Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dreaming of Newt

Today your blogstress owns up to her longing for Newt Gingrich as the GOP nominee for president. What fun! What dish! What dinosaurs!

Here's the essay, over at The American Prospect Online.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Television gets interesting

You blogstress is running about a day behind, having lost yesterday to the oral surgeon and synthetic opiates (legitimate prescription, of course!).

Among the things on which your cybertrix is catching up is the Emmy Awards program that saw Sally Field censored for daring to say that mothers do not like war. If a man made a similar statement, would he have suffered a similar fate?

At WIMN, Jenn Pozner serves up the good and the bad news emanating from the Emmys -- and, yes, there was good news.

Check out Jenn's post here.

Too bad Fox actually lost viewers with this year's Emmys program. One program that may draw viewers to Fox, however, is K-ville, the new cop/buddy show set in post-Katrina New Orleans. There are issues, to be sure, with the show's anti-hero cliches, but it also touches on some very real stuff about race, class and the use of mercenaries to "keep order" in the city on which Bush turned his back. If nothing else, if K-ville succeeds, it will keep the struggles of the people of New Orleans in the faces of television viewers on a weekly basis. I hope it works.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Almost live-blogging the Edwards response

"Our troops are stuck between a president without a plan to succeed and a Congress without the courage to bring them home."

--John Edwards

Good line from the 2-minute message paid for by the John Edwards presidential campaign. Not sure how I feel about the likes of Edwards -- who, while in the Senate, voted authorize a presidential option to invade Iraq -- chiding his former colleagues in the Senate for lack of courage on the war. Oh, sure, he's since said he made "a mistake" -- something Hillary Clinton still won't concede about her same vote -- but that's easy to say after the fact, after you've left the body.

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Live blogging the president's speech

"Anbar is a good example of how our strategy is working."

--George W. Bush, Sept. 13, 2007

Blast kills top sheik working with U.S. in Iraq
Roadside bomb slays leader
who cooperated in fight against al-Qaida

President George W. Bush greets local leaders of Al Anbar Province before their meeting at Al Asad Airbase, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, Monday, September 3, 2007. White House photo by Eric Draper

BAGHDAD (AP) - The most prominent figure in a U.S.-backed revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida in Iraq was killed Thursday by a bomb planted near his home in Anbar province, 10 days after he met with President Bush, police and tribal leaders said.

Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha was leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, also known as the Anbar Awakening — an alliance of clans backing the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.

Officials said his assassination would be a huge setback for U.S. efforts in Iraq, because it sends a message to others who are cooperating with coalition forces or thinking about cooperating against al-Qaida.

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Just because you're paranoid...

...doesn't mean they're not lying.

Earlier this week, National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell asserted that the new, extra-Constitutional powers given the administration last month by Congress (with the help of 57 negligent or craven Democrats) to spy on Americans actually helped to foil the terrorism plot uncovered in Germany. Here are Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball:

On Monday, McConnell—-questioned by Sen. Joe Lieberman—claimed the law, intended to remedy what the White House said was an intelligence gap, had helped to "facilitate" the arrest of three suspects believed to be planning massive car bombings against American targets in Germany. Other U.S. intelligence-community officials questioned the accuracy of McConnell's testimony and urged his office to correct it. Four intelligence-community officials, who asked for anonymity discussing sensitive material, said the new law, dubbed the "Protect America Act," played little if any role in the unraveling of the German plot. The U.S. military initially provided information that helped the Germans uncover the plot. But that exchange of information took place months before the new "Protect America" law was passed.
The Protect America [from Americans who oppose Bush administration policies] Act" is scheduled to expire in February, and the administration is already launching an effort to make it permanent.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bin Laden video a forgery?

A colleague on a ListServ in which I participate has pointed out the oddness of the bin Laden video's many minutes of a frozen frame. It just happens to be the many minutes in which "bin Laden" goes on about current events and offers reading suggestions to the American people.

You know, I was always a bit suspicious. The recommendation that we, citizens of the Great Citizen, would find redemption in the writings of Noam Chomsky always struck your ecrivaine as odd. Libertarian socialism and anarcho-syndicalism don't seem to make a good match-up with radical islam. (Can't imagine there's a lot of Chomsky on the reading lists at the local madrassah.)

Check out the bin Laden video and accompanying critique on Booman Tribune.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What September 11th hath wrought

Today's anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon has a particularly eerie feel to it, perhaps because in 2007, six years later, the anniversary falls for the first time on the same day of the week on which the attacks occurred. It was a Tuesday, and a gloriously beautiful one, at that.

At least today in Washington, D.C., we are spared that similarity. The skies are grey and the air quite sticky.

The fall-out from the attacks continues to plague U.S. foreign policy, and on that end, your blogstress has a piece scheduled to run today at The American Prospect Online that examines current Pakistani politics in light of that nation's post-9/11 relationship with the world's only superpower.

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Did Craig commit perjury?

You may have heard, mes amis, that non-gay Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) yesterday petitioned the Minnesota court "to let him take back the guilty plea he made after his arrest in a men's room sex sting, saying he is innocent but panicked under intense anxiety," according to Reuters.

Our friend, the Internationalist -- not a chap ordinarily prone to the evils of partisanship -- offers this in response to Sen. Craig's wide-stance panic:

The Republican Truth Deficit should give the sub-prime market a run for its money...The Republicans seem to have trouble telling the truth these days, even as they are resigning... I would think that the pressure to adhere to public expectations (or White House desires) would be off when an official decides to quit. But the truth is taking a hit even as the Republicans are quitting.

Senator Craig lies to compound his lies. I'm no attorney, but isn't knowingly filing a false plea perjury? Then when "outed" and pummeled by his party compatriots, Senator Craig chooses his words carefully enough to wiggle out of his resignation. So his intent to resign varies depending on how sure he feels at any given moment to beat the wrap; so much for reliable political leaders.

I can forgive congressional votes based on faulty information, but decisions and declarations solely based on moments of passing fancy are sophomoric to the point of being dangerous. Idaho deserves better, the Senate deserves better. Craig knows how to flip-flop, lie; flip-flop, lie; if having him to kick around for another 14 months weren't so politically inviting, I'd want him to flip-flop away.

And I am not even going to start in on Rummy being "intellectually bankrupt" according to our trusted British ally.

I do have to give kudos to Tony Snow. He's not leaving the White House to spend more time with his family, although I do hope that is a benefit he will enjoy. Spokesman Snow is leaving the White House to earn more money! He said so! Honesty, finally!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Was Craig entrapped?

In case you missed it, there's been a debate bubbling up -- and one bound to bubble over -- about whether or not Sen. Larry Craig was the victim of entrapment by the Finest of Minneapolis when he was arrested there in a men's room after allegedly having signaled his desire to have sex with an undercover police officer. First to pose that question -- and bravely so, considering his credentials as a bona fide liberal -- was Matthew Yglesias, who, noting the foot-tapping, do-you-wanna-do-it signal Craig copped to making, wrote on his eponymous blog at The Atlantic:

Now, common sense indicates that the officer in question is correct and Craig's foot-tapping was a cruising signal, but surely tapping one's foot isn't a crime in Minnesota. Whatever Craig intended to do here, he doesn't seem, in fact, to have done anything lewd.
Last Sunday, in the New York Times's Week in Review section, writer Laura M. MacDonald weighed in with a similar sentiment:
WHAT is shocking about Senator Larry Craig’s bathroom arrest is not what he may have been doing tapping his shoe in that stall, but that Minnesotans are still paying policemen to tap back.
Before I proceed, your blogstress must make some full disclosure here herself: When the news of Craig's arrest broke last year, your Webwench poked some well-meaning offline fun at Yglesias, inferring that we women are always being accused of luring men to their moral undoing, so one critical bit of information was to know whether or not the cop was wearing stilettos. Okay, so it is a disappointing bit of full disclosure.

Alors, allow your cybertrix to proceed with a bit of pretzel logic. Your écrivaine does indeed concur that the "sting" for which the good people of Minnesota were paying is probably a waste of taxpayer dollars, and says more about society's fear of gay men than anything else. However, this does not obstruct her belief that Larry Craig should resign his Senate seat. Why? Because he's a sanctimonious, apparently queer hypocryte who makes laws against queers. It's just a morality thing.

To be on the safe side, your blogstress sadly notes that she will no longer be rehearsing Ann Miller routines in public restrooms.

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Don't forget the people who survived Katrina

I know the anniversary of the storm's landfall has passed, but that doesn't mean your blogstress intends to forget about the lives ruined by the government's failure to protect and care for the million-plus people whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Katrina, the storm that devestated the Gulf Coast two years ago. Your ecrivaine had hoped to be in New Orleans for this year's anniversary, as she had for last year's but, alas, other work got in the way of her getting that far south.

On a joyful note, your Webwench did enjoy hearing, once again, the sound of New Orleans jazz as played by the Treme Brass Band (pronounced "tre-MAY"), only this time in Arlington, Virginia, as part of the wonderful "Planet Arlington" concert headlined by South African trumpeter and singer Hugh Masekela. The last time your net-tete heard the Treme players was during the jazz funeral in New Orleans last year that marked the one-year anniversary of the storm. The funeral was a symbolic proper New Orleans ceremony for all who had perished after the breach of the levees. Katrina is often called our nation's worst natural disaster when, in fact, it was a disaster wrought by humans. The storm would have been survivable if the levees had held, as they were supposed to, at the category 3 level to which Katrina had diminished upon making landfall in New Orleans.

Over at the blog, Comment is Free, that is part of the UK's Guardian newspaper site, your blogstress's former American Prospect bossman, Michael Tomasky, ran a stinging piece that recounts the timeline of devestation and disregard endured by the people of the Gulf Coast, thanks to the disengagement of the president of the United States.

Meanwhile, at The Big Con, the blog of the Campaign for America's Future, Rick Perlstein lifts up the rug to examine the post-Katrina contracting boom being enjoyed by the friends and family of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

Does shame even exist in the experience of these people?

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