11/30/2005 09:48:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Geez - you write a few liberal-friendly blog posts and articles, and all of a sudden The Hotline is calling you a "DC-based lefty."
UPDATE: Oops, it's been changed to "left-libertarian." Thanks, W.W. Beutler!|W|P|113340536132488515|W|P|The unbearable leftness of being|W|P|11/30/2005 11:02:00 PM|W|P|WWB|W|P|Dave:
Hi, that was me. You're right, I didn't summarize that correctly. I've changed it to left-libertarian, which is what I should have written the first time.
William Beutler11/30/2005 11:48:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|William - Thanks! I take back my (sarcastic) outrage.12/01/2005 12:49:00 AM|W|P|Bruce Moomaw|W|P|Well, he did recently call Charles Krauthammer "loathsome", which is somewhat farther than I'm willing to go -- I only find him loathsome about 3/5 of the time. (By the way, I'm that "stupid liberal" Dave's rather confused friend Jeremy Lott refers to on his blog today -- and, contrary to what Jeremy says, he never made any attempt whatsoever to "explain" anything to me, but simply kept repeating over and over again in response to my questions that he wasn't going to make any attempt to justify his loudly expressed far-right views on several subjects because I'd hurt his feelings by asking. Hi, Jeremy!)12/11/2005 01:07:00 AM|W|P|R.J. Lehmann|W|P|I wouldn't be so quick to drop the outrage. A "left libertarian" is generally understood to be an anarchist socialist -- a creature a good deal further to the left than your typical "lefty."11/30/2005 02:56:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Why do movies have to have drama and excitement? I hate that stuff!
(Longer Dave Weigel: I agree with him about Cruise's Lazurus-like son Robbie, though. That was stupid.)|W|P|113338074393204623|W|P|Shorter Christopher Orr|W|P|11/29/2005 10:45:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I just concluded a phone conversation during which I told a friend, "you clearly haven't been checking davidweigel dot blogspot dot com." In that spirit, it's time to add some more content to this site.
- NBC's "The Biggest Loser" ended tonight, and the finalist who lost the most weight in nine months was Matt, a recovering alcoholic wrester from Iowa who shed more than 150 pounds (45% of his body weight). He beat out the exceedingly boring new father Seth and Suzy, a cute hairdresser who transformed into Jessica Simpson.
I don't watch much TV, outside of "Nip/Tuck" and "Family Guy" and the news. And this was a weird show to take on, given it's got the highest ratings to buzz ratios in reality TV - ratings are great, but no one talks about it. I figure the lack of buzz comes from the fact that, well, it's a show about fat people losing weight to win money. Fit people don't care; fat people who've let themselves go don't care. And the weirdness of the concept is just so hard to get past. Tonight's finale put people on a giant scale, live, where their weight was broadcast to the world - the winner's weight was announced by a cannon blast of confetti.
Weirdness aside (or weirdless included), it was a damn fun show. Winner Matt was the kind of obviously broken, bitter guy who doesn't make it on any other reality show. The average "Apprentice" or "America's Next Top Model" contestant has a pretty good life to head back to if he flubs the audition, but Matt had nothing. Unlike this show's nearest equivilent, "The Swan," Matt didn't get his life on track with a quick fix. He transformed himself through willpower, competition, and denial. It was actually more than a little heartening to watch. I felt bad for contestant Kathryn, though, who had been voted off the show in week two and lost no weight in the eight months since then, and had to share a stage with a bunch of newly thin or athletic peers.
- I've sometimes (it doesn't come up often) commented that the blog Polipundit is like Daily Kos if Kos bloggers won elections. I should amend that to "Daily Kos if Kos bloggers were so partisan they couldn't think straight." Polipunditer Lori Byrd breathlessly posts a link to this story.
Last Wednesday, the Minority Leader appeared on KRNV-TV's "Nevada Newsmakers" program and dropped a stunning revelation. He had been informed just that day that Osama bin Laden was killed in the giant Pakistan earthquake last month. "I heard that Osama bin Laden died in the earthquake, and if that's the case, I certainly wouldn't wish anyone harm, but if that's the case, that's good for the world."Am I missing something? A lot of people were speculating that bin Laden died in the Pakistan earthquake. If you hear Reid's entire quote, it sounds like he was going off those speculations - he actually said "I heard today" that he may have died, which is a little less loaded than the "had been informed just that day" James Bond spin John Fund takes on it.
This is a story? Who hates a political party enough to think about this crap?
UPDATE: Thanks for the link, Pajamas Media! PJ readers are welcome to stick around and argue w/ me in the comments.|W|P|113332319638504552|W|P|Random thoughts|W|P|11/30/2005 01:24:00 AM|W|P|Tim|W|P|I was going to snark something to the effect of, "Because Kos bloggers are the very model nonpartisanship," but then I actually clicked on your link, and...god damn.11/30/2005 01:14:00 PM|W|P|TM Lutas|W|P|I think that it's legitimately unclear in context. What's known is that this is not something that's just in isolation. The conservative/Republican overreach is there but Sen. Reid should be asked some tough questions in private. He's done some disreputable things before with private information (he publicly characterized a private FBI file on the Senate floor for a judicial nomination in a way that destroyed the guy's reputation without giving anybody a chance to fight back without themselves breaking the rules).
The Democrats have a problem with leaking legislators. This might be another example. The long-term record just isn't good.11/30/2005 02:06:00 PM|W|P|tim maguire|W|P|If Reid has no particualr inside information, then you're quite right--it's no big deal.
However, if he has been briefed on Bin Laden's death, then the fact that there is speculation is irrelevant. He has an obligation not to contribute to that speculation. I'm not interested enough in polipundit to follow your link (I'll accept that they're nutso), but it would be nice if our senate minority leader took his job seriously.
If the speculation is merely a loophole for him to disclose classified information, he should step down as leader. The American people need and have a right to expect leaders who take their job seriously and can be trusted with state secrets.11/30/2005 02:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Are you talking about when he mentioned Saad's FBI file? That was another thing Reid could have heard from media reports, or conversations with fellow Democrats. From the Washington Times, 06/03/04 -
From the moment Mr. Hatch began the meeting, he struggled to get the quorum required to vote on a nominee. As soon as a quorum gathered, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, requested a private meeting to discuss accusations stemming from Judge Saad's FBI background check.
Though several Republicans noted privately that the routine check had been completed more than six months ago and that no questions had arisen, Mr. Hatch acquiesced and removed the public and reporters to hold a meeting. During that meeting, Judge Saad's hopes of getting out of committee faded.
Although the closed-door meeting succeeded in delaying Judge Saad's nomination one more week, it failed to remain secret. The hearing was broadcast over the Internet because of apparent inadvertence on the part of Republican staffers.
This was 11 months before Reid mentioned Saad's FBI file on the Senate floor. It seems to me that if Reid was actually leaking classified information, the Republican majority would take action against him. Instead, he gets innuendo from conservative media and blogs which never pans out.11/30/2005 02:47:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Ignatius - Admittedly, I'm giving Reid the benefit of the doubt. I doubt a comment Reid made on a TV show, which no one in the intelligence community or Senate cared about even after the media covered it, was based on a secret strategic briefing. If I'm wrong I'd agree with you about the consequences.
My larger point is - what motivates some people to hear Reid say this and assume he's leaking national security secrets? It's disturbing to me because no one gave a fig about Harry Reid a year ago, but since then conservative bloggers have taught themselves to hate him and assume criminal motives from his statements.11/30/2005 06:14:00 PM|W|P|tim maguire|W|P|Good point, I would think that even from a right wing point of view, Reid does enough important non-partisan work to get some benefit of the doubt. Enough to presume that if he did leak, it was carelessness rather then maliciousness.
My curiosity got the better of me and I hit the polipundit link. What Tim said.12/01/2005 12:35:00 AM|W|P|Theo|W|P|This is very similar to the ridiculous story about Richard Lugar, John Kerry and CIA agent Fulton Armstrong, which right wingers turned into a "John Kerry leaked" smear.
It's hard work thinking straight when the world is a dichotomy and you're full of rage.
http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2005/04/maybe_lugar_and.html12/01/2005 01:56:00 AM|W|P|Winslow|W|P|Know your place: T-shirts, Betsy's leak and the psychology of conservatism: there's more on the story at this link, it starts near the bottom.
It is amazing how taking a few minutes to use google or yahoo can shed some light on the latest smears.bin laden+earthquake, the world ponders the possibilities while "Betsy" and John Fund tries to catch up.11/26/2005 01:23:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Holy crap, I accidentally participated in Buy Nothing Day. And I did this in Delaware, home of tax-free shopping. Completely didn't mean to - I just hate crowds.|W|P|113298647566860663|W|P|The accidental anarchist|W|P|11/26/2005 12:18:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|For some reason, I have less to say about books (which contain many written words) than movies (which contain almost none).
Joe Trippi, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" (2004)
Half (or 40%) campaign memoir, half (or 60%) gee whiz speculation on how the internet will change everything. I'm sketchy on the proportions because Trippi's speculation can get very windy and repetitive. But it's a fast read, helped along by Trippi's boundless energy (which is often devoted to retelling stories about how tired he gets on the trail).
Bernard Goldberg, "Arrogance" (2003)
I got this from the library as part of some research for an article, and even as an assigned reading this blew. Goldberg rants for roughly 250 pages about how everyone's dumb except him - dumb and liberal! Entire chapters are spent mocking Barbra Streisand or small-circ newspaper columnists who say crazy things like "maybe the Iraq war won't go fabulously."|W|P|113298321986680353|W|P|Some books|W|P|11/25/2005 12:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Golly, Tim Graham is so dumb he makes me sympathize with Robert Scheer.
Robert Scheer’s crude hackery is perhaps best remembered by his book “With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush, and Nuclear War,” complete with a cartoon cover showing missiles where the schlongs belong.No, he isn't, because (1) that was the cover of "Thinking Tuna Fish, Talking Death" and (2) if anything, he's best remembered for doing the Playboy interview with then-Gov. Jimmy Carter where Carter admitted he had "lust in his heart." Also, Graham's idea of a crazy Scheer quote is this:
"The mood of the Republican congressional leadership is so ideologically obtuse as to doom even this modest first step down the path of responsibility. They would rather kill people than raise taxes."It sounds crazy, but how many times since 1997 (when Scheer wrote that) has the GOP congress raised taxes? And, how many times have they declared war?
Exactly.|W|P|113294021233267975|W|P|Graham, crackers|W|P|11/25/2005 11:13:00 PM|W|P|Jeremy|W|P|Um, how to put this?
I don't understand why you are saying that Tim Graham is dumb. He's dumb because he mixed up the book cover of one of Scheer's books with the cover of another one of Scheer's books? Sorry, but that seems an ordinary enough mistake that non-dumb people make.
As for the "kill people" quote, I've read the column. In context, "kill people" meant that they refused to hike cigarette taxes to fund more health care subsidies. It WAS a relatively crazy way to put it, as you admit.
So I'm left wondering, Why is Tim Graham dumb again?11/26/2005 12:51:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Because he apparently doesn't know how Scheer got his pedestal in the first place, and thinks his career can be boiled down to a book cover (for which book, he doesn't know) and two mean things he said about Republicans.11/30/2005 06:12:00 PM|W|P|Bruce Moomaw|W|P|Actually, the cigarette comment of Scheer's was perfectly accurate -- the GOP refused to hike an entirely defensible tax (with no conceivable economic argument against it) in order to fund measures to improve people's health, thereby preventing some deaths.
If you want to jump Scheer, there are actually much better ways to do it. I well remember his tenure as "Ramparts" magazine's 1960s editor, at which time it was enthusiastically pro-North Vietnam (NOT just anti-Vietnam War) and very enthusiastic about JFK assassination theories requiring the involvement of hundreds of government officials, none of whom squealed.11/25/2005 01:57:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Two movies about whimsical characters who operate twisted fantasy worlds that mangle their guests. Spot the differences!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton, 2005)
I'm as skeptical of post-Ed Wood Burton as the next guy, but this was an absolutely terrific movie, stamping all over that Gene Wilder "classic" like a Terminator robot on human skulls. The story is fairly universally-known now, but Burton makes the wise decision to lard it up with all the little anecdotes from Dahl's original story (like the Indian prince who wants a palace built out of chocolate) and a faithfully funny backstory for Depp's Willy Wonka. And my absolute favorite bit - Danny Elfman uses the actual Dahl lyrics for his Oompa Loompa songs. (Yes, the "oompa loompa doopity doo" stuff was invented for the Wilder movite.) Like only the adenoidal former frontman for Oingo Boingo could, he matches the lyrics with a "Bohemian Rhapsody" power ballad ("Mike Teavee"), Polyphonic Spree psych-pop ("Veruca Salt"), and disco ("Violet Beauregarde"). Only two complaints. First, the CGI is necessary to recreate some of the fantastic scenary, but sometimes it's distractingly obvious, like during the gondola ride or the Violet Beauregarde scebe. Second, the kid who plays Charlie has no discernable personality or charm. He's wide-eyed and nice, I guess, but he's boring.
Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS (Don Edmunds, 1974)
Perhaps Bernie Goldberg is right, and our culture has really coroded these past few decades. How else to explain why this slasher/porno set in a Nazi death camp - please, go ahead and re-read that description - is now only kind of disturbing? Ilsa, played with ever-shifting accents by Dyanne Thorne (British, German, and San Fernando Valley), is a busty torture fetishist who, lucky for her, has been promoted to commandant at a skimpy concentration camp. She has a pretty good racket going, trying out twisted new weapons or diseases on the women while screwing the attractive male prisoners, and castrating them if they fail to bring her to orgasm. But the chips start falling when 1)the Germans start losing the war and 2)a new American prisoner uses his incredible sexual stamina to manipulate Ilsa out of her iron grip (puns intended!) on the camp. The most skin-crawling detail is probably the fact that the death camp set is the set from "Hogan's Heroes," which is damn fitting if you've ever seen Auto Focus.|W|P|113290399233888446|W|P|Double feature|W|P|11/25/2005 11:43:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Charlie isn't supposed to have any personality; he's the everyboy, and the opening narration pounds this in (he wasn't especially smart, or rich etc.). If the script gave him anything interesting to do, I'm sure Freddie Highmore could handle it (remember Finding Neverland?).11/26/2005 12:18:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Yeah, my mental file titled "Freddie Highmore = great actor" was the chief problem here.11/27/2005 12:51:00 PM|W|P|Tim|W|P|May I congratulate you on finding and watching Ilsa, one of the shining stars of the exploitation firmament.
Your complaint about the not-sufficiently-disturbing tone of the film is one that many B movies fans have come to in recent years. I'm not interested in the moral/cultural ramifications of that sort of thing, but as an artist it saddens me that the armies of hacks who put in gore and blood and death reflexively have cheapened the people who made genuinely unsettling and creepy films by the judicious use of those techniques...and I know that Ilsa isn't judicious, but something like Night of the Living Dead is, and it too is no longer nearly disturbing enough.11/25/2005 01:51:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I hope everyone had a good holiday. Here's a dangerously Larry King-esque thought: Why don't more holidays involve eating bread stuffing?|W|P|113290164318922818|W|P|Happy day after Thanksgiving|W|P|11/23/2005 11:59:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I have a review of the new John Cale album up at Popmatters. I didn't like it much, but I'll say that if you have a spare $15 lying around, go and buy his previous album Hobosapiens.|W|P|113276522001409075|W|P|What's welsh for "crap"?|W|P|11/22/2005 12:11:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Near the end of a pretty silly column by Republican consultant Sabrina Leigh Schaeffer, we see this:
In challenging Democratic, anti-war charges, the president and the Republican party are attempting to reestablish the polarization effect by introducing the countervalent information flow back into the media. In this they should be successful since there are plenty of Republicans who respond to elite cues when they are provided.My emphasis. Am I missing something or is she saying Republicans change their minds when their leaders tell them to?|W|P|113267968366963819|W|P|Thank you, idiots|W|P|11/22/2005 11:52:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Julian eloquently clusterbombs one of the most annoying blogbursts in a nigh long while, pushed by the most annoying blogger.
Have we really reached the point where upon seeing an obvious technical glitch in a live TV broadcast, the first reaction of many people—not folks living in mom's basement among stacks of old John Birch Society newsletters, mind you, but widely-read and well-remunerated pundits—is "subliminal brainwashing"? Really?I like his title, "MSM Derangement Syndrome," too. See here.|W|P|113267849037527069|W|P|Malkin derangement syndrome|W|P|11/21/2005 08:13:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I have a review of the new Big Boi compilation album Got Purp? up at Popmatters.|W|P|113262208996671223|W|P|Got that DW-i|W|P|11/18/2005 05:16:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|In tribute to the GOP leadership's decision today to use its power to measure JD Hayworth's penis, I thought long and hard about why I hate the fatuous Arizona congressman so much. Answer: He looks like that caricature of the rich bastard on the Warrant album cover.
Fig. A: Hayworth.
Fig. B: Warrant.
|W|P|113238741640043545|W|P|Big neck, small brain|W|P|11/17/2005 04:04:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|
Hey, what's with all the gloominess? The GOP might win one election next year - possibly even two!|W|P|113226152693402791|W|P|Shorter Donald Lambro|W|P|11/17/2005 04:30:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|He actually has a couple of other examples at the end, but it reads like he ran out of column space.11/17/2005 07:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|That or he realized he couldn't actually show how prospects are "growing stronger in Minnesota and Maryland." In Maryland, Cardin is creeping up to a primary victory over Mfume, and Cardin's lead over Steele has grown since April (The last Baltimore Sun poll). In Minnesota, Kennedy has outraised the probable Dem candidate (Amy Klobuchar), but not by much. And I daresay being a House Republican who took money from Tom DeLay is more of a liability now that it was for Kennedy a few months ago.
Actually, Lambro's big two examples are also bullshit. He uses Zogby polls to gauge New Jersey and Pennsylvania races, instead of checking polls that are 1)more reliable and 2)look worse for the GOP. Rasmussen, who nailed the 2004 presidential race and got close to the VA and NJ gov results, just released a poll showing Ed Rendell rebounding to a huge lead over the Republican candidates. I haven't seen any other New Jersey polls, but last week's election confirmed 4-5 points of a NJ GOP candidate's poll numbers are wiped out on election day.11/18/2005 02:23:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Just to be clear, I meant "it reads like he ran out of column space" as a dig at his bad writing, not as a defense of his argument per se. If I were making a similar argument with the same space, I would mention Rendell in passing if at all; by any reasonable measure, the Senate races are much more important (the Washington Times isn't a Pennsylvania paper, after all).11/17/2005 12:00:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Nina Easton has a story in the Boston Globe capturing the worry of Rep. Tom Davis at what would happen to Republicans if an Alito court overturned Roe. Academic points aside, I wonder what Davis is thinking about his own re-election race. He's my congressman, and our district was one of very, very few represented by Republicans where the Bush margin of victory shrunk from 2000 to 2004. In 2000, Bush carried it by 17,259 votes over Al Gore, a 52-45 win. But in 2004 he carried it by 2,049 votes, a 50-49 win. Just as ominously, Gov.-elect Tim Kaine won the 11th district bigger than Mark Warner did in 2001. Warner beat Mark Earley here by 19,797 votes for a 56-44 victory. Kaine beat Jerry Kilgore by 24,956 votes for a 56-42 win.
It's rumored that Davis wants to run statewide, probably for Senate in 2008. If so he'd be a good candidate who could compete in NoVa better than any Republican since George Allen. But he'd better watch his own seat first. This is exactly the kind of district that will flip if Democrats are having a moderately good 2006.|W|P|113224763861610323|W|P|Tom Davis running scared?|W|P|11/17/2005 09:52:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|John Gould leaves an interesting, well-put comment at Matt Welch's blog.
Whether or not you consider MoveOn.org to be "mainstream -- which I'd question -- there is a marked, disturbing pattern among the administration's defenders of conflating opposition to the president with some kind of super-leftist, insane "hatred." Yes, there is "hyperbole" among Bush's opponents. But hyperbole is hardly a novel thing on the U.S. political landscape. And yes, there are people out there, crazy or not, who "hate" Bush. But what's up with defenders of the administration like "Dr. Sanity" -- or even, I'm sorry to say, Prof. Reynolds -- who are less and less able to respond to opposition in any other terms but those of a putative psychology of "hatred"?I think a lot of this started with the loathesome Charles Krauthammer's column "Bush Derangement Syndrome," wherein the neocon writer, a psychologist, only half-jokingly suggested that there was a new "plague" diagnosable by "the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush." Krauthammer trained his fire on Howard Dean, who clumsily said the conspiracy theory about Saudis warning Bush ahead of time about 9/11 was "interesting." But he lobbed his extra shells at people like Bill Moyers, who called the GOP leadership a "right-wing wrecking crew." Even more disingenously, he attacked New York Times columnist Paul Krugman not for anything he said or wrote, but because his British publisher put a picture of an anti-war rally, with Bush and Cheney monster puppets, on the cover of his column collection "The Great Unraveling." This was proof of Krugman's insanity, said Krauthammer, because he "attacks the president so virulently" that the British publisher was compelled to use a crazy photo. (I'm not holding my breath for Krugman to make a similar judgment about Jonah Goldberg, but it would be amusing.)
The "Bush Derangement Syndrome" meme, shortened to "BDS," quickly made rounds around the blogosphere, and Krauthammer's larger, um, "idea," kept circulating in the media. The Republican National Committee, in its semi-frequent web videos and frequent press releases, often plays off the idea that Democrats are "wild-eyed" or "unhinged" or otherwise loopy when they criticize Bush. This has gotten them absolutely nowhere of late - Sen. Jon Corzine, who said sending Dick Cheney on the road to stump for Social Security reform was like "sending Saddam Hussein to campaign for democracy in Iraq," was just elected governor of New Jersey by a 10-point margin - but apparently it's just too much fun to give up on.
There's a corrolary to this stuff that has annoyed me even more, though. It's grouping together all criticism of George Bush or the White House as "Bush bashing." This phrasing makes all criticism of the White House sound angry and meritless - like the people making the critiques just have axes to grind. But I don't think it's done maliciously. It's probably because the words "Bush" and "bash" are alliterative and make for good headlines or on-air copy. "Gephardt criticizes Bush Medicare plan" is a lousy headline - "Gephardt bashes Bush on Medicare" is a good headline.
There's nothing to be done about this until we get a new president, and primary voters should take that into account. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lends himself to a fairly benign alliteration - when people criticize him they'll "rip Romney" or maybe "rail at Romney." Same with George Allen - "Clinton attacks Allen" etc.|W|P|113224103615351902|W|P|Alliteration nation|W|P|11/17/2005 12:17:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|
Am I not merciful? AM I NOT MERCIFUL?|W|P|113220472291457394|W|P|Shorter Tony Blankley|W|P|11/16/2005 11:20:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Dear Republican Party,
Please, nominate Dick Cheney for president in 2008.
baby Jesus|W|P|113215815786624404|W|P|If wishes were heart attacks|W|P|11/15/2005 04:33:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hey, who at Criterion up and decided to market one of my favorite movies? Good for him/her/them.
|W|P|113209156442121615|W|P|Criteriontastic|W|P|11/14/2005 12:46:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I guess this is a negative attack, but I were Bernie Sanders, running for Senate in Vermont (Kerry by 20 points), I would pretty much beg John O'Neill to come out against me.|W|P|113194731479065120|W|P|Friendly fire|W|P|11/13/2005 06:05:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|First: The wedding went very well. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Douglas Jones.
Second: Here's the reason I'm dismissing all the talk of Bush's awesome "new offensive" against Democrats and others who are calling him a liar. Every month or so, Bush gives a new speech which the punditocracy soak up with dreamy looks in their eyes, and predict his immediate resurgence. I just took five minutes and located Dick Morris's comments on Bush speeches from the last 10 months.
"I have to tell you, Bill, that was the greatest inaugural address since John F. Kennedy's and one of the five or six greatest of all time."
- from The O'Reilly Factor, 1/20/05
"Who's going to win it? The Muhammad Ali of American politics, George Bush, is going to win it because he set up this beautiful, beautiful situation. He's talked about Social Security is in trouble. It's in trouble, it's in trouble, it's in trouble. And therefore, if the Democrats don't let anything pass, and they filibuster, they're going to have to make the case as to why they're not saving Social Security."
- from The O'Reilly Factor, 2/3/05
"I thought that this speech was as important and as good a speech as any since the address to the joint session of Congress after 9/11. It was a female speech. It was a caring speech ... I think his ratings are going to soar."
- from Hannity and Colmes, 9/15/05
"You know, I believe Bush turned it around with that speech in New Orleans. That was the greatest speech since his joint session of Congress appearance."
- from The O'Reilly Factor, 9/19/05
So, permit me my skepticism.|W|P|113192428968373687|W|P|You spin me right round|W|P|11/11/2005 08:14:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Part I is here, part II is here.
Episode 909: Follow That Egg
SUMMARY: Mrs. Garrison (the former Mr. Garrison who underwent an unconvincing sex change at season's beginning) gives his class a "Degrassi"-inspired project where they'll couple up and "raise" an egg as a test for whether they can raise a baby. The project makes Garrison lovelorn, and he drives up to the house of Mr. Slave, his lover who left him once he became ... um, not a he. But Slave has shacked up with Big Gay Al, and announces they're going to get married once Colorado's governor signs a new same-sex marriage law. Garrison enlists the homophobic citizens of South Park into a crusade against the law, and after they vote down his idea of a "fag drag," they meet with the governor and find he's a spineless idiot who wants a way out of the decision-making process. So Garrison switches up two of the partners in his class project - he puts Kyle together with Stan, sure that the two boys will "kill" their egg by the end of the project. Despite some blatant cheating and the help of a hired assassin, he fails, the egg survives, and gay marriage is legalized.
ANALYSIS: Pretty much brilliant. From the bizarre tension between the transexual Garrison and his gay ex to his hilarious homophobia to the kids' confusion when they discover what their successful egg project wrought ("Gays can marry ... what?"), this episode juggles extreme awkwardness with the usual goofy jokes. The satire directed at anti-gay marriage activists is even balanced. Garrison's insanity is seen as a fluke in a largely traditional, well-meaning movement of married couples and parents.
RATING: 9/10. Best episode of the season thus far.|W|P|113178203445819167|W|P|South Park: Week 3|W|P|11/11/2005 08:13:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Veteran's Day is an important holiday, but not so important I need to get a new speech for it or anything.|W|P|113175804284027610|W|P|Shorter George W Bush|W|P|11/14/2005 11:06:00 AM|W|P|Mark|W|P|Why am I not surprised?11/11/2005 12:43:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Outrage. Do something.|W|P|113173107291058219|W|P|Motherfucking BULLSHIT|W|P|11/11/2005 09:25:00 PM|W|P|Casey|W|P|I'm really sad about this myself. I'm almost done with the season two DVDs and can't remember laughing harder, or more consistently, during any comedy ever aired (with the possible exception of "The Simpsons" in its prime).
But I really think AD is done for. The hard-core fans and their petitions were enough to get them a second season, but they won't be enough to get them a fourth.
In any case, better to burn out than (speaking of the Simpsons) fade away. There were only 12 episodes of the original "Office," after all, and no one thinks that diminishes the series.11/12/2005 03:32:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I generally agree with you, as can be seen at the comments on Tim's site. But the difference with The Office is that it was intended to be two seasons of six episodes each. The BBC buys series like HBO does - seasons are short, mid-season cancellations unheard of. It really burns my crotch that AD had its season cut every single year. One damn season, to give writers 22 full episodes to spread their arcs over, would have been nice from the network bringing us year fucking eight of That 70's Show.11/18/2005 12:23:00 AM|W|P|CC|W|P|BEST ARTICLE HEADING EVER. Good WORK, DAVE.11/11/2005 10:45:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|This is just sad.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush will use a Veterans Day speech on Friday to fight back against Democratic charges that the White House misused intelligence to gain support for the Iraq war, administration officials said.
"The president is going to directly take on the false attacks that Democratic leaders have been making," a senior administration official told Reuters.
Democrats in recent weeks have been accusing the White House of manipulating intelligence on Iraq and leaking classified information to discredit critics of the war.This is actually the second strike in a drumbeat of "you fuckers better watch out" stories - we learned on Tuesday that the WH was crafting a "campaign-style strategy" of Democrat-bashing that would finally get their momentum back.
You know what? Fuck this. It's a bad omen that the first shots in this offensive were fired by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, one of the dumbest motherfuckers ever to put on a tie. Cornyn's quick political skills and judgment were last exhibited in the Harriet Miers fight, when he went on every limb he could find - Miers was qualified, her critics were elitist, etc etc ad infinitum - then bitched about it when she was withdrawn.
Beyond this - I'll say it slowly - "but they did it to!" is not a slogan that wins people over to your style of leadership. Quoting Bill Clinton after 5 years of retroactively condemning all his works is not going to get you anywhere. You can't turn on right-wing radio for ten seconds without hearing some slope-browed, thumbs-up-givin' goober bitching about Sandy Berger. Now you want to pivot and claim you're following the same policies those assholes followed? Or worse, that you made the same mistakes they did? Good luck.
A corrollary - you're in charge of the government. You've made sure everyone knows this with a careful ballet of touchdown dances and geek-punching over the last 5 years. In your journey to get more control of the government, you attacked and defeated a number of Democrats who wouldn't go along with various aspects of your war policy. For example, it might be useful to your purposes if you had former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to point to, given that he led the Senate in approving the original war resolution. Where's he now? Ah yes - he's living a forced retirement in South Dakota, because humiliating him long after he stopped being relevant was a top 2004 election goal, for some damn reason.
I know you'd like to have John Kerry to run against for another four years. I'm sorry, but you can't. You wanted to overthrow Saddam and take the credit, and now you have it. You want the purple fingers, you take the collapsing support for your party and trust in the president.|W|P|113172532592985604|W|P|Pathetic|W|P|11/11/2005 11:35:00 AM|W|P|11/11/2005 01:27:00 PM|W|P|
Not so much. Sen. Lott, for example: "I cannot support this military action in the Persian Gulf at this time. Both the timing and the policy are subject to question."11/11/2005 02:59:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Well, I see you took your moron pill this morning.
The argument is NOT "they did it too." The argument is that a mistake isn't a lie.
The (insane) view that the administration intentionally misled the country about WMDs has been gaining ground in polls. What would be pathetic is following your implicit advice and failing to respond.11/11/2005 04:20:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|But, um, they did mislead the country. To use one boring example, in 2002 we had evidence that Saddam had purchased uranium tubes. Condi Rice said in September that the tubes were "only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs." But the IAEA and our Department of Energy determined that the tubes were probably meant to build conventional rockets with. The IAEA specifically noted they were "not directly suitable" for uranium enrichment. But in the 2003 SOTU, months after the Condi stuff was challenged, Bush said our intelligence had found that Saddam "attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."
Even if you assume the best and the administration used 100% certified evidence that the Democrats used too, they lied and overhyped it when using this evidence to make the case for war. This isn't something they're going to make most Americans forget about, no matter the quality or frequency of Democrat-bashing.11/11/2005 11:00:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Rice's statement was consistent with CIA and National Ground Intelligence Center analysis, which disagreed with the DoE and IAEA. Trusting one over the other may have been mistaken, but it was not dishonest. To say otherwise requires believing that the administration would not only lie but go out of their way (by prosecuting the war) to find themselves caught in a lie. Have you really become that deranged?11/12/2005 12:10:00 AM|W|P|
"To say otherwise requires believing that the administration would not only lie but go out of their way (by prosecuting the war) to find themselves caught in a lie." On the contrary, it seems quite likely that they believed that the war and its aftermath would be a walk, and that flowers of freedom would bloom and all that, and by the time the truth oozed out two years later, no one would care. Unfortunately for them, we still do.
(It's too confusing posting under my real name in someone else's place, so I'll use "dbonp" henceforth.)11/12/2005 03:05:00 AM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|"it should have been obvious to those who had all the facts -- that is, those inside the administration -- that there were no facts to justify a war."
Give me a break. For one thing, you know damn well that WMDs weren't the only thing that justified the war. For another, the UN inspection regime was transparently ineffective; it would have been criminally negligent to make any decisions based solely on the advice of Hans Blix.
Should it have been obvious that the WMD intel was bad? Maybe, but it wasn't obvious to the Intelligence Community, and that's who the Administration relied on.
As for the notion that the administration would have proceeded under the assumption that "by the time the truth oozed out two years later, no one would care," that's grassy-knoll talk, and would make Occam weep. I'm really astonished to hear you peddling it.11/12/2005 03:18:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Our administrations have lied before in the prosecution of (or runups to) wars. The Maine and the Gulf of Tonkin, for two examples. Is it so hard to believe they were willing to make some specious claims in the expectation that, after the prosecution of a successful war and nation-building, their veracity wouldn't matter? It's strange to trust any administration beyond reproach in these matters, ITDMO.*
*in this deranged moron's opinion11/12/2005 11:56:00 AM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Wow, you really don't understand the difference between lies and intelligence failures, do you?
Neither the Maine and the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a lie by the administration. In the former case, the evidence against Spanish involvement didn't even exist until the invention of new forensic techniques decades later, and McKinley didn't even especially want to go to war (he bowed to public opinion ginned up by the newspapers). In the latter, the NSA apparently (per a report made public last month) cooked a report to cover an earlier error, but the Johnson administration didn't say anything that was inconsistent with the intel they received.
Is it so hard to believe they were willing to make some specious claims in the expectation that, after the prosecution of a successful war and nation-building, their veracity wouldn't matter?
Without any evidence to suggest that (and there is no such evidence): Yes, it's very, very, very, hard to believe.11/12/2005 01:11:00 PM|W|P|Jeremy|W|P|Oh this pisses me off. I had a long post and it was eaten. Short version: I don't believe the president lied us into war but if intel fails quite as often as this bitter back and forth would suggest, then shouldn't we look at future intel more skeptically. And even if the president was somewhat justified in reading the tea leaves like he did, doesn't it hurt the U.S.'s ability to act against would-be threats in the future?11/12/2005 02:11:00 PM|W|P|
If a serious security threat by a nation-state were to develop, you think the American people would trust this administration enough to give our threat of military action any gravitas? We'd be hosed.12/01/2005 01:18:00 AM|W|P|Bruce Moomaw|W|P|There have been several very nice summaries of just how the Bushites did distort the intelligence they received from Fred Kaplan ( http://www.slate.com/id/2130295/ ), James Fallows ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-fallows/what-bush-isnt-addressin_b_10621.html ) and Kevin Drum ( http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2005_11/007556.php ).
Short version: they cherry-picked till hell wouldn't have it -- they incorporated all the pro-invasion intelligence (however ludicrous) both in what they told Congress, and in the shorter nonclassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate which was all they released to the general public -- but they omitted much of the anti-invasion intelligence from what they told Congress, and far more of it from what they told the public and the UN. And they did most of this in regard not to Saddam's supposed CBWs (which almost everyone really did think he had, although they might have concluded otherwise if Bush had waited until the UN inspectors were done), but in regard to his supposed links to al-Qaida, and his supposed nuclear program -- the latter being, by an overwhelming margin, the best reason to invade Iraq.
And, yes, John, they were obviously confident that by the time the truth about the quality of their intelligence came out nobody would care -- for exactly the same reason they totally bungled their actual planning for the war: they were absolutely, cretinously confident that the war, occupation and reconstruction of Iraq would be Wolfowitz's and Ken Adelman's "cakewalk", and that soon Iraq would be on its way to a bright new future as a democratic (and pro-American, which they assumed would be the same thing) beacon for the benighted Moslems of the Mideast (and also an ideal staging ground for the following similar triumphant marches into Teheran and Damascus).
Now see the results: thanks to the fact that we're entangled in the red herring of Iraq, we're almost helpless to do anything militarily to stop the very real and dangerous nuclear program of Iran -- or to respond to any crisis produced by the fact that North Korea and Pakistan already have the Bomb. Overconfidence leading to dishonesty, and a later frantic attempt to cover up the resulting disaster -- it's the oldest political story of them all.11/10/2005 02:03:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|
I'm a shameless hag.|W|P|113160626131750894|W|P|Shorter Judith Miller|W|P|11/09/2005 05:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I guess no one edits Michael Barone's blog, because he makes a fatal error in his New Jersey analysis.
There's a certain symmetry in the New Jersey results. In 2000, Al Gore carried the state 56 to 40 percent. One year later, Democrat Jim McGreevey was elected governor by a 56-to-42 percent margin over Republican Bret Schundler. McGreevey got the same percentage as Gore; Schundler ran 2 percent behind Bush.No, he didn't. Bush got 40%, Schundler got 42%. Schundler ran 2 percent ahead of Bush. This is a rather important mistake, because the rest of Barone's analysis deals with the fact that Doug Forrester ran 2 points behind George Bush's total in 2004.
Barone also misses the most surprising result in the New Jersey race - the Democratic Assembly victories. In 2001, Democrats took nine Republican seats to win a 44-35 majority in the Assembly. In 2003, they gained another three seats. And this year they gained another two seats for a projected 49-31 majority. That's astounding, considering that unlike Jim McGreevey, Corzine was running as the representative of the scandalized incumbent party against a multi-millionaire who funded his race to the hilt.
Meanwhile in Virginia, the GOP lost another Delegate seat, bringing it down from the nearly veto-proof 65-33-2 majority of the 2001 election to a 58-40-2 majority (they also lost seats in 2003).
Is Barone just unaware of this stuff, or is he fluffing his analysis because he can't not praise the GOP?|W|P|113157696337389026|W|P|Baronehead|W|P|11/08/2005 10:19:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Well, it looks like Doug Forrester let his family down. And he let New Jersey down, too.
(Context here.)|W|P|113150670210065877|W|P|Dept. of Gloating, Part II: Cheap Shot Annex|W|P|11/08/2005 09:59:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Ladies and gentlemen, Governor-elect Tim Kaine.
The line for gay marriages forms to the left; abortions to the right.
Also: John Tabin is two-for-two so far.|W|P|113150543340519707|W|P|Dept. of Gloating|W|P|11/07/2005 10:35:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I'll be a guest on the Rick Barber show at 6 am today, if you happen to tune into 850 KOA. Subject: The Patriot Act and why it's so awesome (or not).
UPDATE: That went really well! There were four short segments over an hour, including one with a verbose (but well-informed) caller. If I heard myself correctly, I didn't fill the air with many "ums" or "uhs," either, which was probably the result of having to namecheck and number a bunch of legal provisions without going off on tangents. The ending was a little tricky - Barber asked what the political outlook was, and I said Congress was almost certainly going to pass (at first I said "ratify" - stupid constitutional discussions) the Patriot Act extensions. Barber's response: "Okay, that was Dave Weigel from Reason magazine ..." When he paused I quickly jumped in to note there were some reasons for optimism and the fight over the Patriot act had galvanized a lot of people. Phew.|W|P|113142101395420910|W|P|Radio cure|W|P|11/07/2005 11:33:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|David Icke is listed among Barber's "hotter guests," so just to be extra-prepared you might want to work out an answer to a question about how the Patriot Act fits into the reptillian agenda...11/08/2005 05:25:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Yes, I noticed this when I grabbed the link. I shall refrain from comment in case they're scanning this blog b/f the show.11/07/2005 12:53:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I don't get Jill Stewart. Author of a hagiographic Wired story on Arnold Schwarzengger a year back, she pumps his probably-doomed redistricting proposition in the New York Times and writes:
To get to the right answer, they have to realize that in the long run, this isn't about Arnold Schwarzenegger; it's about California's long-ruling Democrats, who have decided democracy is no longer part of their agenda.California's Democrats haven't actually ruled for very long. Republicans controlled the state Assembly as recently as 1996. Gray Davis, elected in 1998 (and recalled in 2003) was the first Democratic governor since Jerry Brown 16 years earlier. Bill Clinton was the first Democrat to carry the state (in 1992) since Lyndon Johnson. Ohio's Republicans and Louisiana's Democrats have been "long-ruling," but not the California Democrats.
I'm nitpicking, but only because this kind of stuff - California GOP supporters letting slip their masks and admitting that they're backing Arnold's initiatives to smash the Democrats - will be largely responsible for the failure of the initiatives. (If they fail, as expected.)|W|P|113134352183498897|W|P|Hackitude|W|P|11/06/2005 10:26:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I'm finally having some weekends worthy of the miners or whoever who striked to get us these things in the first place. This weekend, writer/director CJ Stunkard showed up at my place for a couple days of CD shopping and "Boys of Summer" editing. Among the items procured: some Christmas presents, the Cure b-sides set, a Laurie Anderson anthology and, oh, this.
Yes yes y'all, the hardbound three-volume edition of Shelby Foote's Civil War narrative, for $30.
Next weekend: A wedding!*
*not mine|W|P|113133467491416457|W|P|Weekend|W|P|11/06/2005 11:07:00 PM|W|P|Jeremy|W|P|* You had me worried there.11/04/2005 01:49:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|That Suzanne Vega, she's really good. Kate Bush, too.|W|P|113108704540286258|W|P|Thoughts upon suffling iTunes while finishing a large article|W|P|11/03/2005 02:28:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Because my Delaware, DC, and Illinois-based readership is obviously waiting on edge to hear my endorsement in this Tuesday's Virginia governor's race, here it is:
Please note the little Kaine button on my sidebar, and blow the whistle if I fail to declare my bias in any post-election analysis.|W|P|113100302912485499|W|P|Tim Kaine Time|W|P|11/03/2005 06:31:00 AM|W|P|11/03/2005 01:40:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I got frustrated after a crash destroyed my short review last week, so here's another try before I go on to the next episode.
Part I is here.
Episode 908: Marjorine
For every ripped-from-the-headlines South Park, there's a kids-being-kids episode. This was a very good example of the latter.
SUMMARY: The 4th grade boys capture reconnisance video of the girls playing with one of those paper-foldout future-telling toys. Convinced that it can open a time portal, they conspire to fake the death of Butters and reintroduce him in drag to get a mole into the girls' social circle. Butters, undercover as "Marjorine," is as lame and unpopular a girl as he is a boy. He's invited to a slumber party out of a parent's pity, and once there, the girls torment him until they eventually give in to guilt. But just as he's being accepted, his cover is blown and flees with the device back to the boys' HQ. They eventually decide to destroy the device to save it from "falling into the wrong hands." Unfortunately for Butters, when he returns home his parents think he's been risen from the grave by demons and they lock him in the basement to be fed a steady diet of murdered door-to-door salespeople.
ANALYSIS: As Parker and Stone have admitted, some time ago they unconsciously made the kids less vulgar and more innocent. That factor works very well in episodes like this - the boys' sci-fi attachment to the simple paper fortune-telling device is funny, and offset well by Cartman's bizzare, adult obsessiveness. (For some reason he spents the episode wearing slacks and a white shirt and putting his foot up on chairs to ask people "Whadda we got?") The Pet Semetary subplot with Butters' parents thinking their son is a demon is a little forced, though. As John Tabin has put it, "Butters is the fly that they keep pulling the wings off of."
RATING: 7/10. A superb a-plot with lines I'm still quoting, a so-so b-plot.|W|P|113100213548449094|W|P|South Park: Week 2|W|P|11/02/2005 09:45:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Associated Press, 6:41:
Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine has opened a clear lead over Republican businessman Doug Forrester in the New Jersey governor's race a week before Election Day, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Corzine was favored by 50 percent of likely voters, while 38 percent supported Forrester, according to the Quinnipiac University Poll. Nine percent were undecided.Eric Pfeiffer, 8:48:
Doug Forrester still has a long way to go before he can be assured of victory.|W|P|113094281282094352|W|P|The Pfeiffer Effect|W|P|11/02/2005 12:42:00 PM|W|P|John Tabin|W|P|Compare to Dave Holman's honest assessment of Jerry Kilgore's trouble rallying conservatives. Especially striking since Kilgore has about a hundred times better shot at winning than Forrester.
NRO: Laughably Pollyannaish!
TAS: Tellin' it like it is!11/02/2005 01:29:00 PM|W|P|yanking money from Santorum and pouring it instead into Forrester's campaign instead, and that doesn't pan out, will they dig deeper once again for Santorum?11/01/2005 11:38:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Things which aren't supposed to be funny, but are.
I'm cautiously optimistic about Get Rich or Die Tryin' ...Things which are supposed to be funny, and are.
Y'know, if we lefties were really determined to disparage Alito's ethnicity, we probably could've come up with a funnier nickname than "Scalito" (I'm thinking "Judge WOPner").Things which are funnier than they should be.|W|P|113087351656280621|W|P|Tuesday Tfunnies|W|P| |W|P|Might be a twofer for Democrats. If Republicans are |W|P|Because? |W|P|One person's cherry-picking is another's lie is another's mistake. The only difference exists in the brain of those making the case. |W|P|It's the timing. In the late-middle of 2002 and earlier, it was certainly arguable that Iraq had oodles of WMDs. That plus the post-Gulf War UN resolutions was (at least arguably) enough for the President and congresscritters of both parties to secure the resolution. Unfortunately, that's where the truth (and the timeline expressed in the President's speech) end. Once the UN inspectors started to scour the country, where we told them to look (remember "We know where they are"?), and they found nothing, that's when the lying began. By the time Colin Powell waved the vial in February 2003, it should have been obvious to those who had all the facts -- that is, those inside the administration -- that there were no facts to justify a war. |W|P|You're referring to Sen. Cornyn's positive use of Clinton's "Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction..." quote. That was part of a speech Clinton made after an air strike on Iraq. Were Republicans as impressed with Clinton's wisdom then as much as they are now? |W|P|Oh, but Dave--underneath the Christian fatwas and southern strategies...is an architect who just wants to be loved...wants to restore dignity to the White House...wants to liberate our nation from victimization by a technicality-obsessed prosecutor.