Re: A Bunch of BLL

1

More than anything else, that should have raised red flags about the man's judgment. Also, I'm inclined to think that he should be fired but should nevertheless be allowed to visit his illegitimate child. At the very least, the illegitimate child should be told that its father prefers Bud Light Lime.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:25 PM
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I'm going to reread the article and try to get over my initial reaction, which was to viscerally loathe McChrystal. The article sounded as if he and his gang of idiots were constantly on the verge of icing each other. But of course he didn't write the article, and it may be completely unfair.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:27 PM
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2: Heh. I spent a few moments trying to work a bro-icing reference into the post title but gave up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:31 PM
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Didn't someone here recently express an affinity for Bud Light Lime? (Halford, maybe?) I was appalled, I remember, but, well, to each his own. I can imagine worse faults a person could have.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:31 PM
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See also.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:31 PM
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I have no opinion on the beer issue, but I will be disappointed if President Obama does not fire McChrystal. He and his staff showed astonishingly poor judgment in saying what they said around a reporter. And it's not just the criticism of the administration. Disparaging something as "gay." I'm all for tough manly man disparagement of the conventions of polite society (although not that particular one), but I'm not a public figure. McChrystal and his staff have a job that is political as much as military, and they seem to have screwed that part of the job up pretty well. I found the article pretty appalling.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:32 PM
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You know, what kind of an idiot do you have to be, at that high a level in any organization, to be getting drunk with reporters?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:33 PM
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7 crossed with 6, but yes, exactly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:33 PM
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7: From the reporter's interview on NPR (not linkable yet), I learned that the article turned from a brief two-day story into a month-long profile and that the staff seemed to get more than a bit too comfortable around the guy, which, dudes, this reporter you're talking to writes for the same magazine as Matt Taibbi. Button it up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:38 PM
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7: An idiot who needs to get his ass fired, yes.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:39 PM
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Is it even possible for adult men to get drunk on BLL?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:39 PM
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4: I don't know why I remember this but it was PGD, I'm pretty sure. Halford seems to have respectable taste in booze.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:41 PM
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4: It was PGD.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:41 PM
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12 sounds right.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:42 PM
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Let the record show that I remembered that on my own and did not need Parenthetical to remind me who it was before I went and looked up the comment.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:43 PM
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I suspect that the contempt for civilian leadership, the homophobia, the towel-snapping hijinks, and the bad taste in beer are not atypical of high-level military personnel, especially those stationed in war zones. The inability to hide all of that from a reporter from Rolling Stone*, though, really is amazingly stupid and seemingly rather unusual.

* He was (is?) freelance, I know. Still.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:44 PM
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14 without seeing 13, which sort of confirms 12, although in 4 I was thinking of a much more recent conversation than the one in 13. So maybe PGD reaffirmed his questionable taste, or maybe we have two fans of BLL around here?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:44 PM
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the contempt for civilian leadership

Man, if that's conventional at high levels I strongly disapprove, and would think that a whole lot of firing should happen until it became no longer conventional.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:47 PM
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18: I think it's pretty conventional, but it's not contempt for the very idea of civilian leadership, or for the rights of civilian leadership to control the armed forces, so much as just contempt at civilian "caving" to political pressures, indeterminacy, lack of resolve, nonprofessional interventions in military tactics, etc. Not different than the sort of "contempt" specialists have for non-specialist bosses in any sort of organization.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:53 PM
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You're surprised that the brass has contempt for civilian leadership, especially during wartime?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:54 PM
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Surprised? I think it's a very plausible way for military leadership to go bad, and there have certainly been plenty of incidents where that seems to be what's going on. I think it's dangerous and harmful, though, even if it's not surprising, and should be reacted strongly against.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:56 PM
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I'm only halfway through the piece, but what I'm seeing reads more like tribalism than outright contempt.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:56 PM
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This paragraph is pretty bad:

The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn't go much better. "It was a 10-minute photo op," says an adviser to McChrystal. "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his fucking war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.

If McChrystal ran away from the secondhand quotes, that'd be one thing, but that's pretty contemptuous if it's coming from him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 4:59 PM
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You're surprised that the brass has contempt for civilian leadership, especially during wartime?

If they do, I think the military academies are failing their duty to raise officers right.

I don't especially like the political appointees at the top of my agency right now, but under our system, they reflect the will of the people whom in an utterly peculiar turn of events chose an action movie star to be governor. If we believe in representational democracy, then civil servants and the military need to commit to political leadership. Or, they shouldn't be supported in our democracy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:01 PM
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This too -- if the article's a fair representation of what the journalist was hearing from McChrystal's crew, it's very inappropriate.

As McChrystal leaned on Obama to ramp up the war, he did it with the same fearlessness he used to track down terrorists in Iraq: Figure out how your enemy operates, be faster and more ruthless than everybody else, then take the fuckers out. After arriving in Afghanistan last June, the general conducted his own policy review, ordered up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The now-infamous report was leaked to the press, and its conclusion was dire: If we didn't send another 40,000 troops - swelling the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by nearly half - we were in danger of "mission failure." The White House was furious. McChrystal, they felt, was trying to bully Obama, opening him up to charges of being weak on national security unless he did what the general wanted. It was Obama versus the Pentagon, and the Pentagon was determined to kick the president's ass.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:02 PM
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Or, they shouldn't be supported in our democracy.

By which I mean to say that surely our democracy can find and choose to pay the salaries of dedicated public servants who do understand the concept of the will of the people as channeled by their elected representatives.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:04 PM
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This is about civilian appointees rather than Obama himself, but that's just as bad:

But part of the problem is personal: In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk shit about many of Obama's top people on the diplomatic side. One aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a "clown" who remains "stuck in 1985."...

McChrystal reserves special skepticism for Holbrooke, the official in charge of reintegrating the Taliban. "The Boss says he's like a wounded animal," says a member of the general's team. "Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous. He's a brilliant guy, but he just comes in, pulls on a lever, whatever he can grasp onto. But this is COIN, and you can't just have someone yanking on shit."

At one point on his trip to Paris, McChrystal checks his BlackBerry. "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke," he groans. "I don't even want to open it." He clicks on the message and reads the salutation out loud, then stuffs the BlackBerry back in his pocket, not bothering to conceal his annoyance.

"Make sure you don't get any of that on your leg," an aide jokes, referring to the e-mail.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:05 PM
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Pretty disgusting behavior, really. Way to be stereotypical, Team America.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:07 PM
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25: I read something earlier today--Ambinder?--stating as fact that McChrystal wasn't responsible for the leak. I don't know whether that's true or not, but aside from that accusation, McChrystal mostly comes across to me as a guy who likely sees his main political enemies within the military and tries not to think about the civilians at all. That means he's reached his level of incompetence and needs to be fired, but it doesn't say anything broader about the military's culture with respect to civilian authority. I tend to see more disrespect for civilian authority in stuff like the Pentagon's procurement shenanigans than in this guy's not wanting to hang out with people who don't eat snakes.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:10 PM
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I spent a few moments trying to work a bro-icing reference into the post title but gave up.

"Band of Bros"?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:13 PM
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29: If that perspective on the relationship between McChrystal and the civilian leadership comes from McChrystal's team, rather than being an invention of the journalist, it's a problem. He's not supposed to be 'leaning on' the president. He's not supposed to be 'taking the fuckers out' where the fuckers are the civilian leadership that disagrees with him about the best course of action. He's supposed to be presenting the civilian leadership with the information they need to make decisions, and then carrying out their orders.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:14 PM
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not quite the attitude for someone who has spent two years failing pretty hard


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:20 PM
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Col. Gonerill: Son, we live in a world that has bars, and those bars have to be occupied by men with drinks. Whose gonna fill 'em? You? You, Lt. Stanley? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Obama, and you curse the mainstream beer market. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That my taste, while tragic, probably saved lives. And Bud Light Lime's existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the Bud Light Lime because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want it on the menu, you need it on the menu. We use words like taste, summer state of mind, and ultimate refreshment. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the drink that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just drank your fucking microbrew, said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a bottle, and stand a round. Either way, I don't give a damn what your trustafarian friends think I should be drinking.

Lt Stanley: Did you order the Bud Light Lime?

Col. Gonerill: I put in the round I ...

Lt Stanley: Did you order the Bud Light Lime?

Col. Gonerill: YOU'RE GODDAMNED RIGHT I DID!


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:21 PM
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I had no idea. I really can't handle the truth.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:22 PM
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If you're talking about the leak, I agree with you.

What I'm taking away from the article is that this is an incredibly capable guy who's trying to do something very very hard and getting frustrated because he can't do it singlehandedly and the people he has to work with aren't as capable as he is. I don't think he's a guy I'd want to have a beer with, but I have some sympathy for that. OTOH, a four-star general can't think that way, because the nature of the job is that you have to work with others who don't see things your way, maybe because they're incompetent or malicious or maybe just because they've done the same analysis you have and reached a different conclusion. Leadership at that level also requires more willingness to give up and walk away than McChrystal's previous career seems to have taught him, which is also a huge flaw, especially when the job he's trying to do is one that shouldn't be done.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:23 PM
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35 to 31.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:24 PM
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35.1 to?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:24 PM
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Ah. You know, even if he wasn't responsible for the leak, I don't want someone who thinks like that (assuming the quoted paragraph represents his thinking) about the civilian leadership in the military leadership. I don't care how competent he thinks he is, or what fuckups he thinks everyone else is.

Which is pretty much what you said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:27 PM
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33: I'm not sure how I feel about being portrayed by Tom Cruise in the film adaptation of the blog, but I should probably accept that it's likely the best I can do and move on.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:29 PM
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YES I LIKE BUD LIGHT LIME AND I'M NOT AFRAID TO ADMIT IT!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:30 PM
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38: What I'm sympathetic to is the sense that he's been given a directive to accomplish Task A using Strategy B and is doing his damnedest to do that, while proponents of other tasks and other strategies are trying to do their things in ways that make it harder for him to do his. But the fundamental problem is that if you define success in Afghanistan as something that can only be achieved by giving General McChrystal unlimited resources and authority (and maybe an army of clones of himself), what you're really saying is that success in Afghanistan is not something that the United States of America can achieve, and McChrystal doesn't get that.

IOW, I think where we're differing is just that I'm seeing a bit more tragic hero in the picture than you are.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:36 PM
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gen mccrystal really isn't the guy getting the short, pointy end of the 'futile strategy for pointless war' stick

getting to throwing him under the bus is one of the nice benefits of people liking to be promoted.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:42 PM
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what you're really saying is that success in Afghanistan is not something that the United States of America can achieve

Maybe not, but failure will take many forms and have diverse consequences.

US is a Fascist Police-State ...via Naked Capitalism


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:43 PM
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What a crazy war this has become. No apparent hope of "winning" (or even a clear definition of what winning would be), sticking around for political reasons or as some kind of giant "counter insurgency" demonstration project. I've had these surreal conversations with people who were supposed to be doing Afghanistan policy where you ask the most basic questions about what we're doing there and what success we hope to achieve and get these weird answers. (We can't really win, but we have to stay until the Afghans can protect themselves from the Taliban, etc). Six months ago the Marja offensive was going to be the miracle that would make civilians love us and the Taliban fear us. Then it belly flopped now it's supposed to be Kandahar. I loved the part at the end of the article about $90 million in civilian aid to Kandahar. Not that the Afghans don't deserve it for all the shit they've gone through, but in the meantime we can't extend unemployment benefits here.

Sigh. I think McChrystal has to stay so he's available to take the fall when we have to withdraw.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:54 PM
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It's disappointing that the guys in charge of the military (one of them in charge of a particularly important part of it at the moment, at least) live down to so many negative stereotypes of the military. Even if this guy is relatively separate from the previous administration's agenda and relatively competent at COIN, he's still in the armed forces. Macho bullshit of all kinds, from "Team America" and homophobia all the way down to a preference for crappy - but American, and blue-collar, damn straight, so git 'r' done!* - beer.

Disappointing, but hardly surprising. Seriously, where's the revelation here? That people who rise to the top of a right-wing culture deep in the military-industrial complex don't have much respect for the democratic process, particularly when it results in relatively left-wing elected leaders? Knock me over with a feather. Colin Powell was the "good" general for more than a decade, and he got his start by covering up war crimes. Rereading the OP, where Stanley says the most surprising thing is the beer choice, I don't think I'm too far off the Unfogged hive-mind. Consider this complaint aimed at the media in general, then.

The fact that McChrystal said all this to reporters is a bad sign about his intelligence. I haven't finished reading the Rolling Stone article or any of several responses to it so I don't have much opinion on what Obama should do. I'm just frustrated by the surprise I'm already sure is out there.

* That might look elitist of me, but you know, "Git 'r' done" is a direct and unabridged - that is, it was the full text of the slide - quote from a PowerPoint presentation at my job, at the bottom of the totem pole in a branch of DHS.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:57 PM
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describing opponents as 'fascist' has an unpararrallel quality to it.

i might admit some aspects of obama's agenda htat i like for their movement toward social democratic governments. and also say the gop has proto-fascist tendencies.

but my interlocutor will say obama is a fascist and socialist.

i guess democrats won't admit to being liberal, tho.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 5:58 PM
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He won't take the fall. He'll leak that he needs 20,000 more troops and two more Friedman units, and then when we have to withdraw, it will be Obama's fault for not giving them to him.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:00 PM
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Special ops guys for the most part are very professional in how they conduct themselves in accomplishing their mission. They are also pretty tribal. The lack of judgement in allowing a reporter this kind of behind the scenes look is why very few make general.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:00 PM
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||

Thanks to those of you (teo, paren, maybe some others?) who recommended Pecos. Nice place, and a pleasant drive to get there.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:18 PM
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To the Yalu&hellips;and BEYOND!


Posted by: Buzz MacArthur | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:26 PM
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Fuck that traitorous html! I have a Medal of Honor!


Posted by: Buzz MacArthur | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:27 PM
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47: I've been working up a half-baked theory that the Rolling Stone article is some crazy kabuki chess move by McChrystal and very much orchestrated on purpose, but I can't quite get myself there.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:28 PM
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For me the immediately disturbing thing about the article is that, depending on which Thursday in mid-April it's referring to, I may have been staying just two or three blocks from McChrystal in Paris.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:42 PM
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53: Man. You totes could have iced Bordeaux'd him!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:45 PM
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Disappointing, but hardly surprising. Seriously, where's the revelation here? That people who rise to the top of a right-wing culture deep in the military-industrial complex don't have much respect for the democratic process, particularly when it results in relatively left-wing elected leaders? Knock me over with a feather.

I have to say that this has been my reaction as well. A McChrystal should be more disciplined in his public statements and behavior, without a doubt, but aside from that, I can't quite manage to clutch my pearls.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:48 PM
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I like it when they put limes in coronas. I probably would like bud light lime.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 6:56 PM
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Lime Tostitos are also really bad.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:04 PM
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54: a dude who only eats once per day could get pretty hammered chugging a bottle of wine if you cauht him on the right side of dining.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:07 PM
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58: Yeah, that was weird. Wonder if the dude has an eating disorder -- if I heard about a woman running seven miles a day and only eating one meal, I'd be getting all diagnostic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:15 PM
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Maybe he eats an entire bear cub, once daily.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:17 PM
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Lime Tostitos are also really bad.

You mean those hint o' lime tostitos with the salty, fake-lime coating? I really like those, actually (but I recognize that they're really bad).

33 is funny.

Not that I care about any of this anymore, but I think Obama has to fire McChrystal. You can't have the perception (or the reality) that the civilian executive is subordinate to the military. Or you can, of course, but that's a banana republic.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:17 PM
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Count me as another voice in favor of Lime Tostitos.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:21 PM
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Not surprisingly, I join MC in loving both Tim Horton donuts and lime Tostitos. In fact, when I was in fighting trim, I used to do a full Ironman triathlon and eat only a half bag of lime Tostitos and 3 Tim Horton maple donuts daily. I also join MC in thinking that McChrystal should be cashiered.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:25 PM
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I'm driving up to Ottawa this weekend, Ari. I plan to stop at the first Tim's that I come across on the 401.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:30 PM
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Yes, Obama should fire lime tostitos at McChrystal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:31 PM
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Pew! Pew!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:32 PM
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You mean those hint o' lime tostitos with the salty, fake-lime coating?

Those things are fucking addictive. I never buy them because I can't stop and end up eating the whole bag.

Basically, I'm hooked on fake lime flavor. If they sold pure fake lime I would eat it straight.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:32 PM
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I like it when they put limes in coronas. I probably would like bud light lime.

It's certainly more hygienic. Nobody ever washes bar limes, nor generally the hands that dig in the lime bin all night.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:35 PM
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Contact info@weberfoodflavors.com.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:35 PM
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To further tempt PGD:

Lime Flavor Powder


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:40 PM
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Weird: "Marshmallow Flavor Powder". Wouldn't that just be, uh, sugar?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:41 PM
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Wait, so the old standby nacho flavored Doritos have been supplanted by these lime Tostitos? I never! Do they turn your tongue green (or yellow)? Because the nacho ones do an orange trick.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:41 PM
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72: No, parsi, we're talking high-end, luxury Tostitos™, not some plebian Dostitos™ dreck.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:43 PM
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Dostitos? You know what I mean.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:44 PM
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Like when you have two Titos.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:44 PM
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Jackson, Puente.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:45 PM
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Josep, Jackson


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:46 PM
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Damn you. Though it looks like we reset our TiTos.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:46 PM
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** IMPORTANT NOTICE **
Weber Flavors is a supplier to Food Industry Manufacturers and Professionals only.
Therefore, we cannot provide samples or retail sales of flavorings to the general public or consumers.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:47 PM
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79: You could set up PGD Snax, LLC. How much do you want this, anyway?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:48 PM
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"Food Industry Professional" is the easiest job to fake ever. Put on some chef pants and hand out corn dogs and boom, you're in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:49 PM
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PGD, if Rand Paul can Board Certify himself, surely you can gin up some stationery.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:49 PM
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Vandelay Industries, PGD.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:53 PM
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Maybe its because I enjoy real limes so much that Lime Flavor Powder seems so awful to me. I have quite a visceral negative reaction to those little green flavor flakes. Odd, considering that I generally rather enjoy artificial food.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:53 PM
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Under liquid flavors, they offer a "B-52 Type Flavor". Is that, like, bomber B-52 or "Love Shack" B-52? And is either one desirable as a flavor?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:54 PM
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"Food Industry Professional" is the easiest job to fake ever.

I was on a plane full of food & wine professionals a few days ago. They all seemed pretty fake.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 7:54 PM
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Did you check to make sure they weren't cardboard cutouts?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:00 PM
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they offer a "B-52 Type Flavor"

It's code, obviously. Don't ever try to infiltrate a Flavor Manufacturers conference, Stanley, is all I'm saying.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:03 PM
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|| In other food-related news, I can't get this Adult Swim song about food poisioning out of my head.

Also, I had occasion to learn at work today that the sale of onion futures or onion swaps is a Federal crime. So if I were to sell you the right to buy onions from me at some future date at a price set today, that would be a crime. Likewise, if I were to agree to pay you a fixed amount of money each month, and in return receive the price of a bushel of onions, that would be a crime. However, if I received the price of a bushel of limes -- not a crime. ||>


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:06 PM
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It's vitamin B-52, duh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:10 PM
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89: Yeah, I read about that a month or so ago, when lobbyists started trying to make Hollywood movies the second item in which futures trading was banned.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:13 PM
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Also, not so easy to fake your company...they make you fill out a form , identify your "food application", then a representative contacts you, presumably discuss technical stuff about the manufacturing process and customization of their flavors. If they asked to visit my factory things could spin out of control.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:14 PM
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Obviously you need to locate a factory near you that manufactures something using the fake lime flavor and try to sweet-talk a foreman or something, see if they can't sell you a little for your own use.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:15 PM
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It probably wouldn't even need to be near you, for that matter. Email some dudes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:16 PM
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91: exactly, you got it. It's an informed crowd around here.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:20 PM
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You're starting a district gastropub specializing in molecular gastronomy, and you'd like to explore some cocktails made with artificial flavors. You're working with a bartender who has experience with emulsions and candying and mumble mumble and then explain that you're actually on the management team them go into detail about the 14th st. corridor and crib some shit previously cribbed by yggles about the paucity of restuarant licenses in DC and that's why you think it'll be a volume business and while you'd be a smaller customer you'd be looking at [ invented ] number of units and boom, done. Artificial lime by the helicopter-load.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:22 PM
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I don't really know what to make of 89.2: is there a place a person could read more about this? I mean, onions no, limes yes. Commodities futures trading (if I am employing the lingo correctly) strange and troublesome, problematic. I get that so-called farm policy is complex, has a long history, and so on: are there recent developments?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:23 PM
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Artificial lime by the helicopter-load.

Doubles as a defoliant, I've heard.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:26 PM
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Listen to Sifu, PGD. I have a feeling he knows from social engineering.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:27 PM
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If they asked to visit my factory things could spin out of control.

Oh, come on. Just buy an advanced chemistry kit on eBay, and set up a lab in your basement (garage/ spare bedroom/kitchen), and tell them you can't answer specific questions about your secret ingredient because it's "patent pending." If you take to wearing a white lab coat at all times, it will make you look science-y.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:30 PM
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63: I also join MC in thinking that McChrystal should be cashiered.

The rest of his staff, down to the 2nd Lt. in charge of the coffee machine, probably need to be thinking about limes and bartending school too. No other general officer is going to want any of them around.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:43 PM
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96 is pretty hilarious. This would all be just in order to coat one's tongue. I need a drink of water, man.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:44 PM
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||

I have a FB acquaintance with a zany post up about how BP should be held accountable BUT NOT TO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. And WHERE IS THE JUDICIAL BRANCH on this one anyway?

Yeah! Wait, what?

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 8:51 PM
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Under liquid flavors, they offer a "B-52 Type Flavor". Is that, like, bomber B-52 or "Love Shack" B-52?

Tastes like rock lobster.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:07 PM
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||

Goddamn it. A kid just drowned on a class trip at the school Sally's signed up to go to next year.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:09 PM
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There's a flavor in this drink; it's called the flavor.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:10 PM
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And WHERE IS THE JUDICIAL BRANCH on this one anyway?

The JUDICIAL BRANCH SHOULD BE ACTIVE, but JUDGES SHOULD NOT BE JUDICIAL ACTIVISTS.

(It's a fine line, and a delicate balancing act.)


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:13 PM
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107: I had an initial snark response very close to that but scaled it back a bit. So far, all I've gotten back is some further confusion about how the illegal immigrants trashed the environment in Arizona and the US Border Patrol has refused to stop them. Or something.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:17 PM
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105: Ugh. Too terrible to contemplate. Off to hug the kids...


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:18 PM
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And now I'm worried that the school is run by unsafe morons -- it seems to have been unambiguously the schools' fault.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:29 PM
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Just keep reminding yourself that childhood isn't as dangerous as it looks.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:34 PM
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I don't really know what to make of 89.2: is there a place a person could read more about this?

yes, many places

Commodities futures trading (if I am employing the lingo correctly) strange and troublesome, problematic.

Not really, or maybe sort of under certain circumstances...it's old and traditional, over 150 years old in the U.S. and versions go back thousands of years. Not an unnatural thing for farmers to want to lock in prices in advance, for planning if nothing else.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:36 PM
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it seems to have been unambiguously the schools' fault

Jesus. What did they do, or fail to do? How awful, in any case.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:37 PM
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Still. They took inadequately supervised kids to an ocean beach with no lifeguards, and let them swim. They couldn't kill Sally off that way -- the girl's this close to growing flukes and a blowhole -- but if they're that dumb, what else are they going to come up with?

I'll probably get over it. It's still a good school. But I'm very unhappy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:38 PM
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On the bright side I'm sure they'll be extra careful next year. On an unrelated note, I don't see any reason BP shouldn't be allowed to continue drilling the gulf.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:38 PM
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114: From what you say, you might not have to worry about it: the school might not exist come next fall.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:41 PM
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The Times story about the drowning is gut-wrenching.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:45 PM
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18

Man, if that's conventional at high levels I strongly disapprove, and would think that a whole lot of firing should happen until it became no longer conventional.

This is unrealistic. You can fire people for being publically disrespectful but conducting a political witch hunt for everyone not sufficiently reverent towards Obama? Very bad idea.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:45 PM
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Also, making me unhappy. By this point in the year, Sally's turned down her slot in any other public middle school. If the school does get shut down (which seems unlikely, but could happen), I don't know what they do with the students. If they reconstitute with the same students but a new principal, I suppose that's not too bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:46 PM
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I wonder if anyone who works for the federal government is "reverent towards Obama". Probably not.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:46 PM
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Actually yes, most of the staffers at the newly created Department of Whirly-Eyed Acolytes can fairly be described as "reverent".


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:48 PM
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119: It does sound like there's at least a chance that the problem is idiosyncratic -- the fault of some idiotic teachers and an intern who'll probably leave the field of education -- rather than structural. I mean, it seems entirely possible that the head of school didn't even know what was going on. Which, sure, isn't great, but it's probably better than him having signed off on the swimming-in-the-ocean-without-lifeguards plan, right? Regardless, that's a horrible situation, and I'm sorry that you have to be anywhere near it.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:51 PM
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121: Try getting those Assistant Secretaries through the Senate.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:51 PM
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Riptides are deceptive. I can understand why the teachers didn't think there would be a problem on a clear, calm day.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:55 PM
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121: Also, thrifty, brave, clean, and articulate.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:57 PM
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Jesus, what a horrible story.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:57 PM
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That's horrible.

I'm sure that the teachers were deceived by the difficulty of seeing a riptide. But that just shows how unprepared they were to take a bunch of 6th graders swimming in the ocean.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 9:57 PM
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I thought there was a blanket rule that no swimming when there's no lifeguard on duty. When with kids, that is. Adults can get into all kinds of trouble on beaches.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:00 PM
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And indeed the article says signs were posted to that effect.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:02 PM
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There were signs at the beach saying that swimming was prohibited.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:02 PM
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Well, yeah, that's why I'm blaming the school. A trip to the beach doesn't make sense at all unless there were going to be lifeguards, and the students were screened for being able to swim. The mistake didn't happen on the beach, it happened when the trip was approved.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:02 PM
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124

Riptides are deceptive. I can understand why the teachers didn't think there would be a problem on a clear, calm day.

It doesn't take a riptide to kill a kid who can't swim.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:06 PM
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I guess this is one of those differences between growing up in the Bay Area and elsewhere. A trip to the beach almost always meant beautiful coastline but no swimming because the water's fairly cold, the tides are unpredictable, and the weather is probably not very good anyway. I remember both camping on a beach and going to see a tidal area at low tide on school trips, with "no swimming allowed" being drilled into us the whole time.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:10 PM
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I've actually never heard of a class trip to an ocean beach younger than late high school. People drown in the NYC beaches every year; lots of them have dangerous currents.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:14 PM
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But clearly that school trip was meant as a swimming trip, and I agree that it reflects poorly on the school, and is a horrible story all the way around, however it came about.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:15 PM
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Stanley, I can also read the McChrystal article as a political move, one designed to criticize the civil government so that it gets voted out of office. And, moreover, from a civil point of view, that should be OK; we expect bureaucrats to be able to say something about bad policies, don't we? They need to be able to send in memorials of remonstrance to support the Mandate of Heaven, while carrying out their duties as best they can.

I think Lawrence of Arabia also practiced eating once a day and drinking nothing by daylight, while touring the south of France studying castle fortifications as a student. Romantic, competent, basically insubordinate...


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-22-10 10:52 PM
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133: At the other end of the spectrum, 25 local sixth graders at the beach with three adults would seem totally unremarkable, but ocean safety is taught from very early on.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:43 AM
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Romantic, competent, basically insubordinate...

So passionate!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:49 AM
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We're somewhere around 137 as well.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:05 AM
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And, moreover, from a civil point of view, that should be OK; we expect bureaucrats to be able to say something about bad policies, don't we?

There are a lot of ways that bureaucrats can say something about bad policies. This doesn't look/sound like one of those. This reads like a bunch of wankers who can't keep their mouths shut.

It looks pretty fucked up from a British perspective. British generals aren't above the odd bit of surreptitious and ambiguously sourced briefing: "Sources close to senior officers in Helmand have indicated that ..."; "It is known that generals have been unhappy with lack of resources, and man power during Operation Delicate Flower," etc, but anything like the quoted stuff would be completely beyond the pale.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:22 AM
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And also, of course, Generals can give evidence to government via Parliament [or Congress, or however it works in the US].

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jock_Stirrup#Comments_and_decisions_on_overstretch

And some Generals and ex-Generals have been highly critical in such venues [and in post-retirement newspaper articles, lectures, and so on].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:43 AM
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141: we must at all costs avoid overstretching Jock Stirrup.

Was there some point at which physical fitness became the most important single criterion for the US to select its generals? Petraeus made a big thing out of his daily runs as well. (I suspect Bush's influence.)

If he hasn't achieved significant results by the end of the year McChrystal should be fired anyway. Lincoln would have done it. So would Churchill.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:55 AM
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Added irony: I don't know anyone in the military who would regard drinking Bud Light Lime as anything other than unacceptably gay. Even the actual gay soldiers would think it a bit effeminate. (They generally drink high-test Belgian like the rest of us.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:07 AM
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Our oldest just had their end of year class trip to a beach- lake beach, not ocean, but also no lifeguards- but the kids are 5 and 6. The notice said that teachers and parents would supervise the kids who wanted to swim. We let him go but my wife went too to specifically watch him, even though he's a decent swimmer and very cautious kid. No incidents, but we were thinking it's a disaster waiting to happen.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:14 AM
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Re Bud Light, I actually find the urbane, art-collecting sort of general more alarming. You know, the ones who tend towards Hermann Goring. Of course, there's an essential war movie trope in there, and for that reason I suppose I wouldn't rush to condemn refined taste in a military man.

And surely no one can top Douglas MacArthur for exceeding authority. McChrystal doesn't even rank close.


Posted by: Charlie | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 3:35 AM
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surely no one can top Douglas MacArthur for exceeding authority

Augusto Pinochet?

But yes, fair point. There's a good description of his firing in The Coldest Winter (which read); his welcome home parade in DC, which, everyone felt, would have happily followed him up the Mall and through the gates of the White House...

As for art-collecting generals; Wellington wasn't that bad, on the other hand.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 3:44 AM
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I'm trying to remember, but didn't McChrystal mouth off about the administration in an interview someplace else a couple of months ago? I remember thinking of him as insubordinate before.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 8:29 AM
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Yeah, this.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 8:31 AM
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It looks pretty fucked up from a British perspective. British generals aren't above the odd bit of surreptitious and ambiguously sourced briefing: "Sources close to senior officers in Helmand have indicated that ..."; "It is known that generals have been unhappy with lack of resources, and man power during Operation Delicate Flower," etc, but anything like the quoted stuff would be completely beyond the pale.

Why is it that our elimination of the draft led to a separate military caste to which the media and people in general refer with near-religious awe and wonder for its manifest superiority to us mere cowards, but that isn't the case in the UK?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 8:40 AM
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149 assumes an unproven (altho one I am sympathetic to) causal chain, but remains a very good question, the kind of question I like.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 8:45 AM
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149/150: Part of the explanation is that the UK dismantled its global military empire, while the US still maintains ours.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 8:51 AM
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Maybe the answer to 149 is in this Spring 2009 Critique by Richard Kohn

Did no one notice this quote about "collateral damage" from the RS article?

You better be out there hitting four or five targets tonight," McChrystal will tell a Navy Seal he sees in the hallway at headquarters. Then he'll add, "I'm going to have to scold you in the morning for it, though."
...via FDL

Is this COIN?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 8:55 AM
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The Kohn article discusses several problems with the current US military, one of which Kohn says is a de-emphasis on teaching strategy.

Not that I understand what strategy is, but I do wonder a little if strategy, in a divided civilian/military command structure, should be more in the civilian side portfolio.

Because:

Obama:Ok, I just come up with the goals, and give you generals the freedom and tools to create the strategy (he-he) for achieving those goals.

So. Peace and prosperity in Afghanistan in two years!!!
And work with Karzai and the warlords, and keep Pakistan and India happy, and don't kill too many civilians, and do it pretty cheaply in terms of troops and money. Etc.

But the strategy is up to you.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 9:07 AM
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152: Yeah, that popped out for me too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 9:18 AM
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118
You can fire people for being publically disrespectful but conducting a political witch hunt for everyone not sufficiently reverent towards Obama?

James, would you like to rephrase that without an excluded middle and/or strawman? Well, forgive my leading rhetorical question; I'm sure you wouldn't. But what I'm saying is, I think you should.

145
Re Bud Light, I actually find the urbane, art-collecting sort of general more alarming.

I don't know about that. Admiral Thrawn, for example, was a definite improvement over his predecessors.

But joking aside, there's a huge middle ground between Gen. Larry Cableguy and actually collecting art. I'm not at either end but probably closer to the second option than the third, and would feel a lot more comfortable with anyone, but especially people in leadership positions, closer to the second option as well. (Because, of course, it's where I am so it must be right, but also because that broad-minded attitude seems important, particularly for leaders.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 9:22 AM
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I also join MC in thinking that McChrystal should be cashiered.

He is an expert at COIN, after all.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 9:24 AM
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re: 149

The US is very odd in that respect. Sometimes it's like an entire nation deep in the closet, and massively over-compensating.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 9:59 AM
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157 is correct. The whole country is fucked in the head when it comes to performing masculinity.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 10:33 AM
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Why is it that our elimination of the draft led to a separate military caste to which the media and people in general refer with near-religious awe and wonder for its manifest superiority to us mere cowards, but that isn't the case in the UK?

At least partially it is because the media and various opponents of the Iraq invasion wanted to criticize Bush administration policies, but wanted to attribute the criticism to someone who was not themselves and who they think wouldn't be ignored as a DFH. The underlying idea may be been caused by the elimination of the draft but it is much more likely that somebody want President Kerry and didn't bother to think about step 2.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 10:46 AM
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No more masturbating to General McChrystal. At least as Afghanistan commander.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:13 AM
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158: I've been catching up on Doctor Who and Torchwood over the past couple weeks, and this reminds me of it. There simply isn't a gay male action hero in America like Jack Harkness. (Which is ironic since the character is the most American-like on the show, but anyways.) Tons of homoeroticism, of course, of greatly varying quality and self-awareness, and probably at least a couple lesbian heroines that aren't coming to mind right now, but exactly zero gay characters in the pulp/superhero/action movie style. Sad.

159: Could be, I guess, but I think the American attitude is older than 2003. I think 151 is still a better explanation.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:26 AM
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157/158: You two take that back or I'll be forced to wave my dick enticingly at you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:31 AM
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157: Sometimes it's like an entire nation deep in the closet
160: No more masturbating to General McChrystal.

Heh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:36 AM
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Was there some point at which physical fitness became the most important single criterion for the US to select its generals?

This happened when it became clear that Vladimir Putin knew Judo. Clearly the officer corps envision fifth-generation warfare as Guile vs. Zangief style monomachy.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:50 AM
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The firing of McChrystal tells me that Obama is not interested in winning the war. The question for Obama now will be how to get out before the next election. Should there be a significant number of troops still in theater, his opponent will have a "secret strategy" to win the war, become elected POTUS 45 and hit the reset button on the war.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:54 AM
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162: Or as well call it, the usual Wednesday thing.


Posted by: Opinionated North Carolina State Patrol | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:55 AM
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Obama is not interested in winning the war

Or has realized that there's no such thing as winning another country's civil war.
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/06/the-obama-mcchrystal-policy-divide/


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:56 AM
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Yes, because McChrystal is the only man who could get it done. Nay, the only man who could protect us at all. We're all going to die!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 11:56 AM
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168->165

166:162: Or as well call it, the usual Wednesday First Not-Tuesday thing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:02 PM
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The firing of McChrystal tells me that Obama is not interested in winning the war.

I disagree TLL. There are plenty of good people out there to fill his position. The President had to relieve him. This is the sort of idiocy he could not ignore. Another way to look at it is what do we think McChrystal would do to the commander of one of the divisions working for him if he had so publically trashed McChrystal and his staff? Nothing good, I think.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:02 PM
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165: hahahahaha, yeah. Whew, that was funny.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:04 PM
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The Pittsburgh Pirates rehired the guy in the pierogi costume. He was fired for putting some very mild insults* of the management team on his Facebook.

*If the insults weren't true, it's because they were too mild.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:07 PM
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Yes, because McChrystal is the only man who could get it done. Nay, the only man who could protect us at all. We're all going to die!

The graveyard is full of indispensable men. The point is more that if the guy is doing the job he has been asked to do, then some behind the scenes comments by staff should not be a reason to fire him. Joe Biden is not in his chain of command, and if he thinks he is there are bigger problems.

The Taliban had the chance to turn over Bin Laden after 9/11. They chose not to and were forcibly expelled from power. But like the dog that catches the car, now what?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:09 PM
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The war cannot be won in conventional terms. The closest thing to that is creating sufficient stability to withdraw troops with a reasonable assurance that things won't fall apart immediately.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:10 PM
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172: Clearly this shows the Pirates are serious about winning.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:12 PM
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173 to 172.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:15 PM
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he commander of one of the divisions working for him if he had so publically trashed McChrystal and his staff

Maybe I need to read the article again, because I didn't come away thinking that anything said was so bad. A small joke about Biden, he doesn't like the Ambassador (a former rival), and thinks Holbrooke is frustrated. Likes Hilary, that must have been it.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:16 PM
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I have never tasted BLL but now I want some.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:22 PM
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And as for the much mentioned BLL, I assume that the general actively hates the stuff, but drinks it as part of his "warrior monk" aesthetic. Similar to his only being with his wife 30 days of the year. Or maybe he's gay.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 12:30 PM
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This all makes me wonder if McChrystal said something that would shatter support for the war, and ginned up all this to district the reporter from it. Hell, maybe it's in the article and nobody noticed it (like bob's 152) - I haven't read the article yet.

Still, never attribute to malice, etc.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:05 PM
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I'm very glad Obama did fire him - not for substantive reasons, but because if he hadn't, the justification would have typical Democratic masochism.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:11 PM
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But like the dog that catches the car, now what?

I'm deeply saddened that the comment thread about the dog eating the police car's bumper has been lost to the hoohole (or gone beyond my searching abilities and/or willingness to read unfogged comments about dogs while at work).


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:11 PM
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I usually attribute "etc" to laziness.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:12 PM
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In hindsight, I didn't think the firing was that surprising. Take LB's link from 148; assume Obama dressed down McChrystal after that speech in London and told him, "Don't ever try that public out-flanking crap again"; the Rolling Stone article constitutes "again"; boom, fired.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:50 PM
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167. Or has realized that there's no such thing as winning another country's civil war.

Yggles is saying the same thing I said. The only difference is that he sees it as a "good" thing. I'm not so sure.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:57 PM
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I was a bit worried he'd take the nonconfrontational approach, but it certainly makes sense to fire him. I've become accustomed to democrats letting me down regarding political retribution.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 1:58 PM
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186: As Genghis Khennedy said, "to tax your enemies, to see them fall at your feet -- to take their withholdings and capital gains and hear the lamentation of their women. That is best."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:05 PM
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So, any bets on who will be the first conservative columnist to condemn the firing as yet another symptom of Obama's "contempt for military culture", or his "totalitarian intolerance of dissent"?

Here are excerpts from some of the columns. I'm just not yet sure who will write them.

"Given this precedent, do you think Petraeus will be comfortable confronting Obama with uncomfortable truths? If the reality on the ground doesn't support Obama's liberal policy prefences? I doubt it. Not when he knows that any open disagreement with Dear Leader could cost him his job."

"Let's be clear, this was not insubordination. No one was questioning the chain of command. The comments weren't all 'polite', but neither is reality. Real men don't hide their views and opinions; they're frank about their disagreements with one another. The military is full of real men (and women). They get this. Obama doesn't."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:10 PM
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188: I'm still working on the first, but the second is Jonah Goldberg.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:14 PM
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Obama shows once again that he's just a big black gay pussy.


Posted by: Opinionated Katherine Lopez | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:15 PM
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188: Krauthammer? Or Broder giving the Lite™ version on All Things Considered across from E.J. Dionne waffling through some explanation that Obama's hands really were tied here and how it was a lose-lose anyhow, and so expect significant GOP gains in 2010 and probably 2012.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:15 PM
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VDH agrees with the firing, with an extra dig at the "betray us" crowd.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:19 PM
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"Let's be clear, this was not insubordination. No one was questioning the chain of command. The comments weren't all 'polite', but neither is reality. Real men don't hide their views and opinions; they're frank about their disagreements with one another. The military is full of real men (and women). They get this. Obama doesn't."

Isn't that Maureen Dowd?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:21 PM
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peep has the correct answer. "Dear Leader" should be a tell for the first, but I'm coming up blank.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 2:29 PM
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I thought the RS piece was actually quite crap - very little information you wouldn't have got elsewhere, some McChrystal hagiog - but the stuff the RS guy thought was amusing style/colour was actually interesting.

He behaved like the original Ugly American. As if Paris isn't full of places that exist for looking mean, eating steak, drinking red wine and black coffee, and looking at the women.

Also, not how you get your allies to support you. Especially the same week a French soldier was killed.

Actually, I think it's the Americans who should take a back seat in Afghanistan. Then we could end the silly bullshit of having the ISAF command in Europe working with and against thousands of US troops who answer to CENTCOM, and turn off the wedding party strikes. Send McPyle back to Kansas. Work out a political fix with the Iranians and Pakistanis. I think we might need the AC130s yet, but that's half a dozen aircraft.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 5:00 PM
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Or has realized that there's no such thing as winning another country's civil war.

This is indeed the central issue, and it's maddening to talk with Afghan war supporters who won't admit that this is what we're trying to do. On the other hand, you could argue that you can win another country's civil war...it's called installing a puppet government. The Romans and the British pulled it off all the time, but since WWII the natives have become more restless and it's a lot more difficult. And of course even the Romans and the British failed in Afghanistan.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 5:13 PM
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it's called installing a puppet government.

You mean like the ISI did with the Taliban in the first place?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 5:24 PM
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112: I don't really know what to make of 89.2: is there a place a person could read more about this?

yes, many places

Sorry to be so late in following up on this. Thanks, anonymous commenter.

The link given seems to suggest that futures trading doesn't necessarily stabilize prices for commodities. I admit that I haven't looked into any additional references provided; I'm not under the impression that this is a new question, certainly.

Not really, or maybe sort of under certain circumstances...it's old and traditional, over 150 years old in the U.S. and versions go back thousands of years. Not an unnatural thing for farmers to want to lock in prices in advance, for planning if nothing else.

I know, and I get the idea, though I'm quite untrained in the formal economics of this stuff. I was mostly thinking of a recent Harper's article by one Kaufman, provocatively titled "The food bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it", which dammit is as usual available in full only to subscribers. Sorry. I haven't finished the print article, actually, but I seem to be glomming on to a few things I'd never known about how the commodities futures market has morphed over time. The developments don't seem positive, but alas I can't say much more without having finished the article!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:28 PM
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Also, wow, I didn't realize there'd been additions to this thread about installing a puppet government in Afghanistan. Um, yeah. It would appear that we're not very good at that any more.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:32 PM
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any more

Huh? We had a golden age of installing puppet governments?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:35 PM
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200: Some say you had your good moments.


Posted by: Opinionated Shah | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:37 PM
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201: I have some objections I'd like to raise.


Posted by: Opinionated Diem | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:42 PM
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200: Sure.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:44 PM
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We've had a few moments in Latin America as well, though I'm not sure "puppet" is exactly the right term. Still, though.

Now we seem either to have become afflicted by ethics, of all things; or we're trying to engage in this puppet business in places where, you know, people are giving us the finger the situation is not straightforward.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:48 PM
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We've had a few moments in Latin America

Those were the ones I was thinking of as wildly unpopular (there; no one really cares here).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:50 PM
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205: In this game, success is determined from the point of view of the arm-in-the-ass.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 7:52 PM
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205: Whatever kinds of strong-arming and bribery worked then and there, however briefly, for a couple of decades, are not operational now. Which is sort of interesting: I think we seriously just don't know what to do now. We've turned to this hearts-and-minds thing, but we honestly don't understand what that's all about. Dumb, we are.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 8:08 PM
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155

James, would you like to rephrase that without an excluded middle and/or strawman? Well, forgive my leading rhetorical question; I'm sure you wouldn't. But what I'm saying is, I think you should.

So how would you sumarize LB's 18?

Man, if that's conventional at high levels I strongly disapprove, and would think that a whole lot of firing should happen until it became no longer conventional.

The firings will continue until morale improves?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-23-10 10:22 PM
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Further to Alex at 195, if fancy-schmancy is all that you can find in Paris, ur doin it wrong. Nor does that speak well of his/his team's ability to do the devious cultural navigation that will lead to better outcomes in Central Asia.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 12:29 AM
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208
So how would you sumarize LB's 18?

You were the first person in the thread to use the word "reverent", for no motive I can discern other than muddying the waters. Here was what you said:

You can fire people for being publically disrespectful but conducting a political witch hunt for everyone not sufficiently reverent towards Obama?

Your comment only makes any sense at all if you assume that there's no middle ground being reverent and "contempt for civilian leadership". I don't know whether or not you actually believe that, but it's what you said, and I disagree with you. I think it's possible to have contempt for some civilian leaders but not civilian leadership as a whole, or a wide range of attitudes toward civilian leadership between contempt and reverence. Grudging respect, for instance.

So to answer the question, here's one way to rephrase that: "the firings will continue until people no longer have contempt for their boss." (No, of course I wouldn't like that management style in most fields, but we're not talking about most management here, we're talking about whether "high-level military personnel" respect the chain of command.)


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:49 AM
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210

"Contempt" and "insufficient reverence" are the same thing.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 6:56 AM
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211: As I learned from Diane on Cheers, hate isn't the opposite of love, indifference is. Contempt and insufficient reverence aren't orthogonal, but they aren't the same either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:03 AM
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212

How about "insufficient admiration"?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:19 AM
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Cheers has been off the air for years, so I can't be sure anymore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:20 AM
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210

So to answer the question, here's one way to rephrase that: "the firings will continue until people no longer have contempt for their boss." (No, of course I wouldn't like that management style in most fields, but we're not talking about most management here, we're talking about whether "high-level military personnel" respect the chain of command.)

And how are you going to determine if they have contempt for their boss? Give them all polygraphs?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:22 AM
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212: That comes from a Somerset Maugham quote, no?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:22 AM
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Elie Weisel said this before it was used for comedy.

Public interviews are a fairly radical tactic in a bureaucracy-- sourced public criticism is much, much stronger than insufficient reverence or even contempt, which is usually kept private.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:23 AM
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Most bosses are quite used to subordinates who disagree with them and may hate them. Inquiring into people's ideas is usually pointless, generally only actions are examined.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:27 AM
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215: Actually, I think James has a point.

I'm not even sure LB was being entirely serious.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:28 AM
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215: Substitute "publicly exhibit contempt", who gives a flying fuck what they actually think. And James knew that is what LB meant, but persisted in arguing disingenuously. This form of public dissent is potentially grounds for removal at the leadership level of any freaking organization.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:36 AM
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211
"Contempt" and "insufficient reverence" are the same thing.

At best, you're just using words however you feel like.

con·tempt   /kənˈtɛmpt/ Show Spelled[kuhn-tempt] Show IPA

-noun

1. the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn.

2. the state of being despised; dishonor; disgrace.

3. Law: a. willful disobedience to or open disrespect for the rules or orders of a court (contempt of court) or legislative body; b. an act showing such disrespect.

rev·er·ence   /ˈrɛvərəns, ˈrɛvrəns/ Show Spelled [rev-er-uhns, rev-ruhns] Show IPA noun, verb, -enced, -enc·ing.
-noun
1. a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.

2. the outward manifestation of this feeling: to pay reverence.

3. a gesture indicative of deep respect; an obeisance, bow, or curtsy.

4. the state of being revered.

5. ( initial capital letter ) a title used in addressing or mentioning a member of the clergy (usually prec. by your or his ).

Mild or grudging respect, for just one example of possible attitudes, would not be contempt (it directly conflicts with the legal definition, and at the very least it's in tension with the other two), and yet it is not reverence either because it's not deep respect.

You know, I'm often tempted to cite dictionaries and I often find I'm unable to, because the usage I was objecting to is technically correct even if it didn't seem that way to me. The person I was disagreeing with could claim to have been using the legal definition when everyone else was using the standard definition or something like that. Here though, no, you're clearly just making shit up, James.

Also, 220.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:43 AM
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A decent review of events from the Times.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:45 AM
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209: Exactly. If you can't figure out how to get along with the US's oldest ally, perhaps you're not the person to turn potentially hostile people into friends.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:49 AM
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if fancy-schmancy is all that you can find in Paris, ur doin it wrong.

To be fair to the general, he did not pick the restaurant, the French minister did. Perhaps if they told him they served "serpent au vin" or something.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:08 AM
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220: Yep. I don't care what anyone thinks, just what they say and do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:11 AM
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My wing-nutty cow-orker informs me that Rush Limbaugh informed him that McChrystal was an "extreme leftist" (he voted for Obama after all) and that's why he blabbed to the Rolling Stone guy and it was all done on purpose because Stan McC. wants to run for president someday. So, you know, Rush is still insane, in case you hadn't checked on that recently.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:40 AM
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So, you know, Rush is still insane, in case you hadn't checked on that recently.

I meant to check, but I got confused and listened to Canadians singing about free will.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 11:45 AM
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This seemed more credible than Rush. I know, fish, barrel, etc.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 12:14 PM
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225

220: Yep. I don't care what anyone thinks, just what they say and do.

That's not what you said in 38.

Ah. You know, even if he wasn't responsible for the leak, I don't want someone who thinks like that (assuming the quoted paragraph represents his thinking) about the civilian leadership in the military leadership. I don't care how competent he thinks he is, or what fuckups he thinks everyone else is.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 7:56 PM
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Yes, it was inexact of me not to specify that by 'thinks like that' I meant 'thinks like that and allows it to affect his words and behavior to the point that his thoughts are obvious to his co-workers' -- there's a valid exception for someone who keeps contemptuous thoughts strictly to himself, and I join you in strongly opposing polygraph tests of Army officers intended to elicit unexpressed dismissive or hostile thoughts about the President.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-24-10 8:37 PM
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Eugene Robinson gets it right in the Post:

The good news? Nobody has to pretend anymore that Gen. Stanley McChrystal knew how to fix Afghanistan within a year. The bad news? Now we're supposed to pretend that Gen. David Petraeus does.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-25-10 6:45 AM
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