Saturday, April 10, 2004

How, Indeed: The Washington Post signals that the current Iraq violence means short-term political losses for President Bush (duh), but also raises an interesting question:

"How do they frame this issue so that if the question is Iraq, the answer is Kerry?" asked one of Bush's top political advisers, who said he could not speak for the record on this subject.

I submit that Kerry's approach should go something like this: "Like many Americans, I trusted the President on Iraq. I thought no American President would twist a country's worst tragedy, Sept. 11, for political gains. I thought no American President would distort the threat to our country posed by a third-rate dictator in order to bolster his polling numbers. I was wrong. It's OK if you were wrong, too. But now that the removal of the devil we know has left us with the devil of quagmire we remember from Vietnam, there's no reason to go on trusting our misleaders any longer. Join me, and together we will re-establish America's position as a global leader to build not only a better Iraq, but a better America."

In other news, David Brooks lives somewhere between the Moon and Antarctica: What, me worry? He's like that kid on the playground who doesn't want to play kickball anymore now that his team is losing. In summary: "Come on, guys! The war's not going so badly. Shh, don't remember that Cheney said we'd be welcomed as liberators, that Perle and Frum said we'd be out in days. Just trust me. Trust that guy on his ranch in Crawford, Texas. And please, whatever you do... stop thinking!" How a paper like the New York Times can publish columns advocating voluntary lobotomies is beyond me.

- Marc

Friday, April 09, 2004

Hardly Workin': Via DailyKos: This is Bush's 33rd visit to his ranch since becoming president. He has spent all or part of 233 days on his Texas ranch since taking office, according to a tally by CBS News. Adding his 78 visits to Camp David and his five visits to Kennebunkport, Maine, Bush has spent all or part of 500 days in office at one of his three retreats, or more than 40 percent of his presidency.

Well, that sure explains why it's so hard to find work. The President himself is opposed to it!

- Marc

Thursday, April 08, 2004

The Far Side of the World: Al Jazeera reports on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden:

Osama bin Laden is attempting to enter the Arabic Gulf state of Yemen by means of a sea vessel which his team hope to board along the coast of Pakistan. Al Jazeera were told by local villagers that two attempts to board vessels have failed due to increased security around the coastal region of Pakistan.

Perhaps Bush will secure a victory of some sort yet in the "War Against Terrorism." Too bad plenty of others would take bin Laden's place.

- Marc
Where's Waldo? Andrew Sullivan writes, "We need an honest, candid, clear war-president. Where is he?"

He also espouses the views of one of our favorite bloggers, Charlie Crain:

Here's the argument, put subtly and strongly by Charlie Crain, a Baghdad blogger who deserves more attention.

Apparently this war has gotten so bad, even Sullivan and Crain are starting to question it. The question remains: what now?

- Marc
Lost Wesley Willis Song? A Pennsylvania church's Easter show really whips the bunny's ass:

A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.

If only churches would put their whips to good use, flogging people who lie about matters of national security (Condi, Cheney, Rummy, or Dubya, anyone?). Rock over London, rock on Chicago.

- Marc

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Then Again, Maybe Not: McCain didn't leave himself much wiggle room on Today this morning, according to ABC News: "I am not and will not be a candidate for Vice President of the United States, and I will not leave the Republican party (laughter)..."

And now, back to politics as usual...

- Marc
Pessimism Mounts, Rides: Charlie Crain of Bagh Blog has grown increasingly worried about the current Iraqi state of affairs:

As someone who supported the war I'd like to think it was a good idea screwed up by bad execution, but I'm not so sure anymore.

In his latest entry, he calls into question the entire premise of Spencer Ackerman's Iraq'd blog for The New Republic. Why scrutinize each stupid decision by the Bush Administration, he observes, when its first decision -- to attack Iraq -- was stupid enough?

- Marc

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

So This Sucks: CNN is reporting that Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers have taken over Najaf.

What's your plan, Mr. President? Oh, that's right, you don't have one. And now you (and Rumsfeld) want to send more troops to Iraq, leaving us even less-prepared to do battle with the terrorists or those "rogue nations" you warned us about pre-9/11. Why should we re-elect you now that you've presided over the ruination of the army, an ill-advised war and the worst economy since Hoover?

I'm sure David Brooks will concoct some Panglossian rationalization.

- Marc
Is That Mel Brooks? No, it's David Brooks. Brooksy, as we like to call him. In response to all these mean, nasty complaints about his fabrications, he has declared that each lie is just "a joke." So in today's column, the New York Times master comedian wastes our time with one big riff on a partisan stereotypes. The Democrats? They're all self-congratulating Oregon residents "in flannel shirts" (apparently we've captured the logging vote). Republicans are tough, decisive: "We don't need no stinkin' air traffic controllers."

To be fair, Brooksy is (almost) equally tough on both parties, although he leads with those crazy, Michael Moore-watching liberals and never mentions the Limbaughs, O'Reillys or Brooksies of the world (oh, wait). But it's almost as if he's telling critics, "So you think I just make stuff up about whatever stereotypes cross my mind? Well, here you go!" Because that's exactly what he's done: Run through a list of partisan stereotypes in a completely fictionalized, marginally funny column. And this is the nation's paper of record?

Oh, but that's the point, Brooks might reply. We're far too divided -- these stereotypes obviously aren't true. To which Whopundit responds: Isn't it convenient that now that Republicans control Washington, they whine about partisanship? They sure weren't opposed to it when they pushed the Clinton Administration to ignore terrorism and talk about Bill's blowjobs.

Maybe Brooksy should fly Osama Air.

- Marc

Monday, April 05, 2004

It's spreading...

William Saletan's Slate column today illustrates a trend. First it was DiIulio. Then it was O'Neil. Next up, Kerry. Clarke? You betcha.

But what if it's more than a trend? All this flipping and flopping has extended into Michigan, believed to be a key battleground state in the presidential race:

The Detroit Free Press reports that Dtroit Tigers' manager "Alan Trammell has decided to flip-flop the two in the batting order, with Pena hitting seventh and Munson eighth."

It's a goddamned conspiracy, is what it is.

The RIAA's Tangled Web: A New York Times article today details two economists' report arguing that MP3 file-sharing has "an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero." Boo yah, grandma.

"While downloads occur on a vast scale, most users are likely individuals who would not have bought the album even in the absence of file sharing," the professors wrote.

Blasphemy! You mean I wouldn't have bought the album containing J-Kwon's "Tipsy," even though I downloaded that song (much to my chagrin, especially after I realized it was basically a waste of a good drum loop)? As J-Kwon might put it, you'd better use two Lifestyles when associating with RIAA lawyers. They're that dirty. Throw your hands up if you're as desperate as the major-label recording industry...

- Marc
Eternal Sunshine: The Daily Howler lays out the complete inanity of Elisabeth Bumiller today. I wrote a biography for an award she is to receive from my alma mater, and her resume certainly is impressive. But her articles make me ashamed to be a journalist. To wit:

March 8: White House Letter: Bush Ready And Bursting To Bring It On
March 15: White House Letter: Want a Reliable President? Here’s One You Can Set Your Clocks By
March 18: Political Memo: Bush Glad to Be in the Campaign Fray and Not Above It
March 22: White House Letter: Running on a Campaign Trail Paved in Comfy Feathers
March 29: White House Letter: Shrinking the Glamour Gap in Texas, One Celebrity at a Time
April 5: White House Letter: The Women Behind Bush: They Promote and Defend, Nudge, Revere and Defer

What would a man who likely taught at least one of her journalism classes, the late Dick Schwarzlose, have to say about such advertorial pap? We can only imagine.

- Marc
A Turn for the Worse: My friend and former colleague at the Medill News Service, Charlie Crain, reports from Iraq about the current state on the ground:

In many quantitative ways this country is better off than it was before the war. There's more money, more power, better schools. Huge amounts of American and international cash are being thrown at problem areas like health care. Shops are full of goods, school is in session. I don't think, though, any of that matters

I can't say that I've seen much evidence since I've been here that democracy is something Muslim Iraqi Arabs can practice, or that it's something they want.

I'm not sure I agree with the notion that a people can be incapable of establishing democracy, but after all these years of Saddam Hussein, what the heck did the Bush Administration and its supporters expect? Apparently, instant democracy. I wonder if they sell that at White Hen. In a response to comments on another post, he goes on:

Maybe I'm in a bad mood, but I think things are worse now than they were when I first got here. Not economically or in terms of infrastructure, but definitely in terms of the political situation.

This from a committed Republican who was fairly hawkish a year ago, as I recall. It's a great time to be alive.

- Marc

Sunday, April 04, 2004

The Bitter Taste of Occupation: This New York Times article makes me sick. It seems as if now not only Sunni supporters of Saddam Hussein and so-called "foreign terrorists" are opposing the U.S. occupation... Shiite radicals are advocating violence against our soldiers, as well. I just wish the Bush administration hadn't been so stupid to begin with. Cheney sold us a war in which we would be "welcomed as liberators." Instead he has created an untenable situation, a situation any thinking person could have predicted. But just because we predicted it doesn't make it any less horrible. Bush has got us into a war that gives us only two choices: lose, or become even more murderous than Hussein. Fortunately, the American people have a third option: Elect John Kerry, and perhaps the international community will provide cover for a graceful exit. I am so angry with all the neocon Iraq fetishists and their enablers, you don't even want to talk to me right now.

"The occupation is over!" people on the streets yelled. "We are now controlled by Sadr. The Americans should stay out."

- Marc

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