Thursday, July 25

Fun With Monogamy, Vol. MMCDLXXXI

TELEVISION Blitherer: The baby's name will be George Alexander Louis. 

My Poor Wife: Damn! I was hoping for “Dakota”! 

Wednesday, July 24

You’ll Never Believe It

“I don’t read Reason magazine.”
-Mitch “Cut and Paste” Daniels

NO, that’s not Reason’s ad campaign for this fall, though the way things are going they might consider it; it’s former genius Mitch Daniels trying to extricate himself from the plagiarism scandal he started while trying to extricate himself from last week’s book burning scandal.

Evidently Daniels released a statement last week which seems to’ve borrowed copiously from two publications: yet another anti-Zinn obit from 2010 in Reason, and a  press release from Stanford concerning Professor Sam Wineburg critique of Zinn. The Wineburg quote was later excised from Daniels’ statement, after Wineburg complained, saying, “I have criticized Zinn but will defend to my death the right to teach him. Shame on Mitch Daniels,” on the Twitter thing.
Excerpt of Daniels’ first statement defending his criticism of history Howard Zinn, sent to reporters on July 17: 
“No one need take my word that my concerns were well-founded. Respected scholars and communicators of all ideologies agree that the work of Howard Zinn was irredeemably slanted and unsuited for teaching to schoolchildren. 
“Arthur M. Schlesinger said, ‘I don’t take him very seriously. He’s a polemicist, not a historian.’ Socialist historian Michael Kazin judged Zinn’s work as ‘bad history, albeit tilted with virtuous intentions’ and said the book was more suited to a ‘conspiracy monger’s website than to a work of scholarship.’ Reviewing the text in The American Scholar, Harvard University professor Oscar Handlin denounced ‘the deranged quality of his fairy tale, in which the incidents are made to fit the legend, no matter how intractable the evidence of American history.’ 
“Stanford history education expert Sam Wineburg cautioned that exposing children to a heavily filtered and weighted interpretation such as Zinn’s work is irresponsible when ‘we are talking about how we educate the young, those who do not yet get the interpretive game.’ 
“Many more such condemnations by persons of political viewpoints different from my own are available on request.” 
Excerpt of Michael Moynihan’s Reason magazine article 2010: 
“Much of the criticism of Zinn has come from dissenters on the left. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. once remarked that ‘I don’t take him very seriously. He’s a polemicist, not a historian.’ Last year, the liberal historian Sean Wilentz referred to the ‘balefully influential works of Howard Zinn.’ Reviewing A People’s History in The American Scholar, Harvard University professor Oscar Handlin denounced ‘the deranged quality of his fairy tale, in which the incidents are made to fit the legend, no matter how intractable the evidence of American history.’ Socialist historian Michael Kazin judged Zinn’s most famous work ‘bad history, albeit gilded with virtuous intentions.’” 
Excerpt from 2012 Stanford University press release quoting Stanford education professor Sam Wineburg on Howard Zinn’s work: 
“Wineburg writes that a heavily filtered and weighted interpretation becomes dangerous when ‘we are talking about how we educate the young, those who do not yet get the interpretive game.’”  
Excerpt of Daniels’ statement, still dated July 17, as it appeared on Purdue University’s website Tuesday: 
“No one need take my word that my concerns were well founded. Respected scholars and communicators of all ideologies agree that the work of Howard Zinn was irredeemably slanted and unsuited for teaching to schoolchildren. Arthur M. Schlesinger said, “I don’t take him very seriously. He’s a polemicist, not a historian.” Many more such condemnations by persons of political viewpoints different from my own are available on request.”
Anyone who’s ever graded a paper recognizes the technique. It’s not even a question. It’s sloppy, at best, and it wasn’t at the service of convincing the paper-grader you’d read the assignment; this was the President of a major uni…, I mean, Purdue, trying to defend an idea he shouldn’t have had in the first place. (Not to mention one which, as we noted last week, he rather obviously didn’t have before he read Sneering Haberdashery Republican Roger Kimball’s Zinn obit in the National Review. That led Daniels to tell his henchmen that there were “errors on every page” of A People’s History.)

So we had Mitch Daniels trying to use the power of the state to censor teachers, and professors, over a book he’d only heard described, and which wasn’t in use anywhere among Indiana public schools, insisting, first, that he was only speaking of secondary schools even though the entire conversation revolved around changing standards for an education degree, then taking examples from two pieces in order to prove that Zinn had been criticized. By Even the Liberal Arthur Schlessinger, Jr. Of course he had to swipe examples. How was he supposed to sound like he knew what he was talking about?

By the way, this is the eight-year history of the state of Indiana under Daniels’ governorship. Except for the part where he gets called out for what he said and did.

Wednesday, July 17

Little Man

SO Mitch Daniels, former CEO of Auction Indiana, Inc., appears to’ve been a little more interested in education reform than previously suspected:
Emails obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request show Daniels requested that historian and anti-war activist Howard Zinn's writings be banned from classrooms and asked for a "cleanup" of college courses. In another exchange, the Republican talks about cutting funding for a program run by a local university professor who was one of his sharpest critics.

The emails are here and here. In case you’re blissfully unaware of Indiana politics, “Tony Bennett” was Daniels’ education henchman, and such an egregious turd he lost his bid for reelection in a Republican year in Indiana.

Now, at the risk of shocking some readers, I’m not completely surprised to learn that Mitch Daniels was a petty tyrant, an intellectual lightweight, a Bill of Rights hypocrite, nor a vindictive runt. I’m sure he comes off a little worse simply because the A.P. was not able to obtain his detailed supplemental list of the errors “on every page” of A People’s History.

I would just like to take a moment this AM to point out a couple things. First, Daniels refers to Zinn “finally” passing away; apart from the standard display of Daniels’ class and wit, it suggests that his familiarity with Zinn had begun less than a week earlier, with Roger Kimball’s piece in the National Review. Daniels even appropriates Kimball’s “textbook of choice in high schools and colleges across the country” line, a classic example of how anti-fluoridationist hyperbole becomes established fact the moment it reaches a pair of ears.

(I will admit, under the circumstances, that I frankly admire Daniels’ ability to get through the thing in just six days, while taking notes, seeing how occupied he was at the time with paying for someone else’s coal gasification plant, half-completing I-69, and finding reasons to avoid testifying in the FSSA suits and countersuits.)

The salient point, though, is Daniels’ reaction when a series of emails detailing efforts to get the recently discovered and deceased Zinn out of the education curriculum at state universities: he insisted he was talking about K-12 only.

Anybody ever read a standard K-12 history book in this country? Dear God, they’ve been watered-down Chamber of Commerce pamphlets since Mitch Daniels was knee high to…I mean, since he was a lad. The introduction of Howard Zinn to Indiana classrooms (Daniels’ hench-emailers found nary a copy) would improve the teaching of history no matter what you think of what he says. Hell, Howard Stern would improve our secondary History curriculum.

This isn’t about free speech, or Daniels’ Randian dedication to it, though that’s plenty enough for starters. It’s about the Nixonian dishonesty at the heart of education “reform”. It’s about the wingnut echo chamber where even “reasonable” Republicans reside. It’s about the fact that you can somehow get an Ivy League education and not understand the concept of research.

On a personal note, once the quarter-stick-of-dynamite Freedom fireworks Daniels let into the state stopped blowing up last night, it got so quiet I thought I heard the Purdue faculty laughing its collective asses off. And the prolonged celebration of the Fourth reminded me that Howard Zinn "finally" died as a veteran of WWII. When it comes time to piss on Mitch Daniels' grave that, fortunately, won't be an issue.

Sunday, July 14


I KNOW two things about juries: I don't want my life or my liberty decided by one, and I don't want my sense of justice in the hands of one.

I don't think anyone with a sense of the history of this country imagined that justice was going to come out of that Florida jury. Put another way, Trayvon Martin received the full measure of American justice. Yesterday completed it. George Zimmerman is the model American. George Zimmerman is the fucking walking embodiment of America: we've got the gun, and the guy we don't like the looks of is supposed to jump when we say jump. And then, we it all goes wrong, we change the rules, congratulate ourselves on a job well done, and pretend it never happened.

There was never going to be any justice for Trayvon Martin come out of that courtroom. His chance for justice was killed by some mope who wanted to assume the moral superiority of the small-town bully cop, with none of the restraints. If he didn't die a mean and meaningless death, let that be for the one reason that's left him, and his parents: that what should die with him is the witless song and dance about this country being "over" its racist "past". 

Tuesday, July 9

Tuesday Olio: Summer Rerun Edition

• In 2006 the homicide rate in Indianapolis skyrocketed. In 2007 we accidentally elected a new Republican mayor, in no small measure because of the furor over the previous year’s murder rate.

We’re off to a record-breaking summer, as they say in the ad biz, up 60% from last year, poised to smash that record season. So much so that the local teleprompter readers have not been able to ignore it, the way they’ve ignored the rest of Mayor Gomer’s record. Indianapolis’ murder rate per 100,000 residents is now higher than Chicago’s.

It was my Poor Wife who’s pointed this out to me, my own memory being what scientists call “shitty”: during 2006 the climb to the new Homicide record was followed like the progress of a moon landing. Every station had a Homicide Graphic to go along with the daily count, which was announced, well, at least daily.

Today record-keeping has gotten a little sloppy. There’s no denying the problem, not when they’re finding multiple murders on a daily basis. But the scoreboards have been taken down.

Back then the issue was the city’s deep hole over police and fire pensions. The force was reduced. Democrat-Republican Mayor Bart Petersmythe signed onto a local option tax—set up by the state legislature—to pay down the debt. The proto-Teabag Republicans screamed about tax hikes. Right up to the day their man Gomer was elected. He’s kept it around to pay for other things.

Today the issue is the number of cops on the street; Indianapolis has about 75% of the force suggested for a city its size. The (Democrat-Republican controlled) City-County Council wanted to use $6 million earmarked for streets for a one-year effort to increase the number of new officers. Mayor Gomer vetoed it, and last night the Council failed to override that veto.

Meanwhile, the Gomer Plan, which was to simply shuffle assignments around and hope for some good numbers, gets touted as an actual Plan by the locals. He was on all four networks last night with a plan that would increase the number of Academy recruits in 2016. This was repeatedly referred to, on two channels I saw, as “in a couple years.” We not only need recall elections in this town, we need the right to recall news teams.

• Meanwhile, I got to catch some footage of Lance Armstrong entering some mountain bike race, and thanks so much. This on a channel, one of four, which can’t be bothered to mention that the Tour de France, the major event in what’s left of professional cycling after Juan Pelota, is presently entering its second week.

And I don’t blame them for ignoring it, because Americans who made that goon into a national hero don’t care anymore. But covering Armstrong entering a race somewhere was like breaking the story that a tertiary-syphilitic Al Capone had taken up home brewing.

• Speaking of which, I caught up with a woman on the Trail this morning who was decked out in yellow, and, just as I feared, it was some of that Armstrong “charity” finery. I wanted to ask her if she’d like to swap it for my Aaron Hernandez jersey.

• Last week USAToday ("The Nation's High School Newspaper") asked whether fans would ever forgive cycling for the Armstrong/Strongarm/doping era. They interviewed a couple of team managers who said, essentially, “Of course.” Then Team Sky dropped an entire field of professionals the first day in the mountains, and that social media thing exploded in accusations.

Team Sky got roughed up the following day, all except team leader/sure bet Chris Froome, which caused me not to twitter “I guess they’ve learned how to look like they’re not juiced.” So much for the question. If you fucking cheat you’re a fucking cheater. This is why fucking cheaters should be exposed, no matter how much money they have to throw around. Nobody who paid any attention at the time thought that Armstrong (and, yes, much of the rest of the sport) was clean.

• Which just put me in mind of Bashful John McCain, demanding some more of that US unilaterally magical action in every Middle Eastern country save one. Being exposed as a liar doesn’t make you right.

Wednesday, July 3

Your Victory Celebration Was Gauche. The Only Thing That Will Redeem It Is Giving Up.

Kathleen “Pulitzer” Parker, "Wendy Davis shouldn’t be sainted for her filibuster".  July 2

JEEZ Louise, I was gonna stop-and-frisk this thing, then I realized that this  was quicker and more effective:
The abortion conundrum is further complicated by the dishonesty of our terminology. Simplistic phrases such as “pro-life” and “pro-choice” distort the complexity of how most people feel.

Parker takes 623 words to get there. Here are fifteen of them:

• "a woman’s right to destroy an unborn child"

• "flaxen-haired damsel"

• "Pro-abortion rights folks"

Nope, no complications there.
One may wish to leave unfettered a woman’s right to do anything to herself, even if it means destroying her own offspring, but shouldn’t one be at least somewhat discomfited? 
Instead, we celebrate.
This bit of disingenuousness is forty years old, and for forty years it’s been recognized as disingenuous, but Kathleen Parker thinks it might work if we try it again.

C’mon, it looks like a baby. C’mon, compromise. You can trust us. Look at me. I mean, I’m willing to compromise on gun control. It’s just that that wouldn’t work.

Thursday, June 27

Thursday Olio: 20 Years Ago Is Not Ancient History Edition

• So Monday Indianapolis was under terrorist attack, and the local news hairdos were beside themselves, so much so that it’s still difficult to straighten out what exactly happened from everything else that was reported, blurted, or thought out loud. In the early morning hours a security guard spotted a backpack, minus a back, at the Federal courthouse. (It's officially the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse, so named to remind us that at some point they're gonna start naming shit for Dick Lugar and Mitch Daniels, and it won't stop.) The Bomb and Backpack Squad blew it up. It was said to have contained legal fireworks and illegal marihuana, yet another mark of just how fucked our priorities are. I’m assuming they determined this before blowing it to smithereens, though this raises the question of why exactly you have to detonate legal fireworks in order to prevent them from going off.

Then, that very afternoon, a woman walked into the Federal building, which is distinct from the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse, which you know because this one was named for Sherman Minton and Homer Capehart. It was built in the 1960s because we were tired of having the Circle be the ugliest building in the world.

In case you think I was exaggerating.
The woman placed what was most likely a cardboard tube on the X-ray conveyor belt, though it has alternately been described as a package she placed in the little plastic trays that hold keys and such, and, of course, as a backpack. Security personnel thought the package was suspicious. Which it was, in a sense, since it too seems to’ve housed legal fireworks. The woman was taken into custody. The building was evacuated, including a daycare, and why th’ fuck do we still have daycare centers in Federal buildings? The package was detonated in the street by the Bomb Squad, on what must have capped their most exciting day ever.

This was in late afternoon; by the Five O’Clock News the teleprompter readers were as jumpy as if gas prices had gone up 10%. All of this (and more! and more!) was reported, except for the fireworks part. “Suspicious package” was all they were saying. The woman had not been charged. The fact that she had not been charged, along with the fact that she had evidently of her own free will placed this Suspicious Object or Terror Tote on the X-Ray conveyor, and the fact that the cops had rather summarily detonated the thing in the public streets did not register with any of the hairdos. Somehow no consequential part of a story ever does if it might have an anodyne effect on Pure Fucking We’re Under Attack Panic Reporting.

News that the second object was, yet again, the sort of legal terrorist device the World’s Third-Worst State Legislature™ made more plentiful and more powerful in the wake of 9/11, because Freedom, sorta came out later. By the next day the whole Incident was forgotten, except to the extent that Channel 8 did a close-up examination of just what the Bomb Squad does, and how they make 800 runs a year, which means we need more of ‘em. This was how you knew that somewhere up the chain of command someone is in charge of making sure that no one ever starts thinking seriously about any of this.

The Perp was simply forgotten at this point, evidently still uncharged with carrying the sort of explosive device the state doesn’t want anywhere near our public officials, but doesn’t mind you being forced to listen to every fucking night of the week, 365 days a year. Why it is no one asked her what was in the tube, or why she wanted to bring it into the Federal building, or why she couldn’t have simply explained this to the security personnel and everyone gone on about his or her day was of absolutely no interest. How many of those 800 runs involved grocery sacks left on picnic tables or purses left in airport waiting areas (all of them) was never revealed, even though, y’know, if any of them (2.1918 per day) did actually involve explosive devices it presumably would be on the fucking news.

I’m going to say this once again: the reason Barbara Walters, a real estate hucksterix with a serious speech impediment, was placed in the anchor chair of a major network news program, back when the country actually watched the news, was so they could see just how much they could get away with. And the answer was a resounding Anything.

• I know I’m supposed to concern myself with serious things, for the most part anyway, but 1) the bile is still rising over the Voting Rights Act decision; ask me again next week; and 2) DOMA was a piece of crap, Prop 8 was a procedural decision; I’m thrilled for anyone who now can marry the person of his or her choice, the way God intended. Those people will not be in Indiana, at present, and the Jim Rockford 180º the Indiana Republican party is about to do as a result will be about as much fun as one can have as long as there is an Indiana Republican party running things. (In fact, if you wanna know just what sort of political fix they're running at the Court these days, consider that the Indiana General Assembly, and newly-minted Governor Mike "Deacon" Pence, punted on putting the No Homo Nups amendment in front of voters this year because they needed to wait for the Court to rule. Meaning, of course, that even Indiana Republicans knew how the Court was going to rule.) But this is my point. DOMA, bad as it was, was a goddam skin ulcer caused by what’s really wrong in this country. What the Court did began to correct the sort of shenanigans the Democratic party is complicit in. When we start excising the source of all this I’ll dance in the streets. If you knew me you’d realize that’s no idle threat.

• So, instead: someone first tell me what exactly Paula Deen has to be all weepy about? Loss of contracts and damage to a brand. What th’ hell touched her otherwise? Not the sort of thing casual, mindlessly-accepted racism has done to millions of her fellow human beings in her lifetime. What are the waterworks for? It’s not fair to hold her accountable because she was born in 1947? “In my defense, I was only twenty years old when Martin Luther King was murdered?” It’s only reasonable to give her thirty or forty years to’ve realized racism was wrong?

And I don’t care; the whole thing’s a question for the people who made her a public figure, then profited on it, and those people are worse than backwoods racists: they’re utterly amoral privateers. She’s a pure creation of the Jab It In Your Eye mentality, the same thing that markets .22s to five year olds, or Rick Perry (et. al.) to primary voters. The Food Network was hoist with its own petard. Leave us pray for a world in which being butt ignorant is not a mark of pride, where racism is unthinkable, where debasing regional cuisine is a criminal act, and where the Food Network isn’t presently in meeting trying to figure out how to make a buck out of all the racist commenters it attracted with her firing.

Monday, June 24

The Bottomless Bottom Of The Barrel

OKAY, so better men than I have already dealt with this David Gregory character. I’d just like to add a point raised by his secondary dickishness:
Well the question of who's a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you are doing.

I don’t recall any Second amendment discussions on Meet the Press that revolved around what qualifies as a musket.

Friday, June 21

The Sorry State Of American Public Relations

OKAY, fine, so maybe you don't have much to work with with Paula Deen (you might still have taken care of this before it came to people pounding her line of cookware into worthless hunks of metal in the aisles of Target). But Mike Allen's office?

No one thought to blame this on Clinton staffers?

Thursday, June 20

The Only Tool You’ll Ever Need

Fareed Zakaria, "Obama's Syria policy is full of contradictions".  June 19

I USED to think that the only useful service Fareed Zakaria served was as a walking, talking embodiment of the twin contributions of Ivy League brainpower and professional journalism to modern American political life. (Unless, say, you’re the Cheney administration and need the closest thing to Reasonable and Serious you could find to validate your execrable foreign policy program. Fareed Zakaria. For Those Times when Judith Miller Just Isn’t Enough.™) Then last Thursday he turned up on The Daily Show in John Oliver’s first week as guest host, to help prove that Jon Stewart isn’t the only thing wrong with that show.

Anyway, Hey, Kids! Enjoy being totally oblivious about Vietnam, and pretty much the rest of US foreign policy since 1946? Well, have we got an argument for you!
In the debate over U.S. intervention in Syria, there is a striking, almost bizarre mismatch between ends and means. We want to defeat a ruthless and powerful regime, rescue a country from civil war and usher in a new democratic political order. But those seeking this outcome also believe firmly that we must never consider committing U.S. soldiers to the fight. “The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground in Syria,” Sen. John McCain said recently.

Yeah. Y’know what else is an “almost bizarre” mismatch? 1) Those stated ends and whatever we could reasonably expect to happen at best, given even a cursory examination of “history” or “reality”. 2) Those stated ends and the generalized anti-Arab, religiously pro-Israel agenda that drives it, especially from people who wanted to take Damascus just as soon as we wrapped up that little problem with Saddam Hussein. 3) Things John McCain says and anything which takes what John McCain says seriously.

Okay, so Beltway insiders want to continue the tub-thumping they’ve been doing since Quemoy and Matsu, but in the short-term they’re unable to dribble in a US fighting force, because, after Iraq, “accomplishing nothing”, or “losing” temporarily has a bad name. Thanks for the analysis.
When asked the U.S. objective in Syria, some proponents of intervention say it is to end that country’s humanitarian nightmare. But in the short term, arming one side will increase the violence and bloodshed.

That would be a real dilemma, if anyone was really serious about that “humanitarian” horseshit.
That’s fine if it serves our real objective,

Provided we’re still 6000 miles away.
which is the ouster of the Assad regime, a nasty and evil dictatorship. But that is a negative objective. The lesson of Iraq is that defeating Saddam Hussein — whose regime was perhaps even worse than Bashar al-Assad’s — was only a stepping stone to an outcome.

When (if ever) do we get to the part about “not lying about your fucking objectives” being the lesson of Iraq?
Our goal for Syria is a democratic country where all sects can live in peace. Achieving that would require a lot more than the defeat of Assad; it would require an occupation of sorts to ensure the creation of a suitable political system.

An occupation of sorts.
We attempted just that in Iraq and, despite a massive, decade-long effort that cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, Iraq today cannot be described as either genuinely democratic or multiethnic. (The international intervention in the Balkans was also followed by a decades-long occupation, which continues to this day in Bosnia.)

Thanks for the faux balance, old chap. The international intervention in the Balkans, spearheaded by the Europeans, arguably prevented thousands of deaths in ethnic warfare. The war in Iraq, courtesy the Coalition of the Willing, dismantled a half-functioning society and replaced it, after a decade, with a half-functioning society minus thousands of its previous members. While eradicating its fully-functional nuclear weapons program. At a cost of only a couple trillion, depending on who's counting (Nobody). Otherwise they're identical.
Put another way, we want an outcome in Syria that is even more ambitious than the one in Iraq — yet we intend to achieve it through a “no-fly” zone.

Put it another way: we're still talking about occupying and democratizing a Middle Eastern country. Hallucinating the means is small potatoes compared to that.
In the mid-1980s, the scholar Samuel Huntington pondered why the United States, the world’s dominant power — which had won two world wars, deterred the Soviet Union and maintained global peace — was so bad at smaller military intervention.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that its Ivy League scholars could imagine the US “won” either World War, “deterred” the global machinations of a Soviet Empire which couldn’t manage to feed itself, and “maintained global peace” by starting a war every 2.4 years on average.
Huntington concluded that we rarely entered conflicts actually trying to win. Instead, he reasoned, U.S. military intervention has usually been sparked by a crisis, which put pressure on Washington to do something. But Americans rarely saw the problem as one that justified getting fully committed. So, we would join the fight in incremental ways and hope that this would change the outcome. It rarely does.

Huntington also concluded, rather famously, that “the answer” to our little imbroglio in Vietnam was to use such massive force that the South Vietnamese population would be driven into centers of population concentration, thereby depriving the rural Marxists of fecund rurality.

Worked like a charm.
(More recent conflicts where we have succeeded — the 1990 Persian Gulf War, Grenada and Panama — were all ones where we did fight to win, used massive force and achieved a quick, early knockout.)

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Grenada? Panama? Dear god you fucks are desperate to claim expertise. What were we doing in Korea, playing for a tie? You do understand that the only way the United States could have used “unlimited force” to “win” in Vietnam or Korea was the use of nuclear weapons, right? Or use conventional warfare to defeat the fucking Chinese in China? Defend those ideas, then. You can’t even say this shit unless you know absolutely nothing about what you’re talking about.
One of the U.S. Army’s most intelligent officers...

God help us.
Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster, wrote a study of the Vietnam War that detailed this error. He described Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 plan as one of incremental pressure that “depended on the assumption that the limited application of force would compel the North Vietnamese to the negotiating table and exact from them a favorable diplomatic settlement.” The strategy, McMaster noted, was “fundamentally flawed.” The enemy is fighting to win — not playing a negotiating game.

McMaster’s been praised for doing precisely what he did not do: uncover a structural deficiency in the Johnson administration which led to an incorrect application of force in Vietnam, a war we otherwise would have “won”. He topped this off, Mr. Zakaria, by accusing Robert McNamara of treason, for the egregious act of not doing what H.R. McMaster thinks he should have.

This is worse than stupidity; it’s dishonest stupidity. McMaster didn’t discover this shit. It was understood at the time, a time when, by the way, he was busy soiling diapers. Johnson found himself in a situation that wasn’t of his own making. He was President of the United States during the Cold War. No President of the United States in the 50s or 60s was going to stand up and tell the nation that the threat of the Soviet Union was vastly overblown, nor that it wasn’t bent on enslaving the Free World. Nor was he going to explain to the American people that the Vietnam wasn’t a war of Soviet Aggression, but the overthrow of a corrupt and evil European colonial system, one we’d been given the chance to eliminate after WWII and instead had propped up. Temporarily. Contrary to all our stated humanitarian love of democracy. You wanna know who dribbled our way into quagmire in Vietnam, go look at who was screaming about “losing” China fifteen years earlier.

It was a war of political machination. The only way you don’t have a war of political machination in Vietnam is to not have a war. Johnson concluded he couldn't get away with that. And he was right. The ridiculous and evil Catholic mandarins would have fallen, and this country would have proceeded to shit itself for a decade. Especially its Beltway insiders and Ivy League scholars. And brilliant general-officer analysts. Do you fucks realize there were people in this country still insisting that Ford "do" something about the Fall of Saigon?

And that’s just the top of the manure pile. Even assuming it was possible to assemble a million combat troops and send them simultaneously into Vietnam, along with a bombing campaign which would have made Nixon blush, and even assuming (against direct evidence) that this would have guaranteed a “win” (defined how? Keeping Diem in power?), suggesting that Johnson should have, or could have, done so without consideration for the global ramifications is playing War like playing Risk. It’s not analysis. It’s masturbation.

This shit was understood at the time. It gets promulgated now because there are people who believe, unshakably, that it is impossible for the United States to’ve won two World Wars but lose to a bunch of peasants. But the Vietnamese had been fighting invaders for hundreds of years. They kicked the Chinese out. They humiliated the French. They were superior, experienced fighters, well-trained and well-led. And they were well-supplied, too. Not because of the Soviets (that came later, after the Reds saw us step in it), but because of all the weapons we sent into the country to install democracy. Not that that should bother you now.

The most odious thing about this is that it’s our history, it’s the plain lesson we’ve been taught over and over again, from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, and gets ignored because some people would rather not hear it. (Which reminds me, I don't hear McMaster slagging Truman, or Bush.) Some, in fact, would rather talk about Grenada and Panama, like those are a guide to occupying Middle Eastern countries. And may I add, Mr. Zakaria, that it’s especially galling coming from someone who was convinced at the time of the wisdom of that very same approach, by the same arguments, by George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld?

Tuesday, June 18

Oh, That’s Different Then

TESTED by fire:
“Some people say, ‘Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney,’ ” Mr. Obama told Charlie Rose on his PBS interview show.

Barack Obama is not a raving liberal. Dick Cheney is merely ravening. Or was. Now I think he’s just rabid. At any rate, those things are neither equal, nor are they the twin poles of our political existence.
“Dick Cheney sometimes says, ‘Yeah, you know, he took it all lock, stock and barrel.’ My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather, are we setting up a system of checks and balances?”

Well, I think it’s always a good idea to mention Dick Cheney if you need to draw attention away from yourself. I'd have advised Putin to do it over that Super Bowl ring business, myself. But, please, “intelligence gathering” and “checks and balances”? Sure. And appoint Stevie Wonder Secretary of Elephant Descriptions while you’re at it.
In perhaps his most expansive explanation of his surveillance policies since leaked documents exposed a pair of secret programs, Mr. Obama said he had made important changes from the policies of George W. Bush, including making sure that surveillance was approved by Congress and a secret foreign intelligence court. “But I think it’s fair to say that there are going to be folks on the left – and what amuses me is now folks on the right who are fine when there’s a Republican president, but now, Obama’s coming in with the black helicopters,” he said.

Was this really the first you’ve heard about the black helicopters? I know you’re busy an’ all.

And, yes, yes Sir, the freakin’ Bush administration wanted to do this crap while bypassing the rubber-stamp FISA courts altogether. You’re still better than him. Congratulations.

Saturday, June 15


“I THINK it’s good we’re having this discussion” ought to be the official motto of the Democratic party. It’s got everything required: it conveys a lack of backbone over the most serious issues, a willingness to meet hardcore insanity halfway before working on a compromise, and it won’t fit on a bumper sticker.

As usual, I ♡ Pierce:
No. The manifestation of "the security age" that is presently under discussion began [on 9/12], but "the security age" as we know it began during World War II, with the Manhattan Project, and it really got rolling after the war, when the Russians ended up with the bomb and there was hell to pay here. Garry Wills is right in his book Bomb Power. It was the combination of those weapons, and the military-industrial complex that produced them and against which Dwight Eisenhower was right to warn us, that embedded "the security age" in the institutions of free government, and it has operated like rot and termites within them ever since. Everything since has been just technology. The impulse toward "the security age" has been present at almost every level of law enforcement, let alone the military. A lot of The Patriot Act was made up of proposals that had been gathering dust on the shelves of the FBI for years and that then got swept into a bill nobody read before they voted to approve it, and most of those proposals were aimed at curbing drug trafficking, and what is the "war on drugs" but an elaborate performance piece of "the security age."

I will go to my grave believing that Lyndon Johnson really had no choice but to escalate US involvement in Vietnam, because in 1965 no President was going to tell America it couldn’t win a war. The fact that Johnson understood that it was, indeed, a war that couldn’t be won is what makes him my candidate for sharpest man to hold the office since FDR.

Which is why that doubly isn’t an excuse. The political “reality”—that is, the unreality of the Cold War mentality—should have been made the handmaiden of concrete reality. Instead Johnson oversaw an operation which of necessity included demonizing everyone who chose to tell the truth. And which led directly to Richard Nixon being put in charge of the thing, and if anyone’s ever untangled exactly what it was Nixon was up to in Indochina or, hell, anywhere, please let me in on the secret.

Johnson at least put principle over politics on Civil Rights; where would Barack Obama be today if he hadn’t? Not weaseling on the security state, or drone attacks.

Listen, I certainly didn’t expect the man to dismantle the Bush security apparatus, but then I'm enough of an optimist to believe that few people are as cynical as me. I’m not particularly surprised we still have Gitmo to kick around. This is the 21st century, and apparently damned near everyone of the President’s generation has faux balance for marrow. The little sidebar tale here of how the “worst” of post-9/11 “excesses” can be understood as the result of Understandable Panic is the lowest grade baloney. Americans love this crap. Americans love blowing shit up, and the further they are from harm’s way when it happens the more enamored they are. Where was the outrage here? Americans are fine with the G opening mail. They’re fine with pursuing possible criminality anywhere it leads, unconditionally, so long as it doesn’t include tax cheats. If someone had figured out a way to make airport searches actually shorten wait time, America would be demanding more anal probes, and helping undress grandma. Am I wrong? America didn’t sign over its Fourth amendment rights reluctantly after 9/11. America was half convinced Due Process was a commie plot to begin with.

No sir, I didn’t expect any particular courage or leadership from Barack Obama in the matter of the Bush-era excesses, let alone the fifty-five years that preceded it. He admired Ronald Reagan (“but not for his politics”). Admiring Ronald Reagan requires much the same thing that Orson Welles noted was required for a story to end happily: stopping it before it was over.

Okay, so by now it’s forty years too late, but what if a Democrat stood up and consistently called out the weenieness of our Chicken Little security state? Maybe then this wouldn’t be a country waiting for Rand Fucking Paul to figure something out.

Thursday, June 13

Don’t Look Up

I SPENT what’s known in the Middle West as the dinner hour last night with my one good eye on the local news. I say “one good” eye because the other was injured two days previous by a panicked box of saltines, which hurled itself off a shelf, from a height of 7 feet, 5 and one-half inches, later verified by a painstaking accident reconstruction, and slammed me in the right window of my soul, just under the ocular occlusor, fractionally before it had successfully occluded. With the corner of the fucking box. I’m thinking of starting a new blog devoted to the topic.

The effect was something like what might have happened if Buñuel and Dali had made Un Chien Andalou in 3-D. It didn’t appear to’ve done any real damage. It was no worse than a smashed finger or stubbed toe, except for the unsettling visual. Problem is that I have what the teevee pitchdoctor calls Chronic Dry Eye, which on occasion results in some piece of crud (“like cracked concrete,” my own doc explained) breaking loose and leaving the not-particularly-pleasant sensation of having something like a small burr in your eye which you cannot remove. This hurts like Hell, or like Hell on steroids, but is generally of fairly short duration. In fact, it’s practically unknown now that I’m on Restatis™, which I hope means the fine folks at Allergan, Inc. (NYSE: AGN) are about to cough up a month’s free supply.

Anyway, shortly thereafter it started to feel as though that cracker box had broken loose half the cracked concrete driveway of my right cornea; the resulting screaming terrified the cats, and woke my Poor Wife. I didn’t want to overuse the Restatis™, even though I’ve never experienced eye burning, redness, tearing, discharge, pain, itching, stinging, or visual blurring. I hoped that the so-called Liquid Tears stuff I sometimes used would help, but the bottle was empty. I drove to the drugstore with no depth perception, and stood there watering and cringing at the eyedrops section. My head was on my right shoulder, because downward-facing was the most comfortable position I could find, and I kept marching up and down the aisle when the pain got too bad; eventually I grabbed two products chosen mostly because the print was large, and drove back home. Help was minimal. Restatis, taken at its usual 12th hour interval that evening, did cause everything above except discharge. And relief.

I managed to sleep okay, with the help of an alcoholic stupor. I woke with that eye sealed shut, but it gradually worked its way loose. The pain had reduced to about 60%, with periodic episodes of excruciation. I was even able to get in my bike ride, and by the end it felt somewhat better. By evening I was around 80%, I’d say. I could still feel the point of impact, but the gravel had been hauled away.

Now, then: though I’d had symptoms, I never complained or even considered this Dry Eye business. It sounded like one of those problems the guy who invented the solution thought up, like breath mints for dogs, or cellphones. But it actually worked for me, and that email addy, in case you’re the Allergan rep for the Midwest, is

Such was not the case with my cycloptic news viewing. A major storm was developing over the upper Plains, and the potential for destruction was so great that the weather people decided to invent two or three terms so they’d sound more authoritative. It was a “derecho”. That is, on Channel 8 at least, it was a “derecho derecho derecho”, which was explained about a half-dozen times, or roughly once every fifteen times it was used. Then they broke into the Acronym vault. Significant Weather Alert Event (SWAE), Multiple Time Zone Possible Tornadic Activity Indicator (MTZPTAI), and High Electrical Energy Potential Valuation (HEEPV) were the three I imagined I’d heard before I remembered I had a good excuse to start drinking early.

"Derecho", about seven people thought to explain this morning, was coined in 1888. Bullshit.

We didn’t actually get any of that here; the actual event occurred in someone else’s market. I did wake with two eyes, in time to get the trash cans out, and to a hail storm which took them completely by surprise. Which, mind you, is a minor thing, even to someone as naturally irritable as myself. It’s just that the overloaded panic circuits and pretense of expertise far beyond anything justified by results sounded just like the NSA.

Eye’s fine today, thanks.

Monday, June 10

Oh, Well, If Marc Thiessen Says It’s All Right...

Marc Thiessen, "Big Brother Isn't Watching You".  June 10

LISTEN, weren’t these the guys who were just screaming about how it was First amendment apostasy for one guy in Cincinnati to do his job by asking Teabagging “social” organizations to fill out a little paperwork? Impeachable  First amendment apostasy?
The exposure of the PRISM program under which the NSA monitors foreign terrorists on the Internet, as well as the leak of a top-secret court order requiring Verizon to share calling data with the government, are incredibly damaging to national security. These leaks give terrorists information they did not have about our collection activities. They undermine the willingness of American companies to cooperate with us because these leaks have put their international reputations at risk. And they teach everyone — including sources and liaison partners — not to work with us because we cannot keep a secret.

Gott I’m Himmel, “giving terrorists information they didn’t have”? Is there any greater and ongoing insult to the intelligence of the American public than the National Security swindle? If you’ve simply got to convince us there’s a vast SPECTRE out there bent on wiping out the American Way of Life, the beneficent work of Capital, and the cuteness of puppies, couldn’t you start by sounding like you know what you’re talking about? Anybody who’s read a headline in the last twelve years knew all this. International Terra, Inc. is like some global network of irritable junior-high Facebook posters?

And “putting international reputations at risk”? It’s now revealed that we can’t keep a secret? You reveled in our use of international kidnapping and torture! For fuck’s sake, was that in the Chamber of Commerce brochure?
The Verizon court order shows that what is being tracked is not the content of the communications but the records of which phone number called which number, as well as the location and duration of the calls. In Smith v. Maryland , the Supreme Court held that there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy, and thus no Fourth Amendment protection, for the phone numbers people dial (as distinct from the content of the call), because the number dialed is information you voluntarily share with the phone company to complete the call and for billing purposes.

A 5-4 vote of the Burger Court (Motto: “You Think We’re Bad? Just Wait.”) in the early days of the As Long As They’re Arresting Bad People theory of law enforcement conduct. Suggesting that Smith has established Fourth amendment guidelines for all times and all further development of communications technology is, I think, a bit optimistic on your part. Not that I expect a return of Constitutional protections to break out any day now.

Funny thing, too: the right to intercept international transmissions (and not just the wrapper) has always been asserted since the Trans-Atlantic cable. So why all the insistence that Prism is super-duper black-letter law, plus we’ve got a warrant, and so, in conclusion, Don’t Worry About It? Hmmmmm? Some of us did live through the Nixon administration, Marc. The rest of you can look it up.
Why does the NSA need to collect all that data? One former national security official explained it to me this way: If you want to connect the dots and stop the next attack, you need to have a “field of dots.” That is what the NSA is collecting. But it doesn’t dip into that field unless it comes up with a new “dot” — for example, a new terrorist phone number found on a cellphone captured in a raid. It will then plug that new “dot” into the “field of dots” to find out which dots are connected to the new number. If you are not communicating with that terrorist, your dot is not touched. But the NSA needs to have the entire field of dots so it can unravel the network connected to that terrorist.

Yeah, the old “If You’re Not Doing Anything Wrong, Why Do You Need Rights?” routine. It doesn’t deserve an answer. The law enforcement “interest” in dot collection includes your browser history, and any dots you leave in your underwear. Because that’s how authoritarians operate. It’s why we so desperately need to hold people upside down and pour water up their noses, too. Only there’s not a single example of this working. I refer you, sir, to that administration you were a part of. Have a look at that Terror Alert Color-Coded thingy. Never raised before any international terror attack. Raised any number of times before…nothing. All the cloak-and-dagger shit in the world still leaves you with a coin-toss about its usefulness. And every, every extraordinary police power results in extraordinary abuses.
Unfortunately, some on the right are joining the cacophony of condemnation from the New York Times and MSNBC. The programs exposed in these leaks did not begin on Barack Obama’s watch. When Obama continues a Bush-era counterterrorism policy, it is not an outrage — it is a victory.
And when those programs are exposed by leaks, it is not whistleblowing — it’s a felony.
Well, gee, I guess y’all should have seen it comin’, then.

Thursday, June 6

Thursday Olio: Friendship Goes Only So Far Edition

• It has recently come to the attention of the alabaster town fathers of Carmel, Indiana, Indianapolis’ “Bicycle Friendly”, but snooty, neighbor to the north, that some people ride bicycles fast. In particular, they do so on the Monon Trail, the Rail-Trail project which, if memory serves, scads of angry Carmel property owners fought when it was first proposed, on the grounds that a) it would lead to undesirables crossing into Hamilton county without so much as a traffic stop, and b) the rather novel legal argument that government-granted railroad right-of-ways from the 19th century somehow reverted to people who bought nearby land eighty years later once the railroad wasn’t using them any more.

As these things tend to go, once the natural-born burghers realized that people using the trail sometimes dropped loose change, Carmel decided it loved the Monon. So much so that it chose to build its hulking, $45 million, Oh-no-taxpayers-won’t-pay-a-cent Elephant (appropriately White) of a Performing Arts Center right next to it.

Anyhow, they fell a little short of their goal of 100% private sponsorship to build and operate the thing, like by approximately all of it. And since, apparently, hosting a single Kansas show every July won’t cut it, they turn the parking lot into their Saturday Farmers’ Market.

Which means, if you’re a bicyclist who actually pedals energetically enough to make the bike move forward, the usual contingent of mazed pedestrians, stray dogs, and orphaned children is multiplied by about 50, and any remaining free space spackled over with elderly confusoids. I’ve ridden through it twice. I never will again.

But apparently someone with power was passed by a cyclist who didn’t doff his cap, or by chance appeared insolent, so there was introduced into the town council legislation which would create hefty fines for speeding, and which would ban cyclists from riding more than two abreast. It would also have shortened the permissible length of dog leashes to five/six feet, down from “100 feet of clothesline, give or take.” Scratch a libertarian, find an authoritarian. Hell, just growing your fingernails long is usually enough.

There was some objection to the size of the fine, and enough other concerns that the council handed the issue over to a judge, on the grounds that maybe someone who knew something about the law should look at it. And, as a result, Carmel now has two proposed ordinances on the floor.

And don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of asshole cyclists out there. But they are joined by people paying no attention to anything other than their cellphones, three-seater strollers strolling two or three abreast, and with the notion that a mother with children has the right of way in all cases, even that of absent-mindedly pushing the child directly into the path of a speeding vehicle. Half the people on that Trail at any one time seem to think they’re at a stupefyingly linear mall. (For that matter, in Hamilton county, half the people you meet look like they do not, or cannot, distinguish between “at the mall” and anywhere else.) Those people will suffer no legal consequence for their actions. They have not even had to suffer an 80-pound sign saying “Walk Attentively” to equal the one that says “Ride Slow” [sic] which has been placed two inches off the side of the trail now, in hopes some miscreant cyclist will slam into it.

As an illustration, here’s the illustration the Indianapolis Star used for the story:

though I suspect they posed it; in real life there’d be two Bouviers des Flandres. Twenty-five feet away. Being held by one of the girls.


The good news is that we know ass-kissing doesn’t cause cancer, else there’d be fewer Americans now than in the 15th century.

By the way, whatever happened to Republican complaints that in 2007 Candidate Hillary Clinton was treasonously conducting her own foreign policy by traveling to the Middle East?

Friday, May 31

The Happy Tiddler Winks

BEFORE the week is out we’d like to add a couple points about the Court’s refusal to hear Indiana’s appeal of its Planned Parenthood ban (which, somehow, didn’t have the Chilling Effect On Our Precious Right Of Free Speech that some extra IRS paperwork did). First, I think the Hoosier State once again leads the nation in money spent defending futile un-Constitutional gestures slapped down by even the last two generations of Judical Clown Shows, including the banning of violent video games, the confusion of bondage photographs and snuff films, an obscenity ordinance based on one which had already been laughed out of court, and the Indiana House’s pursuit of the First amendment principle of petitioning non-sectarian Jesus to stop by and help spend taxpayer monies.

Second, for those of you scoring at home, that leaves “Right” to “Work”, the half-built but fully paid for I-69, a wholly mistaken property tax “reform”, and convincing people that Turd + Sugar = Tootsie Roll as the last remaining “accomplishments” of the Daniels administration. Unless you’re counting what wound up in the pockets of his pals. As I know they are.

Finally, now might be a good time to remind ourselves that in 2005 then-Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter sent his investigators to a Planned Parenthood office with instructions to wait until some intern was covering the desk at lunch, insinuate that they were police officers, and seize records without a warrant. This was necessary, he explained, because his office was charged with policing Medicare fraud. Plus they were probably covering up the rape of thirteen-year-old girls.

Carter’s gang got about a dozen records; he conceded a legal battle for more about a year later. On his way out the door, in 2008, he tried to start up another investigation spurred on by FOX contributor Lila Rose, the female James O’Keefe (right down to the Pimp & Hoe get ups, at least outside).

We’re still waiting for the fraud and child endangerment charges, Steve. Just in case you’ve forgotten.

Monday, May 27

I Never Thought I'd See The Day When I'd Say "Gee, I Miss Bob Dole". And I Still Don't.

Daniel Politi, "Bob Dole: Ronald Reagan Wouldn't Make it in Today’s GOP". May 26

I LOVE this construction. Absolutely cannot get enough of it, whether it comes from Reagantots like Davids Brooks and Frum, who somehow went from late adolescence through middle age imagining that they were the sort of people running the Republican party, or guys like Dole, who watched from the distant vantage point of the United States Congress as Barry Goldwater took over his party, Richard Nixon marched it Southward, and Ronald Reagan booted his ass out of the primaries in 1980.
“I doubt it,” said Dole when Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked him whether “your generation as Eisenhower Republicans, moderate Republicans” could “make it in today’s Republican Party.” In fact, said Dole, “Reagan couldn’t have made it."

Whose work d'ya think Congressional Republicans imagine they're advancing? What, exactly, would Reagan be standing athwart these days, saying Stop? He wouldn't be an incontinent tax cutter today because political realities in the 80s forced him to raise some? Bullshit. He wouldn't have already spent a political lifetime delivering anti-immigrant one-liners? All he'd have to do is change "hippie" to "wetback" to update his material. He's the shining star of Anti-Government Patriotism; you mean to tell me he wouldn't be on the front lines now, just because he quadrupled the Debt in eight years back then? He did that by spending lavishly on big-ticket military items and reducing the size of the middle class. What, he'd be fucking shunned today?

I'm sorry, but if Reagan survived an assassination attempt today he'd have been photographed in his hospital bed waving George Patton's ivory-handled Colt. I will grant you this: he might well have managed to change his tune at some point on marriage equality, assuming he discovered he had a gay son or something.

But then Dole manages somehow to double down. (I guess that's in a Republican's blood):
"Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, because he had ideas."

Yup. Give the man his due, he was chockablock with ideas. None of which a Midwesterner would mention in front of his grandma. Except the ones involving blacks and Jews.

Still, ya know what? I have a feeling both of 'em would have found a way to adapt.

And I still wanna know one thing: where were all of you while this great change was occurring?

Thursday, May 23


SO Tuesday the FBI basically shut down the 25th floor of the City-County Building in Indianapolis for half a day, seizing records from the Department of Metropolitan Development. And the US attorney, Joe Hogsett, announced five corruption indictments, including the head of the Land Bank and one of its project managers, a former spokesman for Mayor Gomer F. Ballard, USMC, plus two operators of local non-profits and a real estate agent (for a company in which the Land Bank director was a silent partner). They're accused, variously, of bribery and wire fraud for a scheme which used the Land Bank, tasked with getting rid of the city's thousands of abandoned buildings, to cherry-pick properties to sell to the non-profits for pennies. They would then flip them quickly to developers.

This was, you might expect, fairly big news. Mayor Gomer went missing for 24 hours, though he was presumed safe. His mouthpiece at first tried to insist that Hizzoner didn't actually appoint the people who work for him, before rendering that comment inoperable, and allowing as how the Mayor was deeply troubled by the fact that this was revealed on his watch.

He resurfaced on Wednesday, giving reporters a chance to record his soundbite in a steady rain. But then Channel 8 went missing.

I watched a half-hour of the morning news. Took them twenty minutes to get to a simple recitation of the basic facts, that is, that the FB Fucking I had raided the seat of Indianapolis government the previous morning. I know, you have to give people two weather reports and three recitations of the two traffic accidents slowing the morning commute first, or they'll just get confused and stay home. And you need to tell everyone about Game One of the Pacers-Heat series, so the audience can remember that you can't be bothered reporting sports anymore, except as an act of civic boosterism, or to explain why professional sports clubs can't afford to do the maintenance on the stadia we built 'em.

Then I watched the first hour of the evening news. Zero mentions. [I should note here that I tried and failed somehow (old) to tape the last half-hour, so maybe that was wall-to-wall coverage and a thorough examination of the theft of taxpayer money. Yeah, probably.]

Channel 13 teased it on opening. Had a reporter out in the rain who actually asked Mayor Gomer a pointed question. Interviewed the Star's political reporter Matt Tully, who'd fairly called out the Mayor for his Tuesday disappearing act.

Oh, but 8, and its political reporter Jim Shella, the Dean (Broder) of Statehouse hackery, did manage to work in a political story or two:

• Indiana Teabag parties believe they may have been targeted by the IRS.

• Indiana Governor Mike Pence once co-sponsored a media shield bill in Congress.

•Indiana Governor Mike Pence pledges to complete the uncompleted half of the half-completed I-69.

•Indiana Governor Mike Pence probably has some idea where he might get the money to do that, but he'd as soon not be asked.

• Indianapolis is planning to make another Super Bowl bid, probably in the future.

• President Barack Obama is mired in scandalisms.

Okay, look, I understand. Free drinks aren't really free.

Friday, May 17

It's Okay America, The Guy Who Killed Cameron Todd Willingham And Then Tried To Impede The Investigation Is On The Case

VIA Pierce we hear that  the investigation of the West Fertilizer explosion has definitely concluded that something or other sparked the explosion. Quite possibly some sort of ignition:
WEST (May 16, 2013)—The State Fire Marshal's Office and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have identified three possible causes of the fire that caused the deadly April 17 fertilizer plant explosion in West, two accidental and the third intentional, officials said during a late afternoon news conference Thursday.
Investigators determined that the fire that led to the powerful explosion was caused either by a battery-powered golf cart that was kept in the fertilizer and seed building in which the fire started, the building’s 120-volt electrical system or by an intentional criminal act, said Robert Champion, special agent in charge of the Dallas office of the ATF.
Good news if you had "Either an Accident, or Arson" in the office pool.

Guess it might be good news, or as good as you're going to get, if you're trying to prosecute that West paramedic for making pipe bombs, also.
The total amount of ammonium nitrate on the site was about 150 tons, less than 270 tons that federal records indicated was stored at the plant.

Ah, so only 750 times the amount that was supposed to trigger the federal reporting they didn't do. Not the 1350 times reported earlier by the lying Media. What was all the fuss about?

By the way, the owner of West Fertilizer, Donald Adair, didn't get any mention at all. Damed Media; always ignoring the Jobs Creators.

Thursday, May 16

I Thought I'd Missed The Kickoff, Then I Realized That Was Sixty-Five Years Ago

I'VE been working on my bike tan, finally. I'm sorry that this did not result in the photograph it should have, that of a young woman in running clothes (everyone's in running clothes. People wake up, put on running clothes, then walk two blocks of the Trail to get a coffee, and walk back) holding her cellphone to her face as she wept openly. The picture was entitled "Why you shouldn't carry a cellphone on the Trail", but I didn't get it because I don't have a cellphone.

Anyway, it's been nice to approach Scandal Scandal Scandal from the perspective of Not Exactly Giving Two Shits. Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi!!!? First, it began on FOX News, which is itself a finding of fact. Second, since when are Americans supposed to be interested in something that has three consonants in a row? Finally, the only real scandal here is that had we listened to the wise counsel of the Republican party we'd have had thousands of boots on the ground in Libya, and none of this would have happened. If I remember correctly. 

The AP case? Yeah, I'm with you. Leaks? Welcome to Richard Nixon's America, those of you who may've dozed off for a few decades.

However, of all the things giving Jon Stewart the opportunity to show his principled bi-partisanship (what did the Daily Show staff do over spring break? They're still fucking hung over. My Poor Wife has already expressed her willingness to skip the recordings right over to Colbert) the one I'm down with is the IRS giving the stinkeye to Teabag slush funds for a good ten minutes before passing. Welcome, Brothers! Hey, before we begin, why don't you open your orientation materials to the 40 volumes entitled The FBI Ignores Organized Crime To Focus On Commie Celebrities? Then I'll need your signatures on this Apology Letter to the Rosenberg children. Glad to see you all made it out with your hats! 

Friday, May 10

From Transparent To Transparency

HEY, just thought I'd pop in to congratulate Indiana Governor Mike "Deacon" Pence for signing SEA 162 into law this week, a bill which will increase public knowledge of the workings of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, except for the stuff it's been lying about all along. The signing completes this year's efforts to get the Indiana General Assembly out from under all the Mitch Daniels Boondoggles it enthusiastically supported until the Bantam Menace left office. Well, there is still I-69, but you can't exactly expect them to rip a highway out of the ground when it's almost half-completed.

Besides, it's bad form to correct a project while it's being investigated by the Feds for land fraud.

The IEDC was the public/private partnership (on the standard model: public money and private deals) Daniels got the Legislature to replace the fusty old Commerce Department with, either because existing regulations would have slowed down his henchmen plucking the thing like a chicken, or because none of 'em thought of sticking "Freedom" in the title somewhere. The IEDC had a three-pronged mission: 1) make it sound like Mitch Daniels was ushering in an era of New Economic Leadership instead of Old Shady Dealings; 2) to hold the funnel while tax abatements and development funds found their proper mark, and to hold the microphone while the beneficiaries thanked Mitch Daniels for Indiana's great business climate; and 3) to exaggerate the Jobs created by such Creative Jobs Creation Events by at least a thousandfold. And as a result of the new law, Hoosiers will now be able to get a look at (2).

Pence had already brought back the Commerce Department without eliminating its doppelgänger, apparently on the grounds that you don't fire the cook until you've counted the knives. The original bill also would have required the IEDC to report specific job numbers for each company being suckled, but that requirement was dropped from the final bill after objections. From the IEDC.

Earlier this year the General Assembly effectively killed Daniels' Coal Gasification Plant deal (which, irony of ironies, had been eagerly supported by the General Assembly at the time) by reneging on its promise to make the project profitable in perpetuity. This caused our "partner" in the deal, Leucadia National, to announce that, under the circumstances, the project just didn't look profitable to them any more.

For some reason, no one mentioned the 600,000 jobs that will be lost.

Saturday, May 4

Kid Stuff

Kathleen Parker, "Prude or prudent? the debate over access to Plan B". May 3

ANYONE else wishing that the Bureau had shown 1/10th the public relations doggedness about the Anthrax Letter Bomber?

Anyway, "Pulitzer" Parker's fingerprints are all over this one:
They lost me at the word “women.”

Yeah, in 1971.
As so often happens in contemporary debate, arguments being proffered in support of allowing teenagers as young as 15 (and possibly younger) to buy the “morning-after pill” without adult supervision are false on their premise. 
Here’s an experiment to demonstrate.
Couldn't we have an example of the arguments you're demolishing first?
Question 1: Do you think that women should have access to Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, to be used at their own discretion? Yes! 
Question 2: Do you think that girls as young as 11 or 12 should be able to buy the morning-after pill without any adult supervision? Didn’t think so. 
Question 3: If you answered yes to Question 2, are you a parent? Didn’t think so. 
Perhaps a few parents answered yes to Question 3, but not many, I suspect.
Because nothing improves an experiment like providing the answers to your own questions. Unless it's admitting you're making shit up.
Yet, repeatedly in the past several days, we’ve heard the argument that any interference with the over-the-counter sale of Plan B to any female of any age is blocking a woman’s right to self-determination.

IKR? I had to roll up my truck window at a stoplight Thursday to drown out the group of ladypeople next to me chanting "Nine-year-olds are women, too!"
Fifteen-year-olds, where the Obama administration wants to set the limit, are girls, not women. And female parts do not a woman make any more than a correspondingly developed male makes the proud possessor a man.

Question 1: If someone says so-and-so "is acting like a child" do we assume he means a petulant 9-year-old? Yes! Or a sullen teenager? No!

Question 2: So is it possible that maybe "girl" is not an empirical category, but a cultural term whose meaning is determined by the circumstances? Didn't think. So.

This sort of public argument, where on one side we have a problem, and people trying to solve it, and on the other persons like yourself hurling imaginary noodles at a wall, is one of the reasons laws have to be specific. No one could possibly  think that one's fifteenth birthday, or fiftieth, confers some sort of wisdom. Dear God, how much time do you have to spend around the average 18 or 21 year-old before you despair of the future of the race?

But, then, how much time do you have to spend reading WaPo opinion pieces to despair of the present? Child! seems to be your only argument here.
The dominant question is legitimate: Even if we would prefer that girls not be sexually active so early in life, wouldn’t we rather they block a pregnancy before it happens than wait and face the worse prospect of abortion?

Ah, yes, the Reasonableness Ploy. "Sure, sure, the world is in such a sorry state these days that my moral pronouncements no longer magically solve things, as they used to. So meet me halfway for admitting it."
The pros are obvious: Plan B, if taken within three days of unprotected sex, greatly reduces the chance of pregnancy. If a child waits too long to take the pill, however, a fertilized egg could reach the uterine wall and become implanted, after which the drug is useless. 
You see how the word “child” keeps getting in the way.
Yeah, because you keep throwing it out there.
There’s no point debating whether such young girls should be sexually active. Obviously, given the potential consequences, both physical and psychological, the answer is no. Just as obvious, our culture says quite the opposite: As long as there’s an exit, whether abortion or Plan B, what’s the incentive to await mere maturity?

Twelve words. That's how long the Reasonableness Ploy can be sustained before we get to Sex Education Turns Girls Into Sluts.
What about the right of parents to protect their children? A 15-year-old can’t get Tylenol at school without parental permission, but we have no hesitation about children taking a far more serious drug without oversight?

Y'know, we just spent a week hearing how most five-year-old gun owners behave responsibly...
These are fair questions that deserve more than passing scrutiny — or indictments of prudishness. A Slate headline about the controversy goes: “The Politics of Prude.” More to the point: The slippery slope away from parental autonomy is no paranoid delusion. Whatever parents may do to try to delay the ruin of childhood innocence, the culture says otherwise: Have sex, take a pill, don’t tell mom.

Once and for all and forever, Ms Parker: you've heard this argument since puberty, as I have. It's well past time to quit pretending that we're having a moral disagreement about teen sex. It's time to quit pretending that the Evil Sexualizing Culture isn't your culture, one you celebrate when it's producing consumer crap those "children" can't live without. Or, for that matter, those guns you can't keep track of. Go fight with the 1950s. Go picket 7-Eleven for carrying Playboy. Times change. Life moves on. Sex is now widely seen as enjoyable.

Better yet, go tell the parents. Go tell 'em that your argument against "ineffective" gun control laws goes double for social moralizing aimed at controlling a pastime considerably more popular than shooting people. At least in most countries. Go tell 'em that if they want to avoid having a fifteen-year-old daughter who needs Plan B they should have one with access to birth control and the knowledge to use it. Tell 'em if they want a "child" who isn't sexually active they should stick to rearing something they can spay or neuter at a young age.

Thursday, May 2


WON'T someone please overlook the children?
“Down in Kentucky where we’re from, you know, guns are passed down from generation to generation,” Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said. “You start at a young age with guns for hunting and everything.”
What is more unusual than a child having a gun, he said, is “that a kid would get shot with it.”
Y'know, there're more seat belts than there are people thrown headlong through windshields, too.
Phelps, who is much like a mayor in these parts, said it had been four or five years since there had been a shooting death in the county, which lies along the Cumberland River near the Tennessee state line.

Let's holster the self-congratulations, Your Honor. The population of Cumberland county in 2011 was 6,832. That gives a death by gun rate of 0.0037%. In 2011 New York City's was 0.0072%.
“The whole town is heartbroken,” Phelps said of Burkesville, a farming community of 1,800 about 90 miles northeast of Nashville, Tenn. “This was a total shock. This was totally unexpected.”

Not by the rest of us it ain't.
White said the shooting had been ruled accidental, though a police spokesman said it was unclear whether any charges will be filed.
“I think it’s too early to say whether there will or won’t be,” Trooper Billy Gregory said.
You leave a kid in the car here while you run in the 7-Eleven for smokes, and not only will she be in the custody of Child Protective Services by the time you get back, and you in handcuffs, you'll be the lead story on the local news.
“It’s a little rifle for a kid. ... The little boy’s used to shooting the little gun,” White said.

Let's be fair: you can't expect a five-year-old to distinguish between proper and improper targets every time.
The company that makes the rifle, Milton, Pa.-based Keystone Sporting Arms, has a “Kids Corner” on its website with pictures of young boys and girls at shooting ranges and on bird and deer hunts. It says the company produced 60,000 Crickett and Chipmunk rifles for kids in 2008. The smaller rifles are sold with a mount to use at a shooting range.

The only five-year-old who needs to kill birds or deer is one who needs to eat them, too.
According to the website, company founders Bill McNeal and his son Steve McNeal decided to make guns for young shooters in the mid-1990s and opened Keystone in 1996 with just four employees, producing 4,000 rifles that year. It now employs about 70 people.

So much for "generations" handing down cherished weapons. The real tradition here is Jab It In Your Fucking Eye, which dates to 1964 or so.

There's nothing about sensible gun regulation that would take one bit of "tradition" away from you people. And nothing is what will bring back that little girl, or repair that family. You have been sold a load of shit, with a free side order of cultural resentment. Will anything teach you any different?

Saturday, April 27

The Sound Of One Man Clapping

Charles "Merkwürdigeliebe" Krauthammer, "The Bush Legacy". April 25

YOU wanna know how awful the human condition is? While I was opening this I actually entertained a small notion that Chuckles here might let Dubya have it right between those close-set smirky eyes.

I mean, really, what did he have to lose? Karl Rove wouldn't return his calls for two days? He wouldn't get invited to Crawford? What? Like George Eff Will, Chuckles occasionally says something sane just to make it sound like he thinks things over. The Republican party, if there is such a thing, doesn't need Bush. It sure didn't for its last two conventions. Scoring a 5% increase in Bush "approval" ratings means squat. And in exchange you own two wars, a huge national disaster, one global economic meltdown facilitated by your core beliefs, and enough hapless decision making and malevolent intentions for twelve Trump reality programs.

The desire to palliate is strong. Especially when the disease is incurable. Ladies and Gentlemen, George W. Bush.
Clare Boothe Luce liked to say that “a great man is one sentence.” Presidents, in particular. The most common “one sentence” for George W. Bush is: “He kept us safe.”

Oh, fuck. I mean I thought it was "Oh, fuck."
Not quite right.

Okay, just for the record, this did not get my hopes up. Even in the salons of D.C., let alone Fred Hiatt's Petting Zoo, "Not quite right" is not a polite synonym for "Absolute fucking bullshit."
With Bush’s legacy being reassessed as his presidential library opens in Dallas, it’s important to note that he did not just keep us safe. He created the entire anti-terror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe.

It's a funny thing: the people most likely to tell you that "History" will decide a thing--usually a thing whose current reputation they don't like, or are responsible for in some small way--are also the first ones to tell you some PR spasm or transient tic on the face of public discourse represents a thoughtful reconsideration.

By the way, the "anti-terror infrastructure" has been in place, in various forms, at least since the FBI started hunting spies and Fifth Columnists in the 30s, and the umbrella placed over the damn business during the Reign of Error--namely, the Department of Security, Preparedness Drills, and Surplus Military Hardware Reallocation--was something Bush opposed when it was first thunk up.
That homage was paid, wordlessly, by Barack Obama, who vilified Bush’s anti-terror policies as a candidate, then continued them as president: indefinite detention, rendition, warrantless wiretaps, special forces and drone warfare, and, most notoriously, Guantanamo, which Obama so ostentatiously denounced — until he found it indispensable.

Yeah, to his eternal shame, at least once History gets ahold of him. Fact is, though, that Candidate Obama's anti-Bush terror policies stance always seemed more than just a little facile, more than a little forced, and conspicuously vaporous. He's also the candidate who wanted hot pursuit into Pakistan.
Quite a list. Which is why there was not one successful terror bombing on U.S. soil from 9/11 until last week.

And that's entirely correct, except for the part with words.

And how you play with them. There was the University of Oklahoma football stadium bombing in 2005, which killed the bomb maker. We decided after the fact that that wasn't terrorism, because the FBI couldn't find any Muslims to tie Joel Henry Hinrichs III, to. There were two bombings in 2008 that didn't kill anyone: the Times Square military recruitment station bombing, and the Fed Ex bombing in San Diego. Does that make them "unsuccessful"? "Non-teroristical"? Maybe we need a War on the Slightly Disturbing. That fall there was a bombing at a Dalton, GA, law firm, which injured four and killed the bomber. That one doesn't count because the perp was a white guy pissed at the judicial system? You're the guys who want to toss around "terrorist" when it suits you. Give us the definition that excludes those.

Oh, did you think we were done? We ain't. Leave alone the question of why our "anti-terror infrastructure" gets credit for stopping theoretical terror attacks and a pass for not stopping real ones when they aren't Muslim enough. Why do only bombs count? Several terrorific "successful" gun attacks in that same period. For that matter, thanks to George W. Bush's Anti-Terror Infrastructure ™, foreign terrorists didn't have to come here to kill Americans. We sent plenty to them.
The Boston Marathon attack was an obvious security failure, but there is a difference between 3,000 dead and three.

Except when it comes to generating political hysteria.
Moreover, Bush’s achievement was not just infrastructure. It was war. The Afghan campaign overthrew the Taliban, decimated al-Qaeda and expelled it from its haven. Yet that success is today derogated with the cheap and lazy catchphrase — “He got us into two wars” — intended to spread to Afghanistan the opprobrium associated with Iraq.

Wait, isn't that George Bush's One Sentence?

Difficulty one: as odious as the Taliban was, and is, it didn't have anything to do with International Terror, Inc. It happened to be a handy, barely functional location for al-Qaeda training, seeing as how that's where all the soldiers and weapons we bought in the 80s for fighting the Soviets were. Second, we can argue exactly what it was transpired in Afghanistan after the Invasion of the Willing, but you people will have to stop celebrating your imaginary victory first. Those two things were done quickly, because they were relatively easy. Yet we're still there, because the hidden portion of that particular iceberg was never planned for. It didn't exist.
As if Afghanistan was some unilateral Bush adventure foisted on the American people. As if Obama himself did not call it a “war of necessity” and Joe Biden, the most just war since World War II.

Which, frankly, was not exactly a difficult standard to reach. Once again, and absolutely, Barack Obama was an opportunistic politician on the issue of George Bush's Two Wars™. He couldn't be tied to either, unlike his primary opponents. He got to sneer at the unpopular one and keep his hands clean on the Just one. He got waaaay too much credit for making a single sidewalk denunciation of Iraq War II. Absolutely. Democrats in the US Congress were enthusiastic about invading Afghanistan. So was the country. In this their judgement was hasty, disingenuous, and filled with a roaring in the ears. And ultimately wrong. And there was one man in the country who could have spoken for Reason, and called for Somewhat Coolish heads to prevail, at least for a minute. And that man was George W. Bush. Instead, he gave the Taliban until sundown to turn over its national sovereignty to US. Instead, he played the television version of that President he wasn't elected to be. Tell that to his Interactive Decision Maker 2000™.

So let's be fair. That's all we could have expected from him, and do not tell me that a sizable percentage of the American public didn't realize that part of the reason it was shitting itself continuously was that George W. Bush, Dinner Theatre Lenny Small, was President. Do we know that we could have negotiated our way to getting bin-Laden turned over? Like, maybe, instead of spending a couple trillion over the next six years, we just slipped Two Large into the right hands, without waving our balls in public? No. We never will. What we do know is that Bush's public stance--once he was willing to show himself in public--was something no government in the world--even one as sketchy as the Taliban--would have agreed to. Unless we already owned them.

Is there any question that the American public was howling for blood? Nope. Could it have been reconciled to a President waiting a week to use military force? If he'd stood up and made the case, particularly when he was the leader of the Shoot First party. You think the public didn't want Hirohito on a platter on December 8, 1941? Roosevelt steered most of our military resources to Europe. What George Bush did in the aftermath of 9/11was to play out every right wing wargasm fantasy. And of course it worked. Sort of. It's the goddam poorest nation on earth. It's also one with a sterling history of resistance to international invaders (yet another lesson we'd steadfastly refused to learn in Vietnam). We were almost guaranteed to be able to scatter the "government" of Afghanistan (which, in the event, we didn't really have the stomach to do ourselves, and so when bombing didn't work immediately we had the Northern Alliance handle the dirty work); we were almost certain to face protracted resistance after that. It was guaranteed that much of that resistance would pour over the "border" into Pakistan. Which is exactly what happened.

Could it have been different? I don't know. Could it have gone any more predictably? No. George Bush took the popular, and the most painless route, and he announced ahead of time that the Battle for Civilization Herself wasn't going to cost any of his party's backers any tax dollars. I did not support the war as announced--which made me one of a half-dozen of my fellow citizens--but I can certainly understand how many who did came to feel that Bush had screwed the pooch, however just or necessary the cause.
The dilemma in Afghanistan was what to do after the brilliant, nine-week victory.

Like "terrorist", "victory" is a word you really need to define before you start slinging it around. "Brilliant" you're just fucking with.
There was no good answer. Even with the benefit of seven years’ grinding experience under his predecessor, Obama got it wrong. His Afghan “surge” cost hundreds of American lives without having changed the country’s prospects.

The Afghan "surge" was, if anything, considerably more popular--or at least recognized as necessary--than the "wildly successful" one in Iraq.
It turned out to be a land too primitive to democratize, too fractured to unify.

Guess there was no way of knowing that ahead of time.
The final withdrawal will come after Obama’s own six years of futility.

And while I'm in favor of him withdrawing American troops oh, four years ago, had he done so that's what you'd be complaining about today. He did stay there long enough to get bin-Laden, though, which I'm sure you celebrate as sincerely as if your boy had done it in his seven years of über-futility.
Iraq was, of course, far more problematic. Critics conveniently forget that the invasion had broad support from the public and Congress, including from those who became the highest-ranking foreign-policy figures in the Obama administration — Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Chuck Hagel and Biden.

No, we don't. But warfloggers and Bushfellators seem to conveniently have never noticed how much pure bullshit that administration put out in the year before. Yeah, Congress, foolishly (or intentionally) backed into a corner, took the easy route of believing the administration. Having done that, one is allowed to blame the administration when it turned out to have lied about shit. Thass how the game is played.
And they forget the context — crumbling sanctions that would, in short order, have restored Saddam Hussein to full economic and regional power, well positioning him, post-sanctions, to again threaten his neighbors and restart his WMD program.

Nope. Context: paranoid fiction as told by people who believe Israel is our most important state. Got it checked off right here.
The Iraq War had three parts. The initial toppling of the regime was a remarkable success — like Afghanistan, rapid and with relatively few U.S. casualties.

Well, slightly different, in that Iraq had once had a tenth-rate military, now reduced to Afghanistan levels.
The occupation was a disaster, rooted in the fundamental contradiction between means and ends, between the “light footprint” chosen by Gen. George Casey and the grand reformation attempted by Paul Bremer, who tried to change everything down to the coinage.

Hey, it's nice to see the underlings get some credit.

(As we've said here many a time, the "light footprint" bit is bullshit; we didn't have the troops to do the job without waiting too long for the Bush plan to segue into the 2004 elections. Ask Eric Shinseki. And Bremer was Bush's man. In fact, he was his fucking doppelgänger.)
Finally, the surge, a courageous Bush decision taken against near-universal opposition, that produced the greatest U.S. military turnaround since the Inchon landing. And inflicted the single most significant defeat for al-Qaeda (save Afghanistan) — a humiliating rout at the hands of Iraqi Sunnis fighting side-by-side with the American infidel.

That would make a great graphic novel. Or pile of ordnance for a buffalo chip-hurling contest.

We'll just see what the Surge really accomplished when Iraq is on its own. Getting the Press to stop covering the daily violence for the Duration is my bet.
As with Lincoln,

Just shut up.
Obama had one task: Conclude a status-of-forces agreement and thus secure Iraq as a major regional ally. He failed utterly. Iraq today is more fragile, sectarian and Iranian-influenced than it was when Bush left office — and than it had to be.

Bullshit. Iraq, strategic American ally? US troops there for a hundred years, like Korea? We didn't have enough troops to conduct the war in the first place, you twit.
Like Bush, Harry Truman left office widely scorned, largely because of the inconclusive war he left behind.

And, like Bush, being dumb as a bag of hair.
In time, however, Korea came to be seen as but one battle in a much larger Cold War

When did this happen?
that Truman was instrumental in winning.

When did this happen?
He established the institutional and policy infrastructure (CIA, NATO, the Truman Doctrine, etc.)

Thought Bush did that?
that made possible ultimate victory almost a half-century later.

Wait, the CIA "won" the Cold War? NATO "won" the Cold War? The Truman Doctrine did something else besides cost us trillions of post-war dollars on paranoid, nuclear-fueled fantasies? Oh, and opening new markets for Coca-Cola?

The Soviet Empire collapsed under the weight of economic and military hubris, dogmatic policy covering for petty thievery and mass murder, a profound, culture-based addiction to paranoia, and--maybe most importantly, in the modern age--an aversion to open scientific inquiry.

The Truman Doctrine, on the other hand, died a long time before that, if it wasn't stillborn in the first place. It didn't survive the "Who Lost China" debate, or the derisive laughter over Quemoy and Matsu. Unfortunately, a lot of people didn't get the joke for fifty years. In fact, some still don't get it.  Meanwhile, Chuck, if you'll have a look, we're still in fucking Korea.
I suspect history will similarly see Bush as the man who, by trial and error but also with prescience and principle, established the structures that will take us through another long twilight struggle and enable us to prevail.

Oh, maybe we might wait and see what History--not some David McCullough hagiography much beloved of people who want to pretend that Truman is "supposed to be" the standard bearer for the party they don't belong to--really thinks about ol' Give 'Em Hell.

The world doesn't follow your dreams, Chuckles, nor is it judged by how closely it resembles them. This is the best evidence for a belief in God I have yet found.