« August 5, 2007 - August 11, 2007 | Main | August 19, 2007 - August 25, 2007 »

August 18, 2007

but he can sift a lot of rubble in 29 hours

Finally, Rudy Giuliani's revolting claim that he was the hardest working 9-11 rescue worker ever has been met with an appropriately forceful response.  The response does not involve the word "asshole" (or even "fuckpad") -- that is not appropriate; it is only funny, and true.  No, finally Giuliani's laughably self-aggrandizing statement was subjected to a journalistic inquiry.  And it is found that Giuliani spent roughly twenty-nine hours at Ground Zero in the three months following.

The heavy lifting is done by The New York Times, which deserves credit for actually lifting a finger to investigate a specious claim instead of reporting that a specious claim was made, and then reprinting the opposing press releases.  Or, as Greg Sargent says in the link above:

Ahhh -- the sweet sound of real reporting.

And I am not construing "real reporting" to be just an investigation whose results I agree with -- I'm just thrilled to see an actual investigation.  These are mendacious times we live in, as our public servants realize that there ain't no one that's going to hold them accountable, that the only accusations of lying will come from political opponents.  The press is not solely an arbiter of fact, but at least a portion of the responsibility of our fourth estate is to report facts and not claimed facts, especially considering that the verification of most claimed facts is never more than fifteen minutes' research away.

But, back to the point, let's all agree that anyone that thinks that twenty-nine hours over three months, twenty-nine hours of shaking hands, tour-guiding dignitaries and giving interviews, elevates one's status into someone more important than those putting in seventy hour weeks, in hazardous conditions, sifting through unspeakableness -- well, then that person has some sociopathic disorder that roids up ambition such that it supercedes decency.

Or, "is an asshole", in shorthand.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:34 AM

August 17, 2007

someone tell me when i become a socialist

The rough thing about news of financial/economic interest is that I, as someone with no financial/economic background (BA in English Lit, plus a mountain of unsecured debt!), have a hard time following the story as anything but a sports story.  So, on a not-very-smart-guy level, I can marvel at the Dow's whipsawing all week, or comment on how housing starts are down again -- how many months is that now?  And then I pass the beernuts to someone else, and we argue over favorite versions of Batman movies.  But on a smart-as-I-think-I-am level, I'm butt-stupid on the implications of all this.

Which is why I recommend this article by Hale "Bonddad" Stewart.  It very cogently explains the mechanics and implications of this "crisis", or however you wish to describe it.  The good news is that it's not your fault, unless you are a subprime lender or a hedge fund manager.  The bad news is that the players in the events that caused this are so ephemeral that they may as well be demi-gods -- demi-gods who want to take your money and figure out ways to not give it back to you.

The link is not so much entertaining as it is useful.  Even we dissolute ironists grow a conscience now and again.  Hedge fund managers, however, have theirs surgically removed.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:28 AM

August 15, 2007

i wonder where giuliani's bachelor pad is now?

The best thing about Rudolph Giuliani is that, as long as he stays in the race, once a week or so some fresh new outrage will pop up, or some old new outrage remembered.  As long as you're in a mood where the loathing of the immoral puts some pep in your step, Giuliani is the man for you.

Like, say you ignore for a second his notion that he ranks somewhat high on the list of heroes of 9-11, or his self-conception that he is some kind of foreign policy genius.  Forget about the reasons why he is not talented enough to be present.  Let's focus the on the one big reason why I won't vote for him -- he's an asshole.  In fact, he's the kind of asshole even whose honest mistakes in judgment turn out to have assholery as the motive:

For the city, [Giuliani's placement of the emergency command center] meant that on 9/11, the NYC make-shift command center didn't exist until seven hours after the attack.  As for Giuliani's poor judgment, the most rational conclusion is that he put his center in the wrong place because he was creating a "convenient love nest."

Obviously, no one can say for sure that the reason the then-mayor chose to place his emergency response center in the center of a bullseye, against better advice, was because he wanted it to be a fuckpad.  And that may well end up being used in his defense -- "As if he would locate his fuckpad in the center of a bullseye?  You're just not serious about the threat of Islamofascism, or fucking."  However, based on the above link (and the Wayne Barrett piece it refers to), it seems that some of the dust that America's mayor was heroicly wandering through that Tuesday morning (as a rescue worker, come to find out) was the dust of the bachelor pad that he kept in which to have relations with some lady that was not his wife.

It bears repeating: America, have your Giuliani if you want him, but he's an asshole.  He might be the bully you want in your pulpit (because of his acute ability to line his pockets off an unimaginable tragedy?), but if he was married to you sister, and cheating on her as he is wont to do, you'd invite him to step outside.

He's that kind of asshole.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:36 AM

August 14, 2007

karl rove -- too doughy to leave be

While everyone else is piling up on Karl Rove (is he being hoist by his own petard, or is more of an Icarus-like consequence of his success? I dunno.), I couldn't help but notice this little ridiculousness from the presser in which his departure was announced, as he and his "friend" President Bush wept like five year-old girls.  From Rove's remarks yesterday on the White House lawn:
Through all those years, I've asked a lot of my family, and they've given all I've asked and more. And now it seems the right time to start thinking about the next chapter in our family's life.

Ah, he is leaving to spend time with his family.  From a War Room item by Tim Grieve:

It's not clear why, after six and a half years of the Bush-Rove presidency, Rove's wife and college-age son need him so much on Aug. 31, 2007, that they can't wait until Jan. 20, 2009.

Tim has a point.  Though I'd posit that Rove would like to enjoy being an Empty Nester quickly before the stock market crash forces his son to move back in.

Plus also, if'd you'd like some wackadoo speculation (or is it?) on why Rove decided that now was the time that stage left beckoned, check this Dailykos diary, which argues that the prosecution you thought Rove was trying to avoid was not the prosecution you were thinking about.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:11 AM

August 13, 2007

you won't have karl rove to kick around anymore

I'm sitting here with the fresh news of the resignation of Karl Rove from the Bush Administration, trying to figure out what to feel.  I guess it's some kind of news, but it looks (to me) out of place at the top of all the news pages.  I mean, what was he going to do, chain himself to an endtable in the Oval Office?  His position was at least as finite as Bush's second term (unless he were to pick another halfwit for whom to fix an election).  And it's not as if his utility to the GOP has anything to do with his office at the White House, or the ear of whichever president.  I would be much more excitable if the news were that Rove had resigned from evil.  You know, pull a Lee Atwater.  That's be worth sending the link to all the aunts and uncles.

Also, I've noticed just in the past two hours since the story broke that the lede for all the stories, from differing outlets, includes a breathy and awkward reference to the fact that the president and Karl Rove are "friends".  That's way to personal/icky to appear across the board -- this in not Harry Potter and Ron we're talking about.  I move that this meme is the result of a concerted effort by the source.  What this achieves I don't know, but I thought I'd point it out, so it can bug you like it's bugging me.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:37 AM