My mother is a Georgia grad, so everyone in my family knows and (is forced to) loves UGA. Sadly, Uga VI died this weekend.

RIP, Uga.


I am watching Joe Lieberman on Face the Nation stating that things are “fine” in Iraq, and at the exact same time I am reading the Newshoggers, who have a discussion of this story:

The raid occurred at dawn Friday in the town of Janaja near Maliki’s birthplace in the southern, mostly Shiite Muslim province of Karbala. Ali Abdulhussein Razak al Maliki, who was killed in the raid, was related to the prime minister and had close ties to his personal security detail, according to authorities in Karbala.

The incident puts an added strain on U.S.-Iraqi negotiations to draft a Status of Forces Agreement, a long-term security pact that will govern the conduct of U.S. forces in Iraq. Members of the Iraqi government and security forces said the raid only deepened their reluctance to sign any agreement that did not leave Iraqis with the biggest say on when and how combat operations are conducted.

It is, I think, undeniable that the level of violence has dropped in Iraq in recent months. To state that things are fine, however, is a little inaccurate. More cowbell, Joe. More cowbell.

Chalabi Or Bust

Message to all of those rightwing net warriors who demanded over the years that I accept that THERE WAS A PLAN and the Rumsfeld/neocon warhawks are not a bunch of criminal incompetents: you were completely fucking wrong. Give up.

Let’s hear from patchouli-soaked hippies at the Army War College:

“The transition to a new campaign was not well thought out, planned for, and prepared for before it began,” write Wright and Reese, historians at the Army’s Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. “Additionally, the assumptions about the nature of post-Saddam Iraq on which the transition was planned proved to be largely incorrect.”

The results of those errors, they add, were that U.S. forces and their allies lacked an operational and strategic plan for success in Iraq, as well as the resources to carry out a plan.

The capsule summary is not entirely accurate in that Rumsfeld certainly did have a plan. He and the neocons planned to install a friendly strongman and leave. To guage just how stupid the war planners were, a useful question is who. Unless we had in mind a Saddam cousin or Muqtada Sadr, who wasn’t on our radar at the time, the only credible option would be a friendly exile. Aside from Ahmad Chalabi, how many of those can you name?

It really was Chalabi or bust. We got bust.


Via Outside the Beltway, I see that John McCain does not know the price of gas (SEE UPDATES- He did know, at least two weeks ago). Take it away, James:

The price of gas is the number one issue on the minds of just about every voter these days. It’s an issue that virtually transcends class. Most of us know, to the penny, what we’re paying for gas and where the cheapest gas is in our area. (Both my wife’s car and mine require high octane gasoline. The station where I generally buy has been stuck at $4.32 for quite some time now. Prices vary radically from block to block, with some charging as much as $4.65.)

I get that McCain is sheltered from many of the mundane details of everyday life because of his position. It wouldn’t bother me in the least if he didn’t know how to operate a modern gas pump. Nor would I expect him to know the price with the specificity that those of us who pump it regularly do. But, given the amazing amount of attention this issue has gotten in recent months — so much so that he’s pandering about “gas tax holidays” and the like — it’s not unreasonable to expect him to answer with something like, “It’s been so long since I pumped my own gas that I don’t remember what it cost. But I do know that it’s now over $4 a gallon and people are pissed.”

In the past, this is the sort of thing that has helped to put away candidates- we all remember the silly assertion that George Bush was surprised by a grocery scanner or Giuliani didn’t know the cost of a loaf of bread. While false, the story did help the Clinton team portray Bush as out of touch and unaware of what people were going through economically. The real question is whether or not the media will dump their mancrush to savage McMavericky straight talk over his lack of awareness the way they would if this were, well, anyone else.

I doubt it, in fact, I bet they defend him (I can hear Matthews now, after ten years gushing about the common man and holding that being in touch with the common man is the highest virtue- “Heck, I don’t know the price of gas. It is so hard to keep up with.”) . Hell, here is a preview of what you can expect this week from cable shows- some Rev. Wright footage, anyone?

Just get used to it. Remember, liberal media and all that. It is why there have been so many liberal Presidents.

*** Update ***

For those of you who claim that he was referring to the last time he pumped gas, that could be plausible. Here is the quote:

When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?

Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection. But I’ve done it for many, many years. I don’t recall and frankly, I don’t see how it matters.

I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of town hall meetings, many as short a time ago as yesterday. I communicate with the people and they communicate with me very effectively.

What would the response be if Obama said this and failed to show his allegiance to the common man? I give you a number, to show you my point:


What is 37, you might ask? That is Obama’s bowling score. Why do I know that? Why can I recite that? Why was that DRILLED into my head for months?

So why does John McCain think it does not matter when he last pumped gas and it does not matter whether he knows the price of gas? Why couldn’t we get some of that vaunted straight talk- “I haven’t pumped my own gas forever, what with secret service, but the price of gas is averaging over 4 dollars a gallon and well beyond that for diesel, so much so that border state residents are going into Mexico to buy cheaper gas.”

*** Update #2 ***

Booman notices something– in the same interview, McCain accuses Bush of torturing prisoners.

*** Update #3 ***

Patterico unearths a piece from June 18th in which McCain clearly knew gas was over four dollars a gallon. So why didn’t he just say this in the OC Register interview? It can’t be just churlishness at gotcha questions, as it would be pretty rich that the guy who ran around stating Hamas wants Obama to win can’t handle some questions about the price of gas.

Capsule Review: WALL*E

In brief, anybody who isn’t an agoraphobic shut-in would be nuts not to see the new Pixar movie. Covering briefly why the film scored 97/100 at Rotten Tomatoes, the dialogue-free opening thirty minutes are some of the best film ever made. You can see on the trailer most of the key points without revealing anything that you would do better to find out in the theater: lonely robot falls for a sleek visitor who vastly outclasses him, she notices, she gets recalled to wherever, unable to bear the loss her he hangs on to her ship, adventure follows.

As a human(ish) drama I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up a few times, and I haven’t done that since Contact (obviously your mileage may vary). The humor matches Pixar’s best work. It succeeds both as a science fiction film and as a Zucker brothers-like nod to great moments in scifi (example: casting Sigourney Weaver as the voice of HAL). There are two notable science goofs (sound and swirling dust in space) that make it into the trailer and a related outrage that doesn’t, but those are vastly outweighed by the writers’ ability to keep the main logic internally consistent, a bar so high that I’d almost forgotten that it exists. If you let robots develop a personality and override their programmed priorities, some will turn out good and some will be jerks. The end credits are a gift for humanities majors. It’s too smart for young kids, who will enjoy the spectacle while their parents scheme to drag them back for another go.

So yeah, I liked the movie. It’s more than worth whatever crazy price your cineplex is charging these days.

October, 1975

I’m watching Saturday Night from October, 1975, and I can’t believe how awful George Carlin is. Don’t get me wrong. I love George Carlin. He just sucks in this show, as does most of the cast. I guess George Carlin got much better with age and “Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksuckin’, Motherfucker, tits” was an anomaly in his younger years.

Janis Ian is awesome, however. I can honestly say I’ve never heard of her. But after tonight, I’ve bought a couple of her songs from iTunes – including “At Seventeen” Very nice. A beautiful song I like probably even more so because I can easily play it on my guitar.

Well Hello, Mr. Fancypants

I was talking to a friend the other day and we were having one of those time killing conversations about nothing, when the subject of the top dork movies of all times came up- movies that signify dork, if you will. Movies that not everyone has seen, but if people have seen them, you know they have an inner dork. Here are a few I came up with, excluding the obvious franchises (LOTR, Star Wars, Matrix, Star Trek,etc.):

Evil Dead/Army of Darkness
Mad Max
The Holy Grail
Time Bandits
The Goonies
Donnie Darko
A Clockwork Orange
Real Genius
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai

Consider this an open thread and feel free to add your own.