Friday, May 26, 2006

Well, That's Awesome

"Invisibility Cloak May Be Possible" --- I think this means we need to invade Iran now. Mr. President, we cannot allow an invisibility cloak gap. (HT: Jim Henley)

Uncle Pat's Miraculous Jesus Juice and Cureall

The very reverend Pat Robertson (R-Jesusland) is selling a protein shake he credits with enabling him to leg press 2000 lbs. Andrew Sullivan declares himself an unbeliever, simply because he's never seen a leg press machine capable of holding 2000 lbs.:
How many leg-press machines can handle 2,000 lbs? I've never seen one. Assume that he used 100lb plates - rare, but they exist. Ten on each side? Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sorry to say that a leading light of the Republican Party is lying to sell protein shakes.
Now, I've never seen such a machine either (and I spent a summer at Gold's Gym in Venice). Nor has Slate's Mike DeBonis. But who's to say that a septuagenarian couldn't outlift one of the freakiest bodybuilders in history by 735 lbs., simply on the grounds that machines that can hold that much weight don't exist, or that the only evidence Robertson provides for his miracle leg press claim is a video of him fooling around with a 940-pound leg press (though he tells his chipper associate that it's 1000) by cheating, using terrible form, and putting himself at risk of serious injury. Maybe accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior is a safe alternative to steroids for high-schoolers looking to get big.

Pat Robertson: Fucking Loser

By the way, I sent Sullivan the link for this post.

UPDATE: It gets better. Robertson (or whoever writes on his webpage) claims that his doctor leg presses 2,700 pounds. More than twice Dorian Yates' total. That, dear friends, is bullshit.

UPDATE: Speaking of lying in Jesus' name, James Dobson's execrable organization is sending out fake letters to newspaper editors in support of the God Hates Fags Amendment.

Oh. My. God.

It's the tenth anniversary of the O'Reilly Factor. Fox is showing the BEST SEGMENTS EVER from the last ten years. Right now, they're going over O'Reilly's coverage of the Lewinsky scandal. Tune in and watch as Billo's hairline recedes and jowls expand, and prominent Democrats start boycotting his show in a timelapse setting. (Also, thesis: the unit measure of evil is troy ounces of jowl fat. Discuss.)

UPDATE: Actually, this is really fascinating. Apparently, the show was originally called "The O'Reilly Report" and was an extension of his tabloid work on Inside Edition. What's more, O'Reilly acted like a nice enough tv-idiot. In addition to "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day," there was a segment called "Most Encouraging Item of the Day." Then, things sort of changed.

The most interesting feature of the show was that in this ostensible greatest hits compilation, there were no post-2004 election clips, and few post 2000 clips. If you recall, it was in October 2004 that O'Reilly's psychosexual dysfunctions became public knowledge. No real surprise that that's when the descent into paranoia and psychopathy really began to pick up steam.

UPDATE: Wanna see full-blown insane O'Reilly? Go here.

UPDATE: If you missed the Best Of O'Reilly, you can still catch Greta van Susteren's very timely hour-long special on Natalee Holloway, if you head over to FNC right now. I'm waiting.

UPDATE: Ok, since you asked, here's my theory on Natalee Blue-eyes. She was having consensual sex with Joran van der Sloot and his father when she OD'd on something they'd given her. They freaked out, chopped up her body or threw it in a woodchipper or something, and had done with. Also, this may be the whiskey talking, but I think the disappearance of a single attractive white female is more important and more worthy of a one-hour special than the mass-murder of a group of Iraqi civilians at the hands of US Marines. However, that would not be the case if she were not white.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wait, This Looks Big

Turns out Rove was Novak's source for the Valerie Plame column, and the two concocted a cover-up.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Al Gore...

...will be the next president (which isn't to say that I've stopped supporting Feingold, or that I've become less ambivalent about Gore).

Just A Reminder

Evan is a great blogger...go over there. (I once almost wrote a think-piece about Bush Derangement Syndrome myself, but it turned into a wierd thing about justified belief. Anyway, has Krauthammer been checked for Anti-Bush Derangement Syndrome? Cause, I think he's got it.)

This Looks Big

Dennis Hastert: under investigation by the FBI, in connection with the Abramoff bribery racket. To paraphrase David Cross, it's not that only Republicans are corrupt, it's just that all Republicans are corrupt (except Ron Paul).

By the way, as I type, idiot senator, future president, and role model for DKE George Allen (R-Cisallegheny Virginia) is getting grilled by Chris Matthews over his fetish for the confederate flag and nooses. Allen is not doing well. He claims that he "saw [the confederate flag] as a regional pride symbol in, you know, in Virginia." Problem: Allen became a neo-confederate while being raised by his French mother in southern Califonria.

Well, That's That

So college is finally over. The only words that are coming to mind are Auden's "Fall of Rome":
The piers are pummelled by the waves;
In a lonely field the rain
Lashes and abandoned train;
Outlaws fill the mountain caves.

Fantastic grow the evening gowns;
Agenst of the Fisc pursue
Absconding tax-defaulters through
The sewers of provincial towns.

Private rites of magic send
The temple prostitutes to sleep;
All the literati keep
An imaginary friend.

Cerebrotonic Cato may
Extol the Ancient Disciplines,
But the muscle-bound Marines
Mutiny for food and pay.

Caesar's double-bed is warm
As an unimportatnt clerk
Writes I DO NOT LIKE MY WORK
On a pink official form.

Unendowed with wealth or pity
Little birds with scalet legs,
Sitting on their speckled eggs,
Eye each flu-infected city.

Altogether elsewhere, vast
Herds of reindeer move across
Miles and miles of golden moss,
Silently and very fast.
Goodbye, Yale.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Irony

Once again, Andrew Sullivan produces a statement so ludicrous that he burdens my hermeneutic capacity to distinguish between irony and zealous infantilism. On the fact that McCain gave commencement speeches at both far-right Liberty College and the "p.c. left New School [a bizarre phrase in-and-of-itself]":
His choice of venues is in itself a statement. He intends to be a uniter, not a divider. Unlike the current president.
Great point, Andrew.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Got Hates Fags Amendment, Again

It got through the Senate judiciary committee. Unsurprisingly, Feingold comes off looking pretty good:
A U.S. Senate panel advanced a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on Thursday as the committee chairman shouted "good riddance" to a Democrat who walked out of the tense session.

"If you want to leave, good riddance," The Senate Judiciary Chairman, Republican Arlen Specter, told Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold, who refused to participate because, he said, the meeting was not sufficiently open to the public.

"I've enjoyed your lecture too. See you later, Mr. Chairman," Feingold told the Pennsylvania senator before storming out of the private room where the meeting took place.
How spineless is ol' One Bullet Specter? Glad you asked:
Specter said he voted for the amendment because he thought it should be taken up by the full Senate, even though he does not back it.
UPDATE: More raw sewage from the world's most overrated deliberative body; the senate has passed an amendment to declare English the national language by a sizable margin. Bill Frist rolls around in shit:
Another quick post to let you know that I am co-sponsoring Senator Inhofe’s amendment to declare English as the national language of the United States.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Haditha: An American Atrocity

I don't know what to say:
A Pentagon probe into the death of Iraqi civilians last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha will show that U.S. Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood," a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday.
From the beginning, Iraqis in the town of Haditha said U.S. Marines deliberately killed 15 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including seven women and three children.

One young Iraqi girl said the Marines killed six members of her family, including her parents. "The Americans came into the room where my father was praying," she said, "and shot him."

On Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said the accounts are true.
We all know Murtha is objectively pro-Michael Moore, but don't take his word for it:
Military officials told NBC News that the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right.

A videotape taken by an Iraqi showed the aftermath of the alleged attack: a blood-smeared bedroom floor and bits of what appear to be human flesh and bullet holes on the walls.

The video, obtained by Time magazine, was broadcast a day after town residents told The Associated Press that American troops entered homes on Nov. 19 and shot dead 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old girl, after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine.

On Nov. 20, U.S. Marines spokesman Capt. Jeffrey Pool issued a statement saying that on the previous day a roadside bomb had killed 15 civilians and a Marine. In a later gunbattle, U.S. and Iraqi troops killed eight insurgents, he said.

U.S. military officials later confirmed that the version of events was wrong...

One military official says it appears the civilians were deliberately killed by the Marines, who were outraged at the death of their fellow Marine.

"This one is ugly," one official told NBC News.
I await Hugh Hewitt's claim that NBC is aiding the enemy by reporting this. (link via Mark Kleiman)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Dionysus

Via Majikthise, perhaps I need a corrective on this. I have no quarrel with the idea of T.S. Elliot being an anti-semite, which is pretty obvious to me and the historical record, though I reject the term anti-semite, which is overly broad, and philologically inaccurate. I don't even have a quarrel with the idea that intentionally "anti-semitic" poetry might be good poetry. I am a little tips right now, however, so I just want anyone who reads this to check the Guardian article I'm linking to, and see if I am justified in thinking that its writer is a stunning illiterate. It's the most repetitiously bizarre, begging-the-question argument I have ever read. But, again, maybe I'm just pulling a Hitchens.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Those Goddamned Maps Again

Remember the county-by-county maps of the results of the 2000 and 2004 elections that Republican hacks liked to gloat about? You know, the ones that showed most of the country red because Republicans live in huge counties with .7 voters per square mile? Yeah, take a look now.

UPDATE: Et tu, Assrocket?
He Had His Chance...and he blew it. He should have given the speech I told him to. As soon as he started talking about guest worker programs and the impossibility of deporting 11 million illegals, it was all over.
Don't worry, don't worry, it's more Paolo and Francesca than Caesar and Brutus:
President Bush is being destroyed by vicious people who hate him.
World's tiniest violin here. Link via John Cole (because Powerline is largely unreadable), who adds:
Instead of mincing words, let’s just play it straight- anyone who thinks deporting 11 million people IS a viable option, or one that our leadership has the political will to carry through, is an insane crazy person. Period.
Heh. Indeed.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rumor Swirl

Jason Leopold of Truthout is reporting, and the Huffington Post repeating, that Karl Rove has been indicted. So far, no newswire has picked up the story. Mark Kleiman throws some cold water on the whole thing here. Count me as extremely skeptical. Meanwhile, Michael Isikoff is reporting that the Fitzgerald investigation is narrowing in on Cheney himself. Andrew Sullivan comments, "I have a feeling that Fitzgerald isn't even close to finishing his work. And if I were Karl Rove, I'd be having a rough weekend." Sounds about right. The Sunday shows might be exceptionally (however unintentionally) good this week.

In related news, Dick Cheney before he dicks you. But you knew that already. At Balkinization, Marty Lederman shows how Cheney's repugnant haecceity is germane to the debate over impeachment:
[T]here are two reasons why Bush remains in office, and neither of them has anything to do with legal and historical testimony of Cass Sunstein and Sean Wilentz. The first is that the Republican Party controls both houses of Congress. The second is that even if the Democrats controlled both houses, impeachment and conviction of the President would only make matters worse -- much, much worse. See the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, section 1.
Marty's first reason --- which could be extended to cover the basic fecklessness of the Democrats and hence the unlikelihood of impeachment even in a Democratic congress --- is basically undeniable. But on the second reason, Marty is ignoring the possibility of impeaching Cheney too.

UPDATE: Kevin Drum nails what's so egregious about the wiretapping policy in general and Cheney in particular: "The programs we got — monitoring of all phone records and eavesdropping on calls into and out of the country without warrants — were actually compromise positions."

UPDATE: Former NSA official Russell Tice: "I think the people I talk to next week are going to be shocked when I tell them what I have to tell them."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bush To Cross The Mendoza Line?

At some point, declines in public evaluation of a president cease to be elastic and become plastic: there is a point of no return. Bush is now at 31% in the Gallup poll; my guess is, that means he's already crossed the Mendoza line. But just imagine what will happen if he hits anything south of 30%. The number 20 has a kind of intuitive power that will break through even to the paranoid remnant of support for the president. 20-something percent approval? That just doesn't happen, barring national crisis. And that's precisely what we're facing now. Because of our presidential system, there is no opportunity for a vote of no-confidence and a creation of a new government. For the next two-and-a-half years, the United States will be in a state of de facto anarchy, at least with regard to the federal government.

This is the best reason there is, incidentally, to elect a Democratic congress in the fall. Should the Republicans retain control of both houses, the remainder of Bush's term will be spent coasting along into ever greater budgetary catastrophe and international insecurity. A Democratic house or two of congress might (emphasis: might) be able to string together some semblance of government, and that is the best we can hope for.

UPDATE: Jesus H. Christ

UPDATE: Josh Marshall on Bush at the Mendoza line. Josh is right that there must be an asymptotic limit >0 to Bush's sliding approval but (as I think Nick Gillespie said recently) I'm cheering for him to drive himself into single digits just to prove it can be done.

UPDATE: An e-mailer informs me that schmuck Ohio governor Bob Taft has made it into single digits.

UPDATE (5/12/06): And there it is. 29% approval.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Trout For Factitious Bait

My last two undergraduate seminar papers (and last two undergrad papers period) down, three finals to go.

Little to Say

Or actually, quite a lot about Galbraith, I'm sure. I sheepishly admit that while I think that Galbraith is brilliant, and clearly his place in the intellectual cannon of twentieth-century America has been painfully entombed by many of his peers, I am not an economist, and fear going down the road of extra-disciplinary grand-standing. A lot of his ideas make relatively reasonable sense to a reasonable person, and I think that is powerfully in their favor. The very fact that economists get so uppity about him demonstrates that he was on the right track. The most enlightening thing about reading The Affluent Society for me was in demonstrating how occluded any counter-arguments are in general (i.e. non-scholarly) economic discourse. The only real bone to pick I have with the sense I have of Galbraith is he had a little too much faith in government for my tastes. I utterly agree with the need to shift production from private to public sector goods, but I am not totally comfortable with the little that there is said about how one ensures good government and management of production. The major sticking-point for me in this problem is on education. I am adamantly opposed to the right-wing anti-public-education movement, which has, in the end, designs on mental and cultural genocide. BUT, I have little love for certain aspects of the Teacher's Union, and on a more theoretical level, am more of an anarchist when it comes to education. Galbraith simply takes it as a given that eduction must be a public good (commodity). And while he often seemed to think that was his strongest example, I actually think it may have been his weakest.

For the biography of Galbraith, an exhaustive explanation of his work, and a theory of why he has not influenced politics and academic economics as much as he should have, see Robert Parker's 820 page giant, John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics.

For a quick summary of Parker's book, and a modified take, see Brad Delong's review in Foreign Affairs, May/June 2005.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's Not The Crime, It's The Cover-Up

Branford College Master Steven Smith apparently whacked some freshman in JE with a wiffleball bat when said JE freshman was pulling a prank in the Branford courtyard. Yeah, whatever, he's an inhuman monster.

But get a load of Smith's excuse:
In this instance I allowed my anger -- thymos in Platonic terms -- to get the better of me.
It's talk like that wot leads to abominations like this.

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