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March 29, 2006

Comments

Wow, recursive fetuses. Being born pregnant would pretty much eliminate the need for sex.

"Being born pregnant would pretty much eliminate the need for sex."

Thought there were critters that go that route - fish? insects? merokinosis?


Yikes - “The Ministry of Defense requests that civilians do not comply with the orders of the army or police on nightly patrols unless they are accompanied by coalition forces working in that area.”

Look for a denunciation of Kaloogian's critics to issue forth from Redstate.

Rilkefan:
Maybe the critters you're thinkin of are Tribbles -- as in the (original) Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." Yes, I know this reference dates me.

1. DaveM: rest assured, you're not alone: Tribble were the first thing I thought of, too when I saw that comment. Don't think of it as being "dated": think of it as "having a knowledge of the classics" ;)

2. Hilzoy: good luck with the pending buy: will moving up in the propertied class inflect your blogging now?

3. IIJM, or is Our President starting to get seriously delusional (more than usual, that is)? Or is it just a case of flailing?

Jay C's link.

Actually I think it's perfectly reasonable to say sectarian tension had built up under Saddam. I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask Bush why in the world he's only realizing that now.

Sorry about the bad link: I coulda sworn I cut-n-pasted the address right off the article.

But whatever the reality behind the sectarian fissures in Iraqi society, when I see a headline like "Bush blames Saddam for Iraq violence" the first thought I have is: "Huh? Hasn't he been in jail since whenever?" And in any case, I thought the CW on the "ethnic" divisions in Ba'athist Iraq was that Saddam had kept a lid on sectarian agitation (though, admittedly, brutally) and that the
outbursts of Kurdish/Sunni/Shiite violence we have seen recently were only a post-"liberation" phenomenon.
It seems to go back to the same fundamental problem: is "Iraq" one country, or three?
And FWIW, even I can't fault the Shrub for not getting this one - it's an issue with NO easy resolution.

rilkefan: I saw that story, but: back when I lived in CA, there were (iirc) a spate of rapes by police, and we were instructed to respond to being pulled over at night by pulling over to the side and then driving very, very slowly to the nearest populated, well-lit area before stopping. So I don't think it's unique to Iraq.

However, you really can't say that they don't have any, or that they are not trying to publicize it.

Like that will stop Chris Matthews and Tim Russert.

I think the fetus-inside-fetus thing was used in Darwin's Radio.

hilzoy's buying a house; I'm having my eyes lasered in a week or so. You won't see me around these parts all that much for a while, but the good news is it probably won't impact my posting frequency by any measureable amount.

Slarti, you will love the laser surgery. I had it done a few years ago. You cannot believe how liberating it is to no longer have to go through life either sticking things in your eyes or wearing bottle-thick glasses every day. And being able to see from the moment you open your eyes in the morning; none of this "I need my glasses to find my glasses" stuff.

Slarti--I agree about the laser therapy--my vision went from Rothko to Monet in two minutes! (Unfortunately since then my retina came unstuck, but that has nothig to do wit the lasek)
The oly thing i wold do differetly is I would istruct the laser surgeon to refrain from narrating the surgery to me while in action. "I have now removed your cornea and I have lain it on your ey __hold still!" I distracted myself by counting backwards from two hundred in Spanish. they got done before I did.

Yo will be happy you did it!

Thanks for the reassurances, folks. I've been wearing glasses since early first grade, and absolutely needing them almost as long. I'm at about nine diopters correction in each eye, so I'm blind as a bat. If they can only correct me to, say, 20/40 or so, I'll be very, very happy. They think they can do a lot better than that without any fancy stuff ("Wavefront Technology"), but the drawback is I'm not a candidate for standard Lasik; I'm getting PRK. Upside: they don't cut the cornea flap. Downside: longer recovery and more pain.

I'll be absolutely happy if I can, after surgery, find my glasses without having my glasses on. It's getting to the point that my peripheral vision is useless because nothing in any direction other than straight ahead is remotely in focus.

Which, you know, completely sucks when you're at the beach.

Not to throw darts at hilzoy where it comes to titling posts, but...[ahem].

Slarti, I was 8 diopters; so astigmatic they had to do a corneal study to see if I could have the surgery at all. (I did have Lasik, though, not PRK. I guess 9 diopters is the cut-off point.) I came out of surgery with 20/30 in one eye and 20/45 in the other. It's heaven.

I got the running commentary, too; but it fascinated me, so I didn't mind. They wrapped me in a space blanket so I couldn't move, and put a Clockwork Orange-style brace on my eye (one at a time; they didn't do both eyes at once) to keep it open. I have no idea how similar Lasik is to PRK, so I won't bore you with further details.

My aunt had PRK about 20-something years ago (Lasik not yet having been invented), has never had any adverse effects, and is still happy as a clam. Since the technology has probably just gotten better since then, things should go very well for you.

Good luck!

What your aunt had was, more likely, RK. If it was 20 years ago, I mean; I doubt PRK had been invented yet.

With hard lenses I'm correctable to 20/15, but I can't wear them anymore. I'd be first in line for the Zeiss-Ikon implants once they're invented.

Unfortunately, it hasn't really gotten to Japan yet, but when I was in Australia, they had laser clinics in shopping malls. I am so tempted, but now I am finding that I am getting far-sighted, especially when I have to deal with Japanese kanji, which means I'm getting old. How does the surgery interact with the natural far sightedness that comes with aging?

lilylily: now if only they'd invent lasik for typing you'd be perfect!

hil: Good Luck and Congrats! (now you won't have to figure out how to hang that blasted porch swing... at least not on the old beam-deficient porch).

But seriously, you're not moving because your pal never got her junk out of your driveway...are you? ;-)

LJ, I don't know; you'd need to ask an opthalmologist - not an optician, or even an optometrist.

I don't want hilzoy to think we're overlooking her big news. Hil: you're buying a house and you didn't even know you were moving? Was it an impulse buy, or have you been taking Ambien? :)

For years after I bought my place (my first and so far only home purchase), it was like having a new love affair. I'd be out and about, and see something that made me say, "I think the house would like that," so I'd buy it. I'd pat countertops and stroke doors and bannisters and coo like a honeymooner. It was funny, really; I don't think I've ever acted so besotted in actual relationships with other human beings. (Which might explain why I'm single, now that I think about it.)

But nesting is wonderful fun. I hope you enjoy it to the utmost.

Unfortunately, it hasn't really gotten to Japan yet

FYI, when i was in Hiroshima, two days ago, i saw a huge TV screen in front of a department store advertising LASIK. couldn't understand what they were saying about it, though the images were clearly touting it as a marvel of technology.

CaseyL: "it was like having a new love affair...I don't think I've ever acted so besotted in actual relationships "

Well that certainly puts an intriguing and novel spin on "Tongue & Groove."

But nesting is wonderful fun.

Yes it is. But completely remodeling your only bathroom... not so much. (Not that I'm trying to scare hilzoy. Good luck with the offer!)

"Not to throw darts at hilzoy where it comes to titling posts, but...[ahem]."

I don't know, Slarti, I found the title sort of Leonard Cohen-esque.

Mea Culpa... Kaloogian style: (the "correction/explanation" currently flying beside a long/wide shot of some buildings, ostensibly in Baghdad - but utterly lacking in detail and specific human activity - on Kaloogian's campaign website linked by hilzoy):

"Downtown Baghdad
We originally posted a photograph not of Baghdad, Iraq but from Istanbul, Turkey where our delegation traveled on the way home to the United States. We apologize for this mistake. We have corrected it with a photograph we took from Baghdad. We took this photo of downtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism."


Well, there you have it.

I just had laser eye surgery in January. You'll love it, though looking for my glasses in the morning is funny now.

Sounds like you have more coffee issues than eyesight issues these days, Sebastian. Sounds good to me.

Xanax, not even I could imagine this was other than a really stupid but innocent mistake*: all it tells us is that Kaloogian's website administrator is someone who has swallowed all the Republican lies about peaceful Iraq, which given that they're working for Kaloogian's campaign is neither surprising nor interesting.

*I have been handed CDs of digital photos carelessly labelled with something as informative as "our Iraq trip" in the past...

As for the Democrats' strategy:

-Get bin Laden? Wow, how come no one thought of this before? Genius, I tell you. Hopefully the plan for executing the strategy will include finding out where bin Laden is, which I'm certain no one is working on at present.

-Double Special Forces? Wow, how come no one else has thought of this? I know, it's only a 30% increase. This year.

-"Redouble efforts to stop nuclear weapons development in Iran and North Korea." Excellent! If what we were doing before didn't work, do it twice as hard. This may be an unfair criticism, but if you're going to throw stuff like this out there, you invite that.

-"Achieve energy independence for America by 2020 by eliminating reliance on oil from the Middle East and other unstable regions of the world." How's this going to happen? Ah, that would be giving away the game. Here's my strategy: develop a completely new source of energy that will allow this reliance on foreign oil to end, and enact changes in the way we use energy (including infrastructure, power-generation plants and transportation) in a period of fourteen years. I'd say that this strategy minus a miracle is going to result in, at best, a temporary decline in the rate of increase of consumption of foreign oil. Maybe. Not saying that conservation, etc aren't worthy objectives, just saying that I don't think that the vector sum of all of these things is going to get us energy independence within one and a half decades.

-"Increase production of alternate fuels from America's heartland including bio-fuels, geothermal, clean coal, fuel cells, solar and wind" provided you don't wreck anyone's view out on Cape Cod. I really can see that one can vote against windmills before one votes for them, but the voting-for has to actually occur. Wording it in a way that strongly implies that the windmills will be in somebody else's (preferably Red-Staters) back yard, though: priceless.

There's lots of good things, certainly, but poking fun at them isn't very fun-making. The GI Bill of Rights is a nice-sounding notion, certainly, but I don't see it winding up with any teeth. What'd be nice is if 1) there were promises made, and 2) everyone stuck with keeping those promises. Try making GI benefits as sacrosanct as, say, Social Security is, and I think we're there. The humint bit is also worthy.

Good ideas are, well, good, but you've got to actually go out and execute. If executing means you've got to publicly excoriate your opponents for foot-dragging on issues that everyone agrees are important, you pretty much have to excoriate foot-dragging in your own ranks as well, even if it means substituting young Democrats for older Democrats. Not saying it's not going to happen, just saying that I'm not seeing a basis for hope that behaviors are going undergo a sea change anytime soon.

Overall: needs substance. Needs commitment. Needs a plan for ass-kicking. Do all of those things, and you have a strong possibility of me pulling the D lever. Simply plopping this out on the Democrats.gov, though, isn't going to do it.

OTOH you can read all this though the he's-never-going-to-vote-our-way-no-matter-what-we-do glasses, and disregard.

Hilzoy: However, you really can't say that they don't have any, or that they are not trying to publicize it.

Who is the "you" in that sentence? We have seen demonstrated that Republicans as varied as Von and Charles Bird can indeed say that Democrats don't have any foreign policy, or are not trying to publicize it, no matter what.

OT, but good news, Jill Carroll has been released.

LJ, there definitely is LASIK in Japan, because that's where I had my surgery done, 5 years ago. I've heard that the equipment is from the US and they are very conservative about it. They had me read many pages of documentation both on the surgery and what I could expect in the way of permanent improvement. I doubt it will get down to the "place in the mall" level of introduction--I had it in an optical clinic which meant expensive but they had several doctors on hand--most were also profs at nearby medical universities. Very useful in my case--they didn't like how one eye was healing and had me come out to the university to check and do some follow-up treatment. Sorta amusing--the doctor had me in his office with several of his students sitting in the back of the room staring in fascination at the projection of my non-optimal eye. Teaching example? You bet.

Slarti, the only thing I can say from my own treatment is a) expect to take some time to learn how to see again, and b) you may slide a little more into near-sightedness a year after the surgery but it's usually not much. I think it's a muscles-around-the eye thing. The nice thing in my case is the mild near-sightedness seems to be balancing out the normal get-farsighted-as-you-get-older.

tzs,
I'm sure there is, but I have a feeling that places to have it done are concentrated in the Tokyo-Osaka crescent. Googling, it says that there are 1.4 million are done annually in the States in 2004, but the figure for Japan is only 40,000 or so, though those numbers may not be precise. This article has the interesting construction of how many "eyes" underwent the surgery,

The number of Japanese eyes treated by refractive surgery jumped from about 20,000 eyes annually in 2000 to about 48,000 eyes three years later

It also say that LASIK hasn't been approved yet, so I imagine that is why you had it donw at the university.

As someone who has had glasses since the 3rd grade, I have that paranoia about things getting in my eye, so it still leaves me a bit queasy :( But I imagine that I'll have it done in 10 years or so.

Bleg -

Can anyone recommend a good book on the partition of India and its aftermath?

Needs a plan for ass-kicking

been there. done that. have the coffins to prove it.

Re: Kaloogian

Here's what I like. While Kaloogian is showing us how peaceful Istanbul and Baghdad are and accusing journalists of sabotaging the the U.S. effort ..

...Kevin Drum (8:45 p.m. "Andrew Sullivan Needs a New Award") has a snippet of Hugh Hewitt excoriating Iraqi-war journalist Michael Ware with the accusation that the really dangerous place is where Hugh happens to deposit his butt: the Empire State Building, the epicenter of the War on Terror.

Baghdad: very safe

New York City: be very afraid.

The Republican Party has a big tent. With several rings of actions going at any one time. Not convinced by juggling? Let me bring your attention to the optical illusion on the high wire in Ring #71.

I think what both of them really mean to say is that Baghdad is very safe because of the 15% flat tax and New York City is very dangerous because of high taxation.

That's terror for these guys.

Which way to the egress? I can't find my glasses.

Good luck, Hilzoy. You too, Slart.

Slarti, any plan needs to first come out with some degree of generalities. It should be pointed out, however, that the Dems proposed a lot of legislatio9n which covered many of their talking points, i.e. better equipment for the troops, more money to work on security of ports, chemicaal plants, etc.

Unfortunately, they were all squshed by the Republican majorities.

As far as bin Laden, there are many people in this country, including, based upon prior comments, many at this site, who really question the current administration's desire to get him. My personal opinion is that Bush and company want him to stay out there to serve as a focus for fear.

Regarding the special forces. This was a major part of Kerry's campaign, realizing that the special forces, rather than the main militaqy is better suited for activities against terrprist groups. So I guess this administration is borrowing from the Dems on that score, although I don't see any attribution being given.

So maybe, if you look at what the Dems have already done and shown a commitment to, even if they have been stymied by the majority party, you might still want to consider pulling the D lever.

At Harry Reid's page at the Senate Dems site, there is a list of the legislation John mentioned, just for reference.

Good ideas are, well, good, but you've got to actually go out and execute.

Slarti, for what it's worth, I think that criticism is a little silly for a party that does not, in fact, have the power to actually execute any of its policies. That's the point -- Republicans have smugly chatted about the dearth of ideas, but when Democrats talk about them, they're dismissed as 'just talk.' And if the talk gets serious, Republican legislators jump to kill any actions immediately. Witness the deceptive politicking following the Murtha debacle -- Republicans immediately introduced poison pill legislation and called it Murtha's to sabotage chances of legitimate legislation.

Sure, that's just politics. But when our own President's plan consists of a powerpoint slide and a fervent wish that all be well, and even THAT isn't executed well, there's not much room for stone-throwing.

lj, thank you for the reference.

I get so upset at times when there is what amounts to an accusation of non-activity by the Dems, that I respond without looking up and referring to things I know exist.

"...go out and execute."

Well, I'm open to death squads, but only as a very desperate last resort.

I think people have legitimate doubts about how much of this stuff the Dems will actually be able to get done; but it's pretty much settled that the GOP won't, considering they've had control of the executive and both halves of Congress for some time now and all they talk about is corporate subsidies and marriage amendments.

If some people want to have faith that the GOP will get these things done in due time, that's fine. But I don't know how many people will actually fall into this category.

LJ, I'm sure you're right about finding LASIK in Japan mainly in the Tokyo-Osaka crescent (I was in the Big Mikan), but I don't understand the "not permitted yet." Maybe they meant it wasn't considered standard medical stuff that the Japanese NHS would pay for--as said, I had to pay $5000 for the procedure and it was at a separate, private clinic. I did, however, pick the clinic out from the equivalent of the yellow pages--they're definitely around. And I got an earful from the clinic technicians about the history of LASIK coming into Japan--the Ministry of Health and Welfare wouldn't allow the import of the instruments until there was 10 years track record in the US.

So I guess this administration is borrowing from the Dems on that score, although I don't see any attribution being given.

Or it could just have been so obvious that anyone at all (even Republicans) could have figured it out. You just never know. Certainly it's possible (although not a given) that the blind squirrel was cribbing off the myopic one.

I think that criticism is a little silly for a party that does not, in fact, have the power to actually execute any of its policies.

Eh? Why's that? Ideas are good or bad on their own merits, are they not? If you have a good idea, is it turned into a bad idea because you, at the point in time where it occurred to you, didn't have the ability to make it happen?

But when our own President's plan consists of a powerpoint slide and a fervent wish that all be well, and even THAT isn't executed well, there's not much room for stone-throwing.

If the alternative is to come up with even more powerpoint slide-ish strategies (but with a different party logo), I'm not seeing your point.

As for politicking, there's no shortage of that on the D side of the aisle. If you're going to imply, for instance, that Humvees are insufficiently armored because they're still vulnerable to IEDs of arbitraty potency, I'm going to view such arguments with a Spocklike raised eyebrow. Similarly, if you're going to suggest that funding the actual number of National Guard is cutting the National Guard, I'm thinking you're politicking.

Slartibartfast: If you have a good idea, is it turned into a bad idea because you, at the point in time where it occurred to you, didn't have the ability to make it happen?

When Bush is in charge, yes.

If the alternative is to come up with even more powerpoint slide-ish strategies (but with a different party logo), I'm not seeing your point.

As for politicking, there's no shortage of that on the D side of the aisle.

Sigh. Nevermind, Slartibartfast. Democrats don't have ideas, check. Republicans are the go-getters who have a plan, check. Carry on, carry on.

When Bush is in charge, yes.

I'll leave it to you to tell hilzoy that all her ideas are bad. Perhaps she can take solace in the knowledge that she's only got three more years of bad ideas to endure.

This does, however, explain a few other things.

Democrats don't have ideas, check.

Don't ascribe positions to me that I haven't taken.

Republicans are the go-getters who have a plan, check.

And again...what's with that, anyway?

"OTOH you can read all this though the he's-never-going-to-vote-our-way-no-matter-what-we-do glasses, and disregard." Thus said Slarti.

I really don't want to take this point of view, because I do see you as a reasonable, not knee-jerk reaction type of individual.

However, when it has been pointed out how the Dems have tried to get legislation enacted to protect this country and get it rejected on a virtually party-line vote, you make no comment.

When it is pointed out that a Democrat pushed for an increase in our special forces, and it is finally happenign 2 years later, you say maybe its obvious to Republicans as well as Dems. Yet there was no movement by the Reps for quite a while.

You ask for a show of commitment, but I really don't know what you mean by that.

You talk about a plan for ass-kicking, but I don't know whose butt you are referring to.

So maybe the OTOH is appropriate after all.

Slarti: I'll leave it to you to tell hilzoy that all her ideas are bad. Perhaps she can take solace in the knowledge that she's only got three more years of bad ideas to endure.

I'd apologize for being cryptically short to anyone else, but to you it seems unnecessary.

You said: If you have a good idea, is it turned into a bad idea because you, at the point in time where it occurred to you, didn't have the ability to make it happen?

To which I answered: When Bush is in charge, yes.

By which I meant: Let us suppose that Bush offers to take on all the Democrat ideas about foreign policy. What would happen? No matter how good the ideas were, the Bush administration would find a way to turn them into bad ideas - because that's what the Bush administration does.

Invading Afghanistan to remove the Taliban and rebuild the country's infrastructure after twenty-plus years of war? As Hilzoy has, I believe, acknowledged, this could have been a good idea: it turned into a disaster because the Bush administration just didn't fundamentally care about it. Now Afghans outside Kabul are ruled by the warlords, a lawless state of affairs which is what allowed the Taliban's rise to power in the 1990s.

Reforming the US public school system? Removing the old faulty voting machines and replacing them with a uniform and reliable means of counting votes? Reforming Social Security? Protecting the US from terrorist attacks? Removing Saddam Hussein from power and establishing democratic government in Iraq? All of these things may be good ideas - but as you've doubtless noticed yourself, under the Bush administration, they've turned into very, very bad ideas.

But, you know, Slarti. You're a Republican. You don't want to believe that kind of thing.

"Abbasi, the chief doctor who led the operation, said the case was the first he was aware of in Pakistan of fetus-in-fetu, where a fetus has grown inside another in the womb."

Incidentally, have there been cases of this in Russia?

"Let us suppose that Bush offers to take on all the Democrat ideas about foreign policy."

Or even the Democratic ideas.

However, when it has been pointed out how the Dems have tried to get legislation enacted to protect this country and get it rejected on a virtually party-line vote, you make no comment.

I'm not going to comment on that without doing a lot of reading, john. I'm at this point in my life that I look on things claimed by politicians with more than a little suspicion. Call it that Spocklike raised eyebrow if you like.

You talk about a plan for ass-kicking, but I don't know whose butt you are referring to.

Whatever it takes, john. If it's truly important, it's worth going to the wall for. If on the other hand it's just another piece in the political-domination game, I can't get all that excited over it. From where I stand, it looks like just a slightly different flavor of crap.

Will it take going the extra mile to get me to vote D versus R (or not at all)? Probably. I've never made a secret of that. I've already said (and I fully intend to stick to this) that I'll vote for Bill Nelson if his opponent is Katherine Harris, and give serious consideration to voting for him if his opponent isn't Ms. Harris, but that's not all that big a switch because I voted for Nelson last go-round as well. It's not as if I've ever voted reflexively R.

Your idea of a Democrat worth voting for and mine might be sufficiently different that we may never vote for the same person.

I can't see Jesurgislac's let's-call-the-whole-thing-off approach as particularly attractive, either. Maybe I've just gotten more cynical.

But, you know, Slarti. You're a Republican. You don't want to believe that kind of thing.

Someone hasn't been paying attention, apparently.

Well, there are actually some that we would both vote for.

Anyway, when you are done reading get back to me. Spocklike or not.

And because I was being very partisan, I forgot to wish you the best with your upcoming procedure.

I wish that that procedure was available to me, but the doctors say it isn't, so glasses remain.

May we all have clear sight, and as little pain involved in getting it, as possible.

I echo what Gary said in all its meanings.

Me, too, and thanks for each of your possible intentions.

Slarti: Someone hasn't been paying attention, apparently

When you actually sound like you've left the Republicans, Slarti, you won't need me to let you know.

And because I was being very partisan, I forgot to wish you the best with your upcoming procedure.

I echo john miller: politically exasperated with you, Slarti, but wishing you clear vision and all the best.

If wanting a little rigor is inherently Republican, well, don't we all wish?

Thanks for the kind wishes, J.

Finish the sentence/question:

"If wanting a little rigor is inherently Republican, well, don't we all wish..."

we weren't stuck with W?

pigs could fly?

for a pony?

Slarti: If wanting a little rigor is inherently Republican

Can't be, can it, or George W. Bush would have been deselected by popular will in 2004, in favor of a Republican candidate who had a little rigor.

Sometimes its fun to take one of these threads backwards and see if you can figure out what the argument is. Went to the site lj cited and had to laugh. First of all the tone. Such meaness. Second of all, most the 'proposals' involve throwing money at politically trumped up issues, not new ideas for all they oppose. Another argument surrounds the lament that the majority party is the majority party. That happens through the election process now, doesn't it. So, no wonder there are those who are politically exasperated. That doesn't mask the fact that Democrats cannot be trusted with our national security, and no politician can be trusted with our money. And good luck Slarti, I've heard nothing but wonderful results with that procedure. We all need clear sight these days.

I won't join the pile-on other than to say that I see no upside for the Dems in getting more specific at this point. As has been alluded to upthread, it's the implementation, silly. The best idea in the world will turn into a Ford Pinto, more than likely, at the hands of the current crew.

(In an ideal world, I probably agree with von as to the "more more more" strategy, but that's not where we are, and I'm not prone to magical thinking in the best of times.)

BBM,

That doesn't mask the fact that Democrats cannot be trusted with our national security,

First of all, that's opinion, not fact. Second, are you making the "devil we know" argument or are you making the case that the GoP is affirmatively good on Nat Sec issues?

"That doesn't mask the fact that Democrats cannot be trusted with our national security...."

Indeed, bbm? And exactly why not?
Please inform us, we'd like to hear about this "fact".

So, my request for more substance is not, after all, something that makes me sound like a Republican? I'm wondering, then, what it was that had Jesurgislac say that I still sound like one. You know, one of them.

Back to an earlier topic:

Jesurgislac: "Xanax, not even I could imagine this was other than a really stupid but innocent mistake*...

Jes, I don't buy the "innocent mistake/carelessly labeled disk" argument. For reference, read again the original text accompanying the photo:

"We took this photo of dowtown Baghdad while we were in Iraq. Iraq (including Baghdad) is much more calm and stable than what many people believe it to be. But, each day the news media finds any violence occurring in the country and screams and shouts about it - in part because many journalists are opposed to the U.S. effort to fight terrorism."

Assuming Kaloogian was along on the trip (he's pictured with the troops, so, reasonable assumption), he had to know the originally-posted image was clearly NOT of a scene he'd encountered in downtown Baghdad. Just as clearly, the above caption does not go with the real Baghdad photo now posted.

Having worked on a number of campaigns doing advertising, marketing, PR etc., I know that the candidate - particularly one who is stepping into the national arena for the first time - is virtually always the final arbiter - and exercises the final OK on all images - that will be used to represent him/her and his/her candidacy. These are typically intensely scrutinized decisions that often get worried to death before an image is chosen.

So, while I don't know Kaloogian specifically, I do know how Congressional campaigns work. Especially when they're first getting ramped up. I'd bet he was presented with the photo (with the caption already in place) for his final approval, liked the whole gestalt of it and just figured Istanbul? Baghdad? who's gonna know the difference?

To me the odds of this being just an innocent mistake (as opposed to intentional deception to bolster a "position") seem virtually nil. I could be wrong (I often am) but in this case, I'd bet there was nothing even vaguely "innocent" about it.

And, having gotten caught, he's had to swallow it (which he's done). But now look at the photo with the caption.

To me, they just don't support each other and they're only posted together in an attmept for the campaign to save face.

I think national security is to the Dems as Social Security is to the Repubs -- there's a credibility gap that mere words will never be able to bridge.

Pooh, a widely held opinion, thank you.
Jay C., two facts, Carter & Clinton.

kenB, as the saying goes, perception is everything. And for years the Dems have made a case that you can't trust the Republicans with Social Security. Perhaps the onlything they have been able to get into the public consciousness. Of course, Bush made it easy last year.

The same with national defense. For years the Republicans have been saying the Dems are incompetent, and it has become almost an article of faith. Of course, they really haven't been able to back it up with anything significant, but that doesn't really matter.

However, I believe I read somewhere (not sure where so can't link and don't have tme to look) the for the first time possibly in decades, the Dems have a plurality in terms of being better able to safeguard the country.

Whether that is because more people are trusting the Dems or more are distrusting the Reps I don't know.

And speaking of the honorable Republican Congresspeople of California:

A California congressman's effort to close a small, local airport is raising questions of ethics. Republican Gary Miller sponsored a provision in a transportation bill passed last year that allowed the closure of an airport in Rialto, Calif. After the airport was closed, a developer bought the land and began plans for a residential community. That developer, Richard Lewis of Lewis Operating Corp., is a Miller business partner and one of Miller's top campaign contributors. Miller denies any wrongdoing.

from: Market Midday Report Newsletter - americanpublicmedia.org

BBM
Two facts that the Republicans can't handle defending us:

Bush and Cheney.

Now I really don't consider that proof at all, just like your statement are not facts supporting your arguement. Specifics please.

Oh, and Slarti, since it apperas that wanting specifics is what you meant by rigor, then obviously it does not automatically label you as a Republican. In the current Congress, it appears the only people looking for specifics are Dems. There's a chance for your redemption yet. ;)

An opinion held by some subset of 51% is not really what I would call "a widely held opinion."

bbm:
"Facts: Carter & Clinton"

JFTR, Jimmy Carter left office in 1981 - I'm not sure how his Administration's defense policies (whatever they may have been) have a lot of relevance today - much has happened in 25 years - so that talking-point is for.... ?

And as for Clinton: exactly what policies or actions of his time would you cite as a blanket "Democrats cannot be trusted...." justification? Not starting a war in Afghanistan over Al-Qaeda which virtually nobody in this country (R or D) was willing to support at the time? Or something else?

BBM

Pooh, a widely held opinion, thank you.

Brittney Spears is multi-platinum.

"An opinion held by some subset of 51% is not really what I would call "a widely held opinion.""

Why do you think that? I think 51% makes a very strong mandate considering the polarized nature of many issues today.

Why do you think that? I think 51% makes a very strong mandate considering the polarized nature of many issues today.

He meant a subset of the 51% itself, not the actual 51% (if that makes any sense).

Except I didn't say 51%, did I? It would be very hard to argue with a straight face that 51% of voters believe Democrats can't be trusted on national security.

For extra credit, explain why "the polarized nature of many issues" would make 51% MORE of a mandate.

If an issue is polarized, i.e., everyone is on either one side or the other, you're almost always going to have a 51% majority for one of the two positions. Whereas if opinions on an issue are fragmented, i.e., everyone is all over the map, it's going to be much harder to get a 51% consensus, and therefore much more significant if you did. Basic logic.

Some kind of joke, I hope, not hatred of Jill Carroll by a fellow citizen.

From David Corn's post narrating incidents he witnessed at the the annual Radio & Television Correspondents Association dinner:

Retired General Wesley Clark praising the security platform the Democrats had rolled out earlier in the day. As he did so at Fox News' pre-dinner reception, one journalist (me) rolled his eyes. Clark astutely pick up on this and asked, "What's the matter with it?" Well, this journalist replied, under this plan, the Democrats promise to "eliminate Osama bin Laden, destroy terrorist networks like al Qaeda," How exactly do they propose doing so? The Dems also say they will "ensure" that 2006 will be "a year of significant transition" in Iraq (during which the Iraqi government and security forces will assume "primary responsibility for securing and governing their country") so US forces there can be redeployed. And the Democrats vow to "insist" that Iraqis "make the political compromises necessary to unite their country and defeat the insurgency." So hurray for ensuring and insisting! Sounds like a plan to me. Clark nodded his head and shrugged his shoulders, giving the universal sign for "I know, I know." But he said that he is often asked to speak to Senate Democrats on security issues and frequently no more than six or so show up. For the unveiling of the Democrats' new security plan, most of the Democratic Senators bothered to come. That's progress, he suggested.

I don't know whether Corn is a reliable source in this regard, but if so, it seems like Clark, at least, agrees with Von. Doesn't make him right, but I know Hilzoy's a fan.

Hilzoy's a fan
Of Clark, not Corn, in case that was unclear.

That's a fairly damning anecdote.

What? No takers for my bleg for a good book on India's partition?

Slartibartfast,

My wife had PRK because her corneas were too thin, and from all the research I did, I think it is the better procedure over LASIK. The only advantage of LASIK is moot after a few days. DO NOT plan on doing anything the first two days. Just play it by ear.

Cheers

Jay C - sorry, I dropped that on you on the way out of work. Now, where were we? Carter?
1981? I wonder what memories from 25 years ago linger in Ahmadinejad's mind. And Clinton, puleeze. He, and for argument's sake, H.W., are the reason for 9/11. We walked away. We always walk away. We're probably going to walk away this time. Talk about a time line. In three years, they've won. And they know it.

"they," I gather, being the "they" that attacked us, but that weren't in Iraq when we attacked it, so somehow we allowed the issue of defeating "them" to be subsumed into the much more difficult issue of whether we could build a peaceful democracy in Iraq, and so if we can't build a peaceful democracy, it somehow means "they" have won.

The only thing we've "lost" is a battle of definitions. If we had stayed on the course against "them" after defeating the Taliban, I see no reason we wouldn't win. But we decided to make it about whether we could change the world or not.

And now, somehow, the #1 priority in terms of advancing our national interest is supposedly to make sure the religious factions in Iraq divide power peacefully. How the heck did we ever get here?

What always struck me about Vietnam is that even with the benefit of hindsight, knowing that there never was a "domino effect" where communism took over the world, knowing that the USSR lost and the wall came down, there are still some people who believe we should have stayed in Vietnam for 5 or 10 or 20 or however many years it took to "win." Why, even in hindsight? I can only conclude that for some people, it really is worth that kind of colossal national sacrifice just to make sure the USA never, ever takes one in the loss column.

If it's really that important to win at all costs, then we should have thought about it before we put our national won-lost record in the hands of warring Iraqi sects who could care less.

BBM, by your latest argument, the GOP can't be trusted on Nat. Sec. either.

Ugh,
Though not a non-fiction book, do read Rushdie's Midnight's Children if you haven't. Tracking down all of the allusions in the text to events could stand in as a good substitute.

Pooh, yeah I know I gave you an opening, but not a big one. H.W. did send in the troops, and the mission was accomplished. If that's the Republican's weak link, it's still heads and shoulders above you and yours.

"Actually I think it's perfectly reasonable to say sectarian tension had built up under Saddam. I think it's perfectly reasonable to ask Bush why in the world he's only realizing that now."

There's actually no need to ask, because we've known why all along:

George Bush, Fox News interview with Brit Hume, September 23, 2003:

"I glance at the headlines just to kind of a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves... I appreciate people's opinions, but I'm more interested in news. And the best way to get the news is from objective sources. And the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what's happening in the world."

He only knows what they tell him, and they only tell him what he wants to hear, or what serves their purposes for him to know. And they tell him in one paragraph or less, because he's not a "detail" kind of guy.

Is that something that anyone here didn't know before, say, November 2004?

"There's actually no need to ask, because we've known why all along:"

Some questions one asks not because one wants to learn the answer, but because one already knows it.

blatantly OT:

where can I get a copy of the text of the immigration bill that the Judiciary committee passed Monday? I've searched THOMAS, c-span, the law databases, the internet, Specter's website, called the judiciary committee (no one picked up), immigration law newsletters, every google combo I think of, the standard non-profits--it's eluding me. I'm not usually this bad at finding stuff. Where on earth can I get a copy?

I'm not looking for Specter's original bill, or Frist's bill, which everyone I ask keeps sending me to. I'm looking for the amended bill that passed Judiciary Monday. It must be around somewhere, but for some stupid reason I seem incapable of finding it.

I am most curious about what happened to the provisions that sent all immigration appeals to the Federal Circuit, and made them automatically dismissable until a judge reviews them & grants a certificate of review. I know it was in Specter's original version, I know Durbin was trying to get it out Monday, I don't know if there was a vote on Durbin's amendment or if it succeded.

Does anyone know? I'm not usually this dense.

Is this it?

I got there from here, if that helps.

Yes! Thank you. I had checked AILA but forgot to check again today.

And the appeals-process-crappifying sections look to be gone. Yay for the judiciary committee and especially Senator Durbin (with an assist Judge Posner)!

I bet they come back through amendment or get stuck on in conference if we actually have a House-Senate reconciliation, because it's in the Frist bill & the administration definitely wants it. My guess is the House and the Senate are just too far apart, though.

Everyone probably wonders what the hell I'm talking about, but I don't have time to explain and can't really go into all the details...

Between this & oral arguments in Hamdan it's a good week for my pet causes, for once.

I realize you wrote this a bunch of hours ago, Slart, but: "Someone hasn't been paying attention, apparently."

May I suggest that if this is, as I take it, in regard to your well-known posts on your positions, and preferred policies, that it's a bit off target?

Because I believe I've missed those.

If you'd like people to know what your positions are, I'd suggest writing up some posts on the topic. Expecting people to pierce together what you think from highly infrequent, utterly cryptic, single-liners, emitted once every blue moon, oh oracle, isn't reasonable.

Of course, maybe I'm misunderstanding the above line, and perhaps that's my fault, given so many paragraphs of explication that may be confusing me.

Between this & oral arguments in Hamdan it's a good week for my pet causes,

I was reading this SCOTUSBlog thread re Hamdan, and one of the commenters ("Commentator") was arguing that the oral arguments didn't go as badly for the gov't position as everyone seemed to be assuming. I have no idea how reliable this one person is, but it did make me wonder whether you can typically get a sense of how the court is going to rule based on how the arguments go -- do court-watchers in general have a pretty good track record of calling the result correctly based on that?

Blogsbudman: how about Lebanon policy under Reagan?

May I suggest that if this is, as I take it, in regard to your well-known posts on your positions, and preferred policies, that it's a bit off target?

I believe I've mentioned a number of times, in a number of places, that I've registered myself as an Independent. Of course, if you or others would like to interpret this as me being Republican, still, only in really ineffective camo, that's certainly your right.

Or I guess it's possible that you also missed it.

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