Category Archives: 06_bobby

More Guts

Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks the Democrats should go for the visceral to win.

Consider this hypothetical:

A Democratic president is forced to take action after terrorists attack New York and Washington. It’s clear that the terrorists’ sponsors are based in Pakistan and Afghanistan. But within 18 months, this Democrat decides to invade a country that had nothing to do with the attack. In the next four years, he spends half a trillion dollars, sucking America deeper into a quagmire, stretching the military to the breaking point – while in Pakistan, the culprits remain free. Indeed, U.S. intelligence officials warn that the evildoer group in Pakistan has “regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability.”

Imagine it’s the eve of a national election. Any question how the GOP would respond?

They’d run TV ads mocking the Democrats as the party that has made America weaker. Their talking heads on Fox News would lament about how the Democrats are wrecking our proud military, can’t be trusted to run a war, can’t even choose the right war to fight. They’d crank out podcasts about how the party of George McGovern is wasting our precious blood and treasure while our true enemies plot to kill our kids in their suburban beds.

In short, the Republicans would craft a visceral message that aims for the gut and engages the emotions. Over the last 40 years, that has been the GOP’s metier.

These days, however, the Republicans are stuck in neutral, because it’s their own guy who has fought the wrong war and emboldened our enemies. Which gives the Democrats a rare opportunity to lash out at GOP national security failures, to aim for the gut and engage the emotions.

But that is not what Democrats do.

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Harry Potter…By Others

I was over at Why Now? where Bryan has some thoughts on the last Harry Potter book.

In my comment I wondered what the series would be like if it was written by some other famous authors such as:

James Joyce: Seven volumes, all one long sentence.

William Faulkner: Harry Potter in Yoknapatawpha County

Ernest Hemingway: “Voldemort appeared. Harry shot him. He had a butterbeer.”

Anne Rice: “Herminone always knew she was a vampire and she always knew how to use her fangs delicately.”

Leo Tolstoy: Seven volumes, each 3,000 pages long.

Any others?

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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The Mind Boggles

From TPM:

President Bush temporarily will transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney while Bush has a colonoscopy Saturday.

I have rarely seen so short a sentence with so many implications, interpretations, snarky comments, and fearful possibilites that I leave it up to you, Shakers, to go wild.

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The Last Challenege

Following up on Jeff’s and nightshift’s posts below…

The White House claims that the president’s claim of executive privilege overrules everything.

So basically the president is saying the Justice Department can’t do what Congress tells it to do once he’s proclaimed executive privilege. It’s a legalistic way of saying “Up Yours.”

A couple of thoughts come to mind. First, I’m trying to imagine the thermonuclear reaction this would have caused among the Republicans and the wingnutosphere if President Clinton — or any Democratic president, for that matter — had tried to assert this level of executive privilege. Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House would have been littered with the bloody remnants of exploded heads of Republicans and all the punditry who would proclaim that Mr. Clinton is a rogue and a charlatan and all sorts of other Victorian terms that they dredged up from the Newt Gingrich list of naughty words.

The second thought is that this, along with the Iraq war funding, will be the true test of the Democrats in the Senate and the Congress. If they don’t stand up and fight back with all the forces they can muster and make every attempt to win this battle, then there is little hope for them. All of the energy that they put in to winning the election in 2006 and all of the effort they’re putting in to winning back the White House and a larger majority in the House and Senate won’t mean anything.

It’s clear that Mr. Bush and his administration are calling out the Democrats — and anyone else who believes in the balance of power — to defend the role of Congress and its equal place in our nation. If they don’t rise to the challenge, we might as well just give up now and let the comfortable numbness of dictatorship and one-party rule lull us gently to our doom because we don’t deserve to have our republic any longer.

Read Glenn Greenwald’s detailed and eloquent discussion of this issue.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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Philosophized to Death

President Bush is planning to veto health care for children based on “philosophical reasons.”

The president said he objects on philosophical grounds to a bipartisan Senate proposal to boost the State Children’s Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over five years. Bush has proposed $5 billion in increased funding and has threatened to veto the Senate compromise and a more costly expansion being contemplated in the House.

“I support the initial intent of the program,” Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post after a factory tour and a discussion on health care with small-business owners in Landover. “My concern is that when you expand eligibility… you’re really beginning to open up an avenue for people to switch from private insurance to the government.”

Are you kidding me? He’s willing to let kids get sick and possibly die because he’s worried about who’s going to pay for it? Has he lost his mind? (Yes, I realize that is a rhetorical question.)

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Ford and Reagan Still Dead

According to the Washington Post, both Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford died today.

Yeah, well, since they are also announcing yet again the capture of the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq — for what, the fourth time? — it’s not surprising to find the former presidents making the news.

(HT to Raw Story.)

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Been There, Didn’t Do That, Don’t Care

With the latest NIE report out, it’s like going back in time to the summer of 2001 when President Bush was told in his Presidential Daily Briefing that “Bin Laden determined to attack the United States.”

Al-Qaeda has reestablished its central organization, training infrastructure and lines of global communication over the past two years, putting the United States in a “heightened threat environment” despite expanded worldwide counterterrorism efforts, according to a new intelligence estimate.

[…]

The assessment was released yesterday in a two-page declassified summary of key judgments of a National Intelligence Estimate titled “The Terrorist Threat to the U.S. Homeland.” The estimate mentioned a number of possible threat sources, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to self-generating radical cells in Europe and this country.

It was the second government report in the past week that pointed to a heightened risk from al-Qaeda. The other, written by the National Counterterrorism Center, was titled “Al-Qaida Better Positioned to Strike the West.”

[…]

Bin Laden’s ability to establish a safe haven for training and planning has been uppermost in the minds of intelligence and counterterrorism officials since the late 1990s. Missile strikes authorized in 1998 by President Bill Clinton against al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan appeared to have little effect on bin Laden’s operations. In the summer of 2001, President Bush received an intelligence warning titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in the U.S.,” but the Sept. 11 attacks occurred before action was taken.

Since then, various administration officials have hailed the success of U.S. counterterrorism efforts. In February 2003, then-CIA Director George Tenet told Congress that “more than one-third of the top al-Qaeda leadership identified before the [Afghanistan] war has been killed or captured.” Three months later, Bush increased that number to “about half” in a speech he gave in May, amid early concerns that the two-month-old Iraq war had diverted administration attention from the hunt for bin Laden. “Al-Qaeda is on the run,” Bush said.

Either the president was wrong or he was full of it when he made that claim. And since the president is never wrong…

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Kristol-Lite

As right-wing pundits go, David Brooks has always lived in the shadow of the big dogs like William F. Buckley, George F. Will, and William Kristol. He doesn’t have the gravitas, the tweedy wardrobe, the deep, measured stentorian voice that gives him a certain level of seriousness even when he’s talking about baseball. So it’s no surprise that when it came his turn to write his obligatory report from the Magic Kingdom, following in the footsteps again of William Kristol, he’d turn in this lightweight piece of fluffing (in all its meanings), full of attempts at deep insight but laced with enough Kool-Aid to give you a sugar crash.

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Uh, No Thanks

Now that President Bush has completely trashed Iraq, he’s offering a helping hand to Israel and the Palestinians.

President Bush announced today that he will sponsor a new international conference this fall aimed at reviving moribund Middle East peace talks and paving the way toward a final settlement that would see a new Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel.

It’s like a paraphrase of what Ronald Reagan used to say were the scariest words in the English language: “I’m George W. Bush and I’m here to help.”

Just ask the folks in New Orleans.

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Mythological Healthcare

Following up on Melissa’s post below…

Paul Krugman on the myths of health care:

Being without health insurance is no big deal. Just ask President Bush. “I mean, people have access to health care in America,” he said last week. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

Yes, where you pay $300 to have a cut sewn up if you get treated at all before dying. It’s not the fault of the emergency rooms, however; they’re just not ready to be the first responders for the health care needs of the nation, and it’s also one of the reasons why health insurance is so expensive; someone has to pay for all those people who can’t pay when they show up at the E.R.

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What Has William Kristol Been Smoking?

William Kristol, the neocon’s poster boy, pens an op-ed in the Washington Post that states — apparently in all seriousness — that history will vindicate George W. Bush as a successful president. That is, if we win the war in Iraq and the Republicans win the election in 2008. Oh, and if pigs could fly you’d get your breakfast for free.

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Here’s Your Hat…

The Prime Minister of Iraq says we can leave any time.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saturday that the Iraqi army and police are capable of keeping security in the country when American troops leave “any time they want,” though he acknowledged the forces need further weapons and training.

The embattled prime minister sought to show confidence at a time when congressional pressure is growing for a withdrawal and the Bush administration reported little progress had been made on the most vital of a series of political benchmarks it wants al-Maliki to carry out.

Hey, you don’t have to ask me twice. Take the guy at his word and let’s get the hell out now.

It sounds like the message is getting through — however awkwardly — to Capitol Hill. Think they could forward it on to the White House?

Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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The Jig Is Up

When Peggy Noonan refers to President Bush as “weird,” you know the wheels have come off the wagon.

As I watched the news conference, it occurred to me that one of the things that might leave people feeling somewhat disoriented is the president’s seemingly effortless high spirits. He’s in a good mood. There was the usual teasing, the partly aggressive, partly joshing humor, the certitude. He doesn’t seem to be suffering, which is jarring. Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn’t Mr. Bush? Every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president’s since polling began. He’s in a good mood. Discuss.

Is it defiance? Denial? Is it that he’s right and you’re wrong, which is your problem? Is he faking a certain steely good cheer to show his foes from Washington to Baghdad that the American president is neither beaten nor bowed? Fair enough: Presidents can’t sit around and moan. But it doesn’t look like an act. People would feel better to know his lack of success sometimes gets to him. It gets to them.

His stock answer is that of course he feels the sadness of the families who’ve lost someone in Iraq. And of course he must. Beyond that his good humor seems to me disorienting, and strange.

[…]

Americans have always been somewhat romantic about the meaning of our country, and the beacon it can be for the world, and what the Founders did. But they like the president to be the cool-eyed realist, the tough customer who understands harsh realities.

With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He’s the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually it’s weird.

Okay, Peggy, if you’re so smart, now what do we do?

Reminder: This isn’t the first time the light has come on for Ms. Noonan.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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All This Sex Talk

Florida State Rep. Bob Allen proclaims his innocence:

Rep. Bob Allen, a Merritt Island Republican who was first elected to the state House in 2000, told a Central Florida television station that it was “a very big misunderstanding” and a “gross mistake.”

“I’m not in anyway associated with that they are saying, this is disgusting,” said Allen as he was escorted out of the Titusville Police Department and taken to the Brevard County Jail.

The arresting officer’s report says:

“Allen engaged me in a conversation in which it was agreed that he would pay me $20.00 in order to perform a ‘blow job’ on me.”

Yeah, he’s right about the gross part.

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Miers Stiffs Congress

Harriet Miers, former White House Counsel, BFF of President Bush, and for about twenty minutes a nominee as a Supreme Court Justice, will not appear to testify in front of Congress today.

It is unclear how Congress will proceed in its legal showdown with the White House. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) warned Miers that she could face contempt charges for failing to appear, and Leahy said he has not ruled out a similar approach for Taylor. But other lawmakers said there is little appetite for such an approach. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said the committee could seek a Senate vote on finding the White House as a whole in contempt of Congress.

House Democrats said they plan to go ahead with their hearing today without Miers, and will probably vote to authorize Conyers to issue subpoenas to the Republican National Committee for e-mails from White House officials such as Taylor who used e-mail accounts based in the RNC.

It’s one thing to appear in front of the Senate and claim executive privilege — or presidential intimidation — but it’s clearly something else when you defy a subpoena and basically give the Senate the finger.

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Blog Note

Melissa is having issues getting into the site this morning. It doesn’t seem to be anything nefarious like the DDOS attack; it’s just something with the server in her area. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with it from down here in Miami. (Oddly enough, I was having trouble accessing the site yesterday afternoon while everyone else was able to get in. It went away when I changed to my home computer, so who knows. I’m still figuring out this whole tubes thing.)

Anyway, as soon as she’s able, Melissa will be here with her regular morning posts.

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Attack of the Phallic Thingies – Sequel II

I can’t pass up Space Cowboy’s challenge.

Frozen Cock

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Know Your Enema

Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff says he has a gut feeling that Al-Qaeda might attack here this summer.

“Summertime seems to be appealing to them,” he said of al-Qaeda. “We do worry that they are rebuilding their activities.”

Still, Chertoff said there are not enough indications of an imminent plot to raise the current threat levels nationwide. And he indicated that his remarks were based on “a gut feeling” formed by past seasonal patterns of terrorist attacks, recent al-Qaeda statements, and intelligence he did not disclose.

Proof positive that most of the stuff that this administration tells you is pulled out of their ass.

Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.

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The One True Church. So There.

Pope Benedict says that the only true church is the Roman Catholic Church and all the rest are… well, something else.

Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Not that it really matters to me personally since I’m a Quaker and as far as I’m concerned, churches and rites and sacraments are all just an excuse for people to dress up in costumes and inflict a load of guilt while extorting money out of their followers, but this is the sort of crap that starts wars.

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Question of the Day

This one’s pretty simple; sparked by a phone call I got over the weekend.

Are you still in touch with your best friend from childhood?

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