Posted by Brad @ 1:40 pm on March 31st 2011

Quote of the Day II

“And Michelle Bachmann, I don’t know if she’s here. She’s probably not – she’s campaigning Iowa and organizing in that important caucus state because she’s running for president. [beat] That’s really all I have for that joke.”

Anthony Weiner, Congressional Correspondents Dinner

Rand Paul is getting the press for his remarks at the Congressional Correspondents Dinner, which wasn’t funny so much as cuttingly truthful. But Anthony Weiner was the one who really killed.

Posted by Brad @ 1:32 pm on March 31st 2011

Quote of the Day

“[Secretary of State Clinton’s statement on the irrelevancy of the War Powers Act] is an outrageous statement, but it’s entirely consistent with what the administration has been illegally doing for the last 12 days. They seem to believe quite seriously that, as long as they don’t call it a war, it doesn’t fall under any laws regulating war powers or the Constitution. The sliver of good news in all of this is that Obama and his officials are showing such contempt for American law and institutions that they are exposing themselves to a serious political backlash. War supporters won’t be able to hide behind the conceit that the war is legal. As far as U.S. law is concerned, it has never been legal, and only people making the most maximalist claims of inherent executive power can believe otherwise. Anyone who continues to support the war from this point on will be revealed as being either a blind Obama loyalist, an ideological liberal interventionist, or a devotee of the cult of the Presidency.”

Daniel Larison, The American Conservative

Note too the implicit distinction here, btw. Larison is not speaking at all to the ultimate wisdom of intervention in the case of Libya. It can be either an objectively positive action, or an objectively negative one, and either way is irrelevant to his argument here.

Posted by Brad @ 12:22 pm on March 31st 2011

Absolutely Nothing to Do With Anything…

But you tell me journalism is a dead art.

PITTSBURGH — A man plunged to his death after he crashed through a window at an arena during a concert, police said.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office identified the man as 19-year-old Joseph Kimutis, of McDonald. He had been rushed to a hospital after smashing through a window at the Peterson Events Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

He fell about 30 feet, officials said.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Kimutis had attended the event with his father.

Pittsburgh police are checking on a report that Kimutis got down in a football stance, yelled “hike,” and then charged toward a double-paned window.

I’m guessing they’ve ruled out foul play.

Posted by Brad @ 10:43 am on March 31st 2011

Speaking of Bill James and Topeka Eating it…

The population of Topeka, Kan., today is roughly the same as the population of London in the time of Shakespeare, and the population of Kansas now is not that much lower than the population of England at that time. London at the time of Shakespeare had not only Shakespeare—whoever he was—but also Christopher Mar­lowe, Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, and various other men of letters who are still read today. I doubt that Topeka today has quite the same collection of distinguished writers.

Why is this?

It’s actually an interesting article about how we, as a society, develop talent according to our need for it. But I will only add that, growing up in Topeka, I have to say I was surrounded by a cluster of some of the smartest and most talented people I’ve ever known in my life. I’ve worked in Ivy League higher education, in politics, and in literature, and I’ve never come across anyone more interesting than some of the folks that surrounded me in Topeka.

So give it a few years James. Maybe we’re just late bloomers.

Posted by Rojas @ 10:53 pm on March 30th 2011

Here is your President…

…authorizing a covert operation to provide arms and other assistance to a Libyan resistance about which we know next to nothing, without consulting Congress. Speaking of which, here is his Secretary of State explicitly stating that if Congress invokes its power to restrain the US operation in Libya under the War Powers Act, the administration will flat-out ignore them and keep on keepin’ on.

And here is me ruling out a vote for Obama in 2012 under any circumstances. I have had it. For me, foreign policy was the last saving grace. If the opposition is Bachmann-Palin, I vote Libertarian and I let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by Brad @ 2:55 pm on March 30th 2011

Baseball Opening Day!

Is right around the corner (Friday).

Between me and Rojas, there are two exquisite agonies in store.

We are fans of the Toronto Blue jays and the Kansas City Royals, respectively.


Posted by Rojas @ 2:17 pm on March 30th 2011

Google to Topeka: “Eat it.”

Kansas City, KS wins the high-speed internet sweepstakes.

Posted by Brad @ 1:35 pm on March 30th 2011

Why I Still Read Andrew Sullivan

Stuff like this.

Posted by Brad @ 12:20 pm on March 30th 2011

“Leisurely Stroll to the White House”, indeed

Remember this time last cycle when we were already sick of the primary races, and every commentator across the land decried the increasingly early – nay, endless – election cycle?

This time, not so much.

Politico, which was scheduled to host the first-in-the-nation Republican primary debate in early May, has announced that they’re pushing that back to mid September. Which is I think when Arizona, Florida, and Michigan, are going to hold their primaries (joke).

Meanwhile, so far Gary Johnson might join Herman Cain as the only member of the “officially announced” field. His campaign team is planning a major public announcement (skipping the exploratory committee), and they are considering making this announcement on, I shit you not, 4/20.

Posted by Brad @ 11:41 am on March 30th 2011


Like Garfield Without Garfield, turns out Peanuts is a lot more interesting with a creative subtraction.

And by “interesting” I mean “a morass of existential despair”.

Posted by Cameron @ 9:54 pm on March 29th 2011

Warning: This bottle may contain more than 2 liters of soda

I saw this billboard today and had to preserve it for posterity:

Photoshop Fun

Posted by Brad @ 2:50 pm on March 28th 2011

Haley Barbour on the Civil War

I’ve said before that I don’t view Haley Barbour as a viable candidate in the 2012 Republican primaries, despite the fact that some, like our friend FD, view him as a serious contender (for an interesting – if completely unrelated to the topic post – discussion between us on Barbour’s electability, go here, My case, in a nutshell, is that while Barbour would seem to Democrats to be almost a caricature model of a Republican candidate – Southern, white, male governor whose ambiguously racist views “would be a plus in a Republican primary” – that is, in fact, more a Democratic prejudice than any kind of electoral reality. In fact, white male Southern governors play well in Democratic primaries for precisely the reason that Democratic primary voters view them as being able to “appeal to Republicans and Southerners” (read: “dumb racist confederate crackers won’t immediately hate him”). But they play not at all in Republican primaries, for the most part, because Republicans are, quite understandably, more or less already always grappling with the perception that they’re the Party of Racists, so the last person they want to be the face of the party is Foghorn Leghorn.

Anyway, what I did say is that Barbour might play – more likely for a VP slot – if he can very adroitly, convincingly, and forcefully, negotiate the minefield of racial issues in his past, and that will surely be a focus swirling around his candidacy. He can’t fall into the trap of, say, Rand Paul, and try to either be too intellectual/philosophical, or too cute by half, with any questions touching on charged racial issues.

So this is a good start.

“Slavery was the primary, central, cause of secession,” Barbour told me Friday. “The Civil War was necessary to bring about the abolition of slavery,” he continued. “Abolishing slavery was morally imperative and necessary, and it’s regrettable that it took the Civil War to do it. But it did.”

I know that sounds like the world’s most obvious answer, but it’s not – particularly for Southerners (Republican or otherwise). It’s precisely the only way forward for Barbour. And, as Ta-Nehisi Coates says, politics or no, it’s nice to see a guy like Barbour not leave any room for neoconfederate mythologizing.

Matt smirks at this. I’m less inclined to do so. I think this is an important admission. You can make the case that this is all politics, and not heartfelt. Given that Barbour is a politician, I don’t find that particularly damning. George Wallace’s racism wasn’t heart-felt either, but it still did incredible damage to Alabama. By that same principal, a step away from the gleeful profession of Confederate creationism, no matter the motives, will always earn my praise.

Good on Haley Barbour. It’s that simple.

Posted by Brad @ 1:17 pm on March 28th 2011

Lovecraft…for Kids!

Nothing to do with anything, but an art project for a children’s choir over Halloween had a bunch of kids age 8 and up draw monsters based on the Cthulhu Mythos. For some reason. Results here.

“It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful.”

— H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

H/t: Infidel753

Posted by Brad @ 1:02 pm on March 28th 2011

Quote of the Day

“I was on This Week with Jake Tapper on ABC yesterday morning, and George Will noted, correctly, that so far, our strategy [in Libya] seems to be: Create a vacuum, and hope that something good fills it.”

Jeffrey Goldberg

What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by Cameron @ 3:53 am on March 28th 2011

You Can’t Stop the Signal, Mal

There are hiccups along the path toward the 21st century, but societies around the word are marching nonetheless. This video is proof positive. It features a remarkable woman rhetorically slaughtering a close-minded relic of xenophobia and doctrine religious intolerance.

One can despair over the existence and prominence of the cleric and the ideas espoused by his ilk. But I prefer to take the optimistic approach and marvel at the woman, Veena Malik. Marvel at her courage, eloquence and character. It is noteworthy that this woman is on television in the first place. The mere fact that she is speaking her piece and engaging in an open dialog in such a public forum is a welcome sign of the march of modernity. Check the video out but one quick warning before you do – there’s a nasty bit of background noise so it might be wise to turn your speakers down a notch.

Posted by Rojas @ 2:24 pm on March 25th 2011

If you root against KU basketball, you root against America

Res ipsa loquitor.

Posted by Rojas @ 3:32 pm on March 24th 2011

The best thing yet written about the Libya operation

Adam Garfinkle in the National Interest. I am not even going to attempt to summarize it; that would be a discourtesy to the complexity of the author’s argument. Absolutely devestating. Read it in full, and then come back and tell me that Libya makes sense.

I will, however, isolate for appreciation’s sake on his use of one of Hunter S. Thompson’s best-crafted images–the military blowing people into “clouds of pink meat”.

Posted by Brad @ 12:44 pm on March 24th 2011

What To Say About Libya

A flow chart for Republicans.

Posted by Brad @ 1:50 pm on March 23rd 2011

You Want Coherence?

Senator Rand Paul:

“For a week, this administration indicated that they were not going to do a no-fly zone. Then, when Congress is out of session, all of sudden the war begins,” he says. “We got a note saying, ‘Oh, by the way, we are at war now.’ Nobody really asked Congress to have any participation in the decision-making. That is not what our Founding Fathers intended.”

Legislation, Paul says, may be in the works. “There may be something that comes forward when we come back,” he hints. “There are various ways of addressing this. At the very least, we are going to have a discussion about the president’s own words [from December 2007], that show how he is diametrically going against what he promised as a candidate. We will repeat and recite those words, then let the American people decide.”

In coming days, if the president pushes for ground troops in Libya, Paul is ready to tangle with members of both parties. “The opposition will get much more vocal if [Obama] does that,” he predicts, even though “some in our caucus are big on promoting being involved in a third war-theater, and many of them are not opposed to ground troops.”

Posted by Brad @ 1:41 pm on March 23rd 2011

You Want Incoherence?

Newt Gingrich got some incoherence for ya right here, bada bing.

Seriously, anyone want to try to parse out his Libya position? Try to.

“We must create a no fly zone for humanitarian reasons!”

“Humanitarian reasons are a stupid reason for this no fly zone we must not create!”

Bonus: “This is the worst military action since World War II!”

Bonus bonus: Mitt Romney!

“I believe that it flows from [Obama’]s fundamental disbelief in American exceptionalism. In the President’s world, all nations have ‘common interests,’ the lines between good and evil are blurred, America’s history merits apology. And without a compass to guide him in our increasingly turbulent world, he’s tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced.”

I know it goes without saying, but these are not serious people.

Posted by Brad @ 12:31 pm on March 23rd 2011

Subhead of the Day

The New York Times has a very nice obit of Elizabeth Taylor up.

With the subhead:

Mel Gussow, the principal writer of this article, died in 2005.

Guess that one had been in the can for awhile.

Posted by Brad @ 10:35 am on March 23rd 2011

Too Many Music Videos of the Week This Week?

Feel free to click on over to our YouTube channel – top link on the blogroll there – to get all the MVOTWs ever (mostly) – in year by year playlists.

This year’s so far.

Might I also suggest a randomizer?

Posted by Brad @ 9:55 am on March 23rd 2011

Nothing to do with anything

But here is the Russian military firing artillery at a mountain to create a controlled avalanche.

Posted by Cameron @ 1:58 am on March 23rd 2011

The err…third music video in nearly as many posts

Because it’s that good.

Mumford and Sons – The Cave

Posted by Brad @ 5:17 pm on March 22nd 2011

Deincentivizing dearmament

Stephen Littau, Steven Taylor, and Jonathan Schwarz are all pointing out the obvious: Libya was, of course, the one great success story in the neoconservative domino theory of Middle East intervention, as they were, post-Iraq, the one country to explicitly state they were giving up their quest for nuclear and chemical weapons so as to not get invaded by America. They are also, post-Iraq, the one Middle Eastern country to get invaded by America. An irony probably not lost on Iran, et al.

Posted by Brad @ 4:43 pm on March 22nd 2011

Music Video of the Week

Oh, I’m sorry. That last post was premature. Posted a mere hours before I realized Kutiman was out with a new one.

Kutiman – My Favorite Color

Posted by Brad @ 1:39 pm on March 22nd 2011

Music Video of the Week

You know the counterpoint to a week of terrible news?

Some motherf*$#ing Earth, Wind, & Fire.

Earth, Wind, & Fire – Sing a Song

It’ll make your day.

Posted by Brad @ 1:32 pm on March 22nd 2011

Barely Relevant Historical Flotsam of the Day

But interesting nonetheless. Namely: did you know that Libya, site of the most recent aerial bombing campaign, was also the site of the very first?

The world’s first aerial bombing mission took place 100 years ago, over Libya. It was an attack on Turkish positions in Tripoli. On 1 November 1911, Lieutenant Cavotti of the Italian Air Fleet dropped four two-kilogramme bombs, by hand, over the side of his aeroplane. In the days that followed, several more attacks took place on nearby Arab bases. Some of them, inaugurating a pattern all too familiar in the century since then, fell on a field hospital, at Ain Zara, provoking heated argument in the international press about the ethics of dropping bombs from the air, and what is now known as ‘collateral damage’. (In those days it was called ‘frightfulness’.) The Italians, however, were much cheered by the ‘wonderful moral effect’ of bombing, its capacity to demoralise and panic those on the receiving end.

Posted by Rojas @ 7:56 pm on March 21st 2011

The Republican Congress votes “present”

Let us not, in the course of slapping President Obama around on his Libya strategy, neglect to give the Republican House and the Republican Senate leadership a taste of the lash.

It is, after all, the responsibility of Congress to declare war, and more generally authorize (or decline to authorize) the use of force by the executive. The Republican strategy in this regard has been quite spineless, and amounts to an active abetting of the imperial executive. They complain that the President has not sufficiently “explained” his strategy; yet they are unwilling, as a body, to put themselves on the record on the matter.

One of this blog’s oldest friends, Doug Mataconis, discusses the matter at length, pointing out that in most cases Congress does not seek to fulfill its constitutional function for fear of being put on the record. Such is, as he outlines, a disgusting tendency in any public official:

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the fact that we’ve strayed so far from the intended separation of powers when it comes to the power to make war. However, we are not just talking about a situation where President’s have grabbed power. This has been a willful abdication by a Congress that doesn’t want to get its hands dirty in the foreign policy arena, and doesn’t want to take responsibility for the decisions that they should be making in that area. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

The political explanation–that the Republicans in Congress don’t want to be accused of “tying the President’s hands”–is entirely unsatisfactory. Such hand-tying, when necessary, is one of the core checks on the executive provided by the Constitution. We have a right to expect our elected officials to either exercise that check or explain in no uncertain terms that they deem it unnecessary.

I am not going to listen to after-the-fact critiques of the Libya action from people who failed to make those criticisms count when it mattered.

Posted by Rojas @ 11:37 pm on March 20th 2011

Bloom County, May 10 1986

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