Monday, February 28, 2005

Saddam's Brother, Circa 1966

Can't they get an updated picture of this guy?

Sunday, February 27, 2005

It's About Time...

... some genius in the government figured out the US has an image problem!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Liberal Blogger, Thou Doth Protest Too Much

David Corn makes an interesting point about why pursuing Gannongate may not be a good idea for liberal bloggers:

Let me stipulate that how Gannon/Guckert came to be permitted into the White House press room is a worthy topic of inquiry. But his pursuers ought to be careful on this point. Talon News was a fly-by-night (or phony) news operation with a political agenda. But White House daily briefings should be open to as diverse a group as possible. There is a need for professional accreditation; space is limited. Yet there is nothing inherently wrong with allowing journalists with identifiable biases to pose questions to the White House press secretary and even the president. And if such a reporter asks a dumb question--as did Gannon/Guckert (which triggered this scandal)--the best response is scorn and further debate. Bloggers should think hard when they complain about standards for passes for White House press briefings. Last year, political bloggers--many of whom have their own biases and sometimes function as activists--sought credentials to the Democratic and Republican conventions. That was a good thing. Why shouldn't Josh Marshall, Glenn Reynolds, John Aravosis, or Markos Moulitsas (DailyKos) be allowed to question Scott McClellan or George W. Bush? Do we want only the MSMers to have this privilege?

The rest of the article explains in typical Cornian fashion why liberals shouldn't get carried away with their crazy conspiracy theories. I agree with Corn (and Leslie Stahl -- remember how she couldn't wipe the smile off her face the whole time she was talking about Gannon on Bill Maher's show), -- Gannongate is just FUNNY. Especially when it's juxtaposed (as MSNBC did in a news update, seemingly without knowing) with Bush calling for freedom of the press in Russia. (Of course, bloggers have done yeoman's work noting this irony, but they're SUPPOSED to detect ironies.)

What Jeff Gannon DIDN'T Do

Is this some kind of joke (from one fake news report to another?):

Gannon again wanted to stress three keys points because they keep coming up. 1) he had no role in outing CIA operative Valerie Plame and had no access to classified documents. 2) Gannon says he was not given a heads up from anyone in the Bush administration about the start of the war in March 2003. According to him he was just making a guess when it would start just like everybody else.

You'd think this was some kind of humor piece, but it's not. Read the whole thing. (And why does every silly Washington scandal have an IRS tie-in?)

Miller's Bad Night

Last night, in the course of five minutes pseudo-intellectual television host/comedian and former Monday Night Football commentator Dennis Miller succeeded in: 1) Conflating Sweden and Switzerland (he suggested "Finding Neverland" director Marc Forster, a Swiss, ought to like Bergman, because wasn't he from Switzerland, too?); 2) Conflating the Best Picture Oscar with Best Director (asking Forster how he felt to be nominated for Best Director); 3) "Making up for" the Best Picture/Director flub by asking Forster how Forster could live with himself knowing that his movie was nominated but he wasn't. Great save, dumbass!

Finally, Miller realized that he'd just unmistakably outed himself as an idiot on national television and fell to the floor in part-mock, part-real self-revulsion. A baaaaad night, to be sure.


This Sacramento Bee editorial suggests that the problem with California's prison segregation policy may simply be a technological one:

Corrections told the court it applies a blanket policy of housing inmates with members of their own race because prison officials have "only limited information" on inmates. "If the officials had all the necessary information to assess the inmates' violence potential when the inmates arrived, perhaps a different practice could be used," the department said.

In the computer age, criminal histories, local jail records and previous state prison records (including known gang affiliations and threats or incidents of racial violence) should be available at the touch of a key. Yet Corrections says this information typically does not arrive at reception centers in time to make cell assignments. Why not?

Corrections has an inefficient information system that relies primarily on paper records hand-delivered from place to place. A comprehensive, integrated information system should be a top priority for immediate change.

Freedom Watch

Freedom and more freedom. But us liberals are staying optimistic.

'Baby' Boosts Interest in Women's Boxing, Article Says

Sure, but the real question is, will it boost interest in euthanasia?

Where Have All the Young Cows Gone?

This article implies that California dairy cows are dying en masse because of strict environmental laws, apparently based on the testimony of a handful of angry farmers. That liberal media!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Ashcroft's Next Job?


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Niche-Blogging In the Spotlight

Book-blogging is 'realized' by the MSM. And an interesting commentary on what commercial impact bookblogs may be having...

Welcome: You Are Now Amongst the Few, the Proud, the Nerdy

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown has a new blog. (With two posts to his credit he already has 76 comments. Not bad.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Olympics Go Home

88 things the IOC ought to know about New York, says the New York Press, including:

4. We already gave the rest of America an excuse to become flag-waving idiots.

13. Christo has plans to wrap the Olympic Village in four million square feet of Fruit Roll-Ups.

How about this one: if you can't even secure funding for a new stadium for the Jets, how are you going to secure $10 billion for Olympics facilities?

Free Speech, My Saggy-Titted Arse!

Jeff Koyen calls Howard Stern "saggy-titted."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Krugman Wins Another "Most E-Mailed of the Day" Award

A plea for "fighting moderates," but in this day and age (think Weber's definition of modernity), are we not all moderates?

Relativity Does NOT Mean Relativism...

It's tragic that this notion is so far from being what it should be, i.e. too obvious for words...

Reinventing the Wheel On the West Side of Manhattan

Open bidding -- what a revolutionary idea!

Hillary '08 Update

Will abortion be Hillary's Sister Souljah issue?

Rumsfeld's New Model Army, On Crack?


Feel-Bad Story of the Day

Don't these legislators have anything better to do?

Monday, February 14, 2005

Saving Private Eason -- Not!

WSJ editors, thou doth protest WAY too much!

UPDATE: Actually, it was an odd week for WSJ's Review & Outlook: sticking up for Eason Jordan, and then publishing Michael Medved's sickeningly pusillanimous attack on "Million Dollar Baby." Since when did the Journal editorial board become such a Toryist conspiracy?

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Connecticut Senate Bill 55

Citizens of Connecticut, stand up and help protect our votes!

Dude, Where's My Boink?

I was in Boston today, and other than the question of who's going to be the Patriots next offensive coordinator, this is the buzz...

Republicans Brazenly Change Rules To Protect Their Leadership...

... and no, we're not talking about Tom Delay.

Letters To a Young DNC Chair

Everybody (on BOTH sides of the aisle) seems to have advice for Howard Dean, and so far he's taken it all in stride.

Mel Brooks, Take Note

Apparently government sometimes works TOO well.

"Keep Your Friends Close But Your Enemas Closer"

Keith Olberman's comment on this story.

New Toy For Arnold


Friday, February 11, 2005

Go Lefties!

Taking over the world, one golf tournament at a time...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

What Will The Democrats Give Up For Lent?

Well, Terry McAuliffe said unequivocally in his personal gala yesterday (Clinton sounded like a fool -- didn't he? -- with all that crap about how it's really his legacy that's polarizing everyone, because he's just so damn important... OK, well, he's got a point) that Howard Dean is his successor, though the vote's not officially till Saturday. I don't want to say T-Mac's jumping the gun, but, I mean, Dean could pull a John Paul II between now and then, couldn't he?

The NY Times reports...

No Bush Dynasty

According to Paul Bedard, Jeb has said vis-a-vis 2008 that he'd rather deal with flooded trailer parks in West Palm than terrorists in Waziristan.

Venezuela Rediscovery Watch

In honor of James Taranto's Homelessness Rediscovery Watch, we've started here a Venezuela Rediscovery Watch. See here and here.

Yale Event of the Day: A Forum on Open Source Scholarly Publishing

Apparently number-crunchers at Duke and at Yale have (albeit informally) figured out that researcher-pays publishing will be significantly more expensive for large research institutions (subscription costs for journals will go down somewhat, but research costs will explode as a $500-$3000 surcharge is exacted each time a scholar wants to publish)... so that probably means it won't happen.

Too bad.

Get Tested, Whoever You Are!


Should Fallujah Look to the South Bronx?


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

At Last, An Excuse For Going After Bin Laden!


A Place Where Women Make More Than Men...



Does Karl Rove really need MORE power?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Speaking of Idealism...


Campus Idealism

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports on some left/liberal students at Georgetown and Swarthmore who are doing everything they can (save suicide bombings in Khartoum) to stop genocide in Sudan. But I thought only campus neocons had ideals any more... (oh wait, they only care about 'spreading democracy,' not stopping genocide). And I didn't realize that some people thought the recent North-South peace deal in Sudan meant the Darfur crisis was over...

To Live-Blog Or Not to Live-Blog...

A panel discussion this Friday at Yale:

The History of Shit:
>A Discussion of Nightsoil, Cities, and Countryside in China
>Friday, February 18, 2005
>3:00-5:00 pm
>ISPS, lower level
>77 Prospect Street
>Yale University
>Kenneth Pomeranz, Professor of History, UC Irvine
>Yong Xue, Assistant Professor of History, Suffolk University
>Brian Shillinglaw, Graduate Student in History, Yale University
>Josh Viertel, Director, Yale Sustainable Food Project
>This panel is sponsored by the Program in Agrarian Studies

A Tale of Two Faiths...

... one that chooses dialogue and tolerance, another that chooses resentment and isolationism. The Catholic community at Yale is divided over a conservative Catholic revolt, thanks to the tacit encouragement of Mel Gibson, Marc Balestrieri, Archbishop Raymond Burke, and all the other religious inquisitioners and social schismatics of the far right.

Iraqis Trust Bush?

Consider this neocon pledge of allegiance: "I trust George W. Bush. Its evident millions of Afghans and Iraqis trust him as well. The proof is their voting under the threat of death." Er, right. This is what neo-conservatives are willfully not understanding about the Iraqi elections: if anything can be deduced from the election results, it is NOT that President Bush will go down in history as the greatest President ever, but THAT IRAQIS WANT TO HAVE U.S. TROOPS LEAVE. Leave aside the anecdotal evidence. This is what public opinion polls seem to confirm, and as far as rational people are concerned it is implied by the overwhelming success of a Shiite list that represents many strong advocates of US withdrawal. What more evidence do we need? And why should the White House be allowed to spin the election as a triumph for its foreign policy?

Iraqis are, like normal people, trying to make the best of a bad situation, and they should be congratulated for it. But we have seen zero evidence that they like, support, or in any way "trust" President Bush.

Open Thy Pockets, Yale

The headline for this article could have been: "Why Liberal Financial Aid Policies Are The Only Way For Elite Colleges To Stay Competitive." This dolt seems to believe otherwise -- no doubt because of some childish mythology having to do with "bootstraps" and the "American way"...

Jock Wisdom

From the NY Times:

"A lot of coaches in the N.F.L. work hard," Jimmy Johnson, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins, said in praising Belichick last week. "But there is a difference between working hard and working smart."

Sticking It To The Times-Watchers

The New York Times buries the Oil-For-Food fallout story on page A12. Meanwhile, the Patriots made the front page. (Reminiscent, isn't it, of the football announcer on the Post-Super Bowl Simpsons last night, referring to a $300 million stadium built just for one game: "America's priorities are crazy..."?)

Keeping Hope Alive

Well, the violence is as bad as it's ever been, and US favorite Iyad Allawi looks like he's out of a job (and, by inference, the Iraqis WANT US OUT), but us team-player liberals are trying to stay optimistic here...

Tommy Chong Back In Bizness

This one sounds like it's must-see, dude! (The logo for the show is available in JPG here.)

The Irreplaceables

Hmmm... how about Dan Rather and Pierce Brosnan just switch jobs?

Hooray For Bollywood

It appears that Bollywod has come onshore, and receiving quite a welcome...

At Last, North Korea's REAL Beef With America...

But what an indirect way of dealing with it! The Czechs haven't been picked on like this since Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland...

Corporate Beneficence: Asbestos For Everyone!

Bush had better hurry up with that tort reform, 'cause this looks like a groyse tsimmes...

... and some scientific evidence here, for those who are into that sort of thing.

We Knew He Was Good, But...

Arthur Chrenkoff: Bush brings democracy to the Afghan people, then brings rain as an encore!

Letting the Fur Fly

Their guy wins one election, and the red-staters just go wild -- even taking over New York!

"Sideways" Cottage Industries

It was only a matter of time, really...

It's Official -- He's a Smartypants AND a Republican

Since 9/11, Chris Hitchens has often found himself in the same camp as right-wingers -- in debates on terrorism, Iraq, Michael Moore, etc. But hanging out at the American Enterprise Institute, jus to talk about children's literature?

Loose Logic

James Taranto: "No, Iraq can't be like Vietnam -- this ESPN poll proves it!"

Sunday, February 06, 2005

"Bush -- Giant Or Devil?"

Giants and devils and bears, oh my! Awfully metaphysical terms for German eurotrash. And in a headline? But wait, it's all made up for by this awe-inspiring pun: "Inter-Condi-Nental Visits the New Germany."


Blair-Brown Split Good For Labour?

It's this sort of claptrap that got Duncan Smith fired in the first place.

The Bin Laden Scholarship

Unfortunately, they might have to call it the Friedman/Bin Laden Scholarship...

The End of Faith

C-Span Book-TV has been replaying a talk by Sam Harris at a Southern California Synagogue. Highly recommended.

So who's Sam Harris? Only the greatest skeptic of our age -- or at least he's giving Hitchens a run for his money...

Wherefore Art Thou, Judy?

Judy Miller spills some sensitive beans... and some downright Rainesean behavior from NY Times Editor Bill Keller.

Bush Debate Cheating Update


So Who Was That Iraqi Woman in the Balcony?

Good question.

The Left's 9/11?

American Friends Service Committee's new mass mailing has this message in bold on the outside of the envelope: "...a more dangerous time for peace and justice than even the McCarthy era..." Obviously, this sort of hyperbole walks its own plank, or its own ellipses... and then on the back of the envelope, an appeal for tsunami relief. Is tsunami relief the 9/11 of the left?

Friday, February 04, 2005

Catholics, You're Not Alone


Indiana Jones and the Holy (Paper-) Trail...

These activists are saying "not good enough..."

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Arnold's Bubble

Arnold Schwarzenegger is living in a fantasy land from which his erstwhile supporters are beginning to bolt. This fantasy land is a place where voters just 'know in their hearts' (doesn't this sound like a Bushism?) that while Schwarzenegger may be raising more money from special interests than Gray Davis, the former would never be influenced by the wishes of those donors. (Arnold would say there is a method to his madness: insurance companies are less a special interest than the state workers' union, or one Indian gaming lobby is less a special interest than another Indian gaming lobby, but this is twisting Californians' blind faith into reasoned conviction.) Daniel Weintraub, who was (and still is) a big Arnold-booster, says Arnold has simply continued to believe this throughout his governorship, while California voters (especially the Democrats and independents who gave Arnold a mega-coalition like nothing seen in California politics since Ronald Reagan) may be starting to suspend their suspension of disbelief:

In one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's first press conferences after taking office, the new governor, already well on his way to breaking California records for political fund raising, was asked by a reporter if he wasn't setting himself up to be compared to his predecessor, former Gov. Gray Davis.

Davis, the journalist noted, also raised massive amounts of money. And he was heavily criticized for being beholden to the interests whose money filled his campaign coffers. "Could not the same argument be made against yourself?"

"It could be," Schwarzenegger replied. Then he explained.

On the surface, he conceded, there really wasn't much difference between his fund raising and the activity that tainted Davis. The distinction, in Schwarzenegger's view, was in their hearts. Like most close observers of the Sacramento scene, Schwarzenegger had come to believe that Davis based his policy decisions on the donations he received from the players involved. And Schwarzenegger said he would never do such a thing.

Since then, the governor has expanded his fund raising, but his explanation remains more or less the same.


Ergo, his 60% approval ratings can't last for another 5 years.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"Whatever You Do, Don't Negotiate"

Some impatient types on the right are saying "Screw the Democrats," and urging President Bush to do the same. (No double entendre intended.)

Hillary's Special Dispensation

Will Saletan makes some wonderful points about how Hillary is setting up for '08. And here, James Taranto exorcises his insatiable need to express other people's thoughts in his own words, twisting what is to all appearances a politically shrewd and morally cogent strategy into a sort of double-standard special dispensation. To wit:

Even if you think that an abortion ban would be a greater evil than the absence of one, there are alternatives besides a total ban and total deregulation. Indeed, as we argued in December, Republicans have benefited politically from Roe v. Wade because that decision, by making impossible any draconian antiabortion measures (and many nondraconian ones), puts the "pro-life" party in a position of advocating only the most moderate of restrictions, such as the (possibly "unconstitutional") Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003--which Hillary Clinton voted against.

Clinton has one great advantage in pressing this argument: Because of her iconic status, she is the one Democrat who can get away with making pro-life noises without alienating the party's pro-abortion base (cf John Kerry, now under attack from Planned Parenthood for his clumsy efforts to paint himself as non-pro-abortion--and it isn't the clumsiness that PP doesn't like). She probably could even get away with endorsing some modest legal restrictions on abortion, though as far as we know she hasn't yet had the political courage to do so.

But the best thing that could happen to a prospective presidential bid would be if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the next four years (a very unlikely prospect). If banning abortion were an actual political option, she could very easily position herself as a true moderate.


SOTU Subtext

Blogcritics' RJ seems to think that what Bush was REALLY saying when he mentioned "promot[ing] peace in the broader Middle East" is that Syria's next... (Every major Bush speech includes some unexpected bugaboo -- sex slavery, steroids, etc. -- that kind of comes out of the blue and then after the speech quickly dissipates into oblivion. Syria's more of a recurring theme, but it does fit into a typical Bush pattern of misplaced emphasis.)

As Yogi Would Say, "Only In America..."

Oh, wait...

John Kerry As NYC Parks Commissioner?

"In 1981, New York's parks commissioner rejected Christos' proposal, declaring it to be planned for 'the wrong place ... at the wrong time ... and in the wrong scale.'"