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March 16, 2007

history will head-scratch over dick cheney

We'll call this "credit where credit is due".  In a post on Wonkette, this little turn of phrase appears:
It was another fantastic appearance by charismatic “vice” President Dick Cheney.

Yeah, if we'd have thunk of that vicious bit of truth ("vice" President), then instead of working for a living, we'd have been doing something like being the restaurant reviewer for a small free weekly somewhere.  Cue the, "Alas, alas."

BTW, just because this is the first we've noticed this bit of snarky incision into the way things are does not mean it's the first time it's occurred.  Feel free to write and call us a fucking idiot over it.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:39 PM

valerie plame questions answered

In case you're of the sort with an interest in Valerie (Plame) Wilson's testimony before Congress today, I have for you a link of supplemental interest.  In the four years between Wilson's outing and now, a chaff of misleading accusations (she wasn't a spy/she outed herself/everyone knew her cover, for example) have floated around in the kinds of places you would hear such things.  While you and I know that they are about as specious as "Scooter didn't leak anything" (which is why he was convicted of obstruction of justice and not leaking, strawman), they still circulate, and you are likely to hear a number of them from your friends across the aisle when discussing today's testimony.

So please find here a very handy list of refutations of these talking points, written in Ms Wilson's voice by her former associate Larry Johnson.  Not everyone is as big a fan of Mr Johnson as I am, but I reading him measurably more entertaining than reading a Ludlum novel, as Johnson has been there/done that.

Take it if you want it.

Posted by mrbrent at 1:47 PM

bruce sterling is ticking your clock

Have some big thoughts for your day.  No, not my thoughts, duh, but rather the thoughts of author Bruce Sterling, who would like you to know that, in ten years, you will no longer write impassioned blog entries about that dude you saw steal an old lady's seat on the subway.  [Via The Beat.]  Sterling also levels his fiery opinion at wikis and mash-ups, but I didn't really read that part so much, because I don't care about wikis and mash-ups.

Of course, when Sterling calls for the deathwatch on blogs, I believe he is more directly referring to what I would call running confessional blogs, and what he calls "daily diary/moment diary" blogs (which he describes as "like watching you get beaten to death with croutons").  I guess I have no real basis in this other than the assumption that the great majority of the 55 million blogs out there are both "daily diary/moment diary" and abandoned (which assumption is based on that great digital graveyard out there that turns up every time you try to Google something).  It's not a huge inductive leap to posit that this trend has a lifestyle.

Though I'm excluding myself from this deathwatch.  No real reason other than pique.  Too stubborn to quit, even ten years from now, when I'll be in my late 60s.

Oop, speaking of ironies, I thought I remembered Sterling having a blog, which of course he does.  And, further, he discusses his thoughts at length.  As usual, it boils own to semantics -- "these aren't the blogs you're looking for".

Having just written this, let me add that it is crucially important for one to think about the nature of one's blog, and the content thereon, to the exclusion of every other thing.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:50 AM

March 15, 2007

never been to littegreenfootballs, nope

"Beware The Ides of Khalid Mohammed" has at least brought one narrow benefit.  That would be this nice little post from the excellent Glenn Greenwald.  Therein you will read of how the behavior of the so-called "Little Green Footballers" can sometimes tend to hypocrisy.  You see, LGF is a conservative groupblog that was very upset with Huffpost commenters rooted for the death of Vice President Cheney a few weeks ago.  Accordingly, LGF commenters are pretty excited (and confused) that President Carter was one of the purported targets of Khalid Mohammed.

The hypocrisy may be a tetch discrete, as wishing ill upon the executive branch is treasonous America-hating, while hoping that harm befalls Jimmy Carter is a fun game we teach our children so that they will grow up righteous and just.  Still, the moral dissonance persists.  So, spade, meet spade.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that the only thing wrong hoping for the death of those with whom you disagree is that it's tacky.  That's why I spent the past six years alternately hoping that the President would choke on a pretzel and fall off a Segway.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:27 PM

brought to you by alberto gonzales not resigning yet

I was happy to see that the dog-waggingness of the Khalid-Mohammed-confesses story was mostly obvious to everyone.  Between last night at midnight, when I saw that the story broke, and today at lunchtime, the "wag-the-dog" posts are somewhat obligatory left-wing rank and file.  Hell, even those pinko moonbats over at Gawker went and got them some.

Oh sure, I know, this is just left-wing pablum, the product of a combination of a misspent youth and a sampling of the "anti-GOP" potion.  Well, let me actually support my hypothesis with a fact that hopefully constitute evidence.  First of all, the confessions of Mohammed are hardly new news -- they're at least as old as the 9-11 Commission Report.  I don't want to quibble about what constitutes news (because, on some level, the attempt to bulldog the news cycle is actually newsworthy), but I think we can agree that a vital component of whatever the platonic ideal of "news" would be is timeliness, and that, further, a three year old story does not rise to the level of timeliness that we should hold news to.

Ultimately, maybe the better question is this: if it is true that we'd had one of the few living people responsible for the 9-11 attacks in custody, why has it taken four years to bring his to trial, even a bullshit "military tribunal" (of which Stalin would be proud)?  If the single focus of the administration was to bring the evildoers to justice, then why the wait?  Doesn't seem a bit incongruous that an Administration eager to make political hay out of busting a bunch of retard Floridians looking to get their hands on Al Qaeda uniforms drags its feet to prosecute a man actually guilty of something?

Posted by mrbrent at 12:49 PM

March 14, 2007

hello cardhouse

Now I will try to make myself of service.  If you peek over here, you will see that Cardhouse asks a question:
Dude’s launchin’ an illegal war, tappin’ your line and suspending Habeas Corpus.  Someone explain to me why we need government again?

Well, for one thing, roads.  Roads are really hard to maintain   Don't know if you've ever had a driveway, but my folks have had one for most of their lives, and, lemme tell ya, there's always something gotta be done to that stupid driveway!  Not to mention the fact that some of these roads are really, really long, and so it would be hard to figure out who's gonna fill the potholes and clean up the roadkill in some of the more remote stretches, like most of I-80 through the Great Ohio Desert.  I know, we could sell all the roads to Australian companies, like Indiana did, but what if Australia invaded?  What are all the itinerent Notre Dame fans going to do then, smart guy?

Also, the government is very useful for determining holidays, without which we'd have to work every day.  The more holidays the better, I say.  Election Day!  Super Bowl Monday!  If we didn't have a government, then who'd designate holidays?  We already have a couple non-governmental holidays circulating -- namely, Talk Like A Pirate Day and Steak and BJ Day.  If that's the kind of holiday we can expect without the calming hand of government, then gimme more of that good, good government.

Finally, you think that your Social Security Number crawled out of your forehead fully-formed or something?  Think about that.

Basically, without a government, we would be a lawless land, dominated by wealthy industrialists who alternately cow and lull the citizenry into complacency with endless wars and reality TV shows.  And the word for that, my friend, is "communism".

Maybe I'll think of more reasons why later.  It is a pretty tough question.

(Sorry, Cardhouse, for not answering this in private.  Turns out, in private, I do not so much exist.)

Posted by mrbrent at 12:47 PM

sorry, redacted

Sometimes, the copy-editors are just monkeying with us on purpose.  Please regard this morning's collection of "Top Stories" headlines:
• Bush seeks better ties in Latin America
• Gonzales says his future depends on Bush
• ElBaradei unable to meet NKorea nuke envoy
• Debate over Basque separatist group ETA sharpens in Spain
• U.S. likely to face shortage of cancer doctors by 2020
• New Mexico makes the bolo the official state tie

Sorry, New Mexico, but your state tie is not good enough for the President, who expands his neckwear search ever southwards.  Which has really got to sting, considering that you now have a "state tie", which certainly is not the most Tim Hardaway thing ever.

And the one about Gonzales' future depending on Bush?  Well, we made those jokes seven years ago, and have no time to remake them.

Posted by mrbrent at 8:13 AM

March 13, 2007

mars needs links

Time for a bit of housecleaning.  I'm updating/weeding the links.  Sometimes you forget the little fuckers are there, right?

Oh, and I'm keeping Anti, though her productivity seems to have been hijacked by her wee schmeppe.  And I'm keeping Monk on to, even though he's threatened to quit (in anticipation of his upcoming wee schmeppe, oddly enough).  I know that this whole blogging thing is soo three years ago, but, "Please don't go! Please don't go!"  Just think of quitting blogging as so two years ago.

And a particular hat tip to Roy at Alicublog.  His kung-fu is so strong that it makes me want to quit (though I am far too thick-witted and dull to do so).  It's tough not to throw a link up for each of Alicublog's new posts, so just go and read, and be rewarded with passages like this:

Propagandists are more like the bootblack and the marketing manager and the nail technician: if they can find a way to increase their yield, they are wholly fulfilled.  Now, we can say this for them -- mere lucre is not their aim.  You can even get them to work for free, or very little, just as you can get an artist to do.  But what they must have is yield, a result. In their world, this means souls turned in their direction.

BTW, Roy, your archives are all weird.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:45 PM

gonzales -- "psyche!"

Oh sure, I've been following the political firings of the US Attorneys.  It's hard not to, now that the story has traction, and the Congress has decided to exercise some oversight, as it were.  Two months ago I recommended TPMMuckraker purely on the basis that it was running this story down.  I'd love to call myself a freaking genius over this, but, sadly, I had not an inkling that the story would a) have such legs, or b) have such insidious implications.  In truth, the freaking geniuses are the dudes over at TPM Muckraker, which has lately been worth about a zillion subscriptions to media outlets made of paper.  Good on them, indeed.

And here's to hoping that the Attorney General decides to contradict common sense and stay with us for a while.  Consider him a recruiting tool for those who might be on the edge of realizing that corruption trumps whatever value issue they were initially conned into voting Republican with.  Take for example this nugget of information, a Breaking News (!!!) banner from ABC's online presence:


It is this kind of leadership for which we need Gonzales to dig in his heels -- empty and meaningless.  Let me guess... "Mistakes were made."?  Sure thing.  We now live in an age where mistakes are agentless, they only make themselves.

Words are cheap, yes?  Hell, I would've accepted responsibility as well, had I known it was going to be that kind of party.

The only thing more fitting that a nakedly corrupt Bush Attorney General would be a 450 pound Bush Secretary of Thin.

Posted by mrbrent at 2:57 PM

March 12, 2007

this is my dilbert/cathy moment of the day

Of course, who am I to say?  Regardless, I nominate emails with no message in the body, only a long rambling subject line, as this year's EMAILS IN ALL CAPS.

It's like riding your bike in the house -- it seems like a good idea at the time, but it's really not the best way to get from your bedroom to the kitchen, plus also you keep scaring the cat.

Until Skynet comes online our computers start shooting raw information straight into our retinae let's try to stick to some modest protocols of usage.  Remember, good fences make good neighbors.

Now get back to work.

Posted by mrbrent at 11:30 AM