Man, that was some poignant business reading the to-be-approved comments that had piled up (very slowly) over the past couple of years. Um, so, no, we’re not back. I suspect that the chance that The Editors will return is vanishingly slim. I dunno what happened to curv3ball; probably NSA, right? Gotta be NSA. Personally, I am so goddamned busy and also pleased as punch to not pay much attention to politics.
We’re keeping the domain live because the last time we blew up years of our archives we were sort of sad about it. Well, I was sort of sad about it. So this is the laziest way to keep them live. Courage, fair readers who still, for some reason, comment here. Courage.
On video Barbie it turns out. Despair:
As I’m sure most of you are aware, the Mattel Corporation has recently issued a new Barbie doll–just in time for the Christmas holidays–that constitutes both a moral outrage and an existential threat to our culture at large. I am speaking, of course, of the new “Video Girl” Barbie, a doll that features a tiny camera implanted in Barbie’s necklace and an LCD screen embedded in her back. The idea is to encourage little girls to make their own movies with the Barbie doll camera and then, using a simple software package, edit the movies and share them with friends online. I am certain I do not need to point out just how monumental a threat this technology presents, not only to the little girls who might use it, but to the nation as a whole. For it would seem a video camera is not the only thing “hidden” in this doll. In the wrong hands, “Video Girl” Barbie has the potential to unleash a most heinous, disgusting, and destructive force, one that continues to prey on our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. I am speaking, of course, about the monstrous threat posed by feminine creativity.
Go forth and receive your instruction.
So, based on the trove of recently released Wikileaks diplomatic cables, I gather that Saudi elites consider Iran a threat and are all like, “Hey United States, let’s you and him fight.”*
Drawing on data from the same document dump, we learn (or, rather, find official confirmation for the proposition) that some of those same Saudi elites think al-Qaeda is a fabulous organization, doing Allah’s work, and is deserving of generous endowments and other cash payments. That in addition to generally funding the spread of a particularly virulent, radical interpretation of Islam around the globe (including here in the States!) by and through various means.
So I got to thinking: Maybe we shouldnt take foreign policy cues from Saudi elites. Maybe, just maybe, they don’t have our best interests at heart. Something to think about as we load the bombs for Operation Enduring Iran Freedom Hope Justice Strike.
In less, er, diplomatic parlance, Jason Sigger:
I don’t understand the Arab world, but let me say that I’m quite annoyed by this Machevelian scheming where the Gulf States all seem to expect the US military to act as their bitches to achieve their political objectives, while they sit back on their billions of dollars in defense systems and do… nothing. Listen, you fat fucks, you oil-bloated family dynasties, if you want Iran’s regime toppled, get some skin in the game. Form an Arab military coalition and attack Iran. You’ll make Israel really happy. I’m sure the US government will give you all the targeting data you could want. But really. Fuck off with your suggestions to the US government that we act as your bully boys.
I do wonder how the Arab world could have come up with the crazy idea that the United States would ever be willing to act as the outsized proxy of much smaller Middle East powers, like some ferocious dog being wagged by its tail. I mean, really.
[* edited for the provincial types]
Given all the overqualified applicants, it can’t be said that Michael Ledeen is the dumbest of the neocons (an honorific most likely still retained by “The Fucking Stupidest Guy on the Face of the Earth“). Actually, much of the time Ledeen is simply playing dumb, and assuming that his audience won’t catch on (like when he had the stones to look his readers dead in the eye and claim that he had been opposed to the Iraq invasion all along – remember?).
In his defense, if at this late juncture there are still those that count themselves as Ledeen’s audience, he’s probably right in his estimation of their cognitive abilities. So dumb like a fox he is (albeit a warmongering, rabid, frothing for blood fox).
In a recent offering, Ledeen again hams it up for the crowd by feigning ignorance as to how Secretary Gates could possibly claim that the Iranian people might rally around the flag in the face of a series of massive US or Israeli airstrikes targeting all manner of Iranian military and nuclear facilities (many of which are embedded in civilian areas and would, thus, lead to many dead civilians – although even their scientists and soldiers are Iranians and might be missed).
Imagine that. How crazy. And does Gates have any actual evidence for this conspiracy theory (history be damned)?
In order to perpetrate this thinly veiled ruse, Ledeen pretends that every regime opponent either has a family member locked in prison, or has multiple deceased family members courtesy of the regime (considering that he pegs the opposition in the tens of millions, one wonders at the size of the Iranian prison population – and size of the mass graves).
In reality, of course, the opposition is probably smaller, and there is a large spectrum of viewpoints represented in that opposition, with many opponents of the current ruling clique not urging on revolution as much as supporting their own candidates within the system (or for more human rights protections regardless).
But nevermind reality, we’re discussing a Ledeen column.
So after dedicating the opening paragraphs to arguing forcefully that Gates is wrong, wrong, wrong to worry that military strikes would somehow galvanize support for the current regime, Ledeen does one of his patented pirouettes:
Not that I’m trying to talk Gates into bombing Iran; quite the opposite, in fact.
Silly liberals, whatever gave you that idea?
Our greatest weapon is political, and consists in [sic] the overwhelming majority of Iranians who hate the regime. If we supported them with vigor and a sense of humor, I think the regime would be overthrown and we wouldn’t have to worry about the “military option.” But we don’t hear any vigorous support for the democratic opposition from this administration. [emphasis added]
One imagines that if an “overwhelming majority” of Iranians opposed the regime they wouldn’t need our sense of humor and words of encouragement to git’r’done. And if our simple snark and attaboys were not enough, maybe we could sick the Piranha Brothers on em – using the Ledeen calculus, this thing would be wrapped up by the end of the weekend.
One is also left wondering: if that’s all it took, why didn’t the Bush administration just apply the necessary Joke and Stroke offensive? In Ledeen’s defense, he does add this bit as a caveat:
And more to the point, nothing concrete is done for [the opposition].
Hmmm, what do you think he means by “concrete”?
Our collective idiocy in a nutshell (with said nutshell to be fondled by your friendly neighborhood TSA Agent):
Peter Rez, a physics professor at Arizona State University in Tempe, did his own calculations and found the exposure to be about one-fiftieth to one-hundredth the amount of a standard chest X-ray. He calculated the risk of getting cancer from a single scan at about 1 in 30 million, “which puts it somewhat less than being killed by being struck by lightning in any one year,” he told me.
While the risk of getting a fatal cancer from the screening is minuscule, it’s about equal to the probability that an airplane will get blown up by a terrorist, he added. “So my view is there is not a case to be made for deploying them to prevent such a low probability event.”
X-ray the awesome!
Continuing the recent trend of family-oriented entertainment here at The Toot (promise that won’t last long you depraved heathens), it is time now to praise the children. In that spirit, allow me to make the studied observation that this kid really knows what time is it:
Jay McDowell, a teacher in Howell, Michigan, was temporarily suspended without pay earlier this month after telling a student wearing a Confederate flag and a student making anti-gay remarks to get out of his class. At a school-board meeting on Friday, openly gay 14-year-old high-school student Graeme Taylor came to McDowell’s defense, thanking the teacher for doing “an amazing thing” in a town home to the KKK, and urging the school board to give McDowell his pay and reverse the disciplinary actions.
Go watch the video.
If only they had listened to my advice, and pushed for my preferred policy package, they would have beaten back the GOP challenge.
The following things are your fault, and you should apologize to the person you reverse inverse victimized. Not that your crocodile tears will do anything to assuage the pain and trauma you caused:
1. Getting shot in the face with a shotgun.
2. Being sexually harrassed by your boss.
3. Having your head stomped for carrying a political sign at a political rally.
Only then can the healing process begin and forgiveness be granted, magnanimously, if at all.
Just because the formerly feverish homo hate that swept the nation a few election cycles past has gone flacid in recent years doesn’t mean the GOP can’t find new and creative ways to weave frothy bigotry into electoral gold.
One of 11 ballot initiatives in the state this November, State Question 755, better known as the “Save Our State” constitutional amendment, would prevent courts from using international or Sharia law. The question made it to the ballot by passing the state Senate 41-2 and the House 82-10. In addition to potentially rallying the conservative base to the polls, the initiative, which bans something that is nearly impossible statutorily, is worth watching because the GOP may employ it in swing states two years down the line.
The Ideas Man is, naturally, out in front of this one:
At the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. in September, Newt Gingrich positioned himself perhaps to the right of Sarah Palin in a potential bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination by saying, “I am opposed to any efforts to impose Sharia in the United States, and we should have a federal law that says under no circumstances in any jurisdiction in the United States will Sharia [law] be used in any court to apply to any judgment made about American law.”
Marc Ambinder’s slavish devotion to the he said/she said paradign is on full display, but even Ambinder seems to at least provide his readers with a clue:
Those opposed to the ballot initiative believe it is a preemptive strike against a non-threat. They call the law xenophobic. They even cite the fact that even the amendment’s sponsors and strongest supporters cannot statutorily cite a case in which Oklahoma courts have applied Sharia law in any ruling. Yet supporters of the amendment, borrowing George W. Bush’s “with us or against us” formulation, speciously claim that those who don’t support the amendment are actually for Sharia law.
I understand that Pam Geller is becoming an increasingly popular media personality – and not just on the right (with 60 Minutes and the NY Times giving her valuable real estate). This will surely redound to the benefit of all.
Why, I’m beginning to entertain a slightly cynical thought, and I need someone to talk me off this ledge: I think it might be the case that the GOP stokes anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican fear/anger for pure political purposes, while its leaders and the business interests they represent want to keep the flow of cheap labor in the pipeline for easy exploitation.
I know, I know, crazy, right?
Bonus GOP Hate-Mongering: We can call this the Guillermo Horton ad, used by not one, but two GOP candidates. Looking on the bright side, at least they’re recycling, albeit in the present instance, that would be hate they’re re-using. But you gotta start somewhere, and this is the GOP after all.
Whoddathunk a subscription based fire department would turn out badly?
Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won’t respond, then watches it burn. That’s exactly what happened to a local family tonight. A local neighborhood is furious after firefighters watched as an Obion County, Tennessee, home burned to the ground.
The homeowner, Gene Cranick, said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning. Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay. The mayor said if homeowners don’t pay, they’re out of luck. [...]
We asked the mayor of South Fulton if the chief could have made an exception. “Anybody that’s not in the city of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer, either they accept it or they don’t,” Mayor David Crocker said.
Kicker: A neighbor who paid for the firfighting service himself saw his house damaged by fire due to the untreated fire at the Cranicks. It’s almost as if the free market* isn’t always more efficient than government. Probably would be better just to tax everyone and provide the firefighting protection without checking individual receipts and invoices.
(In this instance, some hybrid “market-based solution” that are all the rage)
Here is a recently updated top 10 14 list of infamous anti-gay crusaders that turned out to be gay themselves.
Allow me to repeat my suggestion that things would be better for everyone if human beings could just get a little less afraid of the notion that sexuality is not a neat and tidy, well-defined phenomenon.
Free your gonads and the rest will follow. Or something.
Mind you, Glenn Beck is not shunned and sent off to live the life of a hermit in the hills, or even given the rough treatment of, say, Helen Thomas:
The most incriminating book in my personal library is the only authorized biography of the poet Ezra Pound, inscribed to “my friend Graeme Wood” by its author, Eustace Mullins, whose work Glenn Beck cited yesterday on his show. Mullins was an open purveyor of blood libel: he claimed that Jews kidnap Christian children, ritually puncture their veins, and drink their blood as a restorative for their own degenerate bodies. During Pound’s involuntary commitment in St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington in the Fifties, Mullins visited him frequently, and under his direction, Mullins authored foundational texts in Federal Reserve conspiracy theory. Those theories have proved impressively durable. In addition to Glenn Beck’s citation yesterday, Pat Robertson’s books peddled variations on them in the 1980s, and elements of the Tea Party echo them now. (Short version: the Federal Reserve controls the world, and the UN is taking over the US via the New World Order.)
Mullins died in February at 86, and when I visited him in Staunton, Virginia, six years ago on assignment for The Jewish Daily Forward, he was already slowed by age, living in a creepy, dark rat-trap filled with religious icons, votive candles, and old newspapers. The wallpaper curled down off the wall in two-foot sections, and the chairs coughed up decades’ worth of dust when we sat down. He surprised me by snatching the Pound biography from my hands and inscribing it. The moment reminded me of the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Doctor Jones accidentally gets Hitler’s autograph in his notebook. [...]
He told me that things were getting worse for the enemies of the Jews, and where once they came at him as single spies, now they attacked in battalions. They had tried to kill him seven times, most recently by cutting his brakelines.
They were everywhere. To find them, he said, watch CNN. David Duke showed up on the news via satellite up-link from the Tehran Holocaust-denial conference, and Mullins identified him immediately as an agent of Zion: no true enemy of the Jews could get airtime on a major network. “He’s a playboy. Some Jew must have taken him to Hollywood and given him a big pompadour. He looks like a homosexual from the most homosexual part of New York.” Duke, he said, was peddling ersatz Jew-hatred at the behest of the Jews themselves, as a way to discredit the anti-Semitic cause. Sharing airtime with Wolf Blitzer, he said, is its own proof of intellectual bankruptcy (admittedly not the craziest thing I ever heard).
I suppose this is yet more evidence of liberal fascism.
Not that it was ever in doubt but the Contract with America 2.0: This Time We Really Mean It is chock full o’ teh stupid. Adam Serwer examines just a portion (you have to take the thing in small doses lest you gouge both your eyeballs out and eat ‘em out of spite):
• Keep Terrorists Out of America: We will prevent the government from importing terrorists onto American soil. We will hold President Obama and his administration responsible for any Guantanamo Bay detainees they release who return to fight against our troops or who have become involved in any terrorist plots or activities.
Interesting idea. First off, there are already 359 convicted terrorists on American soil, 240 of which the government says have ties to international terrorism. That’s more than the number of accused terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison, which currently number at 174. Are the GOP going to deport all the ones who are currently here? Guantanamo is also a huge money hole. It costs 16 million dollars a year to maintain the detention camp in Cuba, 650,000 dollars a year per prisoner. By contrast, it takes 27,251 dollars a year to house a federal prisoner in the United States. Fiscally responsible!
• Demand an Overarching Detention Policy: Foreign terrorists do not have the same rights as American citizens, nor do they have more rights than U.S. military personnel. We will work to ensure foreign terrorists, such as the 9/11 conspirators, are tried in military, not civilian, court. We will oppose all efforts to force our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel operating overseas to extend “Miranda Rights” to foreign terrorists.
The GOP, in their reverence for due process, seems to have forgotten the whole “innocent until proven guilty” part of how trials work. They’re not terrorists unless they are proved to be terrorists in a court of law. There have been hundreds of civilian terrorism convictions in civilian court since 9/11, the vast majority of which were secured by the Bush administration. There have been four military commissions convictions in the past decade, and they are currently facing legal challenges that may put past and future convictions in doubt. What Republicans are promising here isn’t just a departure from the prior administration, it would ensure that fewer terrorists are brought to justice.
Moreover, this document gives the impression that military personnel are tried in “military commissions.” They’re not, they’re tried in courts-martial. Military commissions were invented out of whole cloth to give the government an edge in terrorism cases. Whomever wrote this document either doesn’t know the difference, or is lying, neither of which should inspire much confidence.
Finally, law enforcement doesn’t “extend” Miranda rights to foreign terrorists. Anyone, regardless of citizenship, already has Miranda rights if they are apprehended on American soil, unless the public safety exception is invoked. Moreover, when the administration began offering to work with Republicans on legislation to “modify” Miranda, Republicans balked because they know this complaint is nonsense and they just want to be able to attack law enforcement for upholding the law whenever a terrorist suspect is arrested.
No, you see, it’s a return to the principles of our founding fathers, small government, reverence for the Constitution, blargh, blargh, blargh.
How could it not be? Tea Partiers wear tri-corner hats. QED motherfucker.
Woodward quotes Petraeus as saying, “You have to recognize also that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. It’s a little bit like Iraq, actually. . . . Yes, there has been enormous progress in Iraq. But there are still horrific attacks in Iraq, and you have to stay vigilant. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”
Winning is for quitters.
Real men keep fighting.
During a flight in May, after a glass of wine, Petraeus told his own staffers that the administration was “[expletive] with the wrong guy.”
This country is so fucked.
Lifted from this guy’s twitter feed, on the beautiful coherence of the Teahadist movement:
It’s amusing that those guys use American independence mythology and imagery, yet use “anti-colonial” thinking as an insult?
Yeah, Obama’s supposed big sin is that he believes colonialism wasn’t so great. As opposed to our ersatz founding fathers in tri-corner hat drag who think colonialism was swell. Just like the real founding fathers!
Is there any doubt that these folks would have been the loyalists complaining about the liberals with their revolution talk way back when it counted?
The following is from a National Federation of Republican Women’s meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. I believe the guy in the middle is one of the heirs of MLK’s mission, reclaiming the mantle of the civil rights movement on behalf of real Americans.
Also, a hopeless nostalgic:
Ah, the good ol’ days.