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Monthly Archives: September 2003

And Anna Kournikova Is on Line Two

September 23rd, 2003 - 12:14 am

When you wake up one morning, having dreamed about blogging, then it’s time to take a break.

Oh, it would have all been OK if the dream had involved the good stuff which comes from blogging. You know — the money, the babes, the ability to secretly influence and control events around the world. Alas, that was not the dream.

I woke up my multi-million dollar mansion Friday morning, next to my bride, her girlfriend Monica Bellucci, and our unspeakably sexy French maid who isn’t actually French but wears the little outfit anyway, and lifted my head from the 800-thread count pillowcase, to realize I’d been dreaming about reading news stories, then typing little bon mots (a phrase taught to me by the non-French French maid one evening during Supermodel Strip Monopoly With Real American Dollars) about what I’d read.

So I walked to the kitchen, received my porcelain mug of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee from our butler, Halle Berry, and came to a decision: When your dreams are more dreary than your reality, it’s time to take a break.

It was time to get back to the real world of endless perfect days on the beach, nights of dancing and disease- and guilt-free sex with the endless procession of porn starlets who will do just anything for that inebriated-yet-handsome blogger, and weekends of charitable works at the VodkaPundit Home for Wayward Women With Perfect Teeth.

Just a little break, to give pause so that the dreams might catch back up to the reality.

Back shortly.

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September 16th, 2003 - 9:39 pm

Another truncated blogging day — Melissa’s bad back sent her home early from work. The Doc says there’s no slipped disk or cracked vertebrae or anything like that. Just a badly torqued muscle or three.

He gave her some decent muscle relaxants, but no painkillers. Dr. Steve prescribed a couple of strong cocktails, followed by a late start at work tomorrow.

But what can be done for Melissa‘s pain?

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Hot off Drudge

September 16th, 2003 - 9:35 am

Looks like he’s in:

Wesley Clark, the retired general with a four-star military resume but no political experience, decided Tuesday to become the 10th Democratic presidential candidate, officials close to him said.

Mark Fabiani, a spokesman for Clark, did not reveal the decision, but sources close to the former Army general said he told his fledgling campaign team that he’s in the race. The announcement will be made at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday in Little Rock, sources said.

Which candidate is hurt most if Clark jumps in? More later. . .

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That’ll Leave a Scar

September 16th, 2003 - 2:25 am

Ladies and gentlemen, for your intellectual and philosophical pleasure, allow me to introduce: a fisking.

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But Will He Run?

September 16th, 2003 - 1:51 am

I’d been working on a post arguing that Wesley Clark might just be exactly what the Democrats need in 2004 — “Dean Lite.” Before I could finish it, David Brooks published similar thoughts in today’s NYT.

But you’ll have to read his entire column, because he sucker-punches you with it, at the end of the 12th round.

NOTE: So far, Brooks is a most welcome addition to the NYT‘s op-ed page. Let’s see where he goes from here.

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Required Reading

September 16th, 2003 - 1:23 am

Today it’s Fareed Zakaria.

Here’s a taste to get you started:

It is touching to learn of the French faith in the [Iraqi] Governing Council. When the council was set up, the French government (as well as the Germans) refused to endorse it, privately disparaging the group as American puppets. It took a month for the United States to get France to vote in the Security Council simply to welcome the formation of the Governing Council. France’s newfound love for the council is simply an attempt to get the United States out as soon as possible.

If you’re wondering why such simple common sense is Required Reading, it’s because Zakaria picks on the French a lot.

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September 16th, 2003 - 1:17 am

Didn’t realize I hadn’t blogrolled Bill Hobbs already. You’ll find him under Micro Brews.

And Damian Penny’s Daimnation has a new URL. I’d tell you to adjust your bookmarks, but I think I’m the last man standing without the new link.

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Uncle Milty

September 16th, 2003 - 1:09 am

John Hawkins scored a phone interview with Milton Freedman. Here’s a sweet snippet for you:

John Hawkins: …The economy certainly did well in the Clinton years except for the recession that started right at the end of his term. Was that because of Bill Clinton’s policies, a continuation of the success of Ronald Reagan’s policies, or something else?

Milton Friedman: I think it was #1 a continuation of the Reagan policies and #2 and indication of the virtues of a President of one party and a House and Senate of the other. That’s best combination for economic growth…

And some people wonder why I’m so in love with divided government.

Now go read the whole thing.

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It Used to Just Be That His Singing Was Offensive

September 16th, 2003 - 1:06 am

John Ashcroft respects your rights.


Attorney General John Ashcroft denounced as “hysteria” the contention by some librarians and civil liberties groups that the FBI can use a new anti-terror law to snoop into Americans’ reading habits.

In a speech Monday to an American Restaurant Association conference, Ashcroft said people are being wrongly led to believe that libraries have been “surrounded by the FBI,” with agents “dressed in raincoats, dark suits and sunglasses. They stop everyone and interrogate everyone like Joe Friday.

If you haven’t been keeping score, it’s: Ashcroft 1; Straw Man 0.

Who, other than the Black Helicopter crowd, ever thought that the PATRIOT ACT would lead to your local Barnes & Noble being “surrounded by the FBI”?

Now, raise your hand if you think that the PATRIOT ACT enables the Justice Department to snoop into your reading habits? For every visitor Sitemeter records today, I hope to see a raised hand. Because the PATRIOT ACT allows just that, among other slightly (and not-so-slightly) nasty things.

Want to use racial profiling in figuring out which passengers to check for ‘sploding loafers? Fine. Not a whole lot of vacationing Swedes have hijacked American Airlines. We can make everybody take off their shoes, or we can concentrate our efforts to where they’ll do the most good. Want to use my public library’s computer to find out I have a weakness for Elmore Leonard? That’s not fine.

Listen to me now. Just because a warrantless government investigation uncovers information as harmless as the fact that I’ve checked out Rum Punch three times, doesn’t make the investigation Constitutional.

And as I read it, the government has no business snooping into records — for whatever reason — without probable cause. Read:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That’s not a straw man; that’s the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. And unlike the local library in Ashcroft’s dreamworld, it isn’t guarded by the FBI — it’s supposed to be protected by our courts.

So where are our courts on this issue?

UPDATE: More on why Republicans really support the PATRIOT ACT here.

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Bad Boys

September 16th, 2003 - 12:48 am

Sometime last week, I read that the Bush Administration was seeking more bilateral free trade agreements (like the one with Jordan), and relying less on the WTO for lowering trade barriers. With all the 9/11 anniversary hoopla

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Where Was She Circa 1997?

September 16th, 2003 - 12:41 am

Apolitical Quote of the Day:

. . .How could he expect me to live in a country brimming with Australian men and not fool around? It would be like relocating a chocoholic to Hershey, PA.

The Dirty Whore Diary isn’t for everyone, but I sure enjoy reading her stuff.

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Squint to See the Silver Lining

September 16th, 2003 - 12:31 am

Here’s the evening’s hot political item:

John Kerry’s communications director has resigned over differences in the direction of the Democrat’s presidential campaign.

Chris Lehane’s departure comes amid speculation of a wider shake-up in the Kerry campaign, which has been torn by internal fights and a lack of public support from the candidate.

Kerry, a Massachusetts senator once considered the leading contender in a nine-person field, has seen his campaign eclipsed by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

The good news is, it’s still early enough in the campaign for a personnel shake-up to do some good.

The bad news? The Kerry campaign can’t replace the candidate.

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More on Arnold

September 16th, 2003 - 12:28 am

But only a little more.

With my bride home damaged Monday, I watched Oprah with her. First time I’d seen her in an ever or three. Arnold and Maria, of course, were the guests. You probably heard the line causing so much talk today: “A pump is better than coming.”

Hear me now and believe me later

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So the California gubernatorial recall election has been delayed until March.

I’m sure by now you’ve read the Ninth Circuit Court’s reasoning (and with the Ninth, the word “reasoning” usually ought to be used with scare quotes), and have already formed your own opinion. But mine is usually funnier, or at least more offbeat, so keep reading.

Let’s admit right off that the Ninth’s ruling was a completely partisan decision. Any delay helps Gray Davis (or is it Davis Gray?). The economy (even California’s) is improving. State coffers will soon be refilling (even though not enough to make up for California’s 38-billion dollar spendthrift ways). The point is, things will be much improved by next March, and Davis (or Gray), will take much of the credit. “A rising tide lifts all horses in mid-term,” or somesuch metaphorically mixed political silliness.

And if I ever again use that many parenthetical phrases in a single paragraph, please feel free to do things to my knuckle-hair follicles with an ice pick. Or perhaps maybe just send me a silly email. Your choice

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Any Freebies for the Indy Press?

September 16th, 2003 - 12:15 am

Meet the band.

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You’ll Find the Paper Towels in the Garage Pantry

September 16th, 2003 - 12:01 am

Just another weekday, like any other. Except everything was different and wrong.

For starters, my bride’s back was killing her. We’ve been putting new tile on the living room fireplace, and when I say “we,” I mean, “Melissa.” She called dibs on the job, so it’s hers. Partly because she enjoys it, but mostly because she wanted an expensive new power tool to call her very own. (Still, I did get a new table saw out of the deal.)

Problem is, where do you put a wet saw?

We tried it on my workbench, but it just didn’t work. Since I needed a work surface I could mount things on, I went with inch-thick particle board instead of steel. We tried putting the wet saw on it, but all the spray wasn’t agreeing with the particle board. It can stand up to saws, box cutters, and having a big vise mounted to it, but it didn’t take much spilled water to cause it some damage.

So Melissa spent half of Saturday on her knees, using the wet saw on the floor of the garage. She spent Sunday in a lot of pain.

Monday was worse.

My bride called in sick

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Sick Day

September 15th, 2003 - 9:57 am

Not mine — Melissa’s. She threw out her back cutting tile Saturday.

Back tomorrow, muscle relaxants permitting.

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Check It Out

September 14th, 2003 - 10:02 am

Begging to Differ now has Sunday comics.

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Sold Himself Short

September 12th, 2003 - 11:30 pm

Juan Gato made so many threats not to post anything on 9/11/03, that I missed his typically excellent post yesterday.

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Not Quite the Weekend

September 12th, 2003 - 10:24 am

Man, I was beat yesterday. Just beat.

Now today we find out that Johnny Cash and John Ritter are both dead, the Bush Administration is up to its usual tricks regarding Israel, and my beloved Cardinals are 2.5 games out of first place in the NL Central.

Thank Whomever It’s Friday. More in a bit.

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Two Years Later

September 11th, 2003 - 12:03 am

After two years, you can get used to pretty much anything.

Two years after Dad died, I was still just shy of 17 – but back to being a regular teenager: getting actively into trouble rather than the passive-aggressive style; chasing girls; concerned with what was cool. The usual.

Two years after losing my best friend to leukemia, I could finally smile at all the memories, instead of choking up. David Frederick was the big brother I never got as a kid, and so losing him was a hard blow. But I recovered. In each Citron martini I enjoy, there’s at least one sip just for Dave.

Two years now have passed since 3,000 strangers died, but I still can’t wrap my brain around it.

A bunch of pampered religious nuts permanently disfigured the skyline of our greatest city, and murdered thousands of innocents. Why? Why did they do it? Why, they did it to prove a political point. The political point being: “We can permanently disfigure the skyline of your greatest city and murder thousands of innocents.”

That is so far removed from anything I know, or anything I ever hope to know, that two years later, I’m still angry, I still get choked up, and I still can’t understand. I don’t want to understand.

In the suburban American experience, “religious nuts” means people coming to your door to give you copies of “The Watchtower.” Or in rare cases, people like Paul Hill, who assassinated an abortion doctor.

It’s easy to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses. You can politely ask them to leave. Or you can answer the door holding a 12-gauge. Or there’s my preferred method, which is to invite them in, sit them on the sofa, offer them a glass of lemonade, and return from the kitchen after having removed my pants. Do that, and they’ll avoid your house in the exact same way a good Catholic avoids meat on Friday – with saintly fervor.

And Paul Hill? I don’t mean to lessen his terrible crime, but he did seek his vengeance upon only one person, whom he considered guilty of murder. Frankly, I don’t care what Hill’s motivation was – he was a killer, and our justice system knows how to deal with killers. We try them, convict them, and jab them in the arm with poison. One killer, one victim, one tried and true way of dealing with him.

But 9/11.

Goddamn, but 9/11.

“The purpose of terrorism,” wrote the 20th Century’s first terrorist, “is terror.” By that measure, our enemies have failed. And failed badly.

Are you, two years later, still unable to comprehend? Be honest now. Unless you’ve dived head first into the bloodiest part of the heart of darkness, then, no, you don’t understand. You and I here in the West, or even that vast majority in the Muslim world, can never really know what makes an educated person do what those 19 men did two Septembers ago.

But are you terrorized?

Do you live in constant fear?

For me, the answer is: “Hell, no!”

Dread is for the weak; defiance is, perhaps, the American virtue.

I’m saddened for 10,000 children who lost a mommy or a daddy that day. I’m angered every time I see a picture of the altered New York skyline. I know a wearied irritation that this instinctively isolationist nation has been dragged into yet another world war. There is real, physical pain in my belly when that sound comes back, unbidden. You know the sound I mean – the thunk-splat of meat hitting pavement, of living people who chose to jump rather than be burned alive.

Americans are defiant, even regarding the manner of death chosen for us by others.

Now go on and let yourself relive that day, just a little.

Remember the first reports that “a small plane” had crashed into the World Trade Center. Firemen who didn’t just run into a burning building, they ran up into collapsing skyscrapers. Grounded planes. The stock exchanges, closed. The doubt, the fear, the “what will they do next?” And the realization: Oh my God, we’re at war. War in the Old Testament sense, when the barbarians came to rape and to slaughter.

Relive, too, the days after.

The wall of inkjet “have you seen. . .?” photos. You, me, your friends, crying over obituaries in The New York Times. Widows grieving at Ground Zero, who breathed – breathed in – their husbands’ ashes.

Remember, too, our just vengeance.

Our president told us, “I hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” And they do hear us, in Iraq and in Afghanistan. They hear us, not because we used our weapons to murder their civilians, but to bring down their tyrants. From our loss, we gave them hope. The loss felt in Baghdad and Kabul is that of Sisyphus without his stone. The sound they hear is the ring of freedom. And they hear us, even if only a whisper, in Syria, in Iran, and – yes – they hear us in Saudi Arabia, too.

Maybe defiance will prove as irresistible an export as Levi’s, Coke, and MTV.

Two years later, I’m still angry – and I hope you are, too. But are we terrorized?

Hell, no.

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9/11 Links

September 11th, 2003 - 12:00 am

Here’s what I said a year ago today.

Anger is Sheila O’Malley’s theme.

Scalzi found a small silver lining the day after.

Chris Mathew Sciabarra remembers the Towers.

The Social Reject knows all about defiance.

Like many of us, 9/11 turned Don Watkins into a blogger.

Sgt. Mom wrote to some friends.

Dan speaks to those who would have us get over it.

Tanya has pictures of the cleanup effort.

Discover what 9/11 means to al Qaeda, over at Chuck Simmins.

Mr. Lion explains what it was like.

David will deliver this address to the men and women of Malmstrom Air Force Base today.

Start at the top of American Digest, and scroll down until it’s over.

Wretchard of The Belmont Club wants you to understand why our enemies surrender, but we don’t.

Need some place to vent? You’ll find one here at Little Green Footballs.

And of course, there’s Michele’s “Voices.”

I’ll be adding to this list throughout the day as I find remembrances elsewhere on the web, but there will be no other blogging.


Kim du Toit finds traitors among us.

It really is that simple, explains Chris Muir.

Sean Kirby keeps it short and fast, like a kidney punch.

Everything I missed so far, they caught at Winds of Change.

Steve at Begging to Differ is still defiant, also.

Zombyboy feels like his writing isn’t enough — but it is.

If you don’t know what debridement is, or even if you do, read this post from Beldar.

Arthur Silber pays tribute to 9/11 hero Abe Zelmanowitz.

Still angry? So is Dean Esmay.

Lesley lost friends in the attack.

Don’t miss Michael Totten’s photo essay.

Today, Jeff Jarvis is blogging from the WTC site.

Lola refuses to be afraid anymore.

E.G. Ross comments on America’s “terrible swift sword.”

Here’s a good collection of links, and a “never again” from Moe Freedman.

Christopher Kanis thanks you for your indulgence on this day.

Brooke reminds us: “Be redeemed! Set others free!”

One picture, too many words to count.

Another photo essay, this one from Bill Hobbs. I’d forgotten about those satellite images.

Chuck Freund give us a WH Auden poem I’d never read before: “There Will Be No Peace.”

Did the heroes of Flight 93 give us our swagger back? Brad Todd says yes.

They each had a name.

Here’s another impressive collection of links, courtesy of Judith Weiss.

Tom provides us with some historical perspective.

Al Barger is getting messages from God, and She wants us to win.

You just knew Mike Hendrix would have something to say worth reading.

Bill Whittle.

Not even Allah seems to approve of His followers work.

Matt Welch wonders if we have changed at all.

9/11 wasn’t a tragedy, it was an attack.

More from John Scalzi.

Dawn Olsen asks why Allah hates us.

Moxie was, of all places, at Disneyland.

Let them hate, so long as they fear.”

T. Bevan still keeps the 9/11 newspapers in his desk drawer.

Starhawk has fond memories of the Towers.

Verse from the DoggerelPundit.

Jack O’Toole shares a fundamental truth.

We can’t afford to move on, argues Misha.

For Rachel Lucas, 9/11 means anger and celebration.

Kate shares an old joke, but a good one.

Lawren Mills was at the WTC the month after the attack.

Sensible shoes, Virginia?

Have no doubt” that this is war.

Meryl Yourish was twelve miles west.

Liz, the Cybrarian, offers this poem.

No matter how well I think I sometimes write, Lileks does it better.

Jeralyn Merritt reminds us there are battles to be fought here at home, too.

Will Collier doesn’t have a blog, but he is one of the smartest (and most frequent) contributors to this site. He’s been kind enough to let me post his behind-the-scenes recollections. Just click on “More” below.

For all the news I won’t be covering today, go to Rantburg.

Doug Dever honors the firemen.

The future is still open.

Look up.

Suman Palit chooses not to forget.

Orin Judd has what might be the best collection of 9/11 links.

For Max Jacobs, life goes on and gets better.


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Hot Off the Press

September 10th, 2003 - 1:55 pm

Nelson Ascher forwarded this Jerusalem Post editorial (link requires registration):

The world will not help us; we must help ourselves. We must kill as many of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders as possible, as quickly possible, while minimizing collateral damage, but not letting that damage stop us. And we must kill Yasser Arafat, because the world leaves us no alternative.

No one seriously argues with the fact that Arafat was preventing Mahmoud Abbas, the prime minister he appointed, from combating terrorism, to the extent that was willing to do so. Almost no one seriously disputes that Abbas on whom Israel, the US, and Europe had placed all their bets failed primarily because Arafat retained control of much of the security apparatus, and that Arafat wanted him to fail.

There’s a lot more, and it’s all worth reading. What makes this notable, however, is the notion that Israel can’t rely on even the US in its fight against Arab terror, not even now that we’re deep in the fight ourselves.

Pretty damning stuff.

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Not a Paid Endorsement

September 10th, 2003 - 2:11 am

If my latenight blogging has been subpar lately (and it has), it’s because I received my DVD box set of “Yes, Prime Minister” a few days ago. I’m treating myself to two episodes each night. I hadn’t watched the show since my old VHS copies wore out, and the DVD collection includes several episodes not originally available on tape.

Tonight’s second episode is called “A Conflict of Interest,” and it has some of the funniest, truest dialogue ever. More than a decade later, this exchange still induces belly laughs:

Sir Humphrey: The only way to understand the press, is to remember that they pander to their readers’ prejudices.

Prime Minister Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press; I know exactly who reads the papers.

The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country.

The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country.

The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country.

The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country.

The Financial Times is read by people who own the country.

The Morning Star is read by people who think the county ought to be ruled by another country.

And The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.

Sir Humphrey: And what about people who read The Sun?

Bernard: The Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

If you’ve never seen the show, don’t worry that it’s dated or too British to appeal to American tastes. It’s just classic (and oh-so-cynical) political humor.

Er, humour.

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When Dick Morris Speaks. . .

September 10th, 2003 - 1:31 am

Alex Knapp discovers a new political truism.

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Required Reading

September 10th, 2003 - 1:11 am

All of it, every word.

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Spoiled children seems to be a theme today. Read this from Anne Applebaum:

The first anti-globalization protesters already have arrived in the place where the world’s negotiators are to gather tomorrow for a meeting of the World Trade Organization. Not a word has been exchanged yet about machine tool tariffs or wheat grass subsidies, but some two dozen activists have already stripped off their clothes and spelled out the words “NO WTO” (first in Spanish, then in English) with their bodies in the sand. Their protest, said one, represented “the symbolic reclaiming of our beaches, using the only weapons we have left, our bodies.”

That’s one explanation. Here’s another: It was fun.

Now go read the whole thing.

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September 10th, 2003 - 12:41 am

It’s not the Day of the Blogger — but it might be coming soon.

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Debate Blog Roundup

September 10th, 2003 - 12:38 am

Years ago I read a classic “Life is Hell” comic strip. We see a parent’s view of a child, surrounded by piles and piles of opened gifts on Christmas morning. Half-buried under torn wrapping paper, the boy looks up and asks, “What, that’s it?”

I thought of that strip while watching last night’s Democratic primary debate.

The question is, are the nominee wanna-bees the spoiled children, or are they the overindulgent parents? Or does the analogy work both ways?

For 90 minutes, the complaints were all of a theme: “What, that’s it?”

When race relations are calmer than I’ve ever seen them, when female columnists can ask if men are obsolete, Carol Moseley Braun speaks as though it’s still 1962:

To me, that means making certain that the fight to preserve our civil liberties is waged, making certain the fight against discrimination is waged, making certain that women have opportunity in this country.

At a time when the UN is proven corrupt and immobile, Howard Dean thinks we have to turn everything over to them:

This was a mistake this war, and the president got us into it, and now we’re going to have to get out of it.

Dennis Kucinich complains that not every enemy is really our enemy:

When you consider the fact that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 … I think that the attack in Iraq was a foregone conclusion after 9/11 even though they had nothing to do with it.

John Edwards claims that people will love us if only we were more popular:

We need to lead in a way that brings others to us and brings respect for America, because at the end of the day, we’ll be safer in a world where America is looked up to and respected.

Then there’s John Kerry, who married an heiress but feels Washington isn’t spending enough money on him:

Well, I am glad the president finally found an economic development program, I am just sad it is in Baghdad.

Out of the whole bunch, only Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt sounded like grown-ups. They also seemed to receive the weakest receptions from the crowd.

Other bits of the debate reminded me of the brilliant first episode of The Sopranos. Anthony Junior, learning that his grandmother and her famous dish won’t be coming to his lavish 13th birthday party asks, “What, no fuckin’ ziti?”

No matter what the question was regarding Bush’s domestic policy, the Democrats always had the same answer: He’s not spending enough. This President has jacked up discretionary spending by nearly 20 percent in just three years

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Debate Blog Live

September 9th, 2003 - 7:25 pm

I’m done for now. Final thoughts in just a little while.

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