Monday, April 30, 2007

King George's War

The surge in all its glory:

BAGHDAD, April 30 -- The deaths of more than 100 American troops in April made it the deadliest month so far this year for U.S. forces in Iraq, underscoring the growing exposure of Americans as thousands of reinforcements arrive for an 11-week-old offensive to tame sectarian violence.

More than 60 Iraqis also were killed or found dead across Iraq on Monday. Casualties among Iraqi civilians and security forces have outstripped those of Americans throughout the war. In March, a total of 2,762 Iraqi civilians and policemen were killed, down 4 percent from the previous month, when 2,864 were killed. Iraq's government has yet to release any monthly totals for April.

Attacks killed a total of nine U.S. troops over the weekend, including five whose deaths were announced Monday. The weekend's fatalities brought the toll for the month to 104 Americans killed, in the sixth most-lethal month for American forces since the U.S.-led invasion four years ago.


With 11 combat deaths, April also was the deadliest month for British troops in Iraq since the beginning of the war, when 27 soldiers were killed in March 2003. This month's British casualties highlighted the growing tensions in southern Iraq as Shiite groups clash for power and Britain prepares to draw down its forces.

Perhaps the survivors of the dead soldiers and civilians will be comforted to know that their loved ones died because George Tenet and Rich Lowry were unwilling to risk surprise.

Hey, Joan Walsh reads this blog. (Scroll down.)

Every time I see that someone well-known reads this blog, I always think "I really should put more effort into this thing." But then I remember that I'm not doing this for the recognition or prestige, but for you, my loyal readers, and the thought quickly passes.

But it did remind me it's time to update the Enemies List. It seems I have outlived some of my enemies, and it's time to make some new ones. Suggestions are welcome, or I can just work from the phone records.
Roger's Recommended Reading

Over at The Howler, my friend Bob Somerby dissects the idiocy and illiteracy of Brian Williams at last week's Democratic presidential debate.

Williams truly is a talking wig stand -- styrofoam to the core.

Madam, I'm Adam Smith

If I was the head of a conservative think tank, who would I be?

I might be

Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D

Christopher DeMuth

Tony Perkins

Edward H. Crane

Amy Moritz Ridenour

Hell, I might be Cliff May. (Although he probably doesn't.)

But, seriously, you can't take a piss in Washington D.C. without hitting the head of a conservative think tank.

And that will cost him extra.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

As someone who drives on overpasses fairly frequently, this doesn't give me a tremendous amount of confidence.

The Losers' Debate, or Ten Little Idiots is reporting that there will be 10 Republican candidates at Thursday's G.O.P. Presidential Debate. I admit I could only come up with eight announced candidates off the top of my head. (According to wikipedia, there are actually 11 Republican hopelesses.) It's not as easy as it would seem.

The debate is being held at the Reagan Presidential Library, and I imagine all 10 debaters will claim to be the Second Coming of Ronnie. The real test: Which one will offer a rambling, cringe-inducing closing statement with no ending, in the true spirit of the Gipper. And which one will prep with an opponent's debate book, pilfered by George Will.

I'm really looking forward to this debate.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Peggy Noonan Thinks Of The Children

The crazy next-door-neighbor lady is out of the front porch again, chain smoking and squinting at all the neighborhood kids with that intense stare of hers. Don't worry, kids, Peg's just worried about the loss of your innocence.

Listen, won't you, to this account of Peg's Wonder Years:

Very few people in America don't remember being scared by history at least to some degree when they were kids. After Pearl Harbor, they thought the Japanese were about to invade California. If you are a boomer, you remember duck-and-cover drills. The Soviets had the bomb, and might have used it. I remember a little girl bursting into tears during the Cuban Missile Crisis when I was in grade school.[*]

But apart from that, apart from that one huge thing, life didn't seem menacing and full of dread. It was the boring 1950s and '60s, and the nice thing about a boring era is it's never boring. Life is interesting enough. There's always enough to scare a child.

After you give up trying to make sense of that last paragraph, consider this: The only scary thing about the 50s and 60s was the arms race. Those church bombings and lynchings and death threats had no effect on the kiddies. The idea of growing up, getting drafted and getting killed in Korea or Vietnam never phased the young'un of yore. Childhood disease didn't exist back then. And that media-wide embargo on stories of murder, assassination and riot left the tykes in blissful ignorance. It was prepubescent paradise when Peg was a pup.

I'm starting to miss the Peg who hyperventilated about suitcase nukes.

* Noonan was 12 in October 1962. It sounds like she was held back a few years.

Business As Usual

Sometiimes you learn more about national politics and the national political media from the ostensibly non-political stories. If you do a little digging.

For example, who says you can't learn anything from Here's a report on Norah O'Donnell, appropriately located in the gossip pages:

The pregnant and positively glowing MSNBC anchor, along with "Meet the Press" producer Michelle Jaconi, party-thrower extraordinaire (and lobbyist) Juleanna Glover Weiss and Mary Amons, is hosting a book party for Jill Kargman, author of "Momzillas," at the Ralph Lauren store at the Collection at Chevy Chase on Tuesday. Kargman, by the way, also happens to be the daughter of Chanel CEO Arie Kopelman, guaranteeing everyone there is dressed to the nines. If you miss it, don't worry; no doubt every "luxury" mag in town will have pictures of it for their future issues.

And who is Juleanna Glover Weiss?

Juleanna Glover Weiss is a lobbyist and media and campaign consultant who, in early 2005, left the Clark & Weinstock firm to become a principle [sic] in the new Ashcroft Group firm, founded by former U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft.

Previously, Glover Weiss "served on the 2000 presidential campaign and in the White House as the Press Secretary to Vice President Dick Cheney. Her campaign experience also includes significant roles in the Rudolph W. Giuliani U.S. Senate Exploratory Committee and the Steve Forbes 2000 Presidential Campaign. Before that, Ms. Glover Weiss served as a senior policy advisory to Senator John Ashcroft (R-Missouri); as the publicity director for the Weekly Standard; and as legislative director for the Project for the Republican Future."

At Clark & Weinstock, Glover Weiss "helped the Iraqi Governing Council's U.S. rep on 'messaging' and planned overall strategies for meetings with Administration officials, members of Congress/staffers and reporters," reported O'Dwyer's PR Daily.

Glover Weiss is a graduate of Marymount University and received her MBA from George Mason University

Noron and a Meet the Press producer partying with a Cheney flack, the daughter of a fashion CEO and a "socialite" (Ms. Amons). No wonder Noron so often sounds like a G.O.P. press release, and never sounds like a reporter.

Also in Politico, we learn why Holy Joe was so desparate to retain his Senate seat -- the opportunity to do public service!

Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), NPR's Nina Totenberg and Charlie Cook donning leather jackets and shades "as the cool kids at Camp Wannabeapolitiki" -- must have been some prime-time acting for that one.

The skit (or whatever it was) was performed at a fundraiser for Thanks USA, a charity which raises scholarship funds for millitary families. The centerpiece of the event involved the 9 and 11 year old children of a Republican NBC lobbyist "donating $1,000 of their chore money" to a scholarship. (The children nominally created the charity, the article claims.) The sleazebag father/lobbyist, Bob Okun, bragged, "The girls really believe that the more you give, the more you get. The personal thank yous they received from the military families have made it all worthwhile for them."

If Holy Joe and Bob get their way, the precocius tykes will, in the fullness of time, be able give (and get) even more through their military service in Iraq. If they don't mind the cut in pay.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Grand Old Police Blotter: Instacracker's Heroes Edition

Alabama authorities have rounded up six weapons enthusiasts calling themselves the Alabama Free Militia. The investigation also "turned up truckloads of explosives and weapons, including 130 grenades, an improvised rocket launcher and 2,500 rounds of ammunition," all of which were possessed for self-defense purposes.

One of the six men apprehended was Michael Wayne Bobo, who is described by The Birmingham News as follows:

Bobo was living with his adoptive parents in the Lancshire Brentwood neighborhood in Trussville, a fairly new subdivision near the Cahaba Project with tree-lined streets and brick homes that cost upward of $600,000. He worked for his family's pest control company.

His red pickup truck, usually parked at the house, displays bumper stickers such as "Welcome to the South, Now Go Home," "The Second Amendment: 'You do not know you need it until they come to take it away' - Thomas Jefferson" and "Work Harder, Millions on Welfare Depend on You."
Mr. Bobo is 30 years old. He "is charged with being a drug user in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine." His compatriot patriots include a fugitive from justice on an unspecified federal charge, who allegedly was in possession of stolen commercial fireworks.

Mr. Bobo's picture is presently featured in Merriam-Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary under the entry for "cliche." The url for his warblog and his Free Republic screenname are not presently known.

Grand Old Police Blotter: No Happy Ending Edition

Republican fatcat Randall Tobias is resigning from his position as Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator (DUFAUSIDA) to spend more time with his hookers.

Contacted last night at his home in the District, Tobias, a former chief executive of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co., declined to discuss the circumstances of his resignation, saying he would "stick with the statement the State Department released today."

According to ABC News, Tobias said he contacted the escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage" and that there had been "no sex" involved.

In a memo yesterday to the USAID staff, James R. Kunder, acting deputy USAID administrator, called the resignation "shocking news" and urged workers not to be "distracted from our developmental and emergency work."

Tobias reportedly paid $275 for 90 minute massage, hold the Dick Morris. Price seems a little stiff to me.

So how did Randy Randy come to become the DUFAUSIDA?

He and Lilly have been major donors to the Republican Party. He gave $4,000 to Bush from 1999 to 2001, and he and his wife donated a total of $37,000 to the GOP and its state elections committee during that period. Lilly, meanwhile, gave another $23,000 to Bush's campaign in 2000 and spent $234,000 on direct mail to its stockholders on Bush's behalf, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But, seriously, it's a tragedy when a dedicated public servant has to resign for failings unrelated to her or his duties.

President Bush nominated him in July 2003 to lead a $15 billion program to fight AIDS worldwide.

At the time, some AIDS experts said Mr. Tobias did not have much experience with AIDS or Africa.

Or not.

Perhaps Mr. Tobias was just modeling the Bush Administration's theories of faith-based disease prevention for the benefit of the Dark Continent:

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Randall Tobias on Thursday in Berlin defended the use of prevention programs that emphasize sexual abstinence in African and Caribbean countries that are set to receive assistance through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 4/22). The law (HR 1298) authorizing PEPFAR endorses the "ABC" HIV prevention model -- abstinence, be faithful, use condoms -- which has had success in lowering HIV prevalence rates in Uganda. The measure also specifies that one-third of the bill's HIV/AIDS prevention funding should be used for abstinence and monogamy programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/28/03). Tobias, who was in Berlin for the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS' 2004 Awards for Business Excellence, said that promoting abstinence and monogamy are "far more effective" than distributing condoms for preventing the spread of HIV, according to Agence France-Presse. "Statistics show that condoms really have not been very effective," Tobias said, adding, "It's been the principal prevention device for the last 20 years, and I think one needs only to look at what's happening with the infection rates in the world to recognize that has not been working." PEPFAR has been criticized by AIDS advocates for placing "false hopes" on abstinence and monogamy prevention programs, according to Agence France-Presse.


Tobias said, "What the Ugandans have proven is that if you can get young people -- and the results show that you can -- to understand how AIDS is spread and to delay the age at which they become sexually active, and then if you can get people who are sexually active to reduce hopefully to one the number of partners, they have proven to be the two most effective approaches to prevention." Tobias added, "The message to young people in the schools is not either 'Be abstinent or here are condoms, take your pick.' It is a message of 'Be abstinent.' Delaying sexual activity is a means of eliminating the risk of infection."...

So if Randy manfully resisted the advances of those predatory females of loose virtue, as he claims, shouldn't the Administration be promoting him rather than accepting his resignation?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Late Reviews

As a follow up to last week's post on audiobooks, I want to recommend Late Reviews and Latest Obsessions, a blog which has detailed reviews of hundreds of audiobooks. The reviews are insightful (which is to say, they coincide with my opinions and prejudices to a great extent) and cover a range of texts both classic and current. And they cover the performance ("[i]f there is a weakness to his reading, his pausing and phrasing suggests he's reading a nonametric verse narrative consisting of anapests followed by double dactyls") as well as the text.

The reviews tend toward the positive, although the blog's author ("The Critic") is great at slicing and dicing worthy targets as well. When Jonah Goldberg's Holidays With Hitler finally comes out in 2009 or thereafter, I hope The Critic gets his hands on the audio version.

And he also reviews Lyndon LaRouche pamphlets!

Post-Sound-Bite-Generating-Joint-Appearance-Still-Life-With-Podiums Analysis

I didn't see most of it.

Brian Williams has a great future as Joe Biden's straight man. As a journalist, not so much.

The MSNBC "analysis" lasted longer than the joint appearance, and is probably still going on.

Chris Matthews should save the work word dick for the Republican joint appearance or, better yet, a discussion of George W. Bush.

Update: Of course, my instant analysis isn't as profound as, say, that found at the venerable The New Republic. (Peretz hasn't commented yet, perhaps beacuse he swallowed the pencil Frank Foer was holding under his tongue during Senator Clinton's airtime.) Maybe I'll liveblog the forthcoming Republican debate, where the combo of pandering to the fundies and Tweety as emcee will provide a target-rich environment.

Update II (4/27/07): That's "the word dick," not "the work dick." Charles Pierce explains the reference here.

Willard Romney's Latest Flip-Flop: The War Against Iraq

"It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," Romney said.

Some of us have been saying that for four years now, Muffy. And before it was too late.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Marty Peretz, Hipster


My earlier post was about Carl Bernstein's quickly upcoming book about Hillary. The Times article I mentioned had also alluded to another volume, this one by Times reporters Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr., to be published by Little, Brown. It also has a slightly frigid title: Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Do you recall the song sung by Frank Sinatra, "Doing It My Way?" Choreographed by Twyla Tharp and performed by Baryshnikov. Very sexy, both lyrics and dance. Was "her way" meant to deliver a stark contrast?)

In any case, since my post I've gotten several phone calls asking why I had omitted the Gerth-Van Natta book. Simply because the Times said nothing about it content. But my callers claim to know, and I believe them. So it may not be just hives and tantrums. It might even come to shingles.

What a coincidence. Tharp's also my favorite choreographer of songs and Baryshnikov's my favorite performer of songs. Especially the non-existent ones.

p.s. Anybody got Marty's phone number? It appears he's taking calls now, and I'm dying to ask him about the stark contrast between the first person and third person.

"Give Me The Shemp, With Bozo the Clown Highlights"

Poor Maureen Dowd. Four hundred bucks can't buy her respect or a good haircut.

(Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post)

The Best And The Brightest

On the way home from work, I heard radio reports concerning the nine soldiers killed in Iraq and of David Halberstam's death in an auto accident in Menlo Park. After running some errands, I went home and tried to find some television reports on those two stories.

On CNN, Larry King was interviewing George and Babs Bush about cancer, and Anderson Cooper was reporting on contaminated pet food and the resumption of classes at Virginia Tech. On CNN Headline News (sic), Glenn Beck was having a "Debate" (according to the screen caption) on global warming with a right-wing talk show host, the director of a film ridiculing the idea of global warming and a "Republican environmentalist." And Nancy Grace had whatever inane shit she always has on. MSNBC had a reality show about models in New York (apparently, MSNBC has run out of prison footage and pedophiles gone wild) and a Countdown with some pretty stale stories on the Correspondents' Dinner and the Blue Angels crash. And on Fox News, there was comprehensive coverage of Alec Baldwin, Harry Reid's act of treason and the alleged murderer popularly known as "The Preacher's Wife."

Most if not all of this programming was rebroadcasts, since the staff of the "24-hour news networks" apparently knock off at or before 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. I couldn't watch all the channels at once and left the room occassionally to vomit, but, if there was anything about the Iraq deaths or Halberstam's death beyond a crawl at the bottom of the screen, I missed it.

These networks are, of course, run and staffed by some of the most intelligent, most driven, most accomplished and most well-compensated people in the United States. (Just ask them.) God bless our meritocracy and the majesty of the marketplace of ideas.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Exploiting A Tragedy

CNN's Reliable Sources, April 22, 2007:

KURTZ: Joining us now here in Washington, Bill Press, columnist and host of "The Bill Press Show" on Sirius Satellite Radio. In Philadelphia, Gail Shister, television writer for "The Philadelphia Inquirer". And in Irvine, California, radio talk show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt, author of the new book "A Mormon in the White House: Ten Things Every American Should Know About Mitt Romney".


Hugh Hewitt, you've told the world that you were appalled by NBC's decision to air part of this videotape. Why?

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Howard, a number of reasons.

First of all, it was torture to the victims and survivors. Parents who had lost children, children who had lost fathers, spouses who had lost husbands and their extended families saw the man who took them to the next world in -- as he wanted to be seen. And I thought, along with most psychiatrists, it was just abuse and torture. I also think in the words of Mickey Kaus, NBC is now the go-to network for mass murderers. And mass murderers have been affected by this.

KURTZ: But you know, I was on your radio show...

HEWITT: Yes, you were.

KURTZ: ... a half hour before those images hit NBC, and you were complaining, why were they holding it? Why wasn't -- were they trying to get a ratings bonanza for "NBC Nightly News"? It turns out -- it turns out they were holding it at the request of the Virginia State Police authorities.

HEWITT: No, I wanted them to release his written redacted statement. But I agreed with you that I would be very angry if they showed the images.

I think it was you, Howard, who said, if they show one photograph, you could understand that. But I think that what has followed has been the incentivizing of mass murder, and NBC will have blood on its hands the next time someone sends a video to their network of their mayhem.

KURTZ: Well, that's a pretty strong statement.


KURTZ: Hugh Hewitt, now ABC, NBC, FOX say they're not airing this video anymore at all, CNN says not airing it except with limited exceptions. But in the first 24 hours, wasn't part of the problem not just NBC, but that every network on the planet, with the exception of the Canadian Broadcasting Company, I found out, was running this footage until it became video wallpaper?

HEWITT: Howard, it is part of the problem. But not every network. My show in 100 cities did not air a second of his audio, because it would be reprehensible to do so. And it isn't a close call.

Instantly, even before it was released, your reaction on my show was the same as the reaction -- I spent three days covering this from left, right and center, from various psychiatric experts, that this was a horrible thing to do. Dr. Michael Welner, an ABC News consultant, likened it to the release of a toxic cloud.

It has consequences. Yes, the copycat networks went out and did a terrible thing, but it goes back to NBC. And I would like to ask Steve Capus at some point, did they ask one serious forensic psychiatrist what the impact of this video would be on other unstable people?

If they had, they would not have done this. There were alternatives. They could have put it under a password-protected site, they could have released it three years from now on the Internet only.

What they did was astonishingly stupid and irresponsible. And until they apologize, the public will not let up on them.

SHISTER: Could I jump in here, Howie?

Do you think that any other network would have reacted any differently?

HEWITT: I don't know. I hope so. I hope that some of them would have taken at least 24 hours to talk to a psychiatrist, because it's like asking the media to treat unstable people.

They were having an impact on these individuals who will be killers in the future, because that which gets rewarded gets repeated.


HEWITT: Howard, can I jump in? Because you were right. You were right on that day before they aired it.

I asked you on the air -- it's posted at, and you said, "Don't do it. You will give the killer exactly what he wants." That's not Monday morning quarterbacking, and it's what any serious analyst would have come to the conclusion had they been asked by NBC.

It's not just any publicity whore who can plug his book, radio show, website and fellow Republican hack in a 10 minute segment on a mass murderer's killing spree. And pretend to be aghast at someone else exploiting the tragedy for ratings and profit.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Captain of Idiocy

It's a good thing Mister Ed quit his job as manager at Hardee's to take up blogging full time. Even the most dedicated blogger can't spent eight hours behind the fry warmer and then come home to paraphrase entire articles from the right-wing press. Now that he's got the time to do research and investigation, the quality of the Cap'n's work shown remarkable improvement.

Here, Ed swallows whole the willfully gullible ramblings of Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail, and reveals the uncontrovertible evidence that the Bush Administration covered up Saddam's massive stockpile of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and then allowed the Syrians to get their filthy mitts on the lot of it. He takes what Phillips acknowledges is unsubstantiated assertion and turns it into rock-solid fact:

Where did the material go? Unguarded, the sies [sic] got raided by Iraqi and Syrian forces, aided by Russian intel. The weapons material got shipped to Syria, in a location Garbauzt [sic] insists is known to American intelligence forces. The ironic result of the screw-up is that a terror-supporting nation has its hands on WMD, and could easily pass it to its radical-Islamist terror proxies, Hamas or Hezbollah.

And that is precisely why the Bush administration has not publicly made the case for WMD. In order to use this information, the Pentagon would have to admit that it fouled up so badly that it created the opportunity for terrorists to use Saddam's WMD. Democrats, who normally would have a field day pointing out the incompetence of the executive branch, can't use it because it would prove that George Bush was right about the WMD. Apparently, no one wants to acknowledge Garbautz's information about the existence and status of the WMD.

As Melanie Phillips says, it has proven to be the Axis of Embarrassment for both political parties. In the meantime, the truth has been hidden about the danger of Assad's grip on Saddam's weapons -- and, of course, his military partnership with Iran. Read the entire article.

Note that second paragraph. It's a clever, padded reworking of Phillips' conclusion:

The Republicans won't touch this because it would reveal the incompetence of the Bush administration in failing to neutralise the danger of Iraqi WMD. The Democrats won't touch it because it would show President Bush was right to invade Iraq in the first place. It is an axis of embarrassment.

Captain Queef simply adds language shifting blame from Bush Administration to the Pentagon to appease his rabid readers, and moves the axis of embarassment crack to the next paragraph. It's almost like this stuff writes itself.

And for Ed's first paragraph, it comes from here:

But we told them that if they didn't excavate these sites, others would.'

That, [Gaubatz] says, is precisely what happened. He subsequently learnt from Iraqi, CIA and British intelligence that the WMD buried in the four sites were excavated by Iraqis and Syrians, with help from the Russians, and moved to Syria. The location in Syria of this material, he says, is also known to these intelligence agencies. The worst-case scenario has now come about.

Unfortunately, Ed forgot to plagiarize the sentence buried at the end of the article, where Phillips acknowledges she doesn't know whether any of this shit is true (and, like the Cap'n, made no effort to find out).

One can envision the Captain in his Quarters, right next to the overflowing hamper, feverishly cutting and pasting his reasoned conclusions while firing up in another window to cover his tracks. This stuff must take him all day to rewrite. No wonder the burgers at Hardee's always seem warmed-over and stale.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Acid and Assholes

I don't usually comment on the moronic statements made on right-wing blogs because, really, who's got the time? There's enough idiocy from professional morons like Nooners and D'Souza to keep me busy for a lifetime, and it's not like I post that often anyway.

I'm willing to make exceptions, however. Take this analysis from "Bryan" at Hate Air, in which Bry reviews a newspaper report that a middle school student was suspended for throwing ham in the direction of some immigrant students from Somali, apparently to insult/harass them for their Muslim faith:

This incident didn't happen in a vaccuum [sic]. Last August, a man rolled a pig's head into a Somali mosque in Lewiston. But prior to that, according to a commenter on the SunJournal site reacting to this story, Somalis attacked apartments and cars with acid (apparently the SunJournal didn't report on that, because I can't find a story about it–it either didn't happen or it's down the media memory hole). And prior to that, white supremacists paraded around and acted like fools over the arrival of the Somalis. The mayor of Lewiston asked Somalis to stop moving to town 5 years ago, because their swift influx was maxing out the city's resources. CAIR has been hovering over the situation the whole time. But note out of all of this behavior, the only group that actually got violent was within the Somali community (and that's also the hardest to find any reportage of). White supremacists have been irrelevantly ranting for years. Kids have been mean to other kids forever. Acid attacks are new though.

You see, it's the Somalis' fault because they "actually got violent" -- except for the fact that Bry doesn't have a fucking clue as to whether any Somalis actually got violent. Oh, but he's got it good authority from some asshole commenter on a website -- a person he knows nothing about. What more proof do you want!?! (Coming next: Bryan acknowledges his illegal relationship with underage goats as soon as I post it on the SunJournal website using the same commenter name as Bry's imaginary friend.)

And when you take away the unsubstantiated wingnut rumor, you're just left the with xenophobic mayor, the parading white supremacists and the folks who desecrated a mosque. And not a single act by Somalis. (Let's not even bother to mention the lack of any connection between Bry's fantasy Somalis and the middle school harassment victims. You can't start a race war if you insist on such details.) No wonder Bry thinks those little brown brats should shut up and take it.

What is the moral of the Bry's post? Well, Bry has two: "This is where 'hate crimes' legislation gets us" and "This is where the inherent and credible threat of violence gets Muslims." It not clear what the illiterate's second point is, but my guess is he's saying that Muslim middle schoolers deserve harassment because Muslims are violent. Or just because they're Muslim.

It also appears that the "acid attack" meme is gaining traction as a wingnut smear against Muslims and/or non-white foreigners. But acid attacks are nothing new and they're not unknown in wingnut circles either.

(Sorry, no link to the bigot.)

Dinesh D'Souza Is Not Proof Of A Malevolent God

Al-Qaeda apologist Dinesh D'Souza has this classy comment on the Virginia Tech shootings: "Dawkins' Message to Mourners--Get Over It!" Of course, scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins didn't actually send any message to the survivors of the shooting victims or make any comment to or about them. He simply doesn't believe that there is an omnipotent God who greenlighted the killing spree. In D'Souza's moral wasteland, that's justification enough for putting words into Dawkins' heathen mouth.

If I were to play D'Souza's game, I'd title this post "Bush's Message to Librescu's Survivors -- Librescu Burns In Hell." I guess my reluctance to do so explains why I'll never be a respected fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University.

Peggy Noonan Gets Introspective

What's the best way to describe your columns, Peg?

"The self-serving meanderings of a crazy, self-indulgent narcissist" is one.

Peg's penetrating analysis on the Virginia Tech shootings? Somebody should have done something.

What that something is, Peg doesn't exactly say. Except that someone should have removed Cho from campus -- he should have been "removed from the college population." Which act would both immediately erect a force field around the entire campus and render everyone living outside the campus invulnerable to bullets. Problem solved.

Peg also opines that what shouldn't be done is to increase "funding for mental health services in the United States." Presuambly because once the guy was off campus he wouldn't need mental health services, either voluntarily or involuntarily. But note that Peg also believes the campus mental health services are responsible ("Way to take responsibility," she sneers) for failing to either cure Cho or prevent him from acting.

You can't help but be impressed by the fact that one of the United States' leading national newspapers prints critiques of mental health issues by a woman who believes in magic dolphins and, albeit to a lesser extent, the competence of George W. Bush.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Death of The Dinosaur Media

I've said it before and I'll say it five hundred times more. Ladies and gentlemen, we have just witnessed the insertion of the last nail in the coffin of the insidious EM ESS EM. And they don't even realize it.

The so-called "responsible" media thinks it can tell us what we can and cannot think about the Virginia Tech killings, by denying us unfettered access to the last thoughts of Cho Seung-Hui.

But, as Adam Curry said to Doc Searls via real-time podcast at BloggerCon IV, the man no longer controls the message. Had Mr. Cho availed himself of the latest vlogging software instead of foolishly relying on the dead air media, his message would now be as widely recieved -- and respected -- as that of any washed-up telvision reviewer turned consulting blowhard. The future criminally insane won't subject themselves to the filter.

Rejoice, my fellow digital citizens, the age of the criminal-journalist is here.

(Cross-posted at Buzzmachine)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What Reason Do You Need To Be Shown

Those searching for an explanation for the shootings at Virgina Tech are out of luck. The young man who killed his classmates was mentally ill and there are mental illnesses we cannot cure, control or understand. Human understanding, in its present state, cannot supply an answer to why such assaults occur.

Which might explain why so many wingnuts are desparately seeking (non-existent) connections between the shootings and Islam or race or co-ed dorms or depraved secular culture and the decline of "The West." (You've already seen those links.) Anything but mental illness. Because mental illness can't be blamed on godlessness (and, more specifically, Biblical-godlessness). In fact, in the logic of the wingnut view, mental illness, because it exists, must be part of God's plan. And because it is an involuntary infliction, it can't be explained away as a deliberate rejection of godly principles.

Of course, it's more fun to bitch about foreigners or violence in the media than to rationally address the need for more and better mental health research and treatment. Or to wallow "inside the mind of a killer" for fun and profit (oh, if only there was a way to lure potential serial killers to the DatelineNBC house for some sexy talk with Chris Hansen!) But don't imagine you'll accomplish anything with such exercises, and don't pretend you're even trying.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Death Of A Flaming Asshole

Remind me not to have Richard "Lurch" Brookheiser write my eulogy:

Many years later, another guest, not a callow youth but the mayor of New York, sat next to her at the dinner table, giving his short billionaire know-it-all opinions of everything, in this case the effects of second hand smoke. She blew a puff in his face, and drawled, "Mr. Mayor, may I smoke in my own house?"

Of course, if that's the most positive recollection you have of the deceased, you've got to work with what you have.

A Slap To The Head

There's not much worth reading in The New Republic these days, but this Jon Chait column takes the right tone in dressing down an innumerate talking penis:

I'll give Fleischer the benefit of the doubt here and assume that this isn't an outright lie, but rather he couldn't read the table correctly. Let me explain it this way, Ari: Suppose that a few years ago, 37 percent of your scalp was covered with hair. Today, only 31 percent is. Would you say that your hair has increased or decreased over that time?

It all depends on what Karl Rove told him to say, J.C.

On Persecution of Michael Smerconish Remembrance Day, a small still voice reminds us of how much we have lost:

Now the question is: who will be the impresario for such regular stimulating conversation and where will it take place? Where will Doris Kearn Goodwin, Tom Friedman, Jon Meacham, Joe Biden, John McCain, Harold Ford, Tim McCarver, Darryl Waltrip -- and many more -- speak to us on a daily basis?

Never again.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Worthless Speech

Over at The Huffington Post, self-pitying slaphead Michael Smerconish portrays himself as a Holocaust/lynching victim. Why? Because Media Matters and/or some unnamed unnamed bloggers criticized his insipid on-air comments.

See how they whine:

Ah, but the floodgates are now open. The cyber-lynching by faceless, nameless bloggers of talk-show hosts like me has begun.

Individuals who hide behind the anonymity afforded by the Internet are seeking to squelch the First Amendment right of people whose identities are readily known and who, unlike their cowardly critics, put their names and credibility on the line each and every day on matters of public concern. Left unconfronted, it is a dangerous practice in the making.

Of course, the staff of Media Matters have names and presumably faces, and Schmuckonish doesn't identify any faceless or nameless bloggers in his pitiful screed.

More importantly, Smerconish doesn't understand the First Amendment. As Harry Shearer pointed out on Friday's Countdown, the Bill of Rights doesn't guarantee anyone a syndicated radio deal or continued employment by a media conglomerate. Nor does it provide Smerconish with a shield against criticism from those who disagree with his ignorant tripe. It does (at least in theory) prevent government interference with the rights of those nasty, nameless bloggers whose rights, to the Schmuck's lament, are equal to his own.

When Smerconish loses his program -- either by popular demand, the lack thereof or as a result of his own ignorance -- he can still exercise his First Amendments rights for the price of internet connection and free account at Blogger. And for $3.50 and his credibility more, he can still get a cup of coffee.

Update: More on free speech from the named and visaged Tom Hilton.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Another Wingnut For Internment

Johann Hari on psuedo-toff tosser Andrew Roberts:

Much of Roberts's advice to Bush is based on similarly skewed and surreal misreadings of history. For example, he has advised Bush to adopt "the whole idea of mass internment," saying: "I think it is the way the administration of Iraq should go." At his lunch with Bush, according to economist Irwin Stelzer, who was present, Roberts cited Ireland as a place where internment worked.

America, The World's Jailer. It's so crazy it just might work.

Exactly like it did the last the time we tried it in Iraq.

Roger Recommends

Le siege de Paris, by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier

For those who want to appear well read without the hassle of reading or those who can't stomach the vast wasteland that is broadcast radio, I'm happy to let you in a solution that's quite bearable: audiobooks.

I've just finished listening to the audiobook version of The Judgment of Paris by Ross King, a history of French art in the 1860-70s and the birth of French Impressionism. I was surprised how much of the content I remembered from a college art history class, but even more surprised by how much I'd forgotten about the political history of the period, including the Franco-Prussian War and the Siege of Paris.

It's not the book I'd pick up if I saw it in a bookstore or library, but it was an entertaining "listen" and easy to follow in audio format despite the cast of hundreds (perhaps because I was familiar with the story and some of its protagonists).

The main drawbacks with audiobooks is that they're significantly more expensive than regular books and not as versatile. You can't skim them or search them via an index. And the quality of the readers and performances varies widely -- something you don't know until you listen. I've been borrowing them on CD from the public library, which eliminates the first drawback, but means that the selection is fairly limited and often depressing. (Think Steven King and Mary Friggin' Clark, and scratched disks.) But ocassionally I come across something worth listening to, like Gore Vidal's Point to Point Navigation, read by the author, or Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, read by Simon Prebble. (Even something I'd surely never read, such Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, was made enjoyable in audio through the performance of Lenny Henry.)

Late last year, when I was driving to the hospital daily and at odd hours, these things kept me awake and away from driving into a bridge abutment. What more can you ask for from a CD?

The Replacement Killers

Chuck Schumer will probably get a bit more love in the leftwingosphere in the near future:

"Please treat this as confidential," Mr. Sampson wrote in the [January 9, 2006 e-mail] message. He concluded, "If a decision is made to remove and replace a limited number of U.S. attorneys, then the following might be considered for removal and possible replacement."

Mr. Sampson testified under oath on March 29 at a hearing of Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no candidates in mind to replace any of the fired prosecutors. In his prepared statement, he said that "none of the U.S. attorneys was asked to resign in favor of a particular individual who had already been identified to take the vacant spot."

At one point in the hearing, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, asked Mr. Sampson, "Did you or did you not have in mind specific replacements for the dismissed U.S. attorneys before they were asked to resign on Dec. 7, 2006."

Mr. Sampson, testifying under oath, replied: "I personally did not."

That's Libby-style perjury, that is. And Sampson handed it to Senator Schumer on a silver platter.

A Noonan Flashback

I missed the fourth anniversary of this Peggy Noonan Classic:

Weeks later, after all the news--the invasion, Saddam gone, more al Qaeda arrests--the president of the United States had a meeting that he'd been looking forward to. It was in the Oval Office. It was early evening and the lamps seemed to light it with a golden glow. The door opened, and in marched the men who got Osama. The Ranger crew, the Screaming Eagles who guarded them.

The president gave them great medals and thanked them on behalf of a grateful nation. Then he asked for the Rangers who'd stormed the hideout. They stepped forward. Bush said he was sorry their names would have to stay secret but it was best under the circumstances, too much still going on, didn't want to let them be a target for some nuts.

"But when the time is right," Bush said, "your country will be told who you are, and what you did. And then -- better get ready for the sculptors and all the statues."

Bin Laden may live on, but Karl Rove's e-mails will never terrorize another American ever again, that's for damn sure.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Howie The Empty-Headed Ho

Howie Kurtz, forced to address the ravings of his racist pal, provides the KKK man with a defense. In a column insanely titled "The Race Debate" (What, exactly, is being debated - whether the Rutgers team really are hos?), Kurtz writes:

Journalists like me who have gone on Imus's show have done so because we enjoyed the opportunity to talk about politics and media without the stuffiness of so many other programs. And it's probably true that too many of us looked the other way when he went over the line with some of his cruder comedy bits. He's now vowing to clean up his act, and I hope he does.


In my view, Imus is not a hater or a bigot. He supported Harold Ford when the African American congressman ran for the Senate. He's raised tens of millions of dollars for kids with cancer, of all races, who are put up at his New Mexico ranch. Imus practices a form of insult comedy that too often goes up to the line of decency, goes over the line or, as in this case, obliterates it. But he seems truly chastened by this bit of stupidity.

Here's a hint, Howie. If you enjoy talking about politics and media without the stuffiness of many teevee programs, talk about those topics with like-minded friends off the teevee. You still exist if no one's there to film you. Or get yourself invited on the hundreds of teevee and radio programs that don't star a racist clown. (Yes, that means stay away from O'Reilly, Limbaugh, Savage and the Salem Radio Network.)

The reason you "looked the other way," Ho, is that Imus's bigotry never bothered you. In fact, 11 years ago, you wrote that "Imus's sexist, homophobic and politically incorrect routines echo what many journalists joke about in private." Unstuffy journalists like you, Howie?

Never mind what Imus said, sez Kurtz. Black people invented the word "ho," Jesse Jackson impregnated someone other than his wife, and Al Sharpton supported Tawana Brawley. In other words, they started it.

Thanks for showing us your colors, Howie.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Conflict-of-Interest Kurtz Rides Again

Howard Kurtz can't be bothered with the Don Imus story. It's not in his column today, or his online "Extra" column. And it wasn't on his CNN media program, The Jonah Goldberg Show, this weekend. And somehow no one managed to mention Imus during Kurtz's weekly chat, in which Kurtz controls the questioning.

To be fair, Howie's all over the time-sensitive breaking news about Meredith Vieria.

A cynic might speculate that Howie's covering his own ass about his professional friendship with Imus and/or trying to ensure that his frequent appearances on the Imus show (most recently, March 19) don't stop coming.

A realist knows that's the case.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Ballad of Mitt Romney

(inspired by a true lie)

Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Mitt
Rich trustfundeer, and a Cranford School twit
He bought an M.B.A. from a second-rate b-school
Then Teddy kicked the ass of that lying wingnut tool
Patriarchist, he is -- old gold -- theocracy

Well Mitt will kiss your ass if you're a millionaire
But if you want the right to choose, the bastard just don't care
You're poor or gay or sick; to Mitt, you've got no right to be
He panders to the basest base that rules the G.O.P.
Dobson, that is -- Robertson -- Lopez

Well now it's time to say fuck off to Mitt and all his spin
'Cause here's how things are going down if Mitt should hap' to win:
You're all invited back again to eighteen fifty-three
To have a heaping helping of right-wing theocracy

(Banjo solo by Mike Huckabee)

Correction, Please

The New York Times continues its descent into sub-mediocrity:

Yesterday’s show also included an interview with Tim Russert, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," one of a great number of political and media heavyweights who appear regularly on "Imus in the Morning." (The NBC spokeswoman said the statement expressing regret about the remarks reflected Mr. Russert's feelings about the matter as well.)

Both Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, and Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, recently appeared on the show, and media figures including Frank Rich of The New York Times and Chris Matthews of MSNBC have also spent time with Mr. Imus. Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, appeared on the show some time ago to promote his book "The Audacity of Hope."

A real journalist, and his editors, would know that Joe Lieberman is not a Democrat.

As to the point of the article, I think it's beyond the point where actual Democrats can justify their appearances on the Imus program. Yes, I'm talking to you, Senators Kerry and Dodd. As for Joe Lieberman and Tim Russert, I'm sure they feel right at home.

Drivin' That Train, High on Insane

The Straight Talk Choo-Choo has derailed yet again, spilling toxic chemicals and causing the evacuation of the tri-state area. And what does Casey McJones have to say for himself?

"Trust me to lie to you."

"Of course I am going to misspeak and I've done it on numerous occasions and I probably will do it in the future," says McCain. "I regret that when I divert attention to something I said from my message, but you know, that's just life," he tells Pelley, adding, "I'm happy, frankly, with the way I operate, otherwise it would be a lot less fun."

The topic, of course, is McCain's lie about life and death in Baghdad. As long as McCain had fun spouting off, well, that's all that matters.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Be Vewy, Vewy Qwiet, I'm Pandewing to Gun Nuts

Willard "Muff" Romney takes some more target practice with his toes:

His staff refused Friday to provide details about his hunting history, including whose gun he used, with whom he hunted and whether he hunted in Utah as a college student or as an adult. He does not own a firearm, despite claiming to earlier this year.

The former Massachusetts governor issued the statement Friday after The Associated Press asked wildlife officials in Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Utah for any documentation verifying Romney had been a registered hunter.


Officials from Michigan, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, where a license is necessary to hunt such small game, said they could not immediately locate any license for Romney. An official in Utah said a change in state law last year blocked public access to license records.
Of the four states, Utah has the most liberal hunting regulations for small game. Jack rabbits can be hunted without a license and killed without limit, but cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares require a license.

When he corrected his staff's statement during a news conference Thursday in Indianapolis, Romney said: "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter, small varmints, if you will." He added: "I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times."

Governor Fudd said he'd like to be able to give more details, but he's been bwainwashed.

Cracker, Please

When morning radio racist Don Imus made his latest bigoted comments, MSNBC just couldn't figure out how in the world his vile remarks found their way onto its channel.

While simulcast by MSNBC, 'Imus in the Morning' is not a production of the cable network and is produced by WFAN Radio. As Imus makes clear every day, his views are not those of MSNBC. We regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC and apologize for these offensive comments."

Now we've gotten that settled, I guess MSNBC can fire these folks then:


Credits for MSNBC

Tom Bowman
Executive Producer

Christy MacDonald

Rosanne Pilone
Associate Producer

Nope. No production there.

Oh, and pay no attention to the fact that the KKK-Man's show is broadcast from NBC television studios, or that MSNBC supplies all the technology and graphics for the program, or that NBC News "talent" and MSNBC staffers appear on the program every day. MSNBC's going to have those locks changed and make sure that Imus's photo is distributed to all security guards.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Manifestos To Watch Out For

John Hinderaker: I Am John Dolt

Jonah Goldberg: I Am Bob Dough

Mickey Kaus: I Am Dil Do


No, not Chris and Maggie's daddy-figure and yokel scene-chewer Fred Thompson. Tommy "Tommy" Thompson, former Wisconsin governor, has joined the ranks of his fellow losers, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Willard "Muff" Romney, in the fight for five minutes of air time on basic cable.

During the "In Memorium" segement of ABC's This Week, Thompson's corpse said:

"Things are started to coalesce and I feel very, very optimistic about my future,"....

"I am the reliable conservative. My record shows that. All that people have to do is look at my record, and I am one individual that they can count on," Thompson said.

Thompson also revealed some of the planks in his head platform. First, he plans to order Iraq's puppet government to act democratic:

He would have "a completely different Iraq strategy" from the president's. Thompson said he would "demand" that the Iraqi government vote as to whether it wanted the U.S. to remain in the country. If the answer were yes, "it immediately gives a degree of legitimacy." If the answer were no, "We would get out, absolutely. It's a duly elected government."

Thompson also vowed to nominate cabinet members who would place loyalty to himself above all else:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has made "terrible mistakes" in the handling of the fired federal prosecutors. "I would not have appointed Mr. Gonzales. I would have appointed somebody that was loyal to me," Thompson said.

Because Abu G. was running a rogue operation out of Justice, designed to bring down Bush and his administration.

In the most recent surveys, Thompson is polling at "who the fuck is that?" plus or minus five percent.

John McCain is right. The progress in Iraq is remarkable.

Straight Talk lives! For ever!