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  • Wednesday, June 30, 2004



    I'm still dead.

    So's my political career.

    posted by tbogg at 11:36 PM



    Lousy tips, bad haircuts, and nobody gets laid. Nobody. Gets. Laid.

    To the bloggers who will be in Boston covering the Democratic convention:

    If you walk into a bar and see a bunch of pudgy guys in elastic-waist Dockers®, nursing beers and wiping their sweaty hands on their Le Tigre polos while nervously eyeing the one woman in the room...you've found the place.

    It only looks like a premature ejaculation support group.

    posted by tbogg at 11:26 PM



    Hot scoop from the No Duh file

    You have to get up pretty early in the morning to trick the brain trust over at NRO:


    Informed sources suggest to me that the source for Matt Drudge's scoop about "all signs" pointing to Hillary Clinton being the choice for Kerry's running mate is not a Democrat. In fact, it's someone who can safely be called a conservative. So, while Drudge's source may have stumbled onto the information and have the real goods, a healthy skepticism is advised.

    Ya think?

    posted by tbogg at 11:00 PM



    Sucka VP

    Michele Malkin received an email from Dick "MC DeFib" Cheney.

    For those keeping score at home, Malkin is not a "bytch". She is a bee-otch. There's a difference, yo.

    (I just love talking like James Lileks...)

    posted by tbogg at 10:26 PM



    When it sells 400,000 copies in one day...oh, never mind.

    We'll give the Professor the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's joking:

    THE HARDY/CLARKE BOOK on Michael Moore is now up to #5 on Amazon.

    Bill Clinton's book is still #1 though -- but maybe he should be getting nervous. . . .

    As far as jokes go, that wouldn't even warrant a snort of derision in the faculty lounge.

    posted by tbogg at 9:39 PM


    Tuesday, June 29, 2004


    She's such a lovely girl from such a lovely family...and it's such a lovely war.

    Roger Simon reads what he wants to read and disregards the rest:

    Now if you will permit me one last personal note. Krugman engages in egregious character assassination in the article of Simone Ledeen, Michael’s daughter. This is the kind of personal attack I believe to be endemic to Krugman’s form of partisanship and should not have been allowed by The New York Times. Krugman implied that Ms. Ledeen benefited from nepotism and was not qualified to serve in Iraq. This could not be further from the truth. Simone Ledeen, who did accounting for the CPA, was a fully qualified MBA and exactly the kind of young person you would want to see serving in Iraq (not a simple thing to find, obviously, for a dangerous war zone). I met her for the first time last week, having dinner with her twice. I listened to her detailed analyses of what was going on over there that were in many ways as critical as Krugman’s, but far more subtle and educated because she had spent over half a year in Iraq, visiting many parts of the country, working with and training Iraqis with whom she became friends. I know nothing of the quotes that Krugman cherry-picked for his article or of their context, but can assure you and him that this young woman is no warmonger. The kind of reactionary (word chosen very specifically) character assassination he has engaged in is despicable.

    Let's see what Krugman wrote:

    If the occupiers often seemed oblivious to reality, one reason was that many jobs at the C.P.A. went to people whose qualifications seemed to lie mainly in their personal and political connections — people like Simone Ledeen, whose father, Michael Ledeen, a prominent neoconservative, told a forum that "the level of casualties is secondary" because "we are a warlike people" and "we love war."

    Still, given Mr. Bremer's economic focus, you might at least have expected his top aide for private-sector development to be an expert on privatization and liberalization in such countries as Russia or Argentina. But the job initially went to Thomas Foley, a Connecticut businessman and Republican fund-raiser with no obviously relevant expertise. In March, Michael Fleischer, a New Jersey businessman, took over. Yes, he's Ari Fleischer's brother. Mr. Fleischer told The Chicago Tribune that part of his job was educating Iraqi businessmen: "The only paradigm they know is cronyism. We are teaching them that there is an alternative system with built-in checks and built-in review."
    (my emphasis)

    First we should point out to Roger that the Ledeen quotes come from the father and not the daughter so it would be stretching the point to say that Krugman called Simone a "warmonger".

    Secondly, one would have to be incredibly obtuse not to believe that her name didn't have something to do with her gaining a job with the CPA. Her politics certainly did:

    Ledeen's journey to Baghdad began two weeks earlier when she received an e-mail out of the blue from the Pentagon's White House liaison office. The Sept. 16 message informed her that the occupation government in Iraq needed employees to prepare for an international conference. "This is an amazing opportunity to move forward on the global war on terror," the e-mail read.

    For Ledeen, the offer seemed like fate. One of her family friends had been killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and it had affected her family deeply. Without hesitation, she responded "Sure" to the e-mail and waited -- for an interview, a background check or some other follow-up. Apparently none was necessary. A week later, she got a second e-mail telling her to look for a packet in the mail regarding her move to Baghdad.


    For months they wondered what they had in common, how their names had come to the attention of the Pentagon, until one day they figured it out: They had all posted their resumes at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank.


    Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Yoswa said the CPA was satisfied with the quality of applicants. Some staffers may have been young and inexperienced, he said, but "we have people right out of college leading troops on the ground."

    Yoswa said the recruiting office had to hire quickly for the Madrid donors conference that fall and "turned to the Heritage Foundation, an educational facility, albeit a conservative one, but primarily a place where you can get good, solid people." He said this was a one-time event and that there was no organized effort to hire Republicans.

    In late October, he said, the Pentagon set up a job site on the Web. Eleven thousand people filled out an application and several hundred of them were hired. "Nowhere did we ask party affiliation," he said.

    'The Brat Pack'

    When Ledeen's group showed up at the palace -- with their North Face camping gear, Abercrombie & Fitch camouflage and digital cameras -- they were quite the spectacle. For some, they represented everything that was right with the CPA: They were young, energetic and idealistic. For others, they represented everything that was wrong with the CPA: They were young, inexperienced, and regarded as ideologues.

    Several had impressive paper credentials, but in the wrong fields. Greco was fluent in English, Italian and Spanish; Burns had been a policy analyst focused on family and health care; and Ledeen had co-founded a cooking school. But none had ever worked in the Middle East, none spoke Arabic, and few could tell a balance sheet from an accounts receivable statement.

    Other staffers quickly nicknamed the newcomers "The Brat Pack."

    "They had come over because of one reason or another, and they were put in positions of authority that they had no clue about," remembered Army Reserve Sgt. Thomas D. Wirges, 38, who had been working on rehabilitating the Baghdad Stock Exchange.

    Some also grumbled about the new staffers' political ties. Retired U.S. Army Col. Charles Krohn said many in the CPA regard the occupation "as a political event," always looking for a way to make the president look good.


    The pay turned out to be good. Ledeen and her co-workers had agreed to come to Iraq without knowing their salaries. They ended up with standard government base salaries in the range of $30,000 to $75,000 a year, plus a 25 percent foreign differential, another 25 percent for a workplace "in imminent danger," and overtime pay. In the end, almost everyone was making the equivalent of six-figure salaries.

    As Joe Conason noted:

    According to a remarkable article in the Washington Post, the CPA selected a number of utterly inexperienced young conservatives to oversee critical aspects of Iraq's reconstruction. Apparently these youthful idealists were chosen solely because their résumés had been posted on the Web site of the right-wing Heritage Foundation. (Such clumsy political vetting is ironically reminiscent of the ultra-left origins of the neoconservative movement.)

    The results of their excellent adventure were predictably poor, as important aspects of the struggling nation's finances were turned over to the likes of Todd Baldwin, a former legislative aide to Sen. Rick Santorum; John Hanley, an editor of the Heritage Foundation Web site; and Simone Ledeen, the daughter of Iran-Contra figure Michael Ledeen, whose résumé featured her role in founding a cooking school. Despite their obvious lack of qualifications, all were hired without so much as an interview or a background check. (The level of Ledeen's political maturity is amusingly displayed on a Christian-right Web site, which posted her gushing account of the president's Thanksgiving visit to the troops in Baghdad. Coming down from the euphoria of meeting Bush, Ledeen wrote, "Hillary Clinton is coming here tomorrow. For her sake I hope I don't see her. I might do something crazy like spit in her direction.")

    Much like their more senior sponsors, the young conservatives sent to staff the CPA possessed more enthusiasm than wisdom, and more self-confidence than self-knowledge. And young and old, no matter how bad things look -- they will all tell anybody who listens that they are doing a great job.

    Too bad, in his two dinners with Simone, that Roger never got around to asking her where all the money went, her being an MBA and all...

    posted by tbogg at 11:20 PM



    After we finished discussing Buffy episodes we plotted the overthrow of the government....

    I would be remiss if I didn't point out that my family and I had a lovely dinner with the equally lovely Jo Fish of Democratic Veteran last Saturday night while he was in San Diego to visit the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.

    Proving himself to be a true Renaissance man, he spent part of the evening discussing Buffy episodes with my daughter...and me without my VampireSlayer decoder ring.

    (Note to self: Her name is Willow, not Meadow. Meadow = Soprano. Willow = lesbian)

    posted by tbogg at 10:39 PM



    I'm typing as fast as I can

    You would think, with all of their curbside flag-waving and "we support our troops" huzzahing, that when the 101st Fighting Keyboarders read something like this:

    Digging deeper for help in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is recalling to active duty about 5,600 people who recently left the service and still have a reserve obligation.

    In a new sign of the strain the insurgency in Iraq has put on the U.S. military, Army officials said Tuesday the involuntary callups will begin in July and run through December. It is the first sizable activation of the Individual Ready Reserve since the 1991 Gulf War, though several hundred people have voluntarily returned to service since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

    Unlike members of the National Guard and Reserve, individual reservists do not perform regularly scheduled training and receive no pay unless they are called up. The Army is targeting its recall at those who recently left the service and thus have the most up-to-date skills.

    "This was inevitable when it became clear that we would have to maintain significant combat forces in Iraq for a period of years," said Dan Goure, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a think tank.

    The Army is pinpointing certain skills in short supply, like medical specialists, military police, engineers, transportation specialists and logistics experts. Those selected for recall will be given at least 30 days' notice to report for training, an Army statement said.

    Vietnam veteran Chuck Luczynski said in an interview Tuesday that he fears his son, Matt, who is getting out of the Army after four years, will be called back to active duty as part of the individual reserves. The son returned home in March after a one-year tour in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, and he's planning to start a computer programming business.

    "I think that's on everybody's mind right now, that they took their turn and they would hope everybody took a turn so that a few don't carry the many," said the elder Luczynski, of Omaha, Neb.

    The Army is so stretched for manpower that in April it broke a promise to some active-duty units, including the 1st Armored Division, that they would not have to serve more than 12 months in Iraq. It also has extended the tours of other units, including some in Afghanistan.

    ...well, they would say to themselves, "Jeez, those poor guys. Maybe I should disrupt my comfortable life and pitch in to fight Islamofacism. I'm gonna run right down to my local recruiters office and see how I can help bring democracy to the Middle East."

    You would think they would do that, right?

    Okay. I'm just kidding. Of course they wouldn't. In fact, one of them (one who isn't even gainfully employed at the moment) thinks we need to do a " little sabre-rattling" on yet another front:

    Tell them to knock if off or they’re next. If they call our bluff we don’t have to bomb the capital or change the regime. Just a few pinprick strikes on military targets at night would let them know we’re serious. Don’t think for a minute that wouldn’t scare the pants off ’em.

    Just as long as someone else is doing the heavy sabre-rattling, since we all know a smug and superior look is only a weapon of mass destruction in your own mind when you're sitting alone in your home office nursing a Mountain Dew.

    (Added): A correction. Michael is gainfully employed as a writer now, for which he should be congratulated. Either way, I'm sticking by Mountain Dew scenario...

    posted by tbogg at 10:09 PM



    God help the mister that comes between me and my man hobby...

    There comes a time when Clarence Thomas has step away from Antonin Scalia and say, "No!":

    The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a law meant to punish pornographers who peddle dirty pictures to Web-surfing kids is probably an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech.

    The high court divided 5-to-4 over a law passed in 1998, signed by then-President Clinton and now backed by the Bush administration. The majority said a lower court was correct to block the law from taking effect because it likely violates the First Amendment.


    The majority, led by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, said there may have been important technological advances in the five years since a federal judge blocked the law.

    Holding a new trial will allow discussion of what technology, if any, might allow adults to see and buy material that is legal for them while keeping that material out of the hands of children.

    Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed with Kennedy.


    In dissent, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer said the law is constitutional and should be upheld.

    Sometimes a porn clown has to do what a porn clown has to do...

    posted by tbogg at 8:44 AM


    Monday, June 28, 2004


    The return of I Don't Like The Drugs But The Drugs Like Me.

    Clean & Single Rush Limbaugh:

    "The Clinton book promotion is totally media driven, whereas what we saw during the week of the Reagan memorial was totally genuine, brought about by the love and adoration and respect of the American people."

    ...and the death. Don't forget the death....

    posted by tbogg at 7:07 AM



    The last word on Dick's bad word

    ...from Tom Burka.

    posted by tbogg at 7:03 AM



    Let me finish, let me finish. For the love of God someone let him finish...

    Here's your transcript of our Talking Point President being interviewed by someone who actually expects an answer instead of a Scott McClellan-like evasion.

    Q But, Mr. President, the world is a more dangerous place today. I don't know whether you can see that or not.

    THE PRESIDENT: Why do you say that?

    Q There are terrorist bombings every single day. It's now a daily event. It wasn't like that two years ago.

    THE PRESIDENT: What was it like September the 11th, 2001? It was a -- there was a relative calm, we --

    Q But it's your response to Iraq that's considered --

    THE PRESIDENT: Let me finish. Let me finish, please. Please. You ask the questions and I'll answer them, if you don't mind.

    On September the 11th, 2001, we were attacked in an unprovoked fashion. Everybody thought the world was calm. And then there have been bombings since then -- not because of my response to Iraq. There were bombings in Madrid. There were bombings in Istanbul. There were bombings in Bali. There were killings in Pakistan.

    Q Indeed, Mr. President, and I think Irish people understand that. But I think there is a feeling that the world has become a more dangerous place because you have taken the focus off al Qaeda and diverted into Iraq. Do you not see that the world is a more dangerous place? I saw four of your soldiers lying dead on the television the other day, a picture of four soldiers just lying there without their flight jackets.

    THE PRESIDENT: Listen, nobody cares more about the death than I do --

    Q Is there a point or place --

    THE PRESIDENT: Let me finish, please. Please. Let me finish, and then you can follow up, if you don't mind.

    Nobody cares more about the deaths than I do. I care about it a lot. But I do believe the world is a safer place and becoming a safer place. I know that a free Iraq is going to be a necessary part of changing the world. Listen, people join terrorist organizations because there's no hope and there's no chance to raise their families in a peaceful world where there is not freedom. And so the idea is to promote freedom, and at the same time protect our security. And I do believe the world is becoming a better place, absolutely.

    ...and nobody cares more about death than he does, which is why we have had so much of it since he became President.

    posted by tbogg at 6:52 AM



    Putting in a plug

    ...for my friend Rob who puts on Street Scene every year in San Diego. This years lineup is one of the best.

    If you haven't ever been to Street Scene, and you need an excuse to come to San Diego, this is your chance.

    posted by tbogg at 6:40 AM


    Sunday, June 27, 2004


    Meet the new boss secret police, same as the old boss secret police.

    Brit Hume lobbing softballs to Incompetentleeza Rice:

    HUME: The level of violence remains high. Another explosion in Baghdad this morning. Does this threaten the handover and, also, the reconstruction? How much of this can you stand?

    RICE: It's absolutely obvious that those who have no future in the new Iraq and the foreign terrorists are trying to derail this political transition. But Prime Minister Allawi and the Iraqi government have been very strong in saying that they are not going to succeed, that they are going to proceed. We are going to proceed with the handover to the Iraqis.

    The Iraqis have also made very clear that security is going to be a very high priority, that they have measures that they believe that they can take, including bringing back some pretty sophisticated, pretty well-trained security personnel.


    HUME: Who are these sophisticated and well-trained security personnel of whom you speak?

    RICE: Well, I think that the Iraqis believe that there are some people who have security training from the army and who can be brought back. Some have already been brought back. General Petraeus is looking at some of these people, and has been for some time.

    But the Iraqis want everyone to know, and indeed the Iraqi government continues to say, that while they want to invite some trained personnel back, they are as concerned as everybody that people with blood on their hands not be brought back. They recognize that the future of Iraq cannot be built on the pillars of the worst of the old Baath Party.

    And so, they're quite willing and quite capable of vetting people, but they believe that there are probably more trained personnel that can be brought back who are not yet engaged in the security forces.

    Yeah. Check under their fingernails for blood.

    Oh. And do a better job of vetting them than this administration did on these guys.

    posted by tbogg at 11:49 PM



    "I am shocked you would sink this low" said the imaginary voice in Matt Drudge's head.

    First Matt Drudge fake quote of the week:

    "This is a trash hunt," said a senior Kerry source, who asked not to be named.

    "No, I do not have a clue what is in the papers," explained the source. "But it is none of my business. And its none of your business, or any one's business... You're playing a game of gutter ball, Drudge."

    "I would argue, adamantly, the records should remain sealed. And out of the hands of John's political enemies."

    "...and, by the way, do you mind my mentioning that you look totally hot in that hat, Matt?", said the Kerry aide who also said that he hates Kerry because he's so French-looking.

    posted by tbogg at 11:31 PM


    Saturday, June 26, 2004


    Major Mo Moment

    Maureen Dowd:

    By playing on the insecurities of an inexperienced leader, Mr. Cheney has managed to change W. from a sunny, open, bipartisan, uniter-not-a-divider, non-nation-builder into a crabby, secretive, partisan, divider-not-a-uniter, inept imperialist. Vice is bounding around the country, talking to his usual circumscribed audiences of conservatives, right-wing think tanks and Fox News anchors. No need to burrow in the bunker when you've turned America into one.

    As they used to say about the Soviet Union, the defensive Bush imperialists have to keep expanding because they're encircled. Mr. Cheney's gloomy, scary, contentious world view has fueled a more gloomy, scary, contentious world.

    Dowd is at the top of her game in this column.

    posted by tbogg at 11:11 PM



    Plans call for the commission to be headed up by Abu bin Scalia

    What if they promoted a democracy that was anything but? Leave it to Bremer:

    U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer has issued a raft of edicts revising Iraq's legal code and has appointed at least two dozen Iraqis to government jobs with multi-year terms in an attempt to promote his concepts of governance long after the planned handover of political authority on Wednesday.

    Some of the orders signed by Bremer, which will remain in effect unless overturned by Iraq's interim government, restrict the power of the interim government and impose U.S.-crafted rules for the country's democratic transition. Among the most controversial orders is the enactment of an elections law that gives a seven-member commission the power to disqualify political parties and any of the candidates they support.
    (my emphasis)

    So? How you Iraqis liking your self-government so far?

    Democracy for "brown-skinned people": yes.
    Self determination: Hell no.

    posted by tbogg at 11:02 PM


    Friday, June 25, 2004


    Order tickets ahead...

    Jim at Rittenhouse on trying to see Fahrenheit 9/11.

    At work today one of my employees was talking with her boyfriend throughout the day about going with a large group to see Fahrenheit tonight. As she said to me on the way out, "I hate politics...but I really want to see this."

    And on the homefront I picked my daughter up at the multiplex tonight after she saw Dodgeball (hey...she's fourteen). I asked if Fahrenheit was playing there and she said "no" but that she wanted to see it this weekend.

    Yesterday afternoon we were in Bookstar and she picked up Jacob Weisberg's Bushisms and stood flipping through it while I browsed (I bought The Cold Six Thousand for myself, Wicked for her and The Dogs of Babel for my wife if you must know). Anyway after spending twenty minutes or so flipping through Weisberg's book, she looked up and said "This guy is an idiot."

    She is her father's daughter....

    (Added): The latest from San Diego

    posted by tbogg at 11:01 PM



    Someone didn't get the Pope-Memo...

    Neil Cavuto passing on an urban myth:

    When Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" came out in theaters, many criticized its violence. The fact that some in Hollywood's film industry leveled this attack absolutely floored me. It just seemed odd that the folks who brought us "Kill Bill" suddenly had a problem with "Kill Jesus."


    Mel Gibson rightly countered that Christ's crucifixion wasn't pretty or nice. It was violent, brutal, ugly and gory to the absolute extreme. It was, as the Pope himself later surmised, "as it was."

    Even Our Lady of The Dolphins backed off on that one.

    posted by tbogg at 10:43 PM



    Feeling better all the time

    Congratulations to Dick Cheney for standing up for propriety and taking the high road by using a word that I won't even use on my blog:

    Vice President Dick Cheney has said he didn't regret cursing at Sen. Patrick Leahy earlier this week, and said he felt better after the incident.

    In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Cheney said he was "forcefully" expressing his unhappiness with the conduct of the Democratic senator from Vermont -- who Cheney said had publicly questioned his integrity, and then wanted to be friendly when he saw him in person.

    Sources who related the incident to CNN said the vice president had told Leahy either "f--- off" or "go f--- yourself."

    Cheney would not confirm using the word.

    "That's not the kind of language I usually use," the vice president said in the interview during a campaign stop in Michigan.

    When asked if he had cursed at Leahy, Cheney answered, "Probably."

    "Do you have any regrets?," Neil Cavuto asked.

    "No. I said it," the vice president responded.

    Oh, and Dick?

    Blow me.

    That felt pretty good.

    posted by tbogg at 10:38 PM



    Touch me in the morning.

    Um. Rick? Is there anything you want to tell us?

    (Image compliments of Wonkette)

    posted by tbogg at 10:05 PM



    Potty mouth! Potty Mouth!

    Lynne loves it when Dick talks dirty.

    To quote Will & Grace: It gives her 'ladywood'.

    posted by tbogg at 8:20 AM



    Stormy Mummy-day

    It was a dark and stormy morning when America's Worst Mother™ used one of the oldest literary tricks in the book to tell the story of how her children (Elpatha, Giovanna, Perseus, and Daisy Duke) learned that someday they too would have to exit the mothership and become bad mothers themselves (Perseus included):

    We are pulling into the driveway after a long, hot excursion to the park. The air is heavy and the sky is darkening rapidly. On the radio a black mother is telling NPR listeners how she hopes her son will grow up to marry a black woman, and I am musing on the impossibility of a white-skinned mother expressing the same sentiment in polite company, let alone on NPR, when Phoebe abruptly announces, "I don't want to grow up."

    "You don't?" I murmur absently, turning off the engine and gathering my things. A hurricane is gathering itself in the car, but I do not yet feel the breeze.

    "No, Mummy!" Opening my door, I glance into the backseat and see with surprise that both Violet and Phoebe are sitting absolutely still with tragic, brimming eyes. Outside there's a roll of thunder, and raindrops start pelting down.

    "And I — " Violet bursts out, as if we have been arguing, "I don't want to grow up either!" She explodes into extravagant tears, her words coming in a tumble: "When-you-grow-up-you-have-to-leave-your-mummy-and-go-away-and-then-you-can' t-be-with-your-mummy-and-you-want-to-go- home — " Violet pauses for breath and then sobs out, "But you can't!"

    A moment later:

    A heavy and rather sticky person slides over the back of the girls' seat, partly crushing Violet's head and mine. It is Paris, and he's crying too.

    "Ow — "

    "I don't want to grow up either!" says he in a strangled voice.

    "Paris, you're a little — "

    " — But I want to cuddle you — "

    "That's lovely, but — "

    " — and I don't ever want to leave you and Daddy — "

    " — honey, you're squishing — "

    Lightening flashes across the gray skies.

    Meanwhile the quiet and bookish Giovanna reads her book and dreams of a glass menagerie of animals, secure in the knowledge she'll never have to leave home:

    In the way-way back, over Paris's waving legs, Molly is reading quietly, secure for the moment in the sunny uplands of the almost-tens. What Violet and Phoebe are discovering as a catastrophe is old terrain for her. Alas, as happens with firstborns, when she had her initial Peter Pan moment she was but a guinea pig being manipulated by an amateur scientist.

    Fortunately, Meghan resolves their issues by sugeesting a family compound Gurdon Incest Estates:

    "Children, you don't ever have to leave home. You can live with us forever."

    The effect is alchemic. Paris shifts his weight back, and I can breathe again. Violet scrubs her face, and Phoebe tucks those two reassuring fingers into her mouth and looks at me with trusting, saucer eyes.

    "Really?" Paris gulps.

    "Really," I say firmly. "When you grow up, we will buy all the houses on our street," I continue, "and our whole family can all live in them."

    People talk about the amazing resilience of children. People are right. Within a minute, happiness is restored and the children start talking about what they would eat first if our neighborhood was made of candy. Molly tunes in for this. "The cobblestones would be nougat," she says, "and I would eat six of them. After dinner," she adds, with a nod to propriety.

    The rain has slowed to a drizzle

    ...and the clouds part, and shafts of light bathe the Gurdon minivan as God and Ronald Reagan (who only recently left his Mummy) look down upon the Gurdon children and all is right with the world...until they learn of Meghan's laudanum addiction and Mr. Meghan's secret affair with an Ann Coulter impersonator...

    But that's another story.

    (Added) This weeks bonus Burgeoning Manhood Moment: ...we are collecting the lunch boxes and book bags and discarded shoes when Paris' face suddenly lights up. "Hey," he says, "wouldn't it be neat if people had clothes made of glass? Then you could see their — "

    Oh what a delightful scamp he is....

    posted by tbogg at 7:17 AM


    Thursday, June 24, 2004


    The Conservative Book Club

    Bill Clinton, who has written more books than George Bush has read, apparently has quite a fan base among the right-wing side of the aisle who took time out of their busy lives fighting Islamofascism overseas...pulling their own children out of Ivy League universities and sending them off to war...making their wives perform at live sex clubs...appearing on Fox TV to give opinions on things they know nothing about. It seems they have already read all 950-plus pages of Bill Clinton's book that was just released today... and they still managed to get a column written about it. Let's check in!:

    Ann Coulter's (titled Moby's Dick) is chock full of sexual wordplay (and not even clever wordplay at that)

    If we're so obsessed with it, why do they keep bringing it up? OK, uncle. You win, Mr. President. If I buy a copy of your book, will you just shut up once and for all, go away, and never come back? It will cost me $35, but, judging strictly by weight, that isn't a bad price for so much cow manure. At 957 pages, this is the first book ever published that contains a 20-minute intermission. Readers are advised to put it down and read a passage from Clinton's 1988 Democratic National Convention speech nominating Dukakis just to stay awake. This thing is so long, he almost called it "War and Peace." Or, I suppose, more properly, "War and a Piece."

    that seems to indicate that penis envy is alive and well...even in a woman blessed with a vestigial one (a penis, that is). Final verdict: she hasn't read it but at least she finally admits that Bill's packing serious heat.

    Emmett Tyrell went looking for his name and found a nit to pick and says "You can look it up" and provides us with this lame defense:

    After a year of fully cooperating with the government inquiry, I could savor -- as can any fair-minded American -- the final judgment of the grand jury's investigation of the Spectator. Encapsulated in the independent counsel's press release, it reads: "After conducting an independent investigation into allegations the David Hale may have received payments to influence his testimony in matters within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Independent Counsel (OIC), the Office of Special Review has concluded that ‘many of the allegations, suggestions and insinuations regarding the tendering and receipt of things of value were shown to be unsubstantiated or, in some cases, untrue.'"

    Further, the Office of Special Review concluded that: "In some instances, there is little if any credible evidence establishing that a particular thing of value was demanded, offered or received. In other instances, there is insufficient credible evidence to show that a thing of value was provided or received with the criminal intent defined by any of the applicable statues."
    (my emphasis)

    It doesn't get more definitive than that. Final verdict: Went into Borders and looked in the index for his name. Then sat around drinking free refills of coffee until they closed. Didn't read the book either.

    Suzanne Fields is content to just quote other reviewers but what she really wants is some hot Bill-on-women action...and he wasn't forthcoming enough:

    Clinton is naturally reticent about some of his women, beginning with Juanita Broderick, who accused him, credibly, of raping her when he was Arkansas attorney general. Then there's Paula Jones, whom he finally paid a lot of money to go away, and the newly widowed Kathleen Willey, whom he harassed when she called to seek a job. The ex-president tells Dan Rather that he doesn't consider his impeachment a "stain" on his reputation - a particularly inept metaphor considering Monica's famous little cocktail dress - even if the rest of us do.

    Verdict: obviously hasn't read the book...but would if Jackie Collins had ghostwritten it.

    Brent Bozell took time out from watching 73 hours of TV a day looking for exposed nipples, potty humor, and new expressions for the mythical "blowjob" sexual act that he has only heard of. Brent demonstrates how culturally "hip" he is by referencing a movie that came out 24 years ago:

    So Bill Clinton has written a 957-page book about his life. It appears to be the literary equivalent of the movie "Airplane!" in which the main character, Ted Striker, kept trying to bore captive passengers with his life story, as they all killed themselves rather than listen to him drone on and on and on.

    Bozell fails to mention that Airplane also contains a scene where Julie Haggerty provides, hmmm, how should I put it...oral relief to the inflatable autopilot. But, then again, the movie was shot twenty-four years ago, a time before blowjobs came into existence (no matter what they say about Nancy Reagan), so maybe Brent was as unfamiliar with the act then as he is now. Regardless, he obviously hasn't read the book, and he's more of a TV guy anyway. Maybe he'll just wait for the mini-series which includes this scene where Kenneth Starr (on the right) coaches Linda Tripp(on the left) before her Grand Jury testimony.

    I didn't really read Gary Aldrich's review because I was fascinated by all the big spaces between sentences. So I guess Gary gets paid by the inch and not by the word. Final verdict:






    posted by tbogg at 12:13 AM


    Tuesday, June 22, 2004


    ...and it's probably why you've been divorced three times too.


    "I love blonde jokes because I am inherently a sexist, and a chauvinist."

    Let's face it. Blonde jokes are only funny if you're drunk or stoned.

    Oh. Wait....

    posted by tbogg at 11:11 PM



    Fine patriotic American-made quality garments with just a hint of nipple.

    So? Got your Republicanwear yet?

    Anyone else think that Jack "Take my wife. From behind. Please" Ryan would like to take her clubbing?

    And speaking of Ryan, I would be remiss if I didn't point out these fascinating passages from the Ryan story:

    In the records from a June 2000 child-custody battle, Ryan's ex-wife - television actress Jeri Ryan of "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Boston Public" fame - alleged that the Republican millionaire's pressure tactics included suggesting once that she owed him a trip to a sex club because he had eaten dinner out with her.

    In other instances, she alleged, he took her on what he said were going to be "romantic" trips that turned out instead to be journeys into places where "people were having sex everywhere."


    In the documents, Ryan generally dismisses the allegations.

    And in a news conference after their release, Ryan maintained that he had been as surprised as his wife about the nature of one of the clubs, but he sidestepped specific questions about the truthfulness of her allegations.
    (my emphasis)

    Boy. If I had a dollar for every time we took Grandma out for Seniors Happy Hour and that exact same thing happened.....

    posted by tbogg at 10:52 PM



    We belive that Whenever, Wherever might have been code for 9/11

    Apparently, not only do they all look alike, but:

    Former Navy secretary John Lehman, a Republican member of the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said Sunday that documents found in Iraq "indicate that there is at least one officer of Saddam's Fedayeen, a lieutenant colonel, who was a very prominent member of al Qaeda." Although he said the identity "still has to be confirmed," Lehman introduced the information on NBC's "Meet the Press" to counter a commission staff report that said there were contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no "collaborative relationship."

    Yesterday, the senior administration official said Lehman had probably confused two people who have similar-sounding names.

    One of them is Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi, identified as an al Qaeda "fixer" in Malaysia. Officials say he served as an airport greeter for al Qaeda in January 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, at a gathering for members who were to be involved in the attacks on the USS Cole, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

    Iraqi military documents, found last year, listed a similar name, Lt. Col. Hikmat Shakir Ahmad, on a roster of Hussein's militia, Saddam's Fedayeen.

    "By most reckoning that would be someone else" other than the airport greeter, said the administration official, who would speak only anonymously because of the matter's sensitivity. He added that the identification issue is still being studied but "it doesn't look like a match to most analysts."

    Besides investigating Ahmad Hikmat Shakir Azzawi and Lt. Col. Hikmat Shakir Ahmad, the 9/11 commission is also investigating Shakira to find out why her music is so gosh-darned danceable and how she can be so blonde and yet so delightfully Latin...

    posted by tbogg at 10:45 PM



    Big dog...old tricks

    As much as I love Bill Clinton, who is without a doubt the greatest politician I've ever seen, I just look at this picture and know that at sometime during the interview he said to himself, "I'd do her".

    posted by tbogg at 10:14 PM


    Monday, June 21, 2004


    Making friends for the world to see

    Friends of John

    John Kerry's campaign collected a maximum $2,000 check from the recently arrested son of South Korea's disgraced former president, and some of its fund-raisers met several times with a South Korean government official who was trying to organize a Korean-American political group.

    The Kerry campaign said it did not know about the $2,000 donation from Chun Jae-yong or his background until informed by The Associated Press and has decided to return the money to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

    "We are sending the check back," spokesman Michael Meehan said.

    Friends of George

    Enron contributed $736,800 to George W. Bush over the past eight years, his single largest contributor. Many are looking for a smoking gun that will link Enron, directly, to specific favors. They want to see what specific decisions Enron bought. It is possible that such decisions will be uncovered, the evidence supplied.

    But there are different ways in which influence manifests itself, and not all are direct. Influence can create a community of interest in which the priorities are unspoken but nonetheless shared. Whether by shaping goals and determining what should be undertaken to achieve them, or by establishing that various parties jointly desire a particular outcome, a community of interest can be a powerful thing.

    It appears that there was a corporate community of interest which was strongly linked to Enron. The community included, through obvious linkages that are detailed below, the current President of the United States, George W. Bush.

    Consider the old analogy of ducks, but in another manifestation. If a school of birds float like a flock of ducks, feed like a flock of ducks, quack like a flock of ducks, there is a high likelihood that it is a flock of ducks.

    Of the twenty largest contributors to George W. Bush's Presidential campaign, fully half had major links to Enron; indeed, five of his seven largest seven contributors were connected to Enron. No matter what they did or did not do on the record, that sure looks like a flock of ducks, with George W. Bush in their midst, paddling toward and into the presidency.

    It's a good thing Kenny Boy isn't a Korean

    posted by tbogg at 10:50 PM



    ...and seven out of nine men said they would watch.

    Republicans...family values...:

    Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan pressured his wife, actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, to have sex in clubs while others watched, she charged in custody documents related to their divorce that were released Monday.

    The ``Boston Public'' and ``Star Trek: Voyager'' actress said she angered Ryan by refusing. She did acknowledge infidelity on her part, which she said took place after their marriage was irretrievably broken.

    In the documents Ryan denied the allegations, saying he had been ``faithful and loyal'' to his wife.

    In a news conference held after the documents were released, Ryan repeatedly refused to comment on the allegations, saying his response in the court papers spoke for itself and that he would not discuss them again.

    Saying you are "faithful and loyal'' doesn't necesarily preclude you from asking your wife to have public sex with other men while you watch.

    Even in Illinois.

    Of course I haven't been there in a few years and things could have changed...

    posted by tbogg at 10:01 PM


    Sunday, June 20, 2004


    ...and the war is a phallic equivalent of a phallus.

    How Georgie got his gun:

    As first reported in Time magazine, the soldiers who captured Mr. Hussein in December presented the mounted sidearm as a gift to Mr. Bush in a visit to the White House. They were members of the Army's Delta Force team, Mr. Bush later told reporters, and they had confiscated the unloaded pistol from Mr. Hussein's lap when they pulled him out of his spider hole near Tikrit.

    "It's now the property of the U.S. government," Mr. Bush said at a news conference this month in Savannah, Ga., when asked specifically about the pistol and whether he would return it to the people of Iraq. What the gun tells us about the president, the war and the relationship of the Bush family to Mr. Hussein is another story entirely. It is in many ways better, or at least more interesting, than the first.

    The Iraqi dictator, after all, tried to assassinate Mr. Bush's father in 1993, when he was only a year out of the White House, as payback for the 1991 Persian Gulf war, which the first President Bush had waged on Mr. Hussein. In other words, the gun is more than a gun, at least according to the Freudians.

    "It's the phallic equivalent of a scalp - I mean that quite seriously," said Stanley A. Renshon, a psychoanalyst and political scientist at the City University of New York who has just completed a book, to be published by Palgrave/Macmillan in September, called "In His Father's Shadow: The Transformations of George W. Bush."

    Interestingly, in Saddam Hussein's Baghdad palace they found George W. Bush's missing beer bong from when he was holed up in Alabama while avoiding National Guard service during the seventies, so this story has a rather pleasing symmetry.

    posted by tbogg at 11:35 PM



    Oh. That? It was a...homage. Yeah. That's it...mine was a homage.

    Fred at Slacktivist pretty much deflates the whole Ray Bradbury/Michael Moore tempest in a teacup;

    Sheesh. Bradbury didn't ask Shakespeare's permission to use "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Or Yeats' for "The Golden Apples of the Sun." Or Whitman's for "I Sing the Body Electric."

    And he didn't need to.

    posted by tbogg at 11:12 PM



    Since you asked...

    Dianne West writes:

    Why have the media continued to report, obsess and revel in the same old humiliation photos from U.S.-controlled Abu Ghraib even as they ignore never-before-aired videotape that documents the hacking, maiming and bloody torture that took place at Abu Ghraib under Saddam Hussein?

    Because we are the ones who are responsible for the killing and humiliation of Iraqis under our control in Abu Ghraib and we are supposed to be better than that. We don't get bonus points for being almost as bad as Saddam...but not quite.

    You're welcome.

    posted by tbogg at 10:54 PM



    As if you needed another good reason to buy a pint of Chubby Hubby

    Our man Ben Cohen:

    Ben Cohen, co-founder of Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's, has come up with "50 Ways You Can Show George the Door in 2004." With co-author Jason Salzman, the white-bearded, jovial Cohen proudly showed off his latest invention, a regime-change device called the Sidewalk Chalk Stamper. Looking like an oversized carpet sweeper, the doohickey has "Stamp Out Bush" in raised letters (made from paint pads) on the bottom.

    "We're going to go on a group motorcycle ride in Arizona," Cohen said. "Ride into town, then walk up and down the sidewalk with it. You can stamp out two or three a second with this thing."

    "It comes off with water," Salzman added.

    "Yes," said Cohen, "but there's interesting leniency in the law when it comes to chalk."

    As he described the development of the Sidewalk Chalk Stamper, his bright eyes took on a distant, visionary look.

    "In the early days," Cohen said, "we used chalk powder. But it got on people's shoes and they tracked it into shops, which upset shop owners. So we improved the system – we mixed the powdered chalk into a slurry. It took a while to get the formula just right."

    You could see, right there, the environment in which paradigm-shattering concepts like Cherry Garcia were conceived.

    posted by tbogg at 10:45 PM



    Stalkin' and a bloggin'

    NRO's Kathryn Jean, the woman with no social life, just can't get enough of that Big Dog lovin':

    That interview--60 minutes in length--was shorter than a number of Clinton speeches.
    Posted at 08:00 PM

    …that I never thought of resigning.” He never thought of resigning? That’s a lie or he is more self-centered than I give him credit for.
    Posted at 07:56 PM

    He says, while talking about political enemies: "I puzzled a lot of people and confused them.”
    Posted at 07:44 PM

    He regrets the pardon. But, “mostly because of all the grief I got.” Not on "the merits."

    There is so much to say about this pathetic interview...stay tuned...
    Posted at 07:29 PM

    "If there had been no Kenneth Starr…I would have said, here are the facts…."
    Posted at 07:17 PM

    Dan Rather, apologetically questioning Clinton...
    Posted at 07:09 PM

    were Bill Clinton's biggest domestic failures? Lying and abuse of power, impeachment, no? (This, from his 60 Minutes interview, on now)
    Posted at 07:05 PM

    Isn't it cute when teenaged girls pretend that they don't like a guy...and then they go home and stare at his picture in the yearbook?

    You were really cool in our Bio class. Have a bitchin' summer. -The Clenis"


    posted by tbogg at 9:45 PM



    Shorter Tim Graham's Fathers Day Remembrance

    "Mom was barely out of the hospital before Dad was on her again like Spencer Abraham on a donut."

    posted by tbogg at 9:39 PM


    Saturday, June 19, 2004


    Getting all worked up over gay marria----Ooooo! A Will & Grace Marathon!!

    It looks like it's only the Evangelical ministers (also known as "unemployable white guys with no job skills") are getting their pristine tighty-whities in a bunch over the threat of gay marriage:

    He has preached for months that gay marriage could be the downfall of Western civilization, but the Rev. Gary F. Smith is worried that the message is not getting across to his flock at the Church of the Nazarene in Leesburg.

    "There's quite a bit of lethargy in the pews," he said. "By and large, it's a lay-down-and-roll-over-and-play-dead attitude."

    Across the country, evangelical Christians are voicing frustration and puzzlement that there has not been more of a political outcry since May 17, when Massachusetts became the first state to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

    Evangelical leaders had predicted that a chorus of righteous anger would rise up out of churches from coast to coast and overwhelm Congress with letters, e-mails and phone calls in support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

    But that has not happened.

    "Standing on Capitol Hill listening, you don't hear anything," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, one of the country's most vigorous Christian advocacy groups.

    Dont'cha just hate it when the sheep won't follow?

    posted by tbogg at 10:00 PM


    Friday, June 18, 2004


    And we're supposed to take you seriously because...?

    The Blogger With Diminishing Credibility writes about Sullivan's inability to endorse Bush:

    Andrew's position seems to me to be driven largely by Bush's support of the (non-starter) Federal Marriage Amendment. As someone who supports gay marriage pretty strongly (though less so than Andrew, I imagine) I can understand his disappointment. But it seems to me that Bush has done the least he realistically could have done on this issue, only supporting the Amendment when it became obvious that it wasn't going anywhere, and then offering only token support. And though you can draw a distinction between Bush and Kerry on this issue, it's not much of one, really. But obviously it seems bigger to Andrew than it does to me.

    There are plenty of things that I disagree with Bush on -- stem cell research (and pretty much all other biotech/bioethics issues), abortion, gay marriage, the Drug War, etc. If it weren't for the war, I'd probably be on the fence. But I can't take Kerry seriously on the war, and for me it's the number one issue. For Sullivan, I guess, it's not. I had thought that it was.

    Consider that:

    The Administration lied about the reasons for invading Iraq. No WMDs, no threat to the region, no threat to the US. No involvement in 9/11.

    Invaded and occupied with insufficient forces, so much so that we pulled troops out of Afghanistan that were searching for bin Laden.

    Alienated the world against the US.

    Lost over 837 Americans, with thousands wounded.

    Blown billions of dollars with little to show for it.

    Made a country where it is no safer for an American to leave the heavily-fortified Green Zone than it was when we declared "Mission Accomplished".

    Awarded billion dollar no-bid contracts to cronies of the Administration who have since been the subject of investigations of fraud.

    Been caught torturing and sexually humiliating Iraqis, and then tried to cover it up.

    Supported and funded a known embezzler who promptly passed secret information onto Iran...before being caught embezzling again.

    Made it more dangerous to be an American in the Middle East.

    And now we are pretending that the June 30 handover is going to go just swell, which is why we're leaving our undermanned and overextended military to remain a daily target for a people who don't want us there.

    So one has to wonder:

    Why exactly does he take George W. Bush seriously about the war?

    It would be refreshingly honest for Reynolds to just admit that he doesn't like John Kerry because he looks too "french".

    posted by tbogg at 11:10 PM



    Piñata boy

    The press take a whack at him and all kinds of....well, mostly crap falls out:

    Q But they say -- the 9/11 Commission is saying, not only is there no evidence to support that or any collaboration in any other attacks on America, but no evidence to support any kind of collaborative relationship which you have claimed.

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, if you go back and look at what Secretary Powell said, and look at what Director Tenet said -- let me point out what Director Tenet said, as well, let me read you facts because you're talking about impressions, let's talk about the facts. I think you need to look at the facts, and look at exactly what was said prior to the decision to go into Iraq and remove that regime from power.

    Here's Director Tenet to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in a letter October 7, 2002:

    "We have solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda going back a decade. Credible information indicates that Iraq and al Qaeda had discussed safe-haven and reciprocal nonaggression. Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad."

    So those are the facts. And I think if you go and look back at what the September 11th Commission report said yesterday, it's consistent with that report.

    Q Scott, let me try to take a stab at this because I think one of the things that you're asserting there is a statement from the Director of Central Intelligence, who has since resigned, who apparently was the same one who told the President that it was a slam-dunk case.

    MR. McCLELLAN: That's not trying to say he resigned for reasons other than were personal reasons.

    Q People can make up their own minds.

    MR. McCLELLAN: As he cited, for family reasons.

    Q Okay, but they can make up their own minds.

    MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, well, you're trying to lump it all together, though.

    Q I'm pointing out that he resigned. And he also said -- you quoted him as saying that -- he's also the one who told the President that it was a slam-dunk case that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Today -- as of today, there are not. And isn't the issue that whatever the intelligence was about ties, any kind of relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq, that for the Vice President of the United States two days ago to assert deep, long-standing ties is, at its most charitable, an overstatement of what the evidence shows?

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, he's actually referring to exactly what Secretary Powell outlined before the United Nations and what Director Tenet outlined in open session to members of Congress. So, again, I would go back to what we stated were the facts and what we knew. And if you --

    Q But that's in direct contradiction to what the 9/11 Commission has found.

    MR. McCLELLAN: And if you look back at what we said, we said that -- we said all along that Saddam Hussein's regime supported and harbored terrorists, and that there were ties to terrorism -- including al Qaeda. And if you go back and look at what was outlined before the United Nations -- Secretary Powell goes to talk about how there was support for suicide bombers in the Middle East who sought to undermine the peace process, who sought to undermine the road map.

    Q But, Scott, you're trying to make such a technical --

    MR. McCLELLAN: Director Tenet --

    Q -- argument, cherry-picking what you want to see.

    Q Not Iraq.

    Q And not only that, this President has said that he thought that Saddam Hussein would like to use al Qaeda as a forward army, as one of his forward armies. The 9/11 Commission is saying, contacts a relationship don't make.

    MR. McCLELLAN: David, you're just ignoring the facts. You're not looking at what Director Tenet said. You're not looking at what Secretary Powell said before the United Nations.

    Q Scott, do you really think people buy this?

    MR. McCLELLAN: And I think that you can seek to drive a wedge, but there is no wedge there between what the September 11th Commission said and what the facts --

    Q Between what the facts are and what the reality is.

    MR. McCLELLAN: -- and what the facts are. You're talking about impressions; I'm talking about facts.

    Q No, I'm also talking about facts. The President said he thinks that al Qaeda would like to be a forward -- that Saddam wanted to use al Qaeda as a forward army -- his words from, I believe, October 2002 at a Michigan rally.

    This commission has said after its own investigation, and you were the ones who set up the commission, that there was no collaborative relationship. So the conclusion -- the question and conclusion seems to be that administration overstated the evidence that exists.

    The whole thing is friggin' great.

    posted by tbogg at 10:45 PM



    AWM™: Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way Edition

    Well it's been a few weeks since we checked in on America's Worst Mother™ and we now find that la famiglia Gurdon (Precipice, Cleo, Euphoria, and Vlad the Inhaler) is falling apart faster than a Donald Rumsfeld explanation, leading to a precipitous decline in familial "biffing":

    Until tonight, there has been a natural division in our family ever since there were four children to divide. The Bigs, comprising Molly and Paris, qualified for larger portions and later bedtimes. The Littles, consisting of Violet and Phoebe, received greater indulgence but fewer long, thoughtful, adult explanations. The Bigs will get, "Well, darlings, in the Second World War the Allies were fighting the Nazis in Europe and Imperial Japan in the Pacific, and..." Whereas the Littles hear, "Well, darlings, a long time ago the Goods were fighting the Bads...." There was, in short, a distinct Upper- and Lower-house quality around here. These two parties coexisted peacefully, each secure in its domestic sphere of influence. But now the wall is coming down, old alliances are fracturing, and we are entering a multipolar phase that already has me longing for Cold War certainties.

    (It should be noted that Mr. Meghan is officially designated as one of the "Littles" too...but for other reasons that we won't go into, at least for this week)

    Anyway, the disintegration of the Gurdon Clan seems to be tied to the day that Ronald Reagan cried, "Mummy, tear down this wall...and would it kill you to pick up afterwards?".

    The moment of open breach came on what turned out to be the day Ronald Reagan died. Our family was bicycling in a Virginia nature preserve. Molly, Paris, and my husband were far ahead on their own bikes, and Violet and Phoebe were traveling in a little rented trailer behind me. Pedaling along, I expected to hear from behind the usual amiable chatter. Instead, the tranquility of the egrets was shattered by discord.

    "But you said I could use her!" Violet cried with misery.

    "No, Violet," came a soft and deadly voice.

    "You're hurting me!"

    "Hey, girls, what — ?" I craned my head, braking.

    "Ow, Phoebe!"

    I stopped the bike and found Violet clinging desperately to the legs of Phoebe's cheap pink plastic doll as Phoebe yanked grimly on a handful of Violet's beautiful hair. "Why, girls!" I remonstrated, unhappy and surprised, sounding for all the world like Kofi Annan, "This isn't like you!"


    It is now abundantly clear that Paris and Violet are saving all their best jokes for each other. He rushes home from school to play with this once-scorned hanger-on. Over breakfast the other day their eyes were sparkling with mutual regard and the air was full of, "Hey, Violet — " and "Paris, listen to this — " as if the rest of us had vaporized.

    My husband and Molly, being lost in the paper and Harry Potter V, respectively, had actually vaporized. Phoebe sat with two fingers tucked in her mouth, watching the repartee like a spectator at Wimbledon, and I sat watching her. For nearly three years, the Littles have been each other's closest allies. Now Violet is forming a new axis. I am not sure what this means for her little sister. Perhaps when Phoebe starts nursery school she can join some Group of 77.

    And then there is this:

    “Violet, did you know there is a boat in your nose?"

    "Well, Paris, there's an earring in your eye."

    What does this all mean? Well, it's quite obvious that Meghan is desperately hanging onto her spot at NRO by showing off her Poli-Sci chops disguised as a musings on the family. Thus children are countries that must be invaded, converted, or killed. Alliances are formed and broken. Trade agreements are abrogated. Treaties are trashed. The "littles" are invaded by the "bigs" and have democracy shoved down their little throats while we torture them, sexually humiliate them, and steal their oil...

    ...or maybe she just wants to point out that kids say the darndest things.

    It's probably one of those...

    Bonus Paris Masculinity Sighting: Her brother chuckles maturely. "Violet, there's beetroot coming out of the top of your head."

    posted by tbogg at 7:12 AM



    When he says he's a "kidder" does that mean he has sex with baby goats*?

    Noted klismaphiliac** Bill O'Reilly is keeping those Fox lawyers plenty busy:

    FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly spoke publicly about the recent threat of a defamation lawsuit from Eric Alterman, whom O'Reilly had called "another Fidel Castro confidant," calling Alterman a "left-wing loon" and a "pinhead" during the June 15 broadcast of The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly. On the previous day's show, O'Reilly compared Bill Moyers to Mao Zedong; on April 20, O'Reilly compared Moyers to Castro and to convicted serial killer Ted Bundy (but claimed he was joking about the Bundy comparison).


    O'Reilly began his discussion on the June 15 Radio Factor by reading from a Washington Post article that reported both Alterman's threat to sue O'Reilly and O'Reilly's recent on-air apology to columnist and author Molly Ivins for calling her a "socialist"; then O'Reilly proceeded to explain away his smear of Alterman:

    But I -- in the beginning, when I called Ivins a soc -- I was just making fun of her. And I was just making fun of Alterman, who is a known left-wing loon, and -- well, I -- maybe I shouldn't say loon. OK, that's -- that's probably too much. A known left-winger who you can't debate with, because he's, "Oh, no, you're all the devil -- Bush is the devil." OK, fine.

    And I just said well you know ... "He's to the left of Fidel Castro," or something like that. Now, Alterman, of course, is taking that seriously, and he's going to sue me. Well, go ahead, you pinhead, I mean ridiculous. You people can smear, can malign, can lie about everything, you know, and then somebody makes fun of you for doing it, "Oh, I'm going to sue." OK, go ahead, fine.

    O'Reilly, who also spends his weekends practicing coprophilia*** when he's not dressing up as a Catholic schoolgirl****, still seeems to think that his words are somehow a leftwing plot against himself:

    You have a movement among the ultraleft to discredit me and Fox News Channel any way they can. ... They can't win the debate. They can't win the ratings war. So let's turn to defamation and we'll hide behind the satirist's label to defame. We don't have to be honest and accurate. It's a charade -- people see it for what it is. It had to be exposed, and that's what that lawsuit did.

    O'Reilly is such a tool*****.

    * Just kidding
    ** More funnin' with the guy
    *** This probably isn't true so I'll retract it.
    **** I'm kidding! I'm a big kidder. What?
    ***** My lawyers assure me that this is true.

    posted by tbogg at 7:05 AM


    Thursday, June 17, 2004


    When he says he's a "kidder" does that mean he has sex with baby goats*?

    Noted klismaphiliac** Bill O'Reilly is keeping those Fox lawyers plenty busy:

    FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly spoke publicly about the recent threat of a defamation lawsuit from Eric Alterman, whom O'Reilly had called "another Fidel Castro confidant," calling Alterman a "left-wing loon" and a "pinhead" during the June 15 broadcast of The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly. On the previous day's show, O'Reilly compared Bill Moyers to Mao Zedong; on April 20, O'Reilly compared Moyers to Castro and to convicted serial killer Ted Bundy (but claimed he was joking about the Bundy comparison).


    O'Reilly began his discussion on the June 15 Radio Factor by reading from a Washington Post article that reported both Alterman's threat to sue O'Reilly and O'Reilly's recent on-air apology to columnist and author Molly Ivins for calling her a "socialist"; then O'Reilly proceeded to explain away his smear of Alterman:

    But I -- in the beginning, when I called Ivins a soc -- I was just making fun of her. And I was just making fun of Alterman, who is a known left-wing loon, and -- well, I -- maybe I shouldn't say loon. OK, that's -- that's probably too much. A known left-winger who you can't debate with, because he's, "Oh, no, you're all the devil -- Bush is the devil." OK, fine.

    And I just said well you know ... "He's to the left of Fidel Castro," or something like that. Now, Alterman, of course, is taking that seriously, and he's going to sue me. Well, go ahead, you pinhead, I mean ridiculous. You people can smear, can malign, can lie about everything, you know, and then somebody makes fun of you for doing it, "Oh, I'm going to sue." OK, go ahead, fine.

    O'Reilly, who also spends his weekends practicing coprophilia*** when he's not dressing up as a Catholic schoolgirl****, still seeems to think that his words are somehow a leftwing plot against himself:

    You have a movement among the ultraleft to discredit me and Fox News Channel any way they can. ... They can't win the debate. They can't win the ratings war. So let's turn to defamation and we'll hide behind the satirist's label to defame. We don't have to be honest and accurate. It's a charade -- people see it for what it is. It had to be exposed, and that's what that lawsuit did.

    O'Reilly is such a tool*****.

    * Just kidding
    ** More funnin' with the guy
    *** This probably isn't true so I'll retract it.
    **** I'm kidding! I'm a big kidder. What?
    ***** My lawyers assure me that this is true.

    posted by tbogg at 10:28 PM



    Calling all warbloggers....

    Tired of being referred to as a member of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders? Sick of having your wife yell at you from the other room to "get off the goddamned internet" even when you're really not looking at porn? Ready to trade in those elastic waist Dockers™ for some real-life cammies that didn't come from Old Navy? The US is looking for a few good men (but they'll take what they can get...don't be shy) who like open-ended engagements, dry hot weather, and have an unquestioning love for their Commander-in-Chief.

    Your carpal tunnel problems and that nasty case of deskchair butt-rash are just a two-year enlistment away.

    posted by tbogg at 9:44 PM



    Took a few days off...

    Sorry for the lack of posting, but I've been busy with this and that. "This and that" mainly being a new Dell system for my daughter that came with a DOA monitor and a DVD player that doesn't work.

    Sample conversation with "Rachel" from Dell who sounds remarkably like Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon*:

    Me: The monitor doesn't work.

    Rachel: Is it plugged in?

    Me: Of course, it's plugged in. It still doesn't work.

    Rachel: Is the video cable attached to the unit?

    Me: Yes. And it still doesn't work.

    Rachel: Please hold while I complete some documentation.

    Me(Waiting...indulging in revenge fantasies): hmmmmmmmmmm

    Rachel (Returning five minutes later): Have you tried another monitor with your computer?

    Me: Yes. The old monitor works.

    Rachel: Did you try plugging the new monitor into a different power source?

    Me: Yes. It DOESN'T WORK. The power light doesn't even come on. It has never come on. It doesn't work.

    Repeat for twenty-seven more minutes with frequent requests that I "Hold please" while documentation is prepared, ending with:

    Rachel: We will have a technician out within twenty-four hours to install it.

    Me: Install what? You just need to send me a new monitor.

    Rachel: Yes. That is correct.

    Me: ...and send me a call tag for the broken one.

    Rachel: Yes. That is correct.

    Me: So. You're shipping me a new monitor?

    Rachel: Yes. I have prepared the documentation.


    I think Samuel Beckett writes their scripts...

    That does it. I'm going back to blogging on cave walls.

    Anyway...I'm back.

    (*For those keeping score at home, Manjula & Apu's eight kids are:

    Anoop Nahasapeemapetilon.
    Gheet Nahasapeemapetilon.
    Nabendu Nahasapeemapetilon.
    Poonam Nahasapeemapetilon.
    Pria Nahasapeemapetilon.
    Sandeep Nahasapeemapetilon.
    Sashi Nahasapeemapetilon.
    Uma Nahasapeemapetilon

    Just in case you're playing Scrabble or something)

    posted by tbogg at 12:46 AM



    The thrill of overthrowing elected governments just isn't there anymore....

    Otto Reich (whose name is almost as cool as Max Boot's to the war-bloggers)is calling it quits after discovering that it's not a good career move to represent El Presidente Borracho y Loco:

    Otto J. Reich, President Bush's special envoy to Latin America, resigned on Wednesday, taking with him a lifetime of experience fighting Fidel Castro and other opponents of American foreign policy.

    Mr. Reich, who was 15 when he fled Cuba after Mr. Castro came to power in 1959, cited "personal and financial reasons" last month in announcing his intent to leave the post.

    In 2001, President Bush nominated Mr. Reich to become assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, the top State Department post for Latin America. Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, the president's brother, and the state's anti-Castro Cubans supported the nomination.

    But the Senate would not confirm him; some Democrats called him an ideologue. After a bitter fight, the president appointed him temporarily when Congress recessed. After that yearlong term expired, he took the special envoy post, which did not require Senate approval, in January 2003.

    But by then Latin America had lost the foreign-policy prominence it had held under President Bush before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and the post held little real power.

    As you can see here, Reich is George Bush's kind of Hispani-rican without all that brown-skinned baggage that might make him stand out at a Heritage Foundation mixer, giving Michele Malkin the vapors.

    You can read more on Otto here and here.

    posted by tbogg at 12:29 AM


    Wednesday, June 16, 2004


    "The President originally envisioned a 21-point plan, but that would have involved him taking off his pants and nobody wants that...least of all, Laura."

    Check out the big brain on Scotty, showing off his math skills:

    Q Have you seen the poll that was commissioned by the former governing authority, taken last month in Iraq, that shows overwhelming number of Iraqis wish we would leave?

    MR. MCCLELLAN: No, I haven't seen the specific poll, but I think we've -- the President has previously said on a number of occasions that no one wants to be occupied. We don't want to be occupiers. That's why we're moving forward on the President's five point plan for transitioning to self-government in Iraq. And we're making good progress on the President's five point plan for success in Iraq. And I think he's going to be talking about some of that in his remarks. And he will be giving an update about how we're moving forward on that five point plan.

    Later, Scotty showed off his dancing skills:

    Q Will he discuss the issue of long deployments and the effect it has on morale?

    MR. MCCLELLAN: In his remarks?

    Q Yes.

    MR. McCLELLAN: I think -- well, part of his remarks is focused on thanking our men and women in the military who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are making tremendous sacrifices, as are their families, in defense of freedom. And I think that our men and women in the military recognize the importance of the job that they are undertaking and that they have undertaken in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It is part of winning the war on terrorism and advancing freedom in the world.

    But I think he will talk about their service and sacrifice and thank them for that service and sacrifice.

    We'll take that as a 'no'.

    Today's press gaggle was brought to you by the number 5 and the word no.

    posted by tbogg at 11:50 PM



    Ron would have wanted it that way...on the side, maybe even supersized

    The tributes to Ronald Reagan (former President, actor, deficit-fluffer, dead guy...that guy) keep rolling in. Harkening back to his administrations efforts to list ketchup (or catsup...whatever) as a vegetable, we get this from the current administration which is a lot like Reagan's (what with that deficits overseen by a stupid president thing that he pioneered):

    Anyone trying to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet may have just gotten an unlikely assist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Based on a little-noticed change to obscure federal rules, the USDA defines frozen french fries as "fresh vegetables."

    As bizarre as it may sound, a federal judge in Texas last week endorsed the USDA's rules in a court case, saying the term "fresh vegetables" was ambiguous.

    The USDA quietly changed the regulations last year at the behest of the french fry industry, which has spent the past five decades pushing for a revision to the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). The law was passed by Congress in 1930 to protect fruit and vegetable farmers in the event that their customers went out of business without paying for their produce.

    The Frozen Potato Products Institute appealed to the USDA in 2000 to change its definition of fresh produce under PACA to include batter-coated, frozen french fries, arguing that rolling potato slices in a starch coating, frying them and freezing them is the equivalent of waxing a cucumber or sweetening a strawberry.

    The USDA agreed and, on June 2, 2003, the agency amended its PACA rules to include what is described in court documents as the "Batter-Coating Rule."

    Ah yes, the "Batter-Coating Rule". Wouldn't that look really cool on a resume.

    "Successfully instituted the Batter-Coating Rule allowing food processors to sell frozen vegetables coated in starch and fried in lard to be sold as "fresh vegetables" resulting in an 18% increase in sales over a three-year period, a cushy industry job for myself after leaving public service and an invitation to join one of the exclusive "Rings of Hell" following my demise"

    (Please note that, in this post, I never once equated Ronald Reagan personally with vegetables, frozen or freshly harvested. That would have been wrong.)

    Thanks to Anna

    posted by tbogg at 11:11 PM


    Sunday, June 13, 2004


    ...and if anyone knows about sucking, it's Dick.

    Dick Morris is still making a living biting the hand that formerly fed him, that is when he's not sucking the toes of his $200-a-night dates.

    Bill Clinton’s memoirs are to become the bestselling political book in American publishing history. The 1.5 million copies of the first edition of My Life, which will be published on June 22, have already been accounted for in advance orders, and Clinton’s publishers are racing to print a second impression.

    The former president’s memoirs will eclipse the 1.8 million copies that his wife Hillary sold of her own memoir, Living History, last year.


    Some observers feel that Clinton ought to have postponed publication until next year to avoid stealing the limelight from Kerry.

    "He is the ultimate narcissist: deprived of a mirror, he can’t function. Without the adoring masses, he hasn’t the inner self-image to carry him through the day," argued Clinton’s former pollster and strategist Dick Morris, who has since become a stern critic of the Clintons.

    Morris believes that "by sucking up the oxygen in the room during July, Clinton cripples Kerry and forces him to compete for attention with a charismatic former president". He predicts that the Massachusetts senator "will look a decided second-best to Bill Clinton".

    And, as usual, he's wrong:

    As former President Bill Clinton prepares for a barrage of publicity and a cross-country tour to promote his memoirs, his political advisers are consulting with the Democratic Party and Senator John Kerry's campaign about ways that Mr. Clinton can lend a political hand in the process.

    Mr. Clinton received an advance of more than $10 million to write his memoirs, "My Life," and aides to the former president say his first priority now is to sell as many books as possible.

    But they also say that whenever his book-selling obligations allow, Mr. Clinton is eager to pitch in for the party by plugging Mr. Kerry and subtly putting down Republicans at book-selling events, and by speaking at fund-raisers or campaign stops on his tour.

    He is also going out of his way not to overshadow Mr. Kerry. For example, Democratic Party officials said Mr. Clinton was scheduled to speak on the first night of the party's convention in Boston, but executives of Knopf, which is publishing "My Life," said that to keep the spotlight on Mr. Kerry, he did not plan to hold a book signing or other event while in town.

    "He wants to make sure that there is no way that anything he does is competing with or intruding on the attention paid to Senator Kerry," Steve Richetti, Mr. Clinton's top political adviser, said. "We have met with the campaign so that they can be aware of what we are doing and where we are going. He wants to be helpful in any way that he is asked. He knows John Kerry and he likes him a lot and thinks he would be a great president. At book events, I think he will be asked about and he will be able to talk about John Kerry in a very thoughtful and compelling way."

    If Dick Morris says it's sunny out...take an umbrella.

    posted by tbogg at 11:13 PM



    If it says Libby Libby Libby on the memo memo memo
    There's corruption corruption corruption and the press is sure follow

    Along with being the leading vote-getter for the Plame Blame Derby, "Scooter" Libby is now moving up on the outside in the Halliburton No-Bid Stakes

    In the fall of 2002, in the preparations for possible war with Iraq, the Pentagon sought and received the assent of senior Bush administration officials, including the vice president's chief of staff, before hiring the Halliburton Company to develop secret plans for restoring Iraq's oil facilities, Pentagon officials have told Congressional investigators.

    The newly disclosed details about Pentagon contracting do not suggest improper political pressures to direct business to Halliburton, the Houston-based company that Vice President Dick Cheney once led.

    But they raise questions about assertions by Mr. Cheney and other administration officials that he knew nothing in advance of the Halliburton contracts and that the decisions were made by career procurement specialists, without involvement by senior political appointees.


    In November 2002, a Pentagon energy group led by Michael H. Mobbs, a political appointee and adviser to Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense, gave Halliburton a $1.9 million "task order," under another contract, to develop secret contingency plans for the Iraqi oil industry.

    The proposal was had been described at a meeting in late October of the Deputies Committee, a foreign policy body. Participants included the deputy national security adviser, deputy secretaries of state and defense, deputy director of central intelligence and I. Lewis Libby, Mr. Cheney's chief of staff.

    Pentagon officials, including Mr. Mobbs, provided the new details of the oil contracting to staff members of the House Committee on Government Reform at a June 8 briefing.

    In a letter faxed Sunday to Mr. Cheney and given to reporters, Representative Henry A. Waxman, the minority leader of the panel, asked him for all records of his office's communications on the oil contracts and for records of Deputies Committee meetings where the Halliburton deals had been discussed.

    "These new disclosures appear to contradict your assertions that you were not informed about the Halliburton contracts," Mr. Waxman, Democrat of California, wrote. "They also seem to contradict the administration's repeated assertions that political appointees were not involved in the award of the contracts to Halliburton."

    Appearing on the NBC News program "Meet the Press" on Sept. 14, 2003, Mr. Cheney said, "And as vice president, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the federal government." He referred to the Army Corps of Engineers, which has managed oil infrastructure contracts.

    Asked if he had been aware of Halliburton's noncompetitive awards, Mr. Cheney said, "I don't know any of the details of the contract because I deliberately stayed away from any information on that."


    posted by tbogg at 10:52 PM



    How about a big bowl of "shut the hell up" with some thyroid pills on the side?

    Back during the VietNam war, when George Bush was on the run from the Texas National National Guard, he vaguely remembers that he was living on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine, so it's probably no wonder that he thought seniors could do it too. Julia explains.

    posted by tbogg at 10:43 PM



    Murica haters...the whole buncha them...

    This may leave a mark:

    Angered by Bush administration policies they contend endanger national security, 26 retired U.S. diplomats and military officers are urging Americans to vote President Bush out of office in November.


    Among the group are 20 ambassadors, appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents, other former State Department officials and military leaders whose careers span three decades.

    Prominent members include retired Marine Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East during the administration of Bush’s father; retired Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., ambassador to Britain under President Clinton and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Reagan; and Jack F. Matlock Jr., a member of the National Security Council under Reagan and ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991.

    “We agreed that we had just lost confidence in the ability of the Bush administration to advocate for American interests or to provide the kind of leadership that we think is essential,” said William C. Harrop, the first President Bush’s ambassador to Israel, and earlier to four African countries.

    The Bush White House now has three days to get their smears in order. If Karl Rove looks sleepy this week, you'll know why...

    posted by tbogg at 10:37 PM



    Post-Reagasm getting on with our lives...

    Now that Conservatives have put away their funereal black suits and have gone back to their regular grey-suitedness we can expect the vitriol to start up again. I'm guessing one of this weeks targets will be Ron Reagan (not the dead one) for this:

    Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.

    As Nancy Reagan might say: word...

    posted by tbogg at 10:24 PM



    It's Book Review and Face the Nation Time

    Interesting convergence when book reviews show up in the Sunday comics.

    posted by tbogg at 10:08 PM


    Friday, June 11, 2004


    At a time like this we need to be sympathetic and understan----bwa-hahahahahahaha! This is great. Ahem. Anyway, it would be unfair to kick a man when he's dow---bwa-hahahaha!

    I guess I can now change the ongoing series to:

    I Don't Like the Drugs and Marta Doesn't Love Me.

    Maybe she doesn't like him sober...


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