« My Kind Of Kid | Main | For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection. »

June 17, 2006


It'll be gone shortly (in a couple of hours?), but the most recent Toles cartoon.

This page took quite a long while to load at dial-up speed, by the way. Possibly use pictures that are somewhat less k-heavy?

Ah, permanent URL.

I seriously doubt this will actually happen. Bush has a real habit of promising to do things and then never delivering on his promise.

I am sure you've noticed this.

Turtles and tortoises seem to have a very strong hold on the human imagination.


"I seriously doubt this will actually happen."

He signed the order. What else is it, precisely, that you expect not to happen?

"Turtles and tortoises seem to have a very strong hold on the human imagination."

More than birds or cats or dogs or cows or squids or panda bears or...?

Insurgent Sympathizers

Digby on some Marine Officers' values

I will never, no matter what he might do, say a good word for or about George W Bush.

Now, to raise the tone of the discussion:


Turtles, etc. are all what are technically called `charismatic megafauna'. (Mega meaning bigger than flatworms, I think.)

People like charismatic megafauna, and are willing to cough up large amounts of money for them. Carnivorus snails? Not so much a focus.

"I seriously doubt this will actually happen. Bush has a real habit of promising to do things and then never delivering on his promise."

I think as long as no oil is found in the Hawaiian islands, this ecological preserve is safe.

Good grief.

I can't remember the last time Bush did something that I could unequivocably approve of.

(Of course, it's an election year, and who knows what will happen post-November? Still: it's a good thing in itself, and even considered as a piece of electioneering, if Bush follows through (ie, there's support in the budget for actually seeing these animals protected) it's a good thing.)

Jes: I have been keeping track, since it scares me when I don't think that anything -- anything -- that someone has done is good. By signing this order, Bush has increased the number of things his administration has done that I think are just plain good, without qualification, by 100%. (Previous good thing: really getting behind the negotiations to end the north-south civil war in Sudan. I am not counting the invasion of Afghanistan, since I am not sure how to count it -- I am inclined to think that "the invasion, plus stupid decisions like not using our troops to secure the exits at Tora Bora, which had everything to do with there not being enough troops, plus our failure to follow through with serious reconstruction", does not equal one unqualified good thing. "Invading Afghanistan", if somehow it could stand alone, would be one, but it doesn't stand alone.)

there must not be oil on it.

but lo!

wait and see how this thing really plays out.

probably done to divest some indigenous person of their birthright

"probably done to divest some indigenous person of their birthright"

I think it's actually to clear a site for the instantiation of one of the Great Old Ones, possibly Cthylla, possibly Arwassa, perhaps Bokrug, or maybe Bokrug. But also possible are Eihort, Mother Hydra, Mnomquah, Oorn, most likely, Zoth-Ommog.

What other reason could it possibly be for?

I thought the post and my response were sufficient, but since hilzoy expanded, I might as well.

We appear to disagree on the necessity and utility of praising Bush, and even should magnanimity in this particular case and with this particular man be personally necessary and useful (for the sake of one's soul, for instance), the question of the necessity and utility of publicly expressing it would remain.

We also, I think, disagree on the nature of the man himself, but after several hours of thought and research last night, I still cannot express my intuitions without Godwinism. And they are not yet articulately developed. Aw heck.

Adolf was a vegetarian, wore simple suits on social occasions, and gave his subordinates gold watches if they quit smoking. My research very late last night was trying to learn if he was always or mostly kind and gentle in his personal relationships as opposed to his "stage manner." I don't remember any stories of fits of violent rage where he beat his chauffeur to death, or the like.

Did Hitler ever visit a camp? I can imagine Hitler talking with Heydrich:"Oh Rudy, Rudy, what shall we do with the poor Jews?" Heydrich:"Never to worry, Mein Fueher, I shall take care of it."

There is a banality of evil that is thoughtless competence, and there is sometimes a banality that inspires, a simplicity that men of genius and ability will die and kill for.

All the bad things have a single source.

There is a very interesting and important excerpt released this morning on the Time magazine Web site featuring an investigative report by Ron Suskind (Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from WSJ).

The title of the excerpt is: "Al-Qaeda Cell Planned to Attack Subway With Poison Gas, Says New Book"

I would highly recommend reading (for so many reasons). Article is available at:


a) the photos are largish is size, 150-225k. Any photo editing tool can take them, make them way small in size, keeping virtually all the clarity.

b) Sea turtles are amazing. You can see them swimming offshore in Maui and in the Maui Aquarium. They are several feet long and majestic

c) The Sentate just killed the Akaka Bill, which would have given limited sovereignty to native Hawaiians, maybe this bill was a gesture for them. However, an article I read on it said that fishing rights had not been worked out. Not sure why there should be any fishing in a sanctuary though.

I was astonished when I heard this, since it's entirely out of character for Bush and for the GOP generally. But I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Thanks, George: you did something good for once.

CaseyL: Fwiw, I think I heard on the radio that it happened after Bush saw a movie about it. (Seriously.)

Maybe he should see 'An Inconvenient Truth'.

Is it going to get funding?

Maybe he should see 'An Inconvenient Truth.'

Nah. All that would happen is that one of his handlers would show him some AEI film about how global warming is a lie cooked up by the discipline of climatology, which as we all know is a hotbed of Communism.

"CaseyL: Fwiw, I think I heard on the radio that it happened after Bush saw a movie about it. (Seriously.)"

Representative Ed Case (D-Hawaii) has been pushing the H.R. 2376 (the bill) since 2002, and introduced it again last year (see here), and Jean-Michel Cousteau has been pushing for about as long. He made two documentaries about the problem -- which is why he's ben on all the news shows, including a long segment again on the PBS Newshour the other day, but also the morning and evening network shows, and that's one of the films Bush saw. Here:

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Deborah Ziff:
[QB]WASHINGTON (June 8, 2006) – Jean-Michel Cousteau surfaced on Capitol Hill Thursday, wearing an orange tie imprinted with fish and talking about the importance of preserving the nation’s pristine marine sanctuaries.

The Santa Barbara resident was joined by his congresswoman, Rep. Lois Capps to announce the creation of a National Marine Sanctuaries congressional caucus, fittingly, on World Oceans Day (an oft-overlooked holiday).

The caucus, led by Mrs. Capps and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., is an effort to protect the nation’s 13 marine sanctuaries, including the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary, just off the coast of Santa Barbara. Like a national park, marine sanctuaries are protected areas for sea-life where human activity is restricted.

Mr. Cousteau, son of prolific voyager Jacques Cousteau, complained that there isn’t enough public awareness about the importance of the oceans.

“It’s not an issue of saving little fish or kelp,” said the third generation diver, protector of the oceans. “It’s an issue of saving ourselves.”

His six-part series on oceans, "Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Adventures," premiered in April at the White House, where he said President George Bush enjoyed himself “very much”. The first two episodes focused on a swath of water northwest of the Hawaiian Islands.

“From what I understand, he keeps making reference to them,” Mr. Cousteau said.

In the last two episodes, which will be shown on PBS in September, Mr. Cousteau travels to all 13 of the national marine sanctuaries.

Dan Basta, director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Sanctuary System, said this is a banner year for marine sanctuaries. He noted the upcoming management plan for Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary and the likely creation of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands marine sanctuary.[/QB][/QUOTE]

While I'm glad Bush did this, I can't help looking for reasons why (beyond that he saw a movie... which may indeed be the only reason, but if so... dang).

I know that there have been rumbles about environmental protection, of sorts, from both segments of the evangelical (and possibly other religious sect) communities, as well as from hunters, fishermen etc. So, that may be one aspect, even though apparently no fishing at all will be allowed in this one area.

Also, according to the article, "Mr. Bush used his power under the National Antiquities Act to designate national monuments, not the more cumbersome federal marine sanctuaries law."

I wonder which is easier to unravel?

I can't think of one thing that I might possibly have originally thought of as a "good thing" that Bush has done that hasn't had a sting in the tail. (For the record, I thought the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan was an unqualified bad thing, and unproductive as to stated goals.)

Also, according to the article, "Mr. Bush used his power under the National Antiquities Act to designate national monuments, not the more cumbersome federal marine sanctuaries law."

I wonder which is easier to unravel?

Gee, everyone liked President Bartlett when he used it back in Season 1.

I really think the worshipping the Great Old Ones explains it, as I previously posted.

That, or only a 9-year-old is so simplistic as to believe that every single thing a person does is Evil, absent worshipping Great Old Ones.

As it happens, this act is painless, save for a handful of fisherman, it's great politics, and it's a good idea. Why wouldn't he do it, outside of the notion that He's Just Evil?

The national monument designation basically just adopted and slightly enhanced a set of protections that had been in the works for several years. It's unequivocally a good thing, but the amount of credit due to Bush is relatively small. The area was going to be protected one way or another. Bush saw a movie, was impressed, and grabbed his opportunity to pick up a little cheap environmental credibility (IIRC, there are only about 8 boats that currently have permits to fish in the area, and there's a 5-year phaseout for them). Plus, he gets to do that cool "I'm the president and I say so" thing, which seems to be what he lives for.


I have a few other film suggestions for Bush to see.

I can think of lots of unequivocally good things that would have been both painless and great politics that Bush nevertheless failed to do, Gary. Can't you?

Why wouldn't he do it, outside of the notion that He's Just Evil?

He's just Stupid?

(sorry, couldn't resist)

I can't help waiting for the other shoe to drop.

For instance, are there some small islands in the middle that are going to be handed over to GOP donors for development as private resorts?

I suppose Bush can't stay in character as the Evil Republican all the time, but he's so good at it that I, like several other posters, can't help wondering what sort of evil is hidden underneath this apparently wholely good act. Hopefully hilzoy is right and we're just being paranoid.

I think I heard on the radio that it happened after Bush saw a movie about it.

Is anyone else reminded of the old joke that ends with the ghost of Lincoln telling Bush to see more plays for the good of the country?

Invading Afghanistan", if somehow it could stand alone, would be one,

I wouldn't put this in the unqualified good catagory either, even if it had been done perfectly. No matter how expertly handled, an invasion is going to involve a lot of people getting killed, many of whom did nothing more than get drafted in the wrong military or simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seeing, and maybe more to the point, smelling, the aftermath of the WTC attack convinced me that violent methods of changing a society are never good. In extreme situations, they may be better than the alternatives, but that does not make them truly good. Given the situation in Afghanistan--the level of oppression under the Taliban, the al Qaeda training camps, the probability that bin Laden was there, etc--you could make a very good case that invading Afghanistan was the best option available, but none of the options available were really ideal. So not an unqualified good the way protecting a part of the ocean around Hawaii or helping to end a civil war is.

Turtles, etc. are all what are technically called `charismatic megafauna'.

Actually, I think Cheney just wanted to protect the sharks.

One step forward, two steps back.

Yes, I know, Rapanos is not an ESA case, and yes I know that DOJ in this case was fighting for stricter limits, but still, a glance at the names on top tells you that this decision is as much an artifact of the current administration as the turtles cruising around the deep Pacific.

You are forgetting fact #1 about the Bushies. Listen to what they say and believe the exact opposite. It's the 180 degree administration.

Bravo Bush

Kevin Drum links to a Eon Suskind article:

"Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. "I said he was important," Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. "You're not going to let me lose face on this, are you?" "No sir, Mr. President," Tenet replied. Bush "was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth," Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, "Do some of these harsh methods really work?" Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, "thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each...target." And so, Suskind writes, "the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered."

AFAIK, this is the first time Bush has been connected to direct knowledge and approval of the details of torture. Not to mention, that Bush tortured the guy in order to "save face."

But hey, he protected pretty fishes, and we don't like haters around here. No wait, we like Bush, so I guess it is only people who hate Bush we don't like.

"Kevin Drum links to a Eon Suskind article"

And yet Gary Farber linked to the same review of Suskind's book, The One Percent Doctrine, by Bart Gellman (not an article by Ron Suskind), as well as a similar one by Michiko Kakutani, six hours before Kevin gets around to it.

Gary also points out the detail about the NSA beginning to have full access to the databanks of First Data Corp, the largest holder of credit card data in the nation, in 2001, and how that ties into what he's been saying about NSA data-mining since 2005, and also informs you of the Frontline documentary on PBS on Cheney, entitled "The Dark Side," premiering tonight, giving a link with more detail.

You decide which you want to check first to get the far earlier news with far more detail and links and quotes from.

"No wait, we like Bush"

That seems to be a difficult proposition to defend; I don't observe a lot of folks who like Bush regularly around here.

Actually, I don't believe I observe a single person regularly around here whom that describes in 2006. Not even Charles, Sebastian, or Slart, or Von, seem to "like" Bush, or talk about what a fine President he is, to my observation.

"No wait, we like Bush"

Ok. I take it back. Hilzoy does not like Bush, just performs an occasional gratis public relation service for someone she despises.

Much better.
Gary, honestly? I could have linked Suskind from ten different places. I have linked stuff from Nexthurrah and had you say something like:"I know those people; don't read them." Or rilkefan not liking tristero.

Drum or Delong or Yglesias have weight. Sorry. It is not that you lack credibility, it is that you lack audience and power. This could be a longer discussion. There are cliques. ObsWi is barely in the top clique.

Gary. Stirling Newberry tried diaries at DKos to build audience; and is now trying TPM. Available to anybody. Just a thought.

"ObsWi is barely in the top clique."

We aren't, but thanks for saying that we are. :)

"It is not that you lack credibility, it is that you lack audience and power."

Certainly true. Of course, if people don't link me when I get to stories far sooner, or do a good job, that's a self-fulfilling cycle. Not that anyone is obliged to help me out, of course.

But Suskind's work stands on its own; I don't see how credibility is relevant to quoting him and linking to relevant pieces.

"Available to anybody."

I'm stubborn about wanting to be my own brand; I pay the price. I've been blogging far longer than, say, Atrios or Kos, let alone any of the johnny-come-latelies of recent years.

Not that I promise to post all the big news all the time. In point of fact, I deliberately skip a lot of front-page news, on the grounds that everyone else will cover it, so why bother unless I have something particularly interesting to add?

Plus, of course, I have a lot of health breaks, and plus I have all sorts of interests, and certainly don't expect anyone to follow all of them, but rather to scroll past that which doesn't interest them (science fiction stuff, say, or comics, or weird science, or whatever).

I just naturally enjoy recognition when I do a decent job on something, or am early.

I'd also enjoy it if folks whose blogs I comment on commented on my blog, say, one out of every 40 times I comment on their's. But, again, purely optional, and I've whined before.

Anyway, Suskind obviously has another must-read, as I wrote.

And folks with tvs might look for that Frontline documentary on Cheney.

"Bravo" is a bit much. I assume the guy does things of this nature (and discussed it had been in the works, like the Libya deal) now and again, on some scale.

Just to toss something out, I think ... given his ideology and all ... John Roberts was a pretty good pick. This is not a vote for the guy, which is a totally different thing really. But, relatively speaking, that was a pretty good move for a pretty important position.

IOW I wouldn't like any pick he made, probably, but from the pool, good job. As to my remarks on attention to that blonde, Glen Greenwald's blog has two interesting posts. They seem more focused on others than her personally -- media and her mainstream Republican enablers -- which is basically my sentiment too.

The comments to this entry are closed.