Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ADL Agrees With Me

Hence, the "ADL Statement on Dennis Prager's Attack On Muslim Congressman for Taking Oath of Office on Koran."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Silvestre Reyes in 2002

Found on TNR's The Plank: Silvestre Reyes during the October 2002 debate over Iraq:
Every one of us understands that we are a nation of laws, that we lead the world by example, that we have a great respect for process and to protect the rights of everyone. That is why, Mr. Speaker, I reluctantly today rise in opposition against this resolution, because I think that the president has not made a case as to why Iraq and why attack Saddam Hussein. As a member of the Intelligence Committee I have asked consistently the questions to those that have come before us with information, I've said -- I've asked the question of what is the connection between 9/11 and Iraq and Saddam Hussein? None. What is the connection between Iraq and Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda? Very little, if any.
There were smart guys back then. Reyes is one person I've suggested to be a VP for Obama - Representative from Texas, Hispanic, decorated veteran, head of the House Intelligence Committee.

Backpost finished 4/10/08, 11:50 PM. Had just the link and the full quote. It speaks for itself.

Talking Points Memo Agrees With Me

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall December 1, 2006 10:50 AM:
Back in the 1980s, when I was a teenager, and then when I was home from college, I used to listen to a Sunday night radio show called Religion on the Line.... The host of the show was Dennis Prager. Prager was always the most self-satisfied voice on the panel. And always a bit pretentious. But for those of you who know Prager now as hate-ranting whack-job that he's become, I can only say that back then he was or seemed far more sane.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Webb, The Blame for Iraq

Letter sent to TPM re: The blame the American people for Bush's screw-ups meme
Dear Josh,

1. In reference to the new GOP/Conservative talking point (Stanley Kurtz, Morton Kondracke) about blaming the American People for not letting Bush fight the war. I could give a long answer to this, refuting this disgusting accusation & complaining about how terrible Bush and his proxies are, but we already know all that. The short answer is that the American people knew about the price of the war in Iraq and paid for it: in the 2004 election.

If you remember, Bush won the 2000 election because his team successfully convinced the American Voters that he was just slightly ideologically to the right to Gore. He was another 'moderate' (which they called a 'compassionate conservative'). This pose was so convincing that the far-left consumed it whole and voted for Nader, thinking that there was no real difference between Gore and Bush. The American people back then wanted a moderate and before 9/11 Bush had low popularity numbers because Rove quickly ripped off the face-mask and shoved a hard-right agenda down America's throats. Rove needed to do this - because the country was teetering on the 50-50 edge in 2000 and Nader's people made the difference so Rove needed to galvanize the Christianists to offset the Greens.

Then 9/11.

And the American people, who disliked the Conservative crap, rallied behind Bush because we had just been savagely attacked on our own soil. And Cheney and Rumsfeld and the rest of the whackos from Nixon/Ford felt that the time had come to create the New Executive Branch, and to get even with Saddam, all in one fell swoop. So we attacked Iraq. But I think we need to remind ourselves, and everyone, that the American People went ahead with that war because they were told that Saddam was seeking nuclear weapons, already owned chemical & biologicals and had used them before on Kurds, was an old enemy, and was a state sponsor of Al Queda. That's why we attacked Iraq and if it was all true - the WMD, the nukes, the Al Queda link - then the war would have been the moral equivalent of the war in Afghanistan (which nobody really disputes, do they?)

The 2004 election was the American voter biting the bullet and sacrificing themselves for the greater good. It wasn't a validation for Conservatism, it was in spite of that. It was the American voter thinking that they hated the Conservative politics but needing to vote for Bush anyway because the war in Iraq was still being depicted by the MSM as a necessary part of our 9/11 reaction and Kerry was a feckless, talentless, cipher. As we saw with the botched joke, if Kerry would have run against Bush in November 2006, Bush would have won.

After Katrina and after the war became exposed for its nonsense and after the American Voter was asked to give up more and more freedom (wire-taps?, torture?) the price they paid in 2004 just seemed to be too steep to pay in 2006.

2. About the Webb question: I agree with a watered-down JS. I don't think Webb was avoiding Bush as part of a sophisticated ploy. Webb reminds me of the Andrew Jackson form of politician - the straight-talk economic populist military man. And Americans would vote for Andrew Jackson over and over and over - historically I think he's the most significant president because he's the first non-Founding Father and the first American stereotype, the first non-elite, the first populist. Webb, as far as I can tell, seems to walk around as a ball of barely contained rage against all those who've slighted him in person and in the abstract. And his abstract enemies include draft-avoiders like Clinton and Bush. His hatred for Clinton is known (see that recent New yorker piece) and I imagine he hates Bush even more because of the class issue.

Bush, as we know, is a bully. He doesn't have an ounce of compassion in his putrid soul. He asked Webb about his son because he was picking a fight with someone he thinks he can beat. But as we've seen over and over, Bush underestimates his resources and strength. He doesn't know that Webb is going to mop him up. Webb truly scares the GOP because he has a better executive branch record than Cheney and Rumsfeld (who would America rather have, Sec of Defense under Ford & Bush or Sec of Navy from Reagan). Webb makes Bush look to be the wonder-wimp that he is.

And remember what Andrew Jackson (Webb) did to John Quincy Adams (Bush).

all the best, JC
Backpost put up on 2009-12-08.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Prager INRI

More and more I am deciding that certain people cannot be listened to anymore. It's the extremity of our times - the stakes are high, people are more extreme, and true colors are being shown. Some people like to ignore that our Executive Branch has engaged in criminal activities and possibly crimes against humanity. Some of those who deny these crimes have so sunk their fate with Bush & Crew that they need to get even more extreme.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Dennis Prager has lost any early merit he had; his fine mind now twisted into saying absurd, hatful things.

Yesterday, he published a column where he argues that Ellison, the first and only Muslim to serve in Congress, should be prevented from using a Koran to swear into his oath of office.

Prager was educated in yeshiva. And yet, like many Jewish Republicans, he has forgotten that freedom is good because its good and because it has saved Jews from prosecution.

Prager supported Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion" and naturally needed to defend Mel after his drunken tirade against the Jews. So now he's letting his GOP validated self-hatred devolve into total Christianist racism.

Prager in fact demonstrates how any solid belief in the GOP will require a definition of America as (fundamentalist) Christian. As he says:
[Ellison] should not be allowed to do [use the Koran] -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.
Dennis, dennis, dennis. Why don't you convert out, already, let your family and fans sit shiva, and save us further grief.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Schadenfreude Alert: Bush Twins

ABC News reports that U.S. Embassy Asks Bush Twins to Leave Country:
.... The Argentinean press blitz followed a report on "The Blotter" last week that Barbara Bush's purse and cell phone were stolen last weekend while dining at the popular San Telmo outdoor marketplace despite being guarded by the Secret Service.

Stories of the twins' visit took on wild proportions in the Argentinean press. One tabloid headline had the young women running nude in the hallway of their hotel, a report the hotel staff denied to ABC News.

According to sources, the U.S. embassy encouraged the two girls to cut their stay short because the added attention was making their security very difficult.

But to the dismay and anger of some U.S. embassy and security staff, the girls stayed on.

Thursday night, an ABC News producer was able to walk into their hotel unchecked and engage Barbara Bush in conversation while she checked her e-mail on a computer in the lobby. Jenna sat talking with friends on a sofa nearby. No Secret Service agents were anywhere to be seen in the lobby, according to ABC News' Joe Goldman.

And yesterday the Bush twins were spotted at the Sunday soccer matches, wearing team jerseys and sitting in the owner's box, watching Argentina's top team Boca Juniors compete. Several games have been canceled due to violence in the crowds this year. In fact, last weekend no spectators were allowed to attend the match other than season ticket holders. ...
I'm sorry for doing this, but they seem to be acting just like their father.

Pic of the other famous set of twin girls. Backpost finished 2009-12-08.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Packing the Bag

We are still awaiting the arrival of our second child (B'sha tova). Over Shabbos, we realized that our lasseiz-faire attitude towards #2 - as opposed to the crackling intensity of nerves we were anticipating #1 - translated into our being unprepared for a rapid hospital visit. That is, we had not yet packed The Bag. Every first parent knows about The Bag; all the books talk about The Bag; you are borderline abusive parents if you don't have The Bag.

The Bag is the necessary set of accouterments a birthing mother needs, according to trained experts of the birthing industry. I quickly discovered that the birthing industry has been taken over by a sinister confederation of radical feminists, Madison Avenue, and the military-industrial complex. Maybe. This Axis of Anxiety uses it's power over the worries of new mothers to drive them into vibrations of worry, forcing them to purchase inane equipment, adopt weird practices, and generally make normal unhysterical people into suggestible impulse shoppers.

While the clearest example of the Axis of Anxiety is the dominance of the La Leche Nazis (see previous posts), The Bag is similar. Here's an example:

Backpack, hiking boots, water-purification tablets, flashlight, .357 Magnum with magnesium loads, hunting knife and whet stone…

Woops. This is the list from p. 101 of the Zombie Survival Guide.

Here's the real one, from

Your Labor Bag
  1. Tooth brushes for everyone and Tooth paste
  2. Any reference book or pamphlet you might need (I prefer The Birth Partner.)
  3. Pillows from home
  4. Music you would like (You may need to provide your own CD Player or Tape Player)
  5. Camera with film and batteries
  6. Camcorder with charged batteries and accessories
  7. Signed copies of your birth plan
  8. Water bottles for ice
  9. Your own wash cloths, colored ones work better
  10. Waterproof pads for the car ride
  11. Any clothes of your own that you wish to wear
  12. List of people to call after the baby is born (include childbirth educator)
  13. Lip Balm
  14. Massage tools (Oils, massagers, etc.)
  15. Change of clothes for partner, including swim trunks for shower or pool
  16. Baby Book for getting the foot prints done by the nurse when she does the paperwork
  17. Focal Point (If you want one)
  18. Snacks for labor support
  19. Calling Card for Long Distance Calls
I like the zombie list better.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hamas Female Suicide Bomber

According to the Jerusalem Post:
Eight IDF soldiers were wounded on Thursday as the army intensified its efforts to stop the ongoing Kassam rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. A female suicide bomber detonated an explosion near soldiers in the Jebalya refugee camp Thursday evening, the IDF said. Three soldiers were lightly wounded by the blast. Hamas later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Is there some subtle point in International Law that I'm missing here. Hamas controls the Palestinian Authority. Hamas sends suicide bombers to kill Israeli soldiers. Is that not an act of war that would allow Israel to do whatever they want to do to retaliate. Huh?

Eat Turkey or Be Court-Martialed

Backpost: I'm keeping the original post-date, and I'm thankful that the story is still up on the Jerusalem Post. 8/1/2008

A great story from the Jerusalem Post about what Thanksgiving means to American-Jews and American-Israelis: My Thanksgiving mission: Eat Turkey or be court-martialed!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Baruch Dayan ha-Emet: Tzitz Eliezer zt'l

A very sad day for the entire Jewish People, the Tzitz Eliezer passed away at age 89.

From the Jerusalem Post:
Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg, one of the most respected halachic authorities of the modern era and a trailblazer in the field of Jewish medical ethics, passed away Tuesday at the age of 89. Waldenberg, who served on the High Rabbinic Court together with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, was the unofficial rabbi of Sha'arei Tzedek "
A full Baruch Dayan ha-Emet with sheim malkhut.

More Obits: From the Jewish Press. From Arutz-7.

France authorizes troops to fire at IAF jets over Lebanon

From the Jerusalem Post:
French soldiers in Lebanon who feel threatened by aggressive Israeli overflights are permitted to shoot at IAF fighter jets, a high-ranking French military officer told The Jerusalem Post.
Ya know, if France fires at Israel, then it could be the first overt military exchange between two nuclear powers. And it may be the only time that anyone can fire a nuclear weapon (Israel to France) where you're guaranteed the opponent won't fire back.

JTA Says Pelosi is Pro-Israel

Considering her attacks on Jane Harmen, I had my doubts. But the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) - the best single Jewish news agency out there - claims that:
Pelosi’s support for Israel is heartfelt

The daughter of Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., a former mayor of Baltimore, Pelosi grew up in a Democratic family with Jewish neighbors and friends.... there’s even a soccer field in the Haifa area of Israel named after [her] family.
That's good enough for me.

Letter to the TPM

[Sent today]
Dear Dr. Josh,

Why is the whole Alcee Hastings thing even happening? Even if the GOP is denying it, the election was about corruption. Even Iraq was about corruption (or at least high level lies about human lives). Didn't Pelosi get that memo? Your whole muckraking enterprise was based on the fact that neither Congress nor the Press was providing oversight for the immense malfeasance being done in our name, with our lives and our money.

So how in God's name did Pelosi support someone implicated with ABSCAM? And ultimately who cares whether Alcee was unfairly prosecuted and impeached by congress - he was IMPEACHED. C'mon! If they want to throw Alcee a bone then re-try him, as colleagues, to get the impeachment reversed. We won the election but Pelosi seems determined to undermine that with these absurd decisions.

Pelosi reminds me of Ehud Olmert - both are superb legislative survivors. Pelosi gets credit for winning back the house (I can't imagine Gephardt doing as well as she did). Olmert seems to have nine lives in the Knesset. Great talents. But neither are good governors .

Who has influence over her? Who can we call to stop this crazy thing?

Happy Thanksgiving,
[The Styx]

D-Day Minus One

As some of you know, we are awaiting a new child. The due-date is tomorrow. Stay posted for news. As it stands, the Expected One is smaller than an average turkey but much bigger than an average yam.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Drudge, Tabloid, Bushes Being Beaten

Like any news-junkie, I check the Drudge Report frequently. There were three (naturally) screaming headlines, all describing an assault of bad-luck on the Bush Family.

1. 11:13am HST 11-21-06: White House Staffer Robbed, Beaten In Waikiki

2. Two of the three Honolulu Police Department motorcycle officers involved in a crash while escorting President George W. Bush

and the biggie:

3. Bush's Daughter Robbed in Argentina .

Coincidence? Three crazy things in 24 hours? Maybe I'm watching too many action-thrillers??

P.S. I know the link above is to another site; I just don't have the heart.

Lebanese Cabinet Minister Assassinated

Oh, this has not been a good day. According to the AP:
Pierre Gemayel, an anti-Syrian politician and scion of Lebanon's most prominent Christian family, was gunned down Tuesday in an assassination that heightened tensions amid a showdown between opponents and allies of Syria that threatens to topple the U.S.-backed government. Gemayel, 34, was the fifth anti-Syrian figure to be killed in the past two years and the first member of the government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to be slain.
A few thoughts:

1. Whenever I link from Yahoo News, they add their tagline at the end. Usually I delete it but occasionally it will create an inadvertent joke, like the 'in my pants' game, e.g. Lebanese Cabinet minister is killed on Yahoo! News

2. It's amazing that there's been so many assassinations that the story needs to qualify which number killing this makes. It's like counting Dead Kennedys.

3. This news story seems to say that Syria killed the Lebanese Christian. But didn't James Baker just announce that Syria was our good buddy? Isn't Syria supposed to help us with Iraq?

According to that linked WP story:
Some prominent U.S. officials say that engaging in talks with adversaries such as Syria and Iran is key to curbing the violence. The Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former congressman Lee H. Hamilton, is expected to recommend such action in its report, set to come out next month.
Syria being supported by Baker is matched by Hamas being helped by W (who insisted that they be included in February's elections). And now Syria is encroaching from the North and Hamas is using human baby shields to help launch Kassams from the South. Thanks Baker & Bush!

Robert Altman, 81

Acclaimed director Robert Altman died today. He had an important vision in film (even if I didn't share it).

Monday, November 20, 2006

Gergen is a Liar

David Gergen, adviser to Clinton and 3 other presidents, was interviewed by Foreign Policy about the Midterm elections. And he's a big fat liar.

Oh, I know, why should I expect otherwise from a James Baker style political killer? But it's just good to know that I have proof, that's all.

Here are two doozies (after I read the second one I stopped reading the article because I have always felt that reading idiocy actually physically makes you dumber)

1. "The Republicans ran on a platform of saying they wanted to adjust course in Iraq, but they didn’t say how"

They did? You mean the fact that 3 weeks before the election Bush stopped saying "stay the course" suddenly makes that a platform?? This lie also tips us off that Gergen is currently being paid by the GOP.

2. "What we are seeing in Iraq is not a replay of the Vietnam Syndrome. Rather, it’s a sense that we are engaged in a conflict without an obvious end in sight and [that] things are getting worse. The Vietnam Syndrome argued that we should not commit force again unless our vital interests are clearly at stake. But in Iraq, we did commit our troops to conflict without a clear national interest at stake. It was a war of discretion and yet, the American people supported it." (Emphasis mine)

Yes. Gergie actually said that the American people went along with Iraq despite their feeling it was not vital to our interests. I do agree with DG that anyone who had an iota of sense knew that Bush was lying back in 2003, but the American public supported the war (and the GOP was wholeheartedly claiming up until November 7th) because they felt that Saddam was a DIRECT THREAT TO THE UNITED STATES. Saddam had WMDs, he bought yellow-cake from Niger through Valerie Plame's dentist (or something to that effect), Saddam funded terrorists and may actually have been the real mastermind behind 9/11 (at least according to Tricky Dick Cheney).

So, David Gergen is either stupid (which we know he's not), or lying like a paid political operative. Harumph.

My advice? Don't read anything the dude says in the future - it'll be just like hitting your head with a dumb-hammer.

O.J. Simpson book, TV Special Canceled

First the 2006 Midterm Elections and now the O.J. horror canceled - two great blows against Fox's brand of Republicanism and sewage. I love how the same network that supports Bush & Cheney was paying OJ Simpson to describe how to kill people.

I'd like to remind everyone, as well, that if OJ had been convicted as he should've, then this would not be happening.

Michael Richards Meltdown

I just saw the clip of Michael Richards' horrible screaming meltdown. I stopped watching after 40 seconds because my face started burning with embarrassment. It teaches a bunch of lessons:

1. Richards may be a closet racist (the lynching line is most telling, not the n-word) and that's what a scared racist looks like - which explains all those lynching as well. His reaction was so violent! I wish I could have seen what he was reacting to.

2. If Richards is not a closet racist - and he may not be - then this just shows you that they're right about stand-up being the most frightening of all entertainment. It's just you trying to make people laugh and when you're not good at it, and when you used to be famous for making people laugh, and when people embarrass you by heckling that you're not funny, then Richards' response was the reaction of someone literally scared almost to death. His screams are the screams of a man falling off a bridge. He's that terrified.

Police Squad is Finally on DVD

Oh Happy Day!

I have been waiting a long time (since 1999, when I first bought a DVD) - but the best TV series ever is finally going to be available for purchase and coveting. And I can stand by the "best ever" - there were only 6 episodes and the quality of each was near 100%. Even the next best TV shows, "The Simpsons" and "The West Wing," can't match that (Simpsons because there's been 17 years of them and The West Wing tanked after the 4th Season).

A Shot of Martin Peretz

"Yes, I know, I know, Islam is a peaceful religion. But peace does not rule in the world of Islam. Of course, if only Israel gave the Palestinians the peace they want, the Sunnis and Shiaa would not be killing each other in Iraq, and Hezbollah would not be fomenting a civil war in Lebanon, and democracy with democratic results would soon govern Egypt, and the Syrian dictatorship would finally become a free republic, and Saudi Arabia would allow religious freedom, and Pakistan wouldn't be torn by sect and tribe, and India wouldn't be harassed by Islamic fanatics. God damn you Jews. Don't you grasp how much waits on your surrender? And you keep on insisting on living a free life in your own land."

(Read the whole thing)

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I've looked but I can't remember if I've written about "Revenge of the Sith." In short: it was the worst of the six. Note, this did not stop me from buying it (5 bucks, why not). It arrived yesterday. I put it in my computer to test it out. And, to show you how much I hated it, I have a Pavlovian resistance against pressing play - the movie hurt too much! [Sound of booting]

When my stomach settles, I will explain more.

{2009 Update: great pic from here.}

Impeachment, Gonzales

As I've said before, I am looking forward to the impeachment of the major up-foulers in the Executive Branch. It should be inevitable, given the levels of malfeasance and criminality. Wireless wiretaps and torture lead the day but the fabricated intelligence that lead to the Iraq War, or the negligence with Katrina could also work.

It's similar to how Saddam will be executed for a teeny-weeny mass murder (hundreds of victims) instead of the full hundreds of thousands. Murder is murder, dead will be dead. I just want Saddam to stay alive until all his misdeeds are put into public record. Killing him too quick may prevent us from finding the full truth (and who else participated).

So too with Bush. He should be impeached for every single sickbag thing he's done. And his dog Cheney too. How the information is revealed will determine whether he'll go out like Nixon or stay in office like Reagan/Bush 41. My feeling tends to Nixon because the horrors were domestic. All Reagan/Bush did in Iran-Contra was dupe congress and fund atrocities abroad. Yawn. Nixon, however, helped cover up for a freakin' burglary. It was pathetic.

However, it's not just that the American people don't particularly mind if a president declares a stupid war but they do care about criminal negligence on these shores. Nixon was impeached because the FBI hated him and kept the heat on, leaking information from the Grand Jury to Woodward and Bernstein, etc. The FBI killed Nixon, the FBI/CIA didn't care about Iran-Contra.

That's why Bush is likely to go down like Nixon - because Bush has tried to destroy the CIA and Bush/Rumsfeld has been abusing the military. Two big institutions with a lot of domestic support (military) and/or access to skeletons (CIA). If the Democrats play this right, they'll get all the info they need from the Army/CIA and Bush will be toast. The Republicans will dump him so they can save 2008.

My prediction of impeachment, now that the Democrats won, is that as soon as the water starts to boil, Cheney will bail. Health reasons, ya know. If we're lucky, he'll go out like Casey. But his early departure can come with a promise of leniency if he names names. He would, too. It's just that he's the top prize, but like Kaiser Sose he'll leave the Meathead In Chief to take the fall.

Anyway, when Cheney leaves, Kaiser Rove will find someone to replace him. At this point, were the GOP to have decency and sanity, they would find a lone Republican with a brain and a heart. Someone untainted by this administration who can plausibly run in 2008 from a position of experience and strength. Any of the putative, moderate, front-runners like McCain or Giuliani. Or someone completely free and clean, like John Danforth. That won't happen. My prediction is that they'll choose Alberto Gonzales.

Yup, Torturin' Al. He'll be chosen because (as seen below) the GOP believes they can purchase respectability by trotting out their token minorities. Who cares if Alberto is a horrible, talentless lackey? What matters is that he is loyal to the Bush Family and can use his skin-color as a get-out-jail-free card.

Once the VP is in place, Bush's impeachment will follow. He may resign before it gets too far. I hope he won't and he actually might not.

Bush's defining characteristic, even more than his staggering stupidity or his lack of any positive moral quality (compassion? no; respect for human dignity? no; generosity? no), is his need to appear strong despite crushing internal weakness. He's a bully; a dumb, rich bully.

Being a dumb rich bully leads to his well documented inability to distinguish between success and failure. Exhibit A: Iraq; B: Katrina; etc. So in the disused piece of meat that is his brain, he may think that sticking through an impeachment hearing will be the strong, manly thing. He'll repeatedly ask "What Would Jesus Do [Were Jesus mean stupid and corrupt]?" and come up with the answer that he wants.

It would be nice to have a successful impeachment after 217 years; to finally set the bar for malfeasance to come.

All this means that we may be looking at a President Gonzales or Rice in a year.

Friday, November 17, 2006

30, Baby!

As reported in the Poughkeepsie Journal: "U.S. Rep. Sue Kelly, R-Katonah, has conceded defeat to her Democratic challenger, John Hall of Dover Plains, in the 19th District race."

This latest win for the Democrats brings their gain in the Midterms to 30 seats. There are 7 still undecided.


I know this seems like a meaningless obsession, but as I've mentioned before on the Styx, Heathcliff (the comic strip cat) should never be confused with any other comic strip animal. The writing team seems to keep up-to-date (which is nice, considering the comics page has actual zombie writers doing Blondie, Hagar, Beetle Bailey etc). But most of all, the comic is unashamed that Heathcliff is a violent, gambling, criminal. A random example from today and from a few days ago:
Parole Officer
Homeland Security

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sabato's Crystal Ball

I gotta say, that Larry Sabato was 100% correct in his predictions of the 2006 midterms. He only made one mistake in 2004 (he said it would be a tie at 269 because he said Florida would go to Kerry) - but it was a biiiiiig mistake. I think he redeemed himself this year.

{2009 Update, pic from here, for same purpose, heh.}

Lott!? No! Yeah?! Ha ha ha ha...

Oh you bet. The GOP, reeling from catastrophic losses in the House and Senate try to change their fortunes, and their image, by selecting a racist Southern greaseball as their #2 in the Senate.

As reported yesterday, Lott succeeds in leadership comeback. He was kicked out two years ago because he, aw shucks, made public statements claiming that the country would be better off if segregationists had won the 1948 presidency.

The quote, from Dec. 5, 2002:
"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either."
Gee, GOP, after running a racist campaign in 2006 - trying to attract the jingoistic wackos by showing the Democrats as allowing miscegenation (Harold Ford & the Bunny), Gay Marriage and for being soft on immigration (which angered Latinos) - you'd think you'd want to win those votes back. Hard to do with a white-sheeter as your number 2.

As Robert George (the Caribbean-American conservative blogger, not the Princeton professor) said:
"There's something painfully ironic about Trent Lott being named 'minority whip'."
{2009 Update, pic from here.}

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The World of Jimmy Carter

Backpost, but I'm keeping the original post-date because it's not so relevant to us in '08. 8/1/2008

This review of Carter's book from "The American Thinker" is too good to excerpt. Read the whole she-bang:
The World According to Jimmy Carter
November 14th, 2006

A review of: Jimmy Carter, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid (Simon & Schuster, November 2006)

It is not difficult to understand why Democrats wanted the publication of Jimmy Carter’s slim new book (216 pages of text, large print and no footnotes), with its tendentious title and its superficial analysis, delayed until today, a week after the election. The anti-Israel bias is so clear, the credulous description of Arab positions so cringe-producing, the key “facts” on which Carter relies so easily refuted by public documents, that the book is an embarrassment to Carter, the Democrats, the presidency and Americans.

It is hard to decide which is more discomforting—what Carter put in or what he left out. Let’s start with his own words, and let him speak for himself, and then note what no knowledgeable observer of the Middle East could have ingenuously omitted.

Carter says he paid his first visit to Israel in June 1973 (when he was privately “planning a future role as president”), and he devotes an entire chapter to it. The trip “formed most of my lasting impressions of Israel”—and they do not seem to have been good ones.

On his trip, he traveled “along the paths of Jesus” around the Sea of Galilee and found that:
“It was especially interesting to visit with some of the few surviving Samaritans, who complained to us that their holy sites and culture were not being respected by Israeli authorities – the same complaint heard by Jesus and his disciples almost two thousand years earlier.”
He describes his visit to several kibbutzim and finds that Israel fails his religious test again (at least on one kibbutz):
“The next morning was the Sabbath, and at the appointed time we entered the synagogue, said a silent prayer, and then stood quietly just inside the door. Only two other worshippers appeared. When I asked if this was typical, [the guide] gave a wry smile and shrugged his shoulders as if it was not important either way.”
Later on the trip, when asked to participate in a graduation ceremony at an IDF training camp, Carter helps by presenting a Hebrew bible to each graduate,
“which was one of the few indications of a religious commitment that I observed during our visit.”
Carter states that he has
“to admit that, at the time, I equated the ejection of Palestinians from their previous homes within the State of Israel to the forcing of Lower Creek Indians from the Georgia land where our family farm was now located.”
(So far as the book indicates, he apparently has no plans to give any portion of his farm back).

At the end of his visit, he meets with Prime Minister Golda Meir and when asked to share his observations, responds to her as follows.
“I said that I had long taught lessons from the Hebrew Scriptures and that a common historical pattern was that Israel was punished whenever the leaders turned away from devout worship of God. I asked if she was concerned about the secular nature of her Labor government.”

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hawk & Dove

Honey Buzzard (found in Israel)These terms are used in politics to describe those who want tough foreign policy ('hawks') and those who, uh, don't ('doves'). Since I am clearly a hawk, I don't actually understand how doves think, but that's OK, because hawks are considered bloodthirsty bandits by the doves and doves are considered cowardly and stupid by hawks.

Whenever you have a stark debate like this, the titles and terms are created by the partisans and used by everyone and make both sides sound pretty good. An example is in the abortion debate where the sides are called (by themselves first and then everyone got used to it): pro-life & pro-choice.

What I propose is that we force both sides to drop the euphemisms and be called by the terms the other side uses (or at least from an objective perspective). So pro-choice would be renamed "the Baby Butchers" and pro-life would be "pro-rape & incest" (or something like that).

Turkey Vulture (found in Bugs Bunny cartoons)
A buzzard is actually part of the hawk family (when most people think 'buzzard' they actually visualize a vulture... they're different animals).When it comes to hawk & dove, I propose that we use better birds - buzzard & chicken.

Buzzards feed on corpses & carnage - exactly what doves think about hawks.

And hawks think doves are chicken.

About the Standing O

The story of the Lieberman Standing Ovation was posted on the Talking Points Memo Cafe and naturally there were bitter whiny comments about Lieberman, the Democrats, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. I think. Anyway, here is my response:
First of all, because it bears repeating: yay we won!!

Second of all, after we noticed we won, the two sides of the Democratic party tried to claim the credit. The two sides don't really agree that much and given a chance would destroy the other.

This Democratic party civil war can be seen in three examples:

1. Rahm vs. Netroots
2. Dean vs. Ford
3. Lieberman vs. Lamont

1. Rahm vs. Netroots - who gets credit? The answer is both, but the partisans on either side (Right Wing Democrats, RWD, say Rahm, Left Wing Democrats, LWD, say the Netroots) try to exclude the other as a matter of rheroric and positioning.

2. Dean vs. Ford - who should be the head of the DNC? When replacing Dean with Harold Ford Jr. was brought up on the New Republic blog I saw some vicious comments about Ford from, what I assume are, LWD who know that attacking Dean is attacking them.

3. Lieberman vs. Lamont. The biggie. Lieberman has been demonized to a level that I've only seen applied to the State of Israel. He's accused of being a closet Republican and in favor of rape, among other things. To RWD, he's a hero. To LWD he's the devil.

To many of the congressional leaders, the Lamont/Lieberman battle was the civil war of the Democratic party writ large and they were quite worried about the outcome. I would assume that if Lamont had won he too would have received a standing-O because he embodies the LWD. Either way, the senators would be clapping for the wing of the Democratic party that became ascendant.

I'm not sure what to do about the civil war in the Democratic party. I don't see it going away and I hope we can attack the real enemies (Bush, Cheney) and not our own party-members… then again, I think the Lamont-Democrats, in their demonizing of Lieberman, don't think that the Right Wing Democrats really *are* in the party, so that allows the LWD to attack attack attack. Sigh.
As a postscript for the Styx: I do think that the 2006 election may have been the death-knell for two political movements:

(1) the Regan Democrats who left for the GOP in 1980 (and re-solidified in 1994) have now returned. Thus endeth the Reagan Revolution (and the Gingrich Burp)

(2) the McGovern Democrats who ruled the party since 1968 have now been routed. They were defeated on the fields of Connecticut and buried by the massive moderate vote-tally in this midterm election.

Both are very good signs for Moderate Democrats like myself. Long live Truman, JFK, Scoop Jackson, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Joe Lieberman.

Senate Democrats give Lieberman standing ovation

From the CNN Political Ticker:
Senate Democrats give Lieberman standing ovation

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who bolted the Democratic party after losing a primary election this year to run as an independent, won a standing ovation at a closed meeting of all Senate Democrats Tuesday.
The Senate Democrats know the score.

Gates, Giuliani

The body of a letter I sent to TPM:

About the Gates nomination, I agree with your readers, especially this line:
I think the "use nomination hearings as a bully pulpit" logic shows that the Democrats are still thinking like a minority party. They got the subpoena power, they got the committees, they can open any can of worms any they want to and don't have to snipe at the Administration from the bushes.
Gates and to a larger extent Diamond Jimmy Baker are signs not only that GHW Bush is exerting his influence but more likely the Republican patricians who watched the wacko bomb-throwers take over the party in 1994 and then drive the party off a cliff in just over a decade.

Its possible that Bush Sr. and the GOP patricians are trying to save the party in the next two years by playing out the coming scandals like they did Iran Contra - as opposed to the Bush Jr./Cheney methods which would in all likelihood lead to another Nixon.

About Giuliani: You ask:
do we really have to pretend that Rudy Giuliani has more than a snowball's chance in hell of getting the Republican presidential nomination.
You're right, as shown by the anti-Giuliani rhetoric on the red-blogs, that he has no chance. But he may be running in order to get back into the political ring (which he left completely in 2001) and to enter national politics for the first time. He's 62 (two years older than Clinton & Bush Jr) and may be hoping to get the VP nomination or even just Attorney General in the next GOP administration.

Yet, naturally, as a Democrat, I'm pretty frightened of a McCain-Giuliani ticket.

Backpost finished 2009-12-14.

Go Princeton: The Times on Raanan Agus

A wonderful, glowing story on a Princeton chum (and former congregant) Raanan Agus in today's Business NYT. Key quotes:
But while his predecessors have gone on to claim their greater renown, as well as wealth, Mr. Agus has done all in his power to keep a lid on his public profile. Mr. Agus declined several requests for an interview, and he asked his personal friends as well as his professional acquaintances outside of Goldman not to speak about him....

Of Mr. Agus, "he is a very private man," was all that Joseph H. Lookstein, the rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, an orthodox synagogue on the Upper East Side where Mr. Agus is a trustee, would say....

A Princeton graduate, with a joint law and business degree from Columbia, Mr. Agus, who is 39, also spent a year at Yeshivat Har Etzion, a large yeshiva in Israel where students engage in religious study. He joined Goldman in 1993 and by 2000 he had become partner, a rapid though not unprecedented ascent....

Described by all who know him as exceedingly modest, Mr. Agus’s choice of cars has become a standing joke on Goldman’s trading floor. The group he heads comprises 75 professionals.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Novak Agrees with Me?!?!

Whoa. After I wrote the post below about dumb people being a major voting bloc for the GOP - which I meant as a joke - I read this from Robert "DB" Novak hisself:
For good reason, the GOP often is called 'the stupid party.'

{2009 update, pic from here.}

Totten Scaring the Bajeepers Outa Me

Michael Totten, as far as I've seen, the best journalist covering Israel/Lebanon Relations. He's a native English speaker who knows and likes both countries. And he gets real news, real facts, and takes real pictures. I've mentioned all this before.

His most recent blog entry, entitled A Perfect Storm? has this scary quote:
Meanwhile, a group that calls itself “Al Qaeda in Lebanon” appeared from Lord-only-knows-where and directly threatened to destroy the March 14 government. “Al Qaeda in Lebanon” may or may not exist as a wing of bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. If they do, they’re serious. If they don’t, they’re a Syrian proxy. Either way, it doesn’t look good. This is not a prank phone call.

Clinton, Nixon and Bush

In the modern era we have two bars set for impeachment. The high bar is Nixon. He obstructed justice, he stole an election, and when he found that his staff was caught breaking and entering Democratic HQ in the Water-something hotel, he covered it up. Investigations went on for months and finally Nixon resigned because Barry Goldwater (Senator from Arizona) told Tricky Dick that impeachment was inevitable.

The low bar is Clinton. After years of flagrantly flaunting his Billclintonness, going so far as to marry the most evil person on earth, Hillary Satan. He was caught red-handed being not guilty of shady land deals in Whitewater. He was caught red-handed getting a haircut, or something like that. But worst of all, he was a sitting Democratic president when a ravenous bunch of Reaganite pod-people, led by some guy named Newt and then a soon-to-be convict named Tom DeLay, took over Congress. Since 1994 they tried to crush the Democratic party and started with the best president since Truman. Ultimately, the multitude of special prosecutors caught him lying about an affair he had with a White House intern. As I said, the low water mark.

In between those two marks we had Reagan & Bush escaping culpability for Iran-Contra - and I still don't understand how…

Anyway, where will Bush be? It's infuriating that Bush gets away with stuff that Clinton was pilloried for. Every and any little thing was flung at Clinton - mainly through a structural consanguinity between the Gingrich crew and trash journalism (which grew in size and strength in the 90s). But Bush escapes through the combination of a vigorous right-wing pundit machine and a national press cowed by 9/11.

In any case, Bush & Crew have been operating under a veil of secrecy and lies for the past 6 years. It was Nixonian in design and scope because it was created by two of the lowest and meanest of the Nixon crew: Rumsfeld and Cheney. Instead of learning that being Nixon-like is wrong, those dogs learned that Nixon just wasn't Nixony enough. So they sought out Karl Rove to find them a meathead they could pound into shape to be an Uber-Nixon - a Chief of Executive Power.

Bush Jr. was a perfect meathead because he is both a dumb dumb man and a religious fundamentalist (two important GOP voting blocs).

I keep reading these fluff pieces in the press about how the Democrats need to plan a moderate agenda of legislation and blah-blah if they hope to win the presidency in 2008. Gridlock is bad to these press pundits (yeah, the same nobodies who let Bush destroy the country… literally destroy, mind you).

Legislation? Gridlock? Huh?! The Democrats, if they know what's good for them and the country, will grab a ten-foot flashlight and ram it down Bush's corrupt throat! Oversight, investigate, uncover! The veil of secrecy and lies is fragile and will come crashing down. Who needs legislation?

If the investigations make public what I've been reading online for the past few years (but, because of press collusion has not made it to the TV viewers) then Bush's approval ratings (which are already at an average of 38%) will plummet.

And, even with this horrible, ossified, desiccated, deracinated, moronic press corps will be able to state clearly the crimes of this administration. And it may even convince the majority of the population that Bush did something worse than history's greatest monster's husband, Bill.

{2009 Update, stat photo from here.}

Fla. Senator Mel Martinez to chair RNC

They just announced: Fla. Senator Mel Martinez to chair RNC. If you recall, Maryland Lt. Gov, and loser, Michael Steele was thought to be the front-runner for this post. The Republicans chose a Hispanic (Cuban) over the African-American (again, har) but all part of the same effort to create a bigger tent for the GOP.

Considering the despicable race-baiting of this past election, I would think that it takes more than a few token hues to change public perception. I don't know many Blacks who respect Clarence Thomas or Condaleeza Rice; they see them as the talentless sellouts that they are.

This type of myopia is found on both sides. Ya see, back in 2004, liberal Democrats wanted a candidate that would appeal to Republicans. Because the most extreme of either party vote in the primaries, the moderate candidates favored by the majority of the country do not get as many votes as the shameless partisans. The liberal Democrats want liberal candidates but since they also wanted someone who would appeal to 'swing voters' they selected John Kerry. To real moderates, like myself, Kerry is a too-liberal pusillanimous SOB. Only a partisan liberal would think that since Kerry had a war-record that made him a moderate!

So too with Republicans. As Howard Dean quipped, it's largely the rich white Christian party. Suuure, there are Jews and other minorities in there, as the Wiki notes: "In the 2006 House races, whites voted 51% for Republican candidates, Blacks voted only 10% GOP, Latinos 30% and Asians 37%"

So when the GOP leaders look for minority Republican candidates or figureheads, they choose abnormal examples of the population - and often as tokens. So Kerry is as much a 'moderate' as Clarence Thomas is a spokesman for the African American sensibility.

Anyway, all that aside, Mel Martinez as head of the RNC. Goodie. If you recall, when I was predicting who the Rove-Chosen candidate for 2008 would be I put Martinez on the top of the list because he's a Bush Family surrogate. Since then, I've learned that he's a real winner: he's implicated in the growing Abramoff scandal *and* he was the dude who encouraged the Terry Schiavo intervention.

He is precisely the face I personally want for the GOP: (1) a Bush crony, (2) token minority to offend the rest of the under-represented, (3) corrupt, and (4) in lockstep with the Fundamentalist Wackos.

Guttman Follow-Up

The Augean Stables is a good pro-Israel academic blog (which has one of the best blog names this side of the Styx).

Here's his rather detailed take on the hack, President of Penn (and Good Witch) Amy Guttman.

P.S. Guttman seems to suffer from Martha Stewart syndrome - if you make too many enemies on the way up, they won't help you on the way down.

Martin Peretz on US-Israel Relations in Bush Part III

Martin Peretz, the publisher (and owner) of The New Republic actively maintains one of the only must-read sources journalism/commentary for anyone who claims to be moderate (center-left or center-right). His daily blog, the Spine, is the tip of the New Republic's spearpoint. And, as should be true for all thinking moderates, he is profoundly pro-Israel.

Today's Spine has a comment about the Bush administration's potential turn-away from Israel after the midterm election. Personally, I label this period Bush III because it is a combination of the anti-Israel Bush Sr. and the apocalyptic Bush Jr.

A great line from Peretz about the history of US-Israel relations:
"Israel ... ever since its founding, has had--with the exceptions of the Eisenhower, Carter, and first Bush administration--more or less continuous diplomatic and military support [from the US]."
Eisenhower is before my time, but I always felt that Carter and Bush Sr. were the worst modern presidents for Israel with Clinton, Reagan, and Bush Jr. as the best.

{2009 Update: Peretz pic from here}

Not Only Me

It appears that I'm not the only one who thinks Jonah Goldberg is an idiot. Isaiah Berlin has my back (from Andrew Sullivan ):
"'Evil is rarely defeated by people who are unsure they are right,'
- Jonah Goldberg, on conservatism of doubt.

'To realise the relative validity of one’s convictions’, said an admirable writer of our time, ‘and yet stand for them unflinchingly is what distinguishes a civilized man from a barbarian.'
- Isaiah Berlin, 'Two Concepts of Liberty.'"
{2009 Update: Pic from here.}

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jonah Goldberg

A friend of mine has compared my writing style and attitude to Jonah Goldberg (of the National Review). I am flattered but there is way too much to dislike about JG for me to consider it a compliment anymore. Goldberg -- and any Republican journalist who has defended this administration and this (past, yihoo) Congress -- is worthless. Even in 2004, the smarter and more honest Republicans realized how horrible things were, but as I am a generous man I can understand why and how some Republicans wanted to stick with Bush (a.k.a. Kerry?!? Barf).

However, the only people who still support the President and this Congress are either (a) being paid by the GOP (b) intellectually dishonest, (c) ideologically blind, or (d) stupid. All four possibilities make people like Jonah Goldberg worthless.

And then I saw the cover of his upcoming book. It's one of those "Liberals Are So Mean" books that the GOP Press Machine spews out. But the cover?! A disgrace:

Hillary is Hitler, no doubt. And Jonah, if he had any choice in this cover, is scum.

Update Here's the book at Amazon, if you want to verify my claim