Saturday, October 06, 2007

Evening Thread

Rock on.

Afternoon Thread


The Horrors of Yurp

This article provides a useful corrective to the myths of Yurpean economic disaster.

But aside from simple economics, most conservative commentators write about a fantasy place which does not even exist. You can't call what they do caricature because the have no comprehension of the place they're pretending to describe.

Mebbe a few of them should actually get a passport.

Our Stupid Discourse

Please make them stop.

Spreading Democracy

Bush style.

BAGHDAD, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Iraq rejected on Saturday testimony by the former head of the country's anti-corruption commission who said Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki protected some corrupt relatives from the investigative body.

"The testimony by ... Radhi al-Radhi in front of members of (U.S.) Congress is nothing more than false allegations ... that serves known sides and figures who are systematically attempting to harm Prime Minister Nuri Kamil al-Maliki's reputation," a statement from Maliki's office said.

Radhi, who left Iraq in August after threats against him, told U.S. lawmakers on Thursday that 31 employees at the Iraqi Independent Integrity Commission were killed because of their jobs and that the government lost $18 billion through corruption.

The Most Trusted Name In News

CNN continues its mainstreaming of hateful racism.


Times Change

As Steve Benen reminds us, back in the day it was important for someone like Kennedy to convince religious elites that he had a deep belief in the importance of the separation of church and state. This is not the message that the religious right wants to hear today.


I, too, was rather puzzled by the gushing reviews of yesterday's jobs report. It's true that people feared it would be disastrous, and it wasn't, but it still wasn't a good report.

Media Matters

From Paul Waldman.


Y'all tell me what's been going on, I'm kind of out of phase.

Not Atrios


Doing my best to resist cranky linkage.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

More Rope

Deliver Us From Flag Lapel Pins

Because our political discourse is this stupid.

Suicide Watch

Watch a bit more carefully.

MILAN, Mich. -- A federal prosecutor who was arrested in an Internet sex sting after he allegedly traveled to Michigan from Florida to have sex with a 5-year-old girl hanged himself in a Michigan federal prison Friday morning, Detroit television station WDIV-TV reported.

John D.R. Atchison, 53, was put on suicide watch after he used a bed sheet in an attempted suicide in September.

Harmonic Convergence

This just can't be true.

The male escort responsible for the downfall of Christian evangelist leader Ted Haggard is now alleging that embattled Senator Larry Craig also came to see him.

While promoting his new book during a radio interview with KNWQ-AM in Palm Springs Wednesday night, Mike Jones hesitated from making the allegation on the air.

Management for the radio station says Jones told them he would reveal something about Idaho Senator Larry Craig on the "Bulldog Bill Feingold Show."

While he hesitated doing so on the air, a NewsChannel 3 camera was rolling when he made the accusation during a commercial break.

Funny Jokes

Ha ha ha!


Chris Matthews is a really bizarre dude.

Bushism Until the End

I can't say I fully understand why, but I do think that the conventional wisdom that the Republican presidential candidate will, once nominated, start breaking with the Bush administration is probably wrong. Those 30 percenters are heavily invested in the Bush years, and I think they'll cause great pain for anyone who tries.

Affirmative Action

The reality:

Peter Schmidt, deputy editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education, writes that researchers with access to the college admissions data that many institutions keep a tight guard on found that 15 percent of freshmen at 146 "highly selective" colleges are white students who didn't meet the school's minimum admissions standards for high school GPAs and SAT or ACT scores. There are more than twice as many sub-par privileged white kids at highly competitive institutions than there are black and Latino students whose race gave them a boost in competing for a spot, the researchers found. Some of the white kids are athletes, and many others are the children or friends of alumni, politicians, faculty members, donors, and administrators.

Schmidt also notes that these schools spend just 40 percent of the money for financial aid on students with a documented financial need; the bulk of it goes to students they think will enhance the college's reputation or become big donors later in life. As a result, kids from the wealthiest quarter of the country are 25 times to go to a selective college than the bottom quarter -- so, big surprise, everything about college in America today still perpetuates historical privileges.

It's Always 2001

Are we really discussing flag lapel pins?

Please kill me.


Suck on this, Steny.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the House Majority Leader, postponed a press conference announcing new reforms of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act after progressive lawmakers banded together and said they would fight any legislation that did not include a set of eight principles on wiretapping that preserve the "rule of law."

"What's most significant is that the Progressive Caucus came together and said to the leadership that all 72 of us require that these provisions be included," said Caroline Fredercikson, Legislative Director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "This changes the dynamic significantly."

Blackwater vs. The Military

We'll see which side Republicans and conservatives choose. Maybe someone should call Issa for comment.


This problem is still out there.

Subprime-mortgage bonds created in the first half of 2007 contain loans that are going delinquent at the fastest rate ever, Moody's Investors Service said yesterday.

The average rate of "serious loan delinquencies" in the securities has been higher than for bonds created last year, Moody's analysts Ariel Weil and Amita Shrivastava wrote in a report. Serious loan delinquencies are those 60 days or more past due and include properties in foreclosure or already foreclosed upon.

"It is shocking what you see," said Kyle Bass of Hayman Advisors L.P., a Dallas hedge fund that bet the U.S. housing market would fall. It reported a 400 percent return on those investments.

"Anything securitized in 2007 has got to have the worst collateral performance of any trust I've seen in my life," Bass said.


Czar Tomasky explores the whining of the narcissistic wankers who infest our discourse with their demands to kill lots of people in order to make them feel like their penises are larger.

Kicking the Losers

Krugman gets at another bit of the conservative personality:

What’s happening, presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain personality type. If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong. If you think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in.

And Republican disillusionment with Mr. Bush does not appear to signal any change in that regard. On the contrary, the leading candidates for the Republican nomination have gone out of their way to condemn “socialism,” which is G.O.P.-speak for any attempt to help the less fortunate.

So once again, if you’re poor or you’re sick or you don’t have health insurance, remember this: these people think your problems are funny.

I think this is a bit harsh. When people with problems are clearly people like "us" then they deserve all of our support. I think the problem is that the "us" category has shrunk so much that there aren't many people left in it.


Not Atrios



Thursday, October 04, 2007


Preach it, brother Ezra!

Please God, Make Him Stop

I'll do anything.

Doesn't Anybody Remember Anthrax?

Maybe I am crazy. Jennifer Loven, AP:

_No domestic terrorist attack has followed those of Sept. 11, 2001. But the intelligence community concluded in July, nearly six years after the attacks, that al-Qaida has been allowed to re-centralize and rejuvenate itself in Pakistan, where the still-missing Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding.


Warm up your dialing fingers. Tomorrow Steny And Rahm need to hear it from you.

Stance Getting Wider

Just in cased you missed it, guilty Larry Craig is still not resigning.

Evening Thread

Atrios doesn't care if he ever comes back....


--Molly I.

Afternoon Thread

And Crackerjacks.

Buy Me Some Peanuts

Out for a bit. On your own...

No Hats, No Helmets

It really should be a basic rule for candidates.


Broder's boy is still bouncing.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Public approval for President Bush and Congress has sunk to the lowest levels ever recorded in The Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Only 31 percent said they approve of the job Bush is doing, according to the survey released on Thursday. Though his positive ratings have hovered at about that range since last year, his lowest previous approval in the AP-Ipsos survey was 32 percent, which was recorded several times, most recently in June. That is virtually even with the latest reading.

Abortion is Icky

After decades of this we really should understand this by now. Quite a few people are made uncomfortable by abortion. They're made uncomfortable enough that they think there should be some Official State Disapproval of the practice. One could probably think of some other things that people find icky enough that they find the idea of official Disapproval comforting. But they don't actually think abortion is equivalent to murder, and they don't actually think that it should be illegal enough to prevent people from having them. The just want to make sure everyone knows it's "bad."


I think about the only way this is possible is if a tremendous number of these were purchased by speculators.

WESH 2 News investigation of every Central Florida ZIP code shows where the real pain is being felt.

Flagler County is the fastest-growing county in the United States.

One of every five homes in Flagler County is for sale. Celebration is feeling the same pain because 50 percent of the homes there are for sale.

Right of Response

While I certainly don't think enshrining the concept into law is possible, I think good etiquette of media outlets would lead to them giving people the right to respond when their well-paid hosts attack them on the air, especially if they're willing to pay for it!

The Architects

We must remember that all of these people had dreams of going down in history as the architects of the greatest humanitarian mission in history. They would proudly wear their moral seriousness on their sleeves, give speeches about "the decent left" (them) to marginalize the actual left, be the toast of the town, perhaps marry a nice Iraqi girl, stride around the world in Bremer boots offering sage counsel to any who would listen.

Of course now that their disastrous idea is a disaster they just whine about how it's not their fault and how those dirty fucking hippies still stink like patchouli.

Get the fuck over yourselves. It's not fucking about you.

Preening Self-Righteousness

It's hard to believe that this band of ignorant maniacs is, almost 5 years later, still prancing around more worried about their bruised egos and their reputations than the carnage they helped to unleash on the world.

Is there a word like wanker, but like wanker to the trillionth power? A wanker-plex?

Yes, we know, we've read it a billion times. Even though you helped to kill hundreds of thousands of people you're still much smarter and, more importantly, much more morally sophisticated than everybody who said "maybe this is a bad idea." The nerve of some people! They insult you!

I really don't understand the process by which such people are created. Dropped on their heads sounds like too simple an explanation, but perhaps there it is.


Let Ruth and Diane tell you what's going on.

Not Atrios


Rock on.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Weird Philly Moments

Midori almost being run over by another musician riding a bike.


I do not think they are wired up to feel that emotion, and not many of the Villagers seem to care either.

But let's not let the man in charge off the hook. It's Bushism. Has been all along.


Fox perpetuating the notion that it's only bipartisan if John Boehner and George Bush approve.

Are There Any Republicans Left?

Domenici retiring.




Dan Abrams, last seen kneecapping David Shuster, is even losing to Tucker.

Oh the humiliation.


CNN sez 3 fires set in Dirksen & Hart Senate office buildings.

The race is on to determine whether they were set by a right wing nut or a left wing nut so we can politicize the event as soon as possible.

Ron Paul Mania

Ron Paul raises about as much cash as St. McCain.


CNN is obsessed with buckling roads in San Diego, but is ignoring the much more important story of a potential subway fire preventing people from getting to today's Phillies game.

Hating Democracy

I think this column by Not Paul's Son Samuelson provides good insight into the common thinking of Villagers. Retirees, 12.4% of the population, are a "pressure group." He lumps Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security together so he can make a nonexistent case against Social Security. And then, finally, he advocates a "bipartisan commission" of wise village elders who agree with him on just how much old people should have their benefits cut to come up with a plan which Congress would force themselves to vote on without amendments so that they do the right thing, which is precisely what Samuelson wants them to do but which voters don't.

The Biggest Villain In the Country

Someone should really notify the FBI about this David Brock fella. For some reason they put these 10 people, at least, ahead of him on their list of bad people they haven't yet managed to lock up.


Paul Waldman dumps some much need cold water onto the myth of involved Iowa voter.

The real problem is, of course, the media. Winning Iowa matters so much because the media will make it matter.

Bush World

It makes perfect sense for Bush to veto the SCHIP bill. After all, all of those people can just go to the emergency room for free treatment.

Very Bold St. Rudy

St. Rudy came to visit our local xenophobe agitator, the son of Italian immigrants who has a sign at his local tourist spot demanding people order only in English. CNN just informed me that Rudy thinks learning English should be mandatory for those obtaining citizenship. Such a bold stand, to endorse the current policy.

Applicants for naturalization must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language. Applicants exempt from this requirement are those who on the date of filing:

have been residing in the United States subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for periods totaling 15 years or more and are over 55 years of age;
have been residing in the United States subsequent to a lawful admission for permanent residence for periods totaling 20 years or more and are over 50 years of age; or
have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, where the impairment affects the applicant’s ability to learn English.

Pushing Feminism Off the Map

I never read Stiffed, but Backlash was one the books which most informed my views about how our screwed up media operates. I, too, look forward to reading Susan Faludi's latest book.

Pep Talk

Maybe Countrywide should hire Ben Domenech for some motiviational speaking.

Bill Clinton Got Laid In College

Just in case you were still wondering what motivates our elite babblers.

Just In Case

You were wondering if these people will say literally anything about their political opponents, including the soldiers they claim to revere, I give you Rush Limbaugh.



Win One For the Box Turtles

The gift that keeps on giving.

...adding that back in the day I had a little fantasy about how a young disgraced conservative might find the path to redemption. It involved enlisting in our armed services. God I'm an idiot.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Chris Matthews' Freshman Dorm Listening Tour

Man, that Daily Show segment with Tweety was truly bizarre in precisely the way you'd expect.

Wanker of the Day

Michael O'Hanlon.

More thread

I thought this was pretty funny.

Oops, sorry, I have such amnesia I forgot I saw it here. Look, it's nearly 2:30 in the morning, I'm vague.

Ah, this one is interesting:
"By a 2 to 1 margin, those who see little accomplishment in Congress's first nine months blame the inaction on Bush and the GOP more than they do the majority Democrats."

Not Atrios

Another Evening Thread

You're welcome.

Evening Thread

Out for dinner and an apparently naughty Ang Lee movie.


JMM clips the video.

Leave Them Alone

Please, CNN, stop showing the goddamn lurid photos of the child rape victim.

Veiled Threats Much

Darrell Issa, on this morning's Washington Journal (1:07:20 or so in):

If Henry Waxman today wants to go to Iraq and do an investigation, Blackwater will be his support team. His protection team. Do you think he really wants to investigate directly?


Obama shamelessly panders to the angry liberal blogger segment of the population.

Because the American people weren’t just failed by a President -- they were failed by much of Washington. By a media that too often reported spin instead of facts. By a foreign policy elite that largely boarded the bandwagon for war.

The Iraq war came about in large part because of a complete failure of our elite Village institutions. Bygones, they say.

War Tax

Leaving aside the merits of this, politically or otherwise, it occurred to me this morning that literally ever story about legislation or proposed legislation contains an aside about how the person "plans to pay for it" or an aside saying that they didn't say how they were going to pay for it.

Every policy except war, of course.

The Tears of David Broder

Unlike many in The Village, it seems that most people in the country understand that politics is a process which involves disagreement and don't think that's too much of a problem.

Track to the Future

Along those lines, I'm looking at the planned light rail system for Norfolk, VA. There's a nice little interactive map. You can click on the proposed stations and get views of the local area. I don't know Norfolk at all, so I'm basing all of this on the information provided by the map, but given what I can see I'd say that light rail is probably a stupid idea unless it's accompanied by very different development around many of the stations. That could happen, of course, but there are lots of reasons that it might not happen, including existing zoning regulations and general NIMBYism opposed to change. The rail line itself imposed on an existing development pattern won't save the world, but if development patterns are allowed to adjust to the presence of the rail line then maybe we're getting somewhere. But the point is that a successful light rail line doesn't just provide another way to get people from A to B; a successful line will change the way the area is developed. The real question is whether people want that change or not.

...adding, local opposition to change is often an issue:

Hampton Roads Transit’s original plan was to run the train all the way to the Virginia Beach oceanfront, but Beach voters rejected the idea and the Beach council backed out. Norfolk decided to proceed on its own.


Let me play a bit of a contrarian for a moment and point out that while it is true that various policies lower the price of automobile travel and make people consume more of it, ultimately the issue of roads-vs.-transit is really more of a preference issue rather than price tweaking issue. While certainly individuals respond to the choices and costs they're faced with, overall these policies exist to a great degree because that's the world people want to live in.

Or, to put it another way, lots of people like automobile-centric suburban development. Not everyone does, but lots of people do. To sell more mass transit oriented policies, one has to convince people that a world with more mass transit-suitable development is a world people want to live in. It isn't simply about building more trains and fewer roads.

My guess is that people are increasingly open to moving away from the post-war American dream aesthetic, but I'm not sure of that.

Isn't Football Enough?

Glenn explores the psychology of the sadomasochistic war porn fantasy set.

I have to say, as kinky obsessions go, war is quite an expensive one.

Edwards Should Buy Blogads

Joking, of course, but Bowers is right that campaigns tend to bizarrely ignore cheaper and more targeted cable advertising and throw most of their money at traditional broadcast advertising.

...though, at the moment, my cable teevee is out so maybe that's not such a hot idea after all.


party on

Monday, October 01, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.


Lindsey sets arbitrary timeline for Iraq.

On September 2 he said:

In a matter of weeks, we're going to have a major breakthrough in Baghdad on items of political reconciliation -- the benchmarks -- because the Iraqi people are putting pressure on their politicians.


Americans are barking moonbats.

Two-thirds of independents want Congress to reduce the funds allocated for the war effort, as do 83 percent of Democrats; 45 percent of Republicans agree.

Can't... Resist...

I tried, but I couldn't.

Fresh Thread

I vote to condemn NToddler.

...oy, please make him go away.

Just Stop It

It'd be nice if our senators would stop wasting time debating which citizens they should be condemning.

Meanwhile, showing that as usual they understand this game much better, the Republicans have introduced a measure in the House to *commend* Rush Limbaugh.

Our Absurd News Media

Rush Limbaugh edits news clip, and then John Gibson uses edited news clip to "prove" that Media Matters edited the clip.

...Gibson aired a clip from the September 28 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show in which Limbaugh purported to air the "entire" segment in question from the September 26 broadcast of his program. In fact, as Media Matters has documented, the clip Limbaugh aired on September 28, which Gibson reaired, had been spliced. Excised from the clip was a full 1 minute and 35 seconds of the 1 minute and 50 second discussion that occurred between Limbaugh's original "phony soldiers" comment and his reference to MacBeth, the full audio of which can be heard here.

Prior to airing the clip from the September 28 Rush Limbaugh Show, Gibson asserted: "Now, the actual liar in this situation is Media Matters itself. And we have the proof. I mean, I have the proof a dozen different ways about me, but it's all pretty complex. This thing about Rush is really crystal clear. You can see how they lie." Gibson stopped the clip at one point, saying, "All right, it ended right there on the Media Matters transcript." He continued, "This is the part that they cut out -- I mean, almost the very next words," and then played the remainder of the clip that Limbaugh used during his September 28 broadcast. Following the clip, Gibson asserted that "it's quite clear if you listen to the -- most of what came -- any of what came after the point where Media Matters cut off the tape -- that when Rush was referring to phony soldiers, he was referring to those like Jesse MacBeth." But at no point during the segment did Gibson indicate that the clip he aired was not of the original September 26 broadcast of Limbaugh's show and that it had, in fact, been edited to remove 1 minute and 35 seconds of discussion that occurred between Limbaugh's reference to "phony soldiers" and his first mention of MacBeth.

I'm sure Howie Kurtz will get right on this.

No One Could Have Predicted

That an unaccountable security company would behave like an unaccountable security company.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 — Guards working in Iraq for Blackwater USA have shot innocent Iraqi civilians and have sought to cover up the incidents, sometimes with the help of the State Department, a report prepared for a Congressional committee said today.

The report, based largely on internal Blackwater e-mail messages and State Department documents, depicts the security contractor as being staffed with reckless, shoot-first guards who were not always sober and did not always stop to see who or what was hit by their bullets.

In one incident, the State Department and Blackwater agreed to pay $15,000 to the family of a man killed by “a drunken Blackwater contractor,” the report said. As a State Department official wrote, “We would like to help them resolve this so we can continue with our protective mission.”

...ah, incentives:

When embassy officials proposed the price for the guard's life be pegged at either $100,000 or $250,000, a State diplomatic-security official countered with $15,000. The figure needed to be lower, the diplomatic-security official contended, so Iraqis wouldn't "try to get killed to set up their family financially." Two days after the shooting, Blackwater and State agreed that the guard's family should receive $15,000.

What's With Philly

Yesterday the devil came to town.

Washington: Bigger disappointment: Fred Thompson's listless presidential campaign, or the New York Mets, who blew a seven-game lead in less than three weeks?

Shailagh Murray: Well, I'm a Yankees fan, so of course I'm not surprised. And I realize this disclosure will give a lot of you a whole new reason to fill my inbox with hate mail.

But I will close on this note: I drove to Philly yesterday for the last Nationals game and it was really something to see that stadium erupt. Nice to see real joy for a change, and I'm not referring to the D.C. sports environment.

Cheers to all, and have a lovely post-season. Feel free to write back and jeer in two weeks if the Yanks are toast.

And today Rudy's here to court the anti-immigrant vote nestled deep in the Italian immigrant neighborhood.

Drugs or Prostitutes

For the record I'm white and have been to Harlem for purposes other than procuring drugs or prostitution. While there I've seen other white people who didn't appear to be doing either of those things, though admittedly I can't be sure.


It must be noted that Rudy Giuliani is being advised by a man who worries about a "new order" dominated by... Iran.

He's very serious! And no one should question his terrorist fighting super powers!

Sadly, no presidential aspirant will take my counsel regarding the existential Martian bear threat.

Wanker of the Day

Maureen Dowd.

Nice Work

If you can get it.

While waiting to be confirmed by the White House for a top civilian post at the Air Force last year, Charles D. Riechers was out of work and wanted a paycheck. So the Air Force helped arrange a job through an intelligence contractor that required him to do no work for the company, according to documents and interviews.

For two months, Riechers held the title of senior technical adviser and received about $13,400 a month at Commonwealth Research Institute, or CRI, a nonprofit firm in Johnstown, Pa., according to his resume. But during that time he actually worked for Sue C. Payton, assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, on projects that had nothing to do with CRI, he said.

Riechers said in an interview that his interactions with Commonwealth Research were limited largely to a Christmas party, where he said he met company officials for the first time.

"I really didn't do anything for CRI," said Riechers, now principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition. "I got a paycheck from them."


More from the devil, who apparently thinks a "get out of jail free card" for all presidential appointees is to be expected.

Washington: What can possibly be gained by congressional hearings into the Libby commutation? Clearly Bush had the authority to do this, and he did it. Q.E.D. I'm old enough to remember when President Ford appeared before a congressional committee to explain his pardon of Richard Nixon. But Bush is no Ford, and unlike the Ford pardon, I don't think this action is going to look better over time.

Shailagh Murray: Yaawwn. That's my view of the Libby flap. What on earth did people expect Bush to do?

Question the Devil

Shailagh "The Devil" Murray is doing a live chat today.

Let's examine some of her greatest hits.

Her definition of "precipitous withdrawal."

Wilmington, N.C.: Ms. Murray, Aug. 31: "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." That would be your voice, no? I'd like to know: What makes a withdrawal plan precipitous? Who establishes those standards? Who are the proponents of "precipitous" withdrawal?

Shailagh Murray: Precipitous in this case would be more quickly than military leaders believe is sensible, based on their mission and the situation on the ground. Believe it or not, a lot of Democrats are concerned about withdrawing too many troops too quickly. You can be against the war, but also against mucking it up.

Her view of democracy:

Washington, D.C.: I am somewhat surprised at the debate about the surge. In October, The Post's own polling showed that 19% of voters favored an immediate withdrawal. Yesterday, CNN reported that more than 50% want an immediate or by year's end withdrawal. Still, the politicians debate more or less, not sooner or later. Why won't the politicians follow the polls when it comes to leaving Iraq?

Shailagh Murray: Would you want a department store manager or orthodontist running the Pentagon? I don't think so. The reason that many politicians are squeamish about hard and fast goals of any kind in Iraq is that there is no simple response or solution -- it would have emerged by now. A withdrawal by year's end carries enormous, very serious implications.

Her cherry picking poll numbers to favor Republicans.

Her suggestion that
Joe "no one wants to bring the troops home more than I do" Lieberman's victory meant that voters hearted the war.

And on and on...

6 to 8 Months

Tony Snow, 8 months ago:

MR. SNOW: I just don't know. I don't -- I'm saying that that is something that they'll have to consider. And I'm sure they are.

Q Tony, what's the earliest date on which it would be fair to gage whether the new way forward is working or has worked?

MR. SNOW: It's a tricky question and I can't give you an answer. I'll tell you why it's tricky. One of the reasons we have resisted strict timetables is because you do then create sort of an invitation for those who would undermine the government to kind of sit it out, to melt away to the periphery, to try to build strength and organization. That's something you have to be concerned about.

So -- but what we have said is that people are going to need to see progress. I won't give you an absolute timetable, but obviously the next six to eight months are going to be times when people expect to see something happening. But I would be very wary about trying to assign a specific date to it.

Q And what will the administration do if, after eight months, it's not working?

MR. SNOW: Well, again, you don't talk about "what if" -- what you're asking is, what happens if a program that hasn't even begun doesn't work? We spent a lot of time thinking through this program precisely because we thought it did work. And we hope we will never get to the point where we have to ask the follow-up.

Q Is six to eight months the timetable the administration is working with on when another look at it might have to be taken?

MR. SNOW: You take a look at it every day. This is not something where -- look, we want to see results, but the other thing that's going to happen is that there will be constant communications on the ground. How do you see it? What's going on with the Iraqi forces? What's going on inside the country? What does intel tell us about -- are people filtering out to the north, are they filtering to the south? It's a war-time situation. So real-time intelligence and nimble response on the basis of that intelligence is always going to be important.

Getting back to what Terry said, there may be the need -- part of what's built in here is the ability to respond to some of those shifts in the landscape so that you don't find yourself in a position of saying, oops, we need another thousand forces. At that point, you're not going to have the political capital to do it because the American people then will come back and say, why didn't you, and fill in the blank.

Q One way or the other, when people start voting roughly a year from now in the presidential primaries and caucuses, is Iraq going to look a lot different than it does today?

MR. SNOW: Sure hope so, but we don't know. I mean, the thing is what you're asking for -- General Petraeus and others have said, don't expect instant results. We're -- it's not something that changes overnight, but on the other hand, I think what we do hope that Americans will certainly see is much enhanced Iraqi capability -- we're talking about the Iraqis a year from now being in control of security operations in each and every one of the 18 provinces. That will be significant.

We are talking about significant economic development efforts; we're talking about significant political reconciliation. Those are the kinds of things that we would expect to see. There is no guaranteeing a complete and total end to violence, because, as we've seen, a small number of people who are determined to commit mass murder by packing themselves with dynamite, or loading up a car and driving by somebody -- that's almost impossible to stop. What you do have to do is create the conditions where the public is pushing back hard enough within Iraq, itself, that it decreases the ability of such people to organize themselves and to carry off missions, but also, that there's going to be a much stronger commitment to the success of the government because people are feeling a greater sense of security and also greater sense of economic security.

One of the big contributors to what's going on right now is high unemployment and a considerable amount of criminal activity that's made possible by the fact that people don't have other things to do. And therefore, you have to address all those. I know it's a long, sprawling answer, but that's -- those are the kinds of things that we take into account when we start assessing the situation in Iraq.


Q Eight months from now would put us at October, and that would --

MR. SNOW: Okay, nine months -- then we get to November.

Q Wait a minute. But you're saying, between six and eight months we can kind of gage to see if it's working. And then in November, that's a month away -- do you have enough time to change -- to put the Iraqi security in total control within that small window?

MR. SNOW: No, no, no, what I'm saying is this is a time for -- between now and then, April, in the next few months we're going to see increasing numbers of provinces going over to Iraqi control.
This is not something where everything gets stacked up with November 1st as sort of the beginning date. A lot of these transfers of authority are going to be taking place during the course of the year.

Our Twisted Discourse

Saw Ron Silver on MSNBC.

Thought I'd remind everyone that in 2002, when he sounded just like he does now, he was a guest host on Crossfire.

He was "on the left."

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Rock on.

My Dutch Twin

Back when I was young and beautiful I managed to run a half-marathon, though I haven't been able to remember/find out at what pace. I realized it's because my name was spelled wrong in the results.

1:36. Not too bad.


I officially declare Joe Klein to be the 5th fucking stupidest person on the planet.

What Digby Said

This has been another edition of what Digby said.

Sunday Night Threading

On the Radio

On the Sam Seder Show in a bit.

Go Phillies!

Hey, they actually did it.

And I get to go to a playoff game, though with really shitty seats. Surely there has to be some local generous muckety muck with a couple extra spots in their skybox.

End of the Quarter

Just in case there are some extra dead presidents in your pocket, now is a good time to contribute to one of these fine candidates or any of your favorites.

Happy Larry Craig Resignation Day!

Oh, wait, that didn't happen.

Still it's quite entertaining to see what really concerns Republicans.

Onward to Iran!

This is going to end so well.

Afternoon Thread

With no content, as I seem to be offending right, left and sideways these days.

-Molly I.

Okay With Me

I don't care if John McCain won't vote for a Muslim for president. We're at this absurd spot in our political discourse where "faith" somehow matters but the specifics of that faith do not. And even this obscures the fact that what this really means is Christian faith matters.

If religious beliefs matter, then surely it's the substance of those beliefs which matter and not simply some meaningless nod to "the importance of faith."

Now He Tells Us

Little Tommy Friedman, age 9:

What does that mean? This: 9/11 has made us stupid. I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11 — mine included — has knocked America completely out of balance, and it is time to get things right again.

What reaction was that? Oh, maybe this one.

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.

Hundreds of thousands of people sucked on it, and little Tommy Friedman still has a job.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Former President Bill Clinton; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus.


CBS' "Face the Nation" — New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Democratic presidential candidate.


NBC's "Meet the Press" — Clinton.


CNN's "Late Edition" — Sens. Kit Bond, R-Mo., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari; New Yorker writer Seymour Hersh.

"Fox News Sunday" _ Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Trent Lott, R-Miss.; Gingrich.

Good morning

Not Atrios


Rock on.