September 30, 2006

Weekend Music Club

A tribute to the art of the Mixed Tape.

Semisonic's Singing in My Sleep.

The more literal-named Mixed Tape from Jack's Mannequin.

Explore the art of the mixed tape here.

September 29, 2006

Corruption Watch

Master of Corruption Jack Abramoff had 485 contacts with the White House.

Most fun detail:

"please put Karl Rove in his usual table."

September 28, 2006


...You are just screwed.

Jacob Weisberg takes a look at the possible alternatives for action in Iraq and ask why no candidacy are advocating for any of them.

He comes to the obvious answer:

Reviewing these proposed strategies suggests another, less partisan reason why House and Senate candidates seem so disengaged from the question of what to do in Iraq. The situation is hopeless. The best that our leading foreign-policy minds have been able to come up with is a grim choice among forms of failure and defeat. In a country of optimists, no politician wants to deliver that message.

No kidding. We are screwed in Iraq. There is no happy ending. We are now down to a choice between bad options. We need to find the least worse course. Most of Washington hasn't come to terms with that yet. My guess is that after the election, once the pressure is off, there is going to be a huge move for withdrawal from both parties in Congress. Of course the Bush administration will be against it, and they will be all that matters. Till January of 2009.

Update: Bob Woodward:

President Bush is absolutely certain that he has the U.S. and Iraq on the right course, says Woodward. So certain is the president on this matter, Woodward says, that when Mr. Bush had key Republicans to the White House to discuss Iraq, he told them, "I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me."


September 27, 2006

Just Go Read

Excellent post over at Lawyers, Guns and Money on lessons learned from Moneyball (A's Clinched!) that apply to politics:

Beane, as Lewis explains, was particularly well-positioned to see through the fallacies of received wisdom because he himself was a handsome, picture-perfect athlete who looked like a model major league player--and hence was drafted in the first round--but couldn't actually play major league baseball. This is why, when a scout criticized a player's body, he said that "we're not selling jeans here." Physical attributes are only relevant to the extent that they produce results. Tony Gywnn and John Kruk were terrific players; Deion Sanders was a terrible player, and Michael Jordan couldn't hit AA pitching. That's Beane's crucial insight, and it's applicable to far more serious pursuits.
Yes, pesonality heuristics matter to voters (although one would hope that intellectuals would transcend rather than reinforce them), but they're inherently unstable, and voters can be smarter than they're often presumed to be.

But even worse is when empty suits selected to embody images rather than because of their ability is that they might actually win. If the Bush administration--which has been almost as disastrous from a principled conservative perspective as from a progressive one--teaches us anything, it's that competence actually, you know, matters.

Go read it all.

September 26, 2006


Election Day draws near and everyone has to get their shots in.

But you have to change up your attacks to fit the situation.

GOPer Peter Roskam hit his Congressional race rival Tammy Duckworth with the classic "She wants to cut and run from Iraq."

Problem: Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq vet and LOST BOTH HER LEGS WHILE FIGHTING IN IRAQ.

This is what happens when you try and use the same tired line everywhere you go.

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my rights the most.

Kevin Drum makes the incredible point that Congress is kicking HABEUS CORPUS to the curb:

The plan is to redefine "unlawful enemy combatant" from someone who is

engaged in hostilities against the United States

to someone who is

engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States

"Supported" is a pretty far-reaching term that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with actual combat. And while this vagueness would be disturbing enough by itself, it's even worse than it seems because other provisions of the legislation prohibit someone accused of "supporting" hostilities from challenging their detention in U.S. courts — even if the detainee is a U.S. citizen.

Keep in mind that under this system, once you are declared an "enemy combatant" you lose every single right that the US Constitution grants you. No fair trial, no right to face your accusers or even to know what crimes you are being charged with. You can be tortured into a confession and then have that confession used against you.

This is not the United States.

September 25, 2006

Monday Roundup

Bush dismisses bloodshed in Iraq as ‘just a comma.’ I'm pretty sure Iraq is going to be most of Bush's entry in the history books.

Talking points wants the rest of that NIE.

Bill Clinton slaps the guy from Fox News around.

Go watch kids get their Jesus freak on in Jesus Camp:

Their movie follows three Missouri kids who speak in tongues, pray for judges to outlaw abortion and lay hands on a cardboard cutout of President Bush.

California liberals spreading to the rest of the West:

The trend is so pronounced that demographer William Frey says Arizona and Nevada "are essentially now becoming appendages of California." Nevada stands out in particular, with 18% of its residents (as of the 2000 census) having been born in California

Hi Sis.

September 24, 2006

Old Friends

A large portion of the Craigorian Chant community wasted a lot of time two years ago poring over poll results at Well its back, and this time with all the red hot Senate race action you could want.

Right now they have the Dems picking up five seats, which would leave the Senate in a 50-50 tie.

I would think seriously about voting this November. It just might matter.

Iraq is Increasing the Terror Threat

Don't take my word for it.

That's the conclution of a classified National Intelligence Estimate. To wit:

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.

Puts that whole "Central Front in the War on Terror" in a new light, doesn't it?

September 22, 2006

Half a Loaf of Torture

So despite some intial headlines on the WH reaching a deal on the torture bill it seem the "deal" is a bunch of crap. TPM:

The senate won't formally reinterpret the Geneva Convention or explicitly sanction the president's torture policies. But they'll allow him to keep using them.

That's the compromise.

Some things you can cut a deal on and some things you can't. I want to spend 10 billion on Education you want to spend 5. 7.5 is the deal we are going to do.

But if one side wants torture and the other side doesn't the deal can't be the United States tortures people three day a week and every other Thursday. Either we throw away our basic values or we don't.

September 21, 2006


Well, once again the McArthur Foundation has overlooked me for one of its genuis grants. But you can check out the winners here.

Next year will be my year.

September 19, 2006

Strait Skinny

OK this Michelle Cottle piece brings up a real problem: the freaky skinny of today's fashion models.

Turns out the City of Madrid (that's in Spain) is actually setting requirements for weight, lest the poor girls disappear entirely. Cottle dismisses this action as silly, while acknowledging that the modern fashion model is just some eyeliner away from those starving third world orphans.

Which brings me to the most important point about fashion models. They aren't sexy.

People don't get this. These models get held up as paragons of attractiveness, when they are nothing of the sort. They were never meant to be attractive. They are chosen by fashion designers (who are mostly women and gay men) to be human wire hangers for clothes. They have no breasts and no ass, nothing that might distract from the clothes they are wearing. They aren't sexy. Sunken eyes are not sexy. They work for people who don't find women attractive. That's the real shame here. Women are killing themselves to be like women who are not attractive.

If you want to see what's actually sexy, check out NFL Cheerleaders. Fit, athletic, clear curves. No one's in danger of falling over dead from malnutrition.

I Play Chicken with the Train

Good stuff on the continuing game of chicken between the US and Iran from Fred Kaplan:

I have no idea who Duffy's sources are, but there are at least two possibilities: The Bush administration really is gearing up for war, and some dissenting officers want to sound the alarm and rouse opposition. Or the administration wants to make the Iranians think an attack is brewing in order to pressure them into a diplomatic solution.

another possibility is that the administrations just wants to give some cover to the drive to war. I'm feeling pessimistic enough to think that they just want war and the rest of it is noise. More Kaplan:

There is a danger to playing this game. Once you switch on a plan to mobilize for war, it's hard to switch it off or, at the very least, it's easy to let it keep flowing.

This is the real problem. Bush can deploy the military forces to attack Iran while saying that the actual order to attack hasn't been given, diplomacy still has a chance, etc. But once those forces are out there it becomes a matter of national and even dumber, personal pride. We don't want to back down. The same thing happened in Iraq. Once we had 100,000 on the Iraq border, all the pro-war voices began how we couldn't just leave them there and we couldn't back down, we would look week and wimpy. Everone just assumes the war was coming and gave up asking if it was a good idea, if it was justified. It wasn't a good idea or justified.

So the goal for the war-mongers is get the forces in the field and the rest just falls into place.

September 18, 2006


There is much discussion of the Geneva conventions this weekend. Basically, it amounts to the Bush administration trying to not be bound by the Geneva conventions.

The Bush administration treats the Geneva convention the same way Enron treated accounting rules. Not as rules to be followed but "guidelines" to be worked around.

This is what's behind the effort to more strictly define torture. If the definition is strictly defined it can then be evaded. Right now the Geneva Convention forbids "humiliating and degrading treatment" which is kind of vague and stops a lot of what the Bush administration wants to do.

Thus we have the National Security advisor on TV with: "I'm saying that nobody knows what humiliating treatment is. What does it mean?"

We know what it means. It's just right now they can't evade that requirement. They are trying to evade the requirements of the Geneva conventions so they can torture people.

September 14, 2006


Why do warning labels include the possibility of injury and/or death? Both equipment at my gym and a vending machine that just ate my buck both warned of the possibility. (Rocking or tipping this machine may cause injury and/or death, you're not getting your dollar back sucker!) But how can it be and/or death? Shouldn't it just be or death? I mean, if the vending machine kills me, does it really matter if it also injures me? I mean if it turns out that "if used incorrectly" that weight machine will crush my head and stub my toe, will anyone even notice the "injury?"

September 13, 2006

We Always Hurt the Ones We Don't Mind

Moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island survived a primary challenge last night from a conservative. If the conservative won, the seat would have been an easy pick-up for the Dems. Even with Chafee, Rhode Island is one of the bluest states in the Union and even a Liberalist guy like Chafee will be hard pressed.

The irony is that if you drew up a list of GOP Senators that I want beaten Chafee would rank dead last. He voted against the Iraq War and against Bush's tax cuts. He just played a major role in blocking John Bolton. I would much rather send Trent "I wish segregation was still around" Lott or Ted "The internet is a series of tubes" Stevens packing, but they hail from Mississippi and Alaska, which are very conservative States. In order to gain control of Senate, we need to knock off Chafee. Simple. So sorry Lincoln, even though I really don't mind you too much, you got to go.

Impossible Dream

Doolittle in dead heat with Charlie Brown.

September 12, 2006


Every State does their primary on different days, so political junkies such as myself can get a little taste over the year before the big show in November. Today is the last of the interesting primaries. Political Wire has a good preview. The most important race is Rhode Island Senate where the most liberal GOP Senator left in the Nation is in a real fight with a conservative challenger. If the conservative wins, expect the seat to go Democratic in November.

September 11, 2006

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Year. No, Quote of this Presidency:

"By using September 11 to aggregate power for himself, and to make his opponents -- you, me, and every other liberal who needed to feel like we could trust our leaders after we were attacked -- feel disloyal to their country, he prevented us from healing."

Spencer Ackerman, TNR

Stone Cold

Let's also take the time today to note that not only have we not gotten Bin Laden, we are not even a little bit close:

The clandestine U.S. commandos whose job is to capture or kill Osama bin Laden have not received a credible lead in more than two years. Nothing from the vast U.S. intelligence world -- no tips from informants, no snippets from electronic intercepts, no points on any satellite image -- has led them anywhere near the al-Qaeda leader, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Happy Anniversary

Today of course is notable because in 1875, the first comic strip was published in a newspaper.

Oh yeah that happened too.

September 10, 2006

Can't Stop the Lies

Some lies are easier to kill than others. For example, when you are ten and say that you have cleaned your room and your Mom tries to go in but the door is blocked by the massive pile of trash, that's an easy lie to kill.

The lies about Saddam Hussein and 9/11 are proving much harder to kill.

So on Friday the Senate Intel committee released a 300 plus page report that concludes that Iraq had no pre-war ties to Al Qaeda.

On Sunday both the Vice President and the Secretary of State went on the talk show and claimed that Saddam Hussein had ties to Al Qaeda.

Let's be clear. They telling lies. Just like you lied to Mom about cleaning your room. Mom didn't let you get away with it. Why do our National leaders?

September 8, 2006


One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.

George W. Bush, from Martini Republic.

September 7, 2006

Nerd Fantasy

Sexy. Female. Stormtroopers. You heard me.


I'm not sure if anybody noticed, but yesterday the President of the United States just gave a speech defending torture, and lied a whole bunch in order to do so.

September 6, 2006

Link of the Day

Today's link comes from Erin of Denmark

The TSA's allowed and forbidden list for items on a plane.

The TSA will not allow toothpaste on a plane, but will allow KY jelly or other "personal lubricants). 4oz, to be exact. Because 5 oz would be too dangerous.

Gel-filled bras are also allowed. Why? Cause better cleavage has been shown to have a calming effect on people, especially when your toothpast has just been taken.


Kathrine Harris won her primary last night.

She been running so bad a campaign that there was some doubt if she could do it.

So we have her to kick around for a few more months, till she gets crushed in November.

Payback baby, payback.

September 5, 2006

Clip Blogging

All the the Office clips you could want right here. I just put up the links that the Erins send me. Thanks kids.

While we are doing clips, Battlestar Galactica is running a series of Webisodes, online video shorts, in advance of the new season. Just a tast of things to come.


As efforts continue to try and defend the complete disaster that is Iraq, the comparisons are getting more and more extreme.

The fight in Iraq is the fight against the Nazis. You don't like Nazis, do you?

Now the fight in Iraq is the fight against slavery. You don't like slavery, do you?

Next up, withdrawal from Iraq is just like eating a puppy. You don't eat puppies, do you?

September 4, 2006

Well Now

I have not seen so much as an one entire episode of The Office. But the following scene is just so pitch-perfect. I'm tempted to find out about the whole season of television that came before it.

Your Moment of Zen

Target has a line of Presidential Action Figures.

Nixon comes in his double V-for-Victory pose.

That is all.

September 1, 2006

CA Horserace

Schwarzenegger has a significant but not overwhelming six point lead over Angelides in the latest governor race poll.

Dianne Feinstein is beating Richard Mountjoy so badly in the Senate race, I'm only including it because the mention of Dick Mountjoy in this post will bring in porn-seeking google searches.

But the Schwarzenegger lead is real. He's gotten that lead the old fashion way: by completely abandoning the conservatism that got him in so much trouble last year and embracing liberalism with both hands.

His latest move is to completely screw big business and sign a major piece of anti-greenhouse gas legislation. I really wonder if Grey Davis would have done this. My guess is the race will stay pretty close all fall and as long as it does, look for all kinds of moderate liberal stuff from the Governator. It's how you win in CA politics.