Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Worth Repeating 

Richard Perle, September 22, 2003:
And a year from now, I’ll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they’ve been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation.
And he has any remaining credibility with anyone, why?

There Once Was a Blogger Named Ann 

Ann Althouse is one of the "I'm an independent who just happens to attack Democrats as often as possible" bloggers (you know, the type who claim they are not in favor of the way the Iraq War is handled, but imply that all who oppose it are traitors).

In this line of blogging nothing seems to be too trivial to be used as a bludgeon on the Dems.

Case in point: John Kerry apparently tells a limerick that Althouse finds "Pathetic!"
There once was a man named Vitter
Who vowed that he wasn’t a quitter
But with stories of women
And all of his sinnin’
He knows his career’s in the — oh, never mind...
Actually rather clever, in my opinion, but Althouse calls on her minion to pen some limericks with Kerry as the subject. Fair enough, but the "poetry" that ensues is of the "we support the troops, but not the ones whose politics we don't like."

Another theme is "thank God Kerry wasn't elected."

Yeah, like there's any conceivable way he could have done worse.

The Beat Goes On 

Is this a good use of our resources?

A prisoner at the Broward County jail is caught whacking off in his cell.
To discourage the behavior in Broward jails, the Sheriff's Office encourages deputies to file criminal charges, said Elliot Cohen, the agency's spokesman.

Deputy Coryus Veal seems to have taken that mission to heart: She has brought similar charges against seven other inmates in six months.
The inmate is now heading to court, facing up to a one-year jail term for being too friendly with himself.

The joke (on us) is that the prisoner was scheduled to be transfered to state prison to begin serving a ten-year sentence. Instead, he's taking up space in the Broward County jail, and we will be paying for the prosecutor and defense attorney as well as court time, etc., etc.

Couldn't they just have taken away his snack bar priviledges?

An Inconvenient Obsession 

Ahab had his white whale; Kinglsey Guy has Al Gore.
Preaching to the faithful is the prophet Al Gore, who has come down from the mountaintop with stone tablets in hand. His pronouncements on global warming are greeted inside the tabernacle as gospel truth direct from the goddess Mother Nature, who's not at all happy with the human race.

Anybody who has viewed with a critical eye Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth recognizes Gore is more a propagandist than a devotee of science, but that hardly matters to his disciples, who believe the apocalypse is near and we had better repent or face dire consequences.
What are the odds that Guy has actually seen An Inconvenient Truth?

Guy's argument seems to be, don't worry something will come about to save us, it always has.

Just as long as Gore is not the one who saves us.

Monday, July 23, 2007

On the Other Hand 

Michael Froomkin (Discourse.net) presents a reasonable look at the other side of the story regarding Sheldon Schlesinger and his attempts to secure his legal fees (see my post he is responding to here).
I think it could fairly be argued that Mr. Schlesinger is not being simply greedy, or that even if he were being greedy then his greed serves a public purpose. It seems to have taken enormous perseverance — almost twenty years — to first win the case and then obtain this payment for his client. If the state legislature is free after the fact to fix payment at whatever it pleases, ignoring its own statutes that set reasonable bounds on what contingency fees can be, this will further reduce the incentive for people to take on the arduous and risky job of suing the state for its negligence. In short, victims will have a lot more trouble finding lawyers who won’t demand money up front.
Froomkin presents this line of reasoning in much more detail -- visit his site.

Neocon Fantasies 

Fortunately for the sane, it didn't happen.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why Lawyers Have a Bad Image 

Sheldon Schlesinger is a 77-year-old Fort Lauderdale attorney who has had a lucrative career in the personal injury field.

That's fine, someone has to represent the injured.

In fact, his firm's website proclaims, "Through all of the work we have done, our personal injury lawyers have never lost sight of what is most important — the health of our clients."

Not many people are going to be sympathetic to him, however, when he froze payments to a paralyzed girl in order to collect more than his $1,000,000+ fee authorized by the State Legislature.

Schlesinger wants another $677,000 (which I doubt will change his lifestyle nor put his law firm in danger of unprofitability) and obviously he thinks he deserves it.

And it seems he's willing to let the real victim continue to suffer to get his payoff.

Deep Thinking 

James Lileks sums up his attitude toward the homeless:
"I don’t care."
The "creepy" guy might be a child molester . . . or not. But if James is too busy to take a nap, he's too busy to think about these issues beyond the most superficial.

Obviously protecting children is the first priority, but I'm not sure that Lileks' attitude makes them any safer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


James Fallows:
The recent astounding column by William Kristol had a . . . “Petraeus will save us” tone: “What it comes down to is this: If Petraeus succeeds in Iraq, and a Republican wins in 2008, Bush will be viewed as a successful president.”

It’s tempting to spend more time on that one sentence of Kristol’s (”What it comes down to is this: If I can beat Roger Federer, I’ll be successful at Wimbledon.”)
As Johnny Carson used to say, "Buy the premise, buy the bit."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"Giant Negro" 

Undercover Black Man tells the story of Jim Parker, who wrestled President William McKinley's assassin to the ground and how he was lauded, questioned and vindicated, but all within the racial conventions of the time.

Ya Think? 

While some are deserting what seems to be a sinking ship, others might be in danger of being thrown overboard:
Some of [General David] Petraeus' military comrades worry that the general is being set up by the Bush administration as a scapegoat if conditions in Iraq fail to improve. "The danger is that Petraeus will now be painted as failing to live up to expectations and become the fall guy for the administration," one retired four-star officer said.
Sorry, no lifesavers available for the troops (but you might check with Dick Cheney and see if he still has any left).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Some Facts Are More Equal Than Others 

Ezra Klein asks and answers the question, "In a world full of political provocateurs and public hotheads, why is it that only Michael Moore triggers the media's all-too-absent obsession with factual accuracy?"

Cranky Conservative 

Florida's "premier conservative" is none too happy about Governor Crist's environmental efforts.

Naturally, this cannot be based on policy differences. Rather, Crist's actions can only be explained by a personality defect:
His ego fattens as his gumption grows with every new poll that confirms it's hard to dislike a Governor that get's [sic] out of the way.
Yes, all this environmental concern is just a fiction that the Gov is putting out so that he might bathe in the adulation of the liberal press. When Crist states,
Droughts, endangered agriculture, violent storms and changing sea levels - their impact on Florida's economy are just a few of the reasons why we must take action now. . . . We must search for and put in practice climate friendly strategies for our families, our communities and of course our state.
it just couldn't be a thoughtful response to a real problem facing Floridians.

When future environmental and climate problems aren't being denied entirely, the Peer Review crowd favor a GWOT approach: no planning, no resources and no sacrifice.

Long War, For Sure 

It has now been 2132 days since the World Trade Center was attacked by al Qaeda.

Japan surrendered to the United States 1361 days after its attack on Pearl Harbor.

Larry Johnson (NO QUARTER): "I do not take the Global War on Terrorism seriously because we are not serious about it. It is used primarily to gain political advantage and enrich government contractors. But the war effort itself is neither well-organized nor soundly conceived. So excuse me while I blow the horseshit whistle on the latest fear mongering."

Saturday, July 14, 2007


It seems that Fred Thompson has contracted the forgetfulness disease that is ravaging the Republican party.
Fred Thompson is backing off his flat denial that he once lobbied for an abortion-rights group. He now says he doesn’t remember it, but does not dispute evidence to the contrary.
Now I don't believe for a second that this is the case, but it goes to show that either 1) Thompson thinks the voters are idiots, or 2) he doesn't care if they know he's lying, just so long as they can't prove it.

You would think this would bother GOP voters, but apparently not.

White Man's Party 

Only one Republican candidate has the balls to show up at the NAACP debate, a clear indication that the GOP has written off the black vote.

As Roy Edroso put it, "If they can't face down Tavis Smiley, how're they going to handle Osama?"

Friday, July 13, 2007

Choose the Constitution 

Andrew Sullivan:
It needs to be stated again and again that the fundamental job of the president is not to protect the people of America, but to protect their constitution. This president has gotten things exactly the wrong way round. In a terror war, we have to acclimatize ourselves to the fact that many Americans may have to die as a consequence of a collective decision not to become a police state or a presidential protectorate. A free country that remains free in the face of terror will necessarily have many casualties. A police state would have fewer casualties. Given a choice between a loss of life and retaining constitutional liberties, what would you pick? And what would the first Americans have picked?

Edging Away From the Prez 

Conservative blogger Rick Moran (Right Wing Nut House):
But there is one facet of the Bush Presidency that historians will universally and roundly condemn; the politicization of governance that, top to bottom, has interfered with many of the vital functions we expect the government to carry out. From the office of the Attorney General, to the Environmental Protection Agency, to NASA, to the National Park Service and more, politics has intruded into what traditionally has been non-political or apolitical functions of government. Science issues seem to be a favorite target of the Bushies for political massaging but other important government operations have also seen the heavy hand of politics interfere with public policy decisions – decisions that affect the health, safety, and security of the American people.

Who Needs Higher Education? 

With college costs going up, a bill in Congress proposes to "increase the Pell Grant awards to low income students, [and] also slash interest rates for federal loans for all students in half."

How did Florida's Representatives vote? (Need I even provide the list?)

Allen Boyd (D)
Corrine Brown (D)
Kathy Castor (D)
Vern Buchanan (R)
Tim Mahoney (D)
Kendrick Meek (D)
Robert Wexler (D)
Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D)
Ron Klein (D)
Alcee Hastings (D)
Jeff Miller (R)
Ander Crenshaw (R)
Ginny Brown-Waite (R)
Cliff Stearns (R)
John Mica (R)
Ric Keller (R)
Gus Bilirakis (R)
Bill Young (R)
Adam Putnam (R)
Connie Mack (R)
Dave Weldon (R)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R)
Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R)
Tom Feeney (R)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Support the Troops 

Shorter Bush: Don't blame me; blame Tommy Franks.

Actual statement: "Those are all legitimate questions that I'm sure historians will analyze. I mean, one of the questions is, should we have sent more in the beginning? Well, I asked that question, do you need more, to General Tommy Franks. In the first phase of this operation, General Franks was obviously in charge, and during our discussions in the run up to the decision to remove Saddam Hussein after he ignored the Security Council resolutions. My primary question to General Franks was, do you have what it takes to succeed? And do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein? And his answer was, yes."

Unasked followup: So you gave no credence to Gen. Eric Shinseki's warning that more troops would be needed?

Is There Anything Bush Hasn't Screwed Up? 

President Bush, March, 2002:
Deep in my heart I know [Osama bin Ladin] is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is -- as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide -- if, in fact, he's hiding at all.

So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, . . . to be honest with you.
July, 2007:
A new threat assessment from U.S. counterterrorism analysts says that al-Qaida has used its safe haven along the Afghan-Pakistan border to restore its operating capabilities to a level unseen since the months before Sept. 11, 2001

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Are We Surprised? 

Flablog: "Another day, another Republican in a sex scandal."

And no, it's not David Vitter, he was yesterday.

Do these guys have a death wish?

A New King 

I always thought that the Sun-Sentinel would be hard pressed to find a more shallow columnist than Jonah Goldberg, although Bill O'Reilly gives him a run for his money.

I was wrong -- with his most recent column Kingsley Guy has shown a "thought" process that is not only only vapid and shrill, but lazy as well.

I imagine him waking up from an afternoon nap and realizing that his bi-weekly column is due in about 45 minutes!

Quickly he moves to the computer. A glance at his Rush Limbaugh screen saver gives him all the inspiration he needs, and he begins. . .
As soon as the smoke cleared from the Twin Towers, the political left started grousing about an assault on the nation's political liberties by the Bush administration.
A good start, he imagines, but now what?

How about inflating a momentary blip at a county commission meeting into an across the board indictment of all Democrats? Done.

Thirty minutes to go.

He scratches his head. Not enough, he thinks, Earl said I have to have to have 600 words every time (what a slave driver).

He remembers a recent Sean Hannity show he liked.

Unions! OK! He quickly brushes the dandruff flakes off the keyboard and jumps back in, accusing a local Democratic Representative of "giving union goon squads free reign to "convince" employees to form unions by threatening to break their knee-caps."

Almost done. Just a quick reference to George Orwell and then hit send.

The deadline is met, and now back to sleep.

Failure to Learn 

The US war effort was compromised [by] an inability to grasp the fact that no foreign participant in someone else's civil war can possibly have as great a stake in the conflict's outcome--and attendant willingness to sacrifice--as do the indigenous parties involved.

No, this was one of the findings in a study of the Vietnam War published over a decade ago.

Stephen Bainbridge provides more lessons ignored by the Bush administration.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Maybe We Were Lucky It Was Iraq 

James Fallows recounts a recent conversation with Gary Hart:
I don’t know any other major political figure who has been as right about as many national-security matters, as consistently, and as early, as Gary Hart has been. I’m thinking about his role in creating and leading the Congressional “military reform caucus” in the 1980s. But I know that the most famous illustration in most people’s minds is his role as co-chair of the “U.S. Commission on National Security in the 21st Century,” aka the Hart-Rudman Commission.

Early in 2001, the commission presented a report to the incoming G.W. Bush administration warning that terrorism would be the nation’s greatest national security problem, and saying that unless the United States took proper protective measures a terrorist attack was likely within its borders. Neither the president nor the vice president nor any other senior official from the new administration took time to meet with the commission members or hear about their findings.

The commission had 14 members, split 7-7, Republican and Democrat, as is de rigeur for bodies of this type. Today Hart told me that in the first few meetings, commission members would go around the room and volunteer their ideas about the nation’s greatest vulnerabilities, most urgent needs, and so on.

At the first meeting, one Republican woman on the commission said that the overwhelming threat was from China. Sooner or later the U.S. would end up in a military showdown with the Chinese Communists. There was no avoiding it, and we would only make ourselves weaker by waiting. No one else spoke up in support.

The same thing happened at the second meeting — discussion from other commissioners about terrorism, nuclear proliferation, anarchy of failed states, etc, and then this one woman warning about the looming Chinese menace. And the third meeting too. Perhaps more.

Finally, in frustration, this woman left the commission.

“Her name was Lynne Cheney,” Hart said. “I am convinced that if it had not been for 9/11, we would be in a military showdown with China today.” Not because of what China was doing, threatening, or intending, he made clear, but because of the assumptions the Administration brought with it when taking office. (My impression is that Chinese leaders know this too, which is why there are relatively few complaints from China about the Iraq war. They know that it got the U.S. off China’s back!)

Lee Hamilton, who had also been on the commission, was sitting at the same lunch table and backed up Hart’s story.
Given the astounding incompetence of the Bush and his gang, we should count our lucky stars that they were distracted and chose to attack a third-rate military power like Iraq. Otherwise we might be looking at casualties 100 times what we are experiencing in the Middle East (and for the same dubious reasons).

Monday, July 02, 2007

"OK, Uncle Dick, I'll Pardon Him" 

Andrew Sullivan on the Libby pardon:

You don't get a cleaner example of different justice for the rich and powerful. It seems to me that real conservatives - not the lawless hoodlums now parading under that banner - should be as outraged as anyone. This man risked national security for political payback, and perjured himself to cover it up. This commutation will rightly become a symbol of a great deal of rot in Washington that needs to be swept clean. Get out that broom

Not a surprise, though. Cheney couldn't take a chance on Libby cracking under the stress of serving time.

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