01 February 2007

RIP Molly

Everyone will have seen this, but incredibly depressing news for the reality-based community tonite. Molly Ivins dead at 62. It's a terrible loss.

26 December 2006

No lengthy appeals process for the likes of Saddam Hussein, his one and only appeal court said he must die within thirty days:

See It Now

Two points: 1) What else will be happening 30 days from now? Uh, the SOTU, during which Bush will be trying to justify the Surge in troop levels that he thinks was indicated by November's election and the Baker Hamilton report. How unbelievably convenient.

2) Saddam's sentence here was only one of many that were supposed to follow. This was the easiest case for prosecutors to make, but the scope of the inhumanity here was comparatively small, "covering one case involving the execution of 148 men and boys in the northern town of Dujail in 1982," according to the above linked article in the NYT.

My question is two fold: Will we still try Saddam for the alleged hundreds of thousands of other murders he's responsible for, or will we let those slide, seeing as he's going to be unable to participate vigorously in his own defense, what with the being dead and all?

And the second fold of my question is this: even under the absolute best interpretation of our prosecution of this war in Iraq, we have been responsible for well more than 200 deaths of innocents, women and children and men. It's frankly impossible to believe that it's less than a few thousand. So the question is, when does Mr. Bush's capital trial start, and which version of the appeals process will he be availed of, the one he found so needlessly lengthy and overcautious in Texas, or the one he seems to approve of in Iraq.

25 December 2006

Not a fairy tale, but grim.

US casualties in Iraq now greater than those incurred on 9-11. If you'd asked Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld in March '03, they'd have said we'd never get that high, and you were a traitor for suggesting it. And the really sick part is that they probably believed that.

See It Now

And now the guessing game is: on what day and hour will Tony Snow or Bush himself deny that this is a "milestone"? Because that's what they always do when we hit a milestone. Deny deny deny. The denied it at 1,000, at 1,500, at 2,000 and they'll deny it early next year at 3,000.

If you're not disgusted, you're not paying attention. Could you please teach us how to do that?

23 December 2006

Draft on Tap?

NYT on the recent "surge" of draft rumors: See It Now

Okay, set aside the actual issue of a potential draft for a moment. We all thought it was coming right after the '04 election and it didn't, but that won't stop many of us from worrying that it's coming any minute now, and Bush's denials are impossible to lend any credence to, mainly because they are issuing from the mouth of one GW Bush, a mouth known to lie about 10 times for every truth it utters.

Here's a laughable yet frightening quote from the article; note the transition between the two paragraphs:

William A. Chatfield, director of the Selective Service, said Friday that “we try to send out a signal of strength that we’re prepared.” The Selective Service, he said, needs to be ready “if something totally unforeseen should come upon us.”

But for now, the chances of that happening are “very, very, very low,” Mr. Chatfield said. “There’s nothing even being discussed in a remote fashion, but you have people trying to create fear when there’s nothing there.”

Did you get that? The chances of "something totally unforeseen," happening are "very, very, very low." I'll repeat: The chances of "something totally unforeseen," happening are "very, very, very low." Aren't they always? Does this give you any confidence in the selective service apparatus at all? Because it scares the yule log right out of me.

Am I alone in seeing this as possibly the stupidest piece of "reasoning" ever to emanate from any Bush official? And, BTW, to hear BushCo tell it, wasn't the whole protracted insugency/useless quagmire/lack of WMD thing "totally unforeseen"? And isn't this the same brain trust among whom: "No one could have imagined them taking a plane, slamming it into the Pentagon... into the World Trade Center, using planes as a missile." The unforeseen seems to be par for the putt-putt course with these guys.

Conversely, the chance of Christmas coming on Monday remains high, as long as you're not one of the 10 or 15 American "volunteers" who will die in Iraq or Afghanistan before then. And if you are one of them or one of their comrades, Standing Eight loves you and thanks you and wants you brought home, alive, victorious or not, as soon as possible.

21 December 2006

Inside the Redactors Studio

The NYT got a hold of one of the CIA's black highlighters:

See It Now

Half the redactions are pretty guessable, if you know the style of the NYT op-ed page. There's one paragraph that's blacked out entirely, others are just names or one-liners. I have my guesses but I don't want any MIBs or NSAs showing up ruining my Festivus.

Stay Tuned for The Eight's new look coming in 07.

13 December 2006

Bush now officially 'worse than nothing'

The old Tony Snow/ Bush apologist trope about "hey, our guy's numbers are low, but congress' are even worse" is no longer true. The incoming congress, a body which has done precisely zero, is more trusted than the president:

See It Now

This either proves that Bush is a la-hame duck, or that the American people will buy anythingfor a while. We think probably both.

01 December 2006

Getting Blogged Down

Some dude is running an experiment to see how fast news travels.

Read this then link to it if you are a blogger yourself:
Acephalous: Measuring The Speed of Meme: An Experiment in which You Will Participate, Or Else...

(The fatal flaw of this experiment may be that the link above is not actually 'news' so we're really measuring how fast 'experiment' travels. My suspicion is that the old adage is correct, in that 'bad news travels fast'est, followed by good news, followed by value-neutral junk like this. But we're game. The 'scientist' in question assures us his idea is not a chain letter, and since he's not a known republican we believe him. (joke.))

27 November 2006

From the "You can't parody a parody" department:

Residents of a Colorado "homeowners association" (read: homogeneity association,) demand removal of a peace sign Christmas wreath:

Las Vegas SUN: Colo. Residents Spar Over Peace Sign

Here's the lede and best graf, noting that there are two primary complaints about the horrifying symbol, both of which are just the pinnacle of head-up-assery:

A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.

It reminds us of the seminal scene in the King of the Hill Christmas episode. Hank and his father Cotton were shopping for Xmas decor, and Hank showed his dad an ornament that said, "Peace on Earth." Cotton, a Korean war vet, was disgusted by this lefty sentiment, and Hank's response still echoes in my ears: "C'mon dad, it's Jesus peace, not hippie peace."

It would appear that the criminal wreath hanger would agree with Hank:

Lisa Jensen said she wasn't thinking of the war when she hung the wreath. She said, "Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing."

And we agree with her. Peace.

22 November 2006

And so it begins:

Romney trashes McCain, and the '08 race is officially underway:

Romney: ‘I’m a conservative Republican’ - Examiner.com

Here's hoping they destroy each other on the way to the nomination, but it's not likely to happen.

Education Secretary, on Jeopardy, Loses to 'Lenny' but not squiggy.

No snark necessary. This post writes itself:

See It Now

In fairness to Sec. Spellings, Mike McKean is pretty smart. In fairness to Mike McKean, he'd make a thousand times better education secretary than Margaret Spellings.

From the "No excuse left behind," department:
"I think I held my own," Spellings said in an interview Tuesday, hours before the show aired. She noted McKean had an edge, having been on the show before.

19 November 2006

Suskind on Oversight

The chronicler of the 1% doctrine tells the new congress how to use their new found authority, and we like how he thinks:

Send in the Subpoenas - washingtonpost.com

Or just read Kevin's 1 paragraph summary: See It Now

15 November 2006

The Floyd Void

Maybe Floyd Landis did win the Tour after all:

Landis lab made 'administrative error' - Yahoo! News

Then again maybe not.

12 November 2006

RIP Adrienne Shelly

It's not exactly our beat, but she was an incredible actress, and one of Hal Hartley's faves, and since he's our fave, we note with great sadness the passing of someone whose talent outweighed her celebrity:

Adrienne Shelly Murdered in Faked Suicide - OhmyNews International

09 November 2006

The truth will out. As soon as the elections are over.

It's not our bailiwick but here's the latest on Pat Tillman's death:

AP: Startling findings in Tillman probe - Yahoo! News

It's almost impossible to believe that one of the soldiers who was (unfortunately,) responsible was named, get this, "Ashpole."

Makes me wish more people paid attention to this story so that that name could become an insult the way "Santorum" has.

And keep in mind that Spc. Ashpole is not the bad guy here. Friendly fire happens. The bad guys are the higher-ups who should leave the military fiction writing to Jim Webb and the cover-ups to Nixon, (Clinton Cheney Hastert Rove etc.)

08 November 2006

On Frist Corker and Ford

Republican Hangs On to Frist’s Senate Seat - New York Times

Full disclosure: The Eight gave to McCaskill and Ford in very small amounts this cycle, and does not regret the choice. In both cases, the ad that drew national attention was a big part of the impetus for our donations (the Mike Fox ad in MO and subsequent Limbaugh fiasco, and the Racist anti-ford ad in TN.)

Dems and talking heads are saying that Ford ran a good campaign and his future is bright and he stayed above the fray of racist and family-oriented attacks, and they're right about all that. But look at it another way: Assume that Burns pulls it out in Montana, (actually we clearly hope he won't. Burns is the worst kind of GOP bum. But just assume for these purposes.) And that Webb holds on in VA. If that's how it shakes out, then the racist ad that Corker's backers aired, and we've all seen no matter how far away we live from TN or how vigilantly we TiVo'd through all political ads, that one nasty, racist ad may be the very thing that keeps the GOP senate. You certainly can't point to a bigger single action that held a GOP seat. And you can't deny that that ad was instrumental in the Corker win.

And that is the Southern Strategy all over again. It's playing the race card. And that's really the last card left in the GOP deck when the game gets close, which is a betrayal of their stated party principles and of what most republican citizens believe. It's why I always tell my Texan friends and family I don't hate republicans, just republican politicians.

But on the whole I think this election painted a picture of an America I can be reasonably proud of, and not just because Dems won big. Mainly because it showed that there is a point where we get fed up with bad leadership. (I'd have preferred we reached that point 2 years ago, but that's just me.) It also showed that we as a nation love our game more than we love or hate the players. That checks and balances and oversight and accountability are just as important as "strong" "charismatic" "leaders".

Clearly I need to watch my TiVo'd Gilmore Girls and go to bed. Go Tester Go Webb. Watch Friday Night Lights next week and tell your friends to watch too, especially your Nielsen family friends.

---LATE AND LAST UPDATE: With 99% reporting in Montana Tester is ahead a couple thousand. This is very good news, though nothing is sealed until 10 days after the check clears. I can sleep soundly now. ---