Archive for May 18th, 2007

An Exciting First


Our long wait is over:

On May 18, buildup Co., Ltd. unveiled the Tamanoi Vinegar Robot, the world’s first robot designed to make presentations about vinegar.


8 comments May 18th, 2007 at 10:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Technology,Weirdness

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This week’s quote is from the very underappreciated high school romantic zombie comedy, My Boyfriend’s Back:

It’s not her fault! She was taken in by his wily decaying ways!

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s cats…

The shadowy and mysterious Codename B. stares off into space.

May 18th, 2007 at 09:47pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

Republican Moral Values

Holy jumping fuck.

The news story is mercifully vague, but do not click on the PDF links unless you have a high tolerance for really twisted shit being perpetrated on underage girls.

(h/t Atrios)

3 comments May 18th, 2007 at 07:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans


Frankly, I never used to have a very high opinion of Senator Dodd. To the minimal extent that I paid attention, he struck me as kind of a lukewarm, centrist, unimpressive go-along-to-get-along kind of guy.

But I have to say, Chris Dodd The Presidential Candidate has been the best thing ever to happen to Chris Dodd The Senator.

May 18th, 2007 at 07:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Politics

Not So Ironic, Really

Andrew Sullivan thinks he’s onto something:

Has anyone else noticed the bizarre spectacle of many Bush-backing blogs demonizing Ron Paul for not saying that we deserved 9/11, at the same time eulogizing a man who absolutely and explicitly said that we did deserve 9/11: Jerry Falwell.

Cute, but it overlooks one very important fact: If you’re a conservative, Falwell didn’t say “we.” He said “they.”

(h/t Schectopia)

May 18th, 2007 at 01:22pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized

Nixon Was A Piker

Yet another vote for Dubya as worse than Nixon:

Having been in Washington for only 53 years, I cannot from personal exposure espouse the view that the current president is the worst in American history. I have observed only 10 of them since reaching the age of reason, so I can judge only that he is the worst in my adult lifetime.

From World War II to date, there is in my mind and experience only one serious and obvious competitor: Richard Nixon. I say that not simply because he was the first president to resign from office in scandal and disgrace. Well before the Watergate affair that eventually was his undoing, he had compiled a long record of deception, deceit and duplicity.


Nixon’s sins basically grew from an unquenchable lust for power. He was determined to hold on to what he had and to get more and more of it, contrived through secrecy and an anything-goes political ethic that in time poisoned much of his five-and-a-half-year presidency.


George W. Bush, on the other hand, who ran in 2000 as a unthreatening “compassionate conservative,” soon encountered a crisis and a fateful opportunity that put him on a different mission. He seized on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to segue from domestic affairs and a legitimate self-defense invasion of Afghanistan to a radical foreign policy of supposedly preventive war in Iraq.


In a bold display of opportunism, Bush anointed himself as a “war president” who capitalized on a combination of American patriotism and fear to set the nation on its current course. As Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser in the Carter administration, has written, Bush’s use of the phrase “war on terror” was “a classic self-inflicted wound” that intentionally created “a culture of fear in America,” enabling him to mobilize the public behind his military actions.

This almost overnight plunge into foreign-policy unilateralism, transparently masquerading as a “coalition of the willing” in Iraq, dealt a severe blow to this country’s reputation and support in the international community, effectively built over the previous half century of cooperation and Cold War containment.

The whole adventure, compromised by the faulty intelligence used to sell the United Nations and the American people on the invasion of Iraq, was marked by an inept assessment of and inadequate response to the long-term challenge on the ground.

Like Nixon in 1972 winning re-election by feeding off unrest and violence in the streets, Bush in 2004 tapped into post-9/11 fears and appeals to patriotism to gain a second term. Although there is not yet any domestic scandal of Watergate dimensions hanging over him, an odor of incompetence in the management of the war, in the care provided to returning wounded, and in the disarray of his Justice Department stifles the atmosphere for his remaining time in the White House.


While Bush continues to have the power of the veto with which to combat the Democratic challenge, he is staggering toward the finish line of his presidency. Whatever happens in Iraq, there seems little chance that history will accord him any positive legacy for his eight years of over-reaching in foreign policy and abuse of civil liberties at home.

Nixon’s fall from grace in 1974 cast a heavy shadow over some historic achievements, most notably his opening to China. But his sins, deplorable as they were, mostly concerned domestic matters. They did not leave his party in the hole that Bush’s radical adventurism abroad has dug for the Republicans, and for the country he has so catastrophically led, without any compensating accomplishments akin to Nixon’s, domestic or foreign.

During the Nixon years, I never thought I would see another president who would almost make me wish we had him back. Almost. Thankfully, 21 months from now the voters will have other choices, whatever they turn out be.

For all his many faults, Nixon still believed that the government had other functions beyond rewarding friends and punishing enemies. He also understood that presidents have responsibilities, not just privileges.

Indeed, I believe Dubya is the first president in American history who does not understand that the presidency is an actual job. It’s not exactly encouraging whenever he tells us that presidentin’ is “hard work” – of course it’s hard work! He’s managing (and I use the word very loosely) the most powerful country in the world, not a baseball team or a penny-ante oil company.

Worse yet, Daddy’s friends can’t bail him out when it all falls apart. And even when they try (Baker-Hamilton), his response is that of a petulant toddler saying “I’ll do it myself!” and then proceeding to make things even worse, just so he can prove how independent and clever he is.

How I look forward to the time when we can send him to his room and put the grownups back in charge.

5 comments May 18th, 2007 at 11:37am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush

They Meant To Do That

Krugman picks up where David Greenberg left off:

Mr. Bush has degraded our government and undermined the rule of law; he has led us into strategic disaster and moral squalor.

But the leading contenders for the Republican nomination have given us little reason to believe they would behave differently. Why should they? The principles Mr. Bush has betrayed are principles today’s G.O.P., dominated by movement conservatives, no longer honors. In fact, rank-and-file Republicans continue to approve strongly of Mr. Bush’s policies — and the more un-American the policy, the more they support it.

Now, Mr. Bush and Dick Cheney may have done a few things other Republicans wouldn’t. Their initial domestic surveillance program was apparently so lawless and unconstitutional that even John Ashcroft, approached on his sickbed, refused to go along. For the most part, however, Mr. Bush has done just what his party wants and expects.

There was a telling moment during the second Republican presidential debate, when Brit Hume of Fox News confronted the contenders with a hypothetical “24”-style situation in which torturing suspects is the only way to stop a terrorist attack.


[A]side from John McCain, who to his credit echoed Gen. Petraeus (and was met with stony silence), the candidates spoke enthusiastically in favor of torture and against the rule of law. Rudy Giuliani endorsed waterboarding. Mitt Romney declared that he wants accused terrorists at Guantánamo, “where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil … My view is, we ought to double Guantánamo.” His remarks were greeted with wild applause.

[Examples of Romney conflating Shia and Sunnni; McCain claiming Baghdadis safe enough for an afternoon stroll]

Finally, what about the Bush administration’s trademark incompetence? In appointing unqualified loyalists to key positions, Mr. Bush was just following the advice of the Heritage Foundation, which urged him back in 2001 to “make appointment decisions based on loyalty first and expertise second.” And the base doesn’t mind: the Bernie Kerik affair — Mr. Giuliani’s attempt to get his corrupt, possibly mob-connected business partner appointed to head the department of homeland security — hasn’t kept Mr. Giuliani from becoming the apparent front-runner for the Republican nomination.

What we need to realize is that the infamous “Bush bubble,” the administration’s no-reality zone, extends a long way beyond the White House. Millions of Americans believe that patriotic torturers are keeping us safe, that there’s a vast Islamic axis of evil, that victory in Iraq is just around the corner, that Bush appointees are doing a heckuva job — and that news reports contradicting these beliefs reflect liberal media bias.

And the Republican nomination will go either to someone who shares these beliefs, and would therefore run the country the same way Mr. Bush has, or to a very, very good liar.

It is very sobering to consider that millions of Americans are that bloodthirsty, that completely out of touch with reality, that batshit insane. And even more sobering to consider that our president and a large chunk of our government and media are just like them. And if we’re not careful, our next president could be, too.

If Dubya were not doing exactly what the GOP wanted, they would not have lent their voices and votes to all of his misguided policies. He is their creature, just as surely as Alberto Gonzales is his.

3 comments May 18th, 2007 at 07:41am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Republicans

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