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Scozzafava Out

[ 0 ] October 31, 2009 |

Conservative third-party candidate knocks GOP nominee out of the race in NY-23.

I think we can be pretty confident that this won’t be followed by a series of claims about how Republicans are bad for having a “litmus test” on abortion, despite the fact that their position is the minority one…


The Tories and Europe: More of "What the Hell"?

[ 0 ] October 31, 2009 |

I was going to write something about this, but that’s too easy: the “drug czar” of the UK gets the sack for very publicly disagreeing with the Government’s drug policy, and terms Gordon Brown and the cabinet “irrational luddites”. He has a point, but it’s too simple to point out the hilarity of a Government, in its waning days, ignoring its chief scientific advisory panel on drugs. Could they be scrounging for votes instead?

Rather, I’m perplexed by this bit of amateur diplomatic tomfoolery. What the hell is Cameron playing at? First, partially through the hack handedness of the otherwise steady William Hague, shadow foreign minister, Tony Blair’s chances of being named the new EU President have faded dramatically. While it looks as though it is typical Euro-dithering that has led to the rejection of a Blair candidacy, it doesn’t help to have the opposition in your own country (and likely next Government) publicly reject you.
I have to admit, I don’t understand this for two reasons. First, why threateningly come out against one of your own citizens for the top job? It smacks of petty politics domestically, and in to the EU the threatening tone of Hague’s remarks instantly remind all and sundry of the not-exactly-cooperative approach adopted by earlier Tory administrations. Second, I don’t see the value in European leaders wanting a “chairman rather than a chief”. A recognizable, public face as the putative leader or figurehead representing the EU will help not only abroad, but within the EU itself. Not noted for its democratic transparency, distrusted by more than just the British, and perceived to be run by faceless Eurocrats in Brussels, such a “president” would help raise the profile of the EU within the EU.
Then the Tories did themselves no favors with Cameron’s recent stunt in writing a letter to the Czech president which appears to be encouraging the Czech president to delay being the final signatory to the Lisbon treaty until after a Tory election victory in (likely) May of 2010. It’s always sound to piss off, say, Sarkozy, Merkel, and José Luiz Rodríguez Zapatero, the latter of whom matters because Spain will hold the rotating EU presidency from January to July of 2010. The Tories will already have the lion share of the anti-EU vote in 2010, so I’m not too sure just what they’re playing at.

Friday Cat/Freakishly Large Baby Blogging

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |
From orrin and henry

Henry — drugged up and minding his own business — is harassed by the BOUS.

Friday Daddy Blogging

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |

Miriam and Elisha

What exactly does Joe Lieberman have to do to get sanctioned?

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |

Inquiring minds want to know.

Recall that after, if I may be permitted to reach for le mot juste, thoroughly ratfucking the Dems last November, Lieberman was threatened with the loss of his committee chairmanship, but kept it after promising to be a good boy from here on out.

I guess he has just too much integrity to keep his promises.

Thanks for ruining Halloween, G.D.

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |

Seriously. Now I have to convince my wife to dress up as Hannah Giles.*

*Not really. I’m dressing as one of these Civil War reenactors. Because, as you know, the best costumes always require tedious explanation.

The Will to Stupid

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |

Serwer does the necessary business to this idiotic David Brooks column:

We’ve been hearing some version of the “is Obama tough enough” argument since he started running for president, and as always, it’s really less about Obama’s individual tenacity than whether or not he possesses the same sterling moral qualities that led the questioner to their principled beliefs about public policy. In other words, it’s not “is Obama tough enough” but “is Obama tough enough to do what I want him to do?” And in this case, Brooks wants Obama to show some Green Lantern-style willpower and let everyone know the U.S. is there to stay indefinitely.

Right. Brooks writes:

I’ve called around to several of the smartest military experts I know to get their views on these controversies. I called retired officers, analysts who have written books about counterinsurgency warfare, people who have spent years in Afghanistan. I tried to get them to talk about the strategic choices facing the president. To my surprise, I found them largely uninterested.

Most of them have no doubt that the president is conducting an intelligent policy review. They have no doubt that he will come up with some plausible troop level.

They are not worried about his policy choices. Their concerns are more fundamental. They are worried about his determination.

These people, who follow the war for a living, who spend their days in military circles both here and in Afghanistan, have no idea if President Obama is committed to this effort. They have no idea if he is willing to stick by his decisions, explain the war to the American people and persevere through good times and bad.

So, in other words, they’re actually worried about his policy choices? One choice would imply a lack of determination, while the other choice would reflect more Will, Grit, and Determination than Kaiser Soze? The stupidity here is palpable; if Obama were determined right now to withdraw every last soldier from Afghanistan, he’d earn not a whit of credit from the True Grit Brigade. Determination only, ever means one thing; more troops, more commitment, open ended, with no genuine evaluation of goals, means, or metrics.

I know that you can’t expect much from Brooks, or from the rest of the True Grit Brigade, but Jesus; we just had eight years of a President who put grit, determination, and will ahead of any effort to actually evaluate matters of policy, and NO ONE thinks that this brought about good outcomes. Why don’t we all get DETERMINED, and GRITTY, and use our INFLEXIBLE WILL to modulate down the stupid just a bit? Wouldn’t that maybe be helpful?

Justice: Better Too Late Than Never

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |

Well, it’s nice to know that this appalling story at least has a moderately happy ending.

Misogynist Crank of the Day

[ 1 ] October 30, 2009 |

“A. She Was A Who-were.”

I’m surprised Farley — whose contempt for the man of letters in question might exceed my own — didn’t beat me to this. But via Edroso, academy of the overrated charter member Gore Vidal shares some of his legendary wit on the subject of child rape:

In September, director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for leaving the U.S. in 1978 before being sentenced to prison for raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in Hollywood. During the time of the original incident, you were working in the industry, and you and Polanski had a common friend in theater critic and producer Kenneth Tynan. So what’s your take on Polanski, this many years later?

I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?

I’ve certainly never heard that take on the story before.

First, I was in the middle of all that. Back then, we all were. Everybody knew everybody else. There was a totally different story at the time that doesn’t resemble anything that we’re now being told.

What do you mean?

The media can’t get anything straight. Plus, there’s usually an anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing going on with the press – lots of crazy things. The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him – well, the story is totally different now from what it was then.

I can’t actually say I’m surprised to hear these sentiments expressed by this prominent “leftist” rather than by a reactionary Alberta judge, but wow. (Trying to pretend that poor Roman was unfairly persecuted for raping a 13-year-old because of homophobia, though, might embarrass even Anne Applebaum.)

Well, This Doesn’t Help Turnout

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |

but at least it will SAVE SAVE SAVE £65 million. Because, when the public debt is at some obscene number, and when the annual deficit is approaching 12% of GDP, £65 million will get the UK back on sound financial footing.

Of course, if they’re really concerned with turnout, they just might take a peek at an electoral system that affords a strong ruling majority in Parliament based on 35% of the vote.
I’m just sayin’ . . .

UPDATE: well, that didn’t last long.

Homeopathy is Crap, vol. MMCVIV

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |

This video has been making lots of people laugh and/or seccuss their heads against the wall on the science and med blogs this week. It’s almost too painful to watch — the jaw-dropping butchery of physics is only the beginning — but there’s so much great dope in here, you really have to endure at least through the 6:32 mark — at which point she finishes explaining that homeopathy works more or less like a bomb you toss at your neighbor’s house after he lets his dog shit on your lawn. No, really.

Life imitating art irritating life imitating art.

[ 0 ] October 30, 2009 |

The premise of Curb Your Enthusiasm, according to James Kaplan’s 2004 profile of Larrry David in The New Yorker, is that:

David’s character is a semi-retired sitcom mogul who ambles through his inordinately comfortable life, routinely managing to annoy or infuriate everyone around him. This season, some of those people will include the blind, the physically handicapped, and the mentally challenged … David has a sardonic, slightly depressive presence onscreen, and is quite natural playing his worst self. Some of his finest moments are when he gets into arguments—arguments that he always loses—with children.

In this week’s episode, David accidentally urinates on a picture of Jesus, the urine is mistaken for a tear, and in the end, he manages to annoy and infuriate everyone around him. So it goes … or would have, had he not also managed to annoy and infuriate conservatives who don’t watch the show. The Anchoress wants to know:

Would he piss on an image of Obama?

Absolutely. Next question.

Would he piss on an image of Obama?

Absolutely. Crying guy, would you like to say something?

Good people hurt innocent people every day.

Larry David’s not good people.

Eventually, their better nature takes over.

He doesn’t have one.

They think about how such a cruel and disrespectful act might hurt those they know.

Are you sure you’re talking about Larry David here? Because I’m not. Anyone else?

I’ve never seen this show, does anyone know if the assistant is recognizably ethnic? Is this “brave” comedian also taking a swipe at Hispanic (or for that matter Italian or Irish) piety?

First, when you assume that a housekeeper’s Hispanic, that makes you the racist. Second, if you want people to respect what you say, don’t tell people that your speculation is based on unadulterated ignorance. Third, if you think anyone other than Larry David would be the punchline of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, you’ve proven the validity of my previous sentence.

Moreover, if you’ve been horrified and offended by what Larry David did then congratulations, he just suckered you into participating in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. You’re no longer the audience: you are, in effect, on the show.