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Monthly Archives: November 2007

The BS Wrap

November 28th, 2007 - 10:00 pm

While I wait for PJ Media to edit and post my real post-debate wrap-up, I’ll give you the horse race BS.

Tonight’s winner? Maybe John McCain. I dunno. He wasn’t much better than he’s ever been, but the top-tier candidates all looked worse than I’ve seen them. Rudy looked peevish, Mitt looked defensive, and Thompson still hasn’t stepped up his game. Huckabee makes me wonder if Iowans aren’t all in on some secret, multi-party, multi-election practical joke to caucus for the worse guy imaginable. And if they keep picking losers like Dole, Kerry, and Huckabee, you’ll eventually wonder if I’m right.

McCain looked like McCain, maybe a little tired, but still ready to rumble.

Tonight’s loser? CNN. For reasons best explained by… me! PJ Media got my post-debate column posted just this instant. So click on ME! and go read it already, especially if you’re a CNN-skeptic.

Debate Drunkblogging — LIVE!

November 28th, 2007 - 5:45 pm

5:46pm (All times likely Mountain) I’m into my first cocktail, and getting my, uh, workstation set up in the living room. More once the TV warms up in a sec.

5:52pm “Lou Dobbs is winning,” reports Lou Dobbs on the Lou Dobbs show. Losing? Mother Nature, who must take personal offense at the color of Lou’s hair. All I can do is stare at it.

5:54pm Dobbs is running for President. Right now, I mean. Dunno about next year, but he really is running right now. Listen to him go! Please, Lou, go.

5:58pm We’re only two minutes out, and already the tension isn’t anything like palpable. It’s the opposite of palpable, the tension is. It’s impalpable. Unpalped. I’ve never touched it, I swear.

6:01pm Anderson Cooper says “all the question tonight come from you.” From me? But I only uploaded like 12 of them. But I’m honored, and a little creeped out that he can talk directly to me through the TV. I guess that’s why the kids today all love him.

6:02pm Remember, please, don’t click Refresh more than every two or three minutes.

6:03pm Duncan Hunter is the first one out. Fitting, since I expect him to be the next candidate to drop out.

6:04pm Like the last Democratic debate, CNN is introducing all the candidates talk-show style. It makes them look like idiots, and there’s not a one of them who actually needs help with that.

6:06pm The candidates just stand there and wave and smile while CNN cuts back to their own people in the spin room. Whose idea was this, and why are they still employed. Wait–it made the Dems look like idiots, so I guess the Pubbies need their equal time.

6:08pm Note: At any time, I might disappear for a few minutes. Michelle Malkin threatened to call me in to do a spot on her live video blog, and who knows when that will happen. In any case, I’m drinking heavily in preparation for her call.

6:09pm Cool podiums. I had something much like them in my dorm room, built out of milk crates.

6:11pm The first question is in the form of what might be a song. Ron Paul got caught looking like a deer in the headlights before suddenly smiling. I’m not sure which was creepier. No, wait–the song is probably the creepiest. Although it was kind of funny, it contained no actual question. WTF?

6:12pm First real question goes to Rudy, asking him if he’ll keep being soft on illegal immigrants. Rudy says he was following an old policy, and was never soft on illegals anyway, and he reduced crime, and George Will called him a conservative that one time, and… I can answer these questions now as well as the candidates. I’m skipping the next debate.

6:13pm Comments thread is below.

6:14pm Mitt comes out swinging against Rudy, Rudy hits back. It’s stuff we’ve all seen before, only usually not this early on, or this bitter. In fact, Rudy just accused Mitt of having illegals working at the governor’s mansion–and got booed. Mitt denies it, saying it’s “offensive.”

6:16pm Wow. Schoolyard fight. Rudy will not let it go, and Mitt can’t let it fight. Romney sounds defensive, Giuliani sounds peevish. Winner? Ron Paul! UPDATE: Rudy got booed again, loudly.

6:18pm Another video, another question about immigration–this time, from an anti-amnesty angle. Thompson answers, “A nation that will not defend it’s own borders will not long remain a sovereign nation.” It’s the strongest I’ve seen him in any of these debates.

6:20pm Fred accused Mitt of flip-flopping on immigration, and is also attacking Rudy on sanctuary cities. Which Rudy still denies. So far, this is the best fake debate I’ve seen the Republicans in. We’ll see how it goes.

6:21pm McCain denies he ever supported amnesty, and the entire audience said, “Awww, c’mon.” Seriously. McCain, again, looks tired. UPDATE: McCain says “Secure the border first” before segueing into something about protecting the children or something. I didn’t get it.

6:23pm Now that was cool. The guy who asked the last question was in the audience, and Cooper asked him if he was satisfied by the answers given.

6:24pm More immigration stuff. Bored now. Who edited the selection of the questions? Oh, right–the huge supply of faultless editors at CNN. Also, Tancredo is talking, but you’ve heard it all before, and he’s not going anywhere, so who cares?

6:26pm Duncan Hunter is bragging that he built a fence south of San Diego. I’d build a fence around my house, but right now I can’t even afford illegal labor. Maybe Hunter will come over next weekend and help out.

6:28pm The next question comes from a gal standing under a portrait of Reagan. So she’s got cred in Florida tonight. Anyway, something about college tuition and Mike Huckabee and–you guessed it–illegal immigrants. Did CNN spend 30 minutes at the Democratic YouTube Debate asking questions about being soft on terror? Just wondering.

6:30pm I totally missed Huckabee’s answer, because it was so technical and boring. How’d this guy pull ahead in Iowa? Oh, right–because Iowans freakin’ suck at picking winners. Abolish the caucus already!

6:33pm Hah! The next question is to Ron Paul, asking if he really buys into “all of this” about the so-called North American Union conspiracy theory. And guess what? Ron says, “It depends on what you mean.” In other words, “I’m nuts!” And then Paul, uh, gracefully segues into just about every conspiracy theory out there. And I mean, out there. And he got a fair amount of applause.

6:35pm I like McCain when he’s in confession mode. Asked if Republicans could fight spending, he admitted that the Republican Revolution of ’94 got seduced by Washington. I still would walk over broken vodka bottles, barefoot, before voting him however.

6:37pm Mitt says “inflation minus one percent” on Federal non-defense spending. I think his subtraction skills could be stronger.

6:38pm Another question on spending. “What would you reduce spending on?” Thompson says, “It’s a target-rich environment.” Sometimes, despite myself, I just love the hell out of Fred.

6:40pm Paul’s three programs that he’d cut are… everything. Sometimes, despite myself, I just love the hell out of Paul. But then he goes off on another isolationist rant, and I remember all those crazy girls I used to date, and why those “relationships” never lasted.

6:42pm McCain doesn’t like the FairTax. Neither do I. “If Congress can’t fix the tax code, give me the job and I’ll fix it.” Then drop out of the Senate and run for Congress, Mr. McCain! And then McCain attacks Paul for his isolationism, to rounds of boos and applause. Although he did break Godwin’s Law, and ought to be escorted off the stage.

6:44pm Paul defends himself by saying he gets a lot of money from active duty troops. And that means…? And then he blames America first. Again. Yawn.

6:45pm Question: Would each of you promise to veto any and all tax increases? Which is like asking a Democratic crowd if there was any spending program they wouldn’t increase. Or Republicans, for that matter. Sigh.

6:47pm Next question: “Nothing says delicious like cheap corn subsidized by the American taxpayer.” Which of you hypocrites looking for votes in Iowa would stop this nonsense (I’m paraphrasing)? Great question, and no one is going to give an honest answer (except Paul), so I’m zoning out for now.

6:49pm It’s sad when the candidates try to make YouTube videos.

6:51pm Question: What are you going to do to keep dangerous Chinese toys away from my adopted baby and force Americans to make toys right here in our country? And… here comes the parade of populist anti-trade bullcrap.

6:53pm Thompson’s YouTube video is an assault on Romney, using his own Massachusetts campaign videos against him. So instead of a commercial, we’re going to Romney to respond. Who says, “I was wrong” back then. It’s a hell of a way to defend his abortion flip-flop. But it’s still a flip-flop. And can we please cut to commercial now? My drink has been empty for minutes already. The things I give up for you people.

6:57pm Fresh cocktail–whew! While we’re still on break, let me claim credit for coining the phrase “Punxsutawney Fred.” To find out what it means, watch my video series of Thompson questions on YouTube.

6:59pm “Like any small town, we like our big guns.” From a guy with what looks like a cut off pump action 12-gauge. Anyway, the question is “What do you guys think about gun control?” A daring question for a Republican crowd, like asking Democrats what they think about… gun control. Let’s face it, after the 1994 elections, that question is SETTLED for at least a generation.

7:02pm Rudy defends “reasonable regulations” on gun control, and got some boos. Again, his answer sounds peevish and defensive. This is his weakest debate so far.

7:04pm Fred says that the 2nd amendment isn’t “a choice thing, it’s in the constitution,” and got plenty of applause for it.

7:05pm Another question about gun control, another question from a local yokel guy who maybe makes you think that gun control might be a good idea. You think maybe CNN has an agenda here?

7:07pm Couple guys from Atlanta want to know what all these white guys are going to do about black-on-black crime. Mitt: “The best thing you can do is have a mom and a dad” around the house.

7:08pm To Rudy, from Cooper: Is Romney really tough on crime? Short version of his answer: Nope. I’m shocked, shocked, that one candidate might disagree with another on an important question phrased for a simplistic answer.

7:11pm Question: If abortion becomes illegal, what should the punishment be? Paul defers to state’s rights, even though he’s pro-life. Paul also says that he doesn’t believe that a woman should be punished. Talk about a straddle! I’m against it, it’s up to the states, but even so here’s my prescription to punish the doctor and release the girl. A three-(four-?)way straddle! Well done, Dr. Paul.

7:13pm Would you sign a Federal ban on all abortions, if Roe v Wade were overturned and Congress passed it? It’s not gonna happen, so who cares how the candidates answer?

7:15pm Question: The death penalty, what would Jesus do? I don’t think Jesus ever served on a jury or as a state governor, so who the hell cares? Stupid question, and another one which makes me wonder if CNN has an agenda. (By the way, I’m mildly anti-death penalty.) Huckabee says, “Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office.” Great answer.

7:19pm Question: Do you believe every word in the Bible? I’m no Christian, but the question was so anti-Christian that I was almost offended. Again, I wonder, what is CNN’s agenda here? Rudy says he believes it, but not always literally. Romney: The Bible is the word of God. Pressed by Cooper, he stumbles. Huckabee: Yep, you believe it or you don’t, except for the obviously allegorical stuff.

7:20pm Another commerical, another lovely adult beverage. My job pretty much rocks. Skip the commercials, indulge in the booze. Go on and hate me.

7:26pm Some girl in Islamic garb who spent a college year abroad wants to know what we’ll do to repair our image in world. And also by the way, we’re losing everywhere. Rudy: First, we won’t retreat. “And the people we’re offending are the people we want to offend: Terrorists.” Sweet answer! McCain: The surge is working, keep up reconstruction, train the police, fight the Democrats. Sweet answer!

7:27pm Same question to Hunter: I’ll never apologize for the United States of America. Sweet answer!

7:29pm Question: McCain is the only guy with real knowledge of torture, and he’s against torture, so how can the rest of you defend waterboarding? Romney skirts a straight answer before going into a defense of Gitmo. McCain pulls rank here, and makes me like him for it.

7:31pm Mitt defends himself, but poorly. His answer is basically, “I won’t rule anything out, to keep the bad guys scared of us.” McCain wins this round.

7:34pm Question: By staying in Iraq, we provide long-term security for the region. Who will provide a long-term commitment to Iraq? Fred: I want out, but not until we’re done. Or something. He hedged at first, before coming around to a strong position. But he’s still rambling. Weak.

7:36pm Paul: Give Iraqis their country back. Al Sadr runs southern Iraq, and the Kurds (who he couldn’t remember their name) run the north, so let’s retreat already and “take care of America first.” There was lots of spittle involved, and embarrassment over not remembering who the Kurds are. Paul makes me ache for the damage he’s doing to libertarian ideals.

7:37pm Paul AGAIN plays the Blame America First card.

7:39pm Thanks for the link, Glenn! But my Amiga 500 is breaking under the strain…

7:40pm Rudy is running on his PRE-9/11 record, which he has all along. But the question he got was, aren’t you just running on your 9/11 performance. Again, I ask, what is CNN’s agenda.

7:42pm Cartoon Dick Cheney is watching you! And wants to know if the next VP will get as much power as the real Dick Cheney. Fred says: Um, well, there’s a roll, and authority, and… I’m going to sip at my martini now.

7:44pm McCain: Cheney was an accident, having come in during peacetime. And now, another commerical, which means I get to top off my cocktail.

7:50pm Just got off the phone with Michelle Malkin and Bryan Preston at HotAir.com, where they’re all disressingly sober. Based on the assumption that I didn’t miss much in the debate… but wait, Mitt is getting booed about something regarding gays in the military. What did I miss?

7:51pm Ah–a retired Army soldier was stuck in the closet for the 42 years he served in uniform. He’s getting booed, and that’s shameful. Shameful.

7:52pm First, my blogging software crashed. Now it looks like my server is over-stressed, too. Please, kids, take it easy with the Refresh button.

7:54pm A question about the deficit, from a guy with a sibilant S so heavy that I thought he was asking about dethethit thending. Fred: Your generation needs protection from my generation. Of course, this question belongs to Paul, who would gleefully cut every domestic program, period–and have me cheering him along.

7:57pm Question: Let’s go to Mars by 2020! The Democrats win this one, since Dennis Kucinich has been there already.

7:58pm Tancredo says we can’t afford to go to Mars. Tell that to Kucinich, buddy.

7:59pm Question: Why won’t blacks, many of whom are social conservatives, vote for you? Rudy answers with a canned education answer.

8:00pm Huckabee: Blacks love me already in Arkansas.

8:01pm Question from a guy with a Confederate flag hung on his wall. Romney says point blank he “doesn’t recognize” that flag. Paul says, “We need to pull out of the South. It’s been a hundred years already!” (I might have made up that last bit.)

8:04pm It’s Paul’s YouTube video. I’m not watching in HD, so I can’t tell how much spittle landed on the camera lens.

8:05pm OK, my server is working again. Hats off to the great folks at Hosting Matters.

8:07pm Who is going to spend money on infrastructure? Rudy answers with a sidebar about federal accounting practices. Did I already say this is his weakest night? Paul: We’re bombing bridges overseas while our bridges fall down at home, even though the government shouldn’t be building bridges in the first place, so let’s spend the money on that, although technically I’m against it.

8:09pm Question for Paul: You’re going to lose. Will you please run as an independent? Paul: I have no intention of doing that. With the accent on “intention.”

8:11pm Last question: To Rudy–how could you root for the Sox in the post-season? That’s tonight’s boxers or briefs question–and the right answer to those is, “Commando, bitch!”

8:12pm And that’s all, folks. I’m going to eat some dinner and write my wrap-up for PJ Media. Look for it in the next 30-60 minutes. You kids can watch the Spin Room shenanigans without me–because I’m either too drunk, too sober, or too smart to care.

Debate Drunkblogging — Open Comments Thread

November 28th, 2007 - 5:42 pm

As always, I’m closing comments on the main drunkblogging thread–it’s a lot easier on my server that way. And remember, that old Amiga 500 and I go way back, so don’t stress her out. Please, don’t click “refresh” tonight more than every two or three minutes. That’s as fast as I can blog with a cocktail. Speaking of which, I have an appointment at the bar before the debate starts in… 15 minutes.

Anyway, if you want to comment on the commentary, the candidates, CNN, or YouTube or whatever, here’s the place to do it. Have at it.

Who Slipped Me a Mickey?

November 28th, 2007 - 4:16 pm

The AP brings you news before it happens! Read:

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Republican presidential candidates faced a crowd of unusual debate questioners Wednesday night

A Question for Ron Paul

November 28th, 2007 - 1:18 pm

Just to get you into the proper spirit for tonight’s YouTube Debate Drunkblogging.

See the rest here, as they get added throughout the day.

Also drunkblogging tonight, Steveegg.

Required Viewing

November 28th, 2007 - 12:15 pm

My YouTube Debate questions are starting to pop up over at PJ Media.

The Gauntlet Is Thrown Down

November 28th, 2007 - 11:55 am

Michelle Malkin has decided to livevlog tonight’s Republican YouTube Debate. Live video blogging. Imagine that. Daring. While I like the idea of livevlogging, all you really have to do is talk and look pretty. (Since I can’t do the latter, I’ll stick with typing.)

Well, here’s a dare for you, Michelle. You match me drink for drink tonight, you with your camcorder and me with my keyboard. Between us we’ll split six three-ounce (or so) vodka or gin (your choice) martinis. At the end of the debate, we’ll see who produces the most–and most entertaining–content.

Are you up for it, Michelle? I’ll even spot you half a cocktail going in.

The prize? Glory! And a mild headache tomorrow morning.

Freakin’ Fallujah

November 28th, 2007 - 10:37 am

I took just enough time off from making videos this morning to read Michael Totten’s latest dispatch from Iraq. You should read it, too. There are also lots of great pictures with his report.

Notice/Warning

November 27th, 2007 - 10:51 pm

So here’s the deal: Video is freakin’ complicated. All I wanted to do was make some fake YouTube videos for the Republican debate Wednesday night. Somehow, I ended up having to buy the latest version of Final Cut Express, building a green screen from scratch, figuring out how to use studio strobes as hot lights, and staying up half the night learning how to use it all.

Of course, as the parent of a two year old, “up half the night” now means “up until nearly 11pm.” We’re all getting older, right?

What does Wednesday hold in store? All day, you can expect to see my video questions for the Republican candidates appearing unexpectedly at PajamasMedia.com. Then, at 8pm Eastern, I’ll drunkblog the debate right here at VodkaPundit. Immediately following, call it 10pm or so, PJM will post my post-debate wrap-up. Then I’m going to have a very large glass of cheap red wine and pass the hell out.

It’s important to have goals.

See you tomorrow.

A Good Column, Spoiled

November 27th, 2007 - 4:14 pm

In my other blogging “job,” I write about college football, specifically Auburn University and the rest of the Southeastern Conference. In that capacity, I got an email today linking to John Feinstein’s WaPo column regarding Alabama coach Nick “I am not going to be the Alabama coach” Saban and his recent bizarre commentary:

it is impossible not to begin today with one of the worst people in all of sports — and this takes in a lot of territory — Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

Saban is the highest paid coach ($4 million a year) in college football, having taken the Alabama job last winter after categorically denying he was leaving the Miami Dolphins.

Okay, coaches do that. They shouldn’t do that but they do. Saban was failing miserably in Miami, he had already proven he could win big in the Southeastern Conference and he was clearly someone who was meant to coach at the college level where tyrants are applauded as long as they win.

Alabama finished the season 6-6, losing its last four games after coming within a play of upsetting LSU (Saban’s old team) when the Crimson Tide was 6-2. At that point, even after the LSU loss, Saban was being treated the way he likes to be treated: as the savior.

Then came losses to Mississippi State and Louisiana-Monroe. That’s not a typo, Alabama, coached by the savior, lost to Louisiana-Monroe at home, in the stadium named for Bear Bryant.

A few days after the ULM loss Saban, who can’t stand the media, spoke to the media. In talking about the losses to Mississippi State and ULM he brought up 9-11. And Pearl Harbor.

That’s right, in talking about two lost football games he brought up 9-11 and Pearl Harbor. In Saban-world, those were “catastrophes.” So too were the back-to-back losses in football games. Saban went on to say that catastrophes could be turning points in history and this “catastrophe,” would be, he hoped, a turning point in the history of Alabama football.

Okay, let’s just say this: NO ONE should be allowed to mention catastrophes in which thousands of people died when talking about football — or any sport. Not ever. And certainly not someone who is working at what is supposed to be an institution of higher learning. What kind of message is he sending to his players? If he makes a comment like this in public, what in the world is he saying to his players behind closed doors?

So far, so good. Heck, I agree with everything Feinstein’s said up to this point. Saban is a vastly overrated and overpaid jackass, and his “historical” comparison of Pearl Harbor and September 11, 2001 to losing a couple of football game was as beyond the pale as… well, this:

A couple of months ago the right wing media become apoplectic when a liberal organization took out an ad criticizing the leader of the American forces in Iraq. How, they screamed, can you be critical of the man who represents the men and women who are putting themselves in danger every day in Iraq?

Where are those people right now? Why aren’t they screaming about a football coach comparing lost football games to thousands of lost LIVES? Where is the perspective?

Speaking for myself, I didn’t even consider blogging about Saban’s dumb remarks in the political sphere, because they weren’t worthy of that level of analysis. Saban is a monomaniacal football coach who can’t see beyond the horizon of his own tiny empire. He and his dumbassery are not worth the time to criticize in the arena of ideas (although I did take the opportunity to note others smacking him around in the arena of sports).

If I had gone out of my way to inject politics into a sports story, to forward my own agenda on a story that actually had nothing to do with military or political reality, why, I’d be just like…

… John Feinstein. And Nick Saban, for that matter.

Feinstein’s linking of the outrageous MoveOn ad attacking General Petraeus (and other vapid political commentary in the same column) to Saban’s idiocy is not one iota less asinine than Saban’s analogy, and in his big-media arrogance, Feinstein is just as oblivious to that fact as Saban was to the utterly inappropriate nature of the “Pearl Harbor” comments.

You want to opine on politics, John, do it in the editorial section. Nobody reads your sports columns because they want to know what you think about Iraq. You work for the Washington Post; we already know what you think about Iraq.

Be Careful What You Wish For

November 26th, 2007 - 4:45 pm

Glenn Reynolds links approvingly to this report on North Korea:

Intelligence sources and other observers both here in the capital of the PRC and elsewhere in Asia are stating that they project a possible collapse of the North Korean regime within six months time.

Although there have been similar dire predictions made in the past, those analyzing the current situation point to several factors that indicate that the regime may finally be unraveling.

The Weekly Standard claims that Kim Jong-Il Is hiding setting aside gobs of cash money for his exile retirement. If the regime collapses in a hurry–a Romanian-style coup, Kim will be lucky to escape the country with his life. It all sounds too good to be true–and it is.

Here’s what I had to say about this exact same issue four years ago:

South Korea has fewer than 50 million people, and while they’ve made great strides, their per capita income is still only up to that of modern Poland. They aren’t poor, but they aren’t nearly as rich as West Germany was [in 1990, when they absorbed 17 million relatively rich and well-fed East Germans]. In addition, their {South Korean] economy isn’t as mature or robust, as the Asian Financial Crisis of a couple years back showed.

Up north are 22 million of their starving brethren. Before the Communist dictatorship, they lived a brutal existence as virtual slaves of Japan. “Chosen,” as Tokyo called Korea, was annexed by the Japanese Empire 93 years ago. It’s safe to say that there is no one in North Korea with any experience living in a politically modern, free, democratic, or tolerant state. Travel is forbidden. Only a small handful of South Koreans are allowed north. There is only one radio station, and it runs nothing but the foulest sort of propaganda. And according to a story in US News & World Report a few weeks ago, North Korea even has concentration camps bigger than the District of Columbia.

Through no fault of their own, the people of North Korea simply aren’t ready to enter the modern world, and South Korea can’t afford to feed, house, re-educate, and re-civilize them all.

I don’t know if I buy this six month timeframe idea–Pyongyang has looked like a dead regime walking since Old Man Kim got himself entombed back in ’94. But no matter how you slice it, the liberation of 22 million people would be a wonderful thing. The disappearance of a hereditary communist gangster state wouldn’t exactly suck, either. But the aftermath is going to be bloody and messy–and might require the involvement of Beijing to a degree not seen in Korea since 1951, when the PLA crossed the Yalu River en masse.

Sleep tight!

(more…)

Bleg

November 26th, 2007 - 3:42 pm

I’m using Mac Leopard’s version of Photo Booth for my YouTube Debate videos, but have run up against a problem I just can’t seem to fix. Low-contrast areas, like my hair, show right through to the special effects backdrops. And let me tell you, even just the appearance of having large chunks of your head missing is a little disconcerting.

I’ve tried increasing the lighting, darkening (and lightening) my backdrop–pretty much everything. Anybody have experience with this?

The Spartans? Those Wimps!

November 26th, 2007 - 9:36 am

Michael Totten reports in briefly from Fallujah, where every day is like Christmas and the 4th of July wrapped together in a luxury resort. Or maybe not quite.

Notice/Warning

November 26th, 2007 - 8:14 am

It’ll be slow blogging today while I crank out videos for the Republican YouTube Debate on Monday night. Don’t worry–everybody’s candidate gets skewered. And a couple even get shish-kabobbed.

Thanksgiving News from Michael Yon

November 23rd, 2007 - 2:36 pm

Gee. I thought our Thanksgiving was great, but Yon got to spend his with none other than General Petraeus.

Don’t Taser Me Bro

November 22nd, 2007 - 1:59 pm

Let me get this straight–doing a few miles over the limit on open interstate gives the cops the right to pump you with enough voltage to light up Victor Frankenstein’s castle?

I’m glad I’m staying at the in-laws’ tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2007 - 1:34 pm

From all of us up on Monument Hill.

(Bumped, just because.)

Holiday Recipe

November 22nd, 2007 - 11:42 am

To help you get through Thanksgiving, here, once again, is my personal Bloody Mary recipe. Enjoy.

You’ll need:

A very tall glass.
A large handful of ice.
2 ounces of Absolut Peppar vodka.
If you can’t find the Peppar on such short notice, then just use plain vodka. But don’t forget to add 10 or 12 twists of fresh-cracked pepper.
You could make that three ounces.
Four ounces might be pushing it.
6 to 8 ounces of V-8 vegetable juice.
A stalk of celery.
A dash of celery seed, whole.
A dash or three of Worcestershire sauce.
The juice of half a lime.
Some fresh grated horseradish.
A bare minimum of five drops of Tabasco.

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and mix well. Pour into a tall glass and drink well.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The Other Guy Blinked

November 22nd, 2007 - 8:10 am

It looks like the French have something to be thankful for today:

PARIS

Mismanaging the Infowar

November 21st, 2007 - 6:46 pm

The news out of Iraq is so good, that even Army and Marine officers are surprised:

Violence in Iraq has fallen at a rate that has surprised military commanders and even one of the architects of the

Same Old Same Old

November 21st, 2007 - 3:59 pm

Maggie Gallagher on the UN and Europe:

As far as I can tell, the United Nations is like just about any other large bureaucratic institution — a mixed body of people and ideals that does some good and is at least as susceptible to corruption as any other human thing. But in Europe, faith in the United Nations is reaching biblical proportions.

Which is why when the U.N. secretary-general reaches for the language of science to establish an absolute truth (global warming is a human-caused catastrophe) grounded in an obvious falsehood (“we all agree”), I find it creepy…

And yet “the masses,” aka the public, must be goaded into right action by their betters’ judgment.

I don’t see what Maggie is so surprised about. Europe is the continent that brought you papal infallibility, the divine right of kings, nationalism, fascism, communism, and so on and so on. Europe’s faith in big solutions by big institutions claiming unlimited power is nothing new.

Fifth Column/CIA Follies

November 21st, 2007 - 3:03 pm

What’s the CIA’s former top counter-terror guy doing defending the Palestine Islamic Jihad’s top guy in North America? Uh… good question.

No Law, Plenty of Order

November 21st, 2007 - 2:46 pm

Make no mistake, this is Putin’s Russia:

An opposition politician running in Russian parliamentary elections was shot and seriously wounded on Wednesday as he entered his house in the southern Russian region of Dagestan, Russian media reported.

Farid Babayev, who will lead the regional list for the liberal anti-Kremlin Yabloko party was in a serious condition in hospital, RIA novosti news agency reported after an unidentified gunman fired on him in the regional capital Makhachkala.

And it’s going to stay Putin’s Russia.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 21st, 2007 - 2:27 pm

Something to enjoy with your cocktails on this Thanksgiving eve. The Autumn concerto from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and some rowdy visuals provided by Hungarian artist Ferenc Cak

She Left Out the Saab Emo

November 21st, 2007 - 2:26 pm

If automakers were really paying attention to their brands, then these are the cars they’d be building.

Winning the War

November 21st, 2007 - 12:06 pm

Back when the Iraq War was still young and fresh, I observed that, “Modern wars don’t seem to end until one side is well and truly beaten.” As in, flattened beyond all recognition. (FLABAR, we’ll call it.) I also noted that when it came to Iraq, “We didn’t burn a whole lot, and some crazies just don’t know when to cry uncle.” As in, there was no telling when the war would be won.

Now comes Ralph Peters, who has been no friend to President Bush the last few years, talking about the five reasons things are looking up in Iraq. His last item reads:

The Iraqis are sick of bloodshed and destruction: This is the least-recognized factor – but it’s critical. We still don’t fully understand the mechanics of black-to-white mood shifts in populations, but such transitions determine strategic outcomes…

The peace-through-exhaustion mood swing happened abruptly in Iraq. Suddenly, the people have had their fill of gunmen and gangsters who claim to be their defenders. Heads-down passivity has morphed into active resistance to the terrorists and militias.

You can thank Al Qaeda-Iraq for doing what we wouldn’t–couldn’t–do in 2003, and credit VodkaPundit for calling it mostly right, four years ago, almost to the day.

Nice Pair

November 21st, 2007 - 11:30 am

WaPo’s Robert Samuelson leads with instructions not to “believe all the hype about the ‘credit crunch.’ Not yet, anyway.” He warns, of course, that the economy could get worse next year, depending on a lot of things. But he he closes with this:

Global Insight has one of the many computer models that calibrate voting behavior with the economy’s performance. The model has picked the winner of the popular vote in 13 of the past 15 presidential elections (it missed 1968 and 1976). Right now, the Republican and Democratic candidates are, putting Iraq aside, dead even.

“Iraq aside.” I’m going to buck the conventional wisdom and argue that, unless Iraq goes spectacularly to hell next year, it won’t be much of a factor in the presidential election. Both major candidates will run left (or right) on Iraq, depending on how poorly (or well) things are going there. Both major candidates will run (nothing parenthetical needed here) far, far away from President Bush.

We’ll have a better idea what the military-political situation in Iraq is going to look like once the post-”surge” drawdown begins in earnest next April. Until then, pretty much everybody has made up their minds, one way or the other–and might not even change after April comes and goes. So I don’t expect Iraq to serve as much more than red-meat campaign lines for the hardcore 20% on each extreme.

Also at WaPo, Ruth Marcus hosts a debate between Paul Krugman and Paul Krugman. Guess who loses?

UPDATE: Krugman defends himself at his NYT blog. Who’s been paying enough attention to Krugman or the Times the last couple years to know Krugman has a blog there?

Frankly, I didn’t read close enough to tell you which Krugman is right. But I did scan enough to know that his blog sure makes him sound like a whiny little thing.

The BBC Fails Again

November 21st, 2007 - 10:03 am

Look at the chaos in France, as reported by the BBC:

Hundreds of thousands of civil servants joined striking transport and energy workers on Tuesday over the proposals…

Teachers, postal workers, air traffic controllers and hospital staff launched a 24-hour stoppage on Tuesday over planned job cuts and higher wage demands, as students continued to demonstrate over university funding plans…

The latest nationwide stoppage left many schools closed, hospitals providing a reduced service and newsagents without newspapers…

Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the dispute was costing France up to 400m euros (

Keeping It Real (Safe)

November 21st, 2007 - 9:50 am

You probably noticed this story already:

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown faces angry questions from MPs after confidential records containing nearly half the population’s bank details went missing in the post.

The disappearance of some 25 million people’s personal data — virtually every family with children aged under 16, likely including Brown’s own — vanished in the biggest-ever loss of personal information by any government.

But never fear, Britons:

Two password-protected compact discs containing the names, addresses, dates of birth and bank account details of millions went missing after a junior official, who failed to post them recorded delivery, sent them to auditors.

That’s right–those discs are password-protected. And everybody knows that government encryption is well-nigh unbreakable. Just like government money is always well-spent and accounted for.

Remember Dial-Up?

November 21st, 2007 - 7:49 am

This can’t be good:

A new study published by the Nemertes Research Group indicates that demand for bandwidth will outstrip capacity by 2010 — and that planned infrastructure upgrades will fall some 60-70 percent short of making up the difference.

Video downloading–legal, from YouTube and, uh, less legal from other places–is mostly to blame.