Saturday, September 01, 2007

Late Night Thread

Fresh Thread

Keep on rockin' in the free world.

While We're On My Genius Predictions

March, 2004:
Has the entire country gone insane?

Now I'm starting to get a little scared. More than a little scared, actually. First we have this little tidbit about Alan Greenspan recommending that consumers replace their fixed rate mortages with variable rate ones.

Then I look around and discover that quite a few people have been getting variable rate mortgages.

This is really scary. A lot of people have been concerned about a bursting housing bubble happening once interest rates start to rise. Even if that happens it wouldn't necessarily be such a big deal. But, if a large chunk of our population got suckered into getting variable rate mortgages so they could go from buying a house the couldn't afford to buying a house they REALLY REALLY couldn't afford, the impact of an interest rate rise could be, uh, bad.

Here's the deal. Interest rates go up. Your housing price falls. Your mortgage payment goes up substantially. You can no longer afford to make your mortgage payment. And, since the market value of your house is now less than the value of your outstanding loan, you can't just sell and trade down. Default. Foreclosure. Cardboard box.

As long as most consumers have fixed rate loans, the consequences of increased interest rates and a sudden housing price downturn wouldn't necessarily be so great. But, if people are drinking Greenspan's kool-aid...

And, no, I had no idea that lending standards would get so lax and that rating agencies would looking the other way, but...

Grim Panel

Indeed, it is very grim.

And while the Senate Leader is technically Harry Reid, the real leaders of the Democratic party at the moment are Senators Obama and Clinton. They can get press (if not always fair and accurate press) any time they want. They have a prominent platform and a large megaphone which they could use not simply to inspire voters but to browbeat their colleagues, plot a course of action, enlist their supporters into helping push through a legislative agenda, etc.

They could, you know, lead instead of campaign. The former might even help the latter.

That's assuming they want to.

I'm not all that much into the predictions game, but we're only a couple of month away from the due date for my prediction last Nov. 29 that two Friedmans from then we'd still have 120,000+ troops in Iraq. That will undoubtedly come true, and it will almost certainly be true on Nov. 29, 2008.

As for amateurs not getting what was going on, don't sell yourself short Kevin, you knew what was going on all along as did the rest of us. The fact that our elected leaders have chosen to play along is perhaps something we should have predicted, though I don't know what we could have done about it.


That spot won't out, Condi.


Congrats to Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

Not Just ETA

While ETA gets a wee bit of attention due to the semi-regular tendency to blow stuff up, Spain's multicultural problems are a bit more complex than one ethnic/regional independence movement. It is a "nation of nations" or "nation of nationalities," and the cultural-linguistic differences, along with independence movements of varying degrees of popularity and intensity, aren't limited to the Basque region.

Catalunya lliure!


Chris Matthews show, May 6:

Ms. PARKER: Well, we have to stay the course, give it a shot. I don't think they're behind the surge, but I think everybody here is right in saying that, come September, by the end of the summer, if they don't see something, then they can say, `Look, we gave it our best shot, now we need to do something different.'


Mr. IGNATIUS: More than anything else, he can say, `I called for more troops three years ago. I called for support of the president's surge. It isn't working. This is not a policy that's going to succeed.' And he has the credibility to do that without appearing to crack under pressure. And we've talked on your show, Chris, about the Baghdad primary. And that's coming up in September. And in September we're going to know, is this policy failing, is it succeeding in any measure...


Mr. IGNATIUS: Chris, you know, we're now in the season of benchmarks. And I think that, you know, I think there's going to be a bipartisan agreement on benchmarks that will apply this fall. And there'll be a series of indices about, you know, what has the government done? Has it passed this law? Has it done this reconciliation thing?

Ms. BORGER: Mm-hmm.

Mr. IGNATIUS: If those things haven't happened, I think everybody's going to
jump ship.


Mr. DUFFY: I would not wait for the presidential candidates to take the lead here. You know, if leadership is going to come from Republicans on the war at--for a change of course, it's going to come from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who Democrats are going to force to vote on this three, four, five times between now and September. And they're already getting tired of voting `I'm with the president.'

Come September

Broder, last May:

But it is only for now. Come September, when Gen. David Petraeus, the commander in Iraq, says that he will be able to judge whether the new tactics and the nearly 30,000 additional troops have turned the tide in the effort to reduce the carnage in Baghdad, different political forces will prevail.

If he is successful and if the Iraqis begin to make the political accommodations needed to form a stable government, the president will be in a far better position to rally domestic support for the cause. If not, you can expect to see many congressional Republicans joining the Democrats in a demand for a "Plan B" that would probably lead to an early exit by a substantial portion of American troops.

Of course, that was back when "surge success" was defined as "making political progress" rather than "if we count arbitrary numbers of bodies and measure that number against arbitrary dates then we can pretend WE'RE WINNING."

Stupid Liberal Media

Not excluding enough dead people to get Dear Leader's correct answer.

In this report, at least.


Talk quietly. People are trying to sleep here.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Late Night Thread

Bye Larry

From the wires:

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Associated Press has learned that Sen.
Larry Craig has decided to resign from the Senate and will announce
it Saturday.

Horns Poking Through

Earlier I tried to make the case that Shailagh Murray is, in fact, the devil. Here's some more evidence:

The Washington Post wrote that Gen. David Petraeus "is expected to report to Congress next month that there are some signs of progress in Iraq and that a precipitous U.S. withdrawal could be disastrous." But Murray gave no indication that the term "precipitous withdrawal" is used by Republicans to attack Iraq withdrawal plans, nor did she cite a single lawmaker who has called for a "precipitous U.S. withdrawal" from Iraq.

Straight Talking Maverick

I'm an ocean away and it has impacted by ability to cut and paste correctly.

Here's what was giving me an ulcer earlier.

Fixing Wingnut Funnies

Sadly No fixes Chris Muir, and as a reward I see if I can drown their server.

Straight Talking Maverick

I'm an ocean away and they're still giving me an ulcer.

Wanker of the Day

Inevitably... Michael "fierce critic" O'Hanlon.

Real Progress

Did this happen?

This morning on the Chris Matthews Show, NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell revealed that Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, met “very recently” with the Senate Republican caucus to discuss their strategy on Iraq legislation.

“Petraeus went to the Republican caucus and told them, I will have real progress to you by August,” Mitchell said. The Republicans claim they told him that after August, they will end their support for the war. “They have told him at a caucus meeting as very, very recently, that if there isn’t progress by August — and real progress means not a day of violence and a day of sanity — that they will pull the plug.”

Getting His Groove Back

According to the very serious Marc Ambinder, McCain will do it by supporting this incredibly unpopular war.

We all wish Walnuts luck in that.

Bye Tony Snow

Leaving in a couple of weeks to spend some more time with his conscience.

US Military in Iraq - New Branch of GOP

Astounding, even by the standards of this administration.

By September

Gordon Smith:

Many of my Republican colleagues have been promised they will get a straight story on the surge by September," said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). "I won't be the only Republican, or one of two Republicans, demanding a change in our disposition of troops in Iraq at that point. That is very clear to me.

Needless to say, nothing will change in September.

Midday Thread

Atrios appears to be out. What's for lunch?

--Not Atrios

Success Defined

Did this happen? WaPo, January 14:

"This buys us time," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss strategy. A political strategist who advises the White House added: "The public responds to progress and to events. Every time they can see real progress -- an election, catching Saddam, whatever it is -- they like it." And so if violence can be tamped down, it could defuse some public hostility.

If that happens, the White House hopes the troop buildup then will succeed in bringing enough stability to Baghdad by August that U.S. forces can withdraw to the city outskirts.

Iowa Gay Marriage Ban Declared Unconstitutional



Appears the entire country of Iraq has been afflicated by the dreaded blue screen of death. Fortunately tech support tells us that a simple reboot will make everything ok.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Late Night Thread

More thread than alive

And Sandra Day O'Connor finally discovers liberalism.

Not Atrios


Perhaps MSNBC should address his actions.

Wanker of the Day

The ole perfesser.

Doing the right thing

Hats off to a Republican, Rick Perry -- doing something I doubt George Bush would do.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute [Kenneth] Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.

"I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the Legislature should examine."

Not Sectarian

Whatever it is, it's still deadly violence.

Still, if you subtract off all the dead people then things are getting a lot better.

Key 3 Months

Time, 3 months ago:

So, the grim question hanging over the current U.S. strategy is this: Will the surge and resulting rise in U.S. casualties smother the insurgency before U.S. patience runs out? The next three months will be key, because Congress has made it clear that it will force the Bush Administration into a major change in strategy in September if it appears that progress is not being made.

But He Always Listens to the Military Commanders!

Or not.

White said it suggests that the military commanders want to be able to distance themselves from Iraq strategy by making it clear that whatever course is followed is the president's decision, not what commanders agreed on.


Not so much a debunking as a suggestion that Allawi had plenty of resources available for his campaign. Yes, he could have hard had more. But if wanted to just install Our Man in Baghdad we should have just installed Our Man in Baghdad instead of bothering with the rest of that nonsense. It's hard to see how such a person would have "more legitimacy" if appointed rather than installed through a rigged election installed through a rigged election rather than appointed, but I'm a very silly person.*

*Post altered to actually make sense. Never post when running out the door...


Oh well, give it another couple of Friedmans.

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.

The strikingly negative GAO draft, which will be delivered to Congress in final form on Tuesday, comes as the White House prepares to deliver its own new benchmark report in the second week of September, along with congressional testimony from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker. They are expected to describe significant security improvements and offer at least some promise for political reconciliation in Iraq.

Poor, Broke, Allawi

All he needed was CIA money so he could afford to print up a few leaflets.

TV stations like the state channel al-Iraqiyah and the privately-owned al-Sharqiyah have also broadcast hours of election ads by the parties, ranging from big production numbers for the interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi List and the Shia coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, to amateurish efforts by some of the lesser-known and less well-funded parties.

And this (3rd picture):

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's party political broadcasts dominate the campaign on the airwaves. In this one, people from all walks of Iraqi life back Mr Allawi's promise of security.


Allawi’s face is everywhere, as is Hakim’s turbaned head. It’s disconcerting to scan a seemingly innocent wall and have a row of identical Hakims smiling tightly down on you.



"I think these negative tactics will backfire," said Azzam Alwash, an ebullient 47-year-old civil engineer who is co-director of the campaign for Mr. Allawi's coalition. Like almost all of his counterparts in these elections, he has no prior experience in the field, though he oversees 80 campaign workers with a budget of $2.5 million. He toils in a "war room" in Mr. Allawi's Baghdad headquarters, where staff members work 18-hour days and coordinate satellite offices in all of Iraq's provinces.

"Our posters got pulled down too, so we decided the best way was with TV, radios and newspapers," Mr. Alwash said. Like many other groups, Mr. Allawi's has its own newspaper and enough money to pay for plenty of television and radio time. About 6 of the nearly 20 Iraqi television stations - and about half of the 200 Iraqi newspapers - are owned by parties. Rates for political spots on the larger Baghdad stations run as high as $3,000 per minute.

At his own desk, Mr. Alwash clicked on an Internet link and a song began to play: a campaign tune recorded last month by Elham al-Madfai, one of Iraq's best-known singers. The words, written in 1941, are about a doctor who can solve all the patient's problems. Every time the word doctor comes up in the song, the accompanying video shows a smiling Mr. Allawi.

"We're playing it all over our radio stations," Mr. Alwash said.



David Ignatius explains how Iraq's troubles are all the fault of Iran and the fact that the US didn't cheat in the Iraq elections on behalf of Allawi.

You can't make this stuff up.

...and here's what David Ignatius told us after the election:

So what should the world make of Iraq's new prime minister, Jawad al-Maliki? What chance will his new government have of containing the sectarian violence in Iraq and averting a full-blown civil war?

The first reaction of many outsiders is likely to be, "Jawad who?" Maliki is not well known outside his country, and his election after a four-month impasse may seem anticlimactic. Indeed, since he is a member of the same Islamic faction, the Dawa party, as the incumbent, Ibrahim al-Jafari, people might imagine that little has changed. But that would be a mistake.

The most important fact about Maliki's election is that it's a modest declaration of independence from Iran. The Iranians waged a tough behind-the-scenes campaign to keep Jafari in office. Tehran issued veiled threats to Iraqi political leaders, in written letters and through emissaries, that if they didn't back Jafari, they would pay a price. In resisting this pressure, the political leaders were standing up for a unified Iraq. To succeed, Maliki must mobilize that desire for unity to break the power of the militias and insurgent groups.

"His reputation is as someone who is independent of Iran," explained Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. He explained that although Maliki initially went into exile in Iran, "he felt he was threatened by them" because of his political independence, and later moved to Syria. "He sees himself as an Arab" and an Iraqi nationalist, Khalilzad said.


The Iranians "pressured everyone for Jafari to stay," Khalilzad said. One senior Iraqi official said the gist of Iran's letters was "stick with him, or else." The phrasing was more subtle, including warnings that replacement of Jafari could "create instability" and damage the political prospects of those who opposed Iran's diktat. The decisive blow came from Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who let it be known in the final days that Jafari had to go.

Maliki's selection is something of a victory for Khalilzad, who has been a match for the Iraqis in his wily political wrangling. The American ambassador viewed Jafari as too weak and sectarian. When Jafari was renominated by the Shiite alliance in February, Khalilzad warned, initially in this column, that the United States wouldn't support a government that did not put unity first. Khalilzad helped organize a rival coalition of Kurdish and Sunni politicians that represented 143 seats in parliament, more than the 130 seats of the Shiite alliance that had nominated Jafari. Meanwhile, he began holding marathon meetings with all the Iraqi factions to hammer out the political platform for a unity government.


Midnight Owls Thread

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Last Man You Want to See in the John

TPM has a substantive bit about Fred Thompson & New Hampshire. But I am a vituperative foulmouthed blogger, so I will merely point out that in the accompanying picture Thompson looks like a decrepit, elderly carp sucking on a lemon wedge.

UPDATE: The inimitable Roxanne, from comments:
You know ... I don't know anymore who's going to win the Republican nomination. But I *do* know it will be a really old mean-looking dude in a really bad tie.
Yes. Yes, that is true. She only neglects to mention the savage neck-wattle and shadowy jowls. Such things apparently frighten Al Qaeda -- a not wholly unreasonable theory. I mean, I'm scared.

Tucker Speaks

Emailed statement:

Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men's room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men's room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.

Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That's absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn't angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.

Tucker Spoke:

CARLSON: I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and -- and --

ABRAMS: And did what?

CARLSON: Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!

CARLSON: And then the cops came and arrested him. But let me say that I'm the least anti-gay right-winger you'll ever meet --

Exactly the same thing!

More Thread

You people talk too much.

You can leave your hat on

Or you can watch Moyers.

Not Atrios

Afternoon Thread

Try not to slam anyone into the bathroom wall, but if you have to do so please don't enlist a friend to help.

Gay Bashing


After Tucker is "bothered" by a gay person:

CARLSON: I went back with someone I knew and grabbed the guy by the -- you know, and grabbed him, and -- and --

ABRAMS: And did what?

CARLSON: Hit him against the stall with his head, actually!

There are so many things here from Dan Abrams thinking this is funny* to the fact that Tucker actually went to get a friend so that two could do the job.

But also just consider how Tucker would react if women responded to being "bothered" by men by going and getting friends to beat the crap out of them.

*Watching the clip again I can't tell 100% if it's Abrams laughing or not. At some point it sounds like 2 people are, but I can't be certain.

Blogger Ethics Panel

There aren't any clear rules here, but certainly when a newspaper starts publishing transparently absurd arguments which benefit a candidate a reasonable person might conclude that there's something going on there.

But that's unpossible, because such people are by definition incapable of doing wrong because they have ethics. And there's accountability, or something. Just ask them.

1, 2, 3, ...

Maliki just doesn't understand the Anbar miracle, and teh awesomeness of teh surge.

In a 50-minute interview in his office in Baghdad's Green Zone, Maliki strongly defended his tenure and said that he doesn't expect to be forced out. He said his efforts at national reconciliation, not the surge of additional U.S. troops or actions by Iraqi security forces, are responsible for improved security.

He blamed the United States and its early policies in Iraq for the sectarianism that plagues the country, and said he opposed the current U.S. policy of working with former Sunni Muslim insurgent groups who've turned against al Qaida in Iraq because that, too, promotes sectarianism.

This Will Be Good News For Republicans

Unless I missed it, David Broder hasn´t yet written one, but the rest of the press are eagerly writing their 5000th version of "their favorte "BUSH IS GOING TO BE POPULAR AGAIN REAL SOON" story.

They can do this, of course, because they fail to acknowledge why Bush is unpopular.

It's the war, stupids.

Only a Couple Big Donations

I was looking over the size of donations to Burner, and amazingly there were only a couple of whale sized donations. That was a stunning amount of money raised given that fact. I think the average donation was about 40 bucks in the list I saw.

David Broder's World

AJ's post on candidates and the pundit class who loves them, comparing their support for Allawi with their fetishization of Unity08 type things, is quite good.

There's an incredible amount of love for candidates which don't actually have a constituency, which echoes the fact that the Washington Elite Consensus, always falsely labeled "centrism," doesn't have much of a constituency outside of Washington Post editorial board office.

"Angry Girlfriend"

Tim Russert knows how to pick'em.

Organzing and Field

There's something appealing about the concept of political organizing and strong field campaigns. It seems to put the focus on people and relationships instead of 30 second propaganda ads on the teevee. It makes a campaign more movement-centric than candidate centric.

I've never worked for a campaign, aside from the odd volunteer phone banking. I don't really know what goes on inside. Obviously it's important for campaigns (and the individuals in them) to portray themselves as knowing what they're doing, to have a Secret Plan To Defy The Polls, etc. I have no idea if organizing and field can really work in the context of a presidential primary, and if so what the best way to do it is. One likes to imagine that the paid professionals who do these things know what they're doing, but it's hard to actually know that.

Anyway, this is a somewhat rambling post obviously. Maybe I should boil it down:

Field campaigns sound good.
No idea how well they work.
No idea if the people who run them know what they're doing.
If they don't work it may be because they can't work, or because people running them are incompetent.


And the response of the Democrats will be... predictable.


Glenn takes a look at right wing reaction to Larry Craig then and now.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


They give birth astride the grave -- one brief flash of light, then it's night once more.

Lay Off Miss Teen S.C.

I don't know if she's dumb as a stone or if she just understandably had a bit of a brain fart. I've got a Ph.D and I probably had moments like that in public. Either way she's just a young woman whose worst moment wasn't appreciably worse than the regular outbursts of our commander in chief. It means nothing. Let it go.

Blogging is Hard

Well, not really, but when I go away for a few hours and have hundreds of emails to go through sometimes it feels that way.

What'd I miss?


Thought I would have some time to blog but ended up watching elmo videos instead.

Afternoon Thread

For some conservative blog reactions to the Craig case and a comparison of those reactions to the treatment the Vitter case received, Think Progress and Greenwald are good. Also check out Scott Lemieux at TAPPED.


Talk talk talk talk all you wanna do is talk talk.


Sideshow Bob for attorney general?


Home prices not surging.

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. home prices fell 3.2 percent in the second quarter, the steepest rate of decline since Standard & Poor's (NYSE:MHP) began its nationwide housing index in 1987, the group said Tuesday.

6 Months

One FU ago:

An elite team of officers advising US commander General David Petraeus in Baghdad has concluded the US has six months to win the war in Iraq - or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.

The officers - combat veterans who are leading experts in counter-insurgency - are charged with implementing the "new way forward" strategy announced by president George Bush on January 10. The plan includes a controversial "surge" of 21,500 additional American troops to establish security in the Iraqi capital and Anbar province.

But the team, known as the "Baghdad brains trust" and ensconced in the heavily fortified Green Zone around the US embassy, is struggling to overcome a range of entrenched problems in what has become a race against time, said a former senior administration official familiar with their deliberations. "They know they are operating under a clock. They know they are going to hear a lot more talk in Washington about 'Plan B' by the autumn - meaning withdrawal. They know the next six-month period is their opportunity. And they say it's getting harder every day," the former official said.


It'll be fascinating to see how suburban communities deal with this.

More than 100 houses a day are being foreclosed on in Southern California, up from 13 a day last year. That's still a relative handful for such a populous area, but even the optimists predict that the problem will soon get much worse.

If the foreclosure trend continues on its current pace, experts warn, communities will need to act decisively to avoid blight.

"We know it's coming," said Tina Hess, the assistant Los Angeles city attorney who handles housing enforcement and problem properties.

Creatively Transformed

I think this is one not so remarked upon feature of the US housing stock. Mark Thoma:

That is to say, I hope we don't "creatively destroy" the houses that were (over)built. Sure, some can be creatively transformed into restaurants, business offices, etc., to attenuate the misallocation in the short-run, but there's no need to tear them down and replace them.

But given both zoning laws/neighborhood covenants/HOA rules and the form of much US housing development (single family home, set back from the street), very little new development can be "creatively transformed." If there's an oversupply of housing stock there isn't too much use substitution that can be done, at least in many parts of the country. It's also difficult if not impossible to convert from single family homes to multiple units.

The point being that if one could easily convert homes into restaurants or offices, then the price reductions resulting from an oversupply of residential development would be mitigated as some units could be converted into other uses. But in many areas, houses are just houses, though they may not actually be safe as houses...

The ground floor of my building, while now a residential rental unit, has been both retail and professional office at some point in its history, and could easily be again.


As McJoan reminds us, an Idaho Statesman reporter was working on the Craig story for awhile and then it got held up in lawyer limbo. Here's what he writes today:

In an interview on May 14, Craig told the Idaho Statesman he'd never engaged in sex with a man or solicited sex with a man. The Craig interview was the culmination of a Statesman investigation that began after a blogger accused Craig of homosexual sex in October. Over five months, the Statesman examined rumors about Craig dating to his college days and his 1982 pre-emptive denial that he had sex with underage congressional pages.

The most serious finding by the Statesman was the report by a professional man with close ties to Republican officials. The 40-year-old man reported having oral sex with Craig at Washington's Union Station, probably in 2004. The Statesman also spoke with a man who said Craig made a sexual advance toward him at the University of Idaho in 1967 and a man who said Craig "cruised" him for sex in 1994 at the REI store in Boise. The Statesman also explored dozens of allegations that proved untrue, unclear or unverifiable.

Craig, 62, was elected to Congress in 1980. Should he win re-election in 2008 and complete his term, he would be the longest-serving Idahoan ever in Congress. His record includes a series of votes against gay rights and his support of a 2006 amendment to the Idaho Constitution that bars gay marriage and civil unions.

Scrubbing Larry

It looks like Romney is desperately trying to shove Craig back in the closet.


Burner surpassed that $100,000 goal.

At last check, 573 atriots gave $25,194.75, more than one quarter of the goal.

And here's a report from the nearby Wanker Baird Town Hall.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thread This


UPDATE: This might be somehow appropriate, somehow...

More Thread

Narrow stance, this time.

Fresh Thread

Wide stances edition.

Naughty Boy

I can't stop laughing. From 1999:

MR. RUSSERT: Larry Craig, would you want the last word from the Senate be an acquittal of the president and no censure?

SEN. CRAIG: Well, I don’t know where the Senate’s going to be on that issue of an up or down vote on impeachment, but I will tell you that the Senate certainly can bring about a censure reslution and it’s a slap on the wrist. It’s a, “Bad boy, Bill Clinton. You’re a naughty boy.”

The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy, a naughtyboy.

I’m going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.

The question issue now is simply this: Did he lie under oath? Did he perjure himself and did he obstruct justice? And that’s where we’re trying to go now in this truth-seeking process. And I hope we can get there. And then I’m going to have the chance to decide and vote up or down on those articles. After we’re through with this impeachment trial, it’s collapsed, it’s gone, then the Senate will make a decision on if it’s a censure or not.

Playing You Guys

Which obviously demands that, if true, those being played explain to the public who played them.

A congressional source familiar with deliberations about Gonzales' replacement told CNN that the successor will not be Chertoff and that senior administration officials are "playing you guys," referring to the media.

His Own Private Idaho

Because I'm pissed off that I didn't think of that headline first.

Oh My

Oh My.

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed. He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.


According to the incident report, Sgt. Dave Karsnia was working as a plainclothes officer on June 11 investigating civilian complaints regarding sexual activity in the men’s public restroom in which Craig was arrested.

Airport police previously had made numerous arrests in the men’s restroom of the Northstar Crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal in connection with sexual activity.


What do I have to do to become a CFR fellow? Advocate invading Switzerland with our army of zombie monkeys?

Biofuels, Bitches!

At long last.


Darcy makes the pitch.

Campaign website.

Place to donate.

Virtual townhall at 3pm PST, which I believe is past my bedtime.

On Raising Money

One problem that the "netroots," whatever that is, has is that there's tendency by Democrats to see it as just another player in the interest group checklist politics game. So, sometimes "this will piss off the blogs" is a consideration, and a similar one to "this might piss of NARAL" or "this might piss off the Sierra Club." We're a noisy somewhat influential group to be placated somehow.

Now that's not how I see things as I think blogs should be seen more as an opportunity to influence media coverage and narratives, as well as helping to stitch together a broader-based political movement.

But it isn't very surprising the Democrats don't really understand how blogs work within the media, as they've long failed to understand how the media works generally. So it's difficult to communicate and explain the "good" the blogs can do when a lot of them just see us as a noisy sometimes-pain-in-the-ass. This isn't true of everyone in DC, of course, but one has to remember that of congressional staffers are often shockingly young and really can't be expected, no matter what their talents, to have a grip on all this stuff in a sophisticated way.

Ultimately politicians respect power, and respect you if you can deliver something for them. I don't really see that the important role of blogs is raising money, but it's one way to get attention and some respect. And while in the past fundraising efforts were largely directed at "anyone who can win in a race which might not be getting enough love from DC insiders," this time around we have the luxury of being more choosy, and in doing so can hope to express a somewhat more coherent, if broad, ideology other than "we want to throw Republicans out of office." I happen to think the fairly broad if still somewhat undefined "netroots platform" is a pretty good one. While there is certainly a variety of political perspectives within this group, it's always pretty obvious to me which issues/policies are going to have widespread interest/support and which ones aren't among my readership and and popular blogs generally.

All of this a way of getting to the point that money is one way to get respect, and proving that you can deliver it to the right kind of people has a way of encouraging people to come around to your point of view. So, yes, demonstrating that the mighty blogs can pull in $100K over a few days for a House candidate - and not just any House candidate - 14 months out from an election is one way to get a bit of respect. And a way to get people to listen to your concerns... and responding to them.

So, consider forking over a few to Burner.

From the Man Himself

Dave Reichert's record of independence and bi-partisan leadership.

Please consider giving a bit to Darcy Burner. Apparently total online donations have rounded $75,000 and are heading towards the goal. Help make it happen.

Independent DOJ

I'm so old I remember when the wise old men of Washington spent their days fulminating about Janet Reno's constant need to "prove her independence," which generally required her to appoint an independent counsel or special prosecutor on days ending in 'y.'

Whatever the merits of all of those investigations, the principle was correct. The top dog at the DOJ needs to not think of him/herself as the president's personal lawyer, and Democrats should make independence a necessary condition for confirmation.

Sadly, I expect "a good man who Joe Lieberman has a great deal of respect for" will probably be the sole qualification.

What Is The Answer?

Well, if $10 doesn't do the trick, offer $12 or 15, hire some of your competitors' employees away. The magic of market competition!

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The owner of a fast food joint in Montana's booming oil patch found himself outsourcing the drive-thru window to a Texas telemarketing firm, not because it's cheaper but because he can't find workers.

Record low unemployment across parts of the West has created tough working conditions for business owners, who in places are being forced to boost wages or be creative to fill their jobs.

John Francis, who owns the McDonald's in Sidney, Mont., said he tried advertising in the local newspaper and even offered up to $10 an hour to compete with higher-paying oil field jobs. Yet the only calls were from other business owners upset they would have to raise wages, too. Of course, Francis' current employees also wanted a pay hike.

"I don't know what the answer is," Francis said. "There's just nobody around that wants to work."

People are working, apparently for "other business owners." They'd happily work for you if you offered them enough money.

When I was in high school fast food jobs that paid $6.75/hr could be obtained. That's $11.50 in today's money.

Bye Bye Alberto

I'm sure we can still kick him around after he's gone.


I've imagined Owen Wilson to be a close personal friend every since we saw him on a little bike tooling around the dark narrow side streets of Rome one evening.

Always weird when the rich, famous, and popular feel the need to check out.

500 Dead Yazidis

Since I'm out of the country and not in the high tech media room at Eschaton World Headquarters, I'm not nearly as in tune with all the various narrative threads that vie for dominance to be heard over the din, but from over here it seems that the catastrophic bombing has been covered as yet just another blip, another moment which came and passed.

I'm not sure exactly how there should be ongoing coverage of something like that, but somehow it doesn't seem as if the magnitude of such a catastrophe has been fully conveyed.

To put it in some slight perspective, under 200 were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. And consider the impact on our country of that event.


And the fun continues:

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki yesterday lashed out at U.S. and French politicians who have called on him to step down and accused U.S. forces of committing "big mistakes" in killing and detaining civilians in the hunt for insurgents.

He goes on to criticize Clinton and Levin by name. Nicely played, senators (not).

...Josh has:

Finally, unexpectedly, out of the blue even, we appear to have arrived at a grand cross-party consensus on Iraq: it's Nuri al Maliki's fault and he should be fired. Faced with the tough task of biting the bullet one way or another, pols across the partisan divide seem to have arrived at this as the one position they can get behind and push on the Sunday shows.

So we understand how truly awesome this is, the early pusher of "It's all Maliki's fault" was...

Charles Krauthammer.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Evening Thread

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

Wingnuttery Never Dies

Noticed this comment at The Editors:

Let’s fast reverse to 1987 when a Senator laughed at Ollie North for spending $60,000 on private security for his family because he was afraid of a terrorist named Osama bin Laden. The Senator could not re pronunce the terrorist’s name..he just scoffed at the idea! Nice going Al Gore…you earned your paycheck there!!

I don't know if that was a tongue in cheek quote or not, but nonetheless it was one of those little bits of wingnuttery which magically appeared in everyone's inbox soon after the events of 9/11. Some day someone will track down the source of "viral email forward wingnuttery."

Better Democrats

Not having CNN piped into my undisclosed location I've missed the direct exposure to the Most Important Democrat In America, Brian Baird.

But I did check the transcripts and discover that until Baird decided that teh surge was teh awesome he'd been on CNN to discuss Iraq exactly... zero times.

Funny how things work.

But there are better Democrats.

Guys Who Make Me Hot

That really is the level of David Broder's political commentary these days.

Nothing wrong with guys making you hot, David, I'm just not sure it qualifies them to be president.

He Will Stroke His Chin and Furrow His Brow

And at the end of the day conclude that the Democrats are being too partisan with their nasty partisan trying to nasty nasty stop the war nasties.

GOP Sen. John Warner, who wants U.S. troops to start coming home from Iraq by Christmas, said Sunday he may support Democratic legislation ordering withdrawals if President Bush refuses to set a return timetable soon.

"I'm going to have to evaluate it," Warner said. "I don't say that as a threat, but I say that is an option we all have to consider."

Six Months

Mitt Romney, one FU ago:

We’ll Know in Five or Six Months if Bush Iraq Plan Working. "I think that should have been done a lot earlier and should have been part of the initial plan. But, be that as it may, it's now being added to the mission. And when you add a mission to our military that means you need to add troop strength to carry it out. We'll see how well that plan is working. It will probably play out over a matter of five to six months, or more. But it's months, not years.

Romney now:

MILFORD, N.H. -- Mitt Romney says he wants to encourage a "surge of support" for the troop surge in Iraq this summer.

To that end, Romney announced at a business here that he is contributing $25,000 of his own money to seven organizations aiding the troops and their families. He also placed the names and contact information for the organizations on his campaign's website to encourage supporters to give.

"I would like to show a surge of public support that can communicate to our troops over there that we care, we appreciate what you are doing, we want you to come home as soon as you can safe and sound," said Romney.

Mitt Romney is worth $250 million, he's "loaned" his own campaign $9 million, and $25,000 is a "surge of support?"


12 Weeks

Barbara Starr, 12 weeks ago:

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The fifth and final brigade of the U.S. troops that are part of the security crackdown has now arrived in Iraq. In just 12 weeks, the top commander, General David Petraeus is supposed to tell President Bush if the new strategy is working.

But Michael O'Hanlon Said He Said So

And then administration officials cited the New York times citing...oh jeebus make it stop.

It also includes execution-style killings — largely the work of Shiite death squads.

The figures are considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual numbers are likely higher, as many killings go unreported or uncounted. Insurgent deaths are not a part of the
Iraqi count.

The findings include:

- Iraq is suffering about double the number of war-related deaths compared with last year — an average daily toll of 33 in 2006, and 62 so far this year.

- Nearly 1,000 more people have been killed in violence across Iraq in the first eight months of this year than in all of 2006. So far this year, about 14,800 people have died in war-related attacks and sectarian murders. AP reporting accounted for 13,811 deaths in 2006. The United Nations and other sources placed the 2006 toll far higher.

- Baghdad has gone from representing 76 percent of all civilian and police war-related deaths in Iraq in January to 52 percent in July, bringing it back to the same spot it was roughly a year ago.

- According to the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization, the number of displaced Iraqis has more than doubled since the start of the year, from 447,337 on Jan. 1 to 1.14 million on July31.

However, Brig. Gen. Richard Sherlock, deputy director for operational planning for the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said violence in Iraq "has continued to decline and is at the lowest level since June 2006."

He offered no statistics to back his claim, but in a briefing with reporters at the Pentagon on Friday he warned insurgents might try intensify attacks in Iraq to coincide with three milestones: the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the beginning of Ramadan and the report to Congress.

Blowing It

Lengthy article in Newsweek detailing the search for Bin Laden and repeating, with great detail, how we managed to lose Bin Laden to please Bush and his political hacks desire to "teach radical Islam a lesson by blowin' up shit" in a secular dictatorship.

Yep, they're just that smart -- and the same "oh so smart" people keep showing up in the story:

The American effort to chase bin Laden into this forbidding realm was hobbled and clumsy from the start. While the terrain required deep local knowledge and small units, career officers in the U.S. military have long been wary of the Special Operations Forces best suited to the task. In the view of the regular military, such "snake eaters" have tended to be troublesome, resistant to spit-and-polish discipline and rulebooks. Rather than send the snake eaters to poke around mountain caves and mud-walled compounds, the U.S. military wanted to fight on a grander stage, where it could show off its mobility and firepower. To the civilian bosses at the Pentagon and the eager-to-please top brass, Iraq was a much better target. By invading Iraq, the United States would give the Islamists—and the wider world—an unforgettable lesson in American power. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was on Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board and, at the time, a close confidant of the SecDef. In November 2001, Gingrich told a NEWSWEEK reporter, "There's a feeling we've got to do something that counts—and bombing caves is not something that counts."

I think we all remember Kerry raising these points about the time he was being swift-boated.

There is much, much more in the article.

Sunday threadlet

I don't know if "Dems not as do-nothing as GOP" makes a good bumper-sticker, but....

Not Atrios

Out for Awhile

So rock amongst yourselves if I return later than expected.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

•NBC’s “Meet the Press,” — Guests: Sen. John Warner, Virginia Republican; Lance Armstrong, cyclist and activist.

•“Fox News Sunday,” — Guests: Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican; Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat; former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican.

•ABC’s “This Week,” — Guests: Sen. Jim Webb, Virginia Democrat; Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican; former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers.

•CBS’ “Face the Nation,” — Guests: Former senator John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, and his wife, Elizabeth Edwards.

•CNN’s “Late Edition,” Former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat; Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican; Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, No. 2 U.S. military commander in Iraq; former senator Max Cleland, Georgia Democrat.


Best. Music. Video. Ever.