OK, I thought I was done with my holiday shopping…
While I don’t agree with everything Tina Brown says in her Washington Post column today, I have to admit she’s spot-on in many places — and everywhere else is witty, culturally attuned, and a lot of fun to read.
In short, she’s Maureen Dowd with a brain.
Light blogging today, with a 50% chance of afternoon procrastination.
But I have a good excuse. Really.
My plan today is to light a cigar (outside in the winter snow. Well, OK, what’s left of the snow. And what’s left isn’t all that pretty anymore, since the bits the dog hasn’t yellowed, he’s plowed over and back under and over again like a suped-up John Deere plow tractor farm thingy. Anyway.)
I’m going to start that sentence over again, because it got hijacked by a mad band of fundamentalist parantheticals, then slammed into the office tower of introspective blather.
My plan today is to light a cigar out in the back yard, and smoke it slowly on the swing bench while I scratch my dog on his head. But if he rolls over on his back — as he’s wont to do in the snow — I’ll be feeling too calm and self-satisfied to bend my Cuban-seeded stinky self over to rub his belly.
Why such bliss, you ask? Why, I’m done with my Christmas shopping. As of December 16, 11:01pm Mountain Standard Time, I am done. I have no shopping left to do. I am sans shopping. Shopping free. I am well and truly and completely without shopping. Yes, we have no shopping today.
Or tomorrow or the next day, right on through New Years. Hell, even the freezer is full of steaks, and there are plenty of Cokes in the fridge — I won’t even have to drag my butt out to the grocery store.
There are family-type gifts for the family-type persons. Manly-type gifts for the brothers-in-law. All sorts of gifts for Melissa. (Shopping for my bride is deceptively simple: just get her one of everything, two if it’s shoes or earrings.) And except for a couple of things which haven’t arrived yet, everything is even wrapped.
So if I’m feeling a little self-indulgent today, well — indulge me.
NOTE: I have a stupid question. The slight gag above about pairs of shoes and earrings got me wondering about pants. Pants come in pairs. Fine, I understand that. But the pant part is called a pants-leg, not a pant. So where the hell is the pant, of which two make a pair?
ANOTHER NOTE: If you want to really know why I’m not blogging much, just read the first note. I really ought not be allowed anywhere near a keyboard today.
John Hawkins ends the “Bush Lied” debate on WMDs.
David Brooks hits like a girl:
Howard Dean is the only guy who goes to the Beverly Hills area for a gravitas implant. He went to the St. Regis Hotel, a mile from Rodeo Drive, to deliver a major foreign policy speech, and suddenly Dr. Angry turned into the Rev. Dull and Worthy.
Of course, the girl I mean is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Will Collier writes in:
I stopped in an Atlanta quickee-mart this morning for Gatorade (the flu is kicking my tail). CNN was blaring out of a small television, watched avidly by the only other person in the store, the clerk.Comments Off
From today’s NYT:
If American forces found Saddam Hussein hiding in an eight-foot deep hole in central Iraq, why have they not found Osama bin Laden or the fugitive Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar?
Asked this question, American, Pakistani and Afghan officials and terrorism experts note immediately that the searches are enormously different.
Well, yes. One search involved looking for an old, fat, beared man, located in a small, mostly flat region of a smallish country. The other search consists of trying to identify smeared particles in a cave somewhere.
Author — and registered, voting Democrat — Orson Scott Card writes in today’s OpinionJournal:
Am I saying that critics of the war aren’t patriotic?
Not at all–I’m a critic of some aspects of the war. What I’m saying is that those who try to paint the bleakest, most anti-American, and most anti-Bush picture of the war, whose purpose is not criticism but deception in order to gain temporary political advantage, those people are indeed not patriotic. They have placed their own or their party’s political gain ahead of the national struggle to destroy the power base of the terrorists who attacked Americans abroad and on American soil.
Patriots place their loyalty to their country in time of war ahead of their personal and party ambitions. And they can wrap themselves in the flag and say they “support our troops” all they like–but it doesn’t change the fact that their program is to promote our defeat at the hands of our enemies for their temporary political advantage.
Think what it will mean if we elect a Democratic candidate who has committed himself to an antiwar posture in order to get his party’s nomination.
Our enemies will be certain that they are winning the war on the battleground that matters–American public opinion. So they will continue to kill Americans wherever and whenever they can, because it works.
I’ve said here time and again that this country can’t survive without two, strong political parties. But then I read things like this and wonder if that’s true, so long as one of the two parties is today’s national Democrats.
Odds are, you don’t know who Charles Fenyvesi is — I sure didn’t. But that doesn’t keep him from being today’s Required Reading.
At last! The Washington Post‘s Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Ariana Eunjung Cha aren’t playing the meme game. Here’s the second graf of their story on yesterday’s attack:
The attacks and arrests Monday matched the expectations of U.S. military commanders, who had predicted that the seizure of Hussein would lead to a short-term spike in insurgent activity as well as information enabling the capture of loyalists of the former president.
The only thing shocking here is that it took me ten tries to find a single story which simply reported what we were told to expect, instead of implying that we’d been promised something else.
But that doesn’t mean that MemeWatch is over, either.
Who could defend someone like Saddam Hussein? Would it shock you to learn that the one man willing to do it is a Frenchman?
Read all the details (plus lots of juicy commentary) over at the House of War.
The Miami Herald is in on the game, too:
Any hopes that Saddam Hussein’s capture might lead to an immediate reduction in violence in Iraq were laid to rest Monday by two suicide car bombings that killed nine people and injured 25 at two police stations in Baghdad and north of Baghdad. [Emphasis added]
So far, we have nine examples from seven different sources in under 24 hours. When it comes to the press, I think it’s time to switch around one of InstaPundit’s favorite expressions
Another story from Reuters:
Saddam Hussein is a broken man and has supplied intelligence that helped capture two top wanted men, officials said on Monday, but violence raged on in Iraq despite his arrest and bombings killed nine people. [Emphasis added]
If you missed the start of MemeWatch yesterday, start here and keep clicking back to the top.
The top U.N. diplomat said Monday he could not support bringing captured Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein before a tribunal that might sentence him to death.
”The U.N. does not support death penalty. In all the courts we have set up (U.N. officials) have not included death penalty,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a brief encounter with reporters at the United Nations.
”And so as secretary-general and the U.N. as an organization are not going to turn around and support a death penalty,” Annan said.
And Annan’s opinion matters why?
Look, if cutting a life sentence deal with Saddam means we get information out of him, then I’m all for it. Wring him dry and lock him up until August 42, 2056 AAD. But allow me to repeat myself: Annan’s opinion matters why?
He fought us on inspections. He fought us on a use-of-force resolution. He fought us on everything — and yet now he wants a say in how we handle POW #1.
He sounds almost French.
I want one of these:
Veterans of Israeli anti-terror units on Monday demonstrated a new gun that can fire at a target from around the corner, making it particularly effective in urban combat.
Israel plans to start using the weapon next week, U.S. forces have already begun training with it and U.S. SWAT and police teams have expressed interest in purchasing it, Amos Golan, the device’s developer, said at a demonstration Monday at a firing range near Tel Aviv.
So how’s it work? Read:
The device swivels at the middle, 63 degrees to the left or right, with the stock, trigger and the small screen at the hand-held end. The entire firing mechanism, fitted with a pistol that sits over a mini-camera with a zoom lens, is located at the front end.
A lever positioned under the stock allows the user to quickly move the firing end to another position to better focus on the target.
The development of the idea took three years, and sales began three months ago. The weapon system costs between $3,000 and $5,000, depending on the components.
Cheap at twice the price.
Frustrated with the lack of domestic support, left-leaning website MoveOn.org has apparently been reaching beyond American borders to generate cash revenue over the internet!
The provocative international fundraising strategy threatens to embroil the presidential candidacies of General Wesley Clark and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.
Both men are named on international fundraising websites suggesting donations to MoveOn.org.
Now the story is from Drudge, so your first thought should be to look for some salt to take it with. But, he goes on with some damning details:
Wesley Clark’s official campaign website has been offering a link to “Canada For Clark”, which in turn advises Canadians: “Non-Americans can’t by law, give money to any particular candidate’s campaign. But we can support pro-democracy, progressive American organizations like MoveOn.org, which do their best to spread the ugly truth about Bush and publicize the Democratic message. Click here to donate to MoveOn.org.”
The top traffic referrer to CanadaForClark.com is Clark’s Official Campaign Website.
Clark had better back the hell away from this thing, and in a hurry. US presidential campaigns really ought not be soliciting funds from foreigners.
From Australia’s news.com:
TWO near simultaneous car bombs yesterday wiped out any hope the capture of Saddam Hussein would stop a raging insurgency as they killed at least eight people and wounded 17. [Emphasis added]
To be fair, I’m pretty sure this one is just a rehashing of the ChannelNewsAsia story.
But I still want a cocktail.
From the Scotsman:
Car bombs today rocked two police stations in Iraq, signalling resistance to the coalition was not over in spite of the dramatic capture of Saddam Hussein. [Emphasis added]
May I scream now?
This keeps up, I’m going to have to look up what the Roman numerals L and R mean. OK — from Reuters this time:
Suicide car bombings at two police stations in the Baghdad area have killed nine people on and shattered any hope of a swift end to violence after the capture of Saddam Hussein. [Emphasis added]
A hope, I’ll remind you, the President himself dashed during Sunday’s briefing.
Two nearly simultaneous car bombs killed at least eight people and wounded 17 at Baghdad police stations in a reminder of the violence still plaguing Iraq after the capture of Saddam Hussein. [Emphasis added]
What, was there a Reuters memo to all journalists this morning I didn’t hear about?
From The New York Times:
Two powerful car bombs exploded at police stations in Baghdad today, killing at least six Iraqi officers and announcing that the insurgency here has not ended with the capture of Saddam Hussein. [Emphasis added]
That’s the second story today from NYT with the new meme. Send in your own finds.
This news could cut either way:
Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) announced Monday that he will not seek a fourth term in 2004, ending a political career spanning more than three decades.Comments Off
Ralph Peters is a retired Army intelligence officer — and it shows. Read:
The commander of our forces in Iraq stated that “great analytical work led to [Saddam's] capture.” Tip-offs likely helped, too. But whatever the details of nabbing the Grinch of Baghdad may be, our intelligence operations remain a success story.
Behind the headline attacks on our soldiers and Iraqi civilians, we’ve been killing 50 to 70 hardcore terrorists and renegades each week, while arresting hundreds. We’ve busted more and more key Ba’athist officials. Now Saddam’s going to have to celebrate New Year’s Eve without a single bottle of Dom Perignon.
How have we done it? The old-fashioned way. By data-mining the enemies of our enemies. By listening to all sides and testing their claims against each other. By exploiting captured files. By appealing to both selfish and selfless interests. By exploiting family and tribal connections. And by laying down hard cash.
The volume of information Iraqis volunteer to us is a fundamental metric of success. It was already soaring before we grabbed Saddam. Now it’s bound to turn into a deluge. Our intel hands, so often criticized, deserve an enormous pat on the back for this one. Even if a tipster turned the tide.
If Peters seems proud of his former comrades, it’s because he should be.
If you missed President Bush’s year-end news conference this morning, The Washington Post has the text here.
QUESTION: You say this is not personal, but you’ve also pointed out this was a man who tried to murder your father. What is your greeting today?
BUSH: “Good riddance. The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein. And I find it very interesting that when the heat got on you dug yourself a hole and you crawled in it. And our brave troops, combined with good intelligence, found you. And you’ll be brought to justice, something you did not afford the people you brutalized in your own country.”