This Is In Your Wheelhouse, Daniel

Damnit. I read this Max Boot piece praising the Obama team for their national security/foreign policy picks, and the first thing I did was race over to Larison’s to watch him knock it out of the park. Sadly, he has not yet commented.

I keep teasing you with a review of the Bacevich book, but in light of what is going on this week with Obama’s picks, it is just too depressing. Max Boot, btw, comes in for particular ridicule in the text, and I will review the book in a couple of days when the picks are done and announced. Let me at least pretend to be positive for now.

Finally, I note that there appears to have been some surprise by some about Gates staying on for Obama. Rather than discuss the merits of the pick, which can be saved for the actual confirmation (personally, I would like to know how he feels about the absolute nonsense we discussed yesterday), I would just like to say that if anyone was surprised by this, they simply have not been paying any attention at all.

While some picks genuinely surprised me (like, for example, Hillary at State), Obama asking Gates to stay has been telegraphed for weeks if not months, and for so long that I think I knew Gates would stay on before the election. The Gates/Scowcroft/Lugar/Obama connection has been discussed at length a number of places, most recently at TPM (and he has done a bang-up job chronicling all of this). As far as I have been concerned, the “bi-partisan” cabinet has always included Gates, and the only real question if it would be just Gates or Gates + one to prove “bi-partisanship.”

At any rate, if the Gates pick surprised you, you are in for a LONG four years of surprises.








Six Random Things About Me

Since John “tagged” me for this whole 6 Random Things About Me meme, I feel I should respond. So here it goes – brutal honestly follows.

1. I have an obsession with counting things. This is probably the most annoying thing in my life. For example, I know exactly how many steps it takes to get from the bottom floor of my building to my cubicle. I know how many steps it takes to get from my back door to my mailbox. And I hate it. I really do. A couple years ago, I saw a psychologist for something unrelated. I was thinking of bringing this up. I didn’t. I wish I did.

2. I hate talking on the phone. It’s almost a phobia. I call my parents in Canada once every two weeks because I have to. Same with my sisters. When I am physically with them, I love talking to them. I hate the phone thing. Same with other family members. I know my brother reads this blog. It’s not that I don’t love you bro. I just hate the phone thing. I really do. But honestly, I like a phone call from you because you are so far away (he lives in Japan.)

3. I love my dog more than anything. Yet, if I had thought about it, I would never have bought her. Turns out, I love her so much that it never occurred to me that she was going to die before me. Still, she is my best friend and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. And, like John, I treat my pet like she is the head of household. She truly is the love of my life.

4. I hate sugar – with few exceptions.

5. I am selfish. I hate that about myself. If someone died tomorrow, I would first think about how that would affect my schedule. I fucking hate it. Fortunately, I have an excellent moral compass. When “shit happens,” I DO tend to think about how those things affect me personally, but I also am very empathetic. I would never let my selfishness affect how I deal with others, for the most part. I am a pretty decent person. Like others, I have my failings, I suppose.

6. I did not know that laws about alcohol differred between counties in Georgia. I am going to Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin’s house on Thursday. I got it in me to go buy his favorite wine at midnight tonight. Turns out, you cannot buy alcohol in Dekalb County after 11:45pm on any night. You can, however, go 100 feet across the street to the store in FULTON county and buy the same thing.

7. I know it’s only supposed to be 6, but I’m adding this one to explain what I would do if I ever win the lottery. First, let me say that I don’t ever play the lottery. To me, it’s a tax on the stupid. But if I ever DID win millions, I would probably pay off everything I owed and the debt of many of my friends and family. Having said that, the FIRST thing I would do if I won millions would be to put out a press release that said, “I just won xxx millions of dollars. I plan on being very generous with this money. If you are a charity that needs money, I understand your plight. However, if you feel the need to badger a person who just won the lottery, you are out of luck. It is the policy of this lottery winner to ignore the pleas of people who are taking advantage of him. The surest way to ensure that you never see a penny of my millions is to bother me in the next six months. After that, please call my attorney, who will decide for me the best way to spend thhe money I have allocated to charity.”

Anyway, that’s a bit about me. And, for what it’s worth, I am a very charitable person. I give a LOT of my yearly salary to charity. I just would hate to win millions and deal with vultures. :-)








And Now For Something Completely Different

I got so excited earlier talking about corned beef and cabbage that I went to the store to buy some. Got there, and the corned beef was ridiculously expensive (I remember when it was $7 for a cut, the cheapest today was $20, so I went with a ham hock). Some carrots, some potatoes, a cabbage, the ham, and some parsley, and dinner is cooking as I write this. It smells so good. I love this meal, and it is soooo cheap, too.

At any rate, some pet pics, since it has been a while, some kitties:

And so I am not accused of anti-dog prejudice, this filthy and happy hound:

For a second, I was horrified when I thought that fellow was sitting on carpet, but it looks like he is actually on concrete. At any rate, claim your pets, folks.



Lord, It’s Hard To Be Humble, When You’re Stupid In Every Way

John Brennan takes himself out of consideration, and everyone’s favorite blowhard does a victory lap:

Score one for the “morons.” See also Greenwald, a true champion here, who took up the struggle in the face of STFUism.

The real comedy starts in the comments:

Gee. I wonder if anyone insisted that Obama was pro-torture? Oh, yeah- BIG TENT DEMOCRAT DID, which is what started this whole thing off (and the moron has been baiting me for weeks, but I have ignored him for now):

Obama Transition Team “Clarifies” Position On Torture: He May Be For It

You see the proposal is to have greater oversight over the torture. Change we can believe in!

So, Big Tent Democrat- does Obama support torture or not? Which is it, big guy? I am so confused.

Personally, I am going to stick to my policy of criticizing Obama for things he actually does, rather than asserting nasty bullshit about him (such as, for example, he supports torture but just wants greater oversight) without any evidence. It just seems to make sense.

*** Update ***

Detente. And, as a gesture of good will, I will note that any blogospheric pressure to get Brennan to withdraw is a good thing (and I have to wonder how important the liasion from Open Left to the Obama campaign was in this development), and BTD and others do deserve credit for that. The evidence-free assertions that Obama supports torture are beyond the pale, though. Bush and Cheney deserve that label, not Obama.

Additionally, this may grant us all at least a day’s worth of temporary reprieve from breathless assertions from James Kirchik and others that Obama has thrown the netroots under the bus.








Greatest Music Open Thread

Sibelius, Finlandia.

Beastie Boys.

The second entry technically nominated an album so I went with the single. Argue amongst yourselves about the best track on Licensed To Ill.








The Intellectual Depth Of A Wading Pool

Via Steve Benen, read James Joyner complain that the right ran out of current ideas some time around Iran/Contra.

Part of the reason I’m drawn to the center-left blogs, including those cited above, Kevin Drum, Steve Benen, and others despite disagreeing with them while finding it increasingly difficult to find center-right blogs worth my time is that the former are much more likely to get beyond the debates of the 1980 election. There’s almost no serious analysis of health care reform, urban planning, education, and many other issues that regularly crop up on the best lefty blogs on their conservative counterparts. If we read about those issues at all, they’re framed as if Ronald Reagan were still aspiring to high office: Say No to socialism! Abolish the Department of Education! Government IS the problem!

While traditionalist grand theory is still valuable and worth discussion, it doesn’t work as a blanket response to micro-level issues. And defining conservatism solely by “What would Reagan do?” is a political non-starter in a world that simply looks much different than in did twenty-eight years ago. It would be as if Reagan constantly droned on about the evils of Harry Truman. Time marches on. Debates must, too, in order to be interesting.

…then, via Clif at Sadly, No!, read Jules Crittenden Andrew Breitbart (my mistake) unintentionally concede Joyner’s point.

With the economy in the pits, the young, the restless and unapologetically handsome should use their looks, vigor and Internet knowledge to wrest away elective office from joyless bureaucrats who gallingly repackaged the soiled utopian promises of their overly replayed Woodstock days as “hope” and “change.”

[…] The suburban Mall Rats will be the first Obamacons to come back to the fold when they realize that trickle-up socialism limits their lifestyle options. So let’s stop first at Abercrombie and Fitch. See those shirtless models in the storefront tossing footballs in the air?

There’s a better use of their time and efforts. Tanned, coiffed and seriously cut, these young studs could be tossing free-trade legislation across the halls of the Cannon House Office Building faster than you can Twitter “The Bella Twins.”

[…] Sure, a lot of our newly elected officials may not be completely up to speed on the issues, but once elected, they’ll have close to three months to cram. That’s almost a full semester – enough time to get the gist of the Constitution. Leave the details for the staffers.

Got that? James Joyner worries that Republican ideas can be exhaustively covered in a pamphlet. Mistaking that weakness for a strength, Breitbart imagines contesting the next election with an unstoppable army of Sarah Palins.

Between Joyner and Crittenden Breitbart, who sounds more in tune with the country as a whole?

Who sounds more in tune with the Republican party?

***Update***

For whatever weird reason I mistakenly wrote Crittenden when I meant Breitbart. Boo for proofreading.








I Have Been Tagged

I have been tagged by one of these chain online things, and I am supposed to do a number of things, including posting rules and what not.

I am tired of rules, and it is Thanksgiving, so if you want the rules you can follow the link to the person who tagged me and read them there. Now I am supposed to write six random things about myself.

1.) I secretly love the Cars and Van Halen. And not Van Hagar, I mean the real deal- Van Halen with David Lee Roth. Mean Street.

2.) I think corned beef and cabbage is one of the greatest meals ever. I could also eat stuffed cabbages any time of the year. And sauerkraut. Mmmm.

3.) I hate traveling. And not in the way that I just dislike it and am exaggerating and saying I hate it. I honest to goodness hate it. I always have fun once I get some place, and I enjoy seeing new things and meeting different people, but after two to three days anywhere, I am ready to go back home. I like my cat. I like quiet. I like my routine. I like being left alone.

4.) I can not watch horror movies of any kind anymore. They make my feet sweat and I have nightmares for weeks. I used to be able to watch war movies, and in fact loved war movies and novels about war (The Killer Angels is still one of the best books I have ever read), but now I get really troubled by violence. It just upsets me too much to watch these kids get blown up. Even Band of Brothers is bordering on too graphic for me, these days. I don’t know what happened, but I really can not handle it anymore.

5.) Baseball is just dead to me. It was not too long ago that I thought the perfect summer evening was sitting at home, watching a game or two, and reading, but now I am never on a baseball stationg for more than the time it takes to flip through. I am not sure if it is the 16 years of consecutive losing Pirates seasons that has done this to me, but I really can’t stand the game anymore. Plus, and this goes with what we were talking about yesterday, it just seems like baseball announcers are getting worse and worse. On the other hand, I do like listening to the Pirate announcers on the radio. I think Lanny Frattare is always entertaining and he has a really interesting voice.

6.) I don’t think most people really appreciate how important good salt and good pepper are for cooking. I watch people go through all sorts of elaborate rituals with their cooking, using expensive ingredients and arcane procedures to cook their “gourmet” meal, and then I watch them use Morton’s table salt and/or McCormick’s pure ground pepper (which is really only good for sneezing) and wonder what the hell they are thinking. Good salt and pepper really make a profound difference in how your food can taste, and you will end up using less salt. Same with cuts of meat. There is a reason marinades take up half an aisle in the grocery store anymore- you all are buying really shitty cuts of meat and have to hide the taste of what you are supposed to be eating with an over-bearing marinade. If your beef would not taste good with only a little pat of butter and some salt, and not even that, you are eating a shitty product. Having said all that, there are still some rare occasions when I just love slathering a ton of A1 on a piece of beef and calling it dinner.

If there were a number seven, it would be that I think TBOGG has the best titles to posts in the blogosphere. “Scenes from a Maul” ranks as one of the great ones, although today’s “Tripto Fans” is pretty awesome. At any rate, I am supposed to tag six people. I will start with Michael and Tim, here. That is two. Then, Kevin at RumpRoast and Cleek and Incertus. Finally, JenJen, who is job-hunting and could use your help.

You also can play along in the comments, I guess.