We all know the blogosphere is a cesspool of uninformed rant, but, really, it's proper and just that blogs by people who are thoughtful and actually know what they're talking about are quickly found and linked. I'm thinking, in this instance of Mark Schmitt's Decembrist and Juan Cole's Informed Comment. Good stuff.
Unf and I were in the same English class in our sophomore year of high school. Our teacher (not Unf's favorite, as I recall) was a curmudgeonly older gentleman who one day told us that he had long ago tired of reading fiction. An odd thing to say, I thought, and quite odd for a high-school English teacher.
Even though I'm now just about half his age at the time, I think I understand what he meant. I've managed to read, all the way through, three or four novels in the last five years. When I was in high school, I would read that many in a week, or even a weekend. But I just can't do it anymore. I lose interest. I even resent the author for thinking that I'll spend so much time in a world of his creation.
It's not that I don't like what I'm reading. We're talking about some fabulous failures to finish here: Ulysses, Pride and Prejudice, Blood Meridian--I love them, but I can't get through them. I can still manage short stories and poems, but not with the same enjoyment as in the past, and if any fiction takes more than around five sittings, I'm sunk.
So Woodward's new book-- we'll all be talking about it at tiresome length, never fear-- quotes the President as saying that public knowledge of the Iraq war planning going on during the Afghanistan conflict would cause
enormous international angst and domestic speculation.
I will leave the political analysis to others; I want only to note that he didn't say that. No, he so didn't. Nev-ver.
Yes yes, do it! I saw it at Anne Galloway's but follow the links everywhere!
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the sentence on your blog along with these instructions.
If you're blogless, I'll see you in the comments.
But the provocation of human art and law by lack and fault in nature is ambiguous, a sign either of absence of divine rule or of divine care for the specifically human.
-Thomas Prufer, Recapitulations
This is a worthy effort of Billmon's, on the White House's throwing a tremendous wrench into (what's left of) the delicate works of the Iraeli/Palestinian roadmap. I'm no shrewd observer of the situation, preferring to think, as Billmon puts it, that the topic is the death valley of our political community, from which there is no sane escape-- but when observers say "Sharon got everything he wanted," I tend to think it's a bad day for Israelis, Palestinians, our precious dignity, Aunt Monkey, and whoever.
And this is jaw-dropping:
In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949 ... It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities. (emphasis added)
You create the facts on the ground, then capitulate to the facts on the ground. Splendid.
Billmon's pessimism involves the thought that this move of Bush's will most likely move the war on terra closer to a war on arabs, or a war on Islam-- initially in the eyes of those waging it against the US, and, through grimly predictable responses, in fact. I wonder to what extent this is accurate, since it's possible that some of the anti-US rhetoric uses Israel as a focal point, though the anger being expressed has its true explanation elsewhere. Hence it might be possible that a US policy that essentially gives the Palestinians the finger wouldn't have quite the effect that it would were the Israeli situation the real story.
No, that's too optimistic.
The net result of this nasty little backroom deal won't just be further violence and random butchery in the territories and in Israel proper. It's also going to contribute to the progressive degeneration of the war against terrorism into the war against the Arabs -- if not the war against the entire Islamic world. The line in front of the Al Qaeda recruiting office is going to get a little bit longer; the struggle to stabilize a rebellious Iraq is going to become a little harder, and a future in which a large part of a major American city disappears in a nuclear firestorm is going to become a little more likely.
There, that's more like it. Thanks, Billmon. I've got to get back to posting about album covers.
Forget the column itself, but this final paragraph is great, and should become every columnist's standard closing.
Perhaps something offends you about this column. I'm sure it does. Remember: Your outrage trumps any defense I might make. It doesn't matter what I meant, it's what you think I meant. E-mail is so easy. Who knows? You could get me fired!
Bin Laden's latest statement, worth reading in full.
Ten worst album covers are here. You really need to check this out, because your life is not what it could be if it doesn't contain at least a little bit of devastatin' dave, the turntable slave.
Someone has to say it every couple of weeks, but Josh Marshall says it in commanding fashion this time around.
What do rabid right-wingers dream when they sleep? No, wait, this is what they type when they're awake. Holy shit.
There's a crisis in the porn industry. Seriously. A performer has contracted HIV and all production of porn will likely be voluntarily shut down for two months. I know...adults...consent...freely entered...yeah yeah, but it's a tough life and they're young people; I hope they're ok.
I'll leave the analysis (ok, the identification and analysis) of his factual claims to others, but in terms of the impression Bush made, and grading on the Bush curve, meaning anything that's not literal whooping and chest pounding is a success, I thought Mr. P actually did pretty well. The bizarre silence after the "what would you have done differently after September 11" question was bad, but I think people identify with that kind of blank.
But there was one truly bad moment when Bush "responded" to a question about why he and Cheney need to testify together. Not only was his answer nonsensical, but he was obviously very uncomfortable even addressing the issue. I think there's latent suspicion, even among the generally apolitical, that the joint testimony makes Bush looks like a fool, and he really confirmed that impression. If I were running a media campaign, that's the one thing I'd pick out and hammer from now until he gives testimony. There is no good response.
ON THE FACTS: I think Saletan used to be on the fence about Bush. Not anymore.
And, he has a great post up about the 9-11 commission.
MUST READ: In the comments, Peter Ramus points us to another example of a generic post, and the commenters really steal the show on this one.
Irresponsible speculation: Sadr will be neutralized on way or another, then, the assumption seems to be that Sistani will be put in charge. What if Sistani is assassinated? Chalabi? Just a thought.
Is his sole redeeming feature that scary look that says "I could be an extra on 'The Sopranos'"? Could be. It certainly isn't his respect for liberty.
Dalia Lithwick has more. Including a bit about a guy in a giant penis constume running for office under the name Dick Head. I think she's got my dream job, by the way.
Yeah, I know I've been scarce. I'm buried under irritating tasks, and some [expletive] stole my [expletive] computer. So someone's Mr Grouchy.
Can you say self-absorbed?
Moral: masturbation won't make your dick fall off, but stupidity just might.
I have my own opinions, but I'm really curious what everyone else thinks of the ad and this article.
The tatoos on her knuckles didn't tip you off? Go sis, but, really, what kind of guy pulls this kind of stuff? And what kind of guys stand around and watch?
UPDATE: In the comments to the linked post, Rich Puchalsky makes a good point: if Mia was kicking ass from the start, there's no shame in standing by and letting her get on with it.
ANOTHER: Belle notes in the comments to her original post: "Mia says the people who volunteer to be SS guys are pretty creepy."
I have to confess this just to get it off my mind: until a few days ago, I had never seen nor heard of Peeps.
...Or, My Mom is a Wacko.
My mother is far to my left politically, and a news junkie, so along with sending me regular email about Noam Chomsky's latest or some wacked out article in CounterPunch, she'll call to tell me to be sure to watch something on television. Tonight I was ordered to watch Janet Jackson's turn as Condoleezza Rice on Saturday Night Live. Ok, I don't enjoy SNL, but I was watching and on comes Tina Fey (yes, of course I think she's hot) and I notice what I think is a scar on her face. Curious, laptop at the ready (yes, even when I'm friggin' watching TV), I type ""tina fey" scar" into Google and up pops this page.
Hello, fanboy! If you've found this page it's because you were trying to find information about That Scar On Tina Fey's Face. Lucky for you, you've found the right place!
As anyone can tell you, there is nothing worse than searching for something on the internet and all you can find is some loser's Geocities site filled with unreliable information and bad formatting.
I help people. It's just something I do. Realizing that there was a need for a page devoted to That Scar On Tina Fey's Face I took it upon myself to create one. I didn't do it for money or fame, I just did it because it was desperatly needed and I'm a swell guy.
Now that's meta done right. But long story short: no one knows, Tina won't say.