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February 10, 2006


Just doing open thread this moment: What did they know and when did they know it?: Katrina edition.

A temptation to Godwinism and skirting/breaking posting rules that I would not break were I even given permission by the PTB.

I've lurked here and posted occasionally. I've lurked at Redstate, too.

And, as a more or less literate American citizen, I just don't understand why you're trying to engage intellectually with a man who clearly is a blind ideologue.

What is the point? He mimics intelligent discourse, right up to the point where he has to criticize the GOP or President Bush.

And then he's a zampolit. Every single time. A cynic might suggest that there is no Charles Bird, that there's just a very clever Pro-Leader software program that activates every few days.

I've long since given up on finding anything more than frothing pro-police-state blather at Redstate. But -- as a paleoconservative -- I have to say ObWi cheapens itself markedly with every frontpage pixel it grants "Charles Bird."

Just my two cents. Have a nice evening.

Considering your attempts, Hil, the emphasis is on the former when you talk about "tortured neologisms". But I appreciate the flattery, I think.

He mimics intelligent discourse, right up to the point where he has to criticize the GOP or President Bush.

I can't let you get away with blatant falsehoods, stickler. As one small example, my 3:21pm comment in this thread will show that there was plenty of criticism by me of the GOP and Bush over just a 2½-month period. In that light, calling my record of posts zampolit is a gross mischaracterization AND a lie. Hope your evening is nice, too.

stickler: I've long since given up on finding anything more than frothing pro-police-state blather at Redstate.

Be fair. There's also frothing the-poor-deserve-to-freeze blather there, too.

Are all conservatives responsible for what any conservative says? Do I have to go trolling through Kos again?

Are all conservatives responsible for what any conservative says?

Did anyone say they were?

There's also frothing the-poor-deserve-to-freeze blather there, too.

What a wonderful thread. "I hate the government! No! I hate the government more! No, I hate the government more than all of you!" Meanwhile, in Washington, the Attorney General is unable to say precisely what law the President cannot break at his pleasure.

Listen, Republicans--you need to hire this guy, stat. He's saying the things America wants to hear.

"Do you suggest that because your grandma's situation is unfortunate it is therefore the government's responsibility?

Just because something is sad, or even, in the great scheme of things, cosmically unfair, it doesn't necessarily become the responsibility of the government. Nor are people required to give a darn. Who are you to suggest that your grandmother's financial problems are my problem whether I care or not?

Contentious thread in record speed: further proof that no good can come of mimicking Charles. ;-)

Having said that, in an effort to ensure no opportunity to chide is left behind, let me submit that the revelation today that the White House knew NOLA had NOT "dodged a bullet," but decided to say so anyway (one assumes in order to buy time to perfect the terrorbrush surveillance program in Crawford), evidences a degree of dispassionate conservatism unseen since the days of FE-MA-rie Antoinette.

How about Foie Graseration? Mmmm. Foie Gras.

While I like strawgumentation, remember that democranami stands as a perfect Chasologism because it links two phenomenon that are much larger in their ramifications, so we in the peanut gallery can hoot and holler and say 'have you really thought about what you are saying?'. Victims of Chasenfreude, I guess...

Republicanic : A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for Republican officers and the Republican representatives responsible to them.

Distcourse : A style of discourse intended to impart misleading or incorrect information to listeners; it tries to appear to be both fair and balanced, but is typically neither.

St Ronnie's Dance : An affliction whose sufferers jump, shout and contort themselves and their logic into any shape they can manage in order to convince everyone around them that Ronald Reagan was greatest president we ever had, and possibly will ever have.

Proctocraniotomy - To disabuse someone of ideas at odds with readily observable facts.

Donkey Haughty - The arrogant and misguided belief that the democratic party can be convinced to actually act on the liberal beliefs they espouse.

Pachydermatitis - skin deep commitment to traditional Republican principles.

Neoconfabulation - The justification for the Iraq war.

Neologorrhea - this thread.

I'd like to propose that such neologisms be hereby referred to as Birddoggerel.

Completely OT, but too good not to share:

One of Kevin Drum's commentors, on the allgedly thwarted plot to blow up the Library Tower with Exploding Sneakers:

Bush wasn't the only one confused by the name of the tower. This shocking NSA intercept of two of the shoe-bombers shows even the terrorists were confused:

AQ#1: Have you received our target yet?

AQ#2: Yes. The Literary tower in Los Angeles.

#1: The Literary Tower?

#2: Yes. You know, the really tall one.

#1: Fool, you mean the LIBERTY Tower, not the...

#2: No no no, the Literary Tower, I remember specifically. That's the big one. With all their books.

#1: Their books?? Who cares about the infidel's books? The plan is to strike down their liberty. That makes our target the Liberty Tower, not the Literary tower. Are you sure we're talking about the same tower? Do you have a map? We are talking about Los Angeles, aren't we?

[paper shuffling]

#2: Um... uh... I can't figure this out. Oh, who cares what it's called. It's the tallest one. How many tallest buildings can there be in Los Angeles, anyway?

#1: Three? Four?

#2: Well, it doesn't matter. Any one of them will do. Do you have the information on our weapons?

#1: Yes, I am told we will hide high explosives in our shoes, and then...

#2: Uh, say that again? It sounded like you said "high explosives" and "shoes."

#1: Yes. Explosives. In our shoes. We'll use them to gain access to the cockpit...

#2: Uh, Mohammed?

#1: Yes Mohammed?

#2: Something, um, doesn't sound right. Are you quite sure...

#1: Of course I'm sure. It says right here [sounds of more paper shuffling] that we are to use high explosives to gain access to the cockpit, where we then threaten to blow up the rest of plane if they don't fly it into the Liberty...

#2: Literary...

#1: Liberty, Literary... I don't... [sighs] Look, just tell the pilot "The tall one." I'm quite sure they'll know which building you're talking about. Just tell them that if they don't immediately fly the plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles, you'll blow them up with your Sneakers of Mass Destruction. They won't want that, I can assure you.

#2: Uh... there's something I don't understand.

#1: Yes?

#2: How do we explode our way into the cockpit and still threaten to blow up the plane?

#1: Fool, that's why we hide the explosives in our shoes. Just use one shoe on the cockpit door. That way we still have the other shoe to threaten to blow up the rest of the plane with.

#2: Ooooh. That makes sense. Sort of. [long pause] We get to take them off first, right?

#1: I assume. Let me check [paper shuffling]. Well, I don't see where it says we can't. So I suppose it should be okay. [pause] Wait. Did you hear that?

#2: Yes, I did. Is there somebody else on the line? You don't have a party line, do you? Please tell me you paid for a private line...

#1: Yes, of course this is a private line. Now shut your hooka-hole, I'm trying to listen. ["if you'd like to continue this wiretap for another -ten- minutes, please insert an additional -75- cents"] ACK! I think this line is being tapped!

#2: Do Americans have such technologies?

#1: Damn. I once read where they did, but I completely forgot about that.


(Look! Casey closed the tag!)

Partisynergy : the mechanism by which the importance of a small fact or event is amplified by repetition and endless discussion amongst partisans. See also echo chamber.

Victims of Chasenfreude

I thought Chasenfreude was the pleasure one feels when hearing a cantor with a particularly fine voice.

An open sniglet thread?

Hmm... despite inspiring efforts from hilzoy (special applause for noplandinistas), comments don't exactly evoke the WaPo Style section Invitational yet. Not that I've come up with anything myself...

shoemanitarian concern: What keeps you shopping for Manolo Blahniks during a national disaster when you should be coordinating offers of help from abroad.

cleek: St Ronnie's Dance : An affliction whose sufferers jump, shout and contort themselves and their logic into any shape they can manage in order to convince everyone around them that Ronald Reagan was greatest president we ever had, and possibly will ever have.

I'd call it Reagiography.

I was unable to get past the part where they guy employs the metaphor of shoving rats into an oven to draw a distinction between the liberal and conservative approaches to threats to the U.S. And no, Sebastian, I don't hold you in any way accountable for what this guy's views.

Seeing as this thread is in homage to Charles Bird, last night it occurred to me that he doesn't get nearly enough praise for doing what he does. While he preaches to the chior over at RedState, this is a tough and usually pretty smart crowd, and he can't be getting many jollies from it when his works are pounced upon like a pack of merciless jackals on an unsupecting piglet. Yesterday's Chomskyrama being a case in point.

So I just like to say Kudos, Charles, your posts are entertaining and lively, and despite nitpicking about some of your phrasology and occasional brain mistakes, I and I'm sure many others appreciate your efforts and your opinions. Despite what went on in the latest thread, I'll be looking to Venezuela with a more critical eye in the future.

And in honor of his remarks on HoCB yesterday about the unexpected arrival of all the Chomsky fans (of which I think there were actually only a few, myself not included), may I offer the term Chomskibots?

I was unable to get past the part where they guy employs the metaphor of shoving rats into an oven

yeah... it definitely had a little 'Final Solution' thing going on. what a way to start a writing career...

I'll second the essence of DPU's remarks, if not necessarily the particulars (I haven't kept up with the Chomsky thread, and I find my views on Venezuela relatively unchanged).

And Phil, birddoggerel made my day. Actually, there have been a lot of great contributions on this thread, and, rest assured, if folks aren't pointing this out it's only because we are sitting at home thinking "Damn, I wish I was that clever".

As for this: "And no, Sebastian, I don't hold you in any way accountable for what this guy's views."

I plead sleep deprivation. Should read "...accountable for this guy's views."

Aw, making up new coctails is more fun. I'm still perfecting the recipe for the Tuaca Tsunami.

Maybe someone can do something with the sentence, "The DHS is on a shoestring budget".

My forehead's hot, I must go home.
I've caught the Bird flu over Noam.

I'll change my vote, I'll no more roam.
I've caught the Bird flu over Noam.

The DHS is on a shoestring budget

our big-screen TVs
huge American Idols
trump security
taxes are for suckers

One of Kevin Drum's commentors,

Have I really been gone that long? [sigh]

Anyway, here's my $.02:

Bush's permanent state of adolescent indignation, even as he seeks to consolidate absolute constitutional immunity, has saddled us with our very own dictatortot.

Thumb -

Love it!

Milquetoasty Somnambulant Media (MSM) covers eternal War on Terra while Constitution is looted, set on fire.

I couldn't think of one but I like this:
Truthiness? popularized by Stephen Colbert
the state or condition of a person purporting to know something emotionally or instinctively, without regard to evidence or to what the person might conclude from intellectual examination.

I like incontrovertibullshit, myself. It's the adjective practically designed with DC in mind. If that's a posting rules violation, I'll go into exile.

Running close second through fifth are truish, phactual, shamstantiated, and differently authentic. Shameless swipe from Jim Treacher free of charge.

House of Reprehensitives - The lowest house of Congress

Wreckonomics - The (even more) degenerate form of Reaganomics that underpins Bush administration fiscal policy

So I just like to say Kudos, Charles, your posts are entertaining and lively...

You know, d+u (and Gromit), considering the headbutting that happened the last coupla days, I really appreciate hearing that. Thanks.

Flatttery, hilzoy? Read any good Flannnery O'Connnor, lately?

A Good Politician Is Hard To Find? The Lobbyists Bear It Away? Everything That Rises Must Be Hot Air?

random, long shot question: does anyone speak malaysian (malay?) or know anyone who does?

Malaysia has a a great many languages spoken:

Bahasa Melayu (official), English, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
note: in addition, in East Malaysia several indigenous languages are spoken, the largest are Iban and Kadazan
Keep in mind the ethnic breakdown:
Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, Indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1%, others 7.8% (2004 est.)
Being a typical American, I just speak English, slow Pig Latin, and my own personal Obfuscation and Gibberish.

Not advisable to ask anywhere if anyone speaks "Malaysian," perhaps, although it would be a start on a conversation, of course. I'd suggest giving more context, which island, perhaps, ethnic group, etc., though.

Whatever the official language/most commonly spoken language of the country of Malaysia is. I guess that's Bahasa Melayu, which seems to be more commonly referred to as Malay.

I mean, it's hard to be 100% sure what language a document is in when you can't read it, but it's by a Malaysian person in a Malaysian publication.

Wikipedia thinks the language is called "Malay"; apparently "Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Malaysia" is deprecated.

If you type a sentence or two, I might be able to (relying on some reference books I have) tell you what language it is.

Katherine, see here.

The critical fact about Malaysia is that it consists of approximately one jillion islands, and almost innumerable ethnicities and tribes; it's pretty much the definition of a "fragmented" country.

Bahasa Melayu is the national language in Malaysia by article 152 of the Malaysian Constitution, and became the sole official language in West Malaysia in 1968, and in East Malaysia gradually from 1973. English continues, however, to be widely used in professional and commercial fields and in the superior courts. Chinese, Indian and other minority languages are also commonly used by the country's large ethnic minorities.
But read the whole thing. The "official" language is now a form of Bahasa Melayu. However, as I understand it, many of the dialects are unintelligble to many other users of other dialects of it (note: my knowledge of this is utterly shallow, and largely from having read a number of articles and books over many years that refer to this, but also from much correspondence with a Malaysian friend over the years [who is of ethnic Chinese descent, and primarily speaks English, along with some Chinese languages; which, I don't recall, as we lost touch a few years ago; I don't think he had more than some bits and pieces of Bahasa Melayu, despite his parents having been born in Malaysia]; I'm certainly not up-to-date on the precise present-day situation).

It's quite possible that the most "common" language is English. It's almost certainly the second-most common language, at the very least. The short answer you are likely looking for is "Bahasa Melayu." That is, you're looking for someone who can translate the written form, I gather. I dunno if this helps any, and I suppose likely not. Oh, well.

FWIW, I know a number of scholars who read and speak Malay (Bahasa Melayu) and/or Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), which is practically the same. Depending on what it is you want translated, you could forward it to me and I to them, though that might take some time. Alternatively, you could check the international center at your nearest college and see if they have any students from Malaysia or Indonesia there. Even those for whom Malay is not the mother tongue (e.g., ethnic Chinese) will have had to take courses in the language throughout school. How much exactitude or nuance do you require?

Since it's a open thread:

Any chance of getting the kitten to put a link to Glenn Greenwald's "Unclaimed Territory" blog on the ObWi sidebar? (

His stuff is really good, and he has been doing a yeoman job on the latest NSA flap (he must be doing something right, since 'wingers are already castigating him as a "sellout" and "useful idiot"). This way we GG fans don;t have to stray too far from Obsidian Wings (which is always distressful). Tx.

Jay C: your wish is my command, especially since I was just thinking I should do that.

While you're at it, you might want to fix your long-broken Poor Man link to the current URL. And the Mark Kleiman link will still work, but might as well update to the current URL (whether you want to acknowledge the name-change and switch to being a group blog is another decision; I'm sticking my fingers in my ears and chanting "I can't hear you!" on that, myself).

Also, your Intel Dump died over a year ago; it's here, and a group site, not just Phil Carter's, since he went to active duty in Iraq many months ago.

Rivka hasn't posted in six months, though I can understand reluctance to drop her, of course.

Mac Thomason, the War Liberal moved here closer to two years ago than one, and your link has been dead all that time.

The link to James Casey died about a year ago.

I don't know about the vast majority of the other links, as I don't go to them.

I've been keeping my mouth shut about all this, and more, for more than a couple of years, but it's contributed to my impression that there's no one specifically taking responsibility for the site as a whole, and the template, since Moe left, I'm afraid.

Again, the Guantanamo lies. Stuart Taylor, and Corine Hegland, at National Journal. Absolute must reads, though nothing new to anyone here who has been reading Katherine and Hilzoy all along, or who has read certain other blogs all along.

Save for those lost in fantasy, denial, and wishful thinking. At best. Hi, DaveC! Hi, Blogbudsman!

Also: more Republican traitors. And I've added a set of my NSA Program-related links here. Get back to me when you're done, if you feel like checking out the facts.

Since the prior open thread with the discussion, such as it was, of Coretta Scott King's funeral has gone off the front page, that wacky liberal Peggy Noonan on the topic:

Listen, I watched the funeral of Coretta Scott King for six hours Tuesday, from the pre-service commentary to the very last speech, and it was wonderful--spirited and moving, rousing and respectful, pugnacious and loving. The old lions of the great American civil rights movement of the 20th century were there, and standing tall. The old lionesses, too. There was preaching and speechifying and at the end I thought: This is how democracy ought to be, ought to look every day--full of the joy of argument, and marked by the moral certainty that here you can say what you think.

There was nothing prissy, nothing sissy about it. A former president, a softly gray-haired and chronically dyspeptic gentleman who seems to have judged the world to be just barely deserving of his presence, pointedly insulted a sitting president who was, in fact, sitting right behind him. The Clintons unveiled their 2008 campaign. A rhyming preacher, one of the old lions, a man of warmth and stature, freely used the occasion to verbally bop the sitting president on the head.

So what? This was the authentic sound of a vibrant democracy doing its thing. It was the exact opposite of the frightened and prissy attitude that if you draw a picture I don't like, I'll have to kill you.

It was: We do free speech here.

That funeral honored us, and the world could learn a lot from watching it. The U.S. government should send all six hours of it throughout the World Wide Web and to every country on earth, because it said more about who we are than any number of decorous U.N. speeches and formal diplomatic declarations.


The King funeral was nothing like this. It was gracious, full of applause and cheers and amens. It was loving even when it was political. It had spirit, not rage. That's part of why it was beautiful.


Since this is an open thread --and my name should be Doesnotcomputer--maybe someone can explain what I am doing wrong. I can never ever post on set ups like Amygdala or HatingonCharles. It invariably blocks me by saying that the user name I have typed in is already in use! It doesn't matter what user name I choose, I always fail. What am I doing wrong?

"I can never ever post on set ups like Amygdala or HatingonCharles."

I assume "set ups like" means blogs?

"What am I doing wrong?"

Wish I could help, but I have no idea. First I've ever heard that complaint, I'm afraid.

I assume you're not using common names, of course, but something unique, like Lily25460, or such?

Obviously, any common name or word would be taken, given a million-plus users. But I assume it's nothing so obvious.

Oh, and you are talking about registering, as described on my left sidebar, right? (I forget if allows anonymous blogging or not, but after more than a year and a half or so of telling people that I was going to close anonymous comments, after each anonymous comment, if people didn't stop posting just as "anonymous," I finally gave up and did what I said I was going to do; but registering only takes a few seconds, and contrary to the impression the twits at blogspot give, you don't have to "create a blog," but simply fill out the name field, and put any gibberish into the "blog name" field; I've timed it as taking 12 seconds, though one might want to relax and take a leisurely 20 or 30 seconds.)

If there are any questions I can help with, I'd be happy to.

lily, do you have a blogger account? If not, have you tried signing in as anonymous?

Duh. Thanks. I guess it should hhave been obviouus to just go to anonymous, but computer thingsare never obvious to me.

Sometimes persistence and a willingness to try every button will get you through. Sometimes the interface hates you personally.

Hoorah for non-socialism!

New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.

Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

$7 billion dollars in royalties? Who needs it?

Government would just waste the money.

Just watch oil and gasoline and heating oil problems drop!

Or, you know, wait for it, anyway.

But while you wait, there's more!

Indeed, Mr. Bush and House Republicans are trying to kill a one-year, $5 billion windfall profits tax for oil companies that the Senate passed last fall.

Moreover, the projected largess could be just the start. Last week, Kerr-McGee Exploration and Development, a major industry player, began a brash but utterly serious court challenge that could, if it succeeds, cost the government another $28 billion in royalties over the next five years.

Etc., and so on.

Only a commie-socialist-Democrat could possibly object.

Like this one:

"I don't think there is a single member of Congress who thinks you should get royalty relief at $70 a barrel" for oil, said Representative Richard W. Pombo, Republican of California and chairman of the House Resources Committee.

"It was Congress's intent," Mr. Pombo said in an interview on Friday, "that if oil was at $10 a barrel, there should be royalty relief so companies could have some kind of incentive to invest capital. But at $70 a barrel, don't expect royalty relief."

Damn RINO.

Also, Paul Hackett drops out of race. Watch Kos-commenters and lots of the left blogosphere explode.

Plenty of people at DK (including Kos) are taking a calm line on this.

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