Democratic Underground

Blog Box

March 19, 2005
Compiled by Bucky Rea, The Brown Bag Blogger

Well, Lick My Comb!

Paul Wolfowitz in charge of the World Bank. Wow. I just wanna stop and contemplate that for a minute.

Wow.

To be fair, I want to include what bloggers who defend Mr Wolfowitz say is right about this nomination.

The arguments in favor of Wolfowitz go like this: (1) the World Bank has done some screwed up things in the past; (2) Paul Wolfowitz demonstrates no respect for the operations and missions of international institutions; (3) therefore Paul Wolfowitz is the perfect person to "shake up" the World Bank from its complacency and get it to do, you know, things; (4) among the infinite possibilities in the known universe is the possibility that this will be beneficial to world order.

Slate's War Stories blogger Fred Kaplan, in his unending quest to consistantly cut against the grain, makes the novel argument that the comb-licker's "strikingly poor analytical judgment as deputy secretary of defense" and his horrible track record when it comes to forecasting numbers and his na´ve (hah!) trust of con-man-cum-Iranian agent of influence Ahmed Chalabi show just what a sober idealist Wolfowitz is.

By way of example, Kaplan points out that Wolfowitz wants to give development aid to Third World dictatorships like Sudan and Liberia. On the other hand, pro-Wolfie opinionist Jacob Heilbrunn of the LA Times in his run-down of what's been wrong with the World Bank since back in the day says that the historic problem with the Bank has been its policy of willy nilly giving money out to tin pot dictators.

Altercation's Eric Alterman a week before the Wolfowitz nomination got the scoop from the horse's maw itself that Wolfowitz likes to read bloggers, including Juan Cole, although Cole apparently makes Wolfowitz's face scrunch up like he's eaten bad sushi. Ironically, my face has about the same reaction whenever I hear about thousands of people dying and terrorists growing stronger because people like Wolfowitz proudly don't know squat about the Third World. But I digress.

The most clever defense of the nomination came from Jim Lobe in Antiwar, who points out that he is dating a Tunisian banker, after all.

Now let's look at what the sane people are saying.

Travis Marshall from Blogcritics.org: "about a month after Bush traveled to Europe in an attempt to improve relations between the EU and the US, he seems to be actively sabotaging any goodwill created by the trip."

Prometheus 6: "About the only place he can do as much damage as in Iraq."

Angry Bear: "Knowledge of economics be damned. Multilateralism be damned. We own those organizations, and it's time they know it."

Digby's Hullabaloo: "Nothing to see here folks. Proceed with the empire building."

Yep, that's about right. Wolfie may well be the most sensitive and thoughtful of the neocons currently running the railroad, but that's like saying Natalie was the least annoying of the Facts of Life girls. Technically true, but utterly pointless.

Blogs in the News

Bob Fertik of Democrats.com showed up good and prominent in the NY Times this week, helping bloggers crack thru the shell into mainstream media sensibilities (without, one hopes, becoming of mainstream media sensibilities). Thanks to professional baby boomer Chuck Nyren for this link.

In less flattering news, the FEC's chairman, Commissioner Scott Thomas struck fear in the hearts of us blogviators by suggesting that links from a blog might be considered an in-kind donation to a political campaign and therefor subject to campaign finance regulations. At question is whether blogs are a form of journalism.

Um. Uh. I'm speechless on this one, kids.

It Only Hurts When I Laugh - Hah, hah, hah - Ouch

No comments, just read these: Realitique gets the scoop when "Bush Calls for Reform of Math." And the Rude Pundit notes the silence from the Silent Majority on everybody's favorite gay prostitute-cum-White House softballer, Jeff Gannon. Speaking of laughter as the best therapy, check out what is, I think, Jeff Gannon's own brand new blog. I'm pretty sure it's his rather than a very subtle parody. Right? But no, a parody would at least have a few hunky jpegs on it. Still, it's hard to pass up on all the straight lines Jeff offers in his page, so forgive my little trip thru MST3K nostalgia. (The stuff in bold are actual quotes from the Hot Military Stud's own "new service" site, the other stuff is just me being a jerk):

Jeff Gannon - A Voice of the New Media: "So feared by the Left it had to take me down"

And this from a guy who knows something about getting "taken down."

If you thought I was going to slink away - then you don't know much about me.

Nor about the magic that are Viagra and steroids.

Despite all the pleas from the Left to go over to the 'dark side' and expose the 'corrupt Bush administration' simply isn't going to happen.

Nor is pleas from my English teechers to use grammar check going to happan.

My faith and my ideology are rock solid.

Like my abs, baby. Like my abs and my head.

And just to remind us that old habits die hard, Li'l Jeffy's also listing his website, jeffgannon.com, as a "News Service" and yet continues to only post a few slightly reworded wire stories as his own work. Hey, look, it's still America and we've all got a right to make a buck here. But Jeffy, your 15 minutes are over with and that Benjamin on the dresser means that it's time for you to button on your shirt and go home.

But Bartcop really puts our degenerating reality into its proper perspective:

Authorities say Brian Nichols overpowered deputy Cynthia Hall, took her gun, and easily gained access to the courtroom, where he went on to kill the judge and a court reporter. Security cameras captured images of him overpowering the deputy, but it turned out no one was watching the screens.

Earlier in the week, Nichols was found to have had two homemade knives in his shoes while in court. And his getaway car was found 13 hours later in the same parking garage where it was allegedly carjacked.

I hope they don't fire anyone over this... because they're likely to be re-hired as airport security.

Morally Bankrupt

Donkey Rising notes how the liberal broadcast media pretty much ignored the travesty that was the Senate's treatment of the bankruptcy bill last week while mainstream print media only mostly ignored the effort to save Visa and MasterCard from the predations of poor people (just Ivins, Krugman, and (commendably) David Broder among the biggies cared about this reverse Robin Hood act).

Once more only the liberal hemi of the blogosphere seems to pay attention to the politics of your pocketbooks. I wonder if this has something to do with the fact that bloggers are more likely than mainstream journalists to have difficulty keeping their heads above water. Why should Peter Jennings care about bankruptcy laws - he's got lots of money. Bob Fertik blogged away at Democrats.com about how, when Mr Bush brought his "save Social Security" vaudeville to Alabama, six out of seven local rockhead Republican congressmen refused to share a podium with their beloved president. Oh, I'm sorry, I mean they had other, more important business than face time with the president of the United States.

Fertik is now issuing a call for a firestorm. If we can stall out the Bush steamroller on social security, we ought to be able to rally the blogosphere and the country to reject the anti-consumer warfare of the Bankruptcy Bill.

ANWR Gets Drilled

The Liberal Oasis is documenting how the Bush administration is learning the lessons of the past by being low key in the way it destroys the environment. "The public hasn't really seen what the GOP is up to on the environment, because they have learned to be relatively cagey about their anti-environment platform."

Joe Hoeffel at MyDD puts it even more simply: "Simply put, ANWR is beautiful, Prudhoe Bay is ugly. Drilling for oil -- the roads, rigs, buildings and pipes -- despoils the environment, plain and simple."

There but for the Grace of God Blog I

Left-Coaster Yuval Rubinstein has done a remarkable mind read on DLC moderates and has figured out the newest preempt-the-right-wing-agenda tactic from the vast Lieberman wing of the Democratic Party: embrace the "evolutionary middle" on the old Evolution vs Genesis debate. How better to entice Red Staters to look our way, Yuval "discovers," than to concede the point that maybe just maybe the universe was created in six days about six thousand years ago by a human-like intelligence that can't calculate even the value of pi.

Ur-blog-journalist Josh Marshall is taking one of his very rare vacations (getting "married" is his "cover" this time around) and has placed comedian Harry Shearer in charge of Talking Points Memo. A few critics may scoff at this choice, placing a premier investigative blog in the hands of a TV satirist. But with the news becoming increasingly difficult to satirize, can you really blame Shearer for trying to branch out into becoming a pundit?

What is a "pundit" anyway? The word itself is derived from the Hindu word pandit, meaning "learned man," which in turn comes form the Sanskit term panditah, "learned, scholar." Today of course a panditah is an item on the Jack-in-the-Box Value Menu and has twice the nutritional value of your average pundit.

But for you lovelorn out there, That's Another Fine Mess has discovered that Sean Hannity is all about playing matchmaker for America. You heard it here first (well, second) - Sean Hannity is running a dating service off his website. First he went into competition with Free Republic and now he thinks he's Will Smith from "Hitch."

Another Fine Mess did a messy drive-by on the "prospects" there and, sadly, wasn't too impressed with his chances at finding true happiness among the dittoheads.

I know looks shouldn't matter in a relationship, and sure, I may not be the best looking guy in the world either, but most of the people at Hannidate make the kid from Mask look like a prom king. Also, I don't see many young women over there, certainly you can't expect young Republican Men to procreate with the cast of The Golden Girls. Maybe Hannidate isn't a site where people can find love, maybe its just pictures of the cast from Cocoon.

Excuse the ageism and looksism, kids, but that's definitely our quote of the week.

Worms Not Turning

Oliver Willis is all over right wing fantasist David Horowitz for almost being honest. Horowitz recently made a leaner of an apology for making up lies in an article he wrote for the college thought police organization he heads up, Students for Academic Freedom: "Correction: Some of Our Facts Were Wrong, But Our Point Was Right."

Speaking of lies, why exactly is 60-something David Horowitz the president of an organization called Students for Academic Freedom?

And finally, over the weekend Juan Cole asked an unpleasant question. If democracy on the march is a good thing, how come the Bush White House and the Blair Number Ten (or whatever it is those people call it) get miffed when someone we don't like rises up through the ranks of Middle Eastern democracies?

Oh, Juan, were you really expecting them to be consistent?

Know a hot blog that needs some coverage? Send your recommendations to Bucky.

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