iraq?

Josh Marshall heads down the path to madness in order to try to answer that question.

The answer is unknowable because there isn't one. There are a variety of powerful actors who have different motives. It's as true, if not more true, for the continued occupation as it was for the initial invasion.

George Bush started the war because Saddam tried to killed his Dad and because he wanted to prance around on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit. He later got stubborn about the whole thing when those mean Democrats started criticizing him, and he began to buy into the transformational rhetoric due to his increasing messianic bent. And, now, it's about his "legacy."

Dick Cheney started the war because of his insatiable lust for the black stuff. Dick Cheney keeps us in Iraq because of his insatiable lust for the black stuff.

Don Rumsfeld went to war to prove that he could achieve any military result with 3 marines, an armed aerial drone, and his left pinky. He stayed in Iraq because George Bush told him to and because he still needed to prove his awesomeness.

AEI and Viceroy Jerry went to war because they were excited about their new libertarian paradise laboratory.

Paul Wolfowitz had grand dreams about transforming the Middle East into who knows what.

Tom Friedman and others went to war because they have the mentality of 5 years olds and they thought that the smartest thing we could do was whip out our giant schlong and wave it around for awhile. Tom Friedman and others stay in Iraq because they think that if they don't keep popping cialis ("If your occupation lasts longer than 6 months...") the world will notice our little tiny shriveled up thingy.

Karl Rove went to war so his boy could prance on the aircraft carrier and win re-election. He stays because leaving Iraq will anger wingnuttia.

Lots of other people stay in Iraq just because they don't like to admit they're wrong. Their egos are more important anything.

The sensible liberals at Brookings were so stupid they thought Saddam was a threat. They were the stupidest people of all, because that was about the only thing which had nothing to do with why we invaded Iraq. They stay in Iraq because they're unable to accept responsibility for their actions.

Democrats went to war because they were scared of losing their elections. They stay there because they're scared of losing elections.

Ultimately it's all centered around oil, the endless needs of the military industrial complex, and various other financial interests masquerading as ideology. But there isn't one reason, just a grand harmonic convergence of wingnuttery.


Walton will release the letters of Scooter's pals and it sounds like Scooter might have a new cot to sleep on soon.

It's Called "Kick the Can"

Joe Klein, meet Sam Rosenfeld.

Bush is staying in Iraq, and all of this is about "sensible" Republicans having excuses to let him keep doing so while David Broder pats them on the back.

That these dynamics are not obvious to everyone is very worrisome.

Why Mandate?

Indeed it is a very scary word. So stop using it.

There seems to be tremendous focus on how precisely individuals and businesses would interact with some grand health care plan, of how exactly to get them to sign up. To me that part's rather easy. Send everyone a membership card in the mail! All done.

Even recognizing the political realities of the situation, it seems that the way to sign everyone up is to... sign everyone up. Instead of having "mandates" requiring that people sign up to some plan, just sign them up. Instead of mandating that they pay their premiums every month, just pay for it out of general tax revenues (adding a new payroll tax or raising top marginal rates or whatever to do so).

Even if insurance companies are in still in the mix I see no reason for people to have to proactively sign up for some plan they may or may not be able to afford.


The Anbar success story continues.

BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber hit a police recruiting center Thursday in Fallujah, killing as many as 25 people, police said. The U.S. military said only one policeman was killed and eight were wounded.

Their World

All very simple.

Bill O'Reilly: But do you understand what the New York Times wants, and the far-left want? They want to break down the white, Christian, male power structure, which you're a part, and so am I, and they want to bring in millions of foreign nationals to basically break down the structure that we have. In that regard, Pat Buchanan is right. So I say you've got to cap with a number.

John McCain: In America today we've got a very strong economy and low unemployment, so we need addition farm workers, including by the way agriculture, but there may come a time where we have an economic downturn, and we don't need so many.


O'Reilly: But in this bill, you guys have got to cap it. Because estimation is 12 million, there may be 20 [million]. You don't know, I don't know. We've got to cap it.

McCain: We do, we do. I agree with you.

Time to Leave

US News, Jan. 30:

Even Republicans supporting President Bush's new Iraq strategy have been saying this is the last chance for the Iraqi government, and there may be an underlying message for the President there as well. US News Political Bulletin hears from GOP strategists with close ties to Capitol Hill that the President and his senior aides are too optimistic about keeping GOP congressional support for the Iraq war over the long term. One senior Republican adviser says Bush has "until April or May" to improve things in Iraq. If he cannot, he could face a GOP rebellion that could result in reductions in spending for the conflict and legislation to start bringing the troops home.

Time To Leave

Maliki, Nov.30:

AMMAN, Jordan - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Thursday that his country's forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.

"I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007," Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush on Thursday in Jordan.


Stupid Ted Stevens shoved a hulk tie into my intertubes again.

And Joe Lieberman stopped by to tell me to keep clapping.

(pic from watertiger)

Morning Thread

Joementum looks at life through

Wanker-Colored Glasses
I'm sure, like me, you are all looking forward to his upcoming Op-Eds reruns in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

Also Not Atrios.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Evening Thread


Not Going to Happen

Please stop the fantasy about Bush ending this.

LAS VEGAS - White House hopeful
Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday defended her vote against an
Iraq war funding bill, saying she believes President Bush will begin withdrawing troops from Iraq soon.


Gore's book will debut at #1 on the NYT non-fiction bestseller list.

Pure Fantasy

Little Richie Lowry:

Was talking to an influential Republican strategist who thinks if Iraq looks the way it does now in September, Bush will lose about 25 Senate Republicans on a bill with some sort of timetable for withdrawal.

Not gonna happen.

Glenn Beck's Shitty Show

Nobody watches it.

Were They Screaming Loudly?

This is more about how/when academic economists insert themselves into the debate than research, but in response to Paul Krugman I'm curious about how many mainstream economists (aside from him) were attempting to correct public perception about the underlying causes of and obvious solution to the California energy crisis.

It was a useful little event which provided me with a nice lecture (nice to me, no idea if my students agreed) about counterintuitive results which could be taught in a simple Econ 101 framework. The result is that if a firm is a monopoly then instituting hard price caps can have the counterintuitive effect of actually leading them to increase output. Capping prices would've kept the price down and the lights on.

I don't actually remember at the time too many academic economists getting into the newspapers to gently explain why, contrary to much of the nonsense being peddled at the time, the obvious short term solution was to institute immediate hard price caps, a policy the Bush FERC was resisting. A quick Nexis hunt doesn't turn up anything to contradict that idea, though I didn't do an exhaustive search.

Economists may not have tried to make that case because most of them just don't attempt to participate in the public discourse very often and they aren't on journalists' rolodexes. Maybe they didn't make the case because they weren't aware of or didn't believe evidence of market manipulation. Maybe they hesitated to make the case because they worried that they'd negatively impact a deregulation agenda they tended to agree with at least in general terms. Maybe they hesitated because they were concerned because if a policy which they're generally allergic to (government price setting) had a positive effect that politicians would try applying it to other areas.

I don't know what the answer is, or which combination, but it's worth thinking about.

Liars and Hacks

Yes it certainly isn't news that someone on the teevee is a liar. There are people who are full of it regularly and wrong about generally everything and they remain members of the media in good standing.

Having said that I'd encourage more articles like this but let's not pretend the problem starts and ends with Lou Dobbs.

Fresh Thread

Wanker of the Day

Andy Sullivan.


The very sad thing is that I imagine large numbers of very serious people, including our very serious liberal foreign policy experts (hi Kenneth! hi Michael!) basically agree with this vision. Like the decision to go to war itself there are probably a variety of justifications, but the basic idea that we plan to spend an immense amount of money and deal with longterm bloodshed is something they can all agree on.


Boehlert on Gerth.

Heckuva Job, News Media

That high-minded truth-telling is much appreciated.

"Cancer Free"

Candy Crowley just informed me that Fred Thompson had a "bout with cancer" but that he's "cancer free."

I'm not one who thinks a candidate's health situation is especially important, but obviously there's not going to be a lot of honesty about Thompson's cancer.

Thompson has indolent lymphoma. It's incurable. It will kill him, if something else doesn't first. It may not kill him very soon. He may live many years. But he's not "cancer free."


Lieberman sees progress for the millionth time.

One thing

We all owe Cindy our thanks, and now that she's decided to step back, it's a reminder that the job cannot be hers, but is an obligation for all of us.

Nevertheless, the question still remains: What is the "noble cause" for which her son had to die?


Broder's boy bounces all the way to 28%.

...oops, this isn't actually a new poll. I blame Think Progress who blames steve simels. But everybody loves a pony!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fresh Thread



Plame was covert.

Wonder how many op-eds Fred Hiatt published asserting otherwise.




Ultimately, there's nothing that makes any sense about what these people want, other than to smash smash smash.

But they're very respectable people.

"Gingrich Blasts White House"

The sound is off so I don't actually know what kind of blast he's making, but it occurs to me that it could be Newt's job to provide the rhetorical space for others to start distancing themselves from the worst preznit ever.

Fresh Thread


George Akerlof Was Wrong

Here's my little contribution to this discussion of Life Among the Econ.

My take is that there is plenty of room for, and research into, a range of topics in economics including those which reexamine certain assumptions and which challenge the concept of market infallibility. However that work is rarely incorporated into the dominant narrative of the profession, which quickly reverts back to a simplistic Econ 101 worldview.

I think George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate, provides a good illustration of this. He was rewarded for his work on issues of asymmetric information, most notably his paper "The Market for Lemons." Michael Spence and Joseph Stiglitz shared the prize.

The Lemons paper explored what would happen when, in a market, sellers knew more about the product they were selling (whether it was a good quality product or a bad one) than the buyers did. Ostensibly a model of the used car market, the equilibrium outcome is that only "lemons" are actually sold. The basic reasoning is that as buyers are uncertain about the quality of the car they are buying, they're not willing to pay full value for quality used cars. Why pay $10 grand for a car which might actually only be worth $5 grand? Since offered prices are too low, potential sellers of quality used cars exit the market and only the crappy cars remain, which are sold at an appropriate crappy car price.

But this of course wasn't really a paper about the used car market, it was a paper about asymmetric information using the used car market as a handy illustration to make a much more general point about a world where asymmetric information was commonplace.

So where was George Akerlof wrong? It's because he thought:

[I]f this paper was correct, economics would be different.

The paper was correct, its insights and reasoning are taught in undergraduate classes, and the paper itself is taught in graduate classes. Scholars do, at times, apply asymmetric information models to other areas of research. But it didn't make economics different, at least not in the way I think he means.

A Bold Leader Who Will Solve the Problem of Bathroom Lesbianism

Coburn for president!

Slipping In Crazy Liberal Shit

While I'm not as acquainted with the full details of the legislative process as I should be, as far as I know there's been a sorry lack of small crazy-ass liberal stuff being thrown into bills in the dark of night when no one notices. That seems to me to be precisely the way to deal with stuff like this stupid SCOTUS decision. While on its own one can see conservatives opposing it, slipping in one line into some bill in conference probably wouldn't inspire enough opposition to derail a bill.


As Frank Bruni was to George Bush, Michael Powell is to Rudy!


The Show

Sometimes it's very disturbing how our political journalists are unable to distinguish the substance from the show. Yes, the show matters in politics, but substance does too and they aren't the same thing.

Fresh Thread

I got nothin'.

Left Behind

Your liberal media. Still not liberal.


There are moments when the wingnutosphere comes up with something so absurd that it's difficult to construct arguments against it, because the fact that they claim to believe it is proof their minds are actually not functioning and thus impervious to rational argument.

Of course flypaper is just the one word version of Bush's rationale.


Over there:

BAGHDAD (AP) - Eight American soldiers were killed in roadside bombings and a helicopter crash in a restive province north of Baghdad, the military reported Tuesday, making May the deadliest month of the year for U.S. troops in Iraq.


In other violence, three German computer consultants were kidnapped Tuesday from the Iraqi Finance Ministry in Baghdad, an Iraqi government official said, and two car bombings killed 38 people in the capital, police said.


For some reason my 6:00 AM alarm clock, otherwise known as "Gizmo," decided not to go off today.

Morning in America thread

And remember, kiddies, if you don't want insurgents to fight you tooth and nail, it would be good to show signs that you really want to get out, rather than building permanent bases in their country.

Not Atrios

Monday, May 28, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.


As I spent much of the day scouring the audio and video neighborhoods of the internet looking for entertainment (yes, Mrs. Atrios is on a trip) I should share some of the results for the 2-3% of you who ever click through this stuff.

Always enjoyed Philly band Rarebirds who I've seen a couple of times, and apparently they have some new tunes. I recommend clicking on Snow Globe, but if you're really bored you can click on all 4 songs simultaneously for an instant mashup.

Thought to look them up because I believe I saw the singer riding her bike down the street the other day.

Or, open thread!

Fresh Thread

Sing along with Bea.


I'm less interested in public officials than I am of members of the media industrial complex potentially having their love letters to Scooter released. But, yes, aside from the issue of Scooter's lawyer acting on behalf of people he doesn't represent there appears to be an implicit argument that public figures deserve more privacy protection than non-public ones. That's a novel idea.

Let's hope the word "blogger" doesn't give Judge Walton a temporary instant lobotomy as it seems to do to so may people.

Fresh Thread


Surging Towards Armageddon

Let's hope that was just a bit of hyperbole.

Wankers of the Day

The wankosphere.

Suck On This

You have to admit it's a more sensible foreign policy doctrine than his Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention.

Joking aside, it occurs to me on this Memorial Day that the biggest challenge ahead is getting politicians, pundits, other elites, and to the extent that it's necessary the American public back to the radical consensus which seemed to hold between the end of the Vietnam War and September 11, 2001:

War is bad.

Lazy Monday

I admit I'm much more in the mood to hunt for cool tunes and Youtube videos than for anything else.

So here's M. Ward together with Neko Case.


Now that I've discovered that Google Video provides you with free archived Charlie Rose, I can direct you to Al's appearance.

Whatcha Gonna Do When You Find It

For those in need of a distraction, I'm enjoying the new CD from Immaculate Machine and here's a free tune called Dear Confessor (.mp3). Enjoyable for those who like The New Pornographers and similar, which is unsurprising given the personnel crossover between the two.


Over there:

BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber struck a busy commercial district in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 21 people and damaging a shrine revered by Sunnis and Shiites alike, police and hospital officials said.

We Must Be Able To Do Something

I understand where Adele is coming from. We're good liberals, we gaze on the horror that we (yes, all of us) are responsible for, and are compelled to try to fix it. To make it better. To somehow unshit the bed, if just a little bit. To unpollute the river which is now a sewer of trash, filth and bodies. To fix the civil infrastructure. To somehow make it up to them.

You see this in Michael Ware, who understands full well what a clusterfuck things are but doesn't think the US can leave. They fucked it up! They have to fix it!

But even if we imagine that somehow there exists, if not a magical pony plan, at least something, some way to improve things just a bit. The reality is George Bush and his merry band of incompetent psychopaths are in power for the next 20 months. 20 more months of the war-as-product-for-domestic-consumption rather than as an occupation to be understood. 20 more months of thinking about this being about "terrorists" and "the enemy" instead of series of conflicts we're in the middle of (yes there are people engaging in terrorism and yes there are "bad guys," but this problem isn't solved by rounding up all the bad guys and killing them).

And 20 months from now when President Wise and Benevolent Democrat takes office there will be no political interest in helping Iraq. We'll pay $100 billion to fund the war, but there will be no interest in paying $100 billion to support the peace, if such a thing were even possible.

We can dream of bringing in the international community, but they will largely have no interest in contributing funds as long as the money pit of US contractors is still there. Who would be stupid enough to throw more cash into that giant black hole?

The fact is that right now the choice is, as it has always been, between Bush's war and getting out. There's no Peter Beinart's war, there's no Tom Friedman's war, there's no Adele Stan's war. There is no good liberal way out of this mess.

We will owe the people of that country tremendously, but the reality is we'll be far more likely to send them the bill than to try to repair the damage we have done.

The Voice From Above

I find I literally never read the unsigned newspaper editorials unless someone points me to them for some reason. It strikes me as bizarre that the Omniscient Voice Talking Down To Their Stupid Readers as a style has survived for so long.

Purging Rudybots

Apparently Rudy! supporters have been purged by the freepi.

Last major crackup was when Jim Robinson went all anti-Bush in 1999.

(via ow)

Morning Thread

Charles Nelson Reilly, RIP.

--Molly Ivors

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Deep Thoughts From Tom Friedman

05/30/03 on Charlie Rose.

I think it [the invasion of Iraq] was unquestionably worth doing, Charlie.


We needed to go over there, basically, um, and um, uh, take out a very big state right in the heart of that world and burst that bubble, and there was only one way to do it.


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

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

Well, Suck. On. This.


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

Ladies and gentlemen, America's premier foreign policy columnist. I'm sure there's more there, but there are limits to the sacrifices I will make for blogging.

(thanks to Janeane the Acerbic Goblin)


When I was a younger lad man, there was no one around to tell me that Tom Friedman was an utter buffoon. I'm sure someone I knew thought he was a buffoon, maybe many people, but as Tom Friedman unsurprisingly wasn't the central subject of many conversations it wasn't too likely to come up. Obviously he must be a very serious person, as he writes bestselling books on very serious things, has a very influential column in the New York Times, is treated reverentially when he goes on the teevee, etc...

I'm not quite sure when I realized that little Tommy was a buffoon. I did force my students to read one of his books (among others of course) and by the end I think we'd all decided he was a buffoon.

I think that if there's one contribution to humanity that liberal blogs have made it's the fact that they have greatly increased the number of people who understand that he is a buffoon.

16,000 People Share 330 Cars

Chatted with a couple of Philly Car Share employees I know over the weekend, and that is roughly the number of members/cars they have. Recently they've been adding about 1200 members per month (IIRC)

The basic idea is that people who don't use their car to commute just don't need a car very often, though they do want to have access to one.

I'm curious about how many of these people would otherwise have an additional car for their household, that is how many people have effectively reduced their car ownership due to the service as opposed to those who just improved on their car free existence.

Nice Work

Turning email forwards of indeterminate origin into comic form.

Chris Muir *did* get the memo, and put it into his cartoon.


Don't forget, Sam Seder show. No me this week so it's safe to listen.

Saint McCain


"I have tried to discourage my Republican colleagues from saying that September is some kind of seminal moment," said McCain. "I am aware the American people are frustrated. I share that frustration. I don't think the American people are aware of the consequences of failure."

McCain, 11/12/06:

And, look, if you talk to most military experts, we’re in a critical and crucial time. We’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months.

McCain, 2/23/07:

McCain, a decorated Vietnam veteran who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, said he hopes Americans will be patient and give the new Iraq strategy, led by Gen. David Petraeus, an opportunity to succeed. He said it should be clear within "some months" whether the plan is working.

McCain, 5/13/07:

SEN. McCAIN: Look, I think, I think by the end of this year we will see some signs of success, how significant those will be.

Fresh Thread


Why I Didn't Want Hillary To Run

Because the pundits are going to make us live through the 90s again.


Yes, two Think Progress links in a row, but this would be awesome. Not just because of the corruption, but because more new blood in Congress would be good.


As I keep saying, Bush is never leaving.

Wanker of the Day



It is too much to ask.

Modern Punditry

okay, i got pwned. I swore I'd seen the comment without Klein's response, but I was wrong. So: Wanker of the Day - Atrios!

From Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:

"Horace," said Dumbledore, relieving Harry of the responsibility to say any of this, "likes his comfort. He also likes the company of the famous, the successful and the powerful. He enjoys the feeling that he influences these people. He has never wanted to occupy the throne himself; he prefers the back seat - more room to spread out, you see. He use to handpick favourites at Hogwarts, sometimes for their ambition or their brains, sometimes for their charm or their talent, and he had an uncanny knack for choosing those who would go on to become outstanding in their various fields. Horace formed a kind of club of his favourites with himself at the centre, making introductions, forging useful contacts between members, and always reaping some kind of benefit in return, whether a free box of his favourite crystallised pineapple or the chance to recommend the next junior member of the Goblin Liaison Office."

From Joe Klein (in the comments):

She apologized because, like it or not, I am an important person who has the ability to affect her public image. This is the same reason John Kerry regularly called me and begged me to agree with his positions. It goes with the territory when you're a prominent columnist.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez; Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; former Gov. Jim Gilmore, R-Va.
CBS's "Face the Nation" — Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
NBC's "Meet the Press" — Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M.
CNN's "Late Edition" — Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz; Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.
"Fox News Sunday" — Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.; Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

I'm pretty sure Meet the Press has had every presidential candidate who has been on so far come on solo... except Chris Dodd, who was paired with Newt.

Morning Thread

Damn cats.