Thursday, June 30, 2011
The US Grand Jury hands down indictments for 83 members of the Wire Trust for violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Wire Trust centers on the American Steel and Wire Company, a subsidiary of US Steel. The men are charged with forming an unlawful combination and conspiracy to fix the price of wire at artificially high levels, “to the great and irreparable injury and detriment, financial and moral, of the people of the United States.” Moral?
The NYT weighs in on the subject of “The Negro as a Policeman,” following the NYPD’s hiring of one. It bows to negroes’ “theoretical right to such appointments” but suggests that the greater difficulties they will meet makes hiring them “injudicious as regards the public interest.”
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Obama held one of his increasingly rare press conferences today.
He’s still talking about the need to “tackle spending in the tax code” after both Jon Stewart and I made fun of the phrase.
Evidently the deficit (he said we need $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but didn’t say where that figure came from – it came from the Republicans) is the fault of tax breaks for corporate jets, which he mentioned six times. Unless we get rid of that tax break, we’ll have to throw kids out of college, end medical research and compromise food safety. He says we have to make tough decisions like that. Also, oil companies should pay some damned taxes, for once.
Fortunately, he thinks it’s entirely possible that a bipartisan deal can be done, because “there is a conceptual framework that would allow us to make huge progress on our debt and deficit, and do so in a way that does not hurt our economy right here and right now.” Wow, there’s a conceptual framework? Why didn’t you say so before?
UM, NOBODY? “Nobody wants to put the creditworthiness of the United States in jeopardy. Nobody wants to see the United States default.”
First question: how do you get a “balanced approach” including tax increases, when Boehner says no way, no how? Obama says that “in Washington... a lot of people say a lot of things to satisfy their base or to get on cable news, but that hopefully, leaders at a certain point rise to the occasion and they do the right thing for the American people.” Oh dear God, we’re doomed.
OKAY, YOU’RE NAIVE: “And that’s what I expect to happen this time. Call me naïve, but my expectation is that leaders are going to lead.” Or just not paying attention.
REPUBLICANS ARE ALWAYS PREPARED TO DO THE HARD THING: “So the question is, if everybody else is willing to take on their sacred cows and do tough things in order to achieve the goal of real deficit reduction, then I think it would be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say that the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we’re not willing to come to the table and get a deal done. Or, we’re so concerned about protecting oil and gas subsidies for oil companies that are making money hand over fist -- that’s the reason we’re not going to come to a deal.”
He thinks that position isn’t “sustainable,” and even quotes several Republicans who think it’s not sustainable. Unfortunately, none of those Republicans, like Alan Simpson and Pete Domenici, actually currently hold elective office.
IF THIS WERE A LITTLE GIRL WITH A LISP TALKING ABOUT SANTA CLAUS, IT WOULD BE ADORABLE: “And my belief is, is that the Republican leadership in Congress will, hopefully sooner rather than later, come to the conclusion that they need to make the right decisions for the country... My expectation is that they’ll do the responsible thing.” He genuinely still thinks he can shame Republicans into acting like adults. That’s his negotiating strategy.
That’s not naive, that’s out of touch with reality on a Bushian scale.
Q: What about that War Powers Act? “I want to talk about the substance of Libya because there’s been all kinds of noise about process and congressional consultation and so forth.”
“we’ve protected thousands of people in Libya; we have not seen a single U.S. casualty; there’s no risks of additional escalation. This operation is limited in time and in scope. ... And throughout this process we consulted with Congress.”
Consult >verb 1 seek information or advice from. 2 seek permission or approval from.
“So a lot of this fuss is politics.”
He says you need to look at the history of the War Powers Act, which was enacted after the Vietnamese War, so if the kinetic whatsit in question isn’t exactly like Vietnam, the Act clearly doesn’t even apply.
“We have engaged in a limited operation to help a lot of people against one of the worst tyrants in the world -- somebody who nobody should want to defend...” Because if you question his unilateral war, you’re clearly defending Qaddafi. “-- and we should be sending a unified message to this guy that he should step down and give his people a fair chance to live their lives without fear. And this suddenly becomes the cause célèbre for some folks in Congress? Come on.”
Noise. Fuss. Cause célèbre. George Bush could not have been more contemptuously dismissive.
On the McCain-Kerry proposal for a one-year authorization of war in Libya: “I think when you have the former Republican nominee for President, John McCain, and the former nominee for President on the Democratic side, John Kerry, coming together to support what we’re doing in Libya, that should tell the American people that this is important.” Yeah, nothing says “important” like John McCain supporting it.
THAT’S WHAT STATES ARE FOR: “this administration, under my direction, has consistently said we cannot discriminate as a country against people based on sexual orientation.”
He said gay marriage in NY is “a good thing, because what you saw was the people of New York having a debate, talking through these issues. ... I think it is important for us to work through these issues...” Christ, it’s about establishing civil rights, not group therapy. “...because each community is going to be different and each state is going to be different.” For example, in some communities and states, homosexuals will be second-class citizens. And that’s exactly how Obama thinks things should work.
Well, fuck that.
CALL ME NAIVE, BUT MY EXPECTATION IS THAT LEADERS ARE GOING TO LEAD: “it turns out that the president, I’ve discovered since I’ve been in office, can’t dictate precisely how this process moves.” But he can bomb Libya or any other country he wants; funny, that.
A GOOD THING: “But I think we’re moving in a direction of greater equality and I think that’s a good thing.”
Asked later about his evolving personal views on gay marriage: “I’ll keep on giving you the same answer until I give you a different one, all right?”
On the NRLB’s decision preventing Boeing moving a plant to South Carolina to break the unions, he worked very hard to avoid taking a side, saying “we can’t afford to have labor and management fighting all the time”.
Fox’s Mike Emanuel tried to make Obama use the word “victory” as his objective in Afghanistan. He wouldn’t.
He says Qaddafi committed war crimes, which is odd because he just got through saying that this isn’t a war, including “potentially using rape as a weapon of war.” I guess inserting the word “potentially” allows him to keep using a discredited charge.
Q: Would you accept a political settlement with him involved as success from the American perspective?
Obama: I would accept him stepping down so that he is not directing armed forces against the Libyan people. He needs to step down. He needs to go.
More debt limit stuff. Flashing yellow lights, hard deadlines, “Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time. Malia is 13, Sasha is 10.” So fuck you Eric Cantor.
And, yes, he got his own kid’s age wrong, but at least he knows the difference between a fake cowboy and a killer clown. Although he’d probably think John Wayne Gacy could be shamed into doing what Obama wants if he just uses the word “responsible” enough.
“At a certain point, they need to do their job.” He thinks raising the debt ceiling is their job; they think demagoging about the debt ceiling is their job.
THAT’S NOT WHAT THEY’RE CALLED: “Now is the time to go ahead and make the tough choices. That’s why they’re called leaders.”
WHAT HE’S BEEN DOING: “I’ve been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis.”
Then he talked about Americans who are losing their jobs and homes and contact lenses and whatnot. “And every day that weighs on me. Every minute of every day that weighs on me. ... And these folks are counting on us. They desperately want to believe that their leadership is thinking about them and not playing games.” Then he went to meet a women’s basketball team, but all that stuff was weighing on him every minute.
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/29/2011 06:30:00 PM
Last week we were told that Obama’s position on gay marriage was “evolving.” But not actually, you know, evolved. Monday, his spokesmodel Jay Carney announced that Obama now thinks it should be up to the states.
Which is intended to look like he’s not taking a position – he’ll be happy to be thought a wimp on this issue – but it actually is a position: a position that marriage equality is not a right but a privilege that can be granted or not granted at the whim of state legislators.
Well fuck that.
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/29/2011 06:56:00 AM
In Socialist-run Milwaukee, the Catholic Archbishop declares socialism to be “a heresy and an evil, the viciousness of which is apparent to every thinking man.”
The Wheeling, VA city council passes an ordinance imposing a fine on anyone who uses vile or vulgar language in a public address. It is aimed at Billy Sunday, who has a revival scheduled.
Judge Brand says that he knew the two black men would be lynched if they were returned to Walton County, Georgia for trial in his court without troops protecting them as he ordered (see yesterday), but says he refused to request those troops because “I don’t propose to be the engine of sacrificing any white man’s life for all such negro criminals in the country. ... I would not imperil the life of one white man to save the lives of a hundred such negroes.” He does say that he opposes lynching. So that’s okay then.
Samuel Battle, the first black man ever hired by the NYPD, begins patrolling (there are two other black cops, who were hired by the Brooklyn PD and absorbed into the NYPD when Brooklyn was annexed by NYC).
Headline of the Day -100: “Hand Blown Off at Wedding.”
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I missed this last week (as did the NYT): at his confirmation hearings to be Director of Central Intelligence, David Petraeus called for the use of torture (or, as he called it, “more than the normal techniques”), but only for, like, “a ticking time bomb scenario.” So it’s good that we’re putting him in charge of the CIA’s secret prisons.
Also, when was the last time a time bomb actually ticked?
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/28/2011 07:27:00 AM
The US government is suing to dissolve the “magazine trust,” the Periodical Clearing House, for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act through a conspiracy to restrain price competition in the sales of periodicals.
In other trust news, a congressional committee investigating the Sugar Trust hears from Joseph Smith, president of both the Mormon church and the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, which is linked to the trust. The Utah-Idaho Sugar Company employs Japanese to raise its sugar beets.
The bishop of Beja, Portugal attacks the “Masonic government of Portugal” and hopes that it will be overthrown by a return of the monarchy.
“Because [Georgia] Gov. Joseph M. Brown, Judge Charles H. Brand, and Sheriff Stark refused to use the troops to protect them, Tom Allen and Joe Watts, negroes, were lynched in Walton County to-day.” Allen was accused, with little evidence, of attacking a white woman, and Watts of being his accomplice. When Allen’s trial was originally scheduled to begin, he was brought to Monroe, GA with troops for protection. The judge disliked that and made a speech saying that the presence of the troops was an implied insult to the town – then he postponed the trial in a fit of pique. When he did hold the trial, the governor called to ask if he wanted troops (it was not exactly a secret that a lynching was in the offing). He told the governor to ask the sheriff, who said to ask the judge. So no troops, and when Allen was brought back to Monroe from Atlanta for the trial, he was taken off the train, tied to a nearby telegraph pole and shot. The mob then marched 6 miles to town, unmasked, stormed the jail to seize Watts, hanged him on a tree and shot him. This is not the first time a black man up before Judge Brand has been lynched after Brand refused to request troops; indeed, it’s not even the first time this year.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Oh sure, you had your gay pride thingies, but did they have El Colacho, a dude dressed as the Devil, jumping over a bunch of babies?
Well, they did at the Burgos, Spain, Baby Jumping Festival yesterday, as they have every Corpus Christi since 1620.
And did they have competitive snuff-sniffing?
Well, they did at the German Snuff-Sniffing Championships in Kucha, Bavaria Saturday.
Now if they only combined snuff-sniffing and baby-jumping...
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/27/2011 07:31:00 AM
Sunday, June 26, 2011
John McCain tweeted this picture of himself and John Kerry at the Coca Cola plant in Cairo (the 3rd dude is the CEO of General Electric).
So that’s a McCain and Kerry at Coke in Cairo caption contest. Extra points if you continue the “comical K sound” theme.
A baseball game in Bloomfield, NJ was delayed for an hour on account of cock-fight. Two roosters happened to meet in front of the grand stand (maybe all baseball parks had roosters in 1911, I don’t know) and they got into it, as roosters will, so the 300 spectators as well as the players decided to watch that instead, betting on the result (the big one killed the smaller one).
I once saw a newsletter or program, I don’t know what you’d call it, from a trans-Atlantic passenger ship from about this time, which listed the various moderately famous people in first class (including Herbert Hoover, I seem to recall) and the various events and entertainments – fancy-dress ball, shuffleboard tournament (or whatever), and yes, a cock-fight. Probably no one thought twice about it.
Mexico has expressed some displeasure at the lynching of a 14-year-old Mexican by a large mob in Thorndale, Texas and the failure of Texas authorities to arrest anyone for it.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
In Bucharest, a woman is shot dead for wearing a harem skirt by her boyfriend, who “had often expressed strong views on eccentric fashions.”
Alaska is establishing quarantines to prevent prospectors bringing in smallpox from Dawson City (Canada).
A former member of the Canadian Parliament, J.G.H. Bergeron, who is accompanying the leader of the Conservative Party on a tour of the West campaigning against the tariff reciprocity treaty with the US, has caused an uproar by comparing Canadian Finance Minister Fielding and US President Taft to Sampson and Delilah, respectively. The problem is that in this analogy, Taft is a giiirrrrl, which is horribly insulting. “The incident is causing an uproar among settlers from the United States, and riots in future meetings are feared.”
Friday, June 24, 2011
There was already criticism of Oregon Gov. Oswald West’s program of putting convicts to work on roads. So when one of them escapes, the governor leads the posse that recaptures him.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Over-Enthusiastic Headline of the Day -100: “Coronation is Most Splendid in All History.” George V’s. To crap novelist Marie Corelli, who wrote the story for the NYT, this over-priced spectacle proves that “England is loyal to the backbone, and Socialism no more than a ripple of discontent on a stagnant pool.” Supposed to be covering the coronation, she goes on and on about socialism.
A detective (private, I assume) for the NY County Medical Society went undercover to capture a rogue Christian Science practitioner for violating the medical law. The detective complained of a stomach ache. Julius Benjamin read her Bible passages and gave her a pamphlet. So she had him arrested.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
9/11 in the first sentence. Very Giulianiesque.
U.S. MOTTO: ROUTING THE TALIBAN SINCE 2001: “In the days that followed, our nation was united as we struck at al Qaeda and routed the Tahleebhan in Afghanistan.” Just has to stress that second syllable, doesn’t he?
SPENT ENORMOUS BLOOD: “Then, our focus shifted. A second war was launched in Iraq, and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there.”
EIGHTH, ACTUALLY, BUT DOESN’T TIME FLY WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN? “By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year.”
WHAT WE ARE MEETING: “Thanks to our men and women in uniform, our civilian personnel, and our many coalition partners, we are meeting our goals.” For some reason, he offers no proof of this.
So he’s offering to reverse the 2009 “surge,” i.e., to reduce the number of troops he has in Afghanistan to the number there were when he took office, by, oh, just about election day. “After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan Security forces move into the lead.” A steady pace. Could mean 10,000 a year, could mean 3 a year. But at least it’ll be steady.
ALSO, LIFT AND SEPARATE: “Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.”
TAKE OUT MENU: “Together with the Pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of al Qaeda’s leadership.” Although in the Pakistanis’ case, this means taken more than half of Al Qaida’s leadership to dinner and a movie.
OH, AND DID I MENTION LATELY THAT WE KILLED BIN LADEN? “And thanks to our intelligence professionals and Special Forces, we killed Osama bin Laden, the only leader that al Qaeda had ever known. This was a victory for all who have served since 9/11. One soldier summed it up well. ‘The message,’ he said, ‘is we don’t forget. You will be held accountable, no matter how long it takes.’” Way to spin the complete failure to find bin Laden for a decade as a sign of American perseverance, one soldier.
WHERE WE HAVE PUT AL QAIDA: “But we have put al Qaeda on a path to defeat”.
SO YOU MIGHT WANT TO GET COMFORTABLE: “This is the beginning -- but not the end -- of our effort to wind down this war.”
He favors “initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban.”
WHAT WE WILL NOT TRY: “We will not try to make Afghanistan a perfect place.”
ENDURES & ENSURES: “What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures -- one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan government.” Forever and ever and ever.
IS IT AT THE END OF A TUNNEL? “And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance.”
NOTHING SAYS “ANCHOR OF GLOBAL SECURITY” LIKE BEING ENGAGED IN FIVE SIMULTANEOUS WARS: “Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security, and embrace an isolation that ignores the very real threats that we face. Others would have America over-extend ourselves, confronting every evil that can be found abroad. We must chart a more centered course.” Phew, for a minute there I thought he’d advocate one of those less centered courses.
WHAT WE MUST EMBRACE: “Like generations before, we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events.” This is just a badly written speech. Who inserted the latter phrase, from the Declaration of Independence, in a sentence about embracing America’s singular role, whatever that means. Is it anything like American exceptionalism?
AS PRURIENT AS WE ARE PRIAPIC: “But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate”. Just can’t resist an alliteration, can he? Also, could Obama possibly be less passionate about Afghanistan?
“In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power -- it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We are a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law”. For example, we shot bin Laden in the head and dumped his body in the ocean, but adhering to the rule of law.
WHAT WE STAND NOT FOR: “We stand not for empire, but for self-determination. That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab World. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.” Unless they live in Bahrain or someplace with oil or US military bases, obviously.
WHAT WE MUST RECAPTURE: “And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war.” Revenge?
HEY KIDS, WHAT TIME IS IT? “America, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home.”
Kept saying we need to end the war “responsibly.” Responsible to whom, he did not say.
Another Obama speech with no obvious purpose. If he meant to inform us of his vague timetable for troop reductions (what will the 2014 transition from combat to support mean for troop levels, when if ever will all troops be out of Afghanistan?), a three-sentence press release could have handled it. If he was looking for the active support of the American people for something, I missed hearing that call. I think the upshot was that the war is kind of slowly winding down – he actually used the phrase winding down! – so if we all stopped thinking about it and talking about, that would be okay with him, and it’ll probably all turn out more or less okay.
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/22/2011 07:28:00 PM
Taft pardons managers of the Jackson Lumber Company of Lockhart, Alabama who were convicted for peonage (i.e., keeping 186 foreign workers, Germans I think, against their will in conditions of slavery).
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The NY state senate passes (27-2) a bill requiring all newspaper editorials to be signed by their authors. The bill’s sponsor had been recently attacked in an editorial for his opposition to women’s suffrage.
Zapata, in Mexico City to talk to Madero about the various allegations against him, says, “we are not ogres who ate raw babies.” Um... good?
Monday, June 20, 2011
Madero has appointed Zapata “chief of arms” of the state of Morelos, and the state of Morelos is not best pleased, given the whole “bandit” thing and Zapata’s rather rough tactics during the revolution and after.
Kiev orders the expulsion of 1,000 Jewish families, because they are not pharmaceutical assistants.
The US finally recognizes the Portuguese republic.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Porifirio Díaz says, “I have broken all the bonds which hold me to Mexico, and even if I were asked I would not return to take part in the politics of the country.”
In other news, no one is asking Porfirio Díaz to return to take part in the politics of the country.
Headline of the Day -100: “Fled From Sultan’s Wrath.” The vanished former dentist of the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, one Frank Faber, has been found. What happened was this: Dr. Faber was attempting to extract a molar from the sultan, but used too little cocaine. The sultan yelled, as one does, and Faber promptly decamped to Berlin, and just kept running. His wife, who he left behind in his haste, has finally tracked him down in Chicago.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Today -100: June 18, 1911: Of bribery, eyeglass wars, ingratitude, yeggmen, and a highly diverting bill of sprightly vaudeville
Cleveland police charge and club striking garment workers who were threatening scabs.
The Senate is once again investigating the election-by-bribery of William Lorimer. This time they plan to do a less cursory job and will interview the entire Illinois Legislature.
Headline of the Day -100: “EYEGLASS WAR RENEWED. Optometrists Suspect Oculists of a Secret Attack and Plan to Resist.” You wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses, would you?
In exile, Porfirio Díaz issues a statement about the Revolution, accusing the Mexican people of “ingratitude” and claiming that he abdicated to deprive the US of an excuse to intervene. He denies having been a military dictator, saying (I paraphrase), Did you see how crap the military’s performance was? In fact, he says, it was his recent liberalization that created the Revolution because it was seen by his enemies as a sign of weakness. So the lesson he draws is that he should have been an even bigger shit.
The mayor of Cass Lake, Minnesota, a doctor, is arrested for being the “head and plotting genius” of a band of yeggmen, following a shoot-out between two yeggs on one side, and police and Pinkerton men on the other. Dr. Dumas blames the charges on politics.
And opening today -100, a highly diverting bill of sprightly vaudeville:
Also of interest: wordorigins.org offers a list of words coined in 1911 (h/t Fritinancy), including brassiere, air force, floozy and hophead.
Friday, June 17, 2011
From various British news sources:
New Statesman: I haven’t read this, because I don’t really think at this stage in my life I need “Weinergate Explained,” but I just have to wonder if the NS couldn’t have found someone to write it who wasn’t named Cockburn.
Daily Telegraphy: Headline of the Day: “Israelis Call for Facebook Boycott of Cottage Cheese.”
The Telegraph reports on an important article in Acta Neurochirurgica, the official journal of the European Association of Neurological Studies, in which some big-time neurologists (I’m assuming) read through their old Asterix comic books and found the depictions of no fewer than 704 traumatic head injuries.
Independent: Scientific Headline of the Day: “Booby That Inspired Darwin Caught in an Evolutionary Trap.” Would you like to see a picture of a booby? ... Hello, new Google search readers:
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/17/2011 05:42:00 AM
Thursday, June 16, 2011
NJ Gov. Woodrow Wilson inveighs against the over-concentration of banking, which he calls the “money monopoly.” Such a monopoly must necessarily “chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom.”
During the fighting in Mexico, the rebels executed a Col. Morelos. But there was some delay because they’d never run a firing squad before, so Morelos had to give them step-by-step instructions. It’s lucky he was there.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
In response to congressional demands for a report on why the war in Libya doesn’t violate the War Powers Act, the Obama admin released a report (pdf) today saying the war in Libya doesn’t violate the War Powers Act. So that settles that.
In fact, the War Powers Act doesn’t even apply to this little contretemps. “Given the important U.S. interests served by U.S. military operations in Libya...” Oh, this war is for important interests, why didn’t you say so. “...and the limited nature, scope and duration of the anticipated actions...” Oh, is that what you anticipated. Incidentally, the limited duration of the anticipated actions was just extended by NATO through September. “...the President had constitutional authority, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers...” What foreign affairs powers are those? To appoint ambassadors, subject to Senate confirmation, to negotiate treaties, ditto, and that’s it. And as to his constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive and Chief Chief Chief, where in the Constitution does it say he gets to bomb any country he wants? “...to direct such limited military operations abroad. The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization...” Further? When has there been any? “...because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision.” Actually, the War Powers Act applies to “any case in which U.S. Armed Forces are introduced into hostilities.”
“U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition, whose operations are both legitimated by and limited to the terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that authorizes the use of force solely to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under attack or threat of attack and to enforce a no-fly zone and an arms embargo. U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof, or any significant chance of escalation into a conflict characterized by those factors.” So it’s Vietnam 1962, not Vietnam 1966.
The argument isn’t just that it’s such a small war that it’s not worth bothering Congress’s pretty head about – compared to the currency our many “real” wars, it’s the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny bowl – but that it’s not real “hostilities” if Americans aren’t dying, only Libyans are, because wogs don’t count.
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/15/2011 06:20:00 PM
Italians voted this week on several national referenda on Silvio Berlusconi’s policies, put on the ballot by his opponents. Berlusconi’s policy towards the election, therefore, was to tell his supporters not to vote, since referenda fail if they don’t get a 50% turnout (before this week, none had for 16 years), and use his dominance of the state and private media to stifle discussion of the election. But there was a high turnout, and c.94% votes to overturn his plans to build new nuclear plants, privatize water, and give immunity to government officials such as himself who are just too busy to be bothered by corruption trials.
A couple of days ago, Hillary Clinton gave a speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa.
SAY, HILLARY, WHAT TIME IS IT? “Let me begin by saying this is an exciting time for African democracy.”
Indeed, “we do know that too many people in Africa still live under longstanding rulers, men who care too much about the longevity of their reign, and too little about the legacy that should be built for their country’s future.” She did not say how many people in Africa is the right number to still live under longstanding rulers, men who care too much about the longevity of their reign, and too little about the legacy that should be built for their country’s future, but apparently the current number is too many.
The Arab Spring (er, didn’t that lead to a military coup, several bloody crackdowns, and an ongoing civil/international war?) sent a message: “The status quo is broken; the old ways of governing are no longer acceptable; it is time for leaders to lead with accountability, treat their people with dignity, respect their rights, and deliver economic opportunity.” So evidently in the past, until earlier this year, I guess, the old ways of governing were perfectly acceptable and it was not time for leaders to lead with accountability, treat their people with dignity, respect their rights, and deliver economic opportunity.
The Arab Spring “has particular significance for leaders in Africa and elsewhere who hold on to power at all costs, who suppress dissent, who enrich themselves and their supporters at the expense of their own people. To those leaders our message must be clear: Rise to this historic occasion; show leadership by embracing a true path that honors your people’s aspirations; create a future that your young people will believe in, defend, and help build.” So evidently democracy will come about by leaders who hitherto have held on to power at all costs, suppressed dissent and enriched themselves and their supporters at the expense of their own people, changing their minds and “showing leadership.” Maybe it’s me, but I’m wondering if we haven’t seen quite enough leadership from people who have held on to power at all costs, suppressed dissent and enriched themselves and their supporters at the expense of their own people.
NOT THAT IT’S A CONTEST OR ANYTHING: “The women of Africa are the hardest working women in the world.”
WELL, NOT THE TIDE OF LIBYAN HISTORY: “There is little question that the kind of activities that, unfortunately, have affected the Libyan people for more than 40 years run against the tide of history.” I don’t think the threat of being “against the tide of history” or “on the wrong side of history,” as she says elsewhere in the speech, is one that really has ever had anyone quaking in their boots. All this “history” talk is the 21st century version of saying that Africans are at a more primitive stage of civilization.
HAS HE CHECKED BEHIND THE SOFA CUSHIONS? “But it has become clearer by the day that [Qaddafi] has lost his legitimacy to rule, and we are long past time when he can or should remain in power.” She does not say when he lost his legitimacy to rule or when and how he acquired that legitimacy in the first place. She says that the AU nations should expel Qaddafi’s diplomats and “increase contact and support for the Transitional National Council.” Maybe the council found the legitimacy that Qaddafi so carelessly lost. Or maybe not, since Clinton doesn’t suggest that African nations recognize it as Libya’s one and true government.
WHAT HILLARY HAS NEVER MET: “We welcome to our shores immigrants from every country represented here... But I have never met an immigrant from Africa who has not said he or she wished they could have done the very same in their own country, among their own people, close to their family, eating the food, smelling the flowers, seeing the sights that are in their blood. I want to see that for Africa, where people are coming home to Africa because this is where opportunity for the future resides.” I believe she’s saying that she wants Obama to go back to Kenya and let her be president.
Oh, and “seeing the sights that are in their blood”? Unless she’s talking about something involving Raquel Welch in a miniaturized submarine, that comes across just a bit racist.
And then she left early, because of a volcano in Eritrea. Volcanoes always seem to be chasing Obama officials out of countries lately, don’t they?
At the commencement ceremony at Fisk University, a negro college, a letter from President Taft is read: “I am not one of those who believe that it is well to educate the mass of negroes with academic or university education.” He did know he was writing to a university, didn’t he? And one with negro students at that? “On the contrary, I am firmly convinced that the hope of the negro is in his industrial education throughout the South, and in teaching him to be a better farmer, a better carpenter, a better machinist, and a better blacksmith than he is now; and to make more blacksmiths and more good farmers than there now are among the negroes. But I have studied the matter considerably, and have also become convinced that it is necessary to have a few...” Just a few, mind... “...high-class negro universities for those who are to be the leaders of the race and who are to figure prominently in a professional way – their ministers, their physicians, their lawyers, and their teachers – because we have got to treat the race as distinct from the white.” He goes on to praise the quality of Fisk, which “is proved not only by an examination of its college statistics, but by the testimony of the best white men in the community where it exercises its influence.” Well, if the best white men in the community say so...
Teddy Roosevelt also sent a letter. He also said that more negroes needed industrial training than higher ed but that “a certain proportion of the race” should have the latter, but he somehow managed to say it without being such a condescending prick.
One possible reason the Mexican military performed so poorly against the rebels becomes clear from an inspection of army supplies at Juarez: really crap government-manufactured ammunition, containing so little powder that it couldn’t fire any distance at all. The stuff the rebels had, smuggled in from the US, was much better. Also, the federales had 200 80mm shells but 70mm mortars.
Headline of the Day -100: “Cat Hatches Chickens.” It must be true: a Baptist Sunday-school teacher in New Jersey says so. He will send the cat and her four chicks to President Taft as soon as they are old enough to travel, although what Taft is supposed to do with these miraculous creatures, I have no idea.
Reading further, I see that the cat is named Barney. I begin to distrust this Sunday-school teacher’s understanding of biology.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Portugal is preparing for an expected invasion by monarchists.
Headline of the Day -100: “Anti-Semites Beaten.” Sadly, not literally. In Austrian parliamentary elections.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Whatever else you can say about tonight’s Republican debate, Neil Patrick Harris did a terrific job of hosting.
Asked about Pawlenty’s claim he could get 5% economic growth, Santorum says he won’t comment on “4% or 5%”, showing the proper Republican dismissiveness of “numbers.”
T-Paw: if China, Brazil can have 5% growth, so can we!
Ron Paul: Why not 15%!
T-Paw refuses to apologize for coining “ObamneyCare™.” But he was really embarrassed at being asked to repeat to Romney’s face the stuff he’s been saying about him behind his back.
T-Paw calls Obama a “declinist.”
Gingrich: if government can set rules for health care, it can set rules for everything in your life, like setting a lifetime cap on wives.
Bachmann says she wants to announce here tonight that Obama will be a One. Term. President.
“De-tax”? Is that a word, Ron Paul?
T-Paw is not for being a chump (something about free trade).
Bachmann: the EPA should really be renamed the Job Killing Organization of America (JKOA).
Gingrich: “right-to-work” states are telling the other states, “Don’t be stupid.”
Bachmann says she fought TARP behind closed doors. Possibly the doors of her padded cell.
Who will support the manned space program? T-Paw kind of. Gingrich wants a decentralized space program, and cut out the bureaucracy. Because we built the Trans-Continental Railroad without a National Department of Railroads.
Mittens: we shouldn’t be asking what parts of the federal government to cut, we should be asking what parts to keep. Isn’t that basically the same question?
Cain says something about throwing our grandchildren in wheelchairs off a bridge. Really, unless he’s talking about setting a national no-anchovy-toppings policy, I don’t really care what Herman Cain has to say.
And he wants us to be just like Pinochet’s Chile, or something.
Santorum: you approach decisions using faith and reason, and if your faith is pure and your reason is right, you’ll come to the same place. Although if that place is your dining room and there’s a fetus on the table, there’s a strong possibility something has gone badly wrong with your faith, your reason, or both.
Cain: when I said I wouldn’t appoint Muslims to my cabinet, I meant the ones trying to kill us. By putting anchovies on our pizzas.
Gingrich says he wouldn’t appoint people not willing to be loyal to the United States. “We did this in dealing with the Nazis, and we did this in dealing with the Communists, and it was controversial both times”. Always nice to have a shout-out to Joseph McCarthy, although I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about with the Nazis.
Governor Romney, spicy wings or mild? Spicy (but ask him again tomorrow, and he’ll say mild). Really, John King asked that question.
Who supports a federal Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? T-Paw, Mittens, Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann do, the rest would leave it to the states. Paul says government should be out of the business of giving marriage licenses, it should be up to the church. Atheists, you’re shit out of luck.
Overturn Obama’s repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Pawlenty would leave it up to the service chiefs. Paul: rights don’t come in groups, we shouldn’t have gay rights. Romney fails to answer. Gingrich would listen to the commanders, whose lives are at risk. Bachmann: overturn after listening to the chiefs. Santorum: repeal the repeal.
Whenever some random New Hampshirehoovian asks a question on the big screen, Bachmann responds while looking at the screen and not at the camera, not having learned anything from her State of the Union response.
If there’s one thing Bachmann really wants you to take away from this debate, judging by the number of times she’s brought it up, it’s that she’s fostered 23 children.
Should a 5-year-old illegal immigrant be turned away from a hospital emergency room? Ron Paul says something about no mandates on hospitals, which I take to mean yes. But the Catholic Church should be allowed to take care of him.
T-Paw, Coke or Pepsi? Coke.
Romney: every one of these candidates would be a better president than Obama. Obama doesn’t have a foreign policy.
No one willing to say which of the other candidates they’d choose as their running mate. Ron Paul doesn’t even know what their views on the Federal Reserve are.
Gingrich: “we don’t have even today the intelligence to know what we’re doing.” Okay, he’s talking about Libya here, but it does seem to sum things up nicely.
Obama says that if he were Anthony Weiner, “I would resign,” because “When you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can’t serve as effectively as you need to, at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills — then you should probably step back.”
Because if there’s one thing Obama hates, it’s politicians who can’t serve as effectively as they need to.
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/13/2011 06:33:00 PM
The secretary of state explains that the reason the US hasn’t recognized the post-monarchy republic in Portugal is because... Portugal hasn’t asked.
A NYT editorial refers to a mini-controversy I must have missed because I’ve been avoiding any story about the stalled tariff reciprocity treaty with Canada. Some people (the Times does not say which people) have criticized Taft for pushing the treaty in speeches. They insist that the only public statements a president is authorized by the Constitution to make are State of the Union addresses, and anything else is an improper attempt to coerce Congress.
The Senate votes 64-24 for a constitutional amendment for the popular election of senators. A provision (already rejected by the House) giving supervision of those elections to the federal government passes after a tie is broken by the vice president. Only one Democrat voted for it (because it would prevent D’s in the South disfranchising black voters); 5 “progressive” Republicans, including LaFollette, voted with them.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The Chinese government has reversed its decision to allow men to cut off their queues (those pigtails) – or, in an unfortunate NYT typo, their “pueues.” I’m not sure what one of those is, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want to cut it off.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease has been trying to have Atlanta lawyer Thomas Felder indicted for bribery (the governor of Georgia will later refuse to extradite Felder, saying there is no evidence against him). Felder says Blease is coming after him to cover up having taken bribes from liquor houses when he was a state senator, and has challenged Blease to either bring a libel suit against him or challenge him to a duel. Whichever. However, Blease “is forbidden by his oath of office to participate in duels” (literally??) so a W.P. Beard, who seems to be just an ordinary citizen, has offered to duel in the governor’s place.
Towards the end of the Mexican Revolution, there was a massacre of 300 or so Chinese in Torreon. The story going around is that after the rebels took the town, they looted a courtroom, taking some bottles of cognac which were actually evidence from a trial some years before for an attempted mass poisoning at a banquet. They took the bottles to a Chinese restaurant, drank them, and... you get the idea.
Your archaic vocabulary word of the day: yeggman, as in the NYT headline “Yeggmen Blow Up a Town.” Safecrackers – yeggmen – dynamited a post office safe in French Creek, West Virginia, starting a fire that burned down most of the town (which had no fire dept). The yeggmen – I really like that word – got away with about $600 in cash and stamps.
Some French guys have invented the telephone answering machine, a device to record voice messages on phonograph records. Previously, it was only possible to record voices directly, not over phone wires.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Pope Benny and Joe Biden met at the Vatican last week to discuss the relative advantages of pope-mobiles versus Amtrak, or something (no transcript was or will be released – it’s all very mysterious). What do you think they said?
(Did you know that Biden is the first Catholic vice president of the United States?)
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/10/2011 07:51:00 AM
Carrie Nation, “saloon smasher” extraordinaire, dies. She made a living off her notoriety by selling souvenir hatchets.
Possibly in Ms Nation’s honor, temperance advocate Tillie McGowan breaks up a picnic in Atchison, Kansas, at which beer was being served, chasing one of the picnickers into the Missouri River with a rifle.
Mexico will soon hold a convention of “the political party which has emanated from the revolution” to select a presidential candidate for the October elections. Since another name for “the political party which has emanated from the revolution” is Maderist, I venture to predict that its candidate will be Francisco Madero Jr.
Meanwhile, Madero refuses to attend a bull fight, objecting to the fact that he had been advertised as one of the spectators.
China demands a $10 million indemnity for the massacre of some of its citizens during the Mexican Revolution and for their property losses.
Possibly breaking new grounds in racism, a Cherokee state senator in Oklahoma is leading a fight against the appointment by Washington of a negro assistant supervisor of Indian schools for the Five Civilized Tribes. (A couple of days later the White House claimed that the announcement of the appointment was mistaken.)
Not breaking new grounds in racism at all, several wealthy white planters in Conecuh County, Alabama are arrested for holding their farm laborers in conditions of peonage.
Literally breaking new ground, a German aviator attempting to set an altitude record with a passenger instead falls 6,650 feet to his death. Which, to be fair, was probably a record.
Headline of the Day -100: “Suicide With Feather Bed.” Just what it sounds like: she suffocated herself to death. With a feather bed.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
At his hearings to be ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker admitted that “We’re not out to clearly create a shining city on a hill. That’s not going to happen.” So what is his definition of success? “Good-enough governance: Governance that is good enough to ensure that the country doesn’t degenerate back into a safe haven for al-Qaeda.”
The handful of Al Qaida who enjoyed safe haven in Afghanistan didn’t do any particular harm to the Afghan people, so Crocker is suggesting that the Afghans are basically irrelevant to the purpose of the war in Afghanistan, as far as the US is concerned. “Good enough for wogs,” he might as well have said.
NYT headline: “U.S. Is Intensifying a Secret Campaign of Yemen Airstrikes.” I’m pretty sure the Yemenis realize they’re being bombed, so this is no more a secret campaign than the “secret” bombing of Cambodia.
Liberty County (TX) Sheriff Capt. Rex Evans says that just because the tip that there were dozens of bodies buried on a farm came from a “psychic” did not make it any less valid. Er, yes it did.
Posted by WIIIAI at 6/09/2011 07:49:00 PM
Big earthquake in Mexico, 1,300 killed.
The new Mexican government is sending 1,500 to 2,000 troops to suppress the socialist utopia in Baja. It’s sending them by train via Los Angeles and San Diego. They will be disarmed while on the Arizona-to-San Diego portion of the trip.
The archbishop of Paris refuses to allow the late Prime Minister of France Maurice Rouvier a Catholic burial: the law separating church & state was passed during his premiership.
Teddy Roosevelt says he is definitely, absolutely not running for president in 1912 and it would be a “calamity” if he were nominated, and “there will be no more statements regarding the matter.” So I guess that settles that.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
The lower house of the Connecticut Legislature defeats women’s suffrage for municipal elections 168 to 49. It had passed the state Senate. Evidently it’s a little game in Connecticut: one house passes women’s suffrage, the other defeats it.
NYT: “Henry L. Stimson, the new Secretary of War, is fast acclimating himself to the atmosphere of the army. Accompanied by Gen. Leonard Wood, Chief of Staff, he rode on horseback to-day from Fort Myer, VA., to the drill camp of the Engineer Corps...” In 1911 “acclimating yourself to the atmosphere of the army” still meant riding a horse.
Headline of the Day -100: “Made Old Senators Gasp.” NY state senators were aghast when a young senator questioned a $9,000 earmark for his district that he hadn’t even asked for and which he said wasn’t needed. One senator suggested a monument be erected to the young senator, while another said that not accepting an appropriation was “little short of treason.” The treasonous senator? Franklin D. Roosevelt.
I admit I was a little excited to see in the NYT Index that there was a letter to the paper headlined “Crude expletives.” Imagine my disappointment that the writer was complaining about people who sprinkle conversations with “Is that so?”
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Sen. Joseph Weldon Bailey (D-TX), at a gathering of Confederate veterans celebrating Jefferson Davis’s birthday, says “The truth of history was with the Confederate people. ... If the Southern people believed they could not remain in the Union with honor and safety, they had a right to secede.” The guest of honor was Jeff Davis’s old negro “body servant,” who is the only person who knows where the seal of the Confederate States is now, and he ain’t telling.
Monday, June 06, 2011
Rick Santorum entered the presidential race today, just in time to be cockblocked by Anthony Weiner. His email says, “I have stood up for family, faith, fetuses, and freedom.” I may have added one of those.
At his announcement, he talked about how his grandfather emigrated from fascist Italy, where everyone referred to him as “il mix spumeggiante di materia fecale lubrificante e che a volte è il sottoprodotto del sesso anale,” and came to the United States so he could achieve the American dream of working down a Pennsylvania coal mine until he was 72.
In Obama’s America, Little Ricky says, “Every single American will be hooked to the government with an IV.” I dunno, sounds better than working down a mine until you’re 72. I mean, if that’s the choice.
At Normandy, (today’s D-Day +67), evidently, “Those Americans risked everything so they could make that decision on their health care plan.”
George Stephanopoulos asked Santorum if Sarah Palin was right about Paul Revere. He refused to comment.
Maryland recently introduced various measures to disfranchise negroes in local elections, including property qualifications and a grandfather clause. These were ruled unconstitutional by the federal district court. The state is appealing, but the new three-day registration period began today, and there are no registers (registrars) willing to do the work, since whatever they do they would find themselves either violating the US constitution or committing an infraction under the state law, which penalizes registers who register more than 6 negroes.
President Taft orders that Col. Joseph Garrard, commander of the cavalry post at Fort Myer, be reprimanded for opposing the promotion of a private because he is Jewish.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Sarah Palin’s national tour somehow took her into an interview on Fox News Sunday (oddly enough, she was in Arizona. That bus sure does get around). Note that the Fox transcript isn’t very good.
SOMEONE TAUGHT HER THE PHRASE “QUANTITATIVE EASING.” IF SOMEONE ASKED HER TO DEFINE “QUANTITATIVE EASING,” YOUTUBE WOULD EXPLODE: “And you add, too, the fact that this quantitative easing, one and two, hasn’t worked and we’re talking about Q.E. 3 already and the devalued dollar is an addition to this problem.”
SO THE UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS WERE “SKEWED” BY PEOPLE BEING HIRED? “The month of April was tough, too. There were jobs added to the marketplace, Chris, but remember, that was McDonald’s out there with their big push to hire 50,000-some people. So, I think there were some numbers skewed last month, too.”
THOUGH OBVIOUSLY NOT AS NOBLE AS QUITTING HALFWAY THROUGH YOUR TERM: “And it’s very noble of President Obama to want to stay at the helm and maybe go down with this sinking ship.”
CROWDING OUT? “What President Palin would do is cut the federal budget, making sure that we’re crowding out private sector investment.”
SO THE ONLY THING THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD SPEND ITS INCOME ON IS SERVICING THE DEBT? “We rake in $58 billion a day, our federal government, via payroll taxes and or other revenue sources. If we prioritize and took that $68 billion a day and service our debt, we don’t have to raise that debt ceiling.”
“If I were in Congress, though, I would be a ‘no’ vote to raising that debt ceiling. I would send that message...” By ringing those bells and sending those warning shots, just like Paul Revere. “...that it is failed leadership in the White House and with our elected officials when they have allowed to us to get this breaking point, if you will, that Moody’s is warning about.” Actually, as Chris Wallace explained to you, Sarah, what Moody’s is warning about is Congress doing what you said you would do.
She’s “very frustrated” with the “spin” that Paul Ryan is trying to eliminate Medicare. “Now, what’s going to do away with Medicare is if we keep going down the road that we’re on. But Obama evidently wants us to go down because we will have a bankrupt Medicare system.” She does not explain why Obama wants to bankrupt Medicare.
On Afghanistan, it’s all up to David Petraeus: “Now, I have great faith in Petraeus and he -- his folks with boots on the ground and on the front lines, I trust that Petraeus will know of this timeline that makes most sense for America’s interest to be met in Afghanistan.” Four invocations of Saint David. Who is retiring in September.
TO PERHAPS WANT US THERE: “Take Afghanistan, conditions certainly have changed even in this last week or two when President Karzai comes out and acts like the host nation to perhaps want us there, or NATO. NATO, as we help lead NATO, we are still concerned about civilians and making sure that civilian casualties are not part of any kind of strategy. And yet, that kind of get thrown back in our face...” Don’t you hate it when they throw our killing civilians back in our face? “...and there -- it sounds like a message being sent to America...” Possibly by ringing those bells and sending those warning shots, just like Paul Revere. “...and to NATO today by President Karzai that perhaps we’re not wanted there.” And if there’s one thing Sarah Palin hates, it’s people who go where they’re not wanted.
“Yes, those two factors, Chris, that you mention have got to be considered and revaluated. ‘A,’ the host nation ability to understand what it is that we are trying to do for them and with them in their nation; and the cost of war. Three wars that we’re going engaged in today and our country nearing bankruptcy, we have to rethink everything that we’re doing with foreign aid and with foreign intervention. We have got to make sure that it’s America’s interest first being met in each one of these nations.” So she’s complaining about Afghanistan’s “ability to understand” what we’re trying to do “for them and with them,” which she says is putting America’s interest first. What’s so difficult to understand about that, Afghanistan?
She is not on “some publicity tour,” she says in this umpteenth interview on her non-publicity tour. “I’m publicizing Americana and our foundation and how important it is that we learn about our past and our challenges and victories throughout American history, so that we can successfully proceed forward -- very heady days, rough waters ahead of us, Chris. We need to make sure that we have a strong grasp of our foundational victories so we can move forward.” Prepare to have your grasp of our foundational victories strengthened:
You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here is what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, and they were going to try take our arms and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take it. But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride -- and it wasn’t just one ride -- he was a courier, he was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that we’re already there. That, hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have. He did warn the British. And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.And now, so do we all.
(The gotcha type of question in question: “What have you been doing during your visit to Boston?”)
SHE MEANT TO RUN THEM OVER WITH HER BUS: “I apologize if I stepped on any -- any of that PR that Mitt Romney needed or wanted that day. I do sincerely apologize. I didn’t mean to step on anybody’s toes.”