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.
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
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
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
Nor is pleas from my English teechers to use grammar check going
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
I hope they don't fire anyone over this... because they're likely
to be re-hired as airport security.
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
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
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
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
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?
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