Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yet more Clinton sleaze

Pardons reemerge as issue in Clinton run - The Boston Globe: "Senator Clinton's brother Tony is battling an order to repay more than $100,000 he received from a couple pardoned by President Clinton.

Tony Rodham, who acknowledged approaching the president about a pardon for the couple, is the second of Hillary Clinton's brothers to receive money from people who were eventually pardoned by President Clinton. Hugh Rodham received $400,000 from two people, one of whom was pardoned and one whose sentence was commuted."

Conservative-style hypocrisy Metro: Story: Anglicans fire conservative Clay priest 02/27/07: "An Orange Park priest and leading voice in the theologically conservative Anglican movement in America has been stripped of his clerical credentials after having 'an inappropriate relationship' with an adult female church member, the parish's top lay leader said Monday.

Pascoe, who is married with three sons, said he couldn't comment on the situation and referred all questions to Nelson.

Pascoe, 56, for several years has been an outspoken critic of the Episcopal Church USA for what he and others see as the denomination's increasingly progressive interpretation of Scripture and its growing acceptance of homosexuality."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Liberal-style hypocrisy

Tennessee Center for Policy Research: "The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006.

Clinton sleaze watch

Clintons' Charity Not Listed On Senate Disclosure Forms - "The Ethics in Government Act requires members of Congress to disclose positions they hold with any outside entity, including nonprofit foundations. Hillary Clinton has served her family foundation as treasurer and secretary since it was established in December 2001, but none of her ethics reports since then have disclosed that fact.

The foundation has enabled the Clintons to write off more than $5 million from their taxable personal income since 2001, while dispensing $1.25 million in charitable contributions over that period.

Clinton's spokesman said her failure to report the existence of the family foundation and the senator's position as an officer was an oversight."

The infidel Europeans love to hate

The infidel Europeans love to hate. - By Anne Applebaum - Slate Magazine: "Curiously, what seems to rankle Europeans most is the enthusiasm with which Hirsi Ali has adopted their own secularism, and the fervor with which she has embraced their own Western values. Though this is a continent whose intellectuals routinely disparage the pope as an irrelevant dinosaur, Hirsi Ali's rejection of religion in favor of reason, intellect, and emancipation seems to make everyone nervous. Typical is the British feminist who complained that not only does Hirsi Ali paint 'the whole of the Islamic world with one black brush,' she also 'paints the whole of the western world with rosy tints,' which is of course far more objectionable. "

Monday, February 26, 2007

Gay bigot watch

S.F.'s Castro district faces an identity crisis / As straights move in, some fear loss of the area's character: "Heterosexuals 'are welcome as long as they understand this is our community,' said Adam Light, a leader in the Castro Coalition, a group formed eight months ago to address the shifts in the neighborhood in recent years."

Divide and conquer?

As U.S. Puts Pressure on Iran, Gulf's Religious Rift Spreads - "Shiites make up 15% or less of the world's Muslim community, but in many Sunni eyes they hold outsize influence because of Shiite-ruled Iran, which now rivals and sometimes even eclipses Israel as an object of loathing. On the gallows in Baghdad at the end of December, Saddam Hussein used his last words to denounce Americans and 'Persians,' or Iranians. He didn't name Israel.

A lexicon of Arab polemic previously dominated by 'Zionists' and 'Crusaders' -- i.e., Israel and America -- now has a new villain: the Safawis, or Iranians. The term refers to the Safavid dynasty that established Shiism as Iran's state religion in the 16th century.

The most splenetic diatribes against Iran and Shiites often come from militant Sunnis who previously focused their fire on the U.S. In a January document entitled 'Covenant of the Supreme Council of Jihad Groups,' for example, a Kuwaiti extremist cleric ranked Iran ahead of the U.S. and Israel in a hierarchy of foes. He railed against the 'Safawi enemy that seeks the destruction of Islamic civilization.'"

Mohammed Khaled Ebrahim, a hard-line Sunni member of Bahrain's parliament, urges visitors to read a document called "The Secret Plan of the Ayatollahs in Light of New Circumstances." It purports to detail an Iranian plot to dominate the Middle East and force Sunnis to convert. In tone and taste for conspiracy it mimics The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a century-old Russian forgery and classic of anti-Semitic propaganda.

"It explains everything," says Mr. Ebrahim, waving an Arabic translation of the supposedly covert, Farsi-language plan. He found it on the Internet.

Though he is a shrill critic of America, he says he supports any effort to restrain Iran. He doesn't want the U.S. Navy to leave Bahrain because this "would clear the area for Iran." This, he says, is "what Shiites want." America is "like a cancer" but Iran is still more dangerous and "much more devious."

The Daily Dish

The Daily Dish: "The Clinton campaign even suggested that Obama return the $1.3 million that Geffen and his partners Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg raised at a Hollywood fund-raiser this week. I love that suggestion. As far as I can tell, there is not a morsel of food that has crossed the Clintons' lips in the last twelve years that people have not paid $2300 a person to witness, and the only circumstance I can recall where they ever returned money was an instance where it could be traced to someone who was a distant cousin of a distant cousin of a person who might have been (but probably wasn't) a member of Al Qaeda.'"

The paradox of "hipster parents"

From David Brooks
I mean, don’t today’s much-discussed hipster parents notice that their claims to rebellious individuality are undercut by the fact that they are fascistically turning their children into miniature reproductions of their hipper-than-thou selves? Don’t they observe that with their inevitable hummus snacks, their pastel-free wardrobes, their unearned sense of superiority and their abusively pretentious children’s names like Anouschka and Elijah, they are displaying a degree of conformity that makes your average suburban cul-de-sac look like Renaissance Florence?

Revenge of the nerds

From Paul Krugman

Six years ago a man unsuited both by intellect and by temperament for high office somehow ended up running the country.

How did that happen? First, he got the Republican nomination by locking up the big money early.

Then, he got within chad-and-butterfly range of the White House because the public, enthusiastically encouraged by many in the news media, treated the presidential election like a high school popularity contest. The successful candidate received kid-gloves treatment — and a free pass on the fuzzy math of his policy proposals — because he seemed like a fun guy to hang out with, while the unsuccessful candidate was subjected to sniggering mockery over his clothing and his mannerisms.

You're on Notice!!

Clinton Fights to Keep Impeachment Taboo - "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has a new commandment for the 2008 presidential field: Thou shalt not mention anything related to the impeachment of her husband.

With a swift response to attacks from a former supporter last week, advisers to the New York Democrat offered a glimpse of their strategy for handling one of the most awkward chapters of her biography. They declared her husband's impeachment in 1998 -- or, more accurately, the embarrassing personal behavior that led to it -- taboo, putting her rivals on notice and all but daring other Democrats to mention the ordeal again."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The New Yorker : fact : content

The New Yorker : fact : content: "“The Administration is trying to make a case that Iran is more dangerous and more provocative than the Sunni insurgents to American interests in Iraq, when—if you look at the actual casualty numbers—the punishment inflicted on America by the Sunnis is greater by an order of magnitude,” Leverett said. “This is all part of the campaign of provocative steps to increase the pressure on Iran. The idea is that at some point the Iranians will respond and then the Administration will have an open door to strike at them.”"

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack-News-World-Iraq-TimesOnline

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack-News-World-Iraq-TimesOnline: "“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

“There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.”

A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented."

The Daily Dish: A Lynching in Jamaica

The Daily Dish: A Lynching in Jamaica: "A mob attacks two allegedly gay or transexual men in Jamaica, chasing them into a store. The cops seem unwilling to protect the men. One gay activist alleges he was subsequently beaten by the cops. An account of the incident from a rabidly anti-gay Jamaican blogger can be found here. A YouTube of Jamaican television's report can be seen here. If two Jews had been attacked by an anti-Semitic mob, or two blacks attacked by a white mob with police support, I have a feeling it would become global news."

You Go, Geffen!

You Go, Geffen!: "And then Geffen spoke up. Suddenly Democrats all over the country may be thinking to themselves, 'Well, what about that? Why exactly do we have to be for Hillary anyway? Shouldn't we consider some alternatives?'

Once unleashed, this series of thoughts is subversive. So much of the Hillary Clinton candidacy depends on an aura of inevitability, supported by oodles of money and a fear of retribution if you're not on board. But what if she's not inevitable? And what if the retribution isn't so all-powerful?

That's what is now being tested. Now that it has been raised, the thought that Hillary isn't the ideal nominee might spread. Hence Team Clinton's need to enforce omertà. Hillary's attack dog, Howard Wolfson, couldn't even take the time to do some basic fact-checking before rushing out an attack email demanding Obama denounce the remarks of Geffen, 'his campaign's finance chair.' But Geffen is not and has never been Obama's finance chair. He has no official role in the Obama campaign."

Terror Officials See Al Qaeda Chiefs Regaining Power - New York Times

Terror Officials See Al Qaeda Chiefs Regaining Power - New York Times: "John D. Negroponte, then the director of national intelligence, told Congress last month that “Al Qaeda’s core elements are resilient” and that the organization was “cultivating stronger operational connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders’ secure hide-out in Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.”

As recently as 2005, American intelligence assessments described senior leaders of Al Qaeda as cut off from their foot soldiers and able only to provide inspiration for future attacks. But more recent intelligence describes the organization’s hierarchy as intact and strengthening.

“The chain of command has been re-established,” said one American government official, who said that the Qaeda “leadership command and control is robust.”"

What's worse than listening to John Kerry? Reading John Kerry

"I squirrel-and- woodchuck hunted as a kid. I dug my toes into the mud and seaweed of Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts, looking for clams and mussels, which were abundant and edible in those days ... I was introduced to the fragility and power of oceans and mountains and given a sense of responsibility for the stewardship of these God-given gifts."

From This Moment on Earth: Today's New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future by John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry

The Spine

The Spine: "Imagine if you are a friend of the Clintons. First of all you are rich, very rich. Simply because they don't have friends other than ones with spare and bigger than big amounts of cash. Here are the purposes for which you have been asked contributions: twice for Bill Clinton for President (and all of the skeletal extensions of the local and national Democratic Party), the 727s, the White House refurbishing fund, the Clinton Defense Fund, the Clinton Library, twice for Hillary for Senate, annual contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative, each of his and her birthdays. Was there a Chappaqua remodeling project? If you have a private jet you'd have been expected to hand it over for a day, a weekend. If you have a house in Martha's Vineyard or in East Hampton or in Aspen or in Palm Springs, why don't you visit your in-laws? And it isn't as if the Clintons are asking you directly. Some underling is doing it, and you're afraid to say 'no.' Or even 'boo.'"

George F. Will - Iwo Jima's Lesson in Empathy -

George F. Will - Iwo Jima's Lesson in Empathy - "Stephen Hunter, movie critic for The Post, says that of the more than 600 English-language movies made about World War II since 1940, only four -- most notably 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' (1957) -- ' have even acknowledged the humanity' of Japanese soldiers.

Perhaps empathy for the plight of the common enemy conscript is a postwar luxury; it certainly is a civilized achievement, an achievement of moral imagination that often needs the assistance of art. That is why it is notable that Clint Eastwood's ' Letters From Iwo Jima' was one of five films nominated for the best picture Academy Award."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Think Your Social Security Number Is Secure? Think Again - New York Times

Think Your Social Security Number Is Secure? Think Again - New York Times: "TrustedID, a company that sells services to consumers to give them more control over who sees their credit reports, has compiled a database of compromised numbers that could already be traded or sold on the Internet.

It has created an online search tool,, where people can check at no cost to see if their number is one that is in a too-public domain.

TrustedID said that about 220,000 people had tested their numbers in the three weeks the site has been open to the public."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Old Problems Undermine New Security Plan for Baghdad - New York Times

Old Problems Undermine New Security Plan for Baghdad - New York Times: "The much anticipated effort to wrest Baghdad streets from the control of militias and insurgents has been presented in news conferences and public statements as an Iraqi-led operation. Iraqi officials have been out front, announcing arrests, weapons finds and other details, as well as new decrees intended to halt two years of so-called sectarian cleansing. But on the streets, the joint patrols seemed little different from those of the past few years: A handful of Iraqis, acting at the direction of a larger group of Americans, opening drawers and closets and looking behind furniture as they searched for banned weapons or other contraband.

On another patrol, an American commander said, Iraqi residents told American soldiers that a national policemen had warned them to hide anything incriminating including paraphernalia about Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite militia leader whose forces are targets of the Baghdad crackdown.

“Families told us he was warning people before we’d come in, ‘If you have this or that, then hide it before they get here,’ ” said First Lt. Andy Moffit, who led a platoon through Shaab and Ur. The major problem with Iraqi forces is not their tactical skill, but their “loyalties and integrity,” he said.

On that score, he said, “We’ve still got years to go.”

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Daily Dish: The Antidote to HRC

The Daily Dish: The Antidote to HRC: " In 2000, [Gill] gave $300,000 in political donations, which grew to $800,000 in 2002, $5 million in 2004, and a staggering $15 million last year, almost all of it to state and local campaigns... On Election Day, fifty of the seventy targeted candidates were defeated, Danny Carroll among them; and out of the thirteen states where Gill and his allies invested, four — Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington — saw control of at least one legislative chamber switch to the Democratic Party.

But Gill is too smart to believe that gay equality will be achieved through the Democratic party alone. He comes from a Republican family, has made some key Republican hires, and hopes one day to give equally to both parties. It's an obvious strategy - focused, bipartisan, local. Funny how the Human Rights Campaign has sucked millions out of gay wallets and never achieved anything like this success. Still, they have a big new building, more fundraisers than lobbyists, and lots of jobs lined up for the Hillary administration. By their own objectives, they're doing fine. But their record in national legislation? Close to absolutely nothing."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Tundra marketing offensive

From 0 to 60 to World Domination - New York Times: "“Street teams” drive Tundras to big construction sites with water in the summer and coffee and doughnuts in the winter. “We say: ‘Hey guys, you ever been in a Toyota before? Just take a moment to sit in it and tell us what you think,’ ” Smith says. Already Toyota has sent its street teams on hundreds of runs.

Toyota focused the marketing of the Tundra on what Smith calls five “buckets”: 1) fishers and outdoorsmen; 2) home-improvement types; 3) Nascar fans; 4) motorcycle enthusiasts; and 5) country-music lovers. Anyone wondering why Toyota has become a major booster of Nascar or a sponsor of bass-fishing tournaments can see the logic. It’s also why Toyota is sponsoring Brooks and Dunn, the country-music duo. And dealers are taking new Tundra trucks to Nascar events, country-music concerts, fishing tournaments and the like. “Parking lots tend to be a long ways away from where the events are,” Smith explains, referring to motocross competitions, “so we have our dealers setting up shuttles.” The plan is to pull up in a Tundra, offer visitors a ride but have them drive to the event on a slightly indirect course (laid out by a Toyota dealer). “At the end,” Smith says, “we say, ‘Thank you, you’re guests of Toyota, here’s a bottle of water, take a lanyard.’ ”

You've gotta be really, really low when your ethics are criticized by David Geffen

From Maureen Dowd:

“I don’t think anybody believes that in the last six years, all of a sudden Bill Clinton has become a different person,” Mr. Geffen says, adding that if Republicans are digging up dirt, they’ll wait until Hillary’s the nominee to use it. “I think they believe she’s the easiest to defeat.”

She is overproduced and overscripted. “It’s not a very big thing to say, ‘I made a mistake’ on the war, and typical of Hillary Clinton that she can’t,” Mr. Geffen says. “She’s so advised by so many smart advisers who are covering every base. I think that America was better served when the candidates were chosen in smoke-filled rooms.”

[Bill Clinton and David Geffen] fell out in 2000, when Mr. Clinton gave a pardon to Marc Rich after rebuffing Mr. Geffen’s request for one for Leonard Peltier. “Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?” Mr. Geffen says. “Yet another time when the Clintons were unwilling to stand for the things that they genuinely believe in. Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thomas Friedman on Russia's future

"You tell me the price of oil, and I’ll tell you what kind of Russia you’ll have. If the price stays at $60 a barrel, it’s going to be more like Venezuela, because its leaders will have plenty of money to indulge their worst instincts, with too few checks and balances. If the price falls to $30, it will be more like Norway. If the price falls to $15 a barrel, it could become more like America — with just enough money to provide a social safety net for its older generation, but with too little money to avoid developing the leaders and institutions to nurture the brainpower of its younger generation."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Suicide Watch

Suicide Watch: The Offendedness Offensive Continues - Tuned In - TV Blog - Television Reviews - James Poniewozik - TIME: "Just after GM got in trouble for airing a Super Bowl ad about a robot dreams about committing suicide, Volkswagen started running a commercial in which a man threatens to jump off a building--complaining about global warming, alienation from his neighbors and reality TV--until someone drives up and tells him that VW is selling three 'V-Dubs' for under $17,000."

2-year-old O.D.'s

Debate Over Children and Psychiatric Drugs - New York Times: "In just the last decade, the rate of bipolar diagnosis in children under 13 has increased almost sevenfold, according to a study based on hospital discharge records. And a typical treatment includes multiple medications.

Rebecca was taking Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug; Depakote, an equally powerful mood medication; and Clonidine, a blood pressure drug often prescribed to calm children.

The rising rates of diagnosis and medication use strike some doctors and advocates for patients as a dangerous fad that exposes ever-younger children to powerful drugs.

Some child psychiatrists say bipolar disorder has become an all-purpose label for aggression."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Maureen on Obama

"He is backed up by a strong, smart wife and a professional campaign team, but he doesn’t have a do-whatever-it-takes family firm with contract killers and debt collectors, like Bush Inc. and Clinton Inc."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Richard Cohen - The Explanation Hillary Clinton Owes -

Richard Cohen - The Explanation Hillary Clinton Owes - "Yet another man has betrayed Hillary Clinton. This time it's George W. Bush, who not only deceived her about weapons of mass destruction but, when granted congressional authorization to go to war in Iraq, actually did so. This, apparently, came as a surprise to her, although in every hamlet and village in America, every resident who could either read or watch Fox News knew that Bush was going to take the country to war. Among other things, troops were already being dispatched.

'From almost the first day they got into office,' Clinton said last weekend in New Hampshire, the Bush administration was 'trying to figure out how to get rid of Saddam Hussein.' If that was the case -- and indeed it was -- then how come she now says she did not think Bush, armed with a congressional resolution, would hurry to war?"

Letters from Iwo Jima

Gary and I went to see "Letters from Iwo Jima" today. In addition to an artful rendering of familiar concepts about the tragedy of war, the Japanese language film by Clint Eastwood also had a really fascinating sub-text about Samurai culture.

In one of the first scenes, a young soldier, who comes to symbolize the post-WW2 Japan, is being beaten as a "peasant" by a Samurai-like captain because the soldier was not working hard enough digging trenches on the beach. A new American-style Japanese general (who had studied in America and insisted on walking the island) encounters this cane-beating and tells the captain that he needs all soldiers able-bodied and that, if the captain needs to punish, withhold food rations. The general also cancels the beach trenches, realizing this as a ludicrous tactic against American destroyers.

Later, the same soldier is almost beheaded with a sword by another Samurai-captain because he followed orders and retreated rather than committing ritual suicide, as the rest of his unit did, for failing to hold a position. Beheading by sword is the traditional punishment by Samurai of insufficiently subordinate peasants.

The young soldier, a baker whose wife is pregnant with their first child, is saved by the same general a third time when the general orders him to remain in the cave and burn papers, rather than join the final suicide attack on the American Marines.

Finally, the soldier is discovered by a group of Marines. He becomes enraged, swinging his shovel of at the Marines wildly and ineffectually. Rather than shoot him, the Marines dodge the shovel and eventually deliver a rifle butt to the head, foreshadowing McCarthy's capable restraint in the post-surrender occupation.

The young soldier survives and returns home to his wife and child, presumably to help build a new Japan, presumably, as Gary pointed out, to emulate his venerated general in adopting American concepts for a post-Samurai culture.

When P.R. is more important than reality. . .

Long a Target Over Faulty Iraq Intelligence, Ex-C.I.A. Chief Prepares to Return Fire - New York Times: "One person who has read early drafts of the book said Mr. Tenet defended himself by carefully parsing the “slam dunk” comment: he said he was not telling Mr. Bush that there was rock-solid evidence that Mr. Hussein had chemical and biological weapons, only that the president could make a “slam dunk” case to the American public about these weapons programs."

Monday, February 12, 2007

SNL on Michael Vick's attempt at carry-on

Sunday, February 11, 2007

They Won’t Know What Hit Them

They Won’t Know What Hit Them: "The story exploded across the state, yielding full-banner headlines for four days running in The Denver Post and wall-to-wall footage of Haggard’s awkward semi-denial to a local TV news crew.

While the pundits predicted that the scandal would demoralize conservative voters and benefit the state’s liberals, Gill’s organization held no such illusions. Its polling showed that the vote on domestic partnerships had been running near even, but now this development seemed certain to tip things against them. Trying to explain why, Trimpa characterized it best by grimly invoking “the gay ick”—his rueful term for the tendency of well-meaning and fair-minded straight voters to become turned off when gay issues focus explicitly on sex. The Haggard episode, which fed right into the Mark Foley congressional page scandal then in full bloom, created, Trimpa believed, the worst possible environment in which to put gay-rights issues on the ballot. On Election Day, the initiative failed, 53–47."

Sedona, Ariz. - New York Times

Sedona, Ariz. - New York Times: "outdoor enthusiasts rhapsodize about hiking among red rock spires and ancient Indian ruins."

Those crazy, crazy French

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Global Warming and Hot Air

Robert J. Samuelson - Global Warming and Hot Air - "In 2004, world emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2, the main greenhouse gas) totaled 26 billion metric tons. Under plausible economic and population assumptions, CO2emissions will grow to 40 billion tons by 2030, projects the International Energy Agency. About three-quarters of the increase is forecast to come from developing countries, two-fifths from China alone. The IEA expects China to pass the United States as the largest source of carbon dioxide by 2009.

The IEA studied an 'alternative scenario' that simulated the effect of 1,400 policies to reduce fossil fuel use. Fuel economy for new U.S. vehicles was assumed to increase 30 percent by 2030; the global share of energy from 'renewables' (solar, wind, hydropower, biomass) would quadruple, to 8 percent. The result: by 2030, annual carbon dioxide emissions would rise 31 percent instead of 55 percent."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Congressman's lesbian platoon

"Well, it seems that the military has gone around and fired a whole bunch of people who speak foreign languages — Farsi and Arabic, etc. For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are against terrorists, but they're very brave with the terrorists. ... If the terrorists ever got a hold of this information, they'd get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad."

-- Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) to Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice, during hearings on the State Department's 2008 budget request.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Further into la-la land

Ted Haggard says that after three weeks of "intensive therapy" he's "completely heterosexual."

He maintains his story that, while he was recorded saying he wanted some more crystal meth, he bought it only twice and never used it, throwing it away both times (saying he doesn't remember where he disposed of it.)

The man is ready to be an Iraq commentator on Fox News!

Corleones and Bushes

On the start of our road trip to Tuscon, Gary and I passed by the old Silverado S&L building in south Denver (along I-25). We got to talking about Neil Bush and I pointed out that the Bush sons seem to parallel the Corleone sons in the "The Godfather"

George (dumb 1st son) = Sonny (dumb 1st son)
Neil (degenerate incompetent) = Freddo (degenerate incompetent)
Jeb (low-key hero, daddy's favorite) = Michael (low-key hero, daddy's favorite)

PLUS, Sonny started a big, bloody, unsuccessful mob war in "The Godfather" after a rival family tried to assassinate his father (The Godfather). Similarly, George started a big, bloody, unsuccessful war after a rival family (the Husseins) tried in 1993 to assassinate his father, President George H.W. Bush (The WASP Godfather). OK, Jr. didn't start a war immediately after, but did as soon as he had the power and opportunity).

In "The Godfather," Sonny's stupidity and bad temper leads to his own assassination, and Micheal comes in and, with cunning and bravery, saves the day.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Simpson Transcript Describes Murder - New York Times

Simpson Transcript Describes Murder - New York Times: "At one point during the interview, Mr. Simpson says: “As things got heated, I just remember Nicole fell and hurt herself. And this guy kind of got into a karate thing.” It was then, he says, that “I remember I grabbed the knife.” Later, asked about whether he had taken off a glove before handling the knife, Mr. Simpson says, “You know, I had no conscious memory of doing that, but obviously I must have because they found a glove there.”

According to the transcript, that moment is one of several during the interview in which Mr. Simpson, while maintaining that he is merely recounting a hypothetical narrative, says rather oddly that he cannot remember certain details."

Brokeback Mutton -

Brokeback Mutton - "A bare majority of rams turns out to be heterosexual. About one in five swings both ways. About 15 percent are asexual, and seven to 10 percent are gay.

Why so many gay rams? Is it too much socializing with ewes? Same-sex play with other lambs? Domestication? Nope. Those theories have been debunked. Gay rams don't act girly. They're just as gay in the wild. And a crucial part of their brains -- the 'sexually dimorphic nucleus' -- looks more like a ewe's than that of a straight ram. Gay men's brains similarly resemble those of women. Charles Roselli, the project's lead scientist, says that such research 'strongly suggests that sexual preference is biologically determined in animals, and possibly in humans.'"

Friday, February 02, 2007

How low can NYT go?

When I was an idealistic 22-year-old at the New York Times, in 1987, the coolest people I encountered were Maureen Dowd (then a Washington reporter) and Frank Rich (then a drama critic).

The most repulsive people I encountered were Adam Clymer (actually, the second MOST repulsive person I've ever encountered in my whole life), Howell Raines, Judy Miller, and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.

Clymer is the guy that George W. Bush, talking to Dick Cheney in the 2000 campaign, referred by an open mike, as a "major league asshole" to which Cheney replied, "big time." (I wish these guys had been similarly insightful with Putin, Chalabi, and Malaki.)

Raines and Miller resigned in disgrace for gross incompetence, with Miller currently in court over her collaboration with Scooter Libby in exposing a CIA agent.

Arthur Jr. just pulled all NYT's assets out of Morgan Stanley because one of Morgan Stanley's analysts dared to exercise some honest reporting about how Arthur Jr. is managing The New York Times Company, a publicly-owned corporation. Luckily, while the $675 million withdrawn represents all the NYT's assets, it's just a drop in the bucket for Morgan Stanley.

Time was, the NYT was the institution with the strength and integrity to shrug off the black hearts who tried to punish it for honest reporting. Under Arthur Jr., the NYT is the black heart that Morgan Stanley is shrugging off.

Ethanol creates Mexican tortilla crisis

Tortilla crisis hits the poor as clean fuel drives up corn price - World - Times Online: "The crisis, in which the price of tortillas has risen by 40 per cent in three months, has been blamed on a variety of factors, including hoarding by grain monopolies, rampant speculation and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Prices have also been affected by an increased US demand for corn as a source of ethanol, the alternative, ecofriendly fuel."

Dumb question

'Bombarded by eagles, my glider collapased and I began to fall...' - World - Times Online: "Nicky Moss, 38. said she thought “Why me?” when the eagles came screeching out of the sky and began shredding the fabric wing of her paraglider over the remote northern country of New South Wales earlier this week."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Malaki government - Two Senior Iraqi Generals Eyed in Brazen Attack on U.S. Soldiers - : "At least two senior Iraqi generals [are] suspected of involvement in an insurgent attack that killed five American soldiers on Jan. 20, U.S. officials told FOX News on Thursday."

Bush and Cheney sink even further into their own fantasy

Bush and Cheney sink even further into their own fantasy: "It's now clear that the Maliki government is not going to unify the country; it's interested in U.S. participation only to the extent that it can turn our Armed Forces into an instrument of sectarian warfare. Our military must get out of the business of helping Shia death squads--a business in which the surge will only implicate us more deeply.

Does this mean we have no further military role in Iraq? No, it does not. We have a strong interest in staying to fight Al Qaeda, and we have a powerful responsibility to mitigate ethnic slaughter and protect Iraqi refugees as the civil war deepens. "

Calling Dr. Freud

Bushism of the day. - By Jacob Weisberg - Slate Magazine: "'And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it.'— George W. Bush speaking on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007."