Monday, December 31, 2007

Best. Photoshop. Ever.

(from Driftglass)

and not far behind...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Extra-special photo juxtaposition

Only when history repeats and our man in Islamabad is deposed by the local fundamentalists, this time said fundamentalists will already have nukes.

As Larry Johnson points out (and to my chagrin) Hillary saw this coming, and Obama didn't. The Bush Administration? Think Jimmy Carter, but with less authentic religion and infinitely fewer excuses.

I don't know how this will play out, but the possibilities are mind-boggling. A Taliban-friendly Pakistan seems a distinct possibility, perhaps even a likelihood. That would checkmate Bush policy not just in Pakistan but in Afghanistan, too.

Nuclear powers India and China share borders with Pakistan. They are unlikely to be passive in the face of typical Bush cowboy diplomacy.

One of the corollaries to Murphy's Law is that nothing is ever so bad that it can't get even worse. We are about to prove it again. As I noted a couple of months ago, Juan Cole saw an even more chilling comparison to where things were headed: 1914. Only now we know who plays the part of Archduke Ferdinand.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Juxtaposition of the day

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kindling, meet match

Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated at rally

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, aides said.

The death of the 54-year-old charismatic former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 parliamentary elections into chaos and created fears of mass protests and violence across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.

You can think of the Bush Administration's foreign policy efforts as the stacking of a series of piles of dry kindling throughout the world, interrupted only by attempts (to date unsuccessful) to turn small local fires into a wider and all-consuming conflagration.

Whether Pakistan has in fact been a real ally is as debatable as is the question of whether there is a real war on terror. But I suspect that a few weeks from now this will be recognized without debate as the moment the inferno began.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I have been watching with amusement as Der Rocketführer has exposed the utter idiocy that is the latest tome from Jonah Goldberg, "Liberal Fascism," a book every bit as spray-your-coffee awful as its title suggests.

I though there might be additional amusement in the reviews over t' the Amazon, so I headed on over. I didn't immediately see any user reviews, but the fashion-forward retailer does helpfully allow users to tag their offerings. As of a few minutes ago, here were the top tags:


I bolded my faves; feel free to contribute your own. (I find the "censored by liberals/the left" meme especially amusing -- a book deal with Doubleday and lebensraum in the LA Times and the National Review are not attributes I usually associate with censored writers. But that's just me.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Crazy Jay

I don't remember now where I read it, but someone once said that he wasn't surprised that it was possible to buy a member of Congress, but he was surprised at how inexpensive they were.

Ryan Singel @ Wired documents what a bargain Jay Rockefeller has been.

But he also quotes a simply stunning bit of sophistry.

Rockefeller is believed to have a personal fortune over $100 million. He spent $12 million of personal funds on his first Senate campaign. (

However "in recent campaigns, he has downplayed his personal wealth in one of the nation's poorest states. 'I will not spend one single dime of any money that I have,' he said in 2002. 'So that I if I don't raise money, I won't spend money. I am on exactly the same playing field, so to speak, with anybody else who runs for office.'" AP

The one reason that, in theory at least, we might actually want rich folks in elected office is that they might be less bribable. There is a pretty good argument to be made that this is the precise reason the founders established the anti-democratic and patrician Senate in the first place. Yet here is a staggeringly rich man bragging that he will be for sale just like any other poor schlub of a Senator -- and at guaranteed low, low prices. Not sheepishly admitting, not mumbling under Tim Russert's relentless hectoring, but volunteering. And, of course, not using his great-grandad's robber baron bucks for (what he sees as) the common good. The fact that his votes are negotiable instruments -- why, sir or madam, that isn't a bug; it's a feature. And it appears that his blighted constituents and the numskulls of the press simply smile and nod, uncomprehending.

As the FISA bill has proven, Crazy Jay will not be undersold.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Not dead yet

I was ready to begin writing an epitaph, an announcement that the Republic should be declared legally dead. My only uncertainty was whether there was any point in ever writing another blog post.

But incredibly and improbably, the courage and fortitude of one man has brought a stay of execution for our comatose Constitution. Chris Dodd left the Iowa campaign trail to threaten a filibuster against the vile FISA bill Harry Reid insisted on bringing to the Senate floor, and it worked -- at least for now.

Blogs in general, and certainly this one in particular, tend toward criticism rather than praise. There are numerous villains who deserve scorn here -- Reid, Feinstein, even Ted Kennedy (who voted for cloture before arguing against the Intel Committee bill. But tonight I salute the gentleman from Connecticut. Thank you, sir.

The clock has been reset to 11:59.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Voice in the wilderness

Atrios, 12/15/07:
The Way Forward

We need a Democratic president so that the Republicans and their Blue Dog allies in Congress are finally inspired to take back the executive power grabs that they temporarily thought were necessary for the survival of the nation.

What this will mean in practice is that Democratic president will face a firestorm of "scandal" which will make Monica Madness pale in comparison. The powers that Bush claimed will be turned against a Democratic president and will likely be their undoing.

And this scenario is much better than the alternative.

Yr humble scribe, 10/10/07:
Why electing a Democrat matters

Not because Hillary will foreswear torture and illegal wiretapping and secrecy and renditions. Not because she will embrace the joys of checks and balances in January 2009.

She won't.

It matters because the Republican party will miraculously rediscover the Constitution the day she takes office.

And because, unlike their invertebrate Democratic colleagues, they will find ways to hamstring her regardless of the number of seats they hold in Congress.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Weekly World News defense

You might recall that several years ago, prior to the demise of the late, unlamented Weekly World News, they were sued for libel (actually, I can't find the story right now -- it might have been a different tabloid. I don't remember what the specific case was about, but the publisher offered a novel and creative defense: they claimed that they should not be held liable because everyone KNEW they were full of shit, had no credibility, and thus there could be no damages.

Which immediately came to mind when I saw this:

DOJ Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Against Former EPA Chief Over Remarks About Trade Center Air

A former Environmental Protection Agency chief should not be held personally liable for telling residents near the World Trade Center site that the air was safe to breathe after the 2001 terrorist attack, a government lawyer argued Monday.

Holding Christine Todd Whitman liable will set a dangerous precedent, leaving public officials to worry that their words to reassure the public after disasters will open them up to personal liability, Justice Department attorney Alisa Klein told the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

My, yes. We can't have our government officials worrying about whether what they say is actually true, now can we?

If the Senate had not stayed in session over Thanksgiving, we would have had Bat Boy appointed to a cabinet-level spot by now.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bottom looked like up

Marty Lederman reads the tea leaves on the latest example of obstruction of justice re: CIA interrogations. I think he is dead on.

This one should be the damn-breaker. But paradoxically, the blizzard of Administration criminality is actually going to function as a perverse shield here -- so many scandals, so little time. And the lickspittles in the Joe Klein brigade can be counted on to completely miss the facts and their import.

To paraphrase something I saw somewhere online recently, we are so far beyond screwed that it will take the light from screwed a thousand years to reach us.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Did his nose grow, too?


Taking offense at being described as a “puppet” of President Bush, Sen. Arlen Specter fired back at Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday, suggesting the Nevada Democrat isn’t up to running the Senate.

Reid on Dec. 4 had blamed what he called Republican obstructionism in the Senate on allegiance to Bush.

“He is the man who is pulling the strings on the 49 puppets he has here in the Senate,” Reid said, referring to the chamber’s GOP members.

Specter, R-Pa., cried foul and declared that Reid had not only violated Senate Rule XIX, which prohibits the questioning of a senator’s integrity, but was just flat wrong.


A Senate Judiciary Committee vote on contempt resolutions against Karl Rove and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten were postponed following an objection by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Under Judiciary Committee rules, the vote will be postponed for one week.

Does he dream of someday being transformed into a real Senator?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Not much left for The Onion

Wolfowitz Returns To Bush Administration As WMD Adviser

You don't really need me to add snark to that, do you?

Oh, and Iran isn't building nukes after all, but, predictably, that just proves that Cheney was right all along, and is good news for the Administration.

Meanwhile, The Onion is reduced to making fun of bloggers. We may be the only target left that haven't descended into such complete self-parody as to make satire redundant.

For any youngsters wandering by, Tom Lehrer said it best decades ago.

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