October 29, 2004
i seen real journalists do thisI've got a pretty firm rule about wasting words on useless information about a certain amateur writey guy's personal life, but I would like to actually construct a comparison between something that happened to me and the real world. I think they call this a "metaphor". "They". Heh.
Somehow, within ten minutes of being awake, I managed to close my thumb in the door of my vehicle. I tried to pull my thumb out, but realized that discretion was probably the better part of valor as far as that's concerned, as the door and the frame of the vehicle had a pretty good grip on my thumb. I then tried to open the door, but it had locked upon closing. And the keys were deep in the front pocket of my jeans, on the same side as the hand that was immobilized by my vehicle. By now, I had realized that: a) the duration of my thumb being stuck in the door of my vehicle was not going to be as short as I had hoped; and b) the by-product of having my thumb stuck in the door of my vehicle is copious amounts of pain.
That was my little learning experience this morning.
So, now, let's imagine that I am the President, and my thumb is the Armed Forces of the nation of which I am President, and the door of my vehicle, or at least the junction of the door and the door frame, is Iraq. Let's not concern ourselves with how my Armed Forces got stuck in Iraq, other than to say that, whether my intelligence was accurate or not, it was never my intention to get my Armed Forces stuck in Iraq. I just kind of shut Iraq without thinking, and then, wham, there's my Armed Forces, stuck.
The question before us is: how do I (the President) get my thumb (the Armed Forces) out of the door of my vehicle (Iraq)? Let's run this through a few times, changing the variable of me (the President) to equal our candidates this Tuesday.
An obvious (and instinctive) solution is to just rip my Armed Forces out as quickly as possible. We will call this the Nader option, because I am still fond of Kucinich. Under the Nader Option, the Armed Forces will most certainly be removed from Iraq, following a small bout of effort. Unfortunately, given the tightness of the hold of Iraq on the Armed Forces, a certain portion of the Armed Forces will certainly be left in Iraq -- little pieces, let's say.  This does not make the President happy, as the I would like to proceed through life with the continued use of my Armed Forces.
Now let's try counter-intuition, or, the Incumbent Option. In short, I'd like my Armed Forces out of Iraq, so I'm going to leave my Armed Forces in Iraq until Iraq lets go of my Armed Forces.  There is a certain simplicity to this, as it requires no effort -- only will. Unfortunately, Iraq is actually made of unyielding metal, and the only way that it will let go of the poor flesh-and-blood Armed Forces is if the Iraq rusts and disintegrates into nothingness. And then there is the Incumbent Suboption -- beat Iraq into submission. A crowbar (or, for the purposes of the "metaphor", aerial bombardment) could convince Iraq to let go of the Armed Forces, but, unfortunately, aerial bombardment would also probably ruin the paint job of Iraq. This has proved to be okay with the Incumbent. Which makes him what they call a "murderer".
The final option we'll discuss it what we'll call the Obvious Option. Clearly, what's going to open up Iraq without damaging Iraq is the key to Iraq (which we'll call the Allies). The Allies will open up that Iraq in a flash, and then the Armed Forces will be free and available for elementary first aid. The Obvious Option is to find a way, through assistance or laborious contortion, to coax the Allies out of your jeans pocket and into the lock of Iraq. The Armed Forces then are released, Iraq is unscathed, and the Allies feel useful for a change.
I am, of course, ignoring other, more specialized options, like the Deep South Option (I say we just bomb the whole Iraq) and the Pundit Option (by not supporting the Armed Forces you are comforting the enemy). Which is good and right, as such option are stupid.
I hope that this little "metaphor" has been illuminative, though I probably wouldn't talk about it on Meet The Press if I were you. Maybe Crossfire. And, for the record, the Obvious Option is most efficacious (contortion in lieu of assistance), and my Armed Forces will be fine in a few days once the swelling goes down.
PS: I'm sorry, people of Iraq, to compare you to the door of my vehicle. Be assured that my vehicle is a great vehicle, and I would not compare its door to a people's nation lightly.
Posted by mrbrent at 4:57 PM
because you love hearing things 67 timesI'm not sure what the mood is out there in wherever-you-are land, but, let me confirm to you that my confederates in and around the "Williamsburg" area of Brooklyn, NY, are as excited as I've ever seen a bunch of people. Everybody can't wait. There is no guarantee of outcome on Tuesday -- in fact, conventional wisdom is as all over the map as the polls are. Tuesday may bring the novelty of a clear-cut President, or another series of legal battles, or riots or just plain jumping up and down. But the people I know have never cared more, they've never volunteered more, they've never donated more money... it's hard to paint a clear enough pitchah. The people are workin it out for themselves.
Whatever happens next week, some muscles were flexed, and they will continue to be flexed in the months and years to come, in ways discrete and profound.
I know, I know, this rah-rah shit isn't so entertaining, but it's damn sight better than what you're getting from the other side, where there is no threat to the incumbency that cannot be reatroactively spirited into Syria by the Russians.
Be roused: here. Unlikely is the new likely.
Posted by mrbrent at 12:01 PM
October 28, 2004
stop the pressesI really do love me that Yahoo newsbox, or whatever you want to call the container of headlines on the right-hand side of the Yahoo main page, that curious little box that I'm sure is the sole information source for too many Americans. Sometimes, it brings the bad news, sometimes it brings the good news, and sometimes -- holy bajoley!
• Daylight-saving time ends on Sunday
Posted by mrbrent at 5:16 PM
you make me very proud, and evilThis morning, I would like to congratulate the American electorate on winning the war on pollsters. Over the past twelve months, the electorate has risen to the challenge of misdirecting and lying to every polling organization that comes within twenty-five yards of it. It was thought that the profession of polling was over and done when respondents began only answering questions with either "Unh unh" or "Mmmmmaybe". But that was just the beginning of a long and deceitful road ending in the tears of John Zogby and James Earl Gallup. Now, any prospective answer to a pollster question has a 47% chance of being an utter fabrication (among LV, with a 4% EOM).
Why, just look at the polls this morning. Some have Bush up, some have Kerry up, and two have Teddy Roosevelt pulling even among voters too old to drive but not too old to vote. Billy clubs are gaining fast on rubber bullets as Florida voters approach the polls. And CNN is reporting that, in PA, Bush is leading at the half, but no mere politician can withstand the fury of the Philadelphia Eagles.
On Tuesday, we're putting the "fun" back into Election Day. Or, into Election Day for the first time.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:55 AM
October 27, 2004
somewhere, an editor is firedThumbing through this week's Onion, I saw a full page ad for a new book by Mo Rocca.
Boy, that looks funny.
Posted by mrbrent at 10:04 PM
how to ruin a perfectly shitty day at workI don't know if anyone else spends weekday time on the Internets, but my afternoon just about exploded into paroxysms of panic and conservatism when I saw this.
It took every ounce of self-control and professionalism for me not to leave me desk right then and find some place to vote for George W. Bush! I wasn't about to let some dirty hippie ter'rist influence my vote! You say you hate the President, al Kakaki scum? Fine! I'll just go and vote for this Bush guy you hate so much! That'll show ya!
Face it: exercise your voting rights under a representative democracy... and the ter'rists have won.
Hell, entertain a single creative thought not bourne of fear and dread... and the ter'rists have won.
Maybe we should just go ahead and say the terrorists have won, and then worry about game two?
Until then, I'm looking forward to a series of further li'l October Surprises every day from now 'til Tuesday. Because that's the best the motherfuckers can manage.
Posted by mrbrent at 5:38 PM
October 26, 2004
linking is for when there is no writingTwo issues raised today that made me say, "Hmmmmm", as we used to say back before catalytic converters.
The first one has been batted back and forth in the amatuer writey echo chamber, but I hope it does get reported, and maybe even investigative reported. Nutshell: default e-mail fuck-up lands evidence of FL vote supression in hands of wacky comedy site -- as reported by Greg Palast [via kos]. It's a e-mail smoking gun, in the age of the e-Smoking Gun, and the perps should eventually serve jail terms, so that their children may forever know that their parents are disgraces to their names, as they are pernicious fuckwit criminals willing to deprive an American of their vote. Dred Scott this, mo-fuckeys.
The second one, which I have not seen bounced at all, is Iraqi interim PM Allawi's response to the targeted massacre of 50 Iraqi soldiers on their way home from a training camp: it was the Coalition's negligence. This is only a holy shit moment in light of Allawi's performance as a ventriloquist's dummy when he visited the US some weeks ago, reading speeches written for him by Bush-Cheney 04 (or at least so it seemed). Considering such world class water-carrying, a mild verbal slap at the Coalition becomes a discreet betrayal seven days before the election, and we know how the Administration deals with that.
By Karl Rove whispering to reporters that you're a pederast.
In my perfect world, both stories would be somewhere above the fold in tomorrow's dailies. Of course, in this actual world, I'll have to settle for "BUSH, KERRY TRADE CAMPAIGN BARBS" or some other vague nonsense.
Posted by mrbrent at 5:25 PM
too late for teaUnfortunate juxtaposition in the Yahoo! headlines box, 10/26/04, 3:23 pm EST:
• Cheney campaigns with ex-N.Y. Mayor Koch
• Scientists say tea may delay Alzheimer's
No overt connection, just a little zeitgiest leaking through.
Posted by mrbrent at 3:22 PM
the devils i knowThis morning, I have decided, will be spent pining for the relative benevolence of Richard Nixon. Ahh, how I miss the social conscience of Richard Nixon! And how I prefer his casual drunken anti-Semitism to dry-drunk righteous unilateral invasions of Iraq! Now there was a President who truly cared about the welfare of the American people!
Tomorrow morning: the late, great do-gooder Roy Cohn.
Posted by mrbrent at 12:17 PM
October 25, 2004
breslin owns youI always forget, or, I guess, I rarely remember, to check up on Jimmy Breslin. He's a columnist for NY Newsday, which is a paper I haven't read regularly since President Bush both a fuck-up and a drunk, so I'm not always checking up on Breslin.
Which is a shame, because he's forgotten more about writing a sentence than I'll ever know. And, frequently, he's dead on the money.
A general index page is here. Please, have some.
Posted by mrbrent at 6:19 PM
in the way way ten days ago backAgain, to ask questions that maybe people smarter than I know the answer to:
Did anyone ever ask Dick Cheney if he now remembers meeting John Edwards?
Also, did anyone ever ask the President why he lied about having said that he was not worried about Bin Laden?
I know, all this stuff happened more than two days ago, so who can blame the press corps for falling down on the job, especially now that Mary Cheney is a lesbian.
I never tire of these rhetorical questions! Unlike you, dear readers.
Posted by mrbrent at 4:42 PM
enightened self-interestI was all excited to get to a machine and get all writey and mad about this wackadoo tax handout signed into law by the President while in midair on Airforce One yesterday. Just because that's not ordinarily how bills are signed into law. At least from what I learned watching Saturday morning cartoons.
And it was a big handout, too -- 136 billion dollars in tax breaks to multinational corporations, manufacturers and some tobacco farmers. Basically, if this would be applied to the population of humans instead of our business entity citizenry, it amounts to $460 per American. No, not per American taxpayer, per actual American, including babies and old folk and even the batshit militia folk who don’t pay taxes because this is a democracy, God dammit, and Thomas Jefferson’d just as soon as shoot out your eyes than pay no black helicopter supportin tax. It’s even $460 per those folk.
It may seem odd that the President would sign a major piece of tax legislation on the Sunday nine days prior to the election, but I prefer to see it as a sign of bravery. Instead of a pompous ceremony, touting to the mulitnationals and tobacco farmers of America (whose vote is just as important as that of your average social worker or high school lunch room monitor) the benefits that this historic tax break would bring, the President chose to forego the obvious advantage of incumbency by, well, trying to hide the fact that he signed this compassionate and conservative legislation.
But then the wind got taken out of my sails, as those people who work with sails say, when I blew in to the Dayjob Archipelago and found an email from the boss -- a lifelong liberal Democrat, mind you -- copying an article from an industry rag describing the benefits this new bill will bring to our industry. And asking for a copy of the legislation.
So now I am not excited. It's fun to think of the boss as an asshole, but, then again, it does kind of bring home that the civic goodwill of the average American -- and even unaverage Americans like my millionaire boss -- is undone by greed in, what, a heartbeat? A fast heartbeat?
And with that, let's start the workweek!
Posted by mrbrent at 10:05 AM