Wednesday, July 14, 2004

So Sorry!

No blogging for a few more days. I'm, like, too busy with work an' shit, ya know?

No, really.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Obligatory "About Me" Post

I know, I know. You're saying, RETARDO, I want more stupid political commentary! I want more anthropology, history, and political science essays which are terribly-written and usually incomplete!

But what can I say? A man's sloth will only get you so far, and RETARDO's sloth is profound; in fact, one of his many net pseudonyms is "Pukeface Oblomov, IV", and surely everyone will get the reference?

Since my sloth (thus I revert to the first person) is so severe, I'm going to do this in the same way Tom Verducci used to do his online sports columns: as he was too lazy to write an essay with those annoying paragraphs and such, instead he wrote a self-interview. So, here goes, but first a quick summary:

Name: Joey Joe Joe Junior Shoobadoo J_ _ _ Something

Occupation: Student, Bum, Dilettante.

Appearance: Fuckin Stunningly Handsome in my redheaded Special Olympics sort of way.

Interests: Look on the right-hand side of my blog.

Age: Old enough that that senile old TelePrompter Reader gave me nightmares of mushroom clouds

Politics: vaguely, a Democratic Socialist. Practically speaking, anti-Republican

Religion: "Doctrinaire" agnostic


Dave Shutton, Springfield Daily Shopper: Who are you? What are you doing here?

RETARDO: My real name is J__, and that's all you need to know about that. My name here and elsewhere is "RETARDO". I've also been known by various other names in my days on the net, and some of those names constitute not so much separate personalities as different schticks. For instance, when I was known as hemiSPHINCTOR, it was solely to embarrass my friend Wally, whose lover and fellow scat enthusiast I pretended to be. And so on. Alkibiades, Chrysostom, Ebenezer Spooge, they were me. Post-Fuck Consensus, disingenuousPENIUS, General Zod, they were all me too. Should I bring back some of these characters to post "their" thoughts in my blog?

Sadly, No!: Sadly and most definitely, NO! Now give a real answer!

RETARDO: Okay, I'm here to be shrill, then. That's my purpose.

The Marxist Internet Archive: RETARDO, what do you do for a living? Are you a bourgeois shill? Do you exploit the w.o.w.?

RETARDO: I try to be a student. And the rest, well.. no.

Blog groupie: Oh wow, RETARDO, I want to bear your children! Are you available?

RETARDO: Well if anyone had any illusions that this interview was for real, they're dashed now. Anyway, I'm in a relationship; never been married, never had bratfaces.

Joe Amurkan: Dude, what's your deal with slipping into British English?

RETARDO: Ol' Jimbo Morrison once explained the crucifix on his neck this way: "I like the symbol visually, plus it confuses people." I like that as a response, but I'd add that I have just as much right to use it as to use American English: I'm an American citizen but many in my immediate family are British Citizens; also many of the people I talk to online (and know in real life) are from the commonwealth and it just wears off on me. It's to the point that I dont realise which is which, nor do I care.

Carmen Sandiego: Where the fuck are you?

RETARDO: When on the farm, in rural Arkansas. When at "home", in a downtown apartment in a major southern city.

Technorati: What's the deal with all these damn links? Don't toy with us, bitch!

RETARDO: My favorites page in my browser is a clusterfuck of disorganised shit; in effect, my blog better serves that personal and particular purpose. Also, if so many links confuse entertain my readers, I consider it a bonus.

Red-faced Screaming Person: What do you want? What are you gonna do with your life?

RETARDO: I wanna rock. No, really, I'd like to travel the world, spreading my "Hate America" message, occasionally phoning-in a crypto-socialist diatribe for which I will be paid decently enough to live on. My name as a journalist will be made when I break the stories on a)Ann Coulter's bukkake fetish, b)Dick Cheney's worship of Moloch, and c)Notes from a close personal inspection of the topography of Vida Guerra's ass.

Until then, I'll just go on giving weather reports, critiquing the latest Ty Beanie Babies, and deconstructing Tampax commercials -- which is, you know, obviously what I do here.

(I'll add to -- or edit -- this when I feel like it.)

What Happens When We Fight Back

Roy Edroso cites a few hypocritical instances of rightwing whining and handwringing, my favourite of which is Tacitus's (I am Alexander Hamilton!) Farewell Address, which Edroso cheerfully backhands:

My favorite piece of talking statuary is "feeling a profound disgust with humanity online."

Edroso's post is in the general vein of how they can dish it out, but can't take it -- which is all well and good and dead-on, but I seize it as an another opportunity to kick the crap out of Tacitus, who in his dolorous and turgid way, replies in the comments:

Not really [a complaint about civility online]. I did say, after all, that this is how things are. Penny Arcade is right. I'm just worn out for the moment.

Glad to be your favorite....talking statuary, I guess, though.

In other words: Look, Jeeves. Tut, this ruffian implies that I am, in the common vernacular, a "stiff". Would that he knew! Indeed! As you well know in my early blogging days I was quite the "rum cove" if you take my meaning. Yet this demotic rabble-rouser affects to find me wooden, as it were -- or I should say, "marble"! Bosh, flimshaw! Surely this epithet, when my blog's elegant logo is brought to mind, constitutes what I do believe is called a "joke".

"It is what it is", huh? Take a look at the Penny Arcade link. So anonymity breeds dickheadedness, is its point. Yes, this happens and yes, the internet fuels it. Yet presumably, our blogger who uses the nom de plume "Tacitus" is immune -- yes, because he can out-smug anyone and is positively humourless, so what need has he of snark or invective?

Of course two days later, in his "rest" from incivility (the recieving of it, that is; it's never ever dished out on his oh-so-collegial forum), he offers this on Faluja :
Miserable, gutless, spineless, war-losing and absolutely predictable failure.

Strong language! Even more than he could manage for Little Green Fascists who are merely "regretable" though they publish a "bilious hatefest".

But (oh now it is time for RETARDO to be "civil") I wish him well on his hiatus, though I doubt it will last as long as he says and while he has the opportunity (civility goes out the window now), he should perhaps look into getting a personality transfusion, and acquire a fucking sense of humour too.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Juan Cole reminds us why killing insurgents doesn't work:

US observers keep expressing puzzlement as to why the killing of hundreds or thousands of insurgents has not had an impact in repressing the guerrillas. They don't seem to get it that Iraqi clans still matter and that when they kill an Iraqi, they anger the man's brothers, uncles, and first and second cousins, some of whom step forward to take his place. In the US a lot of people don't even know their cousins and certainly would not sacrifice their lives to avenge one. Iraq is not like that. So, it isn't really even a matter of ideologies, necessarily. The US military has incurred enough clan feuds to keep the insurgencies going. And, of course, Iraqi and Arab nationalisms are powerful enough that people hate seeing Western troops in their country. The line between being angry about it and being angry enough to pick up a gun is a thin one.

So if they will pick up a gun to avenge their menfolk, what will they do once enough of them know that their women and children have been tortured?

Abu Ghraib: Women, Elderly, Insane, Foriegners, CHILDREN

Seb's scoop has inspired me to research a bit.

1. It is not only Iraqis who were/are being held and tortured at Abu Ghraib. I blogged a while ago a PRIMA News mention of Ukrainian prisoners held in Iraq.

2. Dr. Cole posted over a month ago the revelation of women being tortured at Abu Ghraib:

A scandal that has not yet broken in the press is the story of how many women ended up in US prisons. The fact is, few were suspected of having themselves committed a crime or an act of insurgency. Rather, they were taken as hostages or potential informants because their husbands or sons were wanted by the US military. This kind of arrest, however, is a form of collective punishment and not permitted under the Fourth Geneva Convention governing military occupations of civilian populations. The sexual abuse of these women is therefore a double crime.

Eventually these photographs of abused or tortured Muslim women are likely to leak, and the reaction in the Muslim world will be explosive. One shakes one´s head in bewilderment as to what the Bush administration thought they were doing.

3. Regarding Hersh and his hints that children were tortured at Abu Ghraib, here is the original Brad DeLong post. Here is the same story, within a Hersh profile, coroborated by the Chicago Tribune

4. Monday's Paknews contains a brief mention of the Der Spiegel story. Yet another instance where the Arab World is appraised of our thuggery, which gives rise to rage, which in turn is interpreted by US as "Freedom Hating" and/or intense jealousy of our joyous consumer culture with its many choices of chewing gum and fabric softeners.

Keep some skepticism, given the source, but here's an Arab News story of a freed Saudi's testimony of what he saw at Abu Ghraib:

However, others had been, including one Iraqi “who suffered immense torture. The Americans stripped him of his clothes in winter time, sprayed him with water, then threw him to the ground and took turns at beating him until he was unconscious,” Al-Qaisoom said.

He said “many” prisoners, including two in his own camp, died after they were denied medicines for kidney, liver and heart conditions or the like. One Kurd was sexually abused and died when prison guards shelled a camp “without reason.”

Food was also scarce, and the treatment got worse when there was fighting between US forces and resistance fighters, such as in Fallujah or in Najaf and Karbala.

“There are all sorts of bizarre things in Abu Ghraib — prisoners more than 90 years old, insane people and children,” he said.

(Emphasis Added)

See also this testimony:

Farmer Khalid Abbas said his 16-year-old son had been detained for nine months after a coalition raid on his home in Khalidiyah, west of Baghdad.

"They took my money, destroyed my car and took my son. I have nothing - they even hit my wife and broke her leg," he said.

For posterity, or in case you missed it, this is the Sydney Morning Herald article linked to by Seb and General Glut.

Update -- See also here and a passing reference to women and children here.

Monday, July 05, 2004


She's hot. Also, she wears less eyeliner than her father, which is always a good thing.

Edit -- Al-jazeera, damn them to hell, took down that totally smokin picture, so this crappier one will have to suffice. Note to news providers -- keep your picture links STATIC so that poverty-striken bloggers like me may steal post them at will. Thank You.

*Also see here (notice her uneasy posture when she's across from Saddam) for all your Aisha-marvelling needs (this invite does NOT extend to Ben Shapiro, for whom sedate photos of beautiful women are bound to cause pelvic leakage).

Kicking Sand At d'Niall

If you, like me, think that Niall Ferguson is an insufferable snot, these links and quotes should be of interest:

Ferguson is looking to the 10th century as a model for the 21st, which only shows how profoundly stupid his arguments are getting. As an historian, one would think that Ferguson could recognize the existence of capitalism as a pretty stark difference between now and then giving shape to the global order beyond simple state military power, but then we'd be giving the wunderkind of NYU a little too much credit.
Here. See also here.

Ferguson's work on state finance was derivative where it wasn't wrong, often wrong where it was derivative, and self-regarding throughout. He is to history what Maureen Dowd is to op-ed analysis: big paycheck, lots of press, sucks about all the time. No wonder those two get along.
In comments here.

The most surprising thing?

Niall Ferguson's incredible ego. The audience asked questions at the end and, at one point, someone heckled Niall as he gave his reply. His response? "I think it is very important that you listen to what I say".

Here. See also Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's withering, sarcastic reposte to Ferguson's lecture in the same page.

It was a particular pleasure to read that Alan Bennett has been waxing polemical on the rise of television historians at some South Bank festival. He was quoted as saying that Niall Ferguson “was arrogant, conceited and right-wing”. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Ferguson’s new salon-controversial documentary, American Colossus, and pointed out that he was exactly the sort of man pilloried in Bennett’s new play at the National Theatre, The History Boys. Though I must say that accusing him of being right-wing is a little harsh, considering his background. It’s simply conditioning: having been born a chippy bourgeois Glaswegian, naturally he wants to ingratiate himself with posh people and the plutocrat class. It’s perfectly understandable.
Here. See also here but ignore the author's ignorance of Empire (which does exist but not in the benign way Ferguson preaches).

The world’s problem, Niall contends, is that the unaccountable government of the poor by the rich, which already has had such disastrous consequences, has not gone far enough.

The timing of all this is, of course, appalling. As the US has sought to impose direct imperial rule in Iraq, it has earned the hatred of much of the developing world. But we should never underestimate the willingness of the powerful to flatter themselves. Unaccountable power requires a justifying myth, and the US government might just be dumb enough to believe the one that Niall has sought to revive. My old friend could get us all into a great deal of trouble.
-- George Monbiot, in an understated, even gentle, takedown.

Sadly, No! also does his part, bitchslapping Sully just to tear Ferguson a new one.

Hitchens: Still Going Downhill

Christopher Hitchens on the much dread Scarborough Country, 30 June:

I wrote 4,000-word review of this film, which is full of lies and is itself a lie, on “Slate” magazine, what, nine days ago now. And I said to them, you have a war room, you claim, you have lawyers, you claim, who will sue anything you don‘t like. You have a rapid response team, so bring it on. And I know, without boasting—I hope I don‘t seem arrogant, but...

That was that week‘s most blogged piece, as the Internet specialists say. In other words, it was the most linked article on the Internet. A lot of people read it. And it flatly calls him as a liar and a fraud and a coward.

Oh yeah the incoherent rant -- which I shall not link to -- that was without doubt the most blathery convoluted piece of scrambled shit Hitchens has ever written. A mild rebuke may be found here.

You are effectively, with the Michael Moore presentation, you are looking straight down the gun barrel of an al Qaeda video. God and the Iraqi people won‘t forgive? He is talking the language of jihad.

This is progress. Forget it that Michael Moore hates America. Forget it that Moore is a pacifist (yes, that's a pejorative in nouveau Hitchensspeak). Forget it that Moore's a fellow-traveller and jihad sympathiser. It's beyond that, now: Michael Moore IS al-qaeda.

This acusation, despite the weaselword "effectively", I think, is something Moore could persue legally.

If you want my personal opinion, as someone who has observed Mr. Moore down the years, I don‘t think he has any principles at all. He will do anything to get applause, as you can see from the little clip you just showed. He likes applause from stupid crowds and he punches the applause button.

That strikes the self-revisionist note, Hitch. Then again, maybe not:

The success of Michael Moore's film about Roger Smith and General Motors has aroused an envious spirit of emulation in my breast. -- Hitchens, in The London Review of Books, June 1990

Blog, Blog Like The Wind, Retardo!

And how! Since I get off for a holiday (The Hamburglar's Birthday, which was also last month), I've decided to thrill my three or four readers by having a blogging marathon today!

Yes, I, RETARDO, intend to blog until six this evening, meaning that you can expect two, maybe even three posts total. Now if I were Andrew Sullivan, this would be enough to ask for another round of donations, but since I'm not Andy, and besides that don't yet think that highly of my crappy blog, I promise to do this marathon for FREE.

FREE! Such altruism may offend Randian Nutbars, but I'll just take that chance. And speaking of Randian Nutbars, it's been a while since I've seen David "Randians are NOT rightwingers!" Neosporin check in to our common forum.


And reading his blog just isn't the same as the joy involved in reading his unhinged posts on primer. Where's the instant gratification of reading and responding to posts like this stridently ignorant piece of shit? Answer: there is none. It only qualifies for the "shorter" treatement, so here goes:

The 9/11 commission's conclusion that Czech intelligence was wrong about Atta is premature unless it has classified information which I'm too stupid to realise that special gvt commissions by nature possess. Also, the New York Times hates America; and considering the utterly damning post in the comments box, so too does Newsweek.

Sadly, his blog style makes for "nuanced" stupidity, whereas I wish for him to return to his old Primer style of over the top cretinism. But since he's a Randian, he can't be expected to do this for free! Which is why I, inspired by one of his juicier primer statements ("[Salvador] Allende deserved to be overthrown"), shall offer to purchase his reclamation of the former style with this perfectly apt:

tee shirt which is sure to be a hit with any Randian/"Libertarian"/Authoritarian dipshit worth their considerable weight in sticky-paged Friedman tomes. As an added inducement, I do believe that this shirt may be made in China.

That's right, bitch, you can't resist.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


Via Baseball Primer, Toronto Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado is a conscientious citizen.

Small wonder that Puerto Rican native Delgado shows little patience today for the flag-waving, pro-military pageantry seen at major league games since the Sept. 11 terror attacks and U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

While the conflict in Iraq and the problems confronting Vieques are separate issues, they are also intertwined. That's because the fishermen, farmers and shopkeepers of this island unwillingly paid a huge price so the U.S. could certify the weaponry used in Iraq.

An especially cheery post from Allahpundit.

...if I want to be governed by leftist Jew-haters, I'll stay home and vote Green Party.

Incidentally, you know what would be funny? If Ralph Nader got hit by a car doing about 80 miles an hour, and his head ended up stuck in the front grill, and as his life ebbed away his eyes focused for a second -- and it turned out to be a Corvair. Can you imagine? Which is not to say anyone should try that; for Christ's sake, people, we're talking about a Corvair here. You could get hurt!

All in all rancid enough, but the last paragraph, a witless sneer the staleness of which goes back nearly 40 years, amply demonstrates why the author finds most of his support comes from Texas: mere tastelessness won't do, enough time must pass for his audience to get it.

From Alterman, Charles Pierce lays into Hitch:

You're Christopher Hitchens, right, and it's Friday night, and so far this week, you've performed on a show hosted by an ax-grinding charlatan named Joe Scarborough, and then Mr. Murdoch's startlingly advertising-free little magazine has published an essay you've written about Bob Dylan in which is contained no evidence whatsoever that you've ever actually LISTENED to a record. Joe Scarborough's sidekick and a check from Murdoch for being the hippest guy in Squaresville. What's next on our intellectual journey? Healing lumbago in Iowa on The 700 Club?

Well, Charles, don't you know? Obviously someone was trying to establish moral equivalence between Dylan and Woody Guthrie. It just will not do.

Again via Unfogged, we learn that the government has paid for our Knights of The Highway to be trained as spies and informants, and what a stellar job they are doing:

The Department of Homeland Security this year gave $19.3 million to the American Trucking Associations, which is based in Alexandria, Va., to recruit a volunteer "army" called Highway Watch. So far, 10,000 truckers have signed on to become amateur sleuths.

"We got a terroristic phone call the other day," she said, "but it turned out it was just the boyfriend of an employee."

After the session in Little Rock, two newly initiated Highway Watch members sat down for the catered barbecue lunch. The truckers, who haul hazardous material across 48 states, explained how easy it is to spot "Islamics" on the road: just look for their turbans. Quite a few of them are truck drivers, says William Westfall of Van Buren, Ark. "I'll be honest. They know they're not welcome at truck stops. There's still a lot of animosity toward Islamics." Eddie Dean of Fort Smith, Ark., also has little doubt about his ability to identify Muslims: "You can tell where they're from. You can hear their accents. They're not real clean people."

Alrighty, then. But is it a case of hiring the tweakers to watch the methlab?

WASHINGTON - Government background checks of foreign airline crew members and truckers licensed to haul hazardous materials in the United States turned up 38 with possible terrorist connections, Homeland Security Department officials said Tuesday.

I doubt it, unless there's a way to concoct a bomb out of crusty Hustler mags, a coffee-stained Rand McNally atlas, a bottle of ephedrine, an Eat Shit And Die bumper sticker, and a half case of Mountain Dew. These guys can't even light their own cigarettes without melting their hats half the time, so I'm suspicious of their expertise at demolitions.

Sully thinks he's found a "poseur", which makes for a satisfying case of projection.

From the fake poseur (as opposed to Sully's genuine article):

[Clinton] does it with a light touch. "Unfortunately, my relationship with Bill Bennett didn't fare well after I became President and he began promoting virtue for a living." "Vice-President Dan Quayle said he intended to be the 'pit bull terrier' of the election campaign. When asked about it, I said Quayle's claim would strike terror into the heart of every fire hydrant in America." Clinton is even gracious to Barbara Bush, a vicious old bag in pearl sets who could've given Angela Lansbury notes for her role in The Manchurian Candidate.

This is straightforward, spot-on, and hardly ostentatious. As for Sully...

--Edited for insult embellishment.

Yes Yes Thank You. Thank You So Much

"IraqWarWrong" helpfully clarifies (permalink broken) the "infamous" Burrito Analogy.

Oh. My. God.

Via Unfogged, Secretary of State Colin Powell.. well, he... oh just look for God's sake.

The original BBC story is here.

What next? Dick Cheney donning purple fur and patent vinyl as the Martin Gore clone in the White House Depeche Mode tribute? Don't these fools know they are sending a mixed message to their homophobe constituencies? Do they not get it? It now wouldn't surprise me a bit to see Richard Perle, in assless chaps and a dog collar, ride out in a custom tomahawk missile-equipped Harley to belt out a few choice cuts from "Defenders of the Faith".

--Update! The incomparable Sadly, No!
has a video of the concert
, which is just Seb's way of one-upping me since I beat him to the story.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I Know Aaron Burr And You, Mr. Dick Cheney, Are No Aaron Burr

From the comments section at Obsidian Wings, Jim Glass makes a good point in answer to David Brooks's specious claim that "polarization in America is a cultural consequence of the information age."

Oh, no... Polarization is natural in our politics and was *worse* all the way back to George Washington's administration, which was a bit before the information age. And I mean *inside* his Adminsitration, with Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams et. al. engaged in constant consipiracies to destroy each other, literally, by blackmail, bribery, honey traps, government-paid-for libel sheets etc. all justified by their conspiracy theories about each other. And that wasn't even a case of the in-party versus the out-party.

I mean if you think things are shrill today, ask yourself: when was the last time a sitting Vice President shot his top political opponent dead then returned to the Senate to preside?

The last paragraph, of course, refers to Aaron Burr's murder of Alexander Hamilton in 1804.

Which gives food for thought. It also makes Retardo brainstorm on yet more ways to polarize!

Is Dick Cheney even half as cool or half as decent as Aaron Burr, who perforated 10$ Bill Man's liver on Weehawken Heights?

Sadly, No! Sadly, Nie! Sadly, Non! Sadly, Nyet!. Ahem. Lemme try this again. Fuck, no!

So let us compare Vice-President Aaron Burr, Murderer, to Vice President Dick Cheney, who on the surface may seem only blandly menacing.

Aaron Burr had the cajones to take up his ye olde flintlock pistol and blow Hamilton's guts out.
Dick Cheney, after a lifetime of bunker-dwelling and adopting other habits of the C. Montgomery Burns lifestyle, would probably like to "Weehawken" his enemies, but insists on keeping his hands clean. He does just as much as he can get away with.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr's only child, his daughter Theodosia, was brought up in an enlightened way by Burr, especially considering the chauvinist times. As such, Burr was what could be called a proto-feminist.
Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian; his administration hates homosexuals. His party, and clique within that party, have been traditionally against feminist causes like the ERA.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr was corrupt in that, since he was always broke, he often weaseled enough money from the government and benefactors to cover his ass, or save his home from forclosure.
Dick Cheney/Halliburton/Iraq.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr was known as a ladies man, a rakish charmer.
Dick Cheney could barely get laid in an AEI brothel crammed like a sardine can full of Peggy Noonan clones.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr was considered charming, elegant, exquisitely mannered, the epitome of "good breeding".
Dick Cheney is obviously choleric, gruff, sullen, vituperative. He has all the charm of rancid stumpwater.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr, in his farewell to the Senate, gave what was considered to be the finest speech in that forum's history up to that time and some time after.
Dick Cheney's idea of eloquence is a hastily dictated memo to Halliburton shareholders. There's also his penchant for scary tete-a-tetes with timid reporters in his "darkened lair" to incoherently rant about the New York Times.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr blew his considerable inheritance outfitting his own regiment in the Revolutionary War, where he saw action and served honourably.
Dick Cheney doubtless blew something. At any rate, he did not serve in Vietnam, yet has been a diehard hawk throughout his whole career.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr's political career was annihilated by Thomas Jefferson.
Dick cheney's political career will be crushed by John Kerry.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr (and A. Hamilton, for that matter) entertained notions of going west and carving a kingdom between America and Mexico, which Burr eventually, and controversially, attempted.
Dick Cheney entertained notions of hegemony over the oil of the Middle East which he eventually and controversially attempted.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr was partly done-in by professional scoundrel General James Wilkinson.
Dick Cheney employs professional scoundrels like Scooter Libby and Elliot Abrams, and he's pretty scoundrel-like, himself.

Advantage, Burr.

Aaron Burr kissed babies whilst working the crowds.
Dick Cheney sacrifices infants to Cthulu on a stone altar in the WH Rose Garden.

Advantage, Burr

Aaron Burr took great care to meet and converse with the great minds of his day, like Jeremy Bentham.
Dick Cheney is satisfied to meet The Hamburglar as long as he gets a campaign contribution or a stock option out of it.

Advantage, Burr.

And so on.

So, obviously, Aaron Burr, murderer, who was tried for treason and lived out his old age in disgrace, was still a more honourable public servant than Dick Cheney. That's our history lesson for today. USA! USA! USA!

*I could go on, but I'm lazy. And no, I didn't research this a bit, so if I got anything wrong on Burr you can tell me in comments. If you think I'm wrong on Cheney, well, you can blow me.

From The "Nice" One

I'm a little weary of so many lefty bloggers brandishing Tacitus their token "decent righty". Maybe it's his faux-brahmin style that fools them; his William F. Buckley-Of-The-Blogosphere schtick may be music to the ears of wingnuts, but lefties should well know that behind the affected, chilled prose, the original article was a raving nutball on many issues.

Not to beat around the bush, rightwingers like Tacitus, whose style implies measured, nuanced thought, often give themselves away in weak moments. Their style's a sham, a device; beneath it lies the extremity that is so familiar elsewhere.

I want to also mention that I've seen Tacitus at work in different lefty comment sections, and his manipulation skills are exquisitely rodentine. He correctly notes that the attitude most guaranteed to set lefties off in frothing paroxysms is that of smug condecension. Anticipating the result, he is then ready to admonish a lecture on tone and civility, and it has been noted in the last couple of days what hypocrisy and bad faith (Kristoff, Brooks) has lain behind the many calls for a more civil, less polarised dialogue. What's just crash landed into the collective conscious of the blogosphere has actually been Tacitus's bread & butter for years now.

Fuck him.

I don't think any of us on the GOP side actually want a thriving nutball movement led by the likes of Saint Ralph (to say nothing of the detestable Greens) and his assorted fringe fellow-travelers. We foster them on the assumption that they will remain forever on that fringe, or at least affect the policy debate so little as to not cause worry to those of us who like America more or less as it is.

(My Emphasis)

I imagine, with the Democrat hatred of Nader at full pitch right now, that this will go over easily. But it's easy to think that Tacitus thought the same thing of Nader and Greens in 2000 or 1995 or whenever.

perhaps it's a hyperbolic metaphor, but seeing the GOP sponsor Nader to beat the Dems calls to mind the Israelis sponsoring Hamas to beat the PLO.

(My Emphasis Again)

Notice the "perhaps", skillfully employed as both a weaselword and an intensifier; it simultaneously serves the purpose of softening the insult, or qualifying it. He can fall back on either, which is the beauty of it. And the insult itself is ample enough to anyone but ..huge, considering what he thinks of Israel, Hamas and the PLO.

Maybe the hardcore Kerry crowd won't much care that Tacitus "perhaps hyperbolically" compares Hamas to Nader and the Greens, but they ought to care that he "perhaps hyperbolically" compares the Democrats to the PLO, if they consider what he thinks of the PLO.

You May No Longer "Thrill Me With Your Acumen"

So long, Backblog. You've been nice to me but I'm gonna use Haloscan now.

Unfortunately I've now lost the sweet comments from Tgun, polyethylene, and Julia I've recieved over the last year, as well as the nice words of encouragement from Michael Humphreys.

To the roughly half-dozen people who've read my stupid commentary, empty promises, and incomplete essays over the last year, Thank You.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

It's The Yankees: What Do You Expect?

Illness strikes Satan's Team:

Kevin Brown was diagnosed with intestinal parasites, joining Jason Giambi as the second member of the New York Yankees to test positive for the ailment this week.

Tapeworms? Hookworms? Heartworms? Stupid AP, be more specific!

Considering that this is the Yankees and all, it's small wonder that some of their players harbour parasites of awesome, chthonian grotesqueness. After all, such things happen when one's boss is a petty autocrat, a Nixon fan, and certified intimate of Lucifer.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if some Yankee does a John Hurt-in-Alien thing and explodes a wriggling ghoul out their gut whilst corking their bats, scuffing their pitches, or microwaving kittens, as it is well known that Yankees are wont to do.

Starring Richard Perle As Destro

link (Reg. Req. goddamn it)

In another sign that the war in Iraq has permeated virtually all aspects of life in America, your hometown ball club will introduce the major leagues' first patriotic giveaway of this era — a G.I. Joe action figure.

The Minnesota Twins will present Duke, "the calm and determined battlefield commander of the G.I. Joe team,'' to the first 5,000 children at Monday night's game against the Kansas City Royals as a way of honoring local military personnel.

But while the Twins hand out more freebies than sample day at the grocery store, this rock-jawed promotional trinket with resolute stare and Popeye forearms will meet some resistance from fans blowing through the Metrodome airlocks.

"I think the Twins are way off base with this idea,'' said John Varone, a Vietnam veteran and president of the Twin Cities chapter of Veterans for Peace. "For gosh sakes, the last place we need to promote war is at our national pastime.''

The Twins say Joe isn't glorifying war, but celebrating the efforts of servicemen and women. As part of that mission, the team asked Duke's maker, Hasbro Inc., to remove the customary gun from his side, bringing him in accordance with the Metrodome's no-gun policy. Hand grenades are still visible.

Well, I'm FOR a resurrection, of sorts, of GI Joe, though bringing back Mutt and Junkyard would be tacky considering Abu Ghraib. At any rate, I suggest we get on with a geuinely interesting exercise:

Conservative - Cobra Command Equivalence Action Figures

Ann Coulter is, of course, Baroness.
Major Bludd = Michael Ledeen
Destro, with his mask a hardened scowl, perfectly mimics the immobile but somehow simultaneously melted visage (and the EVIL behind it) of Richard Perle.

Run of the mill Cobra Troopers are like Seb's discoveries, Brian Cherry (Qualified Expert: NATO and Warsaw Pact small arms; "literary sticks") and Justin Darr (Qualified Expert: Nato small arms; sling shot; kazoo; price-label gun; pallet jack).

Though Adam Yoshida would no doubt like to be compared to Storm Shadow, unfortunately I know that he can barely manage to throw his Happy Meal boxes a few feet from his desk (think of Jeopardy! George Will's pitching technique), so no ninja star equivalents for him; in fact, considering this post, Adam's going to have to settle for being garden variety Cobra thug Firefly's equivalent.

So, who/what are YOUR recommendations? Plenty of Cobra characters are left, here is an incomplete list.

Update -- The folks at Primer started a discussion on the original Pioneer Press story.

Vinay at Primer posted this link listing all the characters. See also here.

Update Update -- Remember those retarded Public Service Announcements at the end of the GI Joe cartoon? They're here, slightly altered.

It All Makes Sense Now

Wonkette blogs that Laura Bush is actually a robot.

Could Laura look any more like an animatronic replica? From this pic, it seems less like Bush was going for a kiss than a full restart. Or is he just trying to hold her head on? We await further accounts.

Who knew that Enron had a robotics division? At any rate, it makes sense now: she seemed just too decent to be with that loser.

One imagines a younger GWB filling out the order for the LauraBot model:

Let's see, Hair? ..Brown, full of body. Lactation? MMmm, Evan Williams from one teat, Saudi sweet crude from the other. Lips? thin, Yaleish. Voice? Hmm, Pat Benatar or Tammy Wynette? Can't I git both? Bush? *giggle* I'm a "landing-strip" kinda guy... I have to remember to check the "blowtorch inside mouth" option.

Then they accidentally send him the beta model of Pimpbot5000.

Yeah, Good Luck With That

Via Wonkette, the Hollywood Reporter gives the lowdown on Michael Moore's competition.

Hubbard currently is negotiating to show two films critical of Moore.

The first is "Michael Moore Hates America," made by newcomer Michael Wilson and funded partially by Brian Cartmell, who made a small fortune when he sold his Internet domain registration company, eNic, to Verisign.

I bet that'll be a box office smash. But then it doesn't have to be for it's going to be shown in a festival in Dallas which is
bankrolled primarily by some "big-time conservative donors."

Yeah, I was wondering what Sciafe had been up to lately now that his bank account has recovered from Ann Coulter's last binge of hormone treatments and poopstache moustache removal. Guess I know now.

So why have a couple of lawyers from Texas created a film festival? "I've always been interested in the cultural and political messages in film," Jim Hubbard said. "To be frank, whenever there is such a message, it's liberal. For 40 years the left has had a near monopoly, and we're going to counter that."

Oh come on. The rightwing has been plenty represented in Hollywood in the last few decades. There's Billy Jack, and Darth Vader; that kid in Apt Pupil suffices for the NRA crowd; and let's not forget Dirty Harry and Gordon Gekko. And everyone knows that George Lucas created Emperor Palpatine to weld the actions of Richard Nixon with the looks and mannerisms of Norman Podhoretz. Whiners.

Goodies From Leiby


[Mario] Cuomo, who was retained by the distributors, said, "I don't have any magic power that deludes people into doing things they don't want to do. I'm just a citizen who wanted to make the case." As for his other qualifications, he noted, "I was invited to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States by Bill Clinton."

Yeah, I've been reading Stephanopoulos's book the last couple nights, part of which detailed the story of Clinton's offer to Cuomo. Though the two didn't get on, the job was Cuomo's. He waffled as much as possible before finally turning it down. What a mistake that turned out to be, for everyone.

[Senator Joe]Biden [D - Dupont, MBNA] recounts in the new Rolling Stone:

"I turned to Vice President Cheney, who was there, and I said, 'Mr. Vice President, I wouldn't keep you if it weren't constitutionally required.' I turned back to the president and said, 'Mr. President, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are bright guys, really patriotic, but they've been dead wrong on every major piece of advice they've given you. That's why I'd get rid of them, Mr. President . . .' They said nothing. Just sat like big old bullfrogs on a log and looked at me."

Excellent, if blunt, advice.

General Glut suspects that in a Kerry Presidency, Biden will become Secretary of State or Defense, but I'd say that the above quote shows about everyone that Biden is no diplomat - Sec. of State is right out. He'd be perfect for the Defense Dept, though.

My view of Biden is heterodox. He's a plagiarist and drug warrior, and his ambition is naked even by Washington standards. But then he tore John Ashcroft a new one in the Senate hearings last week. His attack on Bush for "leaving" Iraq was beyond stupid, yet my girlfriend has met him and thinks he's all right.

Dick Cheney Needs Your Help

Kerim at Keywords shares the ultimate Nigerian spam/scam letter.





Just Like Clarence Thomas, Only Japanese And An Economist

This sort of shit just writes its own posts.

Headline: "Pervy Professor's Upskirt Inspections Expose Cracks In Pillar Of Society"



It's old, so old I can't remember where I got it, but here's Michael Berube's dossier on Dinesh D'Sousa.

My favourite D'Sousa moment came a few years ago, when I watched him start to visibly moisten (or tumesce, who knows) on Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect". Another panelist had said, strictly en passant, something mildly flattering about Ronald Reagan. This went over well enough, but D'Sousa seized upon the name. "Reagan, ooohhh, Reagan!" in a tone that was beyond cooing and far beyond fawning: it was straight out of a Barbara Cartland novel. The crowd started laughing their asses off, and you could even tell that Maher was torn between being embarassed for D'Sousa and wanting to point and laugh at him, himself.