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


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Save it, Sandy

Sandra Day O'Connor is making news for criticizing the GOP. Sorry, but this rings a little hollow coming from the woman who committed the twin crimes of putting Bush in the White House (as pointed out by Ruchira Paul and Fact-esque) and then retiring while he was still there, allowing him to replace her with the atrocious Sam Alito.

Suicidal? Get the hell out

That's what George Washington U. said to a student who checked himself into the university hospital for depression and suicidal thoughts.

I smell a new slogan for the GOP...

Alessandra Mussolini: "Better to be a fascist than a faggot."


Ah, moderates

Didn't anyone ever teach them about the fallacy of the golden mean?
I'm not a big abortion blogger. It seems most people view abortion in terms of black and white. It's either akin to slaughtering babies, or it's a key aspect of woman's rights. And since the arguments seem to devolve into these simplistic terms rather quickly (even more so than in most political arguments), I remain confused.
So the idea that self-determination regarding their own uteruses might, you know, be a significant aspect of women's rights is just as crazy as the idea that removing a blastocyst is a form of murder.

The answer doesn't always lie in the middle, guys.

You can't get fooled again

Good fucking question:
I think it's nice that some Democrats have finally come out and admitted that supporting the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, even though we all know that was obvious a good long time before the invasion actually took place.

But how can you account for some Democrats already falling in line for what looks to be a planned repeat performance in Iran? There's no room for the "We didn't realize how badly they'd screw it up" defense here - if you don't know by now, you shouldn't be allowed out.

And with that fact in mind - not to mention the fact that our troops are now so severely strained that only an idiot can imagine we can afford a war on a third front, well, I sure hope that this time no one will pretend this can be good for Israel.
Via the obscenely useful Daou Report.

Just say no

Can anyone explain to me why I should take a professed anti-war Democrat in Congress seriously if they don't vote against giving the Bush war machine another $91 billion?  Will they?

The bill also includes $75 million for "U.S. cultural outreach to Iranian citizens."  I can only imagine what that means.

Unhelpful rhetoric

This has got to stop:
If the U.N. Security Council is incapable of taking action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself, Israel's defense minister said on Wednesday.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was asked whether Israel was ready to use military action if the Security Council proved unable to act against what Israel and the West believe is a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

"My answer to this question is that the state of Israel has the right give all the security that is needed to the people in Israel. We have to defend ourselves," Mofaz told Reuters after a meeting with his German counterpart Franz Josef Jung.

Iran denies wanting nuclear weapons and says it is only interested in the peaceful generation of electricity. It has also threatened to retaliate if Israel or the United States were to bomb any of its nuclear facilities.
Since when did defending yourself involve an unprovoked attack on another nation? I suppose the U.S. is just "defending" itself in Iraq, right?

Look, it's possible that Israel is just making noise in order to discourage Iran from going nuclear. If so, the calculus changes, but it's still hard to imagine that such rhetoric is helpful on the whole.

Is there anybody in their right mind who thinks that a war between Israel and Iran would be a good thing? Aren't we supposed to try to avoid World War III?



Slate has put up a fairly decent "slide-show essay" on Dada. A few questionable remarks, but overall not bad.

Should politicians read more?

Michael Tomasky is "disquieted" by the fact that presidential hopeful John Edwards apparently had never heard of one James Q. Wilson:
I was disturbed by this most of yesterday. He didn’t even know who the man is.
Over-react much? Jesus, of all the things that would bother me about a politician, a lack of awareness of a right-wing "intellectual" whose grand insight is that inner-city crime is the result of broken windows going unfixed would rank just behind his position on how to hang the toilet paper.

Supposedly this is a symptom of a larger problem:
One of the big problems with most politicians at Edwards’ level is that they don’t read seriously anymore. This means they don’t develop serious ideas of their own, and it makes them more susceptible to any shallow thing their pollsters and handlers tell them. It’s surely true of both parties, but it seems worse among Democrats for some reason.
I don't think that the problem with politicians is that they don't read enough. I don't really understand this obsession with developing "new ideas"; with most political issues, the answer is pretty clear, it's just a matter of having the will to do the right thing. (How many books do you have to read to know that it's not OK to wage war without cause, or that women have the right to control their own bodies?)

As for the idea that reading more would make politicians less susceptible to consultants, I have two words: Al Gore. A notorious bookworm, Gore is the paradigm case of the over-handled candidate.

Don't get me wrong; I could think of a few books I'd like Democratic politicians to read (they could start with Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, though Edwards specifically does seem to have a sensitivity to the plight of the poor). But if an increased reading load means more James Q. Wilson, they probably shouldn't bother.

The criminalization of abortion

Question: If Chris Fucking Matthews can grill anti-choice politicians like this, insisting that the answer one very simple question - if you think abortion should be illegal, what should the punishment be for women who have them? - why can't Democrats? Why wasn't John Kerry asking George W. Bush the same damn question, over and over, during the presidential debates?

Democrats should never let a discussion about abortion go by without holding the GOP's feet to the fire on this. No Republican ought to be allowed to make a television appearance without being confronted on this point: how many years in prison should women who get abortions be sentenced to?


Line-item veto

On the list of things most likely to get me worked up, the prospect of a line-item veto barely registers - but maybe I should care more; maybe it's a worrisome power grab by the executive branch. This bit by Brad Plumer (HT: Ezra Klein) strikes me as a sensible take on the matter. Upshot: the line-item veto does jack shit to "control spending" (money quote: "Pork isn't a big part of the federal budget, and never will be."), but can be used to great punitive effect (e.g., Congressman X fucks with President, President line-item vetoes pork spending for Congressman X's district).


I'll show you a casus belli

The U.S. claims that the Iranian government is sending explosive devices across the border to aid anti-American insurgents. War-mongering idiots are claiming that this provides the U.S. with a "casus belli" to wage war on Iran. Putting aside the fact that the only evidence for the accusation is the assurances of U.S. officials, it should be kept in mind that the U.S. has been conducting reconnaissance missions inside Iran for some time now, which itself could be seen as an act of war and thus a casus belli for Iran to attack the United States.

But we all know that the U.S. plays by its own rules. So how about we can the Just War Theory bullshit, then? If the right-wingers want to agitate for unprovoked aggression, they should at least have the balls to admit to it.

Cheney less popular than O.J. (but more popular than Paris Hilton)

Cheney's approval rating = 18%.

Michael Jackson = 25%.

O.J. Simpson = 29%.

Spiro Agnew (in 1973) = 45%.

Paris Hilton = 15%.

(Via DU.)


Kos reports that Bush's approval rating is down to 37% even in deep-red Indiana. This is good news, I guess, insofar as it bodes ill for Republican fortunes in the mid-terms, but it also kind of pisses me off a little bit, because Indiana gave Bush 55% of its votes, if I'm not mistaken, not even a year and a half ago, and yeah, a lot has happened in the meantime (Katrina, NSA), but the savagery, incompetence, and indifference of the Bush administration were on full display back in November '04 as well - and now they're unhappy with the president's performance. Great. Would have been nice if you had gotten a clue a little sooner.

Looking ahead

Good post at Science and Politics about Edwards and the rest of '08 presidential field. I especially liked the parts about the irrelevance of "carrying your own state" and about "the war-criminal Wesley Clark."


Civil war

From ABC News:
As Pentagon generals offered optimistic assessments that the sectarian violence in Iraq had dissipated this weekend, other military experts told ABC News that Sunni and Shiite groups in Iraq already are engaged in a civil war, and that the Iraqi government and U.S. military had better accept that fact and adapt accordingly.

"We're in a civil war now; it's just that not everybody's joined in," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a former military commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "The failure to understand that the civil war is already taking place, just not necessarily at the maximum level, means that our counter measures are inadequate and therefore dangerous to our long-term interest.

"It's our failure to understand reality that has caused us to be late throughout this experience of the last three years in Iraq," added Nash, who is an ABC News consultant.

Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told ABC News, "If you talk to U.S. intelligence officers and military people privately, they'd say we've been involved in low level civil war with very slowly increasing intensity since the transfer of power in June 2004."
But that's not what Instapundit told me...

Edwards gets bad reviews

...for his performance on Meet the Press, from Matt Stoller and Jane Hamsher. I didn't see his appearance - I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've been up early enough on a Sunday to catch Meet the Press - so I can't say whether they're right or wrong. If Neil caught it, it'd be interesting to hear his response.

F'd in the A

John Hinderaker, you got served.

Republicans for Pointless Suffering

From the Times:
WHEN Frank and Anita’s daughter Chanou was born with an extremely rare, incurable illness in August 2000, they knew that her life would be short and battled against the odds to make it happy.

They struggled around the clock against their baby’s pain. “We tried all sorts of things,” said Anita, a 37-year-old local government worker. “She cried all the time. Every time I touched her it hurt.”

Chanou was suffering from a metabolic disorder that had resulted in abnormal bone development. Doctors gave her no more than 30 months to live. “We felt terrible watching her suffer,” said Anita at their home near Amsterdam. “We felt we were letting her down.”

Frank and Anita began to believe that their daughter would be better off dead. “She kept throwing up milk that was fed through a tube in her nose,” said Anita. “She seemed to be saying, ‘Mummy, I don’t want to live any more. Let me go’.”

Eventually, doctors agreed to help the baby die at seven months.
Wingnuts, secure in their conviction that their sky buddy doesn't want them to kill innocent white babies, are of course demanding that such children be forced to live out their short, painful lives.

One of Mark Noonan's commenters asks: "What kind of sick fuck wants an infant to suffer an entire short lifetime in pain?" Sick fucks like Mark Noonan, I guess.

The funniest thing you'll read today

This is from "The Anchoress," who is nostalgic for the "Will to Power" days of 2005 ... or something like that.

Does anyone remember April and May of 2005? And the months preceeding them? The Orange Revolution? The Arab Springtime? The Cedar Revolution of Lebanon - all of them seeming to have a fire lit under them, a wonderful fire of liberty. Remember Revolution Babes?

All around the globe, there was a spirit of something that felt a lot like the Will to Power - something that was building in momentum…like we were on the brink of something truly remarkable and historic and new.

Then, suddenly - poof! - it all stopped? It all just seemed to go away. It was like a big giant foot just came down and stomped out all of those wonderful fires…and the White House seems to have just…blink! Forgotten about it.

...The momentum has stopped. Everything has come to a screeching halt. Is there something he’s not telling us?

It’s very troubling. Worrying ... there is this strange and sudden silencing of movement. I do not get it.six months ago, the world was dancing toward democracy and freedom - in places where only a few years ago the idea seemed improbable - and in short order the dancing has stopped, the photos are a dim memory, and it all seems like something that happened a long, long time ago.

So, last night, I wrote to a very smart, very knowledgeable guy who, if I told you his name, you’d be like, “you DO NOT correspond with him!” And I’d be like, “uh-huh, I do!” And you’d be like, “Get out!” And I wrote to this exceedingly brilliant man, of whom I am very respectful: “explain this to me, please, because you are very smart and because I don’t get it. What happened? How did we move from such a sense of promise - just six months ago - to this sort of dreary, stagnant, nuthin’ is goin’ anywhere sort of torpor? Where is the energy, where is the juice, what has happened?”

His answer: “I don’t know. I don’t like it, either.”

Well. If that’s the case, we’re really in trouble. I mean, I routinely don’t know what is going on, but I’m nobody and I’m not especially smart. If this guy also doesn’t get it…Well!

This is what I have noticed about George W. Bush: He plays his cards close to the vest and he loves to make the other side feel that first flush of victory. He’s a little cruel that way. He loves to allow the opposition to become overconfident and shrill and a little mad, he loves to make them think, “we’ve GOT him,” and then throw down a Royal Flush. And he always comes back from his August vacation with a surprise, with something unexpected. He’s done it every year.

No, don’t ask me to remember what each September has brought. I can barely remember what I made for supper last night…but I know that every September has begun with some sort of Bushian surprise or new idea or initiative - I know it because I’ve noticed it. I may not be brilliant, but I am very observant.

...I hope I see something, come September. I really hope so. I’m not minimizing the enormous accomplishment that is the Iraqi constitution - I’m really not. But I’m gettin’ antsy, Mr. President. Gettin’ antsy.

...I’ve got folks on the right castigating me for not fully supporting the president (hello - I DO - I just am wondering about this sailboat that seems to have lost its wind), or for not understanding he is tired. (Of course he is tired. But he’s got miles to go before he can sleep!)

...So let me be plain. I LOVE President George W. Bush. On my desk here I have a W doll that plays all sorts of goofy Bushian malapropisms, and I have his aviator doll, too. I pray for him, for our nation and our troops (and yes, for Cindy Sheehan and her fans, too) every single day…but I must admit I pray MORE for W than for the rest. I know he is only human. I know he’s probably dog-tired and weary in heart and in spirit ... But I’m thinking of another man who was, in his youth, no one’s idea of a leader, and who was slow-of-tongue and had an enormous amount of stuff put on his plate…and he didn’t get to see the promised land. I’d like to see Bush get there. All I am saying is…I really hope September brings some renewal of momentum. It’s important. And yes, I DO think it’s a good idea to send encouraging emails to President Bush. I used to do it myself quite a lot, until I began to wonder if the SS would think me a stalker! :-)

Yes, I do believe she just compared George W. Bush to Moses.

Piling on

Glenn Reynolds:
The press had better hope we win this war, because if we don't, a lot of people will blame the media.
He's right; a lot of people will blame the media. They'll all be right-wing buffoons making asses of themselves, but there will be a lot of them.

Things are good, except for all the horribleness

A letter to Dan Savage's column, Savage Love, begins:
I am a 26-year-old female, and I've been with my boyfriend for almost five years. Our relationship is pretty good, for the most part, but I'm having a few reservations. I don't really know how to broach this subject, because I feel like I'm just being a bratty little princess. But here it goes:
OK, with that kind of opening, you figure, what, she's got some kind of minor complaint that's still maybe worth writing to an advice columnist about - maybe she doesn't get along with his mother, or he doesn't shower as often as he should, something like that.

But then this woman, whose "relationship is pretty good," goes on to detail the following facts about her boyfriend:

-He insists that they split the bills 50-50, even though he makes four times what she does.

-If she eats more than her share, he makes her pay him back.

-He won't give her a ride anywhere, even though she doesn't have a car, unless he's already going that way, and even then he makes her pay for gas.

-He takes her out for dinner on her birthday, but tells her: "If it goes over $50, you're paying the rest."

-She called him in the middle of the night, "stranded in the middle of nowhere," and the boyfriend told her to call her other friends first; if none of them could get her, he would - but she'd still have to pay for gas.

-They only have sex in the positions that he wants; if she asks to change positions, he gets angry and stops. Thus, if she wants to have sex at all, she must "pretend it doesn't hurt to have my legs pushed so far back they're gonna pop out of my hip sockets."

But other than that, the relationship is "pretty good."

I'm "skeptical," let's say

Via the Mad Biologist, there's a Reuters story that says coalition forces plan to be out of Iraq by 2007.

No way. This won't happen. The U.S. has long-term plans for Iraq; they didn't invade just to give up the whole prize four years later. You should never say never, I guess, because of course the situation could change dramatically. But if things continue basically as they are, there will still be American troops in Iraq when the next presidential election comes.

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