Thursday, April 19, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

A sure sign that the surge is working. More here.

What are we to make of the bizarre contrast between our national grief over the terrible slaughter of students and faculty at Virginia Tech and our muted reaction to the continuing bloodbath in and around Baghdad? One mass killing in the 209 years since Virginia Tech was founded is not exactly a trend. It is a terrible thing but not likely to be repeated anytime soon.

We cannot say the same about events in Baghdad and Iraq. Just today four separate car bombs in and around Baghdad left at least 160 Iraqis--mostly Shia--dead. Yesterday, Tuesday, at least 85 bodies turned up and there were more bombings. Monday was not much better--30 corpses and at least 20 killed in bombings. Sixty nine-plus on Sunday. And the beat goes on.


From the beginning, the public utterances of [Virginia Tech] university President Charles Steger and Police Chief Wendell Flinchum have been sorry spectacles. They have distanced themselves from the events, describing the day as if it had little to do with them personally. It's one thing to demonstrate command of facts, but they have displayed all the personal connection with the mass murders as if describing a close loss of a football game. Certainly, I have seen no evidence that they have even done much soul searching about their decisions and response plans. Frankly, ISTM that they hardly even care much.


People hate this war and hate George Bush, and every time he gets on the teevee and reminds people that the Democrats want to bring the troops home it makes them like Democrats.


For the first time in polling on the Iraq War, a majority of Americans (51%) say that they expect the United States to "lose" in Iraq. Worse, 66 percent say that the war was not worth it! The public is divided about what to do about this white elephant it clearly thinks it bought. A slight majority says that a timetable for withdrawal should be set, while 48% oppose such a step. Only 29% say that Bush is doing a good job in Iraq. (One shudders to imagine what a bad job would have looked like!)


A crucial element of the Baghdad Security Plan is the establishment of security both inside the Baghdad neighborhoods and in Baghdad's outer belts – the regions about 30 miles outside of the city, where over 80 percent of the violence in Iraq occurs. This belt region is where al Qaeda is staging attacks into Baghdad . . . Over the past month, the Iraqi and U.S. security forces are beginning to build new Combat Outposts in the outer belts to disrupt al Qaeda and insurgent activity in the belts.


[Defense Secretary] Gates said demands in the U.S. Congress for a timeline to withdraw American troops from Iraq are constructive because they exert pressure on Iraq's leaders to forge compromises.


Military prosecutors have dismissed charges against one of four marines charged with murder in the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians, including several women and children, in Haditha, Iraq in 2005 . . . Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the commanding general in the case, also granted the marine, Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz, immunity to testify against the three other enlisted men facing murder charges, the Marine Corps said.


Thinking about money, ethics, Bush and the GOP, maybe we're all missing an obvious point. Instead of instituting impeachment proceedings against our two top ranking incompetents why not offer them plutonium parachutes (not the Russian kind).

It is no longer the American way for CEOs to quit for for reasons of moral, financial or leadership ineptitude.

Offer them a billion dollars each to step down (and be prepared to go to two bil to close the deal: plus a hundred mil each for Alberto and each Cheney on the payroll.)

This is oligarchic morality.

Hold your nose. It's cheap at ten times the price!!

There have been many tender love stories in war.

Ike and Kay. Pamela Harriman and Edward R. Murrow. Aeneas and Dido. Achilles and his tent temptation, Patroclus.

But my favorite is the unfolding saga of Wolfie and Shaha. Never has a star-crossed romance so perfectly illuminated a star-crossed conflict.


Political popularity is usually relative. Even the most unloved politicians have a hard core of supporters who will back them no matter what. But in Israel these days, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is testing the limits of the possible: in a recent poll by a local television station, he had a favorable rating of 3%. Given the poll's margin of error, it was possible Olmert had no support beyond his extended family.


A seven-year-old boy from Modesto, Calif., who ended up in the emergency room, is one of more than a dozen cases of serious pharmacy errors at Walgreens drugstores reported by readers and viewers in the wake of an ABC News investigation of the problem posted online and broadcast last month.

Walgreens has confirmed the incident.


"We know no spectacle so ridiculous," wrote Macaulay about the vilification of Lord Byron, "as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality." Change the word "ridiculous" to "contemptible," and the words "British public" to "American press," and you have some sense of the eagerness for prurience, the readiness for slander, and the utter want of fact-checking that have characterized Paul Wolfowitz and Shaha Riza as if they were not only the equivalent of Byron seducing his half-sister, but as if they were financing their shameless lasciviousness out of the public purse and the begging bowls of the wretched of the earth.


It was a lost week in the television ratings for NBC.

The network, which dominated television in the late 1990s and earlier this decade, averaged only 6.8 million viewers in prime time last week, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's believed to be lowest weekly average that NBC has recorded during a TV season since the advent of Nielsen's "people meters" 20 years ago, and likely ever.


"Today’s decision is alarming," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent. She said the ruling "refuses to take . . . seriously" previous Supreme Court decisions on abortion.

Ginsburg said the latest decision "’tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists."’


Fans of Star Trek will be delighted to learn that reality is finally catching up with fiction.


Photograph by Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP-Getty Images

1 comment:

doomsy said...

Hitchens sounds like he's "on the juice" again - so I guess he's OK with Wolfie helping Shaha get a job at the State Department where she, as a functionary, pulls down more than Our Gal Condi, who is, after all, the head of the department?

This, of course, discounts the underhandedness of using Wolfie's squeeze to try and lure the U.N. into a bigger role in Iraq - only the Bushies would be dumb enough to think a scheme like that might actually work.