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Monday, May 30, 2011

"From where the sun now stands...

...I will fight no more forever."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Best of 2011

Media again.

"The Defining Moment"

The Best of 2011

Complete with "GOP Daddies" and The Who and Atrios:

...to serve their self-image they keep looking for what Atrios calls “GOP daddies”, supposedly serious, sensible Republicans they can praise to show their open-mindedness.

-Paul Krugman

The Joy of British Conservatism


It appears that they could end up with, (a), slower growth than expected; (b), therefore, bigger deficit than expected; and, (c), unexpected inflation.

Atta boy, ... even the OECD is blurbbeling over it all.

Meanwhile, the flying Governor Rick Scott has a private ceremony for a GOP-economagic bill signing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ha! Iran, Lebanese Hizballah Tied in Knots Over Arab Spring

In his own words, a smackdown of Nasrallah.

They really hate it when consent of the governed might imply also that Mullahs could be part of the problem, not the solution.

(via arabist)

Air Power. Hoorah!

Been quite a while. Air power might not be enough in Libya, right? Who's got the low-down on that?

Lt Dan Choi Arrested in Moscow

Westpoint graduate and outspoken gay activist, former Lt Dan Choi was arrested in Moscow yesterday, shouting "Glasnost!", as police attempted to keep "gay" out of sight and shut down visibility/protest attempts during gay pride month:

For those who don't know, Moscow has a bloody history with the event. Also, a while back, one of Russia's chief gay activists was "disappeared", only to show up again after significant pressure about his well being and whereabouts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011



From SIGR:

In the face of these impending and ongoing changes, Iraq is enduring a period of increasing instability marked
by the following:
• frequent street protests, with thousands involved in cities stretching from Sulaymaniyah to Baghdad to Basrah, usually voicing anger about poor services and rampant corruption and sometimes suf ering violent repression by Iraqi police; protests have been banned in several cities
• breakdowns in the governing coalition that resolved the political stalemate last December, most notably underscored by Ayad Allawi’s refusal to take oi ce as the Chair of the proposed National Council for Higher Policies
• continuing vacancies in key cabinet oi ces, including the Ministries of Interior and Defense
• a rise in assassinations of ISF personnel

The Iraq War Debate

After Senator Robert Byrd emerged from his private meeting with the White House regulars during the Iraq war debate, he warned that he saw an arrogance with that President and called on the WH to level with the American people about the cost of the war.

So, did you ever expect to read these words, about how long this whole thing might last?:

"I am pleased to present this 29th Quarterly Report to the United States Congress and the Secretaries of State and Defense." - SIGR, which took a long time to get off the ground

Summertime, Electricity in Iraq

Going into 2011 peak demand period, electricity generation in Iraq is ... flat. (Oil production is flat, too, although they seem to be peddling faster, now, on exploration contracts). (pdf from State Dept.)

Iraq recently signed agreement with Iran for it to supply gas for electricity gen. Pathetic.


"Continuing Discontent over Public Services Echoing dissent in other Middle Eastern countries this winter, Iraqi protests coalesced around collective anger over poor government services, rampant public corruption, and a lack of jobs. Many took to the streets because of frequent electricity shortages—a grievance that will become all the more aggravated as summer approaches. Despite rising demand, Iraq’s supply of electricity has remained almost l at since autumn 2009. Nationally, the government grid supplied about 56% of estimated demand this quarter, though regional dif erences
abound, with the Kurdistan Region being far better of than the southern provinces of Babylon, Najaf, and Qadissiya."-SIGR

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Laugh of the Day

Bibi "The Generous" will have to come as a laugh to history and to most anyone on the receiving end of his politics...

Netanyahu and "Security"

Q: If Netanyahu is so concerned with 'security', would he accept 'security cooperation' with the Hamas, under any circumstances (as was so beneficial under the Wye accords, at least for a while)? If it saved lives ...

And, if so, why not also negotiate?

Netanyahu made a show to the camera (pun intended) of telling Congress that a heckler there is like a 'badge of honor', because speaking your mind is not like the faux democracies in Tehran, etc.

But, what are negotiations except talks?

Why is Netanyahu so pleased to laud speech, on the one hand, but reject 'talks' on the other?

Earth to Netanyahu: Take the "long term ceasefire" offer from Hamas


One grows weary of the rightwing Israeli notion that there can continue to be "managed conflict" until such time as the Palestinians lay down their arms, either physically, or rhetorically (the outsized "Right of Return", "1967 or bust", 'unilateral declaration", etc.). Or, as in his latest speech, that the arab world is transformed to embrace the same levels of "democracy" as exists in America. (Isn't that just a variation on the idealist approach that peace has to wait - and wait, and wait - until every vestige of antisemitism is extinguished in the arab world, every anxiety over it erased entirely?)

Of course, it's very clever for Netanyahu (perhaps even backed by Israel public opinion) to demand a 'formal end' to the conflict (i.e., the oddly non-modern, oddly non-democratic notion of a "Jewish state"). But is that with or against human nature? Is that really how most conflicts end?

Or, is it more reasonable that, once the long hoped for blessings of peace start to flow, that people will be loath to vote for 'the irrendentist minority' that wants to destroy the wealth of families, bring everyone back into a state of war? In other words, that "terror" or "rejectionist" attitudes be made to atrophy (just as we try to do with COIN?), when there are viable alternative futures. [Isn't that another type of 'managed conflict', the risk that we all live with that some among us reject society as we've set it up and wish to destroy the peace?]

What is Israel willing to risk for peace? Sure, they have been burned in the past. But rolling up the bridges is not an option. They keep telling everyone that they can manage the conflict ad infinitum, but that is not going to work either. It continues to be a flashpoint. That flashpoint is not just antisemitism (even though it may make antisemitism). So it must be dealt with and it requires U.S. attention, as the only nation that continues to offer almost unconditional Israel support, despite growing imperative to deal fairly and fully with the foreign policy of emerging democracies in the region.

People - the Palestinian people! - need to know what they are fighting for in tangible terms. We've seen that the 'confidence building measures' approach to peace is too much. It's too easy for extremists to scuttle the progress, especially with governments/leadership-councils who have scant accountability. Extremists on either side (including Netanyahu, who built settlements with Sharon so fast during the 1990s it would make your head spin).

This means that some re-figured approach, with different types of contingencies, perhaps even through the hapless U.N., is fit to put pressure on both sides.

It's time to release the forces of freedom, of people who are fighting for peace, once again to take risks, and to put an end to people who keep saying, "Tomorrow", "not now", or "just one more settlement on the disputed land" can't hurt or prejudice the 'peace process'.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Best of 2011: The Idiot Baines

"This isn't even fun anymore ... I just feel sorry for you guys."

"Texas is 1 of 29 States in Which Gays Can Be Refused Service"

It's so much easier to "discriminate" when you do it behind million dollar ad buys (and object to having your own ads shown in court, as happened during the Prop8 trial), ...

It's Jerusalem Tuesday!

hummm...I think we're going to get an earful about the Golan ... er, no, it'll be about how Israel cannot - couldn't even possibly imagine - compromise on Jerusalem, right, no matter what the price?:

The Israeli prime minister did not expand on his ideas for peace discussions, but he promised he would lay them out in more detail Tuesday, when he addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress.-LA Times

Netanyahu's coalition have to try to convince Americans, so they can at least say they tried, I guess.

Monday, May 23, 2011

GOP-Tea Politics: Brain Drain America - No Quarter to Fulbright Scholar!

Read the story. You probably can guess the basic storyline ...

Another American discovering that worker-friendly and gay-friendly nations DO exist, and they are outside the ambit of GOP-Tea politics (or even Democratic politics, in many instances):

Some members of Team Scarborough?

Sorry, Joe, but you might want to check your coattails.

If anything, it might make you a little less ... fearless.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rescuing Occam

Occam, a biologist, never said, the simplest way is the best way or whatever. He said, after observing a particular stimulus-response mechanism, "entia non multiplicanda sunt praeter necessitatem."

This does not alter the rest of the points about complexity the author makes, but leave Occam out of it, for the sake of purity - and my grade school biology teacher.

Minnesota GOP Goes for "Super Big Hate"


Having already put a statute in place to keep the gays as strangers in their own committed, loving relationships, the Minnesota GOP moved today to go for 'super big hate', by putting a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot. ("Super" because they intend to deny all relationship recognition, as I understanding it, including casting considerable legal doubt over existing domestic partnerships and the companies that rely on those for competitive reasons. 'Big' because it is an amendment, not a statute.)

Proponents now have a year or so to buy disinformation ads about gays and generally stoke the fires of fear, doubt, and uncertainty over gays who love each other.

As has been typical, proponents in the MN legislature did not speak on the floor much at all to the merits of the bill. Like cowards or an Inquisition, they - 70 of them - voted, instead, largely in silence.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lampoon-laugh of the day

Wait 'till BHL finds out that it was mossad who set up DSK at the Sofitel.

(It's a joke, not part of the crazy 'mossad did everything' conspiracy nuts. And, yes, the timing is bad for this kind of a joke.

But, you do have to admit that the whole thing has the patina of a spy novel set-up, no?)

The latest reconceptionalization of the haplessly defined "War on Terror"

Control - at least "central control" - is an illusion. Failed states, at least partially, can be acceptable risks, or at least subject to our own cost discipline in determining how to deal with them.

We had to pay in blood and treasure for the authoritarians and the rightwingers to "get it".

Separately, we can "withdraw" but the shiny new Afghan constitution (on paper) is still what it is, right?

Dennis Ross, Part II

How Dennis Ross ... lacks the vision thing, at a minimum, even if one agrees with some of his tacks or insights.

When is the 'world community' going to realize that the wisdom of leaving the solution to the problem in the hands of the two warring parties, who constantly 'play for time' or 'call off negotiations' and posture indefinitely for preconditions, is ... no longer valid?

Everyone keeps saying that 'everyone knows what a final negotiated settlement looks like', so ... where are the strategists who are willing to map out what the chessboard looks like if we go there and just say what it is?

Clearly, not Dennis Ross.

Meanwhile, George Mitchell leaves the service of the U.S. Government, taking years of experience with him.

You'd think that, since almost all western "powers" have agreed the key importance of mitigating the I/P conflict to their own and broader interests, that we'd have a staff of hundreds, if not thousands, focused on the issue - and maybe its own DIA team, too. So far as I know (which is not much), it's still a smallish bureau at State and the turnover every so often suits Israeli (and Palestinian?) purposes...

Netanyahu: Israel is a rejectionist too

Taking a page from well known rejectionist attitudes, Netanyahu positioned himself for maximal advantage in the US elections.

The US election cycle is clearly part of strategic national consideration in Israel, no?

For Israeli rejectionists: Play for time just after each election, then press the case for more Bush-era "let Israel do what it wants" attitude just before each election. If things start to tilt toward peace, stir the pot with provocations of one kind or another.

Nevertheless, the situation is almost intractable with Hamas - whatever happened to the hope that Gazans would ultimately reject their dead-end, single-minded leadership? How are attitudes in Gaza today?

Filed: The Best of 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

The 'Appeal to Prejudice': NOM Exposed


For groups like NOM, voter initiatives aren’t about democracy; They’re about spending millions of dollars lying to the public and scaring on-the-fence voters into opposing LGBT equality.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Media Literacy

A tomb on what you need to know to understand the facts about drug trafficking as it is going on today, right now:

We trust that this report will raise the understanding that covering organized crime requires a new approach, new tactics and new strategies. This is a global phenomenon that knows no borders and that speaks all languages. As such, crossborder collaboration, and regional and global cooperation among those that try to uncover the realities of this business, is fundamental. Journalists in the region are re-thinking media coverage, and there is a need to go beyond the body count and focus on an in-depth analysis of the issues.

Similar to Libya and posting the security agents, I noticed this:

One of the best sources for information on the drug war in Mexico comes from a surprise source. It is blogdelnarco.com. David Sasaki, a specialist in new media at the Open Society Foundations, called it “a citizen replacement for a media that’s been silenced. They publish photos of sons and daughters of narcos. They have a Facebook account. They put information on attack plans, on the guns [the drug traffickers] have, how much drugs they sell. You’ll see photos of narco-bloqueos on Twitter accounts.”

Just the facts


GLAD, often the purveyors of some of the most detailed advocacy, have issued a well compiled rebuttal to the DOMA testimony recently allowed to be propagated on the Hill by the new GOP-Tea chairman of the House judiciary committee.

Of special note is their documented section on what the facts are in the case of Catholic Charities in Massachusetts and adoption.

All of it here.



Fresh off a spate of comments on colorism (cf. Don Lemon, Pam Spaulding), this caught my eye.

BBC tweeted this article as "Brown leads field at BET awards".

30 Minutes of Sanity

Still one of the best SecDefs ever. It's easy to say I'm biased, because of policy changes, but no... clear, concise, explanatory (not declaratory), ... the list goes on.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tweet of the Day

For Andrew Sullivan, who wrote eloquently about it yesterday, via Jake Tapper:

"57% of French say Strauss-Kahn the victim of a conspiracy http://bit.ly/ip32fV C'est Levi"

Don Lemon

Shrug or hug? Probably some of both. Apparently, visibility is still needed in 2011. Sigh.

But, my own observation is that this seems less like the path breaking visibility "of old" and more like the touchstone kind of visibility, a kind of contemporary reassurance of ... the order of things, I guess, a gay-inclusive order of things.

Is U.S. Still Pinning Hopes on Dennis Ross?

Not that he doesn't have insight, but you'd think that the bench would be deeper.


Remind me why we are concerned about liberal bias at the NYT?

The media is the story. True, one could edit together a bunch of stuff to make left-leaning talk shows look scary, but this is more of the hand-in-the-cookie-jar variety expose, especially when it comes to candidate Obama's aggressive posture to conduct "common sense" ops (with a particular country specified, no less!):

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Torturers Among Us

Plenty of those who would torture among us, still.

But AS is short one pragmatic reason, at least: If you come to be known as a torture state, then you are less likely to acquire live "assets" to interrogate. They'll be more likely to kill themselves, first.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Welshing on Pension Obligations

Is Treasury Secretary Geithner's move to stop making payments into Federal pension plans a smart move or dumb?

It re-inforces the idea that Democrats believe pension obligations are ... flexible, ex negotio, even if there is a "promise" to catch-up later.

On the heels of the ill-advised Social Security "tax holiday", it's bad politics.

We have final liftoff: STS-134

Sorry, this just never gets old:

Mission: STS-134
Space Shuttle: Endeavour
Primary Payload: Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and ELC-3
Launch Date: May 16
Launch Time: 8:56 a.m. EDT
Launch Pad: 39A
Landing: June 1
Landing Time: 2:32 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Mission Duration: 16 days
Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Newt Gingrich should have been refused a marriage license

In addition to not commenting on Osama bin Laden's polygamy, the MSM doesn't ask why the defense of marriage does not extend to excluding people who have tried and failed at "traditional marriage".

So, over to you, "Ann Coulter" wannabes. If gays have "their cross to bear" (hers, not my words), then why do nongays get a pass? I mean, if nongays "fail" at their marriage, why isn't their "cross" celibacy?

Gingrich also was asked about his three marriages and his infidelities.

“I have made mistakes in my life,” he said. “I had to go to God for forgiveness and seek reconciliation.”

He asked Americans to look at who he was today, calling his marriage “strong” and describing his relationship with his two daughters and their husbands as “close.”

Or, maybe, if marriage can survive the moral blur that is already upon it, it will also survive, as an institution, if extended to loving, committed, gay couples.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"The Idiot Hannity"

Remember that phrase from Waiting for God, "the idiot Baines"?

That's how I felt listening to Sean Hannity try to "psyche out" al-qa'ida terrorists on his show tonight.

Apparently, he believes that we can frighten them by showing pictures of dead people, including bin Laden. Seriously. He believes that they will be deterred by death. These are people who cut people's heads off for TV. Daniel Pearl. Same people who recruit successfully for suicide missions. Seriously, this is what FOX is running with. Could you make it up? No.

Now that al-qa'ida is trying to get Pakistanis to "rise up" against the Pakistani government, Hannity actually thinks it would be easier for stability and for the ongoing struggle with extremists to give them another rally point by having refused Obama a proper burial. Does anyone on "mainstream" rightwing TV have more shallow hubris than Sean Hannity?

Right Wing and Left Wing Media Ignore Osama's Polygamy

Just heard O'Reilly try to bring the "truth" about the raid, yet again, to the viewing public, who couldn't care less.

However, the rightwing refuse to report on Osama's polygamy. They refer to one woman shot only has "his wife", rather than indicating that he had many.

Separately, I continue to be shocked at the number or people who are apparently talking to journalists about a covert operation. To be sure, we classify too much, but ...

Bring on the Crazy

It's almost no point watching cable news for perspective, much.

Alan Greyson, yesterday, said something about President Bush being in a drunken stupor. How idiotic (and nonfactual?).

Just now, I heard Geraldo wax on to O'Reilly how often he had dreamed, as incident to all his travels and adventures, that he had been the one to kill UBL himself. *blink*

This is what sells advertising, today, in America? Good grief.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Correspondents Dinner

Seth Myers killed. Pitch perfect humor for the occasion. Colbert was awesome, but too cutting. Myers nailed it.