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February 16, 2007

lieberman is a lying poopy-head

In the Senate's debate over the debate over which elements of the Iraq occupation to debate, Sen Lieberman decided to dust off that moldy old statesman act that made him so beloved by the Republicans of Connecticut.  Thanks to my gainful employment, I did not get to hear these remarks, but they are transcripted here by the ever-diligent TPM.  The short version -- let's agree to disagree, but to interfere with the president's plan would invite a Constitutional crisis.

I'd like to excerpt one sentence and take some exception.  Which is not to say that I don't take exception with other sentences, or even the senator himself -- I just think this one particular sentence asks for a little reasoned contemplation:

But at this difficult juncture, at this moment when a real battle, a critical battle is being waged in Baghdad, as we face a brutal enemy who attacked us on 9/11 and wants to do it again, let us not just shout at one another, but let us reach out to one another to find that measure of unity that can look beyond today’s disagreements and secure the nation’s future and the future of all who will follow us as Americans.  [Emphasis mine, and hopefully ubiquitous.]

The senator's sentiment concerning who is being fought in Baghdad is the reason that stupid people everywhere find it unbelievable that anyone could oppose this occupation.  In Baghdad, we simply are in no way engaging with anyone who attacked us on 9-11.  In a literal sense, the prospect of fighting those who attacked us on 9-11 would be very spooky indeed, as they are all dead, and I'm not sure what the USMC protocol is for fighting zombies.  And in the metonymous sense, it's still spooky, because apparently an absolute ignorance of reality is not a disqualification for membership in the U.S. Senate.

The only way that any of the various insurgents in Iraq may be related to "those who attacked us on 9-11" is that some of them (very few, by numbers) might have a poster of bin Laden on their bedroom walls.  Of the various Sunni and Shiite factions that have at some point or other laid a bomb or opened fire, ain't none of them tied to Al Qaida.  And no, I don't offer a link to back up my assertion, but, then again I'm not going to offer a link that the earth revolves around the sun, either.

The meme borrowed by Sen Lieberman is sophistry at its most feckless -- a fundamental mistruth tarted up to look like something a smart person might say.  It preys on the ignorant American belief in the equivalency of anyone wearing a turban and the refusal to understand that, even in a hot and sandy country, there is drastic factionalism and glaring differences between ethnic and religious subgroups.  Hey, just like Protestants, no duh!

We've had four years to call bullshit on this vicious little lie, and it still hasn't stuck.  So, please pull the soapboxes out of the utility closet and lock your favorite strawman in the crosshairs.  It's a long weekend.  Have some fun with it.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:19 PM

yes, there are at least six or seven horsemen now

I'd like to bring this to your attention.  While we here in NYC are all bent out of shape because alternate-side parking was not suspended during this most recent winter weather event, we actually got off pretty easy.  About a hundred miles to our west, fifty miles of Interstate 78 turned into a parking lot for a day or so.  Like, literally.  Like, people, stuck in their cars, for twelve, eighteen, even twenty-four hours.

As far as traffic/weather events go, this is a new one for me.  And I've lived in some pretty winter weather-intense locales , so, I was under the impression that there were no traffic/weather events that I hadn't yet witnessed.

(Oddly, not three weeks ago, I was stuck on the same roadway for two hours during a light snow.  The only discernable reason for the gridlock was that the long-haulers got spooked by the white stuff.)

So, if worrying about global warming, thermonuclear exchanges, Avian flu, the Singularity, etc. is not enough to keep you up at night, give some thought to our newest Horseman of the Apocalypse -- infrastructure failure.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:29 PM

February 15, 2007

try not to get anything too close to their noses

This may be common knowledge, but I a) live in NYC, and b) work in the entertainment industries.  Occasionally, I am forced have the opportunity to clean myself up and go to some swanky venue with Gotham's best and the brightest -- cocktails and conversation, just like in the movies, with jewelry flashing and Blahniks shuffling and a lot of people with impossibly good teeth.  Obviously, this is exactly (exactly!) what I was imagining, back in high school, that I would be doing at this point in my life, so I should be careful about complaining.

But, between you and me, I do not always enjoy these evenings, no.

Now you tell me something about you.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:22 PM

half-hour news hour

This is sweeping the Internets like wildfire.  A very, very unfunny wildfire.  Somehow a clip of Fox News' upcoming blatant rip -off of "The Daily Show" has been released, and, damn, it's a big craptacular piece of crap.  (You make take a look at this link here, and practically everywhere else online.)  How not funny is it?  It's about as not funny as saying, "I need to wash my eyeballs with bleach," or, "I just threw up a little in my mouth."  Actually, I'd say that it's even less funny than any hackneyed idiom you may run across in your local free weekly, as hard as that may be to believe.

Basically (yes, Doug Giles, free advice!), cynical is funny, because it involves observation and synthesis of real-world events.  Smug, however, is not funny, because it only involves calling the people you feel superior to "poopy-head".  Which is generally not funny, though we do need to make allowances for absurdism, etc.  So while your buds may indeed crack up when you rail on the feminazis, or remark that Barack Obama has the same initials as Body Odor, this does not necessarily make you funny -- it makes you a small, petty little poopy-head.

At least Fox News will now be able to further rationalize a liberal bias against it based on the disastrous response to its little show.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:33 AM

February 14, 2007

this week, house is all the way over there

I laugh out loud a lot less than you'd think.  (No devastating reason for that.  Natural deadpan.)  So when I do laugh out loud, I start indiscriminately linking.

As of 2/14/07 1:52pm, this post from Monk is the funniest thing I've read/heard/seen all week.

I do love me some "House", though, I must say.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:51 PM

happy valentine's day

It came to me walking home from work last night.  Nothing gets me into the Valentine's mood better than homes that are decorated for Valentine's Day.  Strings of red lights, electric cupids, neon blinking hearts -- that's about the most romantic shit imagineable.  Face it: if you do not decorate your home in a Valentine's fashion (such decorations are available, oh, everywhere, starting in October), then not only are you markedly un-American, you are also probably unfaithful to your spouse.

Also, keep in mind that this holiday is a Darwinized version of the Feast of St Valentine, a martyred Roman we know litle about, so it's got the Pope's pudgy fingerprints all over it.

Pooooooooope!

Posted by mrbrent at 10:26 AM

February 13, 2007

iran so far away

I've been trying to find a non-Iran topic of interest for myself today.  I'm failing miserably.  (Sure, there was that bit about dead celebrity what's-her-name and newshole consumption, but, if I feel like I'm gonna be racing Gawker, then what's the point?)  So, here are a sprinkling of links for your further reading and edification on the topic of Why Our Gommint Is Stupid Over Iraq.

First, this brief essay by a civilian DoD intel officer with Middle East experience is demonstrative of a theme that keeps popping up in commentary concerning the prospects of the administration committing to something catastrophic in Iran -- namely, that the administration is stupid and crazy enough to do it.

And Glenn Greenwald takes the temperature of the righty blogosphere and finds it just dripping with the moral high ground, as they advocate an invasion of Iran by a legion of American James Bonds, making with the murderizing of Iranian leaders and scientists while Ayatollahs everywhere wonder what's happening.  Because I guess that's what Jesus would do, right?

I remember quite clearly post 9-11 that Iran was making overtures to normalize relations with the US, after having cooperating with the administration with regard to investigating the attacks.  Our government, of course, flatly refused -- the "Bush Doctrine" is all about keeping our friends alienated and our enemies even more so.

Hopefully Doug Giles will write something about this so we can all have a good larf at his barely literate expense.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:08 PM

February 12, 2007

the replacements was a terrible name for a movie not about music

I'm sure we'll all disagree about this.  But of all the compilation, anthology and tribute albums, the recent "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was" is pretty much hands down the most irreplaceable post-demise Replacements album.

Why?  The inclusion of Twin/Tone material.  Like that part on "I Will Dare" where the mandolin comes in?  Or, "This is the Minneapolis police, the party's over."  You know this already, or, you will soon.

Though the exclusion of "Seen Your Video", that's a soft little shame right there.  For those of us of a certain age, "Seen Your Video" is three or four years distilled into a little song.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:56 PM

war with iran

Last night I was asked if I really think that we will attack Iran shortly.  I had to think about that one.  My gut instinct is, "No, because only bad things would come from it, though some folks really want to."  But then again my gut said that no one would be stupid enough to invade Iraq, reelect the president, etc.  And obviously, the Cheney micropresidency is all hepped up to do this for some unknowable reason, even though it would solidify global anti-American sentiment, even though Iran wouldn't exactly roll over like the depleted armed forces of Iraq did.  So, for those of us with no influences but our voices, it's time to kickstart the echo chamber and fill the screen with opposition.

Like this.  Maybe you've noticed the stovepiped intel that Iran is arming Iraqi insurgents being pushed in certain newspapers with chummy DoD contacts.  On the face of it, it seems to be the smoking gun (or at least the initial smoking gun) that the administration is seeking to rationalize military action.  Below please find the response to drive a stake through the heart of this transparent rationale:

... the numbers just don't add up.  Because the Iranians would be giving them to Shi'a militias and our soldiers who are getting killed by IEDs are still being killed overwhelmingly by Sunni insurgents.

So please repeat this to all the strawmen you run across in the course of your days.

(Please also take into consideration adding that, if we were to attack every country that has manufactured a weapon used by the insurgents, I'd bet that we'd have to invade ourselves at some point -- a bit of lunacy that I'm sure the administration has not yet taken off the table.)

Posted by mrbrent at 12:52 PM