Real Genius
Friday, November 10, 2006
I don't understand why Billmon insinuates that there might be something wrong with fancying foot.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The Root Cause
I stopped watching the television and reading my RSS updates some time between 3 and 4 am last night, and have been trying to understand what the root cause or causes were, that resulted in last night's staggering election outcome.

Rather than the Iraq War that has left all but a tiny portion of the electorate (a portion including but not limited to the Beltway pundit and Beltway pundit-wannabe class) bitter and angry, than the right-wing agenda finally showing its ugliness to a sufficient portion of the electorate (though the foaming at the mouth should always have been a subtle hint), than economic policies that have been eating away at the middle class and completely obliterating the poor; the outcome on election day has been primarily the result of the disparity between the two parties' abilities to energize their respective bases and appeal to their key constituencies.

The GOP lost the election because it lost its appeal to more than a few (surgically small, but) key constituencies:
1. The teen molester constituency,
2. The wife-beating constituency,
3. The wife-spitting constituency,
4. The mistress-strangling constituency and last but not least,
5. The gay meth-enthusiast evangelical pastor constituency.
And I think perhaps the scandals may have had a thing to do with this too...

Dana Bash...
... just now on CNN, says something to the effect of "Republicans ran against Nancy Pelosi as the boogeyman blah blah blah and she will have to reach across party lines blah blah blah as Speaker of the House blah blah blah."

How the fuck is it that when the American people reject, by an overwhelming fucking margin, the idea of Nancy Pelosi demonized by the right-wing GOP, that she has to be all bipartisan and please those evil motherfuckers?

The right-wing fucking lost to Nancy Pelosi.

Get it? So just STFU and keep your worthless commentary to yourselves.

Fucking idiots.

Sunday, October 22, 2006
WaPo, Front Page, Above the Fold
About a year after our first lecture in the series Headline Writing 101, whoever came up with the title "In a Land Without Order, Punishment Is Power" for Anthony Shadid's decent --and entertaining, but in my opinion somewhat redundant-- article makes us add one more golden rule to a list of arduous, complicated entries like not misleading your readers and not flat-out making shit up:

Try to research the histories of concepts a bit before you construct slogan-like generalizations even if you think their reference to something in the article (in this case the Southern Iraqi saying "No one pays respect to the saint who won't mete out punishment.") is clever.

You see, while this may sound original and insightful to you, a lot of people would find it uninspiring and ordinary, because they may have, say, unlike you, considered the connection between punishment and power before they first heard about it in the Iraqi saying. You know, after having read Max Weber's Politik als Beruf or something:
a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory
... or having heard something about modern Western political science.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Quote of the Day
From Dr. Cole:
Bush's refusal to rethink his Iraq strategy may have an unexpected side effect-- of uniting the Democrats.
I know that it sounds absurd to talk about Democrats uniting. But if W. could unify the Iraqi Sunnis--who are notorious for their feuds and infighting-- he can unify the Democrats.

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Yeah, Baby!
Dr. Doran sticks it today to every idiot from Michael Crichton to Ann Coulter who misrepresented or flat-out lied about his findings on the climate of Antarctica: (emphasis mine)
In January 2002, a research paper about Antarctic temperatures, of which I was the lead author, appeared in the journal Nature. At the time, the Antarctic Peninsula was warming, and many people assumed that meant the climate on the entire continent was heating up, as the Arctic was. But the Antarctic Peninsula represents only about 15 percent of the continent’s land mass, so it could not tell the whole story of Antarctic climate. Our paper made the continental picture more clear.
My research colleagues and I found that from 1996 to 2000, one small, ice-free area of the Antarctic mainland had actually cooled. (...) Our summary statement pointed out how the cooling trend posed challenges to models of Antarctic climate and ecosystem change.
Our study did find that 58 percent of Antarctica cooled from 1966 to 2000. But during that period, the rest of the continent was warming. And climate models created since our paper was published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica and the ozone hole over that continent. These models, conspicuously missing from the warming-skeptic literature, suggest that as the ozone hole heals — thanks to worldwide bans on ozone-destroying chemicals — all of Antarctica is likely to warm with the rest of the planet. An inconvenient truth?
Also missing from the skeptics’ arguments is the debate over our conclusions. Another group of researchers who took a different approach found no clear cooling trend in Antarctica. We still stand by our results for the period we analyzed, but unbiased reporting would acknowledge differences of scientific opinion.
The disappointing thing is that we are even debating the direction of climate change on this globally important continent. And it may not end until we have more weather stations on Antarctica and longer-term data that demonstrate a clear trend.
In the meantime, I would like to remove my name from the list of scientists who dispute global warming. I know my coauthors would as well.
Beautiful Op-Ed piece in the Times --there's nothing like starting one's day with a fresh bit of good, cheerful news, is there?

Thursday, June 08, 2006
This is funny...
I passed you en route to the buffet table TWICE
Reply to:
Date: 2006-06-07, 11:56PM EDT

Me: Moderate Republican, Chairman of important Senate Committee
You: Baldheaded, trigger-happy veep

Why didn't you call me?!

* this is in or around GOP Caucus Lunch

Friday, December 23, 2005
Regarding Atrios' link to Kos' post on the remark about blog readers' age in the Washington Monthly profile...

The profile in the Monthly specifically refers to Kos' audience, so they don't have an excuse, but I think the underlying assumption comes from thinking of bloggers and blog readers in general. It's a medium used quite widely by the younger generation and overall the age average is low.

This, however, does not mean that the same is true for readers/writers of political blogs...

Thursday, November 03, 2005
Headline Writing 101
The link on reads "Two 'Gang of 14' members: Alito filibuster unlikely".

Now, is it just me, or does it sound like at least one of the said members is a Democrat, in which case this would be newsworthy and the title apt.

However, when you follow the link and read the piece you see the following:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A group of centrist senators who halted a previous filibuster fight is making plans for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, but at least two of the group's Republicans say their decision is already made: no filibuster.
"I don't believe that, with all sincerity, I could let that happen," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, a member of the so-called Gang of 14, said after meeting with the federal appeals court judge whom President Bush nominated to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Graham and Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, were taking their anti-filibuster message to the other Senate centrists at a meeting Thursday. But the group's Democrats were urging them to withhold judgment, saying Alito has been the nominee only since Monday.
Y'see, it was Republican senators Graham and DeWine that pleaded nolo filibustero but once again, the sole headline insinuates otherwise.

These misleading headlines are way too common for me to reasonably conclude that they're mere coincidences, but in any case, I think they should include a course entitled Headline Writing 101 at all J-schools. I will take the time to write the kind and totally-not-sarcastic textbook The Absolute Fucking Idiot's Guide to Headline Writing.

I promise.

Turdblossom Sighting
No, no, not today. Not even this week. It was on Sunday, in Middleburg, VA. What would otherwise have been a wonderful afternoon with my companion in the historic town was interrupted by the sight of the Rove-man in an independent Williams-Sonoma type of store. He was looking at a few things, we were looking at him, another couple was looking at him, other people were looking at him, and wait... My afternoon was wonderful after all: Everybody was giving him dirty looks. He went out and across the street and was walking west on the sidewalk looking at his blackberry later on, and if memory serves, he was wearing a dark brown sportsjacket and a beige pair of pants. Can't remember the color of his shirt. And I noticed another thing: I must have gotten used to seeing his face in pictures, and his face alone, so I expected him to look a lot less slim. Only his face --still-- looked fat. Perhaps the kidney stones plus the Fitzey stones have been taking their toll.

Thursday, October 27, 2005
Harriet Miers Withdraws
Says the Post:
Miers told the president in a letter of withdrawal that she was "concerned that the confirmation process presents a burden for the White House and our staff that is not in the best interests of the country."
Bush responded that he was "reluctantly" accepting the decision.
"I nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court because of her extraordinary legal experience, her character, and her conservative judicial philosophy," he said in a statement. But, he said, "I understand and share her concern . . . about the current state of the Supreme Court confirmation process."

I believe that like I believe there's a god. And like I believed Dubya had nothing to do with the swiftboat ads. And like I believed he didn't ask Kerik to step down when the shit hit the fan, but Kerik withdrew on his own.

Standard operating procedure: Failing nominees take the fall on their own, and the nominator remains unscathed. Lowlies do the dirty work as they're ordered, and Mr. above-the-foray admits no direct connection.

Though this does remind me of the way a good ole' Italian institution conducts business...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Indictment Bingo
1. Karl Rove
2. Lewis Libby
3. John Bolton
4. Steven Hadley
I'm basing the "count" on what Steve Clemons heard and wrote in TWN.

I think the most likely charges for Rove and Libby are perjury and obstruction of justice, respectively. Though I still think it's Fred Fleitz who filled Bolton in on Plame's situation, I have a feeling he flipped. Like Wonkette was quoting a reporter yesterday, "these slimy thugs are turning on one another like runner-ups in a beauty pageant". I think Fleischer, Fleitz, Hannah, Wurmser and a couple of Rove's aides and ex-aides flipped, and I think Bolton's never having given a Grand Jury testimony had to do with the fact that he was a target all along.

Of course, I'd give up either of numbers (2) and (4) above for Cheney, Rice or Bush, but I think they'll get away with having only been named unindicted co-conspirators, that being more likely for the first two than Bush.

Thursday, October 20, 2005
Bobo's World
Topeka, KS Edition(emphasis mine):
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - City narcotics officers regularly tampered with drug evidence and falsified records, yet supervisors failed to discipline anyone, a prosecutor said Thursday.
Hecht said that drugs that were being held as evidence were taken for personal use and that officers gambled and drank on duty, falsified records about their activities, and failed to properly oversee money for drug buys.
Two officers have previously been charged. Hecht's report did not identify other officers allegedly involved in the misconduct.
Former officer Thomas Pfortmiller was sentenced last month to 16 months in prison after Hecht's office found that he stole $20,000 meant for undercover drug buys and falsified records claiming that drug buys had occurred. His former partner, Bruce Voight, was charged with 61 felonies, including falsifying evidence.

Saturday, October 15, 2005
Golden Ssshhhh....
You know, I was reading MoDo's column today and something stuck out like a sore thumb:
But the reverse playbook got washed away with Katrina, when Karl Rove and W. did not jump to attention at the word hurricane. W. ended up with a job approval rating of 2 percent among African-Americans, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. He missed the golden hour, as it’s called in combat medicine, the precious time when acting fast may save those in jeopardy.
W.’s presidency has become branded with rushing into one place too fast and not rushing into another fast enough.
Now I'm not going to suggest that it completely destroys the flow nor that it is irrelevant to the context, but it still somehow felt out of place, somehow not entirely needing use, as if it was placed there for another purpose.

Then I realized how similar to another phrase Golden Hour sounds, especially when I tried to pronounce it in my head instead of just reading it.

It's just one brief consonant short of a Golden Shower, isn't it?

I'm probably wrong but I'd like to think that it's not just a coincidence.

Okay, I'm done being a disgusting asshole for the day.

Sunday, September 04, 2005
The Beginning of The End - II
Since the beginning of the Iraq War I had pretty much concluded that there would't be a significant terrorist attack on US soil in the foreseeable future.

That was mainly because the War On Terra had been started, fought and lost. As we repeatedly said, this conflict was not brought upon us by a finite number of "evildoers" who sought to do us harm and "hated our freedoms". Christ Almighty, is there a single person with at least a double-digit IQ who ever believed that explanation? It was in fact played out according to well-known and studied strategic plans.

Therefore, once the US suffered immense casualties and decided to shift its forces away from the muslim holy land --and invaded the wrong muslim country, pissed away the goodwill the entire world offered us after September 11, obliterated all international treaties and conventions and still managed to let UBL and his top lieutenant get away unscathed, there remained no viable reason for al Qaida to strike again (Granted, there have been some successes, like consecutive captures of all five-or-so of the number three men of al Qaida.).

My conclusion also led me to believe that the Dubya gang was going to be able to get away with the "not on my watch" illusion as the dittoheads pounded away with "Oh, then, oh, why hasn't there been a terrorist attack on the United States since then?" at every Democratic politician who tried to explain how badly Bush and his ilk were screwing up homeland security.

I even remember a conversation with a colleague, in which he said "There will be one terrorist attack on US soil again, and that'll be the end of Bush" and I responded with the thoughts above...

I think this disaster (and the resulting obliteration of New Orleans) will prove to be that terror attack on US soil, without the terrorists perpetrating it.

The Beginning of The End
For what it's worth, it looks as if the mainstream media (print and tv news) may just have entered the very early stages of slow backbone-formation --something that would do the country a world of good... would that it were true.

Notable, I think, were Anderson Cooper bitchslapping the hapless Bush groupie Mary Landrieu, Miles O'Brien bitchslapping the fatass Haley Barbour --he of the friends of the ever-lovable Council of Conservative Citizens, and the old grunt Jack Cafferty finally putting his crankiness to good use.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
The Domesticated President
The way Froomkin's column appeared on my browser today:

No comment.

Kyra, Kyra, Kyra
Right up there with Daryn Kagan:
I'm being told now we have Lieutenant Colonel Jordan Jones at Camp Liberty in Baghdad on the phone. You may be wondering, in the middle of Hurricane Katrina, why we would go to Baghdad to do this interview. But there's an interesting twist. Lieutenant Colonel Jordan Jones is actually the commander of the 101st Battalion, 256th Louisiana Brigade. And he and his men and women are set to come home in eight days from Baghdad.
And, Colonel, I'm curious, you're coming from this war on terrorism in Baghdad, back home to Louisiana, where you see what's happening here to Americans. And I'm curious if you're going to have to get right back into a different kind of fight once you're home in eight days. [emphasis added]

Oh, and we weren't wondering:

The moment you said "in Baghdad on the phone" we knew.

Cutting It Short

By two days out of more than four weeks of vacation.

Or three days after he could've first come back to take charge.

Don't let CNN's title fool you:

Bush to return to Washington early
Whichever way do you wanna look at it?

Thursday, August 25, 2005
Calling Somerby
Y'know, the GOP doesn't have to do much to distance itself from Pat Robertson regarding the assassination remarks.

That's what we have the WP Editorial Page for.

Powered by Blogger Weblog Commenting and Trackback by