Archive for May 30th, 2008

I Wonder What It Was Like…

To be Landay & Strobel in the early days of BushCo’s drumbeating for the Iraq invasion.  I figure that at first they must have been racing to get their stories out, afraid that some other news organization would beat them to the explosive scoop: White House Lying About Case For War!

And then, gradually, realizing that they weren’t actually racing against anybody.  No-one was trying to beat them to the story, no-one else wanted anything to do with it.  I wonder if they doubted their own sanity a little bit, the way that you do when you’re the only person who sees something, or thinks a certain way.  Hell, I wonder if either one of them could have sustained it alone, without someone else to reassure him that they were seeing the same things, that he wasn’t deluding himself and chasing shadows.

How sad is that, really?  The biggest story of the decade, and nobody wanted to cover it.

May 30th, 2008 at 10:18pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iraq,Media,War


Well, this is pretty cool.  And kinda funny:

The only known edition of the world’s first telephone book has just surfaced in Connecticut.

It will be auctioned along with a collection of noteworthy books and documents covering technology, science, math and philosophy over six centuries.

The 20-page directory was issued in November of 1878, just two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. The phone book contained information useful to 391 subscribers within the New Haven, Conn., area who were obviously still learning their way around the new communication device.

“Should you wish to speak to another subscriber you should commence the conversation by saying, ‘Hulloa!'” it instructs.

Tom Lecky, who is head of books and manuscripts at Christie’s auction house, which is handling the sale, told Discovery News, “The directions start off by amusingly saying, ‘Never take the telephone off the hook unless you wish to use it…When you are done talking say, ‘That is all,’ and the person spoken to should say, ‘O.K.'”

The book goes on to tell readers they should leave the “lower lip and jaw free.” They were also warned never to “use the wire more than three minutes at a time, or more than twice an hour” without first “obtaining permission from the main office.”


No phone numbers were printed in the Connecticut city’s milestone book — just the names of subscribers. It did, however, list businesses in a separate section at the end, making it the world’s first yellow pages too. The businesses included local newspapers, grocers, physicians and manufacturers.

Wow.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they would make of my Treo.  Yet another reminder of how far we’ve come technologically.  And how goofy the culture of a technology in its earliest stages can be.

That is all.

*waits patiently for someone to say O.K.*

2 comments May 30th, 2008 at 09:46pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology,Weirdness

Grammar Has A Well-Known Liberal Bias

This might be the lamest defense ever:

Yesterday at a townhall meeting in Wisconsin, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that troops in Iraq are already down to “pre-surge levels”:

So I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it’s succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr city are quiet and it’s long and it’s hard and it’s tough and there will be setbacks.


This assertion is wrong. There are now 155,000 troops in Iraq — far above the 130,000 before the surge.

But today on a conference call with reporters, the McCain campaign tried to dismiss this factually inaccurate statement. “So what?” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), a strong McCain supporter. “What does that amount to?” He added that McCain just “misspoke.” According to adviser Randy Scheunemann, McCain meant to say that troops will be eventually drawn down to pre-surge levels. From his response to the AP’s Liz Sidoti:

SIDOTI: Randy, I’m a little confused here. If the question is over the tense of the statement, why is he not wrong?

RANDY: If the question is, are we drawing down to pre-surge levels? The answer is, yes. If the question is, have we drawn down? The answer is, yes. Liz, I don’t know how to make it any clearer than that. […]

SIDOTI: He said, “We have drawn down to pre-surge levels.” And what you’re saying is, we will have drawn down to pre-surge levels by June — or, I’m sorry, by July. He was speaking in the present tense: “We have drawn down to pre-surge levels.”

RANDY: And if we want to talk about verb tenses, we can talk about verb tenses. Everybody knows — it’s been publicly announced since before April — Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker testified about it extensively. It is very well-known where we are in the surge force levels and that we are drawing down to pre-surge levels. That has not been fully completed yet, but will be completed within no more than 60 days.

“Verb tenses” aside, this claim still seems to be wrong. Michael Shear of the Washington Post points to testimony by Joint Staff director for operations Lt. Gen. Carter Ham at the end of February, where he said that the Bush administration’s goal is to reduce troop levels to only 140,000:

Q: General, coming back to Iraq and the troop numbers, so what you’re saying is by the time we get to the end of July, we’re going to be at 140,000, which looks to me like we’re still talking about significantly higher than pre-surge levels in Iraq. Am I reading that correctly?

GEN. HAM: Yes.

The Politico’s Ben Smith has more from the call, including the campaign’s cries of “nitpicking.”

So I guess McCain was actually speaking in some kind of exotic conditional future tense, i.e., “we will have eventually been drawn down to pre-post-surge levels.”

May 30th, 2008 at 05:50pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,McCain,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This week’s quote is from the lame Richard Pryor/Gene Wilder concept comedy See No Evil, Hear No Evil, or as it’s known in German, Die Glücksjäger:

This morning, I threatened to shoot a naked woman with my erection. Now that doesn’t happen every day.

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

The shadowy and mysterious Codename B, who may be a Batman villain.

1 comment May 30th, 2008 at 11:12am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

More Signs That It May Not Be The GOP’s Year

Heh heh heh.  First Ogonowski doesn’t collect enough signatures to even get on the MA-SEN ballot, and the embarrassments just keep coming.

Dubya’s former internet campaign director, Mike Turk, by way of Stoller:

Feeling for Scott McLellan. Nice getting savaged for saying what everyone knows to be true anyway.

Mrs. Chuck Hagel:

According to Federal Election Commission records, Mrs. Hagel donated twice to Obama’s campaign in February for a total contribution of $500.

Staten Island:

Earlier today, we learned that the “frontrunner” for the nod [to run for disgraced Vito Fossella’s seat] was someone we’d never heard of and who hadn’t been been mentioned at all, by anyone, before about lunchtime today. Lanza was out and she was the new standard bearer for the SI GOoPs. This was, of course, after Dan Donovan said “No thanks”, after Fiala  took a pass as well.

This lead dome local GOP hacks to say things like  “Talk about dysfunctional? This is dysfunctional.” Today, after learning of Lisa Giovinazzo’s apparent “frontrunnerdom”, other GOoPs  told Liz:

As one disgruntled elephant told me earlier this afternoon: “If you can’t find someone to run for a seat that was once thought to be a sure-thing for Republicans, you might as well pack it in.”Said another, thoroughly disgusted GOPer: “The Staten Island Republican Party is dead.”

You would think that things simply could not get worse for these folks, right?


The GOP has just nominated Todt Hill resident Frank Powers to run for Congress.Powers is right now at the podium giving his acceptance speech at the Excelsior Grand in New Dorp.

Powers is on the board of directors of Richmond University Medical Center and has served as President of the Staten Island Academy. He served on the Board of the former St. Vincent’s Medical Center for over 20 years and is a past president of the Downtown Athletic Club and past president of the Heisman Trophy Foundation. He served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences, and Chairman of the USS Sullivan’s’ Foundation. He is the former Chairman of the Board of St. Elizabeth Ann’s Health Care and Rehabilitation Center. He was appointed to the Board of the MTA in 2005. Powers also currently serves on the Board of Wagner College.

That’s right. This afternoon’s “frontrunner” got the cold shoulder and this guy, another guy no one has ever freakin’ heard of, got the nod. No, really. That guy in the picture, the one you’ve never even heard of.


Mr. NY-13 himself, Jonah sums it up nicely:

GOP nominates Frank Powers. Who?

The Republican Party just pulled a fast one on itself. After having 19 potential candidates they passed on and then declaring a front runner no one had ever heard of they nominated someone who wasn’t even good enough to be in those top 20….

So this guy serves on the board of a medical center that is closing clinics across the district and creating major health care concerns. He is on the board of the MTA, which mismanages transportation and funds and is the bane of existence for so many in the district. Oh but he is used to be president of the Heisman Trophy Foundation. Makes sense. He is loaded and can self finance. Congrats Republicans.

Stunning. Simply stunning.

I love the smell of meltdown in the morning.  Smells like… victory.

(h/t Brandon Friedman for the Mrs. Hagel tidbit)

May 30th, 2008 at 07:12am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,Politics,Republicans

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