Okay, but is that Dick Sergeant, or Dick York? (Ismael Roldan/ WSJ Online)
Los Angeles. Isn't That Where Michael Jackson Lived Out His Twilight Years A Free Man? Whatever you think about Roman Polanski, there's this: the legal record stinks, the sudden request for extradition stinks on ice, and if we can't come to the conclusion that prosecutorial misfeasance is a more fundamental problem than any crime then a System where basement pot growers get 5-10 and war criminals get book deals is actually better than we deserve.
Pressed for an explanation of why it ignored so many earlier opportunities that had extradition been a Trademark they would have lost it, the LA DA's office coughs up "a list of actions and queries by which it had monitored his travels in at least 10 countries"--an astonishing annual rate of ("at least") 0.294 countries per, though we are merely raising the curtain--"including what appeared to be a near miss, when officials relayed a request for information from Israel about a visit in 2007. 'Polanski had left Israel and was not arrested,' by the time the information arrived, said the advisory. " Right. The Modern State of Israel, eager extraditors of childhood survivors of the Warsaw ghetto. Damn! Just missed him. On the Will Ferrell/ Adam Sandler That's the Fucking Best You Could Come Up With For The Trailer? Scale, this one rates "funnier than anything that's ever been in a Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler trailer, though not funny ha-ha".
Speaking of Israel, who knew the Times had two military experts on the Op-Ed pages? Certainly no one who read them back when Iraq and Afghanistan were Bush's war. And isn't there some sort of codicil to Godwin about mentioning Joe Lieberman in the context of US foreign policy? No? Okay, isn't there still such a thing as common sense? Joe Lieberman never met a proxy Israeli war he didn't like, and he's sure never met a real one he didn't embrace wholeheartedly, and how much better off is everyone who's taken his advice? Motherfucker couldn't even win his own primary, and he's the Conscience of American Foreign Policy, Blowing Up People Division?
These guys realize they can't really ever bring up Iraq--there will, of course, be a collective attack of the publicized fantods when it's "discovered" there are still US troops in Iraq after "Obama's" timetable has been exceeded, led, of course, by people who shouted "Cut and Run!" so much they were rendered hoarse for the entire second half of 2005--so the inexorable pinning of Bush's other Colossal Poodle Fuck on the President--who, mind you, accepted it in 2007, when he and the crew decided he'd better not look too anti-war--precedes apace. And suddenly--oh, do sit down for this!--what a General has to say about the situation is Holy Writ. Bear in mind that this is coming from the people who helped tie weights to Eric Shinseki's legs before Bush reassigned him to Atlantic Command, Sargasso Sea.
An Iraq-style Surge won't succeed "unless Obama has the stomach for it" says Aspiring Honorary Looey Bird Colonel Douthat--who's still young enough to enlist, by the way--which sorta somewhat raises the question of what was in George W. Bush's gut all those years, but no matter. When this leftover We Weren't Allowed To Win excuse-mongering starts turning up in people who not only weren't born when the Vietnam war ended, but weren't even born when the excuses they now adopt started flying, it's Officially Too Long. Apparently the key to becoming a Librul-Media Approved "Conservative" Mouthpiece is wearing your father's old ties in anticipation of them coming back into style now and then.
Speaking of the Times, it's time (evidently) for the latest installment of The Search for the Unified Theory of Boboism, in which David Brooks tries yet again to mate the G.I. Joe of his Fiscal Imperialism to the Inner Barbie of all those times hippies laughed at him in grade school. Oh, if only, if only! those tacky Culture Wars would vanish, like all forward-thinking people wish they would so they wouldn't be forced to constantly ignore the Troglodytes they eagerly bedded down with from 1980-2005 as the surest way to keep our Plutocracy safe. Because, y'know, Brooks has had nothing to do with the Culture War. Just a front-line correspondent. That guy slobbering all over Irving Kristol's burial suit a week ago? Wasn't Dave. (I love, by the way, the idea that because neocons, as a group, are rather remarkably amoral, even for bureaucrats and people who do their Thinking while Tanked, they are some how not simultaneously tiresome moralizers of the David Brooks type.)
Speaking of people who keep their morals in their wallet, right next to the posed snapshot of the model family that came with it, and which they whip out and claim as their own whenever anyone mentions "wife", "huge, bulging envelope of talcum powder, ostensibly sent through the mails", and "empty quart of Chivas Regal" in the same sentence: the latest "Mitch 2012" fantasy (h/t Porrofatto) covers the same Incredible Shrinking List of Accomplishments; it's interesting that he's now touting Wait Times at the BMV instead of Number of Toll Roads Sold, but whichever, it's Still Mitch:
Perhaps most appreciated was the governor's overhaul of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. It's gone from one of the worst in the country—a place, he says, "where people would take a copy of 'Crime and Punishment'"—to one of the best, with an "average visit time of seven minutes and 36 seconds."
Because, first, Crime and Punishment isn't all that long; maybe it's just the first thing that pops into a Republican Brain. Second, I've been patronizing Indiana's license branches since 1970, and the time the wait really became unbearable was--you're still sitting down, right?--during the first two years of the Daniels administration, when a failed retail exec tried to turn them all into Pro Shops, and when they rushed the new computerized system online without adequate testing or backups. Computerization is part of the speed up (from a personal standpoint it's been fairly remarkable, but then I'm in Indianapolis, so the Daniels administration couldn't just close my branch--one of its early cost-cutting strokes of entrepreneurial ratiocination--and I can generally go at off-hours). So too the fact that what used to be a major source of long wait times--getting stuck behind car dealers who were licensing a dozen vehicles at a time--has now been eliminated by having dealers print their own, and by the related point that, under Daniels leadership of the Federal, then the state economy, fewer Hoosiers than ever can actually afford cars, excepting maybe the ones who still build them thanks to the bailouts Mitch opposed. (Another little part of that remarkable average visit time is that they don't start running the clock until you've gotten to see the branch receptionist, which is a bit like counting your stay at the Doctor's office from the time he finally walks in the exam room. Not to quibble. My visits are faster now, sure 'nuff. But if you want to make this a hallmark of your management style [Hog the glory. Attribute it to your Big Brain. Ignore the fuckups. Ignore anything complex. Raise lots of money to get the word around.] then I think it's at least fair to note that my Core 2 Duo Mac runs rings around the Motorola-driven IIsi from 1992.)
The Toll Road sale has fallen off the self-promotional campaign literature shelf--after it briefly reappeared when the Macquarie Infrastructure Group's potential bankruptcy brought Team Daniels out to shout "We're Getting It Back, Plus We Get To Keep the Money!" long enough to drown out any real questions about what that might mean in, y'know, the real world--because the smaller interest revenue than expected (blamed on "the bad economy", as though you couldn't foresee any rough patches over the next 75 years) now won't cover the escalating costs and suddenly small, non-inclusive details, like, oh, building materials, for the big I-69 project we couldn't survive the next three-quarters of a century without. Not to mention--since he won't--the Family and Social Services Administration swindle, $1 billion to thoroughly fuck up the state's Medicaid, Food Stamp, Aid to Dependent Children, Vocational Rehabilitation and Mental Health Services--which the Big Cranium'd Daniels Administration is still paying for at 100 cents on the dollar, even though the thing is so screwed no one can say when it might meet its standards, and even though it's so bad that Republicans in America's Third-Worst State Legislature, Now In Permanent Session!™ are getting antsy.
Anyway, nobody looking in from outside could really imagine that Mitch Daniels sporked his way to a $1 billion surplus. It's the balance before all the bills start coming due, including the ones he sloughed off on county and municipal governments. It's strong first quarter numbers at the expense of voters not yet old enough to vote. It's a crock.
Anyhow, I realize the GOP doesn't have much going for it these days, and if you add Without Visibly Packing Heat it's practically nil, but if you'd like a blueprint for the Non Culture Warrior, Mr. Brooks, take our Bonzai Governor. Please. Steers clear of them hot-button issues all right. Unless you're one of those people who think congenital lying is a moral issue.