Saturday, October 13, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

Buy. A. Clue.

Kagro X sez:
But it's not just that. If Qwest's competitors were already abetting this bloodless(?) coup before 9/11, then the "administration's" domestic spying not only has little if anything to do with response to terrorism, but it also objectively failed to prevent 9/11.
But we knew that. Why didn't Congress?

Not Atrios

Moses and Glenn

The guy djw is talking about isn't some random wacko off the street, he's John Hagee, who Joe Lieberman compares favorably to Moses.

And here's the stupidity that is Beck:

BECK: Let me ask you one of the most -- you were on, I don`t know, four or five days ago on the show for a quick segment, and you had mentioned that America`s not in the Bible in the End Days.


BECK: It doesn`t play a significant role. E-mail went crazy on this. Why is America not in the Bible? Then it can`t be the End Times. How could we possibly not play a role in the End Days?

HAGEE: America`s not in the Bible, because of these things. One, we are a brand new country. When the Bible was written, God knew that we would be and only refers to us as the young lions of Sheba and Dedan. Now, we came out of England. England has the symbol of the lion. We also -- we came from England. So, therefore, we, by stretch, could say that`s referring to us.

CNN: The most trusted name in news.

Evening Thread

Be excellent to each other.

War on Gore

What is it about Al that gives the media license to be complete idiots.

Without Irony



The Russian government under Vladimir Putin has amassed so much central authority that the power-grab may undermine Moscow's commitment to democracy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday.

"In any country, if you don't have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development," Rice told reporters after meeting with human-rights activists.

"I think there is too much concentration of power in the Kremlin. I have told the Russians that. Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary. There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media and there are, I think, questions about the strength of the Duma," said Rice, referring to the Russian parliament.

Street Meat

Debbie Schlussel is another cute inquisitor, deciding who is or isn't genuinely religious.

Back in 2000 there were was lots of chatter barely below the radar about whether Joe Lieberman was, in fact, a good Jew and whether or not he ever "cheated" on the Sabbath.

Obviously Debbie Schlussel's personal life is now "fair game" and we can uncover every detail about it so we can determine whether or not she faithful adheres to whatever religion she claims to adhere to.

Joe Klein is Very Serious


Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Wanker of the Day

Andy Sullivan.

Another Phony Soldier

Damn liberals and their phony soldiers.

Late Night

Rock on.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Later Evening Thread

Must be some party....

Molly I.

Evening Thread

It's Friday. Go have some fun.

Just remember: friends don't let friends drive on the Schuylkill.

...oh, and apparently nobody at MSNBC can figure out which shows are popular, which shows aren't, and do something about it.


Their brains just aren't wired up quite right.


I feel their pain.

But they privately acknowledge that an earlier strategy to drive Craig from office has backfired, sticking them with an open-ended ethics investigation likely to keep the issue before the public for months.

Senate Republicans demanded the Ethics Committee inquiry into his sex-sting conviction last summer in hopes of forcing Craig to resign. He essentially called their bluff this month when he reversed his decision to resign Sept. 30 unless a court let him drop his guilty plea.

Now Republicans are powerless to stop a process almost certain to do more political damage to the party in general than to a retiring senator.

Google Street View

It is sort of creepy.


Terry Jeffrey, editor at large of Human Events, yesterday on CNN:
JEFFREY: Well, you know, first, we have to get into a pretty serious -- first of all, we would have to discern what actually Ann Coulter said and what actually Ann Coulter meant. And then are we really going to get into a debate in presidential campaigns about people's theology? Everybody is trying to say that we don't have a religious test for office in this country? Are we going to go to each candidate and ask them, OK, we want to know exactly what you think about the nature of Jesus Christ, the nature of Christianity, the nature of Judaism?

No. I don't think we want to get into that.

As long it's conventional wisdom that candidates should be talking about their faith, then they should be talking about their theology. Unless religious is just this ultimately meaningless contentless thing.

Deep Thought of the Day

If only our elite media would spend as much time "debunking" the claims of people in political power (Bush, George, etc.) as they spend doing it to Michael Moore and Al Gore.

Wanker of the Day

Michael Dobbs.


I don't think the Mall is quite that bad, but it certainly could be better. There's this general sense in the US that parks, even urban parks, should be little pockets of nature unsullied by commerce or anything that smacks of too much human activity. So we have these public spaces which are spaces but don't really seem to be designed with the actual desires of the public in mind.

Contrast to, say, the various town squares and plazas in European cities.

At least us Philly folk have Rittenhouse Square, which while not perfect is closer in spirit to the idea that public spaces should keep the public in mind.

...for those not clicking through I'm talking about the National Mall in DC. Not the King of Prussia mall.

Now That's Shrill!

Once upon a time one had to turn to places like Media Whores Online for this kind of stuff. Now it's gone mainstream!

And finally we come to the man who surely claims the prize as WaPo’s most pathetic shill, Howard Kurtz. He masquerades as a media critic. In fact he’s a media buffoon. But beyond that, Kurtz is one of the dumbest figures in print or on the airwaves. That all came home brilliantly last night as Kurtz made his appearance on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. I was amazed both with Stewart and Kurtz. Together with his staff, Stewart delivered a satirically brilliant introduction, with videos, which effectively eviscerated Kurtz’s core message about the war and its packaging. Stewart also delivered a series of precise, well thought-through questions to which Kurtz gave a series of non-responses. And on point after point, Stewart challenged Kurtz’s facile and false conclusions. Kurtz was hung up to dry. And he didn’t even understand what was happening. It does in my mind come down to Broder, Ignatius and Kurtz. But I’m giving top honors to Howard: the man who’s done the most to destroy WaPo’s reputation in the arena of opinion.

Catch Kurtz on the Daily Show here

(ht attaturk)


Oh my.

Bernard Kerik's legal nightmare is about to get worse, with federal prosecutors expected to file charges against the former police commissioner that will likely include allegations of bribery, tax fraud and obstruction of justice, the Daily News has learned.

The indictment, expected next month, could prove to be an embarrassing obstacle for Kerik's former mentor Rudy Giuliani, who is cruising at the top of the polls heading into the presidential primary gauntlet.

The bribery allegations against Kerik stem from a secret meeting at a bar in Tribeca, according to two sources familiar with the federal probe.

Kerik's lawyers recently agreed to waive the statute of limitations on the tax charges until Nov. 17, which will allow them to make one last plea to try to ease the pain.

Moment of Silence

Let me put on my "reasonable liberal" hat and say that I don't think a mandated moment of silence is a big deal as long as it isn't accompanied by any suggestion that it be used for prayer. I mean, I think a mandated moment of silence in schools is stupid policy, but I don't think it crosses any constitutional lines. Certainly it's less offensive than mandating a pledge with the "under God" phrase intact.

I grew up doing it in PA - not sure if it was mandated or just common practice - and it never really bothered this atheist. The time my 5th grade teacher asked me to say grace before lunch during a field trip did, however. Asshole.


It's refreshing to remember that the viewpoint of these bigoted imbeciles dominated our national narrative for years. And while Matt Drudge still rules John Roberts' world, we don't get quite as much discussion about the looming Caliphate as we used to.

Age Creep

Deep in the recesses of my brain are memories of, when I was child, discussions about making exceptions for juveniles - 16 or 17 year olds - who had committed heinous crimes. Now apparently they're talking about charging this kid - who is 14 - as an adult.

You know, no matter what horrible thing a 14 year old does or plans to do... he's still 14, and 14 year olds don't really have fully functioning adult brains. I thought that was the point.

CNN Makes Me Stupid

Some days it's too much.

Go Al

I admit I thought all the Nobel Prize talk was a bit of fantasy.

Early Morning Thread

Congratulations to the man who should have also been President.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl

Actually not a bad movie, though as I'm not one to tell you what you should like let Rotten Tomatoes guide you.

Good and Evil

Scout is good for posting this.

Blue Texan is evil for posting this.

Fresh Thread

Out for the evening.


Double from a year ago. I wish Congress would spend a bit more time thinking through that problem and a bit less time on stupid meaningless resolutions.

ARM resets peak in March
, with the fallout from that lagging by a few months. It ain't over.

School Security

Any time there's a horrible school shooting there's talk of changing security as if there's something schools can or should be doing. It's stupid. We live in a society where lots of people have very easy access to guns. People who aren't too concerned about getting caught or killed, as is usually the case, will generally manage to injure or kill a few people. They could just as easily do this in a school bus, or outside the school, or at some gathering of people elsewhere, or whatever. Turning the school itself into an extreme security location where students inevitably just feel like criminals won't really help stop anything.

Our Glorious Discourse

John Gibson:

On the October 10 broadcast of his nationally syndicated Fox News Radio show, while discussing 14-year-old Asa H. Coon, who earlier that day shot four people at his Cleveland high school before killing himself, Fox News host John Gibson asserted that "because the school is very heavily African-American, I did leap to a conclusion" that "the shooter might have been African-American." Gibson went on to say that he "knew this was not a classic hip-hop shooting" once he learned Coon killed himself. Gibson continued: "Hip-hoppers do not kill themselves. They walk away. Now, I didn't need to hear the kid was white with blond hair. Once he'd shot himself in the head, no hip-hopper." Gibson later stated, "I know the shooter was white. I knew it as soon as he shot himself. Hip-hoppers don't do that. They shoot and move on to shoot again." Gibson added: "I know there's a few of you who want to call me racist. But when you do, remind -- let me remind you, African-Americans are dying in major cities because people won't face this problem."

After a commercial break, Gibson repeated his assertion: "All right, it turns out, though, the kid in Cleveland who did the shooting today -- three teachers, three students -- white." Gibson added: "And I could tell right away 'cause he killed himself. Black shooters don't do that; they shoot and move on."

9/11 Changed Everything

Or, maybe, it was January, 20, 2001.

The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.

The documents indicate that likely would have been at the heart of former CEO Joe Nacchio's so-called "classified information" defense at his insider trading trial, had he been allowed to present it.

The secret contracts - worth hundreds of millions of dollars - made Nacchio optimistic about Qwest's future, even as his staff was warning him the company might not make its numbers, Nacchio's defense attorneys have maintained. But Nacchio didn't present that argument at trial.


Nacchio planned to demonstrate at trial that he had a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., to discuss a $100 million project. According to the documents, another topic also was discussed at that meeting, one with which Nacchio refused to comply.

The topic itself is redacted each time it appears in the hundreds of pages of documents, but there is mention of Nacchio believing the request was both inappropriate and illegal, and repeatedly refusing to go along with it.

The NSA contract was awarded in July 2001 to companies other than Qwest.

But Joe Klein is very serious!

And It Was McConnell's Office

Not surprised. My understanding is that reporters were initially chomping to do a story from the perspective of the "scoop" of stalkin' Malkin and her gang and their supposedly poorly "vetted" spokesperson until it all fell apart as absurd. Well, except for John Roberts Well, except for John Roberts and CNN.

The email from Monday:

Could the Dems really have done that bad of a job vetting this family?

John Roberts Some person on CNN, ahead of the curve, Thursday:

I think in this instance what happened was the Democrats didn’t do as much of a vetting as they could have done on this young man, his situation, his family.




This is one reason -- probably the reason -- that whatever the electoral politics of the matter, it's probably not a great idea to encourage politicians to "talk about faith" more. For America to work as an enterprise you need people with deeply held but mutually inconsistent religious beliefs to all work and live together peacefully. Rubbing everyone's noses in the precise implications of other people's beliefs (Christians think Jews shouldn't exist, Jews think Christians are worshipping a false messiah, Protestants think Catholics worship idols, etc.) isn't really helpful.

Well, yes, this is the point I've been trying to make for a very long time. I think the country has made great strides in the "put the genie back in the bottle" direction when it comes to religious disagreement. The "make politicians talk about their faith" stuff threatens to uncork it again, unless "talking about faith" means mumbling meaningless banalities which to me seems to be insulting to believers and nonbelievers.

Maybe it wouldn't be all that bad to have a full public debate about who is or isn't going to hell due to their allegiance to the false church in Rome, or whatever. It might be a bit more honest than the de facto alliance of "believers" (pan-Christian) versus the rest of us. But it probably wouldn't do wonders for the reasonable if certainly imperfect climate of religious tolerance we have in the country, even it means if it means heathens like me are supposed to shut up and take our lumps.

Light'em Up

Christy has the list of senators you need to call right now.

If these Democrats were in charge 30 years ago they would've supported retroactively immunizing the Watergate burglars.

Very strange people.

The Very Serious Joe Klein

I didn't have the stomach for this yesterday, but Glenn points out the bizarro opinion of the lesser Klein who enthusiastically supports a bill he opposes. Or something.

Our discourse is so stupid.

Wanker of the Day

John Roberts.

...aside from the obvious asshattery, it's always fascinating when our elite media figures seem to have no idea what actually goes on in this country.


Just assholes.

Perfecting Jews

If Ann Coulter has her way, one day Jews will all be perfect Christians like her.


Over there.

(CBS) BAGHDAD A rocket or mortar attack on the main U.S. base near Baghdad killed two members of the U.S.-led coalition forces and wounded 40 people, the military said Thursday.

The attack occurred Wednesday at the Camp Victory, a sprawling garrison that houses the headquarters of American forces in Iraq, according to a statement.

Two coalition force members were killed and 38 wounded, the military said. It also said two "third country nationals" were wounded. It did not identity them further, but military spokesman Lt. Col. Rudolph Burwell said the term usually refers to foreign contractors and not Iraqis or Americans.

I've got a question:

What's the big secret?

I mean, seriously - they keep claiming they can't obey the law because it would expose "state secrets". But are there really any secrets, beside the fact that they have no reason to be spying on so many people, or torturing people?

And if there are such secrets, who, exactly does it serve to keep them secret?

Certainly not the American people.


Rock on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Late Night Thread

5 to the noggin edition.

Evening Thread



I don't see the point. They just need to use a bit of "enhanced interrogation" on Gonzales and we can get to the bottom of all of this much more quickly.

Is It Grumpy Wednesday?

I swear about half a dozen couples have been audibly fighting as they walked down the street in front of my apartment today.



Fresh Thread



Ann and Andy:

October 10, 2007 -- ODDEST couple of the decade: lifelong Democrat Andrew Stein and arch-conservative cutie Ann Coulter. The former city council president (when there was such a title) first took Coulter - author of "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans" - to the black-tie Lincoln Center Film Society gala two weeks ago, where they turned heads. More recently, they were at Soho House "in passionate liplock," according to a witness. Stein told Page Six: "She's attacked a lot of my friends, but what can I say, opposites attract!"

Andrew Stein.

Kitsch in the Blogosphere

I've been meaning to write something related to this Kundera quote pulled by Matthew Duss.

Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass. The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass! The second tear makes kitsch kitsch.

Every now and then there's an eruption of kitsch pressure in the blogosphere. Something's happening and we must all blog about it and gaze at ourselves blogging about it! It's more of a right wing thing - the right wing blogosphere is largely kitsch - but our side does it too at times.

Creative Fundraising

Dodd pried $20.04 out of me.


Yes, it is refreshing to hear the right thing now and again.


I suppose it'll take a dirty fucking hippie blogger to point out that the calls for immunity for the telcoms are essentially implicit admissions that many members of the Bush administration, including Bush himself, are guilty of misprision of a felony.


Who amongst us doesn't enjoy wearing 2 wet suits?

The War on Middle Class Solvency

Colin McEnroe:

If the Democrats were smart, they'd keep this conversation going, because the Frosts seem to be exactly whom we should be talking about. They're trying to make it as a middle class family, without a lot of income. And they're just about succeeding, as long Malkin and her friends don't insist that they be bankrupted or stripped of their hard-won assets by their medical bills.

Medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcy in this nation. When people are telling you how much better our system is than those of Germany, France, Australia, Canada, be sure to point that out. In our system, you could lose your job tomorrow, lose your health insurance in the same gulp and immediately become one bad illness or accident away from bankruptcy (although, in fact, our system regularly bankrupts even the people who think they do have coverage, as the Harvard Study illustrates).

And look at this! Malkin and her friends don't want to fix that problem. On the contrary, they insist on it! They insist on the risk of bankruptcy as kind of a moral imperative; and they say members of the shaky, eroding American middle class who are not willing to put up with the ruination of their financial health from medical bills are leeches and wussies! Wow.

Though Colin should have mentioned that Malkin is, in fact, an asshole.

Wanker of the Day

Andy Sullivan.


I was taught that Congress wrote and passed legislation, not some lying GOP Daddy in the executive branch.

What a crappy education I had.


The fact that New Yorkers don't like him probably won't really hurt his national popularity, but our great and wonderful elite media folk like Chris Matthews shouldn't, as he did last night, try to claim that when they said "boo" they really meant "yes!"

An Enormous, Mendacious, Disembodied Anus

The assholesphere has long been integrated into the GOP message machine, sort of the lowest rung on the puke funnel.

Thankfully, for once the media realized the story wasn't that people were being mean to poor Michelle Malkin, but instead that Michelle Malkin is in fact an asshole.

On Second Thought

I'd forgotten that Bush himself was mangling Quiet American references. Maybe we should just keep them all away from books. There are dangerous ideas in them! Especially if you don't understand them.

Now that’s going too far. George W. Bush cited my favorite 20th century novel and its author – Graham Greene’s prescient "The Quiet American" – in his speech on Wednesday that drew several dubious links between the catastrophic Vietnam and Iraq conflicts. Perhaps because it’s unlikely he’s ever read the book it was difficult to figure out exactly what the president meant.

Bush could have used a fact-checker as well. He describes Alden Pyle, the U.S. operative, as the “main character” in the book, when it’s actually the narrator of the story, Thomas Fowler, the Saigon-based British newspaper correspondent (played by Michael Caine in the fine recent film). And, of course, “many” back in the 1970s did not say there would be “no” consequences for the Vietnamese after our pullout, as Bush alleged. Finally, I would love to know the name of the purported “anti-war senator” and find out if the views ascribed to him are accurate.

In any case, here’s the Bush statement today: “In 1955, long before the United States had entered the war, Graham Greene wrote a novel called ‘The Quiet American.’ It was set in Saigon and the main character was a young government agent named Alden Pyle. He was a symbol of American purpose and patriotism and dangerous naivete. Another character describes Alden this way: ‘I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused.’

“After America entered the Vietnam War, Graham Greene -- the Graham Greene argument gathered some steam. Matter of fact, many argued that if we pulled out, there would be no consequences for the Vietnamese people. In 1972, one anti-war senator put it this way: ‘What earthly difference does it make to nomadic tribes or uneducated subsistence farmers in Vietnam or Cambodia or Laos whether they have a military dictator, a royal prince or a socialist commissar in some distant capital that they've never seen and may never heard of?'"

Unfortunately Inappropriate Cultural References

Maybe Tom Friedman should spend a bit less time talking to cab drivers and more time reading books. Aside from reducing the possibility that he'll look like a bit of an idiot, he might actually learn a little bit about himself.

Just a thought.

Chocolate Rations Are Up

Republican happy talk on the economy really isn't going to help them. They'll figure this out eventually, as they did after the 3 millionth "stay the course" speech on Iraq.

Wingnut Hate Mail

Truly a thing of beauty.

And the road rage version.


An Enormous, Mendacious, Disembodied Anus


They Love Me! They Hate Me!

A fascinating aspect of the internets is that things stick around for awhile. While hunting for random things I often come across people who love me! And, later, those same people hate me!

This has been the navel gazing post of the day.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ventura/Kid Rock '08!

That'd be an awesome Unity08 ticket.

Us and Them

I'm too young to really have any sense of the pre-Clinton era Democratic party, and so I really don't know whether the contemporary descriptions of it, which generally sound like they came from the desk of Mickey Kaus, have any truth to them. But if we assume for sake of discussion that they have merit, it really does seem like the current Republican party is suffering from the same problem. They've knit together a rather bizarre coalition of interest groups which has diverse vast set demands which all need to be embraced simultaneously. Additionally, it seems like even as candidates turn themselves into pretzels trying to please them all, the voters - even Republican voters - are starting to move past this dated agenda.

The one trump card they may still have is their support for those who are sufficiently enthusiastic about killing all the "bad guys." And that's Rudy!

Suburban Blight

This is really fascinating:

In the Central Valley community of Manteca, police have a new job: patrolling hundreds of foreclosed houses left empty and abandoned. They are half million dollar houses, often bought with nothing down, turned into suburban blight.

To get a firsthand look, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone rode along on patrol with Manteca Police officer Rex Osborn, who explained, "you make one right-hand turn and immediately this is what we see - dead grass, bushes are dying, trees are dying. The next thing you know you have squatters in the house..."

Manteca, CA.


While it was a phrase coined as a bit of self-description by the Editors, I believe it's time to appropriate it to describe the entire wingnutosphere.

An enormous, mendacious, disembodied anus.

Everybody sing!


I only watched a bit of the debate earlier to catch a bit of Frederick of Hollywood. He was underwhelming.

But generally there seems to be this parallel universe of Wingnuttia which often has no relationship with reality and it's expected that candidates adopt its rules and fact set.

Very bizarre.

Fresh Thread


Liberal Hawk Assholes

Josh on Roger Cohen:

It's a revealing sentence because it's one filled with a telling self-regard. He agonizes. And to agonize is to achieve merit. Cohen doesn't jump reflexively to one side or the other, but agonizes over the thorny complexities of the great questions. It's a serious pose because Cohen is a serious person who loves to mop up his own moral seriousness. Puncturing that bubble is a grave offense.

Substantial Likelihood


NEW ORLEANS — A federal agency says there is "substantial likelihood" the Army Corps of Engineers acted improperly in handling a politically connected Florida company's $27 million flood-pump contract after Hurricane Katrina.

The Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that handles whistleblower complaints, has asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to respond to its review of allegations by Maria Garzino, an engineer who was one of dozens of Corps personnel brought to New Orleans after Katrina.


MWI's contract included a $5 million incentive to deliver the pumps by the start of the 2006 hurricane season. And Corps officials were under pressure to get New Orleans ready for the season, the first since Katrina flooded 80 percent of New Orleans and revealed deep-seated organizational and engineering troubles within the Corps.

MWI is owned by J. David Eller and his sons. Eller was once a business partner of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a venture called Bush-El that marketed MWI pumps.

Why Unity08 Will Succeed

Haven't checked in with these idiots for awhile. Look what I found about why they'll "succeed."

1. Every American generation re-lights the torch of freedom. Ours will too.
2. Politics-as-usual is dead. Done. Over.
3. The people know the system is broken and yearn for something new.
4. Unity08 will meet the need by launching new technology to change our politics forever.
5. We’re hard at work already to achieve ballot access for the Unity08 ticket in all 50 States.
6. You. The time is now.

That is so awesome.

About the Benjamins

Ezra says that the newsless news is all about the Benjamins. They do it because it gets viewers. Well certainly they do it because they think it gets viewers, but the fact that the people in charge of getting viewers think they've found the best cost-effective strategy for doing so doesn't mean they're actually correct.

Certainly I understand that some of these nonstories do have compelling narratives and visuals. I can understand why they seek some of them out. But they basically dominate CNN's coverage from 9-4 and usually they aren't compelling or interesting.

Liberal Hawk Assholes

Every now and then I stumble across an old blog post or column by a "liberal hawk" from the glorious year of war and I'm reminded that many of them were even bigger assholes than I remember. People like me were always naive (the world's a dangerous place, son), stupid (you don't understand what Saddam is capable of), insane (Bush derangement system), and likely to be responsible for the destruction of the Democratic party if not the country itself. And boy would we be sorry when all those weapons were found.


The Enemy In Iraq

Apparently it's Islam.

I would suggest that this, once again, highlights the basic "why the hell are we in Iraq" question, but I'm sure for this bunch we're "fighting them over there so we don't fight them here" and the real problem with the Bush strategery is that he's insufficiently enthusiastic about killing them all.

They Die First

The concern for the downtrodden people of whiteness in this country is always delightful. But while there are differences in life expectancy, amazingly some minorities do manage to become old before they die (.pdf.)


It should be noted that the great "bwa ha ha" that the assholes have come up with is that, yes, it's very possible to a) own house which has appreciated quite a bit since it was purchased and b) have a modestly successful small business and still be unable to afford health insurance in America. Combine that with a major medical event of some sort and you're pretty screwed.

This Guy Sounds Like Roger Cohen

From Matt Taibbi's article about McCain:

Another McCain supporter named Johnny Mack who is pushing "No Surrender" petitions at a VFW appearance in Anderson says he didn't know that there was no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq before the war, but that doesn't matter, because "I'm just a dumb country boy" who nonetheless knows of "secret reasons" for the war from his time running nightclubs in the Midwest, where he learned "things I can't disclose."

I'm somewhat kidding, but with the "liberal hawks" there's always been a tinge of "I have access to deep truths that you couldn't possibly know or understand" to their rhetoric. Some of them probably did have people in the administration whispering "secrets" in their ears, but others, if not for their presence in our elite media, would be standing on street corners trying to get people to sign up to receive their interesting and fascinating newsletters.

From 2001-2004 Cohen was the acting and then actual foreign editor of the New York Times. We know how well that all worked out.

Demagogic Dead-Ender

The really fascinating question is why the New York Times thinks this incredibly silly and stupid person really needs a platform.

Just file it under Mysteries of the Liberal Media #4945588666.

Fake News Event of the Day

CNN's programming is really pretty weird. I generally don't catch any of the morning show, but between that and the Situation Room it seems that every day is dominated by some fake news event - a school lockdown, a missing child, a truck accident, a workplace shooting - with a brief hour of television from another planet when they broadcast CNN International at noon.

It isn't that these stories aren't news at all, but they're local news stories. They're broadcast only because there's some sort of voyeuristic lure in them. This was brought home to me when the fake news story of the day was an armored car heist in Philadelphia. People were killed and it was certainly a valid local news story, but there was absolutely nothing about the story to make it have any national relevance at all.


Katie Couric's favorite junkie joins in.


No one could have predicted that the Bush administration would ruin intelligence assets for political propaganda purposes...

Of course, they already did that and the Villagers banded together to defend the practice.


Mark Steyn:

Sorry, no sale. The Democrats chose to outsource their airtime to a Seventh Grader. If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man’s job, then the boy is fair game.

Yah, I remember how we made this kid "fair game" back in the day:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 - The battle over Social Security has been joined by an unusual lobbyist, a 9-year-old from Texas who has agreed to travel supporting President Bush's proposal.

The boy, Noah McCullough, made a splash with his encyclopedic command of presidential history, earning five appearances on the "Tonight" show and some unusual experiences in the presidential campaign last year. He beat Howard Dean in a trivia contest at the Democratic National Convention and wrote for his local newspaper about his trip to see the inauguration.

"He's very patriotic and very Republican," said Noah's mother, Donna McCullough, a former teacher and self-described Democrat. "It's the way he was born."

Expect, of course, we don't ever make anyone "fair game" for this kind of personal harassment.

God they're assholes.


They're just assholes.


Some stuff which isn't important because Roger Cohen is morally superior to me:

BAGHDAD, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Two suicide car bombs killed at least 22 people in northern Iraq on Tuesday in attacks targeting a police chief and a Sunni Arab tribal leader working with U.S. forces to fight al Qaeda.


In Baghdad, three car bombs and two roadside bombs on Tuesday also killed at least 11 people and wounded 58, police said.

Morning Thread


--Molly I.

Monday, October 08, 2007


This has been another edition of what Digby said.

Fresh Thread

You talk too much.


The weird thing is that I'd be surprised if George Allen was especially popular among Republicans right now. They tend not to like losers much.

Crazy Assholes


The Village Idiots


But while Fred Barnes deserves all the ridicule he’s getting, is his position really all that different from that of a lot of the Beltway community, even now?

Look at a typical lineup on the Sunday talk shows, discussing the war: you very rarely see an “expert” on the issue who wasn’t pro-war. Look at a recent panel at Brookings, advertised as representing a “uniquely broad” range of views on Iraq — from liberal hawks all the way to conservative hawks.

The fact is that in our national discourse, at least in DC, you’re still considered “not serious” if you were right about Iraq. And you’re also considered extreme and shrill if you were right about Bush.

This is true. For awhile I was doing an "against the war" count of Sunday show guests, a delightful feature I should probably resurrect. Needless to say it was pretty rare for anyone who actually opposed the Iraq war to be on any of them, and rarer still for such a person to actually discuss Iraq.

Fresh Thread


...and, yes, they really are assholes.

Notable Quotables

The President's defense of an essentially responsible foreign policy position was encased in rhetoric as shabby as that of the moratorium orators he was answering.

The country would certainly have been better served had he devoted his talk to a realistic discussion of the problems and prospects of disengaging from Vietnam, instead of knocking down the straw man of "precipitate withdrawal."

--David Broder, Washington Post, Nov. 11, 1969

Democrats brushed aside concerns about the impact of their votes to cut off funding for the troops in Iraq or the larger implications of a precipitous withdrawal from that country.

--David Broder, Washington Post, June 7, 2007

Notable Quotables

For myself, I am about to declare a unilateral, immediate and unconditional moratorium on the subject of Vietnam. I have had it up to here.

I do so in the firm expectation that the President, despite the Cold War rhetoric of his speech and despite the false bravado engendered by his temporarily inflated polls, remembers 1968 well enough to know that he and his party will lose if Vietnam ever truly becomes "Nixon's war."

It is likely that along the way he will need to be encouraged or prodded to make the hard choices that must be made to extricate us from that mess. When that time comes, it may be necessary to return to the subject of Vietnam.

--David Broder, Washington Post, Nov. 11, 1969

More Gitlin

Just to clarify since some people aren't aware, Gitlin wasn't and isn't one of the Iraq war supporting "liberal hawks."

Notable Quotables

The notion of party realignment scares a lot of people, who see terrible danger of ideological civil war between radical extremes. But those dangers are exaggerated. This is a practical country, not an ideological one, and all that the present sorting-out is accomplishing is to get more of the politicians with similar tendencies to view political issues alike into the same camp


The gradual realignment of the parties offers whatever long-term hope exists for a more sensible, less ruinous kind of politics and government than what we have in Washington today.

-David Broder, Washington Post, March. 6, 1973.


Well, he's still wrong. But he's very serious!

The Trouble With Gitlin

Many commenters and emailers have made me realize that my difficulty with Gitlin was hard to peg because it was a consequence of many things. First, and I think foremost, was the self-important tendency to write as if he and his are the central actors in the historical drama known as reality. Second, it's the continuing tendency to perpetuate this narrative of the Iraq war as the consequence of the tragic romanticism of idealistic intellectuals, along with the elevation of their personal narratives. You know, instead focusing on all the dead people. Third, there's this annoying tendency to cast literally every political debate as some Heroic Clash of 1960s Ideological Opponents.

It really doesn't matter who convinced George Packer of something over drinks one evening. I don't give a shit who thought when and what about Iraq and what tragically caused them to get on the wrong side blah blah blah. It's not fucking about them and their little debate club.


All morning I've been troubled by my inability to put into words precisely what really bothers me about this post by Todd Gitlin. And I still haven't quite gotten there. Maybe you, dear readers, can figure it out for me.


Natasha addresses one of my longstanding pet peeves: the tendency to see pregnant women as nothing more than the vessels for their babies and the entitlement people feel to pass judgment on what they do, eat, drink, etc. Various "dos and don'ts" fads come and go, perhaps supported by some study or another, and women who fail to subscribe to them appropriately are treated with great disapproval.

It ain't your body, it ain't your baby. Piss off.

Wanker of the Day

Roger Cohen.


Really, just assholes.



BAGHDAD -- For much of this year, the U.S. military strategy in Iraq has sought to reduce violence so that politicians could bring about national reconciliation, but several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith in that broad goal.

Iraqi leaders argue that sectarian animosity is entrenched in the structure of their government. Instead of reconciliation, they now stress alternative and perhaps more attainable goals: streamlining the government bureaucracy, placing experienced technocrats in positions of authority and improving the dismal record of providing basic services.

"I don't think there is something called reconciliation, and there will be no reconciliation as such," said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a Kurd. "To me, it is a very inaccurate term. This is a struggle about power."

As it always was.

Late Night

Rock on.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Evening Thread



Tony Judt:

THE “liberal hawks” are back. These, of course, are the politicians and pundits who threw in their lot with George W. Bush in 2003: voting and writing for a “preventive war” — a war of choice that would avenge 9/11, clean up Iraq, stifle Islamic terrorism, spread shock, awe and democracy across the Middle East and re-affirm the credentials of a benevolently interventionist America. For a while afterward, the president’s liberal enablers fell silent, temporarily abashed by their complicity in the worst foreign policy error in American history. But gradually they are returning. And they are in a decidedly self-righteous mood.

Yes, they concede, President Bush messed up his (our) war. But even if the war was a mistake, it was a brave and good mistake and we were right to make it, just as we were right to advocate intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo. (“The difference between Kosovo and Iraq isn’t between a country that wanted peace and one that didn’t,” the Slate editor and onetime war cheerleader Jacob Weisberg, now tells us. “It was a matter of better management and better luck.”) We were right to be wrong — and that’s why you should listen to us now.


We are going to hear much more in this vein in the coming months. And there is a new twist. For all its shortcomings, the Iraq war, we are now reminded, was “justified” (Bob Kerrey, the former Democratic senator) by its impeccable moral credentials. It was supported — and is still — by leading European intellectuals, notably former dissidents like Adam Michnik and Vaclav Havel. They understand evil and the need for America to take a stand. So do we. Our domestic critics simply don’t “get it.” They are appeasers and defeatists.


Finally: In a democracy, war should always be the last resort — no matter how good the cause. “To jaw-jaw,” as Churchill reminded Eisenhower, “is always better than to war-war.” So the next time someone waxes lyrical for armed overseas intervention in the name of liberal ideals or “defining struggles,” remember what Albert Camus had to say about his fellow intellectuals’ propensity for encouraging violence to others at a safe distance from themselves. “Mistaken ideas always end in bloodshed,” he wrote, “but in every case it is someone else’s blood. That is why some of our thinkers feel free to say just about anything.”

More Retirements

Idaho Governor Otter:

If they said no, that immediately disqualified them. I wanted that 15 months of seniority. The more I see what’s going on in Congress, the more important that is. We’ve now got five Republicans [retiring or resigning], and I guess there’s a few more that may make a statement, from what [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s told me.

(ht reader l)

The View From Inside The Village

Fred Barnes sums it up nicely:

You know, I've thought for a long time that Obama's not in quite as strong a position on the war in Iraq as he really thinks he is. Remember, when he famously came out against the war, it was back in a time when the entire world believed that Saddam Hussein in Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that he would probably be willing to use them himself at some time or pass them along to terrorists who would use them. And yet, Barack Obama was against going to the war at that point. I don't think that shows that he is very strong on national security, which he needs to be.

From The Things Which Won't Happen File


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At least 100,000 U.S. troops could return home from Iraq by the end of 2008, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said in an interview aired on Sunday, although he proposed that several American military bases stay in Iraq.

Speaking on CNN television, Talabani envisioned faster U.S. troop reductions than U.S. commanders have discussed in public. But he stressed that the pace of withdrawal was up to those commanders and did not explain why he foresaw a faster pullout.


It's always fascinating when our elite media gatekeepers pretend to not understand why certain stories don't actually get through their gates.


You'd think we'd at least get the imperial palace right.

WASHINGTON — The latest problem with the trouble-plagued new U.S. embassy complex in Iraq is that the sprinkler systems meant to contain a fire do not work, according to officials in Congress and the State Department.

The previously undisclosed problem in the $592 million project was discovered several weeks ago when the fire-safety systems were tested and pipe joints burst, State Department representatives recently informed Congress.

The embassy complex, being built by First Kuwaiti General Trade and Contracting Co., has been marred by repeated problems. In May, when kitchen facilities at a guard camp that is part of the embassy complex were tested, the electrical system malfunctioned and wires melted. A subsequent inquiry showed that First Kuwaiti had used counterfeit electrical wiring that did not meet specifications, according to testimony at a congressional hearing in July.

Former top investigators for State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard have charged that Krongard refused to aggressively investigate allegations of misconduct by First Kuwaiti and deficiencies in the Baghdad Embassy.

Health Care Absurdity

The only reason to have an individual mandate plan instead of a sign everyone up and pay for it out of taxes plan is... actually, I can't think of one at all. I was about to say that the only reason to do so was to keep the insurance companies around as redundant middlemen, but you could still do that with a pay for it out of taxes plan.

It's absurd.

Wanker of the Day

Chris Hitchens.


Glenn takes on Ignatius and Broder.

One still gets the sense that Republicans write the basic political narrative that our press conveys to the public. Broder and Ignatius are columnists, but one gets this sense from reporters, too.

I don't know how to change this.

Weird Conduct

Since I don't think I've actually said this yet, I have no idea why Senate Republicans would be seriously considering trying to censure Larry Craig and I hope Democrats don't join the effort. I don't know what "weird conduct" they supposedly knew about but if it was actually serious in any way the cover up probably worse than the "crime."

Shorter David Broder


This is excellent news for Republicans.

It never changes.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

CBS News Sunday Morning Life-changing inventions that result from accidents; aerial photographer Bobby Haas tours the Alaska wilderness; writer Ken Follett; Lynne Cheney gives a tour of the vice presidential residence; a Tennessee elephant sanctuary.

Good Morning America Frosted Pink, a celebrity women's cancer benefit.

Face the Nation Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.); Rep. Adam H. Putnam (R-Fla.); Tony Perkins, Family Research Council; Roger Simon,

Meet the Press 2008 campaign: presidential candidate former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.). Politics: David Broder, Washington Post; David Brody, CBN; Margaret Carlson; Ted Koppel. The space program and the 50th anniversary of Sputnik: Author Jay Barbree "Live From Cape Canaveral: Covering the Space Race, From Sputnik to Today").

This Week With George Stephanopoulos State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) veto: Mike Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services, and Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.). 2008 election: Gov. Bill Richardson (D-N.M.). Panel: Katrina vanden Heuvel, the Nation; Jay Carney, Time; Claire Shipman; George Will.

Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace Plans and accomplishments of Democrats in Congress: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco); Patti Solis Doyle, campaign manager for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer The war in Iraq: Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Crisis in Sudan: Lam Akol, Sudan's foreign minister. Genocide in Sudan: former Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice; John Prendergast. The economy: former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. Politics: Mary Snow; Mark Halperin, Time; Suzanne Malveaux.

I think there's an actual liberal on the teevee today.

Morning Thread

Who brought the donuts?

--Molly I.

Revealed at Last!

Sadly No believe they have uncovered the true identity of legendary troll Gary Ruppert. And no, it's not Jenna Bush.