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Slightly Used Snark

  • 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002
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  • Monday, September 30, 2002


    Back in the saddle with Andy

    Just when I thought I was done with Sully tonight he comes up with this:

    Above all, Torricelli's exit unfairly denies the voters a chance to punish him. Such votes are a critical part of the political system. They help cleanse the electoral palette, they allow the body politic to make a formal statement about what matters, and they drive the point home by humiliating the ethically challenged. Torricelli's final, cynical move is of a piece with his entire career. It's a scam and a duck. This time, surely New Jersey's courts shouldn't let him get away with it.

    Earlier today, Joe Conason had this to say:

    Just four days ago, Republican senatorial candidate Douglas Forrester demanded that Bob Torricelli step down. "Mr. Torricelli has disgraced himself and New Jersey," he said. "The people of New Jersey deserve better. I reiterate my call for Mr. Torricelli to resign his office and apologize to the people of New Jersey." But before Torricelli decided to follow his rival's advice, Forrester's friends began whining.

    "This is a cynical attempt by party bosses to manipulate democracy," cried the executive director of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee." In other words, they've suddenly realized that the Torch's resignation would allow Gov. Jim McGreevey to name a new Democratic senator -- who would probably beat Forrester in a special election. Some people are just never satisfied.

    If Andy had bothered to just read Conason's comments written for Salon (which also, for some unknown reason gives Sully a check) earlier in the day, he probably wouldn't have made such a fool of himself. Then again, he probably would...he is Andy Sullivan afterall.

    posted by tbogg at 9:50 PM



    There's idiots, useful idiots, and then there is Sullivan

    Looks like Andy Sullivan has his knickers in a twist...again. Now it's those pesky Congressmen who were actually elected instead of selected. Let's listen in:

    WHOSE SIDE ARE THEY ON?: Congressman Jim McDermott has just accused president (sic) Bush of wilfully (sic) lying to the American people about national security threats from Saddam or Al Qaeda. He said this not on the floor of the House or in his district - but in Baghdad, the capital city of a despot who is on the brink of war with the United States. At a time when the U.S. government is attempting some high-level diplomatic maneuvers in the U.N., when Saddam is desperate for any propaganda ploy he can muster, these useful idiots play his game. I think what we're seeing now is the hard-core base of the Democratic Party showing its true colors, and those colors, having flirted with irrelevance and then insouciance are now perilously close to treason.

    This is the story that harshed Andy's mellow:

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 — Democratic congressmen who are visiting Iraq this week stirred up anger among some Republicans when they questioned the reasons President Bush has used to justify possible military action against Iraq.

    One of the congressmen, Representative Jim McDermott of Washington State, said today that he thought President Bush was willing "to mislead the American people" about whether the war was needed and that the administration had gone back and forth between citing supposed links between Iraq and the terrorist network Al Qaeda and Iraq's supposed attempts to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

    Andy then continues in high dudgeon:

    So at a crucial juncture in American diplomacy, this Democrat is saying that Bush is a liar and a cheat - and in Baghdad! The only word for this is vile. Then there's David Bonior, formerly second-ranking Democrat in the House, who said the following: "We've got to move forward in a way that's fair and impartial. That means not having the United States or the Iraqis dictate the rules to these inspections." Let's be clear here. This guy is saying that we should be neutral between the demands of the United States and Iraq over weapons inspections. Neutral. Between his own country and a vicious military despot with weapons of mass destruction, Bonior cautions neutrality. It seems to me that in the coming elections, this has to be a key issue. Do you want to elect Congressmen who are neutral between Iraq and the U.S. or those who would always put the interests of the U.S. first? Now that the Democrats have upped the ante in this way, I see no reason why the Republicans cannot call them on it.

    Shall we deconstruct Andy's little screed? Oh, lets!:

    Andy:Congressman Jim McDermott has just accused president Bush of wilfully lying to the American people about national security threats from Saddam or Al Qaeda.

    Looks like the International Atomic Energy Agency begs to differ. Guess it was just a mistake in the Cliff Notes that Condi prepared for him...or Bush lied.

    Andy:He said this not on the floor of the House or in his district - but in Baghdad, the capital city of a despot who is on the brink of war with the United States.

    Actually, it looks like the Bush is on the brink of war with Iraq, not the other way around. I haven't heard Saddam threatening "regime change" in the US. If he did, I'm sure the papers would have mentioned it.

    Andy:At a time when the U.S. government is attempting some high-level diplomatic maneuvers in the U.N.

    Bush: Either you go with us or we are gonna go anyway. Yup, sounds "high level diplomatic" to me.

    Andy:I think what we're seeing now is the hard-core base of the Democratic Party showing its true colors, and those colors, having flirted with irrelevance and then insouciance are now perilously close to treason.

    Now as I understand the word "insouciance", it means a lack of concern or being nonchalant. I wouldn't think that three American Congressmen would travel to the country of "a vicious military despot with weapons of mass destruction" if they weren't concerned that the a lying President was willing to start World War III just because some guy "tried to kill my dad". So we will have to deny Andy this point also. Sorry.

    Andy:"We've got to move forward in a way that's fair and impartial. That means not having the United States or the Iraqis dictate the rules to these inspections." Let's be clear here. This guy is saying that we should be neutral between the demands of the United States and Iraq over weapons inspections. Neutral. Between his own country and a vicious military despot with weapons of mass destruction, Bonior cautions neutrality.

    No. Bonior is making the point that the UN and not the US should dictate the rules of engagement. If it were up to this administration, Iraq would already be a US colony called either East Texas or Exxonistan. Oh yes, and we still have no proof of weapons of mass destruction except for what President Cowardly Lyin' is telling us.

    Andy: It seems to me that in the coming elections, this has to be a key issue. Do you want to elect Congressmen who are neutral between Iraq and the U.S. or those who would always put the interests of the U.S. first?

    BZZZT. Strawman! Shouldn't the choice be between those who want to send somebody else's kids off to die for oil and "daddy vengeance" or for someone who wants to be a partner in the world community and not just run around blowing shit up because they can?

    So I would say that Andy didn't do so well today. He did manage an approximation of the shrill level of shrieking hysteria that was set by Chickenhawk Michael Kelly, but that is a benchmark that is almost, shall we say, Coulterian. Let's give him a D+ with markdowns for misspellings and for misapplying "insouciance".

    For Andy's next assignment::

    Jim McDermott (D- Former Lt. Commander, US Navy Medical Corp),

    Mike Thompson (D- Viet Nam Vet from 173rd Airborne, awarded the Purple Heart)

    David Bonior (D- US Air Force)

    George W Bush (R- Deserted from the Texas Air National Guard)

    Dick Cheney (R-Had other priorities)

    Compare and contrast.

    ...and remember...show work.

    posted by tbogg at 7:20 PM



    I'm not stupid...but I play a stupid person on the web

    Micky Kaus, who apparently can't imagine anything that might happen beyond, oh say, lunch today, thinks that Matthew Miller is being overly "cynical". I think that Kaus is being overly obtuse. Kaus, quoting Miller:

    Many Republicans think these trends favor Democrats, too. That's why George W. Bush, learning the lesson of Newt Gingrich, has always pretended to have a "compassionate" agenda. But Republican political consultants privately know the surest way to stem the Democratic drift is for the war on terror to become the master narrative of American politics. [Emphasis added.]

    Kaus then says:

    What's interesting are the implications of this super-cynical view (which I do not necessarily share!) for the Iraq question.. Specifically, if Bush wants to use the terrorism issue to help his own reelection in 2004 (and not just to win the mid-term elections this November) will he invade Iraq in January, as many conservative commentators hope and expect? The answer is no. If a January Iraq invasion were successful, it would probably be over too soon to help Bush in 2004 -- and Saddam Hussein's fall would open up the dangerous possibility that the nation's attention would quickly shift back to domestic issues on which Democrats have the edge. .... No, unless Bush is planning to invade Korea and Iran after Iraq, the optimal cynical strategy for maintaining anti-terrorism as the "master narrative of American politics" would seem to require Bush, once the midterms were safely over, to keep delaying the Iraq invasion for a year or two, so that the real military crisis comes closer to the next presidential election..... In other words, to the extent that Bush is the purely cynical, self-interested dog-wagger that some Democrats (not me!) charge, he can't also be the irresponsible cowboy who is going to rush into war in January. It's not in his political interest.

    Kaus seems a little slow on the uptake, in that he disregards General Karl's Power Point presentation (Election by War for Dummies) as well as the latest Bush doctrine which, in it's short form, says: "we can blow up anyone who might somehow, someday be able to blow us up". Using this as a starting point allows Bush, like a distracted child, to move from one conflict (Afghanistan) to another (Iraq) because it's newer and shinier. At one point the goal was getting Osama (remember him?), then it was getting the Taliban which we did, more or less (although tracking down Mullah Omar has become a bit of a problem too). Now, like a child discarding a broken toy, the adminstration thinks that they have done enough in Afghanistan and wants something newer and still in the shrinkwrap. This is called lowering the bar, or in Bush's case, "the soft bigotry of lowered expectations". Bush gives himself a "gentleman's C" and is ready to move on. In Bush's world there are many "terrarists" which means that we may have actions against Iran, Libya, Sudan, oh hell pick a country. I'm sure with recent developments Bush may want to put Germany or California in play.

    So President Cartman can start on Iraq sometime next year. Then at the beginning of 2004 (because an evildoer-destroyers work is never done... just ask Batman) he can pick on some other little country that Condi chooses for him (which will never, ever, ever be Saudi Arabia) and he can come up with some more "intelligence" about the evil that men do in that Country of the Month Club.

    Kaus forgets that a Bush only does well politically when he is at war fighting evil. Everything else requires complex thinking and planning which just isn't a strength of a Bush... or Kaus for that matter.

    posted by tbogg at 12:39 PM



    A lesson in ad hominems

    I guess San Diego Union Insight Editor Robert Caldwell missed that day at journalism school when they covered hypocrisy. From his Sunday column:

    Gore's case, in striking contrast, is sloppily assembled and patently political, complete with applause lines and leaden sarcasm. Indeed, it is much more an ad hominem, mean-spirited political assault on Bush than a detailed deconstruction of the president's Iraq policy

    Let's see what Caldwell had to say about Gore:

    Then came Al Gore, lurching left in a soft-on-Saddam speech

    Gore's case, in striking contrast, is sloppily assembled and patently political, complete with applause lines and leaden sarcasm


    Next, Gore cheap shots Bush

    Gore ridicules Bush for disparaging "nation building," then tosses off an applause line

    Who's politicizing the Iraq debate now? A performance this cheap should be beneath the dignity of a former vice president. It's a gross disservice to America for Gore to stride onto a public stage and then savage the president amid a mounting international crisis.

    No doubt about who is the stateman here and who the shabby politician.

    What Caldwell passes on is making the distinction between Gore giving a speech to a group while Blair had to go before Parliament and lay out the case for war to get their support (the fact that Blair pretty much flopped seems to have eluded Caldwell). It's also instructive that Caldwell does not compare Gore's speech with President Cartman's speech before the UN that was so taxing he slumped into a chair like he had just fought ten rounds and couldn't find his cornerman.

    If Caldwell wants a real debate on Iraq, why not call for one between Gore and Bush. Hell, they could put it on Pay Per View. I'd watch that.

    Email Caldwell to let him know what you think.

    posted by tbogg at 9:13 AM



    Gimmee an S-H-U-T Gimmee a U-P What's that spell? Not you George...

    Trent Lott, ever the cheerleader steps up and defends President Cartman from those mean old Democrats:

    -- A congressman who questioned U.S. efforts to link Iraq to the al Qaeda terrorist network should "come home and keep his mouth shut," Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott said Sunday.

    Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington, who is one of three House members visiting Iraq to urge Iraqi officials to avert war by allowing U.N. weapons inspectors back in, has acted irresponsibly, Lott said.

    "For him to be in Baghdad, the center of one of the most dangerous dictators in the world, with all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, to be questioning the veracity of our own American president, is the height of irresponsible," said Lott, R-Mississippi. "He needs to come home and keep his mouth shut."


    "Why do they keep coming back to this issue and keep trying to hook the Iraqis into that?" McDermott asked on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer." "My question really is, why do they want the regime change? I would much rather have disarmament here. And what they're doing is really setting up to throw out Saddam Hussein."

    McDermott went further in an interview with ABC's "This Week." "I think the president would mislead the American people," he said.

    That would be Jim McDermott (D- Former Lt. Commander, US Navy Medical Corp), who was joined by Mike Thompson (D- Viet Nam Vet from 173rd Airborne, awarded the Purple Heart) that Trent wants to deny First Amendment rights to. They served their country and fought for freedom while Trent was turning cartwheels in Oxford, Mississippi.

    posted by tbogg at 8:44 AM


    Sunday, September 29, 2002


    ...and this is your new roommate, Grandpa Simpson

    Independent UK reports:

    The United States and a number of Arab countries have drawn up plans for the exile of Saddam Hussein to a neutral country to avoid an invasion that could lead to massive number of civilian deaths.

    Planners in the Near East division of the US State Department have looked at various scenarios under which the Iraqi president would cede power to a democratic government and then leave the country. President Saddam has angrily dismissed such suggestions – made to him by third parties.

    Apparently Saddam was amenable to this prior to the Bush administration, but then his 401(k) went to shit.

    posted by tbogg at 12:27 PM



    Well, Operation Afghan Hearts and Minds is going well...so, can we attack Iraq now?

    Time reports:

    One afternoon in August, a U.S. Special Forces A team knocked at the door of a half-ruined mud compound in the Shahikot Valley. The servicemen were taking part in Operation Mountain Sweep, a weeklong hunt for Qaeda and Taliban fugitives in eastern Afghanistan.

    THE MAN OF THE HOUSE, an elderly farmer, let the Americans in as soon as his female relatives had gone to a back room, out of the gaze of strange men. Asked if there were any weapons in the house, the farmer proudly showed them his only firearm, a hunting rifle nearly a century old. When the team had finished searching, carefully letting the women stay out of sight, the farmer served tea. The Americans thanked him and walked toward the next house.

    They didn’t get far before the team’s captain looked back. Six paratroopers from the 82d Airborne, also part of Mountain Sweep, were lined up outside the farmer’s house, preparing to force their way in. “I yelled at them to stop,” says the captain, “but they went ahead and kicked in the door.” The farmer panicked and tried to run, and one of the paratroopers slammed him to the ground. The captain raced back to the house. Inside, he says, other helmeted soldiers from the 82d were attempting to frisk the women. By the time the captain could order the soldiers to leave, the family was in a state of shock. “The women were screaming bloody murder,” recalled the captain, asking to be identified simply as Mike. “The guy was in tears. He had been completely dishonored.”

    Okay, so we didn't learn anything from Viet Nam...

    posted by tbogg at 12:02 PM


    Saturday, September 28, 2002


    Newsflash!!! Hitchens to leave The Nation...real nation replies, "Who is Hitchens and why should we care?"

    So, drunken has-been "journalist" Chris Hitchens is leaving The Nation. BFD...stop the presses...zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    When you consider that the late Barbara Olson's last book was the prophetic The Final Days, would it be fair to assume that Hitch is leaving because there's No One Left To Lie To?

    posted by tbogg at 11:11 PM



    The Goddess, Ann Telnaes....

    No editorial cartoonist in the country quite captures George W Harkenbush and Dick Cheneyburton like she does.

    and Jeff Danziger provides Ann Coulter with some national exposure.

    posted by tbogg at 10:56 PM



    C'mon...do it. You know you want to....

    Punch the Doughboy

    Who says the Internet is a vast wasteland?

    posted by tbogg at 9:00 PM



    Novocaine for the soul


    posted by tbogg at 8:58 PM



    Getting off the political beat....

    I can't say enough good things about a Songs About Jane by neo-soul band Maroon 5. (Careful ...if you're at work...the link has sound). Great musicianship as well as vocals that fall somewhere between Stevie Wonder (when he was good) and Mick Hucknall. In fact this is the band that we hoped Simply Red would become, before they went smarmy. Harder To Breathe is one of the the "hookiest" songs I've heard in years.

    ...and let's not forget Aimee Mann's Lost in Space. As Elvis Costello has gotten older and mushier, Mann has stepped up as one of the smartest songwriters working.

    Hey. I gotta listen to something while I'm sitting here getting snarky...

    posted by tbogg at 8:42 PM



    Dead man's revenge

    Maybe it wasn't such a good thing for John Ashcroft to lose to a dead man in 2000. Oh sure, I know that this would mean that the Republicans would probably still have control of the Senate (although Lincoln Chaffee is looking mighty skittish). But then you read this by Dahlia Lithwick, and you wonder just how much damage that crazy Crisco-annointing, hymn-singing, repressed Jesus huckster can do as Attorney General.

    As Frank Rich points out in this excellent column:

    While the administration says yes, the factual backup is again fuzzy. Certainly it's hard to be reassured by anything said or done by John Ashcroft, who in May 2001 testified to the Senate that "our No. 1 goal is the prevention of terrorist acts." We now know that he was just putting us on. On Sept. 10, 2001, he refused a F.B.I. budget request to add 149 field agents, 200 analysts and 54 translators to its counterterrorism effort. He did so despite the fact, unearthed by Congressional investigators, that the F.B.I. then had only one analyst monitoring Al Qaeda.

    The attorney general drives liberals crazy with his assaults on civil liberties, but we do have courts to sort that out (as they are already doing). What's truly frightening about Mr. Ashcroft is his incompetence. Even as we learned this week that the Justice Department's prosecutors are so sloppy that they mistakenly turned over 48 classified F.B.I. reports to Zacarias Moussaoui, Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker that the attorney general may have blown our chance to get useful Qaeda information out of Mr. Moussaoui by mismanaging his prosecution.

    Add that to Lithwick's column, and what we already know about the Padilla case, the New Orleans hookers, offensive statuary, his assault to Right to Die in Oregon, and you have to ask yourself, what can be done to stop this crazy bastard?

    I wonder how Russ Feingold sleeps these days?


    posted by tbogg at 6:01 PM


    Friday, September 27, 2002


    Trent's got a Lotta 'splainin' to do

    Senator Mark Dayton weighs in:

    After Saddam Hussein bounced U.N. inspectors in January 1998, then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said on Feb. 12: "I had hoped that we could get to the point where we could pass a resolution this week on Iraq. But we really developed some physical problems, if nothing else. . . . So we have decided that the most important thing is not to move so quickly but to make sure that we have had all the right questions asked and answered and that we have available to us the latest information about what is . . . happening with our allies in the world.

    "The Senate is known for its deliberate actions. And the longer I stay in the Senate, the more I have learned to appreciate it. It does help to give us time to think about the potential problems and the risks and the ramifications and to, frankly, press the administration."

    The Republican-controlled Senate took five more months to pass a resolution that year, and it did not authorize President Clinton to use military force. After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, the Senate also deliberated five months before authorizing what became the Persian Gulf War.

    Hey. I like this Dayton guy...

    posted by tbogg at 10:41 PM



    Virtual Karen Hughes speech writing site..sans her sumptuously androgynous ass

    Now you too can write Presidentin' speechifying....

    A big thanks to Cliff for this one. You da man...

    posted by tbogg at 10:03 PM



    I don't remember signing up for the cult of personality

    Arundhati Roy points out that opposing Bush isn't necessarily being un-American.

    posted by tbogg at 9:53 PM



    Chuck and duck

    Charles Krauthammer, not to be out-blustered my Michael "Goddamit! Kill someone" Kelly, comes in late, but no less rabid, on President in Exile Al Gore's speech:

    A pudding with no theme but much poison. Such was the foreign policy speech Al Gore delivered in San Francisco on Monday. It was a disgrace -- a series of cheap shots strung together without logic or coherence. Most of all, it was brazen. It was delivered as if there had been no Clinton-Gore administration, no 1990s.


    Gore should be careful about leveling charges about presidents getting combat-happy to distract attention from other problems. Yet what is most remarkable about Gore's speech is that for all its poison, it is profoundly unserious. Take Gore's repeated characterization of the Bush policy on postwar Afghanistan as "this doctrine of wash your hands and walk away."

    then he finishes with this

    One can argue either way, but the burden of proof is on those urging the more onerous and risky MacArthur regency. If Gore were a serious man he would make the case. But he doesn't. He doesn't even try to. He is too thin. And too cynical.

    The New York Times reports that Gore wrote the speech "after consulting a fairly far-flung group of advisers that included Rob Reiner." Current U.S. foreign policy is the combined product of Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz and the president. Meanwhile, the pretender is huddling with Meathead.

    Had it not been for a few little old ladies baffled by the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach, Fla., American foreign policy today would be made by Gore-Reiner instead of the Bush brain trust. Who says God doesn't smile upon the United States of America?

    I'll pass on the way too easy characterization of Rummy, Condoleeza "liberating the Germans from Hitler" Rice, Dick Cheneyburton, Colin Powell, Paul "Chickenhawk" Wolfowitz, and President Cartman as a Bush brain trust, and instead move on to a point that Krauthammer makes...and then runs away from like Bush from a drug test. To wit:

    Considering the glass house he inhabits, Gore's attack on Bush is remarkably ad hominem. He implies, first, that the president is going after Iraq to distract attention from not finding Osama bin Laden. And second, that Bush is doing this for electoral purposes.

    Well...what about those implications? His answer:

    Clinton's dick, Clinton wagging the dog, Clinton checking polls, Monica, Monica, Monica...

    Is Bush wagging the dog?

    Clinton's dick, impeachment, Monica, Monica, Monica...

    Have we found Osama?

    Well, Gore specifically says we need to finish the job in Afghanistan, and Krauthammer agrees with him:

    Walk away? Our current policy is to secure Kabul, retrain the army, protect the new president and establish a small central government that can, over time, expand its political and geographic reach. This is a serious commitment. Our soldiers trying to fulfill it are being shot at regularly. Tell them they're walking away.

    There is a serious question about how deeply involved in Afghanistan we ought to be. Are we more likely to bring stability by continuing Afghanistan's long history of decentralization and allowing warlords to act in their traditional areas of influence, or by sending an imperial army to go around imposing order in places where outsiders -- the British and the Soviets most notably -- have not had much luck imposing their own order?

    Notice he avoids bin Laden, completely. (bin who?) But then he says:

    One can argue either way, but the burden of proof is on those urging the more onerous and risky MacArthur regency. If Gore were a serious man he would make the case. But he doesn't. He doesn't even try to. He is too thin. And too cynical.

    I think what is cynical is agreeing with someone...and then disagreeing with them in the next breath because it hinders your point of view, and then hoping no one notices. Like most of the critics of the Gore speech (the Humes, Kellys, Sullivans...you know , the second tier pundits) he chooses to select a few fragments of the speech and egregiously misinterpret them. Then again, maybe he's just obtuse. Who knows? But like Kelly's foam-flecked commentary on the same subject, it betrays a man obsessed with transfering his hatred from Clinton to Gore in a most bilious manner.

    Either way, you got to love this line (again):

    Meanwhile, the pretender is huddling with Meathead.

    Insert your own Bush/mirror joke here...

    posted by tbogg at 9:30 PM



    Relax, Miguel, it's in the bag....whoops

    In Monty Python and the Holy Grail you had to "answer me these questions three". Looks like Miguel Estrada ain't crossing that Bridge of Death.

    Chuck Schumer handed him his tope.

    posted by tbogg at 4:00 PM



    Friday fun time

    Last week it was Wu names...today, contributor Travis from KY. provides us with Mullet haiku. Take it away, Travis:

    Drunk at 3 p.m.

    Requested AC/DC

    Hootin', hollerin'


    'No smoking inside'

    Save the butt behind my ear

    Can't kill the rooster


    Take her to Wendy's

    No shoes, no shirt, no service

    Wait in the car, smoke.


    Top short for the boss

    Long in back for the ladies

    Underage girlfriend.


    Nothing but curse words

    The kid still ain't potty-trained

    Tank top every day.

    posted by tbogg at 12:35 PM



    Consensus is a beautiful thing, especially when it's ramrodded down the nation's throat

    Mark Morford.

    posted by tbogg at 12:28 PM



    Words from the wise

    Jimmy Breslin nails it.

    posted by tbogg at 11:05 AM



    Fly the friendly skies of....not so fast there, Liberal-boy

    More tales of how life has gotten better under Bush...

    Critics question whether Sister Virgine Lawinger, a 74-year-old Catholic nun, is the kind of "air pirate" lawmakers had in mind when they passed the law. Lawinger, one of the Wisconsin activists stopped at the Milwaukee airport on April 19, said she didn't get upset when two sheriff's deputies escorted her for questioning.

    "We didn't initially say too much about the detainment, because we do respect the need to be careful (about airline security)," the nun recounted. "They just said your name is flagged and we have to clear it. And from that moment on no one ever gave me any clarification of what that meant and why. I guess that was our frustration."

    posted by tbogg at 10:41 AM



    All the news that fits...or at least gets the wingnuts to click on it

    MSNBC Headline:

    USOC investigating Sen. Clinton

    First line in the story:

    NEW YORK, Sept. 27 — The U.S. Olympic Committee is reviewing possible 2012 Summer Games bidding rules violations involving Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. [emphasis added]

    Oh yeah. That guy too.....

    posted by tbogg at 10:12 AM



    Sullivan's travails

    Andy Sullivan is going to great lengths, not to mention playing rhetorical Twister, in an effort to deconstruct President in Exile Al Gore's speech. Here's his latest:

    As usual, a really sharp comment from Virginia Postrel on Gore's speech. She cites the passage where Gore says

    "that we ought to be focusing our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on September 11th and who have thus far gotten away with it ...I don't think we should allow anything to diminish our focus on the necessity for avenging the 3,000 Americans who were murdered and dismantling the network of terrorists that we know were responsible for it." [Emphasis added.]

    Virginia comments:

    This is a very interesting way of framing the task at hand: not to prevent future attacks on Americans but to avenge the deaths on September 11. Now there's no question that many Americans, myself included, have entertained the desire for vengeance. But the only reason to act on that impulse is to make it clear that future attacks will be costly for the attackers. Vengeance for vengeance's sake is just blood lust. It might feel good, but (leaving aside any humanitarian considerations) it doesn't solve the fundamental problem. Vengeance may even make matters worse, by escalating blood feuds without eliminating threats. Gore's pooh-poohing of the administration's Iraq policy depends in large measure on his definition of the problem. If you want to prevent further attacks, you have to worry about state-sponsored weapons programs. If you just want to get revenge, you don't.

    Andy then says:

    I think that's a brilliant insight. In his pathetic attempt to find a way to attack his nemesis, Gore has actually reverted to the kind of bellicose hysteria we usually associate with the far right. In fact, I think Gore's speech is essentially what happens when a man takes his emotion and tries to find reasons - any reasons - for it. If the Democrats follow him, it will be into a political wilderness.

    First off, if Andy is looking for "bellicose hysteria" he need look no further than any recent Michael Kelly column. Secondly Postrel doesn't seem to see the linkage in two of her own statements :

    But the only reason to act on that impulse is to make it clear that future attacks will be costly for the attackers.


    If you want to prevent further attacks, you have to worry about state-sponsored weapons programs.

    Maybe if Postrel put those two thoughts together she can come up with one worthy one. People like Postrel and Sullivan want to muddy the water so that 9/11 and Bush's Saddam obsession become one. They're not...and that is what Al Gore said quite clearly.

    posted by tbogg at 9:24 AM



    The perpetual military campaign

    I'm sure this has been spammed around, but it's worth repeating. This is a letter published in the Hartford Courant less tha a week ago:

    September 22, 2002

    When George W. Bush was governor of Texas, his basic strategy was to stake out a position and refuse to budge, hoping to bully others into acquiescing. Only when met with strong opposition did he back down and compromise. We are seeing the same strategy in his policy over Iraq. In the past weeks, the president has attempted to bully the United Nations and now Congress into allowing him to attack Iraq and depose its leader. He is likely to get his wish. But the larger problem is not what will happen if no one stands up to Saddam Hussein. It is what will happen if no one stands up to the president and his vision of moral clarity.

    Our Constitution left the power to declare war to Congress because of the fear that if the president could act unilaterally, he might seek to aggrandize himself by taking the country into one war after another. Although the president could always defend the nation if attacked, he could not initiate hostilities without Congress' approval. In the 20th century, Congress' role has receded of necessity, so the president's power to make war has been hemmed in largely by domestic politics, the threat of nuclear reprisal and international law.

    The Bush administration's new policy of pre-emptive attacks is a dangerous addition to this mixture, creating a host of bad incentives. Simply by announcing future threats that deserve pre-emptive action, presidents can seize control of the political stage. A president who takes the country to war pushes aside all other concerns. By shifting the nation's forces from one military offensive to another, he can divert attention from domestic failures and foreign policy blunders. The more often the president attacks other countries pre-emptively, the more likely it becomes that our country will be attacked in turn. The president can then justify additional military action in response, and no patriotic American will oppose it.

    In this way, the president can effectively govern through war, with disastrous consequences for the nation and for the world. Armed with the doctrine of military pre-emption, the perpetual political campaign perfected by our last president might well become the perpetual military campaign of future presidents.

    President Bush had good reason to take us to war after Sept. 11. Still, he has not accomplished his stated goal of eliminating al Qaeda or capturing Osama bin Laden. With victory not achieved and Afghanistan still unstable, he has now attempted to shift our attention to a new war with Iraq. Again, he may well have excellent reasons for doing so. But we must pay attention to the larger picture. Members of Congress debating authorization for an attack on Iraq should ask the president tough questions about what future military actions he is considering. The way the president's foreign policy is proceeding, Iraq may not be the last war he asks us to fight.

    The president is right about one thing, however. Today the world faces a single man armed with weapons of mass destruction, manifesting an aggressive, bullying attitude, who may well plunge the world into chaos and bloodshed if he miscalculates. This person, belligerent, arrogant and sure of himself, truly is the most dangerous person on Earth. The problem is that his name is George W. Bush, and he is our president. "

    Jack M. Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. His latest book is "The Laws of Change" (Schocken Books, 2002).

    Copyright 2002, Hartford Courant

    posted by tbogg at 8:24 AM



    Noonan lets me down...but in a good way

    Last night I could barely sleep knowing that I would wake to yet another episode of the Loony Noonan Chronicles. Well, you could just imagine my disappointment when I read it this morning and she almost appeared lucid. I guess last weeks defense of Eunice Stone, the Georgia Snoop, just took a lot out of her.

    I will give her this: for all her misplaced admiration for the Midland Moron, and as much as she fears swarthy people of all shades of swarth, she doesn't seem to want to see America attack Iraq. You've got to give her credit for that. Now if she can just convince Michael Kelly to get out of that tree with his gun and put his clothes back on....

    posted by tbogg at 8:09 AM



    I'd be lying if I said I told the truth

    Tom Tancredo (R-Hates Mexicans) is now admitting that he was just kidding when he took the term limit pledge.

    Tancredo said he backed out of the term limits pledge, in part, because he was not sure he could abandon his growing role as an immigration reform leader in Congress. He has not made a decision whether to run for a fourth term in 2004, but said the pledge is no longer a factor.

    "Once I did make up my mind, I'm not going to lie to you and say I'm still wondering," said Tancredo, who is seeking a third term this year. "Once you do it, you might as well send it out and get this thing through the snake."

    "get this thing through the snake"?

    Sounds to me like he's crawdaddin' on his pledge and stiffing his constituents (which isn't as dirty as it sounds).

    posted by tbogg at 7:54 AM


    Thursday, September 26, 2002


    ....and I got this necklace, a Sponge Bob piñata, and a bottle of tequila for each one of girls."

    First Lady Laura Bush was spreading a little Librarian Love in Mexico City this week.

    In statements to the Mexican press made in Washington and published Wednesday in Reforma daily, Laura Bush explained she and her husband had lived in Texas for many years and have a special sensitivity for the problems of the U.S. Hispanic community.

    "There are so many stories about immigrants and the children of immigrants in the United States. Our whole country is made up of immigrants who were able to overcome poverty and obtain good jobs. There are many examples in my husband's administration," the first lady noted.

    The First Lady, identified in Mexican papers as Senora Alineada de Pinata, also pointed out that she and President Bush (Sr. Borracho y Estupido) had spent their honeymoon in Mexico City and Cozumel where they engaged in heavy drinking, shouting out commands in English to contemptuous service employees, as well as other acts of rampant Ugly Americanism.

    posted by tbogg at 1:34 PM



    Misty water-colored memo's

    How is it, that we are allowed to see a personal fax between Barbra Streisand and Dick Gephardt, but we can't see the supposedly public records of meetings between oil companies and Dick Cheney (R-Halliburton)? Oh wait...it's Drudge, and he needs that mystical convergence between show business and politics to make him put down his copy of Poultry Today

    posted by tbogg at 12:53 PM



    Like Clarence Thomas, but without the porn fixation

    Alberto Gonzales (the Chico to Bush's Man) took time out from his busy schedule helping Bush shred the Constitution to pen a plea for the Senate Judiciary Committe to please, please, please approve Miguel Estrada , who has been compared to Clarence Thomas by Rick Santorum (R-Unintentially ironic), to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Mr Estrada says:

    His extraordinary intellect, experience, integrity and support normally would mean a swift Senate confirmation -- particularly given the historic nature of the nomination. But some Senate Democrats have deemed Estrada controversial and are apparently threatening to block his confirmation. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated last April: "From my perusal of the record, [Estrada] is way out of the mainstream."

    But then he says:

    I do not know what record Schumer could have been referring to. Estrada has not been the author of controversial opinions or articles, nor has he spoken out on divisive issues. He is not a politician or an interest-group leader who has sought to make policy. What he has done is serve, in a variety of public and private capacities, as a brilliant and careful lawyer devoted to the courts and the law.

    Hmmmmmm. That's odd. Why would Schumer say that? Could he be out of line? Oh wait. From an article by Neil Lewis in the New York Times:

    Still, Senate Democrats have requested copies of Mr. Estrada's internal memorandums when he was an assistant solicitor general, from 1992 to 1997.

    The White House has refused to supply them and has pointed to a letter from several former solicitors general, Democrats and Republicans, saying that complying with the request would inhibit lawyers from giving candid advice.

    This, of course, was brought to you by....Alberto Gonzales.

    posted by tbogg at 10:32 AM



    I click on it, so that you don't have to

    Sigh. Ann Coulter. What are we going to do with that high-spirited litle filly? As usual, she doesn't have anything to say this week, but that doesn't keep her from saying it anyway. Some choice morsels:

    Gore also complained that Bush has made the "rest of the world" angry at us. Boo hoo hoo. He said foreigners are not worried about "what the terrorist networks are going to do, but about what we're going to do."

    Good. They should be worried. They hate us? We hate them. Americans don't want to make Islamic fanatics love us. We want to make them die. There's nothing like horrendous physical pain to quell angry fanatics. So sorry they're angry – wait until they see American anger. Japanese kamikaze pilots hated us once too. A couple of well-aimed nuclear weapons, and now they are gentle little lambs. That got their attention.

    Apparently in her white-hot hatred of everything that is not a reflection of her feral visage, she has decided that having everyone hate you is a good thing. I'm sure this is based on personal experience. Anyway, she continues:

    Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said the Democrats would not have enough information to make an informed decision on Iraq – until January. The war will have to take a back seat to urgent issues like prescription drugs and classroom size until then. The Democratic Party simply cannot rouse itself to battle.

    Instead of obsessing over why angry primitives hate Americans, a more fruitful area for Democrats to examine might be why Americans are beginning to hate Democrats.

    Well. That makes sense in some kind of apoplectic climb-on-the-roof-with-a-highpowered-rifle-and-thin-out-the-neighborhood kind of way.

    So. This weeks summary of Coulter:

    My Fedexed order from Good Vibrations hasn't shown up yet, so won't someone please kill some swarthy people so I can get off without having to invite Spencer Abraham over to give me oral pleasure?

    posted by tbogg at 9:55 AM



    I'll gladly seal your driveway, for a hamburger today

    In light of the great Toogood parking lot assault, Slate has an interesting article on what the heck an Irish Traveler is. What is known about them is that they appear to be just normal folks who move from job to job, either doing shoddy work or, in many cases, no work at all. Also, they are terrific liars and scam artists, continually duping the unsuspecting people that come in contact with them.

    I found it interesting that, in Ireland, they're refered to as "Michael Kellys". Imagine that.

    posted by tbogg at 9:19 AM


    Wednesday, September 25, 2002


    Sullivan's scourge starts a blog

    A big welcome to the fabulous David Ehrenstein. Sullivan should be quivering in his tighty-whiteys...

    posted by tbogg at 10:03 PM



    And thusly did Al Gore harshly criticize President Bush's push for war against Iraq

    If you aren't already reading Mark Morford ... you're just wasting your time on the internet. How you can pass up writing like this?:

    He went on to blame the oily junior Texan grammar-mangler for plunging us "like some sort of squinty cowboy-wannabe on Ritalin" (quote spurious) toward a world that would allow any ol' second-rate piss-ant nation to launch an expensive macho whiny military strike against whomever it likes and call itself a superpower, even if it doesn't have all the kickass sorority parties and the 50-percent obesity rate and the gold-trimmed 8 mpg Escalades with the cute little antenna flags.

    and this:

    Polishing off his fifth scotch in about two gulps and slamming the glass down on the podium and muttering that Bush is a "likable niddering sycophantic imbecile who couldn't screw in a lightbulb without Cheney, much less spell 'niddering' or 'sycophantic,'" Gore, possibly dressed in faded Sean John khakis and black Ugg boots and an "Evildoer" T-shirt, did not go on to say how he truly believes Dick's defibrillator is powered by tiny frantic radioactive demon-monkeys running on little alien treadmills from Hell. But he should have.

    Stuff like this makes me feel like I'm just scratching petroglyphs on a wall in some cave.

    posted by tbogg at 9:41 PM



    Stop the (upcoming) war...from the comfort of your own home

    Thanks to Kim B for passing this along:

    Dear MoveOn Member,

    As you know, Congress will likely vote whether or not to support a military
    attack on Iraq in the next week. Whether that vote passes, and whether we
    go to war, critically depend upon how much our Representatives and Senators
    hear from us now.

    MoveOn is recruiting a team of volunteer lobbyists who will contact
    Representatives' key foreign policy staff members to ensure they are well
    informed about the depth and breadth of opposition to a war. It's important
    that they understand precisely why we believe a campaign against Iraq would
    be a terrible move for our country.

    The lobbying effort will be the final push before the vote in MoveOn's
    extensive Iraq campaign. Over the last four months, MoveOn members have
    made over 10,000 phone calls to Congress, written thousands of letters to
    the editor, and participated in meetings with Senators' offices in every

    Being a volunteer lobbyist would take about four hours a week for the next
    two weeks. You don't need to be in Washington, D.C. -- you'll most likely do
    your work over the phone. We'll provide a detailed guide and script, but you
    should be comfortable engaging in a discussion in your own words about the
    war in Iraq.

    Since time is so short, if you're interested we need you to apply by 5pm
    TODAY. We're looking for volunteers in every congressional district in the
    country, which is going to be tough. We know we're pretty thin in some
    districts, so please let us know immediately if you can help. If we have
    more folks than we can handle in some districts, we'll let you know right

    With a strong grassroots lobbying team, we can turn the tide.

    --Eli Pariser

    International Campaigns Director


    posted by tbogg at 7:42 PM



    Bush II presents: Depression II...The Return of Tom Joad

    Great commentary over at selfmadepundit.

    posted by tbogg at 7:08 PM



    Fan mail (yeah..I get some) from overseas...

    Andrew F. writes

    Excellent concept. Just what I need these days.

    I'm currently living in Switzerland. My friends and colleagues -- an
    eclectic mix of nationalities -- are truly unnerved and perplexed by Dubya
    and the mighty American machine. As am I.

    Brief summary of the rhythms of living abroad over the past two years:

    Pre-9/11 -- just another American expat, remember not to talk so loud and
    try not to let the cigarette smoking bother you (Switzerland has the
    highest incidence of smoking in Europe after like the Czech Republic or
    some place like that).

    Right after 9/11 -- lots of sympathy and heartfelt concern, people are
    truly shocked by the events, but as an expat, you're a bit on edge, some
    background concerns about "them," so, try to keep a low profile.

    Present -- keep a really low profile, not because of "them" -- Switzerland
    once again feels very safe and secure -- but to avoid making the locals
    uncomfortable, cuz when people realize you're from the US, they assume
    you're on side with the Bushies, and they tend to project that on to you.

    Anyway, great blog. Hope you can keep it up.

    I thought the last comment was rather personal...but thanks anyway, Andrew.

    posted by tbogg at 6:57 PM



    Tapdancing with Ari

    If you have never read a White House briefing transcript, today is the day. I don't know how much they pay Ari, but he certainly earns it. He must be the first Presidential Press Secretary to have a corner man and a choreographer. Today he sustained several deep wounds...while antagonizing the whole White House Press room.

    posted by tbogg at 6:46 PM



    Funny, you don't look poll-ish

    According to a recent CBS News Poll, when asked :

    Who is a greater threat?

    Survey says!:

    46% Saddam Hussein

    33% Osama bin Laden

    Now. What does this mean? First of all, we can assume that GW Bush (known in the blue states as Commander Bunnypants) was not given as an option. Secondly, it appears that some of these people think that Hussein was involved with 9/11. From the article:

    A majority of Americans, 51%, also believe that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks

    Although there is a complete absence of information linking Saddam, and believe me, if there was information linking Saddam to 9/11, Bush would be all over it like Spencer Abraham on a hoagie. But there isn’t, and the fact remains that Osama bin Laden is the one behind 9/11. Lastly, it means that CBS will poll anyone, even if they are wearing their pants on their heads and standing in line to buy tickets to Let’s Roll! The Musical starring Sandy Duncan as brave, plucky Lisa Beamer.

    Taken in conjunction with the other polls showing the TANG Deserter at 60% approval levels, I would have to conclude that there are a lot of stupid people in this country, so making a career in Amway products is plausible, if still not socially acceptable.

    posted by tbogg at 2:49 PM



    NHL schedules games in Hell

    Even Pat Buchanan can see the light at the end of the Bush apocalypse.

    posted by tbogg at 1:39 PM



    Some rational discourse about irrational people

    Bob Somerby says it better than I ever could.

    posted by tbogg at 1:09 PM



    Why does George Bush hate average working Americans?

    This puzzles me. What does George Bush have against the average working guy? I mean, Laura is tired of Tom Ridge hanging around the White House all day, sleeping on their sofa every night, and then he never, ever, rinses out his cereal bowl, and would it kill him to replace the toilet paper roll when it runs out? So every morning when Bush get ready to leave for work, right after he watches Blue's Clues, Laura says, "Bushie...see if you can get Tom a job today, okay? You're the Warrior President...pull some strings. Oh, and you forgot to put on your pants again".

    But yet, as much as they would like Tom out of the house, he still won't sign the Homeland Security bill.

    He hates working people so much that he would rather not have a Homeland Security Department, which means that we are at the mercy of evildoers from all the swarthy people countries. Which leads me to ask:

    Why does George Bush hate America?

    posted by tbogg at 12:53 PM



    Bloated windbag now up to gale force strength

    Michael Kelly, who loves war more than his own children's lives, didn't care for Al Gore's speech. How's this for temperate argument:

    Gore's speech was one no decent politician could have delivered. It was dishonest, cheap, low. It was hollow. It was bereft of policy, of solutions, of constructive ideas, very nearly of facts -- bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies. It was breathtakingly hypocritical, a naked political assault delivered in tones of moral condescension from a man pretending to be superior to mere politics. It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible. But I understate.

    Later he says:

    Although Gore knows that Bush has been publicly trying to move the nation toward war with Iraq since at least January, he pretended to believe the president was only now -- "in this high political season" -- pushing for war in order to gain electoral ground for his party and to divert attention from his administration's failure against al Qaeda by attacking "some other enemy whose location might be easier to identify." I see -- Bush is risking his presidency on a war with Iraq because it is the easy thing to do.

    Maybe Kelly didn't hear Andy Card talking about introducing "product" after August from a "marketing" standpoint. And, as far as Bush "risking his presidency" on an Iraq war; what risk is that? Bush gives red meat to the rightwing by going after swarthy foreigners and stealing their oil, and re-drums up all the support that was inexplicably given to him back on 9/12, the day after America was attacked and Bush had climbed out of his hidey hole in Nebraska. With an Iraqi war he can become the Warrior President again, instead of the Crawford Imbecile.

    It's no suprise to anyone that Kelly doesn't like Gore, but for him to dismiss Gore's speech because of personal pique is sloppy journalism. Ever since 9/11 Kelly has been running around like a high school girl who discovers a big zit on picture day. His columns have become hysterical in a way that makes him sound like the freakish spawn of some bizzare mating ritual between Ann Coulter and Peggy Noonan. Now that's a scary thought.

    posted by tbogg at 11:01 AM



    So..... what sorority did Bush belong to?

    Mo Dowd hits this one out of the park.

    Looks like Dowd woke up and smelled the coming carnage. Since President in Exile Gore spoke the other day, I really expected she would take some cheap shots at him. Anyway, I loved this part:

    I used to think the Bush hawks suffered from testosterone poisoning, always throwing sharp elbows and cartoonishly chesty my-way-or-the-highway talk around the world, when a less belligerent tone would be classier and more effective.

    But now we have the spectacle of the 70-year-old Rummy acting like a 16-year-old Heather, vixen-slapping those lower in the global hierarchy, trying to dominate and silence the beta countries with less money and fewer designer weapons.

    posted by tbogg at 8:09 AM



    But I am too, a genius

    MacArthur "genius grants" were announced today, and I got passed over again, so my wife says I've got to take the foosball table back.

    posted by tbogg at 7:43 AM


    Tuesday, September 24, 2002


    Bring me the head of Lawrence Lindsey

    Senior White House officials tell TIME there will be a "major shake-up in the economic team" after the election. Lindsey is the most likely to go. He contributed to the criticism that he has made too many on-the-record gaffes by speculating last week in the Wall Street Journal that a war with Iraq might cost from $100 billion to $200 billion on the very day the President was preaching fiscal discipline.

    posted by tbogg at 6:53 PM



    Don't fear the weeper

    ''Key economic indicators such as inflation, real wages, productivity, interest rates, business profits and the housing sector are all strong,'' Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said yesterday in Lexington, Ky., a stop on a national tour to promote the economy. ''The latest indicators look good.''

    Told that the Dow had dropped 302 points so far this week, the crybaby Secretary burst into tears like a 7 year old girl and had to be comforted by Commerce Secretary Donald Evans who patted his back and murmured "There...there...".

    posted by tbogg at 6:31 PM



    Nuh-uh. Don't go there, girlfriend...

    Former Congressman and erstwhile spunky, Bob Dole sidekick, Jack Kemp (R-NFL) isn't quite so sure he agrees with this invasion thing. You know, maybe if Kemp had played baseball, George W. Bush (R-Arizona Instructional League) might listen to him. Anyone got Jim Bunning's (R- 224 wins 184 losses) phone number?

    posted by tbogg at 9:38 AM



    In the land of the spineless, Bush is the King

    Ben Sargent

    posted by tbogg at 9:10 AM



    I caught the car...now what do I do with it?

    Nicholas Kristof has a terrific column out today posing the question of what happens after we invade Iraq. Excerpt:

    NAJAF, Iraq — As soon as American troops are rolling through Saddam Hussein's palaces, the odds are that this holy Shiite city 100 miles south of Baghdad will erupt in a fury of killing, torture, rape and chaos.

    The Shiite Muslims who make up 60 percent of Iraq — but who have never held power — will rampage through the narrow streets here. Remembering the whispers from the bazaar about how Saddam's minions burned the beard off the face of a great Shiite leader named Muhammad Bakr al-Sadr, then raped and killed his sister in front of him, and finally executed him by driving nails through his head, the rebels will tear apart anyone associated with the ruling Baath Party.

    In one Shiite city after another, expect battles between rebels and army units, periodic calls for an Iranian-style theocracy, and perhaps a drift toward civil war. For the last few days, I've been traveling in these Shiite cities — Karbala, Najaf and Basra — and the tension in the bazaars is thicker than the dust behind the donkey carts.

    So before we rush into Iraq, we need to think through what we will do the morning after Saddam is toppled. Do we send in troops to try to seize the mortars and machine guns from the warring factions? Or do we run from civil war, and risk letting Iran cultivate its own puppet regime? In the north, do we suppress the Kurds if they take advantage of the chaos to seek independence? Do we fight off the Turkish Army if it intervenes in Kurdistan?

    The question is: how many American lives and how many billions of dollars are we willing to spend in order to avenge Bush's father? You might make the case that the oil will make up for the dollars, but how many servicemen have to die so that you can buy Premium at $1.09 per gallon? The more Americans look into the cost of war with Iraq, in dollars and lives, the less appealing it seems.

    posted by tbogg at 8:18 AM


    Monday, September 23, 2002


    Fool me once...then it's probably a Sullivan column

    Maybe someone should explain to Andy Sullivan that, when you write a blog and provide links, that sometimes...just sometimes, people are actually going to go to those links. A case in point:

    In the last week or so, a new slurry of phony arguments has emerged against the war with Iraq. The increasingly unhinged MoDo just asserted that a war against Iraq is actually a function of a "culture war" that Rumsfeld and Cheney are engineering to get back at their Vietnam era peacenik peers. Paul Krugman today takes up what's left of his column (once he's addressed the errors he's made in other recent columns) to another argument.

    So, what was Paul Kugman's "error"?:

    Halliburton has objected to my use of the word "confiscate" in summarizing changes in pension benefits to employees whose divisions were sold, changes described in a Sept. 10 New York Times article. Although Halliburton's actions were legal — I did not suggest otherwise — they had the effect of depriving workers of benefits they had been led to expect. In particular, workers who planned to take early retirement were informed that they had "severed" their employment relationship — even though they had no choice in the matter — and that as a result, if they retired early they would not receive the level of benefits suggested by their retirement plan statements. However much Halliburton may try to put a spin on its actions, its behavior remains, as one pension expert quoted in the original article put it, "scandalous."

    I don't know. That doesn't sound like a correction, so much as a response to a Halliburton snit about his choice of words. It's not uncommon for people to have differences over a choice of terms, without either one being wrong. For example, the administration prefers "regime change" whereas I prefer "steal the oil and distract people from an economy in a death spiral ". See? You can do this at home. We're both right.

    So Andy, if you can put down that article on chest hair making a comeback, maybe you will can go back and see that a difference in terms is not necessarily a "correction".

    Oh, and Andy, you really have to get over being fired by Howell Raines. He's getting tired of those late night weepy phone calls. Move on, man. Move on.

    posted by tbogg at 11:17 PM



    Irrelevant watch

    As we all know, ever since President Bush (known in Mexico as estupido y borracho) spoke to the UN, the administration word of the day has been "irrelevant". Bush (known in China as Dim Son) has used it repeatedly as has Cheney, Rice, Ari, Powell and a whole bunch of other administration officials who are hard to tell apart because they're all white and wear suits with little flag pins on the lapel.

    Well, today , President in Exile Al Gore spoke out against the upcoming US-Iraq Steel Cage Deathmatch that Bush (known in France as le lâche) wants to spend your Medicare money on. Now the linked msnbc story pretty much covers the same story you can find in Reuters, CNN.com, yahoo, etc. except for this little journalistc scoop:

    A senior White House official called the former vice president “irrelevant,” saying that “no one around here is remotely concerned about what he has to say” on the subject of war with Iraq, NBC’s Campbell Brown reported. “He is out of the mainstream with his own party,” the official said.

    There's that word again.

    Now, Campbell Brown who, I'm sure you are aware, plays a journalist on NBC (only not on The West Wing) decided to share that little gratuitous smear from a "a senior White House official (known everywhere as anonymous cowardly nematode) in an effort to remind us that the guy who ran against Bush (known in Germany as Hitler) in 2000 isn't important even though he got, oh, about 50,996,116 votes in the last election, which was more than...well...you know.

    So thank you Campbell Brown for that journalistic coup. I'm sure that when the Pulitzers are handed out next year, and your name gets mentioned, we can expect irrelevant to brought back out of retirement just for you.

    posted by tbogg at 6:48 PM



    Look! Some fish in a barrel!

    Actual review from amazon.com regarding David Kaplan's book on Election 2000:

    The book is easy to read. But it really is just an long winded argument that has already been beaten to death. It assumes that the people of the United States are stupid, ill informed and can form no opinions on their own. Because someone doesn't vote Libral, doesn't mean that are morons. The book is just plain sour grapes. In view of recent events, it is rediculous.

    posted by tbogg at 3:43 PM



    Is our children....oh...never mind...

    Thanks to Eschaton for this.

    No comment necessary...

    posted by tbogg at 2:25 PM



    It's enough to make Ben Nighthorse Campbell switch sides ...again

    Senator Wayne Allard (R-You know, CO) got to go on Meet the Press this weekend and show everybody what a big brain he has. It wasn't pretty:

    MR. RUSSERT: Let me show you the first 21 months of the Bush administration, in terms of economic factors, and I’ll put them on the screen. On Inauguration Day, the Dow Jones was at 10,587; it’s down 32.5 percent. The unemployment rate, as you see, is up 36 percent. The budget has gone from a $281 billion surplus to $157 billion deficit. Jobs, a loss of two million. Senator Allard, are you comfortable running on that kind of record?

    SEN. ALLARD: No, I’m not comfortable with any time we have a deficit. I’m one who believes that we needed to pay down the debt when we were in a surplus, and also believe that we needed to eliminate the deficit. We’re back, like you said in your figures, into deficit spending again. I think the things that we can do to help the economy is that, number one, we need to do something to bring about corporate responsibility so people feel good about the figures that they’re seeing on our companies. We need to make permanent those temporary tax cuts that we passed a year and a half ago.

    MR. RUSSERT: That would increase the deficit.

    SEN. ALLARD: Well, we argued about that in the past, but you know, I happen to think that when have you the economy doing better, that means more revenue to the federal government, and I don’t think that it necessarily increases the deficit. The other thing that I think that we need to have, we need to have a plan to pay down the deficit. I looked at those figures, and if we don’t institute any more new programs, we stay just at current levels, we’ll be actually out of the deficit in about six years. I just think that we need to have some kind of a deficit reduction plan within the next 10 years.

    MR. RUSSERT: But what would be cut? If, in fact, you freeze all programs, people will say you’re cutting farm programs...

    SEN. ALLARD: Yes.

    MR. RUSSERT: ...you’re cutting environmental programs, and you don’t have a prescription drug program.

    SEN. ALLARD: You know...

    MR. RUSSERT: You can’t have it all, have tax cuts, a war in Iraq and still balance the budget.

    SEN. ALLARD: Well, you know, only in Washington is the argument made that, you know, if have a less of an increase than what somebody asked for, it’s called a cut. I think we can let the economy go— I’m willing to give a little flexibility for the growth in our budget. But look, you know, I think that we can, as members of the Senate, put in a budget that will balance it within 10 years. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. And we can do it to hold spending down within reasonable levels.

    MR. RUSSERT: If you postpone the Bush tax cut, would that be a tax increase?

    SEN. ALLARD: Yeah, I think it would be a tax increase, if you postponed the tax cut, yeah.

    MR. RUSSERT: Then if you froze spending, why wouldn’t it be a cut?

    At this point Senator Allard starting yelling "Iraq! Iraq!" and making bomb noises.

    Should Brainiac Wayne not win re-election this November, I believe that he could a have shot as a professional athlete, y'know?

    (Thanks to mbroglio on TT for supplying this little tidbit)

    posted by tbogg at 1:12 PM



    Love the idea...hate the reality

    We love the idea that people can debate and speak their mind, and holler and whoop about politics. They hate it. They hate free thought and free speech. We love a free press, they hate it. See, they hate freedom and we love freedom.--George W. Bush, Trenton, NJ. 9/23/02

    There ought to be limits to freedom,"--Gov. George W. Bush , Austin, TX. 5/22/99

    posted by tbogg at 11:46 AM



    Less than Zero

    Morton Kondracke writes in his latest that House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-No eyebrows.) fully supports George Bush (R-No brain) in his drive for "regime change" in Iraq. According to Kondracke:

    According to an attendee at the Sept. 10 meeting - held two days before Bush's speech to the United Nations - Gephardt declared full support for Bush's policy of regime change in Iraq.

    "He was very strong, he was pointed. There were no weasel words, no 'give us more evidence,' no circumlocutions."

    This witness quoted Gephardt as saying, "Regime change in Iraq has been the declared policy of the United States and it should be our policy. Saddam Hussein is a bad guy. We've got to get him out of there. You have my full support."


    Countering anti-war forces in the Democratic Caucus led by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), he's arguing that the Sept. 11 attacks should "lower the level of proof" required before taking action against Hussein.

    At the Sept. 10 meeting, a witness said, Pelosi told the president, "You haven't convinced me" of the need for action and urged that he make nuclear nonproliferation a higher priority of his administration.

    On the basis of what I've heard from and about Gephardt, I clearly was wrong to write last week that he's among the Democratic presidential aspirants who's showing less than presidential-level leadership in the Iraq crisis. He's leading in his trademark fashion - by tireless listening and consensus-building.

    So at the same time that Gephardt is desperately trying to take back the House to make himself Speaker, with his eyebrowless eyes gazing longingly on the White House, he wants to join in on Bush's reindeer games. Now maybe it's just me, or where I live, but does anyone, anywhere really get excited at the prospect of a Dick Gephardt presidency? Did anyone even care before this latest?

    posted by tbogg at 10:33 AM




    Apparently the link below about the Public Market is only working intermittenly. Here are the main points:

    Dale Steele envisioned what nobody else could see.

    The former teen fashion model wants to turn the abandoned Old Police Station downtown into a public marketplace and memorial to officers killed in the line of duty.

    It would be similar to markets in cities such as Seattle, Boston and Columbus, Ohio, with produce, meats and fish, breads and a variety of locally made foods. Steele spent the last two years and $30,000 of her own money consulting with national public market experts and garnering local support to get the project moving.

    Now, several groups, including the Police Historical Association, as well as public and private officials, share Steele's vision.
    "People who move to the downtown area want an urban experience. They want to walk to a public market, they want to know the guy that grows tomatoes," Steele said. "It's a city that we fall in love with."

    The San Diego Unified Port District owns the station, which was built in 1939, and the buildings around a central, open-air courtyard. The complex is 4.22 acres.

    In 1998, the National Park Service added the Old Police Station to the National Register of Historic Places.
    For the market to come to fruition, Steele and her nonprofit, grassroots Public Market Group need approval from the Port as well as to raise the $8 million to $10 million in startup money.

    And there are several other organizations lobbying for the building and the land, said Ralph Hicks, director of land use for the Port.
    "All along we've been receiving a half a dozen concepts," Hicks said. "A boutique hotel, an aquarium, a restaurant, a Ripley's Believe It or Not, a public market, a range of ideas -- and we've gotten kookier ones."

    The project must improve pedestrian access to the San Diego Bay; preserve the Old Police Station; provide for overall financial feasibility; create an active urban park environment; resolve parking issues and fit in with adjacent Port tenants and land use, Hicks said.
    Also, it must be implemented soon and must enhance the aesthetic environment.

    Steele asserts the public market plan meets all of the Port's criteria.
    "It's a gorgeous building and still has three cellblocks. We would retain the blocks and give (them) to the San Diego Police Historical Association to do a museum," she said.

    The public market would include a restaurant, art school, cooking school, special events hall and outdoor tables.
    "This concept would be a lifestyle community center. Not only the public market in terms of fresh food like produce and bakery items, meats and fish, wine shops, flower shops and cookware and pie places and cookie places, but it would be prepared food. You could come in as a businessperson and get lunch and eat there on the premises, in the park or courtyard," she said.

    posted by tbogg at 9:13 AM



    Local news

    This isn't national news, but it's important here in San Diego. Too often the powers that be take a big chunk of our heritage and Disney-fy it, turning classic old buildings into cartoons of themselves in order to sell t-shirts and crappy Wyland coffee mugs and candles to the tourists. We need a Public Market that will serve all the people of San Diego, while maintaining the beauty and dignity of the original structure. Because San Diego is a tourist town, all comments from out-of-towners carry weight with the Port Commision. Please write Ralph Hicks at the Port in support of the Public Market concept. Thanks.

    posted by tbogg at 8:03 AM


    Sunday, September 22, 2002


    I'll take "Questions about the Soviet Union for $400, Alex"

    Condoleeza Rice, George Bush's best-est friend in the whole world as well as his National Security Advisor, says that the US will be "completely devoted" to rebuilding Iraq after we bomb the shit out of it.

    Ms Rice, speaking in an interview with the Financial Times, signalled US willingness to spend time and money rebuilding Iraq after the fall of Mr Hussein's regime.

    Ms Rice, who specialty is the Soviet Union (a country that no longer exists) was the one who reviewed the pre-9/11 intelligence information with a vacationing Bush in Crawford last year, where they failed to connect the dots, or at least they connected some of the dots until they spelled out: "tax cut". Then they went outside and cut some brush and did cowboy stuff. This year Ms. Rice is helping to lead the administration's efforts to convince world opinion that an attack on Iraq is warranted under Operation Because I Said So... When You're A Superpower You Can Pick The Country To Blow Up, So There.

    Meanwhile, Americans unable to get Medicare to pay for the cancer-fighting drugs, blood-clotting factors, or breast biopsies they need will instead be given timeshare vouchers for the newly rebuilt Tigris View Condominium Estates in lovely Tikrit, featuring sand volleyball courts and an Olympic sized swimming pool (location subject to suitable bomb craters). Please see our associates for further details.

    posted by tbogg at 9:48 PM



    You got this in PowerPoint?

    Bush has been given his options on how to proceed in the war against Iraq, that he hasn't really even decided that he is going to have others fight, even if he is emptying out every military base in America and shipping the soldiers off to Camp Re-Election in Qatar. Anyway, I felt pretty good about this considering our Commander in Chief is the Warrior President, Prince Hal, Winston Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, or Gunga Din according to our fair and balanced media.

    But when I got to the end of the article and I read this:

    Every scenario has real dangers. In the end, President Bush will have to decide how much risk he—and the American people—can tolerate. With Saddam almost certainly building weapons of mass destruction, the greater risk, say White House hawks, is inaction. The top brass may have to swallow their traditional caution and offer up a plan that accepts the possibility of heavy casualties

    It made me remember this:

    "If there's a 10-page paper,"says chief of staff Clay Johnson, Bush wants to know "what are the two pages that contain all the content?" (Washington Post, 1/19/00...courtesy of Paul Begala)

    Wouldn't we feel a lot better about planning for war if it was okayed by someone who could get through all the options without getting distracted by that shiny tag on Barney's collar? I know I would.

    posted by tbogg at 12:39 PM



    Is our children being beaten?

    America's favorite mom, right after Andrea Yates and Kathy Lee Gifford, speaks out:

    "They shouldn't have taken my child away," she said. "There's permanent residence right here in Indiana that would have took my child that CPS [Child Protective Services] could have looked at ... they shouldn't have did this. They wasn't supposed to do this, and it shouldn't have been done."

    Speaking from Camp David (or as Laura calls it: "Xanax Central") President Bush commented that we should feel compassion for Ms. Toogood, and that he thought she was someone he could "really talk" to.

    posted by tbogg at 12:16 PM



    Dude! I am so ripped!

    Is anyone else playing that college game where you do a shot everytime someone from the Bush administration uses the words "UN" and "irrelevant" in the same sentence? I hear it's sweeping the campuses. At least that's what college cultural arbiter John Leo told me when he got back from partying with Ja Rule.

    posted by tbogg at 1:43 AM



    Bring out your dead...clank...But I'm not dead yet...

    The New York Times reports:

    The Bush administration is proposing deep reductions in Medicare payments for a wide range of drugs and medical devices used to treat people who are elderly or disabled.

    But I like this part:

    The cuts would affect many drugs, devices and high-technology procedures, including cancer drugs and cardiac defibrillators like the one implanted in the chest of Vice President Dick Cheney to prevent an irregular heartbeat.

    ...and it gets worse. Read the article...

    posted by tbogg at 1:25 AM



    Won't somebody buy Andy Sullivan an abacus?

    According to Andy :

    I'm struck by the generational dynamics in the latest Ipsos-Reid poll. The GOP has a huge lead among the young, especially men under 44. I wonder why. Could it be that September 11 was a more potent event for those with less life experience under their belts? Or is it that the young recognize that the Democrats are essentially a political operation designed to take money from the young and productive and give it to the old and rich and retired? Both possibilities are encouraging.

    While I will allow that Andy is correct about the men's numbers (although his reasons are specious at best), his main point:

    The GOP has a huge lead among the young

    is, how should I put this... lacking in those qualities that make it the truth. A quick check over at Ipsos-Reid shows this:

    And if the election for Congress were held today, would you want to see the Republicans or Democrats win control of Congress?

    Men 18-44 prefer Republicans to Democrats 53% to 35%

    All well and good...but wait a minute...we all know that women are not Andy's "preference", but shouldn't we at least take a look at how they would vote? Oh, let's!

    And if the election for Congress were held today, would you want to see the Republicans or Democrats win control of Congress?

    Women 18-44 prefer Democrats to Republicans 53% to 36%.

    Let's check back with Andy again:

    The GOP has a huge lead among the young

    Now, I'm no Paul Krugman, but I see a 1% variance here.

    So. What have we learned today? First, Andy Sullivan is not very good at math. Secondly, he "shades" the truth, and not very well. And lastly, if you come across one of Andy's personal ads looking for you know what and he promises a huge package...expect a one percent increase above the norm. That's hardly worth getting off the couch for.

    posted by tbogg at 12:40 AM


    Saturday, September 21, 2002


    It's twue...it's twue

    For those who emailed me to find out what my Wu name is, it's...

    Spunky Misunderstood Genius

    If you stick your head out the window, you can hear my wife laughing, even if you live in Maine...

    posted by tbogg at 11:38 AM



    Just leave the money on the bedstand on your way out...

    Charles Krauthammer, who is a lot like Dr. Strangelove, but without the sex appeal, doesn't think the Democratic Party knows how to pick and choose their wars. He states:

    This hierarchy of values is bizarre but not new. Liberal internationalism -- the foreign policy school of the modern Democratic Party (and of American liberalism more generally) -- is deeply suspicious of actions taken for reasons of naked national interest. After all, this is the party that in the last decade voted overwhelmingly against the Persian Gulf War, where vital American interests were at stake (among them, keeping the world's largest reservoir of oil out of the hands of a hostile dictator), while supporting humanitarian military interventions in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, places with only the remotest connection to American security interests.

    For those keeping score at home, that's Oil 1, Stopping Genocide -4. Defenseless people being killed...tsk tsk, but you'll have to pry this bottle of Castrol 30 weight from my cold dead fingers you evildoer, you. Frankly, I prefer American soldiers as heroes, not as mercenaries. Krauthammer demands to differ...

    posted by tbogg at 11:25 AM



    Clyde Lewis...Internet Anti-Christ

    While we often hear stories of people who have to work two jobs just to make ends meet, we rarely hear about people with too damn much time on their hands (except for Michael Jackson who mainly has children on his hands...but let's not think about that right now). Anyway, thanks to Kyle Nally over at Table Talk, we find this from Clyde Lewis, who has waaaaaaaaay too much time on his hands.

    Yo, Clyde. Get a girlfriend or a membership at a really good porn site, okay bud? By the way..if you take www.clydelewis.com and count the letters and the periods you get 18, which is 6+6+6...666. ooooooooooooo...scary!

    posted by tbogg at 10:45 AM


    Friday, September 20, 2002


    Friday Afternoon Fun

    Well it's Friday afternoon and it's time to unwind, and what could be more fun than researching what our government "leaders" Wu names are? Okay...well I thought it was fun, and I probably put more work into it than Peggy Noonan put into researching her latest column. So, lets get started, 'kay?:

    Colin Powell is Superintendent God-Botherer

    Condoleeza Rice is World-Class Programmah

    Donald Rumsfeld is Crafty Barnardo

    Dick Cheney is Top-Heavy Hookjaw

    and...fanfare please..."President" George W. Bush is Bastard, BASTARD HarbourMastah

    Make of these what you will, but, like the Magic 8 ball, they gotta be true.

    Now...wasn't that fun and informative?

    posted by tbogg at 1:40 PM




    Very important article in The Nation

    If you need only one reason to make sure that the Democrats hold the Senate, this is it.

    posted by tbogg at 10:28 AM



    Hi. My name is Tom. Table for three? Jihad or non-jihad?

    According to USA Today, Tom Ridge, that guy who hangs around the White House and plays Tekken Tag with Dubya when he's not protecting the Homeland, is thinking of dropping our National Security alert from orange to yellow, so that means you can go back to your regular lives now. This is also an all-clear to Muslim Americans letting them know that they are welcome at Shoney's again, which is cool because they were really getting tired of hanging at IHOP and trying to avoid the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity since they can't eat the bacon and sausage, which is one of the bad things about being a Muslim because bacon is almost better than sex. Well, some sex...like the sex that John Ashcroft probably has when he's not all liquored up on Crisco. Anyway... The security alert. They're going to change it to yellow, so everyone just go outside and play, as long as you come in before the streetlights come on.

    posted by tbogg at 8:33 AM



    A new Krugman
    Better read it quick before Micky Kaus complains about a pluperfect negative that destroys everything that Krugman has worked for in his life.

    posted by tbogg at 8:06 AM


    Thursday, September 19, 2002


    Another reason to move to Canada before they close the border on us

    posted by tbogg at 11:32 PM



    Dana Milbank shoves Howard Fineman out of the way. "Gimme those kneepads!"
    Bush is too smart for Congress...no, really...I mean it!

    posted by tbogg at 11:24 PM



    Peggy Noonan in a (becoming more frequent) racist state of mind:

    La Noonan
    Ms. Noonan, has, through the miracle of television, managed to divine the thoughts of the three young Muslim men as well as that poor flower of southern womanhood, Eunice Stone. Without acquiring any facts, she knows exactly what transpired by taking the word of one white woman, without even inquiring into the other side's story. But why should she when we have all heard this story before?

    Substitute the name Mayella Ewell for Eunice Stone, and call all of the students Tom Robinson, and we might recall how the story ends. Her word against that man's, and what is society to think? Only this time there is no Atticus Finch to stand up for these Tom Robinsons. These days we have the cold comfort of a John Ashcroft.

    Maybe those students shouldn't have stopped into that Shoneys, and for sure they should never sit at the lunch counter. Because there sit the Eunice Stones and the Peggy Noonans of America, keeping their world safe from the "other".

    posted by tbogg at 10:50 PM



    posted by tbogg at 9:16 PM



    Welcome to my blog...it still has the new blogg smell...mmmmmmmmmm. After posting in Salon's Table Talk for the past two years I thought it was time to take my show on the road and quit interrupting intelligent discussions about important subjects with snarky commentary and tasteless asides. That's what this blog is for. An early warning: I am prone to using bad words, making fun of others misfortune, and generally ridiculing anything that I can think of. If you have delicate sensibilities, or even average sensibilities, maybe this isn't the place for you. If you think the Bush is the duly elected President, Peggy Noonan is sane, Dick Cheney is not a death-bound souless jackal who would sell his lesbian daughter into a Saudi harem for a quart of thirty weight...well, I'm probably not your boy. This blog is for bad thoughts, cruel putdowns, and nasty hit-and-run attacks on the rightwingers, evangelicals, crappy popular culture, drunken First Daughters, and anything that comes to mind.


    posted by tbogg at 8:50 PM



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