10/31/2004 08:49:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Great Weigel moments
Here's my brother winning a race.|W|P|109927382705585550|W|P||W|P|10/30/2004 02:56:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|A letter to the Times
My email is acting wonky, but when it comes back I'll be sending a letter to the New York Times. It's a response to a real shark-jumper of a David Brooks column. Sez Brooks:
Back in December 2001, when bin Laden was apparently hiding in Tora Bora, Kerry supported the strategy of using Afghans to hunt him down. He told Larry King that our strategy "is having its impact, and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively, and we should continue to do it that way."
But then the political wind shifted, and Kerry recalculated.This is a direct misrepresentation - the CNN transcript makes that clear.
KING: Mount Holly Springs, Pennsylvania -- hello.
CALLER: Hello. Yes, I would like to ask the panel why they don't use napalm or flamethrowers on those tunnels and caves up there in Afghanistan?
KING: Senator Kerry?
CALLER: My golly, I think they could smoke him out.
KING: Senator Kerry?
KERRY: Well, I think it depends on where you are tactically. They may well be doing that at some point in time. But for the moment, what we are doing, I think, is having its impact and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively and we should continue to do it that way.
KING: Congressman Cunningham, what do you think of that question?
CUNNINGHAM: I think Senator Kerry is right on the mark. To use a flamethrower, you've got to get right into the area close in. And plus, it doesn't penetrate that deep in those tunnels. You've got to go in there after him. So I think you have to neutralize that threat. And then you can get him out in a lot of different, various ways including what the gentleman spoke about.Here's me:
It's telling that David Brooks must misrepresent John Kerry's public statements in order to make his point. Mr. Brooks cites an old interview with Mr. Kerry to claim the senator originally supported the strategy of using Afghans to hunt Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora in order to "protect our troops." But Mr. Kerry's remark was a response to the idea of using "napalm or flamethrowers on those tunnels and caves" - specifically whether that kind of weaponry would blow back and injure soldiers. Using Mr. Brooks' editing technique, one could write that the columnist believes "the Osama bin Laden we saw last night was not a problem."
But this would be dishonest.Thoughts?|W|P|109911962856499428|W|P||W|P|10/28/2004 01:19:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|In the not too distant future
Weird, weird commercial on Comedy Central just now. It's an ad for the new DVD collection of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episodes, which is okay. But the ad ends by showing the DVD floating in space as the announcer says, "and don't forget to vote on November 2!"|W|P|109894082720130571|W|P||W|P|10/25/2004 11:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Mr. and Mrs. Phil Persing
On Friday night I was standing on the altar of Bethel Baptist church and Brian Astifan, the brother of bride-to-be Beckie Astifan, sidled up to complete the line of groomsmen. And he asked me, "Is Phil the first one of you guys to get married?"
Yeah, Phil is. Phil is 13 months younger than me, but because I started school a little bit late we met in 2nd grade and have pretty much been friends since. In 7th grade he introduced me to his cousin Dean, and the next year he took me to church where I met Chris Chandler, Jason Estock, CJ Stunkard, and Aaron Alicea. My first memories of all these guys center around trying to push each other off a rug and playing that 311 album with "Down" on it. So the idea of any of us getting married is loopy. But it happened on Saturday, and we all watched Phil and his wife light the unity candle then kiss each other at least 10,000 times.
In tribute to my sorta boss Al Neuharth, some thoughts:
- Christians need better weddings. The Persings' reception had no booze, we weren't allowed to request music with curse words, and instead of smashing cake in each other faces the spouses took the time to cut itty bitty pieces and delicately feed them to each other. I mean, hell. When I signed up for my sophomore year dorm room, my new roommate and I smashed cake in each others' faces. It's what you do.
- Some people like to settle down fast. I cannot imagine getting married before I have three or four more jobs in journalism and turn 32. Obviously, the attitude is not universal.
- A corrollary to the first point: All weddings should feature dancing. Dean is getting married in March, and he won't have dancing.
- I'm pretty sure you can get away with kissing unfamiliar people at weddings. I didn't do it, but it felt like I could have.|W|P|109876308594311418|W|P||W|P|10/25/2004 11:33:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The Dowding of America
Julian Sanchez is so right.
Anyway, I wonder if we aren't partly to blame for this whole stupid trend of context-free "gotcha-quote" pulling. It has a definite bloggy feel to it, and I can't recall a previous election where the tactic of abusing people's old (actually unremarkable in context) statements was so common.Well, that itself is kind of out-of-contexty, so feel free to read his whole post. But the gist is, Maureen Dowd wrote a column in 2003 quoting George Bush as saying terrorists "are not a problem anymore," when he was clearly saying, in a Gary Cooper pique, that the terrorists we've KILLED are not a problem any more. And unfortunately, that kind of selective quoting has become the theme of this entire goddamn campaign. It's gotten so bad that Tom Tomorrow did a cartoon on it and I laughed.|W|P|109876193078558641|W|P||W|P|10/25/2004 11:26:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hugh Hewitt, genius
Which story is going to have a greater impact on the presidential race? There is clear Bush momentum that is going to accelerate as the non-meeting with the Security Council story gets legs and reminds voters of Kerry's magic hat, his never falling down on the ski slopes, and his gun running to the anti-communists of Cambodia.And who's covered the Kerry Security Council "story" - the revelation that he might have only met with SOME members of the UN Security Council? Here ya go. The Washington Times, The New York Post, Rush Limbaugh, CNS News, and TownHall. But it did inspire a Fark thread!|W|P|109876142709631611|W|P||W|P|10/22/2004 01:21:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The Right Choice
Operation "Piss Off My Friends" commences with a column in support of John Kerry.|W|P|109850794695088720|W|P||W|P|10/20/2004 05:44:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Euro vision
I have a new article up at Reason's website - a review of Jeremy Rifkin's "The European Dream." When you're done, check out the "who will you vote for?" survey from the new issue, newly posted online. Drew Carey and Charles Murray, together at last!|W|P|109830877328812866|W|P||W|P|10/17/2004 10:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Fuck yeah!
On reflection, one of the coolest outcomes of this weekend was the relative box office failure of "Team America: World Police." Would it have been sweet if the R-rated puppet action movie was the #1 film in America? Sure. But I'm imagining how Trey Parker and Matt Stone are bitching and whining about how "Shark Tale" owned their asses, and that's even better.
Oh yeah, the movie is more or less a masterpiece. Few critics have really nailed why. Obviously, it's the best parody of the Jerry Bruckheimer formula movie you'll ever see. You've got the hero with a terrible secret, the guy on the team who hates him because of a terrible secret, the hero losing his nerve in a dive bar ... it's scary how well Parker and Stone mimicked that. And everyone is doing a good job underscoring how funny the dick and vomit jokes are. And the songs.
But as a socio-political treatise, the movie is just brilliant. Early on, Gary is swept into the organization by Spotswood, the Team America honcho. He gives him the usual Bruckheimer-y pep talk, and it's Weekly Standard boilerplate. "There are people who want to kill you because you represent everything they hate: Freedom. These people are called terrorists." The Team America theme song unapologetically announces the right of Americans to invade everything: "Freedom is the only way!" Even before the "dicks fuck assholes" theme crops up, it's obvious that Parker and Stone think America's current foreign policy is inflammatory and stupid. It should be obvious that the celebrities, who critics feel got rough treatment, are not judged half as harshly. Watching them blow up and calling Michael Moore "a giant socialist weasel" are another side of the argument - people who automatically assume America and corporations are evil are fuckwits.|W|P|109806818726151797|W|P||W|P|10/15/2004 04:47:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Jon Stewart on Crossfire
This is amazing. Tucker Carlson is attempting to bring him down, and Stewart says "you have a responsibility to the public discourse and you're failing it miserably."
UPDATE: I was watching the show before I left the house, and now I'm glued. Tucker Carlson assumed he had an opportunity to take on and "expose" Jon Stewart as a phony comedian and Kerry lover. Stewart eviscerated him. "How old are you? You're 35? And you wear a bow tie. Now I know you're smart, because those are not easy to tie."
UPDATE II: Here's a transcript and video. TV history, folks.
http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/001589.html#001589|W|P|109787328266078172|W|P||W|P|10/12/2004 01:03:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Good luck with that
Kat Lopez is shock shock shocked at John Edwards re: Chris Reeve.
Please, please tell me Drudge has this Edwards-Reeve story wrong--it would be bad enough if Edwards tried that before Christopher Reeve died, but just unfathomable if after. I just don't want to believe that even Kedwards is that low.If you want to run against Christopher Reeve, bring it the fuck on. Honestly, unless his wife or Michael J. Fox admonish cruel cruel Edwards for this, the deniers will look like assholes.|W|P|109760091872944439|W|P||W|P|10/11/2004 11:32:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Holy crap, I'm linking to Salon
This pretty much nails it.
Three times at Friday night's debate, President Bush talked about enemies "hiding" -- once referring to terrorists "hiding around the globe" and twice referring to John Kerry. In language he most often uses to taunt Osama and his minions, Bush turned a familiar terror war phrase about running and hiding on Senator Kerry. On taxes: "I mean, he's got a record. It's been there for 20 years. You can run, but you can't hide." And on the "partial birth abortion ban": "He was given a chance to vote, and he voted no ... And as I said: You can run but you can't hide the reality."
The Bush camp has pushed the bounds of acceptable campaigning for insinuating that a vote for Kerry is a vote for the terrorists. That we'll get "hit again" if Kerry wins. And that Kerry, by merely disagreeing with the Bush policies, has "emboldened the enemy." To hear Bush at Friday's debate, Kerry now is the enemy, or at least is sure acting like one, with all of that running and hiding. Next we'll be hearing that Kerry needs to be "smoked out of his hole." Or that Kerry and Edwards belong to an "axis of left-wing evil."The "smoke him out" line I can practically already hear.
Kerry's agressive response to this has been what you'd expect from a DLC Democrat, so, logically, this stuff won't work. Then again, logically, the guy who lost Osama wouldn't be running on his record as a terrorist-slayer.|W|P|109750906867186571|W|P||W|P|10/10/2004 07:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Bush defeats Kerry
Because I'm a pessimist, I see new developments in the campaign as ensuring a Bush victory. The latest blip is, by miles, the most depressing. See, here's part of the New York Times magazine profile of John Kerry.
Bush casts the war on terror as a vast struggle that is likely to go on indefinitely, or at least as long as radical Islam commands fealty in regions of the world. In a rare moment of either candor or carelessness, or perhaps both, Bush told Matt Lauer on the ''Today'' show in August that he didn't think the United States could actually triumph in the war on terror in the foreseeable future. ''I don't think you can win it,'' he said -- a statement that he and his aides tried to disown but that had the ring of sincerity to it. He and other members of his administration have said that Americans should expect to be attacked again, and that the constant shadow of danger that hangs over major cities like New York and Washington is the cost of freedom. In his rhetoric, Bush suggests that terrorism for this generation of Americans is and should be an overwhelming and frightening reality.
When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''The question was, what will it take for Americans to feel safe again? The answer was, we defeat the terrorists right now and neuter them until they're just a nuisance.
This was the wrong answer.
The correct answer, as the response is showing, would have been to just say "to defeat the terrorists." That's not really an answer, but it's what people want to think. Because people don't think about this. Witness the Bush ad cooked up in response.
First, Kerry said defeating terrorism was really MORE about law enforcement and intelligence than a strong military operation... More about law enforcement than a strong military? Now Kerry says... We have to get back to the place where terrorists are a nuisance like gambling and prostitution... we're never going to end them. Terrorism... a nuisance? How can Kerry protect us when he doesn't understand the threat?This message is simple: Terrorism must be stopped. Military force can stop it. Law enforcement can't.
But this isn't how Bush understands the threat, either. This was how he expressed it in his convention speech.
Our strategy is succeeding. Four years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al-Qaida, Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fundraising, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Iraq was a gathering threat, and al-Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks. Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests, Libya is dismantling its weapons programs, the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer.The GOVERNMENT of Afghanistan. Pakistan is CAPTURING terrorist leaders. Saudi Arabia is making RAIDS AND ARRESTS. There's a name for that stuff. It's law enforcement.
But in running against Kerry, Bush is saying it isn't about law enforcement. It's about military power and creating "free nations." Soldiers in Iraq are fighting terrorists, but, apparently, law enforcement isn't. Al-Qaida members are being "detained or killed," but law enforcement isn't detaining or killing them.
There's a genius of ommission when Bush et al attack Kerry's stance on fighting terror. There's also a lot of dishonesty. By saying that Kerry's approach doesn't "get" the threat of terrorism, they imply that, actually, law enforcement won't work. By implication, military force WILL work. And if you buy this ad's spin, military force will destroy terrorism for all time.
The problem with this approach is that it's completely insane. As Bush tacitly acknowledges, this is a different kind of war that involves rounding up terrorist operatives. Terrorists don't have a country. There's no capital that you can capture to force terrorists into signing a cease-fire. If you pacify every square inch of Iraq, you'll do nothing to stop angry young men in Egypt or Pakistan from taking up the cross and crescent and deciding to attack you elsewhere.
And if you follow the military force theory to its end, you get perpetual war. Here's how Victor Davis Hanson expressed it.
If an aggregate $50 billion in aid to Egypt; billions more to the Palestinians and Jordanians; the removal of the bloodthirsty Saddam Hussein and the Taliban; $87 billion invested in Iraq and an attempt to relieve its international debt; saving the Kuwaitis; protecting the Saudis; stopping the genocide of Muslims in the Balkans; and keeping the Persian Gulf safe gets us sky-high cartel oil prices and poll data showing that 95 percent of the Middle East does not like America, it is time to try something else.
I could start with the modest suggestion of a gradual cutting off all aid to Egypt, halting most immigration to the United States from the Middle East (in the manner we once did with Communist Eastern Europe), and announcing a carrot-and-stick non-interventionist Bush Doctrine II. All future Middle East military and economic aid would be predicated on the recipient's having a democratic government, while evidence of either terrorist bases or weapons of mass destruction would earn sustained U.S. bombing.I repeat myself: This is insane. It's also not a line of thinking publicly offered by Bush or anyone in his campaign. After all - if you think the war on terror includes rounding up people inside these Muslim countries, disengaging from them completely would mean disaster. The STATES are not the problem. The terrorists are the problem.
So why am I so worried about this ad? Well, the insane taking-it-to-its-conclusion reasoning of the Bush doctrine is not being put out there by the campaign. The campaign is leaving things fuzzy - Bush is strong, he uses force, force makes us safe, Kerry doesn't think we should use force. This is why Bush is still favored by voters on the question of "who would win the war on terror" or "protect against a terrorist attack."
Bush, I think, will keep that advantage. There is not enough time to have a debate about how we should be fighting terror. If there was a debate between "using international law enforcement" and "killing everybody," sure, the first idea would win out.
But we're not having that debate. Voters are in a kind of stasis, still accepting the use of military force as a very good thing in fighting this everpresent terror threat. This is why Kerry has been in such a delicate dance, out-hawking the president on the way to defeat terror while saying we need alliances to do so.
Kerry has an ad attacking Bush's spin, and it doesn't change the playing field. I don't have the entire text, but it's called "Can't Win," so I assume it's gagging on Bush's "Today Show" interview and trying to make HIM look weak on terror.
Still, unless I'm proven wrong in 24 days, I think Bush will win the election by pivoting around the terror issue this way. And that scares me, because I agree with his convention speech - we DO need to concentrate on law enforcement to beat back terror. But the rest of his strategy is so disastrous, and so effective at ginning up terrorists to join the cause against us, that a Bush win will make us much less safe.
UPDATE: After thinking about it for a minute, I can put this more succinctly. Kerry needs (needed?) to avoid any appearence of weakness in fighting terror. He had to fight the war on Bush's terms. Instead, he's stated a policy which makes more sense than Bush's but SOUNDS less tough. Hence, fucking doom.|W|P|109745458735923669|W|P||W|P|10/06/2004 11:46:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Ralph Nader voters are stupid, part MMLXIV
Here's a rule. If you have to mention the Whig party in your argument, you're not making a good argument.|W|P|109712083746071402|W|P||W|P|10/05/2004 09:51:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Observation
Dick Cheney talking about schools for minority children looks like Godzilla talking about oral sex.|W|P|109702759036922051|W|P||W|P|10/04/2004 01:52:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Jack and Bobby
For some damn reason, I watched the end of the WB's new political drama/family comedy. Wow. It's like someone put the worst parts of "Gilmore Girls" and "The West Wing" in a blender and added four tablespoons of human feces. Just a terrible, wonky, punch-drunk show, with dialogue like Robert Reich writing a harlequin romance.
UPDATE: What really annoyed me about the show, more than the clunky dialogue, was the selling point - those interlacing "interviews" from people who worked for the Bobby character, who grew up to be president in 2041. The vision of this future president is just aggressively fanciful - in this episode he's a Baptist or something who fights religious special interests and, as an aide puts it, "renovated the White House bowling alley and turned it into a chapel. And every Sunday he would preach a sermon you had to hear to believe."|W|P|109686951505735575|W|P||W|P|10/01/2004 02:22:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Keyed
Last week I got my first speeding ticket. Yesterday I experienced my first vandalism.
I was walking to my car, parked on Mass Ave in DC, and saw a young-looking guy walk past my car, then walk back across it. There was a faint scratching sound. By this point I was a few yards away, and I moved toward the door to mark my territory. I looked at the car, but couldn't see any scratches in the dim light. So I looked up at the young guy, now getting into his car behind me, nodded, and pointed to my car, indicating I was about to pull out. (I'd done a lousy parallel parking job earlier, and my back end was about a foot away from the curb.) As I put the key in, the young guy's car sped away. So I shrugged and went home.
But today, under a cloudless sky, I can see that this scumfuck keyed my car. He dragged the key in deep from the hinge of my passenger door to my gas tank. And I'm not sure why. Just fucking around? Angry at my parking job? Angry at my John Kerry bumper sticker? If that's the case, I am the only man on earth who could suffer for supporting a Democrat in Washington goddamn DC.
So before I touch up the car in three weeks, let me vent. Hey, asshole who keyed my car. I hope you drive your shitheap into a wall, break your spine, and have to drink your own piss to survive until the paramedics arrive to rape you and dump you off a bridge.|W|P|109665546670532107|W|P||W|P|10/01/2004 03:55:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The Julian Sanchez dictionary
This is a keeper.
Yeah, we wouldn't want to be running massive deficits. And if all that money's tied up in actual homeland security measures, where are we going to get the cash to invade Iran or Syria or Iceland or wherever the Wheel O' Liberation lands next.Wheel! Of! Liberation!|W|P|109661739890051764|W|P||W|P|