February 29, 2004


Very intriguing confluence of usage last week. See if you can spot what these items have in commmon.

"The system created by the United States for trials by military tribunal of foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay is fundamentally unfair and hopelessly antiquated, military lawyers assigned to represent these prisoners said on Wednesday."

'[A] report in the Wall Street Journal that said Halliburton's KBR engineering and construction unit had found its cost control systems "antiquated" and inadequate and its procurement "disorganized" and marked by "weak internal controls."'

Basically, if you don't want something to work, you underfund or undertechnologize it. By using, natch, "antiquated" tools.

Now, that could potentially also be what's going on here, but I think this is more likely just a quasi-intended consequence of the Cheney Cabal's Exvestment process.


Nick Confessore at TAPPED takes the Congress at its word.

Amen, brother. We should get Eliot Spitzer on this. I'm serious.

Oh, Crap -- It's Spreading


Well, the muddled, wooly-headed, apolitical, myopic thinking -- that I expected.

The absolute disregard for any questions of "electability," that surprised me a little and is really pretty inexcusable.

But THIS truly galls:

'Experience counts in the White House. As Kerry put it, "the greatest difference substantively'' between he and Edwards is the Massachusetts senator's 35 years of experience in working on progressive causes.'

"Between he and Edwards"?!? Come on, people -- this is a grade-school level case mistake. Between him and Edwards.

If the op-ed editors of major urban newspapers can neither properly pluralize Latinate nouns nor get their pronoun cases correct, then the terrorists have won.

The Confidence Man herewith proposes a Defense of Grammar Constitutional amendment.

The New York Times Op-Ed Page Is For Crap

OK, I'm not even going to get into the whole David Brooks question, or their post-9/11 post-Jayson Blair practice of reserving regular space for one-off unfactchecked right-wing lunatic pieces.

No, my issue here is with ... "millenniums"?!?

I'm sorry if I ever previously indicated any doubt that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. When the NYT can't even pluralize millennia correctly ...

An Even Better Name

Wow. Malachi Throne. That's just so utterly improbable. It sounds like the name of an Old Testament-quoting kung-fu supervillain played by Troy McClure.

Also, note the frequency of monkey-character voiceovers and monkey-related roles and themes (especially as Narrator of LANCELOT LINK) in Mr. Throne's cv. And his recurring cameo in ARK II, which the Confidence Man regards, for better or for ill, as one of his foundational childhood Ur-texts.

February 28, 2004


Ezra at Pandagon describes Al Sharpton, apropos of the Rev.'s role in the debates, as being "like a fat, soulful Lassie."

Wonderful image: reminds me of the astoundingly funny Ben Stiller Show bit on Charles Manson as Lassie (one of the Two Funniest Things Ever on TV -- the other being the Thanksgiving episode of WKRP in Cincinnati).

Seaborn Roddenberry?

Courtesy of the incomparable Atrios (after these last furious little spates of posting, I can only begin to imagine the work neessary to generate his daily output), we get a reference to a US Rep. from Georgia who introduced a nasty little anti-miscegenation (no Moo-lattes for him at the DQ!) in 1911.

The man's name?

Seaborn Roddenberry.

God bless you Sons of the Cawnfedruhsee. What a name! Although I must say, "Seaborn Roddenberry" seems like it should be the name of a slash fiction/fan fiction character who is an amalgam of Rob Lowe, Patrick Stewart, and Russell Crowe.

I Love You, Dr. Zaius!

Hm. Yes, Halliburton does have a powerful strange interest in going to Mars.

Their secret motivation couldn't be this, could it? The downside for the the GOP in that scenario would be that they'd have to drum up support for another Constitutional amendment, this time delimiting marriage to a union of Earthlings. "Feeling the hot blood of my fighting ancestors leap in my veins" -- Price, you're priceless!

Now, on to the data: note that "More than 11,000 images and 9.1 gigabytes of information have been returned by the two rovers," and then keep in mind Big Unka Gubmint's splendid track record of data mining and analysis. I wouldn't worry about Halliburton actually getting there any time soon.

On the other hand, they and their Space Pork cronies at the B.U.G. trough may well make a lot of money in the not-getting-there. A more detailed post on Space Pork, Selective Catastrophism, and Science! will be forthcoming. Have Confidence.

Meanwhile, do explore Chris Mooney's blog.

Going Private

Yes, indeed, Mr. Jibbenainosay, Richard Perle is one of the princes of darkness. Jack Shafer at Slate and Josh Marshall have been tracking Perle's trail of lymph for some time. Shafer in particular, with his "Perle Libel Watch," demonstrates that this peculiar lesser demon is comprised mainly of superheated Phlogiston.

Quite honestly, I don't know why this isn't a bigger story. Too "inside baseball," perhaps, to play on front pages and on the teevee news; too "inside baseball," as well, I suppose, in the sense of journos' and politicos' unspoken agreement not to stick a 2x4 in the Great Revolving Door.

Methinks that Perle's departure is, like Parsdint Flightsuit's Fag-Bashing Amendment, a sop to the right-wing "base": note especially Pat Buchanan's worm turning on Perle.

Ha! "That Cincinnatus, Condoleeza Rice" -- excellent. Yes, it would be good for her to self-exile back to the Farm (and only my girlish discretion keeps me from making any comment about "plowing fields"). But: wouldn't that be "Cincinnata"? (Which, as I'm sure you're aware, is actually also an accurate phonetic representation of how denizens of Porkopolis pronounce the place name.)

February 27, 2004

The Planet of Dr. ?


Could The Confidence Man please tell me why we give a shit about life on Mars? Is it so that when Halliburton starts drilling there, we'll be sure there are no "insurgents" around to blow up their subcontracted employees? Or does it have something to do with explaining the Christian story of creation (which it seems clear couldn't have taken place on this planet)? This NASA waterwitching business is making Edgar Rice Burroughs look smarter every day,

Going Public

Remarkable! You can't even trust your own lawyer to watch your back. Perle's "attorney, Samuel Abeday, told ABCNEWS today Perle is quitting the board altogether so he can sue the news organizations that "falsely accused him of conflicts of interest." Yet "in a letter to the defense chief last Wednesday," the rationale stated is that Perle "would not wish" his strong views "to be attributed to you or the President at any time, and especially not during a presidential campaign." (Interesting that they might not be attributed to that Cincinnatus, Condoleeza Rice.)

I don't know about conflicts of interest, but I'd say that telling the Executive Branch of the government of the United States of America one thing and your lawyer another might not make for such a good defense -- even if ABC refuses to see a story in it.

More Smart-Assery

Hm. Perhaps this is really what Kreepy Unka Dick's top-sekrit energy cabal was after: "electricity can be generated from domestic wastewater, which is full of organic matter from cooking, cleaning or sewage."

Given the amount of crap they generate, perhaps Cheney's Undisclosed Location and Scott McClellan's White House Briefing Room might be good locations to plant electrodes.


Well, we've generally said our say about Sen. Kerry; though he's been performing better of late, we still foster grave reservations about his viability at the top of the ticket.

Anyway, we've been perplexed by those "Dated Dean/Married Kerry" notions floating about.

And we finally realized what the problem is: they're incomplete. The full formulation should read: "Dated Dean/Married Kerry/Fucked by Bush."

Our Latest Billion-Dollar Idea

Piggybacking off the -- well, we were about to say "popularity," but "notoriety" seems more appropriate -- of Mel Gibson's Jesus Porn Film, we have come up with a most excellent marketing scheme.

We want to start a proprietary aerobic/toning workout regimen, based on scourging, flaying, and carrying around a weighted wooden crosspiece on one's shoulder's. This will tone the large muscle groups in the legs, the back, and the torso, while toughening up one's epidermis. It will of course require a group exercise leader -- but a reluctant drill instructor, who is egged on by a hostile crowd of supporters.

What do we call this exercise regimen?

Pontius Pilates, of course!

February 26, 2004

Tom Cruise?!?

Well, as the AWOL story slowly peters out, we're left with flaccid follow-up like this.

Although ... once you start to delve into the accounts of Bush's early-'70s, ahem, "lifestyle," things start to get a little ... suspect:

'The early 1970s was a time when Bush was living what Roome called the "Tom Cruise" time of his life -- driving a fast car, flying fighter jets and dating many women. That lifestyle has raised concerns that perhaps Bush neglected his duty or ran into trouble. Nothing in the records supports that theory, and Roome and Udell said nothing of the sort occurred.'

Now, I don't know about you kids out there, but when I hear a segment of someone's experience described as 'the "Tom Cruise" time of his life' ... well, let's just say that the third element of the triad described above is most assuredly not what comes to mind.

And right after that careful qualification of what precisely the WaPo thinks constitutes a '"Tom Cruise" time of one's life,' there's that tricksy little word "lifestyle" again.

I am beginning to think that all the lefty tinfoil-hat theories about Bush's departure from the National Guard are, shall we say, driving up the wrong alley.

I want to know more about this James Bath fellow who keeps cropping up in the Bush-National Guard narrative over at Calpundit's archive. He, apparently, was given the boot at the same time George was.

Hm. Hmmmmmm. You don't think ...

Home-Clubhouse Security

Well, now, here's another struggling industry crucial to the nation's well being that could use some lucrative Homeland Security pork, ahem, grants to improve security measures.

"Yankees manager Joe Torre has allowed friends into his office, such as Billy Crystal and Marvin Hamlisch."

I can't put this any plainer: if Marvin Hamlisch is not stopped, then the terrorists have won.


Yeesh. It just gets uglier and uglier -- and less surprising all the time.

Senators apparently have "uncanny" market timing.

Public officials utilizing inside information from clients, ahem, lobbyists, to become shareholders in private ventures: Exvestment.


Well, this is galling but not entirely what we would call surprising.

So, yes, the Cheney Cabal -- via Homeland Security grants -- is now apparently directly funding corporate security for petrochem firms.

As others have been speculating, this allllllllllllllllllllllllllllll tracks back to Kreepy Unka Dick's Energy Task Force.

Which ties in with our previous thoughts on Extelligence: in addition to privatizing national security intel, Cheney is also privatizing certain segments of the national security apparatus on the ground. Exfrastructure.

More prognostication: in the event of a Bush-Cheney win this fall, about halfway through their second term we will see a genuinely ugly private military/commando debacle, along the lines of Iran-Contra.

Twins, taxes, technology

Well, this is a mix of the wonderful, the maudlin, and the weird.

But one part is rather inexcusable, from an editorial perspective: "the couple said they used part of their tax refund check to pay roughly $300 in anesthesia bills."

Now, really. If you're going to ascribe the magickal healing power of the Bush Tax Cuts, then you probably should at least point out that any further surgeries and palliative care will be all the more difficult to pay for because of the Bush Tax.

Plus, I've got a semantic bone to pick with those slack bastards at CNN: note the use in the last graf of "plexiglass." Not only did they fail to capitalize the trademarked name, but they misspelled it (one "s," not two). Ding-dongs.

Extelligence Revisited

Hm. OK, so we knew that Condi Rice had put her widdle foot down and insisted that she was not going to pway nice with the 9/11 investigation.

We had not, however, realized that her legal justification for not doing so was that, essentially, she's just a private citizen: "Rice has also refused to testify publicly on the grounds she is a presidential adviser and not a Senate-confirmed Cabinet officer."

Indeed, it's another example of the Cheney Cabal's extelligence operation. Ain't nobody here but us private citizens.

And, of course, this also explains the ongoing vampiric tale of Richard Perle, who is now apparently being prised off the milky white neck of the Defense Policy Board. He, too, is merely a noble, self-sacrificing private citizen.

Extrapolation, or Panicky Astronomers

OK, so let me make sure I've got this straight: in the context of an established social network of scientific experts on a potentially threatening exotic phenomenon, a subset of untrained amateur enthusiasts seizes on a small and incomplete sample of inconclusive evidence, makes an alarmist and (literally) hyperbolic extrapolation of this incomplete evidence, attempts to hijack the discussion of the validity of the extrapolation, and comes very close to mobilizing the US security apparatus in pursuit of this phantom extrapolated threat.


All I can say is, thank goodness for scientists and other trained professionals with the backbone to stand up to erroneous cranks.

Too bad we don't have any of those in, say, the foreign service, diplomatic corps, or intelligence community.

February 25, 2004


Or, everything I know I learned from Tim Goodman.

Oh, it's always a joy to get Goodman back from a bout of drinking on the couch.

Really, this fellow is the finest writer working for the SF Chron. Followed at a modest distance by the Night Cabbie and the Betting Fool.

Anyway, to showcase the snark, I feel compelled to quote Tim at length:

'The New York Times announced, on its opinion page, no less, that reality TV had "jumped the shark" with Fox's "The Littlest Groom." Never mind that the Times' witless, baroque approach to television criticism prefers references to arcanum such as 18th century art and opera titles over, say, things that are interesting or make sense, what's galling about this pronouncement is twofold.

Anyone who's hip to TV no longer, if he ever did, refers to "jumping the shark." That's akin to referencing 50 Cent and uttering "word up" while using both hands to "raise the roof." And then there's the matter of the premise itself. This may surprise the Times which, one would assume, has been watching a lot of "Nova" lately, but no amount of "little people" can kill reality programming. To think that reality programming is dead or dying is to be hopelessly naive about the state of television and where it's heading. Until Fox shoots somebody in the eye, live, this is a genre that will be around for a while.

OK, so, yeh, we'll have to take Tim to task for the erroneous use of "arcanum" (should be plural "arcana," but whatev), but otherwise -- bravo, sir!

And while we're on the subject of Chron columnists, we have a backlog of David Kipen Tortuous Ledes to unpack. Soon, my pretties ...


Well, this is just one of those things ... those crazy, kooky things ... where the confluence of editorial and advertising produces something wonderful-strange.

Via Atrios, we read a horrid little Bible-thumping screed in a local rag in Jasper, Alabama.

Now, leaving aside any genuine concern for the actual content of the op-ed piece itself, note the web ad directly at top of the page: it's a banner ad civic-boosting the city of Jasper.

And the motto of this hamlet of Jasper is: "Twice the Lifestyle ... Half the Price."

The Confidence Man is, verily, struck dumb at the wondrousness of this.



Geezus. Price, you're priceless.

Well, to abandon our usual elliptical allegorical style, we'll dive right in: the fact that the civic entity of Jasper employs the cosmopolizing trope of "lifestyle" as part of a media campaign of gentrification and derusticization means that theyhave already embraced the swishy, mogrelized, ambiguously Starbucked modern, and that this Sodom-and-Gomorrah Jeremiad is too little, too late.

As we say, priceless.

Safirean Conspiracy Theory

Surprised that Bill S. hasn't come up with this one yet; expect to see it in his column within the month.

And, um, to reiterate the header, we're not advocating any potential truth to this theory, but rather prognosticating Safire's gullibility in swallowing and regurgitating it.

Anyway, here goes: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a veritably Deanian DLC-style Demo centrist/moderate (pro-biz, pro-civil lib, pro-property rights) has, at the behest of the Hillaryites, escalated the gay marriage debate in order to further scuttle the Dems' pars-dinchul chances in '04. This, doubtless, for either a shot at a cabinet seat in '09 and/or HilPac's fiduciary backing when Newsom runs for the Senate or the governor's office after two terms as SF mayor.

Watch the skies!

Socially Unacceptable Neologisms

... or, shall we say, a touch more unacceptable than is the norm hereabouts ...

OK, so if Clinton's 1998 bombing of Osama bin Laden (supposedly) in order to distract attention from the Lewinsky scandal at home was called an example of "Wagging the Dog"; then could we not call Bush's 2004 demagoguery around gay marriage (demonstrably) in order to distract attention from his dismal failures both at home and abroad an example of ... wait for it ... "wagging the fag"?

(And, no, it would not be "fagging the dog": that is the alternate demagogue practice [cf, Sen Rick Santorum, R-PA] of equating homosexuality with bestiality.)

February 19, 2004

Contender, Simile of the Year

Eric Alterman, from Feb. 18th:

'Howard Dean is like the old reel-to-reel tape in “Mission Impossible.” He gave the rest of the candidates their instructions and then self-destructed. In doing so, he may have helped save the party and the country. Thanks Howard.'


That's right up there in the running alongside our colleague Astronaut Body's precis of the film version of Steven King's DREAMCATCHER: "It's like an explosion in a metaphor factory."

Although, as we pointed out at the time, a more precise formulation would be either "It IS an explosion in a metaphor factory" or, y'know, "It's like an explosion in a simile factory."


The War on Errorism

Not a detailed exposition here, but something to chew on.

Take a look at these bibliographies, and let us know what you think the US military chain of command might make of an administration that wilfully blinds itself to objective, empirical evidence on all sorts of policy and polity issues, military and otherwise.

Yes, obviously, the Army is a political beast -- especially so at the topmost ranks, in the same manner as any other large organization. And, yes, your correspondent The Confidence Man is a good Latourian, and as such believes that politics and science are ultimately not separable from one another.

But -- as I think Gen. Schoomake might point out, his reading list indicates above all else the necessity of reacting appropriately to counterfactual evidence when theories or plans go awry.

Accounting 101

Can this possibly be true?

In an otherwise well researched and tightly argued Slate article on the Cheney Cabal's venal decision to underfund US soldiers' Hummer armor, Eric Umansky posits the following:

"[...] armor kits are procurement, not operational, items—that is, durable goods [...]"

Wait: how can armor kits be considered durable goods? They're designed to be hit by enemy ordinance!

On the lighter side, we enjoyed the bit at the end about the army reservist stationed in Baghdad who Gerry-rigged his Hummer with homemade armor and '[d]ubbed [it] the "Butler Mobile" after his last name.'

But wouldn't it have been, y'know, funnier if he had decided to call it the "Ba'athmobile"?

I Need To Stop Talking To People

So, the other day, in response to this, I made a wise-ass remark to a colleague about how misplacing a semicolon in a homophobic legal filing is what happens when you trust your legal education to the mullahs at Pepperdine.

Lo and behold, the very next day in the SF Chron, this appears on the Op-Ed page, penned by one Douglas W. Kmiec -- chair and professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine.

And then this morning, courtesy of Atrios and Gen. J. C. Christian, we read this unsurprising development at "the Bob Jones of Malibu."


Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.

This is, as they say in the cane break, sumpfin':

'As U.S. players left the stadium for their bus, several fans chanted "Osama! Osama!"'

Gotta hand it to those Mexican futbol afficionados: they know how to jeer. Big time.

As for American race fans, well, a bunch of bystanders silently giving Dubya the bird is encouraging, but not up to snuff.

Now, in '08 or '12 when Hillary and/or Eliot Spitzer runs, and they come to Daytona, then you may hear some "Osama!" chants from the crowd. Because we still insist that the 9/11 attacks were directed much more at "New York City" and the cosmopolitan modernism it represents, then at "America" as such, especially as represented by the Red State sectors that are "more" American (and less modern).

But anyway, more on that later.

February 18, 2004

Amateur Gnostication

Alright, kids, not much time right now, but I just wanted to be the first on the playground to say this:

What SF Mayor Gavin Newsom is doing with this gay marriage issue is looking very presidential -- for a race in, say, 2024.

Remember, you read it here first: Newsom/Clinton (yeah, that's Chelsea) in 2024.

More details anon.

Hybrid Vehicles

Wow. This is one excellent chimera: the UAW + the Sierra Club.

Durn burn it, Dubya IS a uniter, not a divider!

Balderdash, or Haberdash?

Do "al Qaida ties" look anything like Andover ties?


Josh Marshall does another post-barn-door-closing-and-barn-being-burned-by-angry-mob-of-peasants roundup of Kreepy Unka Dick's sacred cows.

Now, keeping in mind Cheney's demonstrated penchant for supra-official intel analysis ("Group B" in the '70s to overestimate the Soviet military apparatus, the "Office of Special Plans" recently to get around bureaucratic obstacles to Operation Oedipus) and his penchant -- nay, lust -- for privatization of military and diplomatic efforts (what was the name of that company he used to work for?), can we get down to some serious speculation?

To wit, it seems likely to us that Cheney had some serious inside dope, courtesy of Halliburton's work in the '80s and '90s for Iraq and Iran, of what exactly was going on in those benighted states. And this, most likely, is Cheney's true "intel apparatus": the reliance on private NGOs, specifically those with which Cheney enjoys tight fiduciary and personal relationships.

And this, boys and girls, is what the Confidence Man calls "extelligence."

And yes, this "extelligence" is related to the operative Cheney Cabal conceit of "errorism" (which we shall explain at some length anon).

February 13, 2004

Official Cheney Cabal Wiffleball Team Roster

Can't tell the players without a scorecard ...

Given First Matron Barbara Bush's reputation as one mean-spirited, take-no-prisoners kind of broad (and we don't consider that an insult, as we've always had a thing for independent-minded women), can we start referring to her as "Iron Bar"?

This would go on the Official Cheney Cabal Wiffleball Team Roster, along with "Kreepy Unka Dick" Cheney and Don "Rumses" Rumsfeld.

Any more suggestions, Mr. Jibbenainosay?

February 11, 2004

Mixing It Up, Indeed

The Confidence Man does not doubt the actuality of the Moo-Latte.

Although he would like to see photographs.

And he does still maintain the general/metaphorical validity of his insistence that DQ is a "Red State" institution -- at least in the "NASCAR Dad" sense of cultural Roterlandism.

And he certainly hopes that DQ has proprietary blending devices to make the Moo-Lattes, and calls them Mixegenators.

"An Adolescent Tale Gone Awry"

OK, so this at first glance doesn't seem to be anything more than what our pull-quote title describes.

To recap, three imminently pubescent OC girls got in trouble by staying out too late -- so they concocted a tale of being assaulted by an unnamed and sketchily described vagrant in a neighborhood park. "36-year-old drifter Eric Nordmark" was subsequently arrested and incarcerated for EIGHT MONTHS while the girls stuck to their story. One of the girls finally broke, fessed up to her mom, and the three girls were subsequently arrested and sent to juvie court.

Indeed, not merely "an adolescent tale," but a classic (in the literary sense) American tale.

And perhaps more.

Stay with us here: we're diving headlong into allegory and hyperbole (as is our wont; do you have Confidence?).

If Scaife's Irregulars and the Starr Chamber could manufacture a worldview in which Bill Clinton's carnal libido and cunning linguistics could poison the minds of the Children of America -- can we not say that the Cheney Cabal's mendacity and falsehoods regarding foreign policy and homeland security can do the same?

I submit that these three preteen SoCal chickyboos are the VICTIMS in this sordid little tale. They are the victims, indeed, of the lies of George W. Bush and the example that these lies set.

These girls got caught in a jam, and did just what the Parsdint would do: they made shit up, identified a shadowy victim, and set the Proper Authorities out to punish the evildoer.

What was all that about "restoring honor and dignity to the White House"? Yeah, that knife cuts both ways, brother.

February 10, 2004

Mixing It Up.

The Jibbenainosay spends some time at the Mall. While material being holds little interest for him, still, if one wants to observe the public morals, it's the best venue short of the ever-democratic airport. Better still, the Mall is located in a historically black town in the south, with an antebellum history of free black industry and a spectacular current racialized labor dynamic that's bringing large numbers of folks from northern Mexico, the Honduras, and Guatemala into the already charged black-white working space of a southern university town.

There's a Dairy Queen in our Mall. (The Confidence Man insists that DQ is exclusively a Red State phenomenon, but the Co.'s web site insists that it is ubiquitous.) Our DQ has a new dessert beverage, a coffee/dairy hybrid. A beige blend of dark and lovely coffee and pure white ice cream.

The MooLatte.

You think I'm making this up. Challenge me, and I'll provide photos. Somebody tell me what to make of this.

WaPo Carries Water for the Medicare Fraud Industry

... with said Medicare Fraud Industry specifically to include the Rove Re-election Apparatus.

Anyway, here it is. Note the second graf, which we quote in its entirety:

"The inquiry, initiated by nine Democratic lawmakers, is part of an escalating, multipronged effort by the law's critics to undermine public support for the legislation. The law, enacted three months ago, will add drug benefits to the program and create a larger role in it for private health plans."

Now, it seems apparent from the tone and placement of this framing device that it is intended to convey the message that the charges are illegitimate, scurrilous, and baseless. And, um, antipatriotic.

Aside from the question of placement of this framing device -- and let us be clear, we're not objecting to the inclusion of this framing device, as it is indeed an item necessary and relevant to the story -- there is a troubling allegation in the frame. Namely, the part about this being an attempt to "undermine public support for the legislation."

Folks, the public already decided that this bill was bogus. That's why tens of thousands of AARP members resigned from the organization. Hell, that's why the Dems felt emboldened in the first place to start countermanding the legislation.

Careful Where You Point That Thing, Don

So, can we hope that this little exchange goes down in the annals of history as Rumsfeld's "Ich bin ein Arschloch" speech? Stay on message, Donnie -- we're now on the "kowtow to Old Europe to get them to pay to clean up our mess" tip.

(Question: Doesn't the freefall of the $USD -- and the officially non-official backing of this freefall -- make it even more difficult for us to pay for the Debaqle? And can we start being cute and calling this officially non-official backing of a weak $USD "Snowfall"?)

And another thing, Don, while we've got your attention: you just might want to think about backing off that whole "rape rooms" meme, at least while this shit is going on.

Yeah, What He Said

Yup. Looks like Josh Marshall beat us to the punch on the buried graf about the investigation into the Niger yellowcake uranium forgery. Read Marshall's archive of items on this. He's been the most dogged follower of this shaggy tale.

Dunno whether he would come to the same conclusion that we here at Croatan have hypothesized: to wit, that Halliburton's tentacles wriggled intimately with nearly every aspect of Iraq between Gulf War I and Operation Oedipus Rex last year -- up to and including some sort of involvement with the creation of the Niger forgery. Just a hypothesis.

Nixonian in Their Aspect

Yes, developments a-plenty in the Plamegate investigation.

Which is important, yes, but note also the following, buried in the story (looks to me like it was originally placed at about graf #5, and then moved down by the ed. w/a slight rewrite):

'A parallel FBI investigation into the apparent forgery of documents suggesting that Iraq attempted to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger is "at a critical stage," according to a senior law enforcement official who declined to elaborate. That probe, conducted by FBI counterintelligence agents, was launched last spring after U.N. officials pronounced the documents crude forgeries.'

Mark my words, this Niger forgery will come at some point to touch on a Halliburton subsidiary.

February 09, 2004

Americans Are Afraid of Fundamentalist Fanatics ...

... CHRISTIAN fundamentalist fanatics, that is.

Nut graf:

"Passengers said the remarks had made them deeply uneasy and that many on board had reached for their mobile phones, fearing the pilot might take some sort of drastic action."

Now, what I'm really waiting for is Dubya's second term, wherein the airlines are nationalized and we move to a faith-based aeronautics ...

Forced Perspective

Via Roger "No, Not the Loathsome FOX News/GOP Operative Cretin" Ailes, this very, um, strange picture.

My word! No wonder politicians are frightened of Tim Russert! He's got to be about 8 feet tall!

Andrew Sullivan Swallows

Sorry. We couldn't resist the header, apropos of this:

"It occurs me to that, on this question [re: his service, or lack thereof, in the Texas Air National Guard], [Bush] might have nothing more to say. The criticism might well be right. Gulp."

Speaking of this subject ... "Texas Air National Guard"="TANG" ... uh-huh ...

What is it with the Bush boys and, um, TANG?

Ishi's Return

Well, this is a book we've been waiting some time for. Congrats to prof. Starn for completing it. We are anticipating some fascinating revelations.

Now, this, however, is not the review we were waiting for. We're not terribly familiar with this Elizabeth Corcoran person, but we suspect she may have, if you'll pardon the expression, some sort of axe to grind. (Or would that be "arrowhead to flake"?)

In any event, this is a notably detail- (and opinion-) free review. Not especially suprising, we suppose, given the dreadful book editor at the SF Chron, but still ...

Anyway: perhaps a more detailed post some time in the future running down the dread David Kipen's offenses against literate discourse. Now we need to run out and get a copy of Ishi's Brain -- and then bump Native Speaker and Growing Up Underground down the reading list.

February 06, 2004

The Further Adventures of Kreepy Unka Dick and his Kooky Kronies

Sigh. Does their venality have no bottom? Even the Confidence Man must express his dismay at the gullibility of anyone doing business with a Halliburton subsidiary.

The question that really, really needs to be asked, however, is: what OTHER mineral extractive efforts have been pursued by Halliburton subsidiaries in Central Africa? "Yellowcake" uranium mining and purfying, perhaps? In Niger, perhaps?

Keep your eyes on this one, boys and girls.

Speculations on the Theme of Mysterious Departures

I initially suspected, perhaps, some sort of elderly suicide club (morbid depression at Edwards' failure to take Oklahoma?). But this doesn't quite scan.

Hm. All textile mill workers. All phone lines cut.

There's something there.

There's also something to the suggested presence of a Confidence Man or Men, soliciting from the porchfront.

Were I Chief VanHoy, I'd get me an employment roster from the local telco, plus a log of calls to/from these addresses ...

More on the Theme of Mysterious Departures

Well, Jibbenainosay shews his aspect at last.

The Confidence Man must admit he is stumped by these Mysterious Departures.

Though, note the common theme in the accounts of neighbors, friends, and relations, of these old coots', shall we say, Alert Level Orange-type home security precautions. And the intimations of Strangers Divers and Mysterious beckoning the old gals from their porch-fronts.

Note also, the emerging theme of Doubling, in The Late Mrs. Mullinix/-ax:

Mrs. Mullinix used two names in her life, her sister-in-law Viola Mullinix said. At times, she would go by Lillian Mullinix, her given name, but most of the time she would go by Lillian Mullinax.

Viola said she told Mrs. Mullinix she needed to correct the name. She never did. The two names had become so intertwined that the name “Lillian Mullinax” was on her death certificate.

And speaking of Doubling and Intertwining ...

On the Theme of Mysterious Departures

and, slightly more creepily, http://www.shelbystar.com/portal/ASP/article.asp?ID=8249

There were some cases like this in Richmond, VA, while I was living there. The women tended to be killed while they were in their bathtubs, or put there afterwards. But as in this case, there was no sign of sexual assault or much struggle, and no forced entry to the home. (The detail about phone lines I don't remember, but there needn't be strict isomorphism for this to be interesting.)

But what narrative to put on this to get justice done? There's no sexual tension, since no rape. These are old ladies, so the "she had so much potential, such a rich life ahead of her" line doesn't work. The women seem for the most part to be single and sometimes solitary, so there are no spousal issues (either of abuse or of pathetic separation from the loved one). And simple robbery obviously isn't the issue.

Can there be a homolog of the "Amber Alert" in this case? Can the Confidence Man solve this mystery?