Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"Reinvade Iraq!" is the Rallying Cry

Kargro X rightly calls it escalation, but I generally refer to plans such as this one by Jack Keane and Frederick W. Kagan as the "Reinvade Iraq" plan.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm Not an Advisor to Bush 41, but...

...I concur with this one at least

"We have a classic case of circling the wagons," says a former adviser to Bush the elder. "If President Bush changes his policy in Iraq in a fundamental way, it undermines the whole premise of his presidency. I just don't believe he will ever do that."
We're screwed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Marc Maron Radio Lives! Kinda...

Fans of Marc Maron's hilarious radio work can rejoice. As Maron put it in an email announcement:
My buddy Patrick has created a stream of all of the Morning Sedition and The Marc Maron Show radio comedy bits. These are bits written and performed over the last two years by some of the most talented comedy writers and performers ever brought together as you know. Enjoy them at:

Just click listen!
Lawton Smalls! Cardinal Milfington! Sammy the Stem Cell! And many more!

Thank you Marc, thank you Patrick, and thank you The Internets.

Now if only some smart radio station or network would pick up Maron so the funny can rise again.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Really Made Me Laugh

Tristero at Digby's Hullabaloo presents a delicious irony with a creamy sulfuric acid center:

"Poor Chris Hitchens. There isn't enough bourbon in the world to erase the horror and humiliation he must be enduring now that he knows that Henry Kissinger - Henry Kissinger - was a major Bush adviser for the Iraq fiasco. Oh, the humanity!"

What a sucker!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cheney Wants His War With Iran

NPR : Pentagon Iran Office Mimics Former Iraq Office
The Pentagon has created a new desk to work on Iran policy. That worries some at the CIA, who point out that many of the new Iran-desk staffers are the same people who staffed the now-notorious Office of Special Plans in the run-up to the Iraq war.

They were among the cheerleaders for the disastrous war with Iraq, now they are going to apply their genius to get us into war with Iran.

Remember, war with Iran could lead to really unpleasant consequences for the American economy--Bush and Cheney like wars they don't have to fight, but merely want to fight. And if war ever proves absolutely necessary, you don't want George W. Bush running it.

But Iran is the war they want.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Iran: The War They Desire

It's fairly obvious by now that, once again, the Republicans don't want accurate intelligence about a problematic country: they want to twist intelligence in order to bring about the next war on their checklist.

And the principal writer of their most recent war prelude is Frederick Fleitz. He's a handmaiden of Dick Cheney, who never met a war he didn't like, except he didn't like to fight the one he was of age to be a soldier in.

They want a war with Iran. I hope they don't get it.

As Martin Walker (via Steve Clemons) points out, the US is playing poker and Iran is playing chess. Iran is so much stronger than it was when Bush came to office, and the US is so much weaker in nearly every important way.

It's a pathetic situation for a great nation to be in. But I'm thinking that a country that could install GW Bush as president twice may not be as great as it once was -- the guy is obviously way over his head. It's sad to be governed by such a dolt when we're facing incredible challenges that towel-snapping and bluster will not deliver us from.

We may eventually actually have to go to war with Iran. But if we do, we should know what that means.

It would not be like Iraq, where we'd just be inconveniced by "bad pictures" on our TV sets.

Iran really will retaliate--on our troops in Iraq and against the US and the West anywhere else they want.

In all likelihood, they'll hit petroleum chokepoints in various canny ways that will increase the price of oil to something we'd have thought of as science fiction just a few years ago. Oil in three digits a barrel. And when one thing gets sorted out, another chokepoint would blow.

Remember: Israel thought their recent war would eliminate Hezbollah. It didn't. Israel is in worse shape than before. War with Iran would be like the Lebanon skirmish writ globally.

I'd figure a war (even a "limited bombing campaign") against Iran would have a great chance of setting off a global depression.

It's very possible that gas would be going to the military, at very expensive prices and increasing our debt (the Chinese would buy more of our debt). Putting gas in your car would be staggeringly expensive. Getting goods to stores would be, too -- consumer prices would skyrocket.

For those who still have relatives who lived through the Great Depression, ask them how much fun that was. The Bushes, the Cheney's and their friends could probably weather it. The rest of us would be screwed in unimaginable ways.

Instead of talking to Iran, as repugnant as that regime is, it seems that Cheney and Bush and the Republican crazies are committed to a path that will leave Iran hurting but the US is in dire straits.

Scares the shit out of me, these freaks. They learned nothing from their failures in Iraq.

England was once a global empire, too. Perhaps Niall Ferguson can tell us how the British Empire weathered decades 1-4 of the 20th Century, since he is urging the US to become more of an empire in this century.

It's like the grinding occupation of Iraq: they wanted a nice little limited war: instead, the war they got is not quite the war they wanted.

But this time it wouldn't just be bad pictures on the television. It could well be a total transformation of the US way of life via a global depression brought on by the war they want.

These Republicans have learned nothing. I hope the country has but, hell, it elected an idiot prince as President twice.

Friday, August 11, 2006

HaloScan Comments of Genius

From the comments at Harry Hutton's excellent place,

David C crystallizes the issue: "Why can't these terror chaps target the budget airlines? That way they'd get to make their dubious points without injuring anyone of consequence."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Hating on the DLC

Matt Taibi:
The DLC are the lowest kind of scum; we're talking about people who are paid by the likes of Eli Lilly and Union Carbide to go on television and call suburban moms and college kids who happen to be against the war commies and jihadists. On the ignominious-sellout scale, that's lower than doing PR for a utility that turns your grandmother's heat off at Christmas.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Today's Words of Wisdom

Any guesses why I've thought of Lebanon Bologna recently?

Heed this comment on that page:
"Sweet mother of God, if you're going to preserve meats, make sure you get the recipe right so you don't kill anyone. "
Also: Prague Powder #2? Corn syrup solids? Powdered Dextrose?

Fermento? FERMENTO!?

I realize one is not supposed to see how sausage or laws are made, but this takes it into entirely different territory than I'd previously considered.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Onward Christian Soldiers

Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki addresses Congress today.

Send us more of your soldiers to die and be maimed for Iraq!
Send us more of your taxpayer dollars to Iraq!

My power flows from the end of your guns. Thanks, suckers!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Still True

I've been reminded of this old story quite a bit recently.

True 'dat.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Important enough to smash the silence

If you're like me, you've been looking for the email that crazy Dr. Nicholas Bartha wrote before he (allegedly) blew up his Manhattan townhouse. Thanks to Gawker, I found a copy of it. Unfortunately, it's a PDF file but it's worth a read anyway.

The guy's definitely a hardcore Republican. And he's definitely crazy-- in more than just your standard wingnut way. Or maybe it's just hypertrophied into this nutsiness.

Also, here's a New York State appeals court decision concerning his divorce. His wife filed for divorce on grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment, and was granted the divorce.

Here's Dr Bartha in action:
We affirm the determination awarding a divorce to plaintiff on grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. Plaintiff's proof, when viewed cumulatively, established by a preponderance of the credible evidence that defendant had engaged in a course of conduct which was harmful to the plaintiff's physical and mental health, thus rendering cohabitation unsafe or improper (Domestic Relations Law § 170 [1]).

This was not a case of ordinary marital dissatisfaction or even "riotous quarrels" as defendant suggests. Defendant intentionally traumatized plaintiff, a woman of Jewish origin born in Nazi-occupied Holland, with swastika-adorned articles and notes affixed around their home, and became enraged when she removed them. He ignored her need for support and assistance while she was undergoing surgery and treatment for breast cancer (see Siczewicz v Siczewicz, 92 AD2d 915, 916 [1983], appeal dismissed 59 NY2d 968 [1983]). He systematically cut off her access to marital funds and credit as a means of psychological abuse.

What a sweetheart.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

2006 Commencement Address

Stephen Colbert gave the commencement address at Knox College yesterday. It's up in full on the College's website, and it's good:

Colbert's 2006 Commencement Address

One bit:
And when you enter the workforce, you will find competition from those crossing our all-too-poorest borders. Now I know you’re all going to say, “Stephen, Stephen, immigrants built America.” Yes, and here’s the thing—it’s built now. I think it was finished in the 70s sometime. From this point it’s only a touch-up and repair job. Essentially if Congress enacts it, soon English will be the official language of America. Because if we surrender the national anthem, the next thing you know, they’ll be translating the Bible. God wrote it in English for a reason! So it could be taught in our public schools.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Reynolds Ridiculous

Glenn Reynolds, Disgusting.

I'd like to add that if Iraq-war critics were to follow Reynold's logic, then he and his cohorts calling them UnAmerican, moral lepers, etc, etc, ad nauseum -- essentially painting everyone who doesn't slavishly follow Bush a "moral monster" -- then there would be "no point in behaving morally."

And Reynolds would hate them even more, but not see how his own logic justifies it.

I'd certainly never do that, or even find it "uncontrovertibly obvious" as Reynolds does -- because I'm not unAmerican and even George W. Bush with all his many failures can't make me one.

What a moral leper Reynolds is.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bush's Base

I heard David Brooks on PBS Newshour tonight say (in paraphrase) it was commendable that Bush stuck with his principles on immigration, rather than throwing his conservative base red meat by being tougher on enforcement.

That's one way to look at it. But I think what's actually going on is much more obvious: Bush stuck with the his primary constituency: big business and the very rich. They want cheap labor howeve they can get it, and illegal immigrants certainly work cheap.

Any other element of the Republican coalition regularly gets the shaft, but not the wealthy.

  • I'm dubious if there are any real Libertarians who are Bush fans: he's consolidated power in the executive and greatly increased the police power of the government over citizens, not to mention ballooning government's size. They'd have to be masocho-libertarians (or more likely, faux libertarian Republicans like Glenn Reynolds) to stick with him.

  • The hardcore fundie Republicans regularly get bones tossed their way, but he has no fear of sending them packing when the chips are down. Typical of Republican presidents, he won't go to the large DC anti-choice rally, but will make a statement over the phone.

  • The paleocons get dissed regularly too (Foreign entanglements, government size, deficit among his abuse of the Reagan conservative).

I can't really think of a time when he's really stuck it to the very wealthy and business, especially big business, however. And, of course they are his true people:
Bush gazed around the diamond-studded $800-a-plate crowd and commented on the wealth on display.

"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores," quipped the GOP standard-bearer. "Some people call you the elites; I call you my base."
I suppose you could call his stance on immigration standing by his principles. I call it dancing with the one who brung him.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Funny UK Politics

Beginning tonight, BBC America is airing The Thick of It, a political satire -- and a satire about the workings of politics -- that hits the mark.

Narrative political satire hardly exists on American television nowadays. There is a good satirical fake news program (The Daily Show) and a fine fake talk show (The Colbert Report), and some abysmally toothless skits performed on the likes of Saturday Night Live. None of those are really narrative programs about the workings of politics. In 2001 Comedy Central turned Stone and Parker (of South Park) loose to create That's My Bush which featured a dimwitted Texan as President. That show wasn't really about politics -- it was a satire based on the tropes of sitcoms, and nearly incidentally set in the White House. It was fairly dumb and very rarely funny about politics, though occasionally it was worth a laugh for other reasons. You'd have to reach back farther in time to come up with an American TV political satire that is about politics itself and not primarily focused on the media, as was Franken's LateLine.

As for politician satire in movies -- we Americans don't seem to do it very well anymore, either. Bulworth? I couldn't sit through it. Dave? A very bland romantic comedy with some soporific "politics" grafted on. There are many good movies with political themes (here's but one: Citizen Ruth), but few in recent times that poke fun at the general run of politics in D.C.

The Thick of It really is about politics and the people who do politics. It doesn't get laughs with jokey one-liners about how fat this minister is or how stupid that aide is (though plenty of stupidity is displayed). Shot mockumentary style, it follows the workings of a fictional government department in constant hot water with the Prime Minister, his vicious Scottish enforcer, the press, and even members of the public. .

It's the creation of Armando Iannucci, who has had a hand in quite a few funny things (Alan Partridge in various incarnations, On The Hour, and The Day Today, for instance). The cast is a treat, led by the wonderfully befuddled Chris Langham recently of the peculiarly funny series Help! and the magnficient creation that is People Like Us, in both its television and (marginally superior, to me) radio incarnations.

As might be expected, a lot of people compare The Thick of It with the 1980's classic Yes, Minister, another stellar UK political satire. They both are top-notch examples of the sitcom styles of the time applied to politics. They both have more going on than just being laugh-machines. And they develop themes in ways that US sitcoms (even the best ones) don't even attempt to. (Iannucci himself has described Thick as a cross between Yes, Minister and The Larry Sanders Show--which is not a bad description.)

So, Americans with access to BBC America, tune in tonight for the following five Friday nights at 9 pm ET, 10 pm PT for a little something you can't get at home.

I'm praying that BBC America doesn't do it's usual schedule-juggling, which can make watching a series a true headache. But, in this case, it'll be worth it. On the positive side, however, BBC America has a page with links to a slang guide and a glossary. Though each is paltry, they should help us Yanks understand the lingo a little bit better.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

For Thee, Not for Me

President Bush: "'Deadlines are important,' he said. 'Deadlines help people understand there's finality, and people need to get after it, you know?'"

Deadlines: for the little people.

Not for Bush when serving up troops for slaughter in Iraq.

Weighing In

Atrios came up with a list of policies that most Democratic bloggers could support. Uggabugga
does some analysis on it from the (likely) point of view of various breeds of Republicans. Worth a look.

For my part, I find nothing objectionable in Atrios' list. I'd say "yes" to everything, and "Hell yes" to nearly everything. That's from a purely policy perspective. From a political perspective I'm sure I'd have varying opinions about what Democrats should emphasize and de-emphasize, depending on which week you ask.

Finally, Uggabugga closes with a comment I'd like to emphasize:
Setting foreign policy aside, it seems clear from the matrix above that Atrios' List is not radical. That the epithets "far left" and "fanatics" are totally inappropriate for those inclined towards progressive policy positions. That 40% of the nation would support or accept such policies. And that to be even having this discussion shows how much the "center" has moved to the right by commentators, pundits, and hacks
Precisely. That's why bloggers who aren't Republicans get so sick of the conventional wisdom that pundits puke up with such regularity.

No wonder we're pissed off.

Friday, May 05, 2006

There's one thing the Goss resignation confirms

For one of the most important jobs in what he calls the "War on Terror," Bush made a bad apointment. The guy couldn't even last out two years.

There are many other reasons I thought and thing Goss was a bad choice. But a hurried resigation in under two years is one that'd be hard for anyone to argue with.

Goss-titutes, Presstitutes: Same Diff?

Josh Marshall complains about CNN not mentioning important information regarding Porter Goss' resignation.

MSNBC, after interviewing several folks such as Wayne Allard, Dana Priest, and John Harwood (a better lineup than the vacuous TV-newsreader types CNN had ping-ponging vacuities), finally had Norah O'Donnell on.

She first noted that it was hightly unusual for no reason to be given-- not even "to spend time with family" or "health issues." It may come, but usually it's right out front in these announcments. Also, there's no replacement named, which is odd, especially such an important slot in the "War on Terror." Finally, she mentions that it's typical for bad news to be mentioned on Friday afternoon .

Then she gave a discourse on Dusty Foggo and his relationship with Goss.

Way to go Norah. I don't always think she does a great job, but in this case she mentioned the elephant in room. It's sad that this is commendable, but compared to the other dolts bloviating about nothing, it's something.

UPDATE: Now Timmy Russert is on, saying he spoke with a high-level White House source, telling their line. Here's the White House story, according to Russert: Goss has put in important changes, now they think it'd be better to have another person in charge who can "heal" things. Discussions between Goss and Negroponte have been taking place for weeks and the new DCI will be suggested by Negroponte.

Cover story, or the "inside story?" This is precisely the kind of story I wouldn't trust Timmy with. But, he could possibly be right. Hookers could be the explanation, too.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Line-Crossing tells us that
"Colbert crossed the line," said one top Bush aide, who rushed out of the hotel as soon as Colbert finished. Another said that the president was visibly angered by the sharp lines that kept coming.

"I've been there before, and I can see that he is [angry]," said a former top aide. "He's got that look that he's ready to blow."

I'd be interested in hearing what exactly was over the line in Colbert's routine.

I'd bet the real answer is that, for Bush and his gang, any substantive criticism of the President in his presence is over the line.

Making fun of Bush's lamentable vefbal skills is fine--Bush does that himself. Making fun of his policies that actually, you know, kill people and bankrupt the US--horrors!

The bubble wasn't quite intact for 20 minutes or so. Thankfully, Bush went right back to his castle, where his sycophants can tell him how great he is.

One again: bravo, Colbert.

Monday, May 01, 2006

More Colbert

A few more miscellaneous things about the Colbert act.

1) Someone put the C-Span video on, in three parts. It's gone viral, and part one is currently the most viewed video on, with 342,591 views in the day it's been up. [Update: I just checked back after around three hours and now it's been viewed 400,989 times. So that's about sixty thousand views in three hours or less.]

2) In ilne with the above, as James Wolcott notes, it's likely his routine played better on television than in the room. I have a few ideas why that may be the case:

  • The DC politico-tainment nexus is really parochial. For instance, take this bit from Lloyd Grove's column today:
    As for the after-dinner entertainment, the conventional wisdom was that Bush killed with his self-mocking routine — "The President was fantastic," gushed staunch Dem Patricia Duff — while the hired talent, Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert, bombed badly. "It was an insider crowd, as insider a crowd as you'll ever have, and he didn't do the insider jokes," said BET founder Bob Johnson.

    Colbert should have made jokes about how Laura smokes cigarettes, maybe? That's "inside."

    No, they wanted tame jokes about, say, someone's renowned eating habits. They wanted the lame kinds of pabulum jokes that Leno pumps out, or that Bush makes about himself. Faux "insider" stuff that makes them feel part of the club, but which isn't really funny even you are inside-- you laugh at getting the reference that the hoi polloi won't grasp.

    Which is a good example of the cocktail weenie thinking of these dolts, and why we're in such a state today. There are somethings that the public shouldn't really care to know. Unless Patrick Fitzgerald calls them to testify, we'll never know the backchannel bullshit that goes on which keeps reporters plugged in to their sources.

    So Colbert, by not playing to that fake insider bullshit, talked to the folks at home more than the tuxedoed masses in the room. And the ones who haven't drunk the Bush Koolaid by and large find Colbert funny.

  • At the end of Hardball today, Mike Allen of Time magazine said that the rule for comedy at these things is they're meant to "singe, not burn." And Matthews said (on the first airing -- it was excised on the 7 p.m. repeat) that the president is more than a politician -- he's the head of state, indicating that Bush deserved more respect.

    But Colbert didn't make fun of Bush's pecadillos (Bush does that, after all). He lacerated his governing style, his failures and the assistance given to these failures by the attendant media. Of course they're not going to like that.

3) The reaction to Colbert points to the overall tameness of what passes for political comedy these days. The line that Leno, Letterman and Conan take on Bush is that he's not o bright and he can't speak. 90 percent of the jokes are about that, and that's not political humor. It's the equivalent of making fat jokes about Pavarotti: a punch line is supposed to be funny merely because it makes the point that Pavarotti is fat, or Bush isn't bright. That vein of comedy was thoroughly mined even before Bush's first year in office.

Get it? Bush doesn't speak fluently! Bwahahahahahahahah! Hilarious.

But that's the kind of toothless "humor" that passes for political satire nowadays. Anything that actually gets into politics, rather than personal traits, is somehow out of bounds to these people.

It's so toothless that Bush uses it about himself. And the crowd laps it up.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Colbert in DC

I've read quite a bit of commentary on Stephen Colbert's act before the White House Correspondent's Dinner. I'm not surprised that the most doctrinaire Bush-supporters seemed to find it unfunny. But the vituperation from Lucianne Goldberg (calling him a "psychopath" and a "coward" among other things) indicates that the jokes weren't entirely lost on them.

There seems to be a consensus that Colbert didn't get a lot of laughs. I'm not sure about that, since these things are miked so you can't really hear the room noise. Maybe the people in the peanut gallery were enthusiastic. Bush did get laughs for his toothless routine with an impersonator-- but people generally laugh at the boss' jokes, and his routine was fairly well crafted by his writing team.

Colbert is a strange creature to be appearing at such an event. Usually when people think of after-dinner speakers, they think of what is essentially standup comedy. Setup. Punch line. Repeat endlessly.

I doubt Colbert has done much, if any, standup comedy. He has come out of the improv comedy world, which has a different ethos. Even more important than getting laughs is creating a world, fully inhabiting it and committing to it, and exploring that world to uncover new angles to it. The laughs are almost incidental.

Colbert has committed to his world in a way that few of his ilk manage. He becomes his faux-Colbert rightwing tubthumper, and virtually never surfaces out of character.

Quite a few of the jokes he delivered were funny (to me at least) when abstracted from his persona. But, if you're in on the character, they're even funnier. Gestures and asides become more meaningful. For instance, Shakespeare's Sister comments:
Throughout the entire thing, he would periodically look evenly at Bush, holding his gaze and addressing him directly as “Mr. President.” Bush looked back at him with a face of stone (save for one time when Colbert flubbed a set-up). Standing in front of a room full of people who didn’t, couldn’t, laugh, letting them have it with everything he’s got, sweating bullets, Colbert would look dead at Bush and never blink.

Now that's committing to a character!

I've come to appreciate Colbert's skill since I've been watching The Colbert Report. I believe the only time I've seen him completely emerge from character on that show is when he busted out laughing at the compound name (a la "Branjelina") for the couple of Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy: Filliam H. Muffman. For a few seconds, he was laughing as Stephen Colbert, not the "Stephen Colbert" character. Even then, his real self was revealed not by words, but by laughter.

I loved his Correspondent's Dinner bit. Here is a roundup of blog commentary. Watch it via or download it via torrent.

On other thing from Lucianne's commentary, pointed out by Glenn Greenwald. Lucianne wrote:
Steve Colbert was utterly disgusting. . . He was rude, snarky and unpatriotic toward the President and First Lady."

You can't be unpatriotic to the President and certainly not to the First Lady. They are not America.

It's also, of course, highly ironic that Lucianne thinks pointing out the weaknesses of the President s "unpatriotic," considering her history with Bill Clinton. I suppose her apparent obliviousness to irony may help explain her reaction to Colbert.

For a visit to an alternate planet, check out the Free Republic thread documenting their responose to the Dinner. Including this gem:
t's so hard to remember these people aren't be ironic! example: I suppose you're right. He wasn't trying to be funny. He was taking the opportunity of being face to face with one of the greatest, kindest, most loving men on earth to shoot arrows of evil at him.

In stead of being angry with Colbert last night, I should have been praying for the spiritual protection of the President and First Lady.

I confess that I didn't think of that until later, when I did pray that any wounds they may have received would be healed.

God bless them both, and protect them from the attacks of the Evil One!
The great thing about that thread is that it's full of statements like that: words which Colbert could say in character and the very same people would, I presume, find them repugnant.

I laugh at that kind of thing whether it's from the Freeper freaks or from Colbert's mouth--though there's a meta-laugh when it comes from Colbert. Free Republic is like a ready-made idea factory for Colbert.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another Worthy Charity

Juan Cole of Informed Comment has set up a foundation that will translate books important to American thought and history into Arabic. It's shocking how few English-language books are available in Arabic.

Since we're in a battle of ideas, perhaps proliferating our ideas will bear more fruit than merely proliferating our weapons systems.

Read about the Foundation here, and contribute if you can.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On Bush's Watch

Before we move onto what should be done about it, let's take a moment just to reflect.

Iran says it joins 'countries with nuclear technology'

Yet another major foreign policy catastrophe, thanks to George W. Bush.

Is there a single thing besides winning elections that Bush and crew can do right? It sure seems that "winning is the only thing" is true of the Republicans--it's the only thing they can do.

Unfortunately, everything else they touch they screw up, and leave America worse off.

Even some honest Republicans admit it. From the National Review Online:
"I voted for President Bush twice, and contributed to his campaign twice, but held my nose when I did it the second time. I don't consider myself a Republican any longer. Thanks to this Administration and the Republicans in Congress, the Republican Party today is the party of pork-barrel spending, Congressional corruption — and, I know folks on this web site don't want to hear it, but deep down they know it's true — foreign and military policy incompetence. " , I think this Administration is the most politically and substantively inept that the nation has had in over a quarter of a century. The good news about it, as far as I'm concerned, is that it's almost over.
Unfortunately for the United States, the disasters this Administration can reap for us in three years is unimaginable.

A Conservative government: rule by crazed idiots.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Manon Ossevoort - Op de tractor naar de Zuidpool en terug?

On a BBC World report from Sudan just a minute ago, I heard the reporter describe the horrible poverty in a village.

Later, when the reporter was on the road, he saw the strangest sight he'd ever seen, he said. A blonde girl on a tractor surrounded by Sudanese locals. She is a Dutch woman named Manon, and she's traveling by tractor from her home country, through the Balkans, down to Egypt, and to the southern tip of Africa. There she plans to somehow hitch a ride to the Antarctic and then to the South pole. She's collecting scraps of paper with "dreams" from people she meets on her journey, which she will carry to the bottom of the globe.

Here is what I must presume is her website, in English:
Manon Ossevoort - Op de tractor naar de Zuidpool en terug?

I don't have high hopes for her journey but I admire her sweet and gentle lunacy. Good luck Manon.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Funny Flight

BBC7 is airing Flight of the Conchords, a screamingly funny rendering of the London exploits of one of New Zealand's two or three best acoustic folk comedy duos, namely Flight of the Conchords. Funny songs and funny stories, aired originally on Radio 4 not long ago.

It's free! Check the BBC Radio Player - Audio on Demand late every Monday (the files stay up for 7 days afterwards) for the next six weeks.

One of the best recent comedies on BBC radio.

You may have seen Flight of the Conchords playing their songs live in person, on HBO, or in other television venues. Funny guys. Also, you may wonder why a New Zealander is doing Outback Steak House commercials in the US. Gotta keep the livestock in bling, probably.


Quagwalk: That's Been the Plan All Along!

Cheney speaks!
Interview Dick Cheney, NBC, "Meet the Press," Transcript for March 16, 2003: "MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators."

He qualifies it a little in the remaining answer, but it's pretty clear that on the eve of the war, Cheney and his administration are either not thinking one bit about insurgency and civil war (which would be incompetent), or if they're thinking about it, they're hiding the likelihood of an insurgency from the American people (which would be misleading and dishonest, though not technically a bald-faced lie--more like a pellet-in-the-face lie).

Such is the hard-won reputation of Bush and his administration as either incompetents, liars, or idiots. It's one or the other, but one just can't be sure.

As it turns out, Bush's true plan, revealed in his press conference today, is for his successors to clean up his mess. And since he now claims the following:
Secondly, I am confident -- or I believe I'm optimistic -- we'll succeed. If not, I'd pull our troops out. If I didn't believe we had a plan for victory, I wouldn't leave our people in harm's way. And that's important for the woman to understand.

I guess whatever he does is his "plan," no matter how half-assed and wrong it is proven to be, and over and over our soldiers are buffetted by events that Bush can't even comprehend.

Reuters AlertNet - Swedish foreign minister resigns over cartoons

I don't know Swedish laws or mores, but just from what's in this Reuters dispatch, I'm glad this woman lost her job:
Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds quit on Tuesday after a row over the closure of a Web site with cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, embarrassing Prime Minister Goran Persson six months ahead of elections.


But she was forced to resign when it was revealed this week that she had not given full information about her role in the closure of a site belonging to a far-right political party which published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad offensive to Muslims.

Idiocy is a global phenomenon.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bush: One-Way Loyalty

I've long said that Bush's reputation for loyalty is undeserved -- he demands loyalty but does not return it.

Nice to see that even some relatively honest conservatives believe it too. From Bruce Bartlett, writing to Andrew Sullivan.

I disagree with your characterization of Bush as being famously loyal — a view so widely stated that you can be excused for repeating it. Bush is loyal ONLY to toadies, suck-ups and sycophants. Anyone who shows an ounce of independence — or loyalty to the country above loyalty to him — is punished or dispensed with. You mention Paul O'Neill, but a better example is Larry Lindsey. [....] As I say in my book, loyalty with Bush is strictly a one-way street: total loyalty is demanded, but none is ever really offered in return.

This has been apparent for years. Too bad it wasn't written by Sullivan or any other conserva-blogger when it would have mattered.

Typically, Sullivan misses the point. Bush is disloyal to others, and there are enforcers to make life miserable for those who are not totally loyal to him. Sullivan thinks Bush is a "nice guy." I'm sure Shinsecki, Lindsey, O'Neill,et al don't think the bullshit that happened to them is "nice."

Sullivan really is a tool.

Don't forget that Bush has kept Karl Rove, who loves to slime opponents -- including falsely insiuating pedophilia (how does one do that nicely?) in a Alabama judgeship race, that GW Bush was an enforcer for his father, and that Bush was a protege of Lee Atwater, another classic republican slimer (who tried to repent on his deathbed).

You know him by the company he keeps for decades. Not a nice guy.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Straw Man Bush

From the Associated Press:
Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches
When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows.

The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position.

He typically then says he "strongly disagrees" — conveniently knocking down a straw man of his own making.

Bush routinely is criticized for dressing up events with a too-rosy glow. But experts in political speech say the straw man device, in which the president makes himself appear entirely reasonable by contrast to supposed "critics," is just as problematic.

AP notices this only about six years too late.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit: Not only a Hack, but Diametrically Wrong

Glenn Reynolds, amazingly a Law Professor at University of Tennesse, warblogger, and now author of a book about blogging, wrote the following a while back-in April 2003 when many had died but GW Bush was still riding high:

Yeah, there has been a lot of pro-war gloating. And I guess that Dawn Olsen's cautionary advice about gloating is appropriate. So maybe we shouldn't rub in just how wrong, and morally corrupt the antiwar case was. Maybe we should rise above the temptation to point out that claims of a "quagmire" were wrong -- again! -- how efforts at moral equivalence were obscenely wrong -- again! -- how the antiwar folks are still, far too often, trying to move the goalposts rather than admit their error -- again -- and how an awful lot of the very same people who spoke lugubriously about "civilian casualties" now seem almost disappointed that there weren't more -- again -- and how many people who spoke darkly about the Arab Street and citizens rising up against American "liberators" were proven wrong -- again -- as the liberators were seen as just that by the people they were liberating. And I suppose we shouldn't stress so much that the antiwar folks were really just defending the interests of French oil companies and Russian arms-deal creditors. It's probably a bad idea to keep rubbing that point in over and over again.


Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit and somehow a law professor, wrote that in April 2003.

Bush screwed up abjectly despite Reynold's pom-pom waving. Too bad people had to die in the many thousands despite Reynolds' cheerleading.

Of course, Glenn did not sign up to die in IED or mortar fire. Glenn just wanted to InstaEnjoy the InstaWar he was InstaCheering for.

Yay! That was so good in 2003! Yay!

I wonder who is now, in 2006, moving the goalposts from Glenn's Instapundit's emphatic triumphalism of 2003.

Reynolds is a libertarian, so he says. Read the above and sniff out his magnificent libertarianism.

Discourse like Reynold's has made the term "Libertarian" kind of like "psychic:" It mainly denotes a pathetic form of bullshitting.


Explanation for Hiatus

The blog has been a bit slow recently. We've been burned out and exhausted.

Surely just a couple more five-week long vacations at the ranch and Bush will no longer be an incompetent, lying idiot.

Source: Pew Poll Mar 15, 2006

HTML / Text version, which Blogger had difficulty accepting despite my labor texting and HTMLing that image, resides here. Thanks and links will be appreciated.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Some Comment

Searching for something else on IMDB, I ran across the most evocative comment I've seen there recently. It's for the movie Brilliant (2004), with Ereka Eleniak and Bruce Boxleitner. I'll reproduce the comment in full below -- I won't be surprised if it disappears from IMDB.
Hopefully it never gets released, 21 December 2005
1/10 rating
Author: magwell-1 from A remote cabin in the wilderness

I was a crew member of this film. Apart from the fact that the crew were ripped off for our last week's salary and had to endure the daily wrath of a psychotic director, I can only say that the film doesn't deserve to see the light of day and should be left to rot in a vault for eternity. Yes, it's a hack job all the way, so be thankful that it currently sits in limbo, unreleased, due to the fact that producer, Bill Mariani owes money to suppliers and crew members all over town. How they managed to lure Erika Eleniak and Bruce Boxleitner into appearing is a mystery. Mariani probably burned them as well. By the way, ignore the credit for Carmelo Caruna as one of the "producers" of this film. He was just a front for Mariani so suppliers wouldn't go after him for debts owed from the last film he produced, the equally awful Samhain.

It could be false, but I tend to believe it. If so, can't blame the guy for venting a bit.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Chris Matthews: Idiot and Jerk

Thanks to the people who set up Open Letter To Chris Matthews.

Matthews is not outright Foxian, but he's even worse in a way. Everyone knows the people on Fox are already in the tank for the Republicans. Matthews may fool some dolts into thinking he's actually fair and balanced.

I used to be able to stomach the guy. He was always dimwitted and shallow as a petri dish, but he'd at least occasionally have someone on who wouldn't just parrot the same bullshit.

Then I just got tired of him:

  • having right-wingers such as Pat Buchanan or Byron York on at the same panel as impartial reporters, so the wingers could spin the hell out of whatever the reporters said, and it could pass unrebutted.
  • being too stupid to catch the details of whatever topic he was dealing with. If it is more complicated than his gut could interpret, he is lost.
  • downplaying the Abramoff scandal and trying to make it seem that Delay and Abramoff were just doing what Democrats were doing. That really pissed me off. He's apparently still pulling that idiocy.
  • being so singularly obsessed with Hillary Clinton, and always negatively. He treats her as an object of derision both for herself and as a facet of the Democratis party. which he obviously doesn't like either. He's really got a hardon for Hillary -- it got so I couldn't watch the show without him bringing her up in all kinds of ridiculous associations. I don't want her to be the nominee in 2008, but I manage to spend whole weeks without thinking of Hillary Clinton. Matthews can't manage that.

All that and many other things finally got me to turn him off. I used to like to watch Matthews to lead into Olbermann. But no more. I turn off the TV or watch CNN (Blitzer isn't much better but at least he's not bloviating idiotically about politics all the time) rather than listen to Matthews' hydrocephalic obsessions.

Matthews really is borderline retarded. I could deal with that if he weren't an asshole on top of it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Texting The Iraq War

Iraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure

Oval Office

You are standing inside a White House, having just been elected to the presidency of the United States. You knew Scalia would pull through for you.

There is a large desk here, along with a few chairs and couches. The presidential seal is in the middle of the room and there is a full-length mirror upon the wall.

It's hilarious.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Crisco Caper, Redux

Ministers Consecrate Alito Hearing Room

Wow. "Consecrating" and anointing with oil a room in the Hart Building to be used for Alito's hearing.

Of course, that freakish troll Pat Mahoney -- of Operatoin Rescue and the Terri Schiavo idiocy -- is involved.

It gives me a chance to quote a relevant poem.

Pointy Birds

Oh pointy birds
Pointy pointy
Anoint my head
Anointy Nointy.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Funny Sad

Rough paraphrase of John Dean on Al Franken's radio show just now.

"If Nixon had Bush's lawyers, they would have taken the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and said it gave him authority to break into the Watergate."

It would be funny if it weren't true.

Bill "Sixty Percent" O'Reilly

Sixty Percent: Sounds good to me.

Thanks, Waas.

As for video referred to, check here.
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