Michael Gerson is an idiot

21 May 2009

I know this piece is almost a month old, but it’s been sticking with me.  Anybody notice anything interesting about this snippet?

I had come to view harsh interrogations as a clear mistake. The war on terror is as much an ideological conflict as a military one, and the combination of Abu Ghraib and revelations about waterboarding had the practical effect of a battle lost. I worried also that these techniques might lead to a dehumanized view of the enemy — always a risk in a time of war — thus greasing a slippery slope toward abuse.   [italics mine]

Doesn’t the fact that you refer to the enemy as “the enemy” indicate that your purported worry about dehumanization is a bit disengenuous?  Seems to me that he shoots down his own point with one sentence.

The T-P had a headline to this that sais something like “Torture memos reflect Cheney soul searching,” and I immediately thought, “Too bad they didn’t find it.”

Now Gerson comes back at us to say that Obama is undermining the morale of the CIA.

In a little over 100 days, the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have delivered a series of blows to the pride and morale of the Central Intelligence Agency.

First off, I don’t really care too much about morale at the CIA, but second, he’s wrong.  All we’ve been hearing about (note all the applause and “extended applause” that looks sincere in video) is that the CIA and other departments of the administration are thrilled to have him in there because he lets them do their jobs and doesn’t force them to violate the constitution at every turn.

I’ll admit that I’m as frustrated with most progressives on the watering down of principles that Obama has engaged in, but so far I’m still confident that it’s pragmatic.  Most of the time.  But if we ever get too pissed off, let’s remember how bad it used to be.


This doesn’t look good, Barack

6 February 2009

Thanks to a brilliant piece of photography and arrangement, we may have a scandal greater than any tax-dodging cabinet members.  These folks can NOT be pleased.  Just look at that laugh!

obama_cats

Brilliance found at YepYep


Image of the day

3 February 2009

I guess this has been around a while, but I hadn’t seen it.

att00001

h/t Mike


Obama appoints Christian Bale as “Cabinet Judgment Czar”

3 February 2009

It’s about time, because someone needs to crack a few skulls.  By my count, despite allegedly unprecedented vetting, the new pres (and the rest of us who support him) have been embarrassed by problems with at least 4 potential members of his cabinet or staff, now that Daschle and Killefer have withdrawn, following the withdrawal of  Richardson (Commerce) and the trouble with Geithner (Treasury).  This sucks, and Obama’s willingness to hedge on his promise to crack down on lobbyists is also discouraging and opens him up for criticism.

Don’t ge me wrong, I still think this administration is more competent and less corrupt than the more recent ones, but it still doesn’t look good for this new era, which I’m still hopeful will really be improved.

So that’s why Christian Bale comes in to his new role as the Enforcer.  Tell ’em what’s what, Batman!

BTW, this didn’t take long!


“Katrina. Next.”

27 January 2009

The most telling part of this from McSweeney’s.

I’ve been intrigued by the recent resurgence of Katrina to the forefront of political discussions lately.  If you haven’t seen the Katrina statement on the White House page, it’s appropriately harsh.

But where was the discussion during the campaign?  And why is it something people are talking about again?

Ashley was for Edwards in the primaries because he was the only candidate bringing it up, and I regretted that Obama didn’t bring it up as much as I’d like.  I’m glad we’re talking about it again, but can’t tell exactly why.  Maybe it’s because we’ve begun the recap and post-analysis of Bush’s terms of destruction.  Maybe it’s because it’s like shooting fish in a barrel to commit to doing a better job.  Either way, it was probably irrelevant during the campaign because LA and MS were never really in play.

It may have been a decision made for expediency, but let’s hope all’s well that ends well.


Things I Didn’t Know til Yesterday

22 January 2009

I watched WAAAAAY too much inaugural coverage, but of course this was the first time I was truly excited about it.  Still, I should have turned off the tube a lot sooner, given the level of crap that was repeatedly thrown at us.  Here’re some tidbits that may surprise you:

  1. Rosa Parks was a hero for not getting up on a bus in Birmingham, so they had that famous Birmingham bus in the parade.  And here, I always thought it was the Montgomery bus boycott…
  2. Clarence Thomas was the first Black member of the Supreme Court.  Jeez, I seem to remember someone named Thurgood Marshall, but I must be imagining…
  3. Barack Obama, presumably because he’s Black, loves to dance and has rhythm.  Someone named Hilary Rosen said repeatedly, to the delight and concurrence of her colleagues, that she was glad to have a president with rhythm.  And here I thought that the fact that he can’t dance (and clearly doesn’t really like to) and doesn’t clap to the beat of the band meant that he didn’t have rhythm, but apparently I’m wrong.  I guess I’m not letting my preconceived notions of his race help me see him for who he is–just a guy to reinforce my stereotypes; after all, he IS good at basketball.

Welcome, President Obama

21 January 2009

I can’t add much to what everyone else is saying.  I’m elated, relieved, enthusiastic, and optimistic.   I know it’ll be a tough road, but he’s the one for the job, and I’m ready to be a part of the new US.

The racial implications of this event are obviously huge, and two things keep coming to me in this regard.

One is that it’s impressive how diverse the crowd in DC is.  I’ve wondered how many prior inaugurations would have to be put together before this number of African American participants accumulated.  This is important if you consider that research consistently shows that African Americans identify more strongly with their race than their nation, whereas the opposite is true for White people. This will change the way that everyday Black people see their country and their role in it.

The other is the impact of Sasha and Malia growing up in the White House.  Modeling is huge, and Black kids can hear every day that they have a chance to be president, and so on, but seeing these two girls actually living there and being a part of the events we’ll see on tv will have a monumental impact.

We can speak of breaking barriers, achieving the unimaginable, and so on, but to me, the real significance is in these two more mundane developments.


Disneylike

8 January 2009

I don’t track the trash opera around here like many of y’all, but this really pissed me off.  Can anyone be more transparently manipulative than Nagin?  He knows that everyone is happy with the newly clean Quarter, but the budget won’t allow for premium anything (except those awesome cameras), so he attempts to avoid rebellion with spin.  He knows that no true NOLAnian would want to be compared to Disneyland, so he trots out the phrase to quell the masses.

“Oh, man, I didn’t realize until the mayor enlightened me that liking a clean Quarter meant I wanted to live in a sterile amusement park, so yeah, bring back the street puke!”

When’s that election again?  How about the recall?


Two quick questions

27 May 2008

Q1:  What current Hornets players do you think have the most promising commentator careers?

A:  Nope, judging from their enthusiasm and appeal in this thank you, it’s Bonzi Wells and Ryan Bowen.

Q2 (and here I really want the answer):  Who’s selling t-shirts that say Obamanem?  I want one, and a guy I met at Bayou Boogaloo said they were selling them, but I couldn’t find them.


A few miscellaneous observations

18 April 2008

Is George “bowtie” F. “vitiated” Will really calling Barack elitist?  How’s the silver-spoon everyman we have in there now working out for you?

I don’t know if it’ll be there tomorrow, but the roasted garlic on the salad bar at Whole Foods tonight rocked.  Get it when you can… by the pound.

Speaking of WFM, tonight I ran into Troy Andrews and Deacon John there.  I love seeing greatness at my store.

For the record, I’ve liked Chris Rose more than most bloggers, but I thought his tribute to Ashley was really good.

Speaking of Ashley, is it just me, or does the “Remember Ashley Morris” picture (and I need someone to help me put that up) look like he should be posthumously dubbed thus.

Michelle Obama will be the perfect first lady, in my view.  (Note the legs comment down toward the end)

The perfect response to Obama’s “bitter” controversy:

Young ManArtie Jefferson,
Tour Guide
“Hillary knew a young, inexperienced Obama would slip up sooner or later and be honest with people.”

I’ve often said that the racism in NO would dissipate a lot of people would just come onto Xavier’s campus and eavesdrop on students’ conversations.  Yeah, there’s plenty of banality going around, but today was the first day of our Festival of Scholars, and there’s some damn fine work going on.

Today when I got home a poller from Tulane & Kaiser interviewed me on my life since K.  I noted that although I said my life is overall very good, I ended up answering that I’m dissatisfied with a lot of things.  It’s a bit like something in psyc we call “false uniqueness.”

Ashley’s in the book.  I’ve added a bit from Ashley’s obituary to the chapter from E’s & my Psychology of Disasters book that deals with the rally effect.  I know most of us were rabid pro-NOLA people before the storm, but I know that we’ve gotten more defensive and vehement since, much like the flag pins that emerged after 9/11.  I hope it’s a good bit of subtle tribute.

In solidarity with Tibet, I am refusing to compete in the China olympics.  You’re welcome.