Sunday, July 31, 2005

Eponymous

I'm watching NBC - actually, about to watch my least favorite of the Law and Orders, the one with Private Pile from Full Metal Jacket, here in Del Boca Vista, Florida, with my grandparents. So there's some show called Dateline - heard of it, never saw it - and they just did a promo for Dateline Friday, and here's the lead-in: Laci, Chandra...you've heard of them all, but not of this one...and they go on to show the picture of an African-American woman, whose name eludes me, but who has been missing for a year, or even more.

I've read about her - I believe it's Atrios that is always giving Nancy Lynch Mob Cooper crap about her covering missing white women and ignoring missing brown women - and have often noted the disparity, chalking it up to: 1. they're not white, and thus, they don't tap into the pornographic fear/sexualizing of missing white women; 2. they're not white, and thus, the cue card readers and producers (who are normally white) don't think it will play well with the target demographic.

Anyway, Dateline does this lead in, and then they show one mnissing African-American woman, then another, and then ask: what do these women have in common? They're...black. And they're missing. Why haven't you heard? asks the anchor in serious tele-journalist voice. Cut to friend of missing woman: she's smart, she's beautiful, she's middle class...but she's black.

Back to serious voiced cue card reader: Tune in on Friday to find out why we haven't been covering them.

Something's off in this...a lot, actually. First, has the navel gazing media establishment become so fixated on itself that the very networks whose negligence is so lamentable find it good copy to run shows on how lamentably negligent they are? I mean, why not become less of a joke and be self-aware? Second, rather than step back and say, Hey - maybe this whole missing white women thing is getting out of hand, out of some benighted sense of "balance" they do a show on missing black women, of whom there happen to be a lot...they can fill a whole hour with it! Think of the ad revenues!

Lots is made about blogger ethics, blogger this and that, and any number of inane behaviors on the part of print and tele-journalists could be cited to match anything Atrios or Powerline has done or does. Will anything be made of this? Is this to be thought of as some sort of mea culpa, or just a sad effort to capitalize on more misery while engaging in masturbatory self-promotion? Perhaps Dateline can run a show on that.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Not Now Hitch, We're Busy

Was going to get all bitchy on Hitchy about the recent Slate column, but, as a result of aforementioned traveling I am way behind. I recommend this.

Home Again Home Again

The past few days I've been out of town at a developers seminar which discussed this new fangled piece of entertainment hardware that will be coming down the pike in about a year. The presentations were cool; being surrounded by 300 other programmers was not.

The worst thing about my kind is how on the one hand we(as a demographic) assume we're so goldarned smart, but when we open our mouths it's clear we're total idiots who do not deserve the salaries we are paid and the respect we receive. For example, the Q&A session following the seminar took it's usual pattern for these events. The questions fell into one of three categories. First, there's "the answer to your question is totally obvious if you've been paying attention". Then there's "your question makes absolutely no sense and you'd know that if you were paying attention". Finally there's the "hey! I'm here at this seminar talkin'! Look at me!" Watching the faces of the presenters - all of them engineers who spent a great deal of time and effort to clearly disseminate this important information - fall in disappointment and consternation made me embarassed for my industry. If this is truly the best we have to offer it's no wonder the Japanese are kicking our asses.

On the upside, if photo-realism(and the unfortunate attendant hyper-violence) are your thing, this new hardware will rock your world. It's also a programmers dream if you like to program the sorts of things I like to program.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Stop The Insanity

I really hope they are. Is this some new form of "strong diplomacy"?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Lost In The Shuffle

Yesterday, for some reason, I subscribed to the OxBlog RSS feed. There, in a longish post attacking the credibility of Joe Wilson, I read the following:

But the media seems to cover the inaccuracies of George Bush's statements quite well, leaving it to us bloggers to expose the small fry like Joe Wilson.

While I disagree with the specific point about exposing small fry - especially Joe Wilson since Rove and Co have done a wonderful job on him, as has Somerby - I do agree with the general point: the media covers big events just fine, and bloggers can and should bring "smaller" stories to light. So...

Lost in the shuffle of Rovegate and the introductory chapter in The Saga of Mr. Roberts, two stories surfaced yesterday and today that need a little more attention. The first is that we appear to have attempted to influence the Iraqi elections. The second is that the current draft of the Iraqi constitution contains seriously regressive measures against women. What are we to make of these events? If the goal of influencing the elections was to prevent Sharia Law from prevailing then we should have done a better job of it. Leave it to the neo-cons to screw up fixing an election when said fixing would have done some good. I can hear the proponents of the war protesting already:"But wait! We should respect their wishes! If Sharia is what they want, they should have it - they're a democracy now!" I would, however, reply: "Please recall that you, sir, are not a cultural relativist."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

3 British Soldiers charged with war crimes in Iraq

That's about what the article says, apart from the grizzly details; what's interesting is the fact that being charged was connected somehow with the International Criminal Court. Take a look at the member countries, particularly the "Western European and Other States," and you'll see a notable absence - America. You may or may not recall that of the many international agreements Bush pulled out of - maybe his father told him to - one of the more damaging to our international reputation was the one that established the ICC. Note that Bill Clinton, who presided over our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity, signed it, and that Bush decided that we were no longer bound by it.

There's a bit of Bolton in that - his ilk is the sort that would object to it prima facie - if it ain't in our interest, interest being defined in the most realist of terms - cash, oil, land, whatever - we aren't doing it. And they'll cite limitations of sovereignty and threats to citizens as reasons, though I have a tough time buying that as the real reason.

If we did sign on to it, we might have a situation like the UK does - US troops being charged for war crimes for what they did in Iraq. So important is it to the administration that our troops be immune from international prosecution that they threatened to take away aid from any country that didn't agree to give our troops immunity through bilateral agreements. What problems did we have with it?

Some were fairly reasonable - we wanted an exemption from prosecution for US troops taking part in peace-keeping operations, an exemption some other countries were able to obtain. Some were a bit more specious - there was talk of its redundancy, given universal jurisdiction, but universal jurisdiction is not exactly the subject of consensus; others object that the UN has no teeth, and it would be up to the US to take military action in the event of non-compliance.

We all remember the high rhetoric Bush spouted at his inauguration, about our devotion to democracy, etc., etc., etc., and I have vivid memories of a salivating and perhaps even aroused David Brooks lauding Bush to high-heaven on Lehrer's show - this is a new Bush! Kinder! Gentler! A visionary! World historical! I'll write a pithy and witty book about it!

Didn't quite pan out - there's the whole extraordinary rendition thing, the torture thing, the blocking international investigations of the Uzbek massacre (they're our "ally" in the "war on terror"). But what got my goad back then, and what gets it now, is the following: everyone knows that "diplomacy" is normally just dressing for good, old fashioned power politics, the kind of stuff Clausewitz talked about, but it seems to me - and to many people who study international relations as well - that the Bolton/Kissinger way of seeing the world in terms of interest narrowly defined is increasingly going the way of the dodo. Whether this is due to high levels of volatile trade flows, information technologies rendering many traditional tools of propaganda less effective, the rise of non-state actors (non-governmental organizations, peaceful and otherwise), rise in formal regional cooperation (ASEAN, EU, etc.), or global convergence on many norms - the environment, human rights, whatever - the kind of attitude to foreign policy that milk-mustache brings to Washington is less and less palatable to a world that is more savvy and less tolerant of outright hypocrisy.

(Why Serb paramilitaries, Rwandan genocidaires, or any other such unsavory characters ought to be subject to international law - let alone the soldiers of other nuclear powers - and not the troops of the US is beyond me. You can say it might hamstring our foreign policy - we might not be able to invade people because of weapons of mass destruction that don't exist, say - but I'm not so sure that's such a bad thing. After all, did anyone raise much stink about us invading Afghanistan, who actually helped Al Qaeda?

The larger issue, though, is one that centers on reciprocity - you treat POWs properly because you don't want your POWs treated poorly, for instance; and you cooperate with other countries as much as you can because you want them to cooperate with you. The arrogance of selective cooperation, or perhaps strategic non-cooperation, is vexing - I can't help but imagine that if we became actively engaged in developing global consensus on issues such as the environment and international law we'd be better off in terms of security than we are thumbing our noses at them.

If that means Private England suffers the same fate as the British troops, so be it - it seems to me that part of our commitment to democracy and human rights should be some kind of recognition that certain crimes are so heinous, certain behaviors are so dangerous, that the world as a whole has an interest in punishing them - even if they happen to be committed by agents of the US government, or ordered by the government itself.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Winning the hearts and minds

It seems that things are getting worse in Iraq, almost by the day, with a number of people talking about civil war and chaos, including Ali al-Sistani. The flypaper theory hasn't worked out so well, as it turns out - witness the bombings in London. And even if it were true that the terrorists were doing what the administration wanted - going to Iraq and lining up in front of U.S. soldiers to be shot while throwing flowers at them - the likelihood of them doing no harm to the Iraqis in the process seems low.

In any event, any war must include propaganda - even wars that were fairly popular, such as the Milagro-Beanfield War, or the War of the Roses, or Wargames. So some time back, you might remember, George Bush took dramatic action: he appointed Karen Hughes to be in charge of our outreach to the Arab and Islamic world, doing so because of her qualifications including loyalty, sycophancy, and general servility. (She doesn't seem to have started yet, but hey, not like there's a war going on.)

So the administration is concerned about our image in the world. And given the general control that the White House has over the Republican party - witness the politicians sent out to defend Rove - one might think they could exercise some discipline in the ranks. But then there's Tom Tancredo. I once thought he was an intriguing character, largely because his unabashed dislike of brown people might help to throw a wrench in the Republican efforts to win over Latinos. Turns out, though, that his dislike doesn't only apply to immigrant groups loathed by the basest base of all - he actually said that if terrorists used a nuclear weapon on the U.S., we might respond by, say, nuking Mecca.

"Talk show host Pat Campbell asked the Littleton Republican how the country should respond if terrorists struck several U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.
"Well, what if you said something like -- if this happens in the United States, and we determine that it is the result of extremist, fundamentalist Muslims, you know, you could take out their holy sites," Tancredo answered.
"You're talking about bombing Mecca," Campbell said.
"Yeah," Tancredo responded.
The congressman later said he was "just throwing out some ideas" and that an "ultimate threat" might have to be met with an "ultimate response."

Some fun could be had with this - Bush could be asked if he condemned this, Dean could talk about Republican congressmen advocating mass-murder, etc., etc., but in all serious, this is not good. When that Boykins chap was saying, "My god is the true god, Islam's is an idol," you can bet your bottom dollar that it got all sorts of mileage in the Islamic world - and rightly so. Now you've got someone who was actually elected to Congress appearing to advocate the nuclear annihilation of Mecca based on the behavior of terrorists.

I suppose it might be funny if it weren't so fucked up. Any time someone criticizes the war effort, or talks about how repugnant the behavior of some US troops guarding unarmed prisoners has been, the chattering masses of Brooks, Leos, Broders, and Limbaughs scream bloody murder - why? It is a propaganda weapon, they say - it puts our troops at risk. Here you've got a member of the president's party, who is an elected official, doing something with a lot more negative propaganda value than what Durbin did. And I would be willing to bet money that he doesn't much more than a slap on the wrist from the powers that be in the Republican party, and that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk see his rhetoric and up him a Medina.

Mondays Are Bad Days For Hangovers

I'm going to Monday Morning Quarterback this Moving of the Goalposts and suggest that if they kept their Eye On The Ball they might be able to Win One For The Gipper. Instead it appears they've Fumbled The Ball and will Be Forced To Punt.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Friday Map Blogging

Baltimore heads and head-haters may get a chuckle out of this.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What Jeb Will Reap

I heard this story this morning. The form of "voluntary" employment detailed in the piece is exactly what spawned the original labor movement. The company store and old fashioned wage slavery in 21st century America. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? Molly Ivins warned that if George became president we'd get Texas in the USA. If this is any indicator of how things are run in Florida, I'd say we got the good brother.

This Is All Just Getting So Dumb

Maybe I'm committing a Howler but...Look, I would be more than happy to see Rove go down, but I don't think the Senate should be used to go after him. It's a waste of my money on political infighting, it's counter productive and it leads directly to garbage like this. Before you say "But they do it all the time and we need to fight back!1!1!1!!1!" take note it's not a tactic that'll work for the party in the minority, and it's not effective fighting back. Progressives ought to be showing America that we are the responsible sensible good-government team. Introducing legislation geared at targeting a political operative is not responsible, sensible or good government. Remember what happened when they used the legislature to attack Clinton - they lost it.

If one wants to go on the attack, low-blow style, there's an opportunity coming in the 2006 mid-terms.

Update for clarification: When I say "it's not effective fighting back", I did in fact committ a Howler. I wasn't saying "it's not effective TO fight back when you're the minority" I was saying "This kind of politics isn't an effective form of fighting back".

Fair And Balanced Update: JDNOF offers gentle corrections in comments, and David Corn thinks it was a brilliant ploy.

States That Know No Peace

When will Hitchens begin the drumbeat for the United Kingdom to invade and occupy the United Kingdom? I'll admit the remark is in poor taste, but so is all the horrible cliche'd sabre-rattling and phony Churchillian stuff. It performs no function in fighting the war we're in. Now that we know at least one of the bombers was home-grown in the state which was attacked, can we please start having a discussion about how we win the battle of ideas instead of how we lose the battle of force through endless attrition?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Who controls the present...

I was talking to my cousin yesterday. He's a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy ... flies jets off boats ... lands jets on boats.
He's a college-educated, independent thinking, smart, young man.

I bring up his commander-in-chief, the one he voted for, to see if he's still all I LOVE BUSH! and BUSH LOVES ME!

He says that a lot of people in the Navy are getting worn out. They think this war has gone on long enough, etc.

Jim asks him if there are any Democrats in his navy. He answers that there's a few but they catch a lot of shit. He tells us how people argue and the people who aren't all about Bush are berated and treated like crap.
Then he starts talking about when they get a weekend off and they stay at friends house's ... inevitably the friend has a roomate that leans to the left and arguments ensue.

"You always see fights like this," he says, "late at night, the patriot vs. the liberal..."

The patriot vs. the liberal!

He wasn't being ironic or sarcastic. He was casually describing two opposites.

The patriot believes in big brother, loves America and liberty and all things good.

The liberal can't be a patriot. The liberal hates America, scorns big brother and won't be happy 'til the party and the American way of life is destroyed.

INGSOC anyone?

Thank you, Larry

You may or may not remember Larry Johnson, but he played basketball at UNLV for Jerry "Tark the Shark" Tarkanian, and had a pretty decent professional career, though he had to retire early. What you may not know is that he was also an undercover CIA agent, who knew Valerie Plame, and who has written a very good post at TPMCafe.

The piece is worth a read. But I have one question: how did Larry learn to write so well and gather intelligence while shooting .490 % from the floor for his career? I wish I had numbers like that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Pin a medal on the Turd Blossom!

That's Bush's witty and urbane nickname for Karl Rove.

So Foxxx News is funny in a kind of horrifying way - like something out of Starship Troopers, only with Foxxx you're more sure that there really is something fascist going on, as opposed to Paul Verhoeven's utterly inessential film (from what I recall, Verhoeven had some rather negative experience with the Nazis.)

Anyway...some featherless biped named John Gibson - a manly name, a Foxxxy name, though I don't know if I could spot him in a crowd - actually said that Karl Rove deserves a medal if, in fact, he outed Valerie Plame (though of course he didn't, and even if he did, he didn't mean to, and Syria has nuclear weapons, damnit!)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: don't blame me, I voted for Larouche. Or was it Valorum? But I digress.

Anyway, kind a weird window into the psyche of Foxxx...far more nauseating than the cyborg reader of cue cards at CNN who says that Rove is subject to a smear campaign.

Why do I care? In part because I always become cynical and angry when I read Pericles' funeral oration - the most magnificent coupling of democracy and empire you'll ever see - and in part because this actually does piss me off. You expect the minor Freudian slip from Foxxx - the anchor (who really is named Asman) who referred to Republicans as "us," for instance - but how does the whole "We're for security and protecting America while those leftist hippies just want to abort all straight babies and marry box turtles while aiding and abetting the Islamo-fascists" master narrative make room for rewarding, or even defending, someone who seems to have not only broken the law, but jeopardized our national security?

Ahem, ahem...throat clearing...drumroll...Are you effin' kidding me?

Second Verse, Same As The First

Another great example of the new era of responsibility. It's great to have firm resolve, courage and optimisim. But at some point it'd be nice if they'd get the whole "doing the work" part down. The country doesn't just run itself.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Can I get a...

Stating the obvious...

It's taken a damn long time, but finally, a member of the White House press corps has said what could be said every time Scott McClellan opens his word-hole: "You’re not saying anything."

This with respect to Scott McClellan's new-found tightlippedness when it comes to an ongoing investigation. The Yesman in chief had been more than willing to deny wrongdoing, to assure that those responsible for outing Valerie Plame would be swiftly punished, so long as Matthew Cooper and Judith "Queen of Iraq" Miller weren't talking. Now they are, and turns out, much to the wet dreams of many observers of this White House, Karl Rove himself was behind it. His lawyer says, Yeah, he told Cooper that Wilson's wife was an agent, but he didn't say her name...right.

Anyway, so the press corps has finally strapped one on, and have taken it to the craphole that has been lying to them for nearly two years. Highlights:

"You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson’s wife. So don’t you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn’t he?"

"Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation."

"So you’re not going to respond as to whether or not the president has confidence in his deputy chief of staff?"

"QUESTION: Who is Karl Rove as it relates to this administration?
MCCLELLAN: Do you have questions on another topic?
QUESTION: No, no, no, no. Who is Karl Rove as it relates to this current administration?"

"Scott, I think you’re getting this barrage today in part because it is now clear that 21 months ago you were up at this podium saying something that we now know to be demonstrably false.
Now, are you concerned that in setting the record straight today that this could undermine the credibility of the other things you say from the podium?"

Full transcript here.

Few observers of Rove would be surprised that his hand was in this cookie-jar - apparently, though, he and the rest of the White House figured they could rely on Cooper and Miller to keep quiet. They might have, though it turns out that Cooper talked because Luskin, Rove's lawyer, bit off more than he could chew in spouting talking points to the Wall Street Journal: "If Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source," Mr. Luskin told The Journal, "it's not Karl he's protecting."

Luskin is an interesting cat - he took $500,000 in gold bars from some drug-money launderers he defended (one of whom is serving 660 years) - he had to pay $245,000 to the government.

Anyway, it gets more interesting by the day - the minute, actually. Bush pledged to get rid of the guy who was behind, something McClellan pooped out of his mouth in repetition more than once...and of course he will! They brought honor and integrity back to Washington after our long national nightmare of peace, prosperity, and sub-desk fellatio.

But this is Karl Rove we're talking about, the brains behind Bush - I expected a smaller man, said Triumph the Insult Dog after seeing Rove. So if you think he's going to get canned, all I can say is, Are you effin kidding me?

More to the point: lets say Rove gets indicted for perjury, or for knowingly revealing the name of a CIA operative. You can't pardon the guy if you're Bush - even Fox news would have a tough time spinning that, though they'd figure it out eventually. (It would somehow involve freedom hatred and terrorists winning.) More to the point, this isn't some low level flunky. He knows all sorts of goodies...about energy deals, lead up to war, misallocation of funds from Afghanistan to Iraq, etc., etc...not the kind of guy you'd want cutting a deal with a prosecutor if you were in a White House that is facing congressional demands for investigations into the lead up to a war conducted under what may have been knowingly false pretense, and that is facing nomination fights on two Supreme Court justices.

I think the correct phrase...

...is "pencil-dick". But isn't Reba a girl's name? Or is this some new euphamism for girl-parts of which I was previously unaware?

Good Ol' Hank

Yeah, I was wondering too, as it didn't seem likely. Glad to see he's cleared it up.

That Explosion and Those Flies and This Paper

In the wake of the London bombings there's been some predictable but reasonable snark coming from our side of the aisle about that old "flypaper" theory. This is all fine and good and as it should be. The very suggestion that such a strategy was even remotely plausible should have been greeted with jeers of "ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?" from the get go. This was just another convinient post-facto justification for the Iraq war that was trotted out for the presidential campaign. Any serious person who thought about it for ten seconds couldn't have bought it. This is why it's so weird that supposedly bright people actually do, or did.

We have two simple ways to refute the "flypaper" theory that are obvious to even non-wonks like me. First, the old Afghan War was supposed to serve as flypaper. Egypt, among other countries, released their jailed fanatics in the hope that those fanatics would get themselves killed in the jihad. While some certainly did get killed, the ones that survived helped to create what's now an international movement. Second, the idea of flypaper just doesn't make any effin' sense. Not every single person who wants to fight the "great satan" is going to go to Iraq. Some are going to find their way here or to Britain or anywhere else. It doesn't take an army to engage in terror attacks. It just takes a small group of people with invention enough to get through unclosable gaps in security and co-ordination enough to carry it off. As everyone is so fond of saying "they only have to get lucky once, we have to get lucky every time." So what exactly is to stop said people from going places and wreaking havok? Not much.

It seems to me that all of this polemical grandstanding about being resolute, letting them know no peace and fighting them wherever they are misses the point entirely. I have yet to hear anyone on either side of our political divide articulate a policy that makes it more difficult for people to perform terror attacks(sure this was the justification for the Patriot Act, but England is even more of a surveilence society than we are, and that didn't help). I also have yet to hear someone articulate a policy that would make it far less attractive to join up with the jihadists - something that is essential in order to win whatever this war is. To someone who's committed to die for their cause the threat of death is no threat at all.

Update: Stupid me. Did I say I hadn't heard anyone on either side articulate a policy? It's nice to have a certain former supreme allied comander prove me wrong. Granted it's more - no pun intended - general than I would ask for but it's an op-ed, not a policy paper.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Universal health care?

History repeats itself, wrote Marx - first as tragedy, then as farce (or something to that effect in the 18th Brumaire.) Let's hope this time he's wrong. Turns out that universal health care - remember that? - is on the radar more and more as of late, and it isn't just Hitler-loving queers talking about it. For those who can remember, the president who presided over our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity tried to do something similar; needless to say, certain interests voted with their money. (If you ever want to read a very good account of it, read Ian Shapiro's essay in Deliberative Politics, entitled "Enough of Deliberation: Politics is about Interests and Power.")

Paul Krugman had done a series of essays on the topic, in which he noted, paradoxically, that France - yes, France - pays less per capita on health care than we do and outperforms us on many macro-level health indices. I was deeply suspect - after all, they all talk like Maurice Chevalier. But it turns out that there are a fair number of people who don't think he's full of it. (Look at the big and interesting piece in the 3/7/05 New Republic, entitled "Health Care is not a Business.)

Food for thought: is there anything to this? On one level, as the article points out, I'm inclined to say no simply because the two states that seem to be serious about it are California and Vermont. However, I'm also inclined to say yes because one of those states is California. Simply put, California sets the standard in all kinds of things - emissions, organic labelling, whatever, just by virtue of its massive population and massive economy relative to the size of other states.

Big obstacle: money. In Oregon (2002) and California (1994), the usual suspects came out against it: "Both times, the proposals came under fierce assault from the medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industries." But there is some promise, when you have one of America's largest companies - GM - shelling out $1,400 a car on future health care costs. And the prices aren't going down - "Premiums for employer-sponsored health plans rose an average of 11.2 percent in 2004, the fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation."

Bullshit talks and money walks in politics - you don't get much done by appealing to the sense of common good or morality of politicians, especially when they're the current crop of Republicans. What does make a difference is cash, and if someone is willing to ante up and pay to support these proposals - that is, go head to head with the big money of the pharmaceutical, insuranc, and health care industries - then this time it might not be a farce after all.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Allow myself to introduce myself...

I've officially become a member of the family. If only I had something of substance to post, but I've been out of the loop for a few days due to a move. But I'd like to say that I look forward to being able to say "Are you effin' kidding me?" without having to pay 10 cents to J in Bmore.

Friday, July 08, 2005

If I Were Sully

I'd say that this juxtaposition shows "exactly why the right just doesn't get it." Fortunately I don't see "the right" as this giant monolithic mass of jerks-with-soot-for-brains who all hold the same opinion. I do, however, view Fox News that way.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Uniquely Bi-Partisan Post

Ehrlich is clearly reading from the wrong script. What's all this "live free" jive? Didn't he get the memo? Whatever, even if it's by accident, I agree with him.

London, Eff Yeah

No, I am not being sarcastic. Oliver Willis has some excellent quotes from the mayor of London.

Update:Yes you can get a little solidarity:

That Didn't Take Long

No, it sure didn't. And neither did that. I've got a few longtime friends in London. I have no idea if they are ok. Glad that the 101st Fighting Keyboarders have their backs though. It makes me far less worried to know that despite the horrific events of today one group of people hasn't given up their resolve to make idiotic racist comments about British Citizens who happen to be muslim, and another group of people(Straussians) can quote Winston Churchill. Yes, racist comments and cliched platitudes are exactly what we need in the war on terror.

Update: Just heard that some of the people I was worried about are ok.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Amazing

Never judge a piece of half formed illogic by it's title. I know I have to stop reading Hitchens, but I can't. Every week I read Slate looking for signs of the combination of wit and rationality that made The Nation worth reading as anything other than agitprop only to discover there ain't no there there anymore. In fact, I'm now reduced to playing a special game I invented just for Hitch's Slate columns. Before I start reading I try to guess in what sentence of what paragraph he will either blame those against the war for some failure of the Bush administration or make snide remarks about people who actually stand something or someone to lose in this war. This week's winner, and it's a double hackpot, is paragraph 4 sentence 1. After reflecting on the tragedy of American soldiers accidently shooting civilians due to increased security measures, he begins p4 with:

But the truly sobering reflection is that crimes and blunders of this kind are committed, in effect, by popular demand. It is emphasized every day that Americans do not want to read about dead soldiers. So it is arranged that, as far as possible, they will read (or perhaps not bother to read) about dead civilians instead.

Right. It's not the fault of the general's who have designed the policy, it's not the fault of the people who put the soldiers there in the first place, it's not the fault of an incompetent civilian administration that didn't know what the eff they were doing when they went in. No. It's the American people with their weak stomaches and the New York Times that are to blame. ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? No, he clearly isn't, especially when he goes on to say (and I promise I won't make the obvious joke that of all people Hitch needs some sobering reflection...oh crap....):

Incidentally, when is the New York Times going to start running a "Names of the Dead" regular feature from Afghanistan?

So wait. In an obvious conspiracy - or to use Hitchen's term, arrangment - to prevent Americans from reading about dead soldiers in Iraq, the New York Times is printing the names of soldiers that died in Iraq. Phew! I'm glad we imported this Brit to smoke out this subtle opinion shaping newspeak. Judith Miller sure wasn't going to do it for us.

Operation Piggy Piggy

While I've voiced some disagreement with "Operation Yellow Elephant", this at BoP is something with which I totally agree(whoa, sensible as opposed to airy). At this point you cannot be both for the war and for tax cuts. There is no mystical market force which will supply materials for the war, soldier's salaries and money to pay for all that price gouging from Haliburton. Maybe instead of sacrificing himself, O'Reilly ought to sacrifice some of his salary to the war effort.

No, Seriously

ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME? This is effin' madness. Anyone who supports this crap cannot honestly claim to also support "the culture of life". Or has that little catchphrase already been replaced by the "culture of the MBA's approach to justice" and I missed it?

Update: Now might be a good time to invite anyone who reads us to visit Abolish the Death Penalty.

Someone's Going To Be Jealous

Is YOUR blog on the first page of this search? Hah. I didn't think so. And here I thought it was someone calling us names.

Update: skippy wants a million hits by july 10th.

Update II: Google thinks of us that way too.

Things That Make You Go "Buuhhhhh...."

I suppose being in Maryland requires us to comment on this. We'll just say it's Ehrlich by numbers. On the one hand he acts like a racist jerk and on the other acts like it's repressive and over sensitive liberals who are making him out to look that way. When he "screws up" he can act like he's taking some sort of stand (or whine, depending on who you are) "on principle" when he really meant to send the message everyone got in the first place. He's not stupid; he's a master at playing the game the way the right plays it. Who could expect any less from a cohort of Gingrich?

I don't want to spread panic and alarm

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Freaky

I don't mean to harp on the the guy who gets his Freak-On. But I wonder why someone who's made their career finding odd conculsions embedded in data would decide to make such a dismissive statment about this. I'm not endorsing the view; it looks a little too tin-foil hat for my tastes, and since I'm not a structural engineer I'll have to defer to the experts. I'm just curious why the "rogue" of all people would find it necessary to dismiss the possibility. What if the data showed otherwise?