On My Way Home

Thought I would stop in and give you all a thread, since I have some time to burn waiting for my flight. Some quick thoughts:

1.) The people at the United check-in counter in Orlando are the singularly most useless human beings on the planet.

2.) Although I do not support the death penalty, I think an exception could be made for Richard Reid. Millions of people all over the country have to take their shoes off every time they fly because of that jackass. I bet more collective man-hours are lost to this one man than anyone else who has ever lived.

3.) Saw Zack and Miri Make a Porno while waiting for a flight, and it was dirtier than I thought it would be. I have no earthly idea how this was not NC-17, but it most assuredly is not appropriate for younger teens.


Open Thread

By popular demand, Beethoven’s 9th.

Part 2 is here if that didn’t satisfy your Ludvig fix.


Customer Service Nirvana

Around nine thirty this morning I phoned Cell Press about some broken RSS feeds. Since my reader (NetNewsWire) has a validator gadget built in, I told the phone worker where to look for the problem in their RSS code. The operator thanked me pleasantly for my input and promised to pass it on. At ten I noticed that some of the Cell Press websites were down. By ten thirty the sites were up and the RSS feeds for Cell, Cell Metabolism and Current Biology came to life. That has to be the fastest turnaround time I have ever seen.

Add Cell Press to a list of customer service good guys that also includes Apple and, uh, Apple.


The Emanuel Pick


Since at least one commenter has asked about this specifically, here are a few thoughts about what Obama’s selection of Rahm Emanuel as his White House chief of staff means. First, it apparently means that many Obama supporters are going to freak out over an important, but not major appointment, or they are going to find themselves very disappointed to discover that Obama is, in fact, a Chicago politician who is interested in pushing his agenda rather than being the national psychotherapist they seem interested in finding.

I am not sure if the left is freaking out over this pick, but if they are, it is going to be the first of many times they lose it over Obama’s centrism. The weirdest thing about this election was listening to Democrats acting if he was the new liberal icon and Republicans attempting to pretend he was the new socialist devil. He is neither, and there was never anything in his speeches or his policies to suggest that he was. Watching Republicans try to demonize him as some wild lefty over the next few years is going to be pretty damned amusing, especially since if anything, Obama represents a competent, nonthreatening centrism.


This Will Be Interesting…

Fell asleep listening to Zappa, woke up an hour ago with it still playing. This could be a really weird day.

Off to the convention, so here is a thread for you all.


Dog Bites Man

The First Pooch bites a Reuters reporter:


Letting the Days Go By

And your host slips slowly into a haze as he stumbles around his hotel room, wondering what happened to the evening, which started so innocently with a half dozen mojitos at the Cuban bar with a couple sides of fried plantains.

The accents on those girls were just too cute, and the drinks were so smooth. Maybe Philip Seymour Hoffman will be available for the movie version.

Maybe the Talking Heads is the right choice Ipod. Too much ibuprofen is bad for the organs, after all…


*** Update ***

I have to say that Hello Nasty, despite having quality production values, just did not live up to my own personal hype. Granted, I was a DJ for a number of years and think that Paul’s Boutique still ranks as one of the top five greatest albums ever made, so the bar is set pretty high. But still, I love Ill Communication as a great piece of art from a certain time frame, and think that even today the songs still are worth a listen, and remind me of better times. But when I listen to Hello Nasty, other than Just a Test, I am left wanting so much more.

I was talking to someone earlier and mentioned that when I had my will made before the first Gulf War I just gave power of attorney to my mom, but mandated that if I died that they would play Little Feat- Waiting for Columbus as they lowered my blown up ass into the ground, so maybe I am not the best source for musical advice, but for my money, Paul’s Boutique is a masterpiece that transcends the genre, Ill Communication is serviceable and fun, and Hello Nasty is a handful of suck.

Egg man.

*** Update **

As this is a late night thread, let me just say that I hope Harry Reid treats Joe Lieberman like Ketel One treats Rhandi Rohodes. Expanding the rhymes like MC Amateurs, if you will.


A Farewell To Arms

Word has it that Rush Limbaugh has joined Erick Erickson in chasing down any fool rightwingers who stand in Sarah Palin’s way. Embarrassing the McCain campaign with her stupidity was not enough. Dragging down the entire GOP ticket and defrauding the party was not enough. It still won’t stop. The mere memory of Palin (who, sensibly, retreated quietly to Alaska) still has the GOP punching itself in the face while Democrats plan and build.

Do not plan on the entertainment ending any time soon. Those still defending Palin are the types who think the rest of the party’s blinkers are not screwed on tight enough. They will not, can not, admit that that they are wrong. The limb won’t heal, it will get stinkier the longer it stays on there, but good luck with the amputation. Politics is a boxing match.


Alternate post title: The Great Foot Hunt.

Also: heh.


A Word of Praise for George Bush

Reading about the celebrations in Kenya over the election of Obama, I came across this reminder:

Mr Obama’s victory is being celebrated across the continent.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu said it showed “that for people of colour, the sky is the limit”.

The BBC’s world affairs correspondent Adam Mynott says Mr Obama will inherit a foreign policy legacy in Africa that has been one of the high points of the George Bush administration.

Earlier this year President Bush toured through five African nations and people greeted him in their thousands to applaud him for America’s huge contribution in the fight against HIV/Aids.

Since its launch five years ago, his Aids relief programme has spent more than $15bn dollars (£9.5bn) on the continent and saved many thousands of lives.

While Bush will leave office reviled in the United States and hated over much of the world, it will be an odd curiosity that his legacy in Africa will probably be a very good one, and more important, it was earned. Bush legitimately did a lot of good in Africa, and we can argue about specifics and argue there could be more done, but the fact that he did some good should be celebrated. The other thing that Bush did that I have mentioned several times but I think bears repeating was his address after 9/11 in which he defended Islam and more than likely stopped what could have been ugly recriminations against Arab-Americans dead in their tracks. When he did that, he did so immediately, forcefully, and with a clarity and honesty and display of leadership that was visibly absent from virtually every other action of his over the next seven years. It really is something worth applauding, and despite his dismal legacy in virtually every other area, these two actions deserve acknowledgment.

And really, in regards to Africa, it is such a small investment. Look at the good will Bush has earned for us with just 15 billion dollars, and compare it to what we spend in a month in Iraq. Can you imagine what we could do with 15 billion dollars in aid a year, a mere pittance when considering our current budget? It is part of Bush’s sad legacy that his incompetence and neglect leave us financially incapable of expanding his one act of legitimate good.


Henke on the Rot

Jon Henke, writing at the Next Right, has the following to say:

The problem is a movement that plays small-ball and cedes responsibility for infrastructure to business interests, leadership that rewards those who make friends rather than waves, an entrenched Party and Movement support system that mostly supports itself, an echo chamber that has rotted our intellect, a grassroots that is ill-equipped to shape the Republican Party, and a Republican Party that has replaced strategy with tactics, substance with marketing.

These problems can be fixed, but the fix is not cosmetic. The rot is deep. We do not need reformation of the Republican Party; we need transformation of the Republican Party. That is going to require fresh blood, new ideas, new infrastructure…and perhaps more than a little time in the wilderness.

You have earned the time you will spend wandering in the wildnerness. The land on the other side is not a promised land. It will have to be earned, too.

In the WaPo today, George Will notes that GOP carnage in the past two years has produced losses so steep for the Republicans that you have to go back to the Depression to match them, and the reason the house of cards fell so quickly was because, as Henke noted, the rot was so deep. This is not a cosmetic problem for the GOP. This is systemic.

That is what is so damned entertaining about the short-term circular firing squad- it really symbolizes how deep in denial some of these folks are. These guys are delusional if they think the problem was an insufficient number of Red State mugs on the Palin plane and inadequate fealty to the cause. The problem is not inadequate adherence to unnamed “principles,” the problem is that they simply have no principles. They have slogans. Nothing symbolizes the slogan driven tactics over strategy GOP quagmire quite like one of my favorite episodes from the last election- the tire pressure gauge imbroglio.

There was nothing that really summed up the idiocy of the GOP quite like Rick Davis and company passing out tire pressure gauges in an attempt to mock a common sense approach to dealing with one of many aspects of the energy crisis. I am sure it will surprise no one that the brain trust at Red State was issuing action alerts for this, too.

In short, America got seduced by the Republican sweet talk, we took them home into our bedroom for some good times, and instead of performance, it turns out the Republicans have a serious case of electile dysfunction. Rather than hold true to their “principles,” they chose to sit on the edge of the bed for eight years and tell us how good it was going to be, and we lost interest and fell asleep.

When we woke up, we realized that in one way, the GOP had kept their word, in a sense- we did get screwed. And we then had our own payback on Tuesday:

That is a map of the country, and the blue shaded areas are where Americans voted more Democratic than they did in 2004. Say what you will, the American people did not have performance anxiety on Tuesday, and the Republicans got the rogering they deserved.

And this is why Henke is so very right, and the purity police have it so wrong. The Republican party is a train wreck. These short term power struggles and attempts to “re-brand” the GOP are doomed to fail, even though they will be a source of endless entertainment for me. Elevating Cantor and Pence means more of the same from the Republicans.

What the GOP needs to do is cool their heels. The frenetic nonsense of the last few years has gotten them nowhere, and talking about principles is pointless when you have none. The party of limited government talks a good game, but owns the $500 billion dollar deficit this year and $5 trillion in debt from the past two administrations. You don’t get to pretend you are the party of limited government when your crowning achievement of the last eight years is the Schiavo legislation. I suspect the only principles they honestly have left are the ones they know are so repellent to the public at large that they refuse to voice them. Every now and then they act on them, and the public swats them on the nose. See Frost, Graeme.

If they were smart, they would regroup, and decide what they stand for and present it to the American people. Instead, I suspect we will get several more months of infighting over tactics and appearances, and more purges of those who wish to engage in a debate over the party’s direction. It isn’t just that many of the folks leading the purge disagree with George Will and Peggy Noonan and Daniel Larison and Sullivan and Ron Paul about the direction of the future GOP- they want them destroyed for suggesting there needs to be a debate. That is how dead the party is, and Henke is right. They need some time in the wilderness, to figure out who they are and what they believe in and why and how it will be better for the country.

Instead, I suspect we will see Palin pom poms and purity purges, which is all the more humorous given the defections from prominent conservatives to Obama, they are already whittled down to the true belivers. It would be funny if our nation’s currrent two-party system did not require a competent opposition party.

*** Update ***

BTW- I am writing this in a conference presentation that is so dull that I would rather listen to the collected dictionary readings of Al Gore. As such, there will probably be all sorts of grammar and spelling issues, as I am crammed in a uncomfortable chair while writing and occasionally feigning interest in the speaker.

*** Update #2 ***

Yglesias spells this all out in seven words:

“Wingnuts Prepare to Wind the Cocoon Tighter”

Clap louder.

*** Update #3 ***

From the comments at Larison’s:

Let me remind you of who ran in the primaries: Fred Thompson, who has no visible qualifications whatsoever other than a gravelly voice and television crime drama expertise. Mike Huckabee, who is charming and skilled politically, but has no serious knowledge of most issues, especially foreign policy. Rudy Guilliani, a total whackjob with no comprehension of what governing a country actually means. McCain, who as you know has spent a lifetime flaunting his POW status to mask a serious lack of interest in any policy details about anything, including foreign policy, but who has limitless confidence in his own power to accomplish anything he sets his mind to, even though he’s never actually accomplished anything he set his mind to. Ron Paul, who though beloved by his fans and relatively knowledgable, was completely rejected by the party as a whole. And Romney, of course, who is actually relatively intelligent and reasonably well inforned, but who alienated almost everyone outside his own circle of supporters. So how is it exactly that Palin is overshadowed by these giants? It’s not as if Republicans have set a high bar of knowledge, expertise, judgment, and accomplishment. Their “high bar” is all about theatrical performance and nerve, both of which Palin has in abundance.

There’s a reason for this. Any candidate with real intelligence, judgment, and expertise would not support the policies of the Republican party platform, plain and simple. As long as those basic policies remain unchanged, the candidates who will succeed must be able to practice deep denial while acting with full confidence in their righteousness. This means the qualifications to be the GOP nominee are mostly ones of psychological imbalance and theatrical skill. To change that situation, the entire policy agenda of the Republican party would have to change, and that simply isn’t going to happen.


Deep Thought

Still waiting for the Republican party to choose a leader.

If it will help her chances I take back every unkind thing I ever said about Sarah Palin. At the very least she clearly has the right stuff to be the RNC finance chair.


Awesome. Eric Cantor and Mike Pence will take the #2 and #3 leadership spots in the House GOP. Pence stirred up some trouble when he backed Bush’s abortive immigration plan, but overall these are two of the most ideological true believers in the GOP caucus. If the GOP needs to broaden its appeal through reform then choosing these two is like putting cancer in charge of the chemo.


The Circular Firing Squad

It has begun.

RedState is pleased to announce it is engaging in a special project: Operation Leper.

We’re tracking down all the people from the McCain campaign now whispering smears against Governor Palin to Carl Cameron and others. Michelle Malkin has the details.

We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them. Naturally then, you’ll see us go to war against those candidates.

It is our expressed intention to make these few people political lepers.

They’ll just have to be stuck at CBS with Katie’s failed ratings.

Initial list:

Nicolle Wallace
Steve Schmidt
Mark McKinnon

Popcorn, anyone?


Open Thread

Since we had way too much traffic for me post post this on Tuesday, here is the beer I opened when terribly sad faces at FOX News announced that Obama had a mathematical lock on the election.



It appears that not everybody is willing to concede that Bach’s Prelude to the Cello Suite #1 is the greatest piece of music written by man. In the interest of fairness I will post alternative suggestions from the comments, starting with Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations in 1981.


Gould part two:



Somehow or another last night my laptop got infected with a virus. No, I was not surfing pr0n, no, I was not downloading warez, no I did not open an attachment that tells me that it loves me and to click. It just happened.

I get these spammy messages about iemonster, and then thousands of little message windows from symantec telling me my email has been blocked because of content pop up, and now, I fire up the computer, and it auto shuts down.

*** Update ***

Downloaded malwarebytes on one of the conference free computers, put it on the infected machine with a memory stick, and voila, completely fixed.

PC Users- go get Malwarebytes. I am impressed.

I ran ad aware, and it did nothing. Help.


We’re Not Worthy

When I made the Clown Shoes category, I had shit like this from the WSJ in mind:

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

I will allow Professor Krugman the honors of addressing this with the measure of shrill that it deserves:

Yes, George W. Bush’s status as the most disliked man ever to occupy the White House shows that America was not worthy of him. And attacks on Bush gave aid and comfort to his enemies — unlike the firehose of abuse that will be directed against President Obama, which will of course be an expression of true patriotism.

George Bush- poor, misunderstood, victim of his own successes. Is it January 2009 yet?


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