Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A new phase characterized by this increasing sectarian violence that requires us obviously to adapt to that new phase

Today Bush signed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which somehow I hadn’t heard of before, which classifies as terrorism, and increases the penalties for, any acts against “animal enterprises” (i.e., companies that use or sell animals) which reduce their profits, including non-violent acts such as blockades, trespassing, freeing animals, “threats,” etc. Terrorism.

Actually, acts of animal terrorism are committed twice daily in my home when I give my cat her pills, although she and I might have differing ideas about which of us is committing the terrorist acts.

The White House website also informs us that Thursday is “National Methamphetamine Awareness Day.” So don’t forget to be aware of meth on Thursday. The proclamation informs us that “Chronic use can lead to violent behavior, paranoia, and an inability to cope with the ordinary demands of life”... oh, you’re all way ahead of me, aren’t you?

NBC has decided to use the term “civil war” to describe the situation in Iraq. Did they even consider my compromise alternative, “crapfest”?

National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley disagrees, but does say that “We’re clearly in a new phase characterized by this increasing sectarian violence that requires us obviously to adapt to that new phase”. Not very Ken Burns-y, is it? Cue plaintive violin music: “My dearest Martha: this new phase characterized by this increasing sectarian violence that requires us obviously to adapt to that new phrase drags on, and I grow weary...”

Hadley continued, “Obviously, everyone would agree things are not proceeding well enough or fast enough.” You’ll notice the word “enough” assumes that things are in fact proceeding in the right direction and at a measurable pace.

He also said that while “there’s been a lot of discussion within the American press about the need to adapt our strategy, a lot of discussion about Baker-Hamilton, a lot of discussion on talk shows... it’s important, I think, for the President to send the message to Prime Minister Maliki that while he is listening to all of these voices for ideas, is open to ideas, that in the end of the day to reassure Prime Minister Maliki that it is the President who will be crafting the way forward on Iraq”. Yes, George W. Bush crafting the way forward, how... reassuring.

At that briefing, Tony Insert-Snow-Related-Pun-Here denied that there was a civil war in Iraq because it was not, he said, a battle for territory. “What you do have is sectarian violence that seems to be less aimed at gaining full control over an area than expressing differences”. Expressing differences. Like a letter to the editor, but slightly more horrific.

Robin Wright and Thomas Ricks of the WaPo say, without sourcing or further explanation, that Cheney was in fact “basically summoned” by Saudi Arabia.

Bush, meanwhile, was in Estonia today, meeting with Estonian President Herman Munster.

Everyone assumes that Alexander Litvinenko received the fatal dosage of radiation poisoning in that London sushi restaurant from an agent of Putin, but has anyone asked whether he ordered the Godzilla sushi?

In Ecuadoran presidential elections, Rafael Correa defeats “pro-American banana tycoon” Alvaro Noboa. I don’t have any analysis of that, I just wanted to be able to say “pro-American banana tycoon.”

“Banana magnate” is also funny.

“Banana baron.”

Really, anything in the whole banana area is amusing.

Banana banana banana.

Just saying.

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