spook of the ozarks

unapologetic liberal

Sunday, December 31, 2006


Nytimes.com 1-column hed:

Rush to Hang
Hussein Was

That top line gets your attention, no?

Banished words for 2007

A fine list from Lake Superior State University. Excerpt:

ASK YOUR DOCTOR -- The chewable vitamin morphine of marketing.

Doctors must love hearing that about 70-80 times during the course of a football game. There's an ad running now that says, "Tell your doctor if you have liver disease." Sounds like good advice.
Speaking of football, our nomination for next year's list: "breaking down" a game, or, as we overheard a guy in a restaurant tell someone recently, "I just wanted to break down my train of thought for you." Grrr.


By AP's count. What a waste.
The Guardian puts it in perspective:

Although the 3,000 figure is symbolically important for Americans, Iraqis suffer that rate of casualties on a monthly basis.

Until midnight tomorrow

Grateful Dead in concert, 30 years ago.


Alessandra Stanley:

CNN even interviewed a forensic scientist who used a plastic medical school dummy, a rope wrapped around its neck, to explain that asphyxiation can be painless and quick.

One might assume that a forensic scientist would know that the cause of death in gallows hangings is not asphyxiation.

Friday, December 29, 2006

So they hung hanged Saddam

New best moment, no doubt.
We'd rather go bass fishing.
Maybe we'll link to it -- tomorrow?

Unhappy New Year

Free Weekly:

The OMNI Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology is organizing a candlelight vigil, “Black March for 3,000 Soldiers,” from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. the first Monday after the announcement of the death of the 3,000th American soldier killed in Iraq. The vigil will take place in the 100 block of South College Avenue in front of the United States Federal Building, across from the old Washington County Courthouse. Please wear black. 973-9049.

AP: 2,990.
And they're about to hang Saddam.
UPDATE: The OMNI people apparently did it Tuesday.

Revolutionary failure

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Yglesias nails it. Almost everyone knows what the plan will be. All this consultation is just trying to brainstorm up a plausible explanation for why. This photo says they're not there yet.

100 things

From the Beeb. A couple:

2. There are 200 million blogs which are no longer being updated, say technology experts.
100. In the 1960s, the CIA used to watch "Mission Impossible" to get ideas about spying.

On Mondays, the RTN station here airs two back-to-back "Mission Impossible" episodes. We love 'em. They're so bad it's almost like they were directed by Ed Wood. It's a miracle any of the stars ever worked again. It's also a miracle we won the Cold War.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

They just repoed the 'technicals'

There's a lesson somewhere in here:

The demonstrations helped prompt the clan elders, who are regarded as the pillars of Somali society, to act. According to residents in Mogadishu, the leaders of several major clans -- and some businesspeople who had been financing the Islamists -- demanded that the Islamist leaders return the armed pickup trucks that had been lent to the movement.
Faced with the loss of support from their counterparts, other clan leaders saw the coalition begin to crumble and withdrew their trucks as well, leaving little of the organized force that once lent the Islamists their power.

The jihadis lost popular support. Cooler heads prevailed. Their backers yanked the technicals. Expect his advisers to persuade W that the lesson is that there is a purely military solution to Islamic extremism, as demonstrated by the Ethiopians. And the jihadis revert to terrorism.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Saddam's hanging

This TPM commenter may be onto something. The SOTU, we think, is Feb. 1 Jan. 23. But it could happen anytime in the next 30 days? Sounds like W gets to set the date, or at least influence it.

Monday, December 25, 2006



BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The U.S. military death toll in Iraq has reached 2,974, one more than the number of deaths in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, according to an Associated Press count on Tuesday.

Not because of 9/11. And many more next year.

Buddha boy's back in town

Actually he's sitting under a tree in a Nepal forest.

RIP, 'Godfather'

Senate panel: Curt's crazy


WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee has rejected as untrue one of the most disturbing claims about the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes -- a congressman's contention that a team of military analysts identified Mohamed Atta or other hijackers before the attacks -- according to a summary of the panel's investigation obtained by The Times.
The conclusion contradicts assertions by Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) and a few military officers that U.S. national security officials ignored startling intelligence available in early 2001 that might have helped to prevent the attacks.

Voters already fired his ass, of course, and he's under DOJ investigation.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

This assessment is premature

The Beeb's Paul Reynolds:

The neo-conservative dream faded in 2006.
The ambitions proclaimed when the neo-cons' mission statement "The Project for the New American Century" was declared in 1997 have turned into disappointment and recriminations as the crisis in Iraq has grown.
"The Project for the New American Century" has been reduced to a voice-mail box and a ghostly website. A single employee has been left to wrap things up.

Faded and ghostly sound about right. They're crawling back under their rocks, mostly. But the guy who followed their advice and the guy who tells him what to decide still have substantial influence, as we're about to find out. Anyway, it's an interesting perspective -- read it.

Why do they keep doing this?

After we needlessly invaded, overthrew the government and occupied Iraq, our new SecDef visited and:

... warned Iran and Syria not to meddle in their neighbor's affairs.

Isn't that a bit hypocritical?

Wingnut-welfare reform

Members only, it looks like:

Republican House staff members who are losing their jobs in the aftermath of November’s loss of control are hoping Democrats will re-extend the hand of largesse to them next month.
As the old Congress wound down in a scramble of post-election activity, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered to pay two months’ severance to staff members working on some committees and in House leadership offices. But her offer was scuttled -- by Republican lawmakers, who complained they didn’t have the opportunity to study the proposal and look at costs.
The Senate already provides two months pay for displaced staff members. One of the affected House staffers said his comrades are mystified that a plan that would benefit employees of Republicans would be killed by Republicans: "We hope the Democrats revisit it."

They should revisit their party affiliation.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Grateful Dead

New Year's Eve, Cow Palace, 1976.
via Altercation.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Neither are we

Unintentional irony:

BEIJING (AP) -- The U.S. envoy to talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program said Friday that there were no signs of a breakthrough and accused the communist state of not being serious about the negotiations.

He's right, of course. But our position is: Disarm, and we'll get serious about the negotiations.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Maybe you had to be there

Or maybe you just had to hear the song -- it's been covered many times. But:

Matthew Fisher, a founding member of 1960s rock group Procol Harum, has won a High Court battle over who wrote their hit song "A Whiter Shade of Pale."
He played organ on the 1967 hit and argued he wrote the distinctive organ melody. Mr. Justice Blackburne ruled he was entitled to 40 percent of the copyright.

He only wins legal fees -- about £500,000 -- and, pending appeal, royalties since 2005, when he sued. But he's probably tripping the light fandango. The Beeb has a nice package. We happen to own a hunk of vinyl containing "Whiskey Train" and featuring Robin Trower on guitar.

'War on Christmas'

Finally, an explanation: the real reason for the season. Eye of the needle, brothers.

Top cash crop

The problem here is not marijuana consumption. The problem is that it's too expensive, stupid. Legalization solves it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let's not expand the military

Unless we want to continue to unnecessarily invade and occupy countries that don't constitute a threat and are unlikely to in the near term, then, given our firepower and related technology -- and with NATO and U.N. support -- about 800,000 soldiers and Marines should be adequate for our needs. The only reason the military is strained is because of Iraq. If we start pulling out now, we can restore our capability in less time and with less deficit spending than this expansion.

Hate Christmas?

Pastor Dan is having a contest.

The independent Pentagon

AP's U.S./Iran stories always contain this qualifier:

Bush administration officials have repeatedly declined to rule out the use of force against Iran, though they have also said their first choice is to rely on diplomacy.

Here is the lede:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon is considering a buildup of Navy forces in the Persian Gulf as a show of force against Iran, a senior defense official said Tuesday.

"The Pentagon is considering ..." Yeah, right. This is what passes for "diplomacy" nowadays -- threatening use of force, not negotiations.

Monday, December 18, 2006

W's legacy

Here's Leno:

CNN said today that President Bush is seriously considering sending more troops to Iraq. So apparently, his goal is to achieve a negative popularity rating.

Actually, anything less than 50 percent is negative, and he's been there for years. But it looks like he can still cement his WPE title. He's flirting with single digits.
Some people at SMU oppose the WPE museum.


These clowns are incapable of learning. They believe the only reason we lost in Vietnam is because we left. Can we put impeachment back on the table?

Extended warranties

They're a ripoff; don't buy them.

Detained in Iraq

This guy was an American, a veteran of the U.S. Navy in fact. It's probably safe to posit that he had it easier than, say, an Iraqi.

Sunday, December 17, 2006



This cannot happen again. The country has got to demand better than this. Whoever the poor sod is who gets this job in January 2009 is going to look around him after the applause dies down and see wreckage all the way to the horizon. I can't imagine what the actual truth of it is, since these folks have gotten so good at locking it up on almost every issue, large and small. That is really the only question to ask -- how in God's name, Candidate X, do you plan to fix everything that this reckless passel of vandals has broken in the past seven years? It should be asked of Republicans and Democrats, especially the former. It should be made quite clear that distancing oneself from the current group of bloody bunglers -- indeed, apologizing to the country for enabling them -- is the most basic prerequisite for being considered a serious presidential candidate. No crawfishing. No tap-dancing. "I am sorry for whatever role I played in foisting upon the country the worst presidential administration in history, and for my lack of fortitude in holding them to account when I should have."

Starting with anyone whose name appears under the heading "Yeas" on this list. It's easy.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Run out the clock

David Kurtz's cynicism sounds about right.

Bayh out

Friday, December 15, 2006


What Atrios says.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

'Help is on the way'

Who could have guessed this is what they meant?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army's top general warned on Thursday that his force "will break" without thousands more active duty troops and greater use of the reserves. He issued the warning as President Bush considers new strategies for Iraq.
As part of the effort to relieve the strain on the force, the Army is developing plans to accelerate the creation of two new combat brigades, The Associated Press has learned.
According to defense officials, the plan may require shifting equipment and personnel from other military units so the two new brigades could be formed next year and be ready to be sent the war zone in 2008.

Bigtime, Aug. 2, 2000:

For eight years, Clinton and Gore have extended our military commitments while depleting our military power. Rarely has so much been demanded of our armed forces, and so little given to them in return. George W. Bush and I are going to change that, too. I have seen our military at its finest, with the best equipment, the best training, and the best leadership. I'm proud of them. I have had the responsibility for their well-being. And I can promise them now, help is on the way.

W, Nov. 3, 2000:

America's military is the strongest in the world, confident, proud and willing to carry out every mission we give them. But we've got a serious problem in our military today. And that problem is not with our men and women in uniform; it is a problem of leadership at the very top of the chain of command.
The Clinton-Gore administration has used our military too much and supported it too little. Defense spending is lower as a share of our economy than at any time since 1940, the year before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Yet rarely has our military been used so freely -- more commitments, less resources. It is a short-sighted policy with long- term consequences. ...

To point out that our military has been overextended, taken for granted and neglected, that's no criticism of the military. That is criticism of a president and vice president and their record of neglect.
Dick Cheney, my good running mate Dick Cheney and I, have a message to all of our men and women in uniform and to their parents and to their families: Help is on the way.

In 2008.


They've decided to announce Vietnam-style body counts. Deja vu.

Still tryin' to make it as a hopeless case


This president has made it painfully obvious that he has no intention of listening to anyone who doesn’t believe that he's going to win in Iraq. He'll march stubbornly onward without any real change of course until high noon on January 20, 2009, when his successor will inherit both the hard decision to pull out of Iraq and the back bills for his reckless, feckless misadventure.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A mighty Howlitzer

In 2000, Bob Somerby was a lonely voice howling about this kind of bullshit. Not anymore. You may quit sucking up to the GOP, CNN.

Taco Bell

"Good to go" is probably gone for good, no?


Tony Snow, 12/12/06:

You know, it's interesting, if you take a look at poll data -- and there's a lot of discussion about that -- what's interesting is that a majority of the American public not only thinks that we're capable of winning, but we should. ...

WaPo-ABC News poll, 12/11/06:

All told, do you think the United States is winning or losing the war in Iraq?
Winning: 34
Losing: 52
All told, do you think the United States will win or lose the war in Iraq?
Win: 34
Lose: 46

Conclusion: Everybody may think we should win, but more think you guys are not, in fact, capable of figuring out how to do it.

Take your time

What's that light at the end of the tunnel?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush said Wednesday he would "not be rushed" into a decision on a strategy change for Iraq, saying that in a round of consultations he heard both some interesting ideas and some "ideas that would lead to defeat."
"And I reject those ideas," Bush said after meeting with top generals and Defense Department officials at the Pentagon. He said those ideas included "leaving before the job is done, ideas such as not helping this (Iraqi) government take the necessary and hard steps to be able to do its job."

He wouldn't want to make any rash decisions based on misinformation.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More troops


Gary Kamiya:

So for the next two endless years, the American people, the 140,000 American troops in Iraq and the Iraqi people will have to hang on for dear life as Bush, like Ahab chasing the Great White Whale of "Islamofascism," steers his course straight for Davy Jones' Locker -- with the only consolation being that he will take the Republican Party with him.

Make that 160,000. And he'll also take John McCain with him, further consolation.

Monday, December 11, 2006

New way forward?


[W] was scheduled to meet this afternoon with five experts in military and foreign affairs, four of whom have expressed deep skepticism about the recommendations issued last week by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

So four out of five "experts" agree the ISG's recommendations should be ignored. Sounds like a serious policy review. Expect big changes.


From the front of washingtonpost.com:

For Sierra Leoneans in U.S., new film "Blood Diamond" tows line between fiction and reality.

Try toes.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


He will stay the course, with various fake-outs along the way to keep us from thinking we’ve "lost," until the whole mess is deposited in the lap of the next president.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Compare and contrast

Radio address:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush spoke Saturday about parts of the Iraq Study Group report that mirror his policies -- but he ignored the sections that criticize his administration's handling of the war.


Dissatisfaction with President Bush's handling of Iraq has climbed to an all-time high of 71 percent, according to the AP-Ipsos survey, which was taken as a bipartisan commission was releasing its recommendations this week for a new course. Just 27 percent of Americans approved of Bush's handling of Iraq, down from his previous low of 31 percent in November

He doesn't give a damn what the ISG -- or anyone else -- thinks. Full speed ahead.

Good riddance

Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., on the GOP Congress' failure to pass budget bills for domestic agencies:

"a blatant admission of abject failure by the most useless Congress in modern times."

Friday, December 08, 2006



It's gotten so I immediately distrust any advocacy organization based in DC.

And not just advocacy organizations. And not just those based in D.C.

They told you so

We should honor these people for their wisdom and courage. We should also ask why anyone who didn’t raise questions about the war — or, at any rate, anyone who acted as a cheerleader for this march of folly — should be taken seriously when he or she talks about matters of national security.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Inaction has consequences


BEIRUT, Lebanon - American political leaders watched with alarm during the past week as the Hezbollah militia laid siege to the U.S.-backed Lebanese government, but few would acknowledge publicly what most analysts and politicians here say is obvious: American policy may bear much of the blame.
Many in Beirut say that U.S. failure to stop Israel's onslaught against Hezbollah last summer crippled the Lebanese government -- a U.S. ally -- while strengthening Hezbollah -- a U.S. enemy. That created an environment in which the Shiite Muslim militia could call for overthrowing Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and his Cabinet.

We're hopeful the Israelis and Americans have a plan for how they're going to deal with Prime Minister Hassan Nasrallah. Because what they tried last summer sure didn't work out.

Leave now


Let's get a few more things straight right now.
There's no victory waiting for President Bush in Iraq, and nothing that his father's friends say or do can save him from an ignominious end to his presidency in two years and two months, or from the judgment of history.
There will be no convenient and successful negotiation of a "decent interval" with our enemies Iran and Syria to cover our withdrawal from a war that we should never have started.
There can be no successful Vietnamization in Iraq -- standing up more and better Iraqi army and police units and handing control over to them -- when all we're doing is arming and training more recruits for the civil war that clogs the streets of Baghdad with the corpses of the victims of a Sunni-Shia bloodbath.
What we need to do is what none of the commissions and their reports dared to suggest: Begin withdrawing American forces from Iraq right now. Not in 2008. Not after the American death toll has crossed 5,000. Not just in time for a presidential election.

And there is zero chance that W will take that good advice.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sounds about right


Worldwide spam volumes have doubled from last year, according to Ironport, a spam filtering firm, and unsolicited junk mail now accounts for more than 9 of every 10 e-mail messages sent over the Internet.

At log-on today: One in the inbox, ten in the bulk folder. Got several in Cyrillic during the weekend.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Last gasp

For Inhofe. You're a laughingstock, dude.


It's the anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. Drink liberally.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Smells like local TV news

It must have sounded like a great story: A thief steals a woman's wheelchair while she's shopping at Wal-Mart.
So that's what they reported at 5. She had slow-to-heal a broken leg. She left her chair with a greeter while she shopped in one of their motorized scooters. When she returned her wheelchair was gone. Now she's reduced to crawling around her house on hands and knees. Great video!
By 6, horrified viewers had called offering to help her replace her stolen wheelchair. Great public service journalism! But prompting us to wonder: Why the hell wasn't Wal-Mart replacing it?
Denouement at 10: The greeter had stuck it behind a counter for safekeeping; the Wal-Mart store found and returned it. Reporting that apparently passes for a correction.
That's first-class journalism, guys.

He won't listen

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Worst president ever?

In the WaPo Outlook section, five historians weigh in:
Eric Foner: Yep.
Douglas Brinkley: He's a contender.
David Greenberg: Nixon was worse.
Michael Lind: Fifth.
Vincent J. Cannato: Too early to call.

Untethered from reality

As Mr. Bush has ricocheted from Vietnam to Latvia to Jordan in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed the troubling behavior of a president who isn’t merely in a state of denial but is completely untethered from reality. It’s not that he can’t handle the truth about Iraq. He doesn’t know what the truth is.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Take Houston Nutt

Please. And Casey Dick.

Bring it on

This is going to be sensational, in more ways than one.

Friday, December 01, 2006

World AIDS Day

Help. It only takes a few seconds to do this -- today only.

'Graceful exit' is unrealistic

Marc Sandalow:

Washington -- It would be reasonable to conclude after watching President Bush in the Middle East this week that the administration has no plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
"This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all,'' Bush said at a news conference Thursday morning in Jordan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Yet some experts say it would be foolhardy to assume, just because Bush said it, that the statement is true.

It's usually a safe bet that W is lying whatever he says, but in this case he may be unintentionally speaking the truth: Any exit that may or may not occur during his presidency will hardly qualify as "graceful." The time for that has long passed.