Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.


If you're looking for something uplifting, skip this

I mean it.
Final Days of Girl's Life Reveal Horrors

In the eyes of her stepfather, 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown was an out-of-control troublemaker. She stole money from her parents and broke her siblings' toys, she stole milk from a younger sibling and broke their computer printer, he said.

And when he found that she had gone into the refrigerator and taken a cup of yogurt she wasn't supposed to have, he flew into a rage.

Police say Cesar Rodriguez beat the little girl to death, then tossed her on the floor of what was known in the family's apartment as the "dirty room," a rodent-infested room where she had been tied up and left with only a litter box as a toilet.

Rodriguez, 27, and Nixzmary's mother, Nixzaliz Santiago, 27, are charged with multiple felony counts, including second-degree murder. Rodriguez also is accused of molesting Nixzmary and abusing her five siblings.

"The circumstances of the abuse this girl suffered were horrifying and among the most tragic that I've ever come across," said Erik Pitchal, director of the Center for Family and Child Advocacy at the Fordham School of Law. "The manner in which she spent her last days is heart wrenching."

An indictment alleges that, beginning on New Year's Day, Rodriguez used anything he could to subdue the little girl he described as "a handful," including a belt, a piece of wood, a bungee cord.

Authorities said he bought yogurt for his children but refused to give Nixzmary any.

On the night of Jan. 10, Nixzmary's mother discovered one of the yogurt cups was missing, and she went to Rodriguez. The frightened girl denied taking it, but one of the other children tattled, authorities say.

Later, Rodriguez discovered his computer printer was broken.

He stripped Nixzmary of her clothes and beat her in front of Santiago, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said.

He dragged her into the bathroom and repeatedly dunked her head under the cold water, and loud banging noises and screams of "Mommy" were heard throughout the apartment, authorities say. Rodriguez carried Nixzmary's limp body into the dirty room and tossed her to the floor, Hynes said.

Before Nixzmary's little white coffin was laid to rest, the Rev. Robert O'Neil said her nightmare was finally over.

"Nixzmary is now surrounded by love, beyond the touch of evil," he said.
I guess God was on holiday last week or something.



Chris Clarke outlines the Democrats' four-part strategy for '06. (HT: Factesque.)

Cold outside

Dutch putting their foot down on burqas

Apparently the Dutch government is considering passing a ban on burqas, even though there are only fifty women in the entire country who wear one.

The rationale? Fourfold:

1. "It's a medieval symbol, a symbol against women ... We don't want women to be ashamed to show who they are."

2. "Even if you have decided yourself to do that, you should not do it in Holland, because we want you to be integrated, assimilated into Dutch society. If people cannot see who you are, or see one inch of your body or your face, I believe this is not the way to integrate into our society."

3. "We have problems with a growing minority of Muslims who tend to have sympathy with the Islamo-fascistic concept of radical Islam."

4. "That's also a reason why everybody should be identifiable when they walk on the street or go to a pub or go into a restaurant or whatsoever."


The sentient being underneath your fridge

Toby at the Embassy of Canuckistan takes an ill-advised look under his refrigerator:
I dropped a chopstick, which rolled underneath the fridge ... and was confronted with a truly frightening sight. Judging from the non-chopstick material that I found there, that fridge has been sitting in the same spot for approximately seven centuries, if not millennia. The dust etc. that was lurking in that space had the appearance of a dense web of complexly interconnected strands, similar to the sophisticated sort of neural network that might produce, say, intelligent thought.

When I pulled the chopstick out, I think I heard something moan.


Our Achilles' heel: we're not fascists

Malkin approvingly excerpts some other wingnut making an argument which, Auguste points out, amounts to a lamentation of the fact that the will of the people is permitted to dictate the behavior of their leaders:
While the Iranian regime was still taking its baby-steps, we revealed to the Ayatollahs our greatest weakness: upsetting the American public is our Achilles heel. Two years later, Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists twice bombed US interests in Lebanon, exploiting that weakness. Again, the American public cried foul, and once again America conceded, removing the Marine presence from Beruit.

And now America's squeaky-wheel, our domestic anti-war movement, has emboldened Iran to repeat its successes of the past two and half decades ... Iran's ruling elite has learned that a few dead Marines on CNN is all that it takes for the likes of Michael Moore and Code Pink to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of anti-war onto the American political scene. The self-doubt that Moore and his ilk sow in America is Tehran's 5th column, so why shouldn't the Mullahs support terrorists in Iraq if chaos there weakens American resolve to open a front in Iran?

This is rich

Venezuela is planning a "buying spree" for military equipment that goes beyond the country's legitimate needs, the State Department said Friday....
I guess if the US can tell the Iranians that they don't have a legitimate need for nuclear energy, they get to decide how much military equipment Venezuela needs.

After all, I can't imagine why Venezuela might feel threatened.

And of course, the U.S. military budget exactly matches the amount dictated by the country's legitimate needs.

The point at which I stopped reading

(If I may borrow Grace's bit ...)

Power Line: "Under the facts as Drudge presents them, ..."

Sweet home Alabama

From Outside the Tent:
This year on MLK Day, Gary Carlyle. the principal of Sylvania High School in Dekalb County, Alabama, organized a Robert E. Lee celebration in front of the Blount County Courthouse. He got all decked out in a Robert E. Lee costume and ran up the Confederate Flag on the courthouse flagpole (just in case anybody had second thoughts about whether the day commemorated a black man or a confederate racist).


Another dumb comment by Hackett

The Bush administration, Mr. Hackett said, 'is willing to let illegals come in and take the jobs of Americans.' The answer made several of the young Democrats squirm in their seats. One pushed Mr. Hackett to clarify. 'Deport them?' Mr. Hackett was asked. 'If we can afford to,' Mr. Hackett said, 'yeah.'"
OK, "illegals"?? That's just ugly.

I hope to make this the last post about Hackett for a while. If it's any consolation, I'm even starting to annoy myself.

Let's sing another song, boys

This one has grown old and bitter:

America has come to another turning point – whether our inaction will again engulf the world and us in a nightmare comparable to World War Two. This will entail loss of our freedom as the price of domestic security measures against terrorist weapons of mass destruction, though we might suffer nuclear attack before implementing those measures. The only effective alternative is American use of pre-emptive military force against an imminent threat – Iranian nuclear weapons, which requires that we invade Iran and overthrow its mullah regime as we did to Iraq’s Baathist regime.

All the reasons for invading Iraq apply doubly to Iran, and with far greater urgency.


We better than most can economically afford the thoroughly intrusive security measures required to protect against terrorist nukes when the threat can come from anywhere, as opposed to Islamic extremists alone.

But the price of domestic security, when foreign security fails due to a failure of leadership and will by President Bush, will be something much more precious – our freedom.

Freedom everywhere will suffer due to those same security precautions. The greatest loss of freedom will come in those countries which are freest, i.e., especially America. Especially us.

THIS is what is really at stake – the freedom which makes us Americans.


Only military force THIS YEAR can prevent this nightmare. Bombing alone won’t do it – it will only postpone things ... The only effective way to stop the mullahs from building nukes, while minimizing our losses from their counter-attacks, is to overthrow their regime by invasion and conquest as we did against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

Malkin the psychic

Last time, she was communicating with the dead. Now, a comatose 11-year-old:
Last fall, Haleigh was hospitalized after her stepfather allegedly burned her and beat her nearly to death with a baseball bat. Haleigh, in a coma, was kept alive by a feeding tube and ventilator. Doctors said she was "virtually brain dead" -- in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery.

The Massachusetts Department of Social Services wanted to remove Haleigh's feeding and breathing tubes.

Even her biological mother ... wanted her to be put to death ... The only person who wanted Haleigh alive was her stepfather, who will likely be charged with murder if Haleigh dies.

Two days ago, Massachusetts' Supreme Court ruled against Haleigh's stepfather, saying it was ''unthinkable" to give the power to make a life-and-death decision to the man accused of putting Haleigh in a coma. "Court: State can let beaten girl die," the headlines trumpeted.

Just one small complication for all of those who, for whatever reason, were in such a rush to "let Haleigh die:"

Haleigh wants to live.

As state officials prepared to remove Haleigh's life support, the supposedly impossible happened:

A day after the state's highest court ruled that the Department of Social Services could withdraw life support from a brain-damaged girl, the agency said yesterday that Haleigh Poutre might be emerging from her vegetative state.

DSS also said it has no immediate plans to remove her feeding tube.

''There has been a change in her condition," said a DSS spokeswoman, Denise Monteiro. ''The vegetative state may not be a total vegetative state."

Everyone had given up on Haleigh--except Haleigh.
OK, obviously the fact that she might be coming out of the vegetative state, or wasn't in a vegetative state to begin with, or whatever, has the utmost bearing on the decision over whether or not to keep her on life support. But come on: "Haleigh wants to live"?? I can only conclude that Malkin somehow believes that she can psychically communicate with this girl, in which case I suggest that the people in her life give some serious thought to forcible institutionalization.


Kill the Democratic Party?

If Alito is confirmed without even an attempt at a filibuster, it seems like it might just be the last straw for a lot of people.

And I think the reluctance of Democrats to filibuster Alito is a good example of the problems with the sort of pragmatic, a-ideological coalition Kos recommends. Everything in the Democratic party has been reduced to electability. And it is disgusting. Disgusting. A loud, defiant, fiery, populist surrender is bullshit. If you’re gonna lose. Lose with some dignity, with your wounds in your chest and not in your back. I have no use for angry retreat. But that’s all I see on the horizon for this Democratic Party, and Kos-Armstrong, have the prescription for more.

...Why bother having Democrats in the Senate at all? I’m about ready to join the side of the Foolish Owl’s and ditch these simpering bores and their counsell’s of surrender on anything that matters, for the sake of preserving the ever-shrinking representation of an increasingly irrelevant minority party.
Media Girl:
I cannot help but feel that the Democratic Party no longer represents me, or the things I consider important. The fix seems to be in: push the Democratic Party ever rightward, towards social conservatism.
Morgaine Swann:
I am thoroughly sick of the Democratic Party. They're zombies. They have no sense of urgency, no fight, no fire, no sense of timing or outrage and no idea of how to work a strategy. The only position they've taken in five years is to grab their ankles.


... They have until January 24th to decide if I remain a Democrat or not. If they don't filibuster the vote on Sam Alito's nomination, I go to the Green Party and I take as many of my sisters as I can with me.

We've begged. We've threatened. Now, it's time to walk.
Madman in the Marketplace:
So how does it feel lefties? Once again, you've taken that leap of faith, hoped for the best, only to have your hopes dashed ...

It's time to walk away. It's time to realize that your paranoia was justified. It's time to understand that sometimes patriots have to look far down the road.

The Democratic Party is dead to progressivism ... quit being suckered. Not another dime, not another millimeter of boot leather ... the national Democratic Party is dead to you, whether you care about feminism or civil rights or labor or health care or the environment ... it doesn't matter. Support local leaders. Support national candidates who support your values, but not another penny, not another mile, not another phone call or pixel for the national Party...

Inter-species friendship

This is a picture of Aochan the snake and Gohan the hamster. They are friends.
Gohan and Aochan make strange bedfellows: one's a 3.5-inch dwarf hamster; the other is a four-foot rat snake. Zookeepers at Tokyo's Mutsugoro Okoku zoo presented the hamster — whose name means "meal" in Japanese — to Aochan as a tasty morsel in October, after the snake refused to eat frozen mice.

But instead of indulging, Aochan decided to make friends with the furry rodent, according to keeper Kazuya Yamamoto. The pair have shared a cage since.

"I've never seen anything like it. Gohan sometimes even climbs onto Aochan to take a nap on his back," Yamamoto said.

Aochan, a 2-year-old male Japanese rat snake, eventually developed an appetite for frozen rodents but has so far shown no signs of gobbling up Gohan — despite her name.

"We named her Gohan as a joke," Yamamoto chuckled. "But I don't think there's any danger. Aochan seems to enjoy Gohan's company very much."

The Tokyo zoo also keeps a range of mostly livestock animals, and promotes "cross-breed interaction," according to Yamamoto.

But Gohan and Aochan's case was "was a complete accident," Yamamoto said.

Hackett makes a couple of dumb remarks

First, as Battlepanda observes, he tries a bit too hard to be a macho man:
"Break into my house, we won’t have to worry about the application of the death penalty. It’s going to be a simple 911 call: Come pick up the body."
Lindsay Beyerstein objects to the idea that you can kill someone just for burglarizing you, which, yeah, but my problem with it is more along the lines of the Panda's:
What raises my hackles is the faux-macho swagger he's playing up by making that statement. It so obviously smacks of politcal branding -- Look! Look! I'm a Democrat, but I'm such a tough guy!.

Well, if this is the way he's gonna go, lets hope it works out better for him than the last guy who tried this.
[Cue picture of Kerry in a hunting outfit.]

So OK, dumb and awkward, but obviously not in any way fatal. Much more problematic is this:
"The Republican Party has been hijacked by the religious fanatics that, in my opinion, aren’t a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden and a lot of the other religious nuts around the world."
Asked if he should apologize, Hackett responded:
"I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it."
Hackett is drawing praise from the liberal blogosphere for his comments, and especially for refusing to back down. I remain agnostic on whether or not he should have apologized after the fact - sometimes it's best to stick to your guns even when you were wrong, though sometimes it's best to diffuse things with a quick apology - but it was an incredibly dumb thing to have said in the first place. The very rationale for Hackett's candidacy is his theorized crossover appeal to culturally conservative voters, and now he's just drawn an equivalence between conservative Christians and Osama bin Laden! Do you realize how perfectly this fits in to the GOP's whole 'war on Christianity' nonsense? I guarantee you, if Hackett wins the primary, you'll be seeing this quote in campaign commercials.

The thing is, I don't necessarily disagree with Hackett. But as with Howard Dean's correct but ill-advised remarks about the war in Iraq being impossible to win, the same point could have been made in a much smarter way that wouldn't be so easy to caricature.

Hackett's boosters clearly revel in his shoot-from-the-hip style, but shoot-from-the-hip only works if you don't have a tendency, a la Howard Dean, to put your foot in your mouth when doing so. Hackett is still incredibly green, and nominating him would be a wholly unnecessary risk when one of the strongest progressives in the country is in the race as well, and polling just as well as Hackett is against DeWine.

Marines charged with rape; U.S. won't turn them over

From the AP via Lenin's Tomb.
CARMEN, Philippines -- The United States on Tuesday refused a Philippine request to hand over four Marines charged with rape, provoking anti-American protests in the capital and the Muslim south.

In a letter to the Philippine government, the U.S. Embassy invoked the bilateral Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows large-scale U.S. training in the country, and vowed to keep the Marines in its custody during an upcoming trial.

Prosecutors allege that Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith raped a 22-year-old woman Nov. 1 inside a van at Subic Bay, a former U.S. naval base, as fellow Marines cheered him on. Smith claims he had consensual sex.

Also charged were Lance Cpl. Keith Silkwood, Lance Cpl. Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sgt. Chad Carpentier, part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Force stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

About 30 left-wing students lay on a scorching road near the U.S. Embassy, raising their fists and yelling: "Arrest the American troops and let them pay!"

About 2,000 protesters greeted American troops in the southern town of Carmen, about 560 miles southeast of Manila, where they started monthlong exercises with Filipino troops.
That's not going to win very many hearts and minds.

OS dilemma

Wingnuts want to boycott Microsoft for supporting gay rights. But Macintosh is one of the most gay-friendly companies around.

I'd say they could go to Linux, but everybody knows that penguins are queers.

Most pathetic attempt at ass-covering I've ever seen

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has sought to clarify comments he made on Martin Luther King Day to the effect that New Orleans should be a "chocolate" city.

He said he had not meant that it should be an all-black metropolis, asking: "How do you make chocolate?

"You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about," he told CNN.

Link (HT: Slublog.)

Why we love the Mad Biologist

Commenting on the 'Minutemen':
I wish I had time to crawl around the desert all day. Of course, I would be looking for a cool lizard instead of illegal immigrants...


This is not a good excuse

From the New York Times by way of AMERICAblog, we get this as a partial explanation for the Democrats' weak showing at the Alito hearings:
Democratic aides said there had been even less strategy than usual in trying to coordinate the questioning by the eight Democratic senators. The situation was complicated because senators and staff were out of Washington before the hearing.
Gee, guys, next time there's an appointment to the Supreme Court at stake, do you think you could get your asses where you need to be? It's hard to imagine what you had to do that was more pressing.

Not sure about this

Glenn Greenwald via Atrios:

The blogosphere is a hard-core and pure meritocracy. It doesn't matter who you are or what your pedigree is. You either produce persuasive arguments and do so with credibility, or you don't. Whether someone has influence in the blogosphere has nothing to do with their institutionalized credentials and everything to do with the substance of what they produce.

I suppose there are elements of truth in there, but by and large, this strikes me as a much too rosy view of Blogland, especially its right half.  I mean, come on: is Instapundit's influence really due to his "persuasive arguments"?  I don't think so.

An important point

Josh Marshall brings something up that should be kept in mind while discussing Iran (and should have been kept in mind during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq).
...let me offer a few observations based on the lessons I think we've learned from the experience in Iraq and those I have myself.

Let me start with one: I'll call it the fallacy of foreign policy abstraction.

During the two years between 9/11 and March 2003, there was a group of commentators (I'd include myself among them) who bought into the basic argument about the danger posed by the Iraqi regime (though not the extremity of it), were willing, at a minimum, to put military force on the table as a means of resolving the problem, were perhaps willing to go as far as supporting an invasion...

Looking back on that debate, what didn't make sense about 'my' position was that folks like myself were debating Iraq policy in the abstract. How would I deal with Iraq if I were president? What would be the sensible approach if we had a president and foreign policy team which we thought was acting in good faith and competent at handling the issue.

The problem was that there was no Iraq policy in the abstract. That was just a fantasy. There was Iraq in 2002 and 2003 with President Bush et al. calling the shots. Any discussion of the issue which didn't take those key facts into account was just a parlor game, no more than words. What's more, the existence of a cadre of commentators from the political opposition who espoused a policy that looked a lot like the president's actually gave him a great deal of cover. It made his policies look more reasonable. It greased the skids for its implementation.
I remember being puzzled about this at the time. Everyone was talking about how great things could be for Iraqis if the US removed Saddam, but no one seemed to remember that the group that was going to be running the show had never shown the slightest indication of being willing or capable of doing what would need to be done.

So-called 'liberal hawks' seemed especially prone to this. They talked about how awful Saddam was, how it was a moral imperative to 'free' the Iraqi people, all the while ignoring the fact that even if the invasion of Iraq was a good idea in theory, the actual execution of the invasion - the war in practice - was going to be in the hands of an administration that no one in their right mind should have trusted.

All of the liberal hawks' lofty visions for Iraq were irrelevant; the discussion should have centered on the morality and prudence of a Bush-led invasion. Let's not make the same mistake with Iran.

Where's the evidence?

I've noticed something that puzzles me; liberal bloggers off-handedly referring to the 'fact' that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. E.g., Ezra Klein -
Ahmadinejad's ascension and Iran's admitted, verified race for nuclear weapons are both independently observable events that are rightfully heightening focus and fears on the country.
And Josh Marshall -
Iran ... pretty clearly does have a nuclear program, and a fairly ambitious one at that.
What I want to know is, what makes these guys so sure that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons? (I'm assuming that's what Marshall was referring to, and not Iran's peaceful nuclear power program.) Where is the evidence that is so overwhelming that we can go ahead and conclude that the Bush administration is right about Iran's intentions?

I don't mean this question to be snarky/sarcastic. I have no idea whether or not Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons; for all I know they are. And for all I know, there is solid evidence out there that indicates this. If this is the case, I just wish people would reference it. We have to be careful about this, and not let it become 'common knowledge' that 'of course' Iran has a weapons program unless the case actually is solid - lest we see a replay of the Iraq intelligence debacle. (And just releasing satellite photos with little labels that say 'Nuclear Weapons Here!' doesn't count.)

So I'm really asking: what is the evidence that Iran is going nuclear?


Bomb Philly

Atrios 'proves' that the City of Brotherly Love is hiding its own nuclear weapons program!

Lunatic fringe?

Naw, that's just mainstream neoconservativism:
Niall Ferguson pretends to be a future historian looking back on today:

"The devastating nuclear exchange of August 2007 represented not only the failure of diplomacy, it marked the end of the oil age. Some even said it marked the twilight of the West. Certainly, that was one way of interpreting the subsequent spread of the conflict as Iraq's Shi'ite population overran the remaining American bases in their country and the Chinese threatened to intervene on the side of Teheran.

Yet the historian is bound to ask whether or not the true significance of the 2007-2011 war was to vindicate the Bush administration's original principle of pre-emption. For, if that principle had been adhered to in 2006, Iran's nuclear bid might have been thwarted at minimal cost. And the Great Gulf War might never have happened."
Justin Raimondo responds.

A comparison case

Grace compares Mrs. Alito, who ran out of the room sobbing because ... well, I'm not really sure, with Jackie Kennedy, who managed to stay composed even with bits of her husband's brain on her dress.
So suck it up, dear Martha. A bunch of self-important windbags asking your dear Sammy tough questions over and over as part of the job interview for a lifetime appointment is not exactly the most emotionally wrenching experience a politico's wife has ever experienced.

Insight in strange places

Bizarrely, John Cole Balloon Juice blogger Tim F tells the truth about the 'situation' with Iran, without even seeming to realize the importance of what he says:
Iran has every incentive to develop a deterrent force of nuclear weapons. Living at the dangerous intersection of despotism, oil wealth, anti-American and anti-Israel Islamic fundamentalism and WMD proliferation, the Bush Doctrine basically guarantees that America will eventually attack Iran unless the Iranians give us a very good reason not to. Iraq showed that negotiating and inspections are no guarantor when you’ve got a president hot for invasion and Europe’s opposition means basically nothing. That leaves a functioning nuclear arsenal as the only reliable dissuasive factor. In other words, in theory and particularly in practice the Bush Doctrine makes it absolutely imperative for targeted states to arm themselves as rapidly as possible.
Exactly. If you want to encourage Iran not to nuke up, STOP THREATENING THEM.

If, however, you want to ensure that Iran does what it can to develop nuclear weapons, keep doing what the administration is doing.

Supreme Court Justice Alito

It's all over but the handwringing.
"I do not see a likelihood of a filibuster," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "This might be a man I disagree with, but it doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court."

She said she will not vote to confirm the appeals court judge, based n his conservative record. But she acknowledged that nothing emerged during last week's hearings to justify any organized action by Democrats to stall the nomination.
How different would the Democratic Party look if it were actively trying, 1919 Black Sox style, to throw everything to the GOP? I'm not saying that they are doing that; I'm just asking what the difference would be.

Irresponsible rhetoric on Iran

No surprise. (HT: Socialist Swine.)
Republican and Democratic senators said on Sunday the United States may ultimately have to undertake a military strike to deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but that should be the last resort.

"That is the last option. Everything else has to be exhausted. But to say under no circumstances would we exercise a military option, that would be crazy," Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

...While acknowledging that President George W. Bush has "no good option," McCain said "there is only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option, that is a nuclear-armed Iran."

"If the price of oil has to go up then that's a consequence we would have to suffer," he said.
What do you mean "we"? Like McCain is going to have to 'suffer' anything?

What he means is: no way in hell we're going to let the Iranians win the Big Dick award, even if it means poor people will have to pay more for gas.

I don't know why, but all of a sudden the chatter in the media about Iran is being ratcheted up. This is an absolute no-compromise issue for progressives: neither military strikes nor sanctions against Iran are even remotely justified, and the Democrats have no fucking business giving Bush bipartisan cover for either.

If there's another march to war, the mettle and character of a lot of people are going to be seriously tested. There's a lot of people who need to pull their heads out of their asses right now, and just maybe whatever nonsense the Bush administration has planned can be avoided.

Nip this shit in the bud. There needs to be not one word from liberals about how Iran poses a 'grave threat', even if it's followed by solemn words about the need to avoid war. That alone gives up the whole damn game. For those on the left who like to think strategically, think about it like this: once you've allowed that Iran actually poses a threat to the US, you've essentially invited people to accept the standard GOP argument: when it comes to threats to our security, we respond forcefully, and the Democrats are just a bunch of whimpering pussies. Given public perception of the two parties, this argument basically makes itself as soon as Dems agree to the key premise - that Iran poses a 'real threat'. Cut them off before that; accuse them of making up threats in order to distract the public from their inability to effectively govern.

This has the added advantage of being true. As eRobin put it in the comments to this post,
Here we go again with the "The Dems better have a good reason not to start another illegal war" merry-go-round. It's like watching a horror movie you've seen before. You keep screaming for the kid not to open that door, but he always does.
This is not the time to try to burnish your 'moderate' credentials. This is a time to take a stand against immoral and irrational behavior. And any self-respecting progressive should demand nothing less from the Democratic Party, no ifs, ands, or buts.


Small-town America

Television actress/wingnut Patricia Heaton and her husband have made a ridiculous-sounding documentary called "The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania". They premiered the film, which they call "an homage to small-town America" that is "appreciative of the values and the optimism that make Americans great," at a conservative film festival (I didn't know there was such a thing; sounds like a ball).

Count me out. If you want to see a movie that gives you the real scoop on small-town America, I'd suggest something else entirely.

Memo to liberal blogosphere: remove head from ass

Mike the Mad Biologist has written a must-read post, and you know I don't use that term ('must-read') very often at all:
There's been a lot of talk about how the progressive netroots is left twisting in the wind. Why do the establishment Democrats ignore our pearls of wisdom, and our genius solons? Here's why: they have no incentive whatsoever to do so–and it's not simply that the netroots aren't like the rest of America. Why would the Democratic establishment do this to the loyal netroots?

Because we have the attention span of gnats, and are unwilling to punish Democrats. First, the attention span. Remember when Kos boldly pronounced that the netroots were going to boldly take back the party? 'Everyone' was raring to go, and then... nothing. Instead, we got a love affair with Rahm Emanuel's conservative and anti-abortion Democrats, even though our base is disproportionately pro-choice women

In other words, many of the 'A-list bloggers' punked themselves. Well done. That showed 'em: when the hammer came down, we did exactly what the Democratic establishment wanted.
Seriously, read the whole damn thing.

More internecine conflict

Kevin Drum believes that an argument for the impeachment of George W. Bush based on the fact that he lied the country into war is "pretty weak."

My fellow liberals have been serving up some pretty bogus stuff lately. With enemies like these, the Bush administration hardly needs friends.

A trip down memory lane

Brad Delong celebrates Martin Luther King Day by pulling out some old National Review editorials about the Supreme Court "unsettling the basis of Southern society" by ordering the University of Alabama to admit blacks.

Notice a pattern here? Injustice occurs. Progressives protest. Conservatives demean and dismiss progressives. Fifty years pass. Everybody now agrees that the progressives were right. Conservatives insist they never thought otherwise.

There's the occasional 'iconoclast', though, who insists that the progressives were wrong all along - Malkin defending internment, Coulter defending McCarthyism.

So what I want to know is: who's going to be the brave conservative that takes on Martin Luther King's legacy? Who's going to have the balls to renew the argument that the Federal Government was acting the tyrant by enforcing the 14th Amendment (which the National Review considered 'null and void')?

I know there's some worthy wingnut out there who won't let me down.

Winning hearts and minds

Thousands of Pakistanis have taken part in anti-American protests after an attack on a village near the Afghan border that killed 18 people.

The main demonstration was held in the main city of Karachi with protesters chanting "Death to America".

The missile strike apparently targeted al-Qaeda's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was said not to have been there.

US media say the attack was carried out by the CIA.

About 10,000 people rallied in Karachi, Pakistan's biggest city, chanting "Death to American Aggression" and "Stop bombing innocent people".

A leader in the coalition of anti-US Islamic groups that organised the nationwide protests said General Musharraf must step down.

"The army cannot defend the country under in his leadership," Ghafoor Ahmed told protesters in Karachi.

Reports citing unidentified Pakistani officials say the strike was launched on intelligence that Zawahiri had been invited to dinner in the village.

However, a senior intelligence official told Reuters news agency they had no evidence he was present at the meal.


The liberal blogosphere is falling down on the job yet again, and playing right into the hands of the right wing.

Factesque describes one instance of this phenomenon:
I'll say it again: the candidacies of Chuck Pennacchio (my guy) and Alan Sandals in the PA senate race provide our Echo Chamber a perfect cause with which to make our case clear: No more Me-Too Dems. And yet there is silence from our big guns. I don't know what they're waiting for. I don't know what their strategy is. I don't know why they think that anti-choice, pro-war, corporate Casey is an okay option for the most important congressional race in the country in a state that is wildly moderate.

I used to think that a Casey candidacy was telling women that the Democratic party doesn't need them to win. Now it's clear to me that that message of "thanks but no thanks" is extended to every Dem who sees him/herself to the left of Eisenhower.

I'm sick and tired of hearing our Echo Chamber make big bold statements about the chance that needs to happen in the party and then sit idly by while the right-wing status quo is more deeply entrenched. So spare me the outrage until there's some action to support it.
And Ezra Klein is basically accepting the Bushists' propaganda on Iran hook, line, and sinker:
Iran may well be the next Iraq, at least in a political sense. Given the flagging fortunes of the Republican majority, an unhinged, unleashed islamic Republic wielding nuclear weapons is the perfect excuse to refocus the election on national security. Perfect because they're scary, sure, but perfect because they're real, too. Ahmadinejad's ascension and Iran's admitted, verified race for nuclear weapons are both independently observable events that are rightfully heightening focus and fears on the country. Unlike Iraq, where Bush conjured an urgent, rapidly-massing threat out of whole cloth, circumstances in Iran are changing for the worse and paying close attention to their evolution makes perfect sense.

An invasion doesn't.

But, as Kevin says, Democrats are going to have to figure out a way to handle the issue, both because it'll prove politically salient and because, on its own terms, it's genuinely legitimate. And, granted, I don't know how to do that, but being proactive rather than reactive strikes me as a start. If Reid's offices aren't packed with exhausted national security aides drawing up a comprehensive plan to deal with Iran and the DNC's PR guys aren't booking prominent Democrats to blanket television and set the terms of the debate, we've got a problem. One way or the other, Iran is going to be an issue. And given that, Democrats need to step forward on it first so, in six months, they're not left playing catch-up to the hawks.
Repeat after me: Iran is not a threat unless the US and Israel make it one. The US has absolutely no legal standing to make any demands on Iran about its nuclear program. A nuked-out Israel is just as dangerous as a nuked-out Iran, but no one seems to be complaining about that.

Iran has not, to my knowledge, admitted that they are trying to build nuclear weapons. (If this happened in the last couple of days and I didn't notice it, I apologize.) And again, unless further developments have occurred very recently that escaped my notice, the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program has never been independently verified.

This is not a legitimate threat; it is bullshit conjured by the Bush administration and their lackeys in the media. Their bullshit is hard enough to counteract without liberals helping them to 'catapult' it.

I can die now

Because I've seen the David Hasselhoff video for his cover of 'Hooked on a Feeling', via Feministe.

Bleg - I am sick

Anyone have any idea what could cause a sort of low-level nausea lasting for two or three weeks? Pregnancy is not an anatomical possibility.

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Sanity is not statistical.