Thursday, November 30, 2006

Chuck Hagel and the post-victory paradigm

What is victory, or defeat, in Iraq? Why do we care if it's one or the other? No, really. To desire victory always seemed axiomatic, but what would it mean now? What comes after victory? Peace? Another struggle? A different struggle? I doubt we'll see any of those with a "victory."

We will have the same struggle. Now that there is a stateless, murderous enemy that fetishizes death, that has no sovereign state to preserve, that is willing to blow itself up and take us with it, is our own victory any less than existence? If not--in other words, if we still exist--that means we already won.

Hey, we won!

Our existence is much more secure with a more united, even if less effective, fight. Alone, we fail states, torture innocent civilians, and prop up a group of bought and sold hacks and call them a government. Without the manpower and moral message that a coaliton brings, we cling to these desperate measures just to salvage our pride. It's too bad we've told the rest of the civilized world to go fuck itself; we could use their help.

h/t tbogg

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Little Effin Drummer Boy

Here in New York, they can't even wait for Thanksgiving to release the Christmas virus. I just picked up a sandwich at the deli around the corner, and "Little Drummer Boy" was a-caroling from the speakers. I didn't really notice the song while I was there. But then I got back to the office and noticed that my shoe was untied. And I thought, I have to tie my

Now all my thoughts occur in the meter of the song, and they are all followed by "pa-rum-pa-pum-pum."

I need a cigarette, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.
Where did my pencil go?
I wish this song would stop, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.
I need a cigarette, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

If there is any finality to the thought, the verse has to resolve:

Work's done, I'll go home now, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum...
Me and my drum.

This is an appeal I hate to make, but being as I've got confirmation under my belt, I guess I'm allowed:

Jesus, this is your holiday. Please make it stop.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

fucla police to the rescue

Meanwhile, in liberal Los Angeles (video after the jump - keep volume down if viewing at work).

Update: Daily Bruin site isn't working now. You can view at Google Video however.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


So I finally saw Borat. Can someone please show me the difference between this movie and the "field reports" that The Daily Show used to do? Comedy Central had the good sense to kill those off, just as they had the good sense to ditch Craig Kilborn.

Kilborn and Cohen have a lot in common actually. The content and delivery of their comedy would have been poignant satire in someone else's hands, but something in their nature spoils their words before they reach your ears. It gives you a feeling like, "Yeah, I get your point, but I don't think you really care one way or another."

Anyway, check out this interview with Steve Carell explaining why he was never that crazy about the field reports in the first place.

It was neither kind nor funny to me to go after people who just didn't deserve it. It was sort of shooting fish in a barrel. I think it bordered on mean sometimes, and I... Once Jon took the reins, that changed.

...when we did go after someone, it was generally someone who deserved it. A white supremacist, or a Nazi, or someone who was, you know, good fodder.

Cohen picks a few good targets, but his nihilism and laziness denudes those segments of satire and turns the movie into nothing but the basest and easiest kind of humor: "Hey, I have brought actual feces into this room where it is inappropriate to even speak of feces." That kind of humor always gets a belly laugh--there were a lot of belly laughs in the movie--but I don't understand the praise Borat is getting. It really is one-third Kilborn-era Daily Show, one-third Jackass, and one-third boring.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The experiment is over. And I’m guessing that many Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief.

This afternoon’s concessions from Burns and Allen will be the death knell of the blood-spattered juggernaut that started its engine on January 20, 2001, and sped off toward the east on September 12, 2001. It was so absolutist, so…well, there are many ways to describe it: Trotskyite, quixotic, daring, delusional, unavoidable, reactionary, millennial, Manichean, mistaken…but it was so absolutist that once it left the station, there was no stopping it. Once the neoconservatives gained the power they had been engineering for years, any Republican who wanted to stay in office had to go along for the ride, lest the Democrats gain any power whatsoever and send the signal to the rest of the world that our overwhelming force was backed by anything less than sheer moral rectitude.

When you kill out of what you believe to be moral necessity, you may not doubt yourself in front of those you are killing. The large majority of Republicans, however, are not as messianic as the engineers and prosecutors of the Iraq War, and the doubt has been welling up within them for some time. There was no way the Republican Congress was going to turn the juggernaut around themselves. All they could do was hold their breath until the Bush doctrine succeeded (i.e., never) or until the face of our government was replaced with a countenance that the rest of the West could trust to cooperate in a united, international condemnation and prosecution of terrorism. The latter has transpired, and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The sensible Republicans can now exhale, brush their teeth, and begin to speak the truth once again.

The lie is up. Let’s forgive them, join forces with the rest of the civilized world, and solve the great problem of our generation: the isolation and tamping of a growing network of suicidal non-state actors with a unanimous and murderous enmity toward Western ideas, no coherent governmental or economic paradigm, and a slavish adherence to theology that finds the destruction of the entire human race to be a trifle and possibly even a delight.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

This Afternoon

I was with DaveG on the election commentary - the less noise we made, the better. I was also expecting that the two most, uhm, interesting races - governor and senate - would not be decided until we'd had both a good dose of absentee ballot counting and a few lawsuits. But now we've got this and this, so that's that. For us liberal terrasymps I second both DaveG and disappearingink. For our Republican friends, I offer the Kinks:

This Morning...

I've been meditating on this choice bit of internet lingo.

I haven't been posting much lately, partly because I thought that disappearingink was putting things so well - let's hope he's right about the senate race - and partly because I have been convinced since at least August that I couldn't do anything that the Republcans weren't doing all by themselves. But I do think that, while today is a day for us dewinocrats to celebrate, its also a day for progressives to remember that there's a lot of work to be done to get moderate dems to live up to the promise of this election.

If you're like me, and you avoided voting for Green candidates in favor of Dems this time around, thinking that it was more important to move the country away from right-wing extremism than to get a couple of token progressives in, then the next two years are the time to lean on the dems to get what you want. Keep an eye on them. Call them. Let them know you're watching, and that you are willing to vote for progressives next time around.


The media is being extraordinarily circumspect about the Senate results, but I want to say what I think they know. The Senate is going to the Democrats, too. Missouri's called, and the counties in Montana that have yet to report are leaning Democratic. The Burns precincts already reported. And Virginia? Webb's up by just a couple thousand; it will likely go to recount. But it sounds like the absentee votes are leaning Democratic, too.

What will a Democratic Congress do? Let's look at the Corner at National Review, where James S. Robbins sees a lot of real estate opening up at the Pentagon:

My guess is that any high ranking official at DOD who was around in 2003 is going to be spending most of the time getting ready for hearings, investigations, maybe worse...Those on hand for the Iraq invasion are going to be facing non-stop Congressional interrogations. I suppose we'll see an exodus from the Building shortly.

After the celebration, make sure to read "Barack Obama, Inc." in the new Harper's. It doesn't matter which party is in power. If they are not held accountable, they will rot. And despite increased turnout, the brown states still rule.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

one advantage of living in a homogenous political bubble like New York

No robocalls.

An Ohio woman, who did not leave her name, called The Washington Post in tears yesterday, saying she could not keep her phone line open to hospice workers caring for her terminally ill mother because of nonstop political robo-calls.

If you are inured to the putrescent, feces-spattering carcass that our electoral pageant has become and think robocalling couldn't be that bad simply because the Republicans are being so brazen about it, try to remember 2002. That's when Allen Raymond and the New Hampshire Republicans jammed the phone lines of a Democratic get-out-the-vote operation. Allen Raymond got five months in prison, where I'm sure the "opposition party" jammed his "phone line" but good. They released him from prison on May 31, presumably making room for the very people he helped elect.

If you're receiving robocalls, give the company responsible for their production a ring and let them know how much you appreciate their work. That would be Conquest Communications of Richmond, VA. You can reach them at 804-358-0560.

If the Democrats win both houses back tomorrow, see if you can trace the smell of the carcass as it migrates from Capitol Hill to K Street. The GOP doesn't want to lose Congress, but I can't imagine its individual candidates will be that disappointed to lose their seats. Once they become lobbyists, they'll just be doing the exact same thing, but making a lot more money doing it.

Get out there, hold your nose, and vote!