Friday, December 28, 2007

The Best Blog Quotes of 2007

Here's a crude generalization: after the sixties, intellect and patriotism went separate ways, to the detriment of both. This mutual hostility made intellectuals less responsible and soldiers less thoughtful. We’ve come to think of this antagonism as natural and inevitable, as it is between cats and dogs, but in fact it was a product of recent political and cultural changes in American life. The estrangement was compounded by professionalization on both sides and the adoption of inward-looking and jargon-ridden specializations: the all-volunteer military and the social-theory crowd became equally isolated American subcultures.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have begun to close the divide.


All those terms that conservatives used to love to use, the proud, patriotic words like Honor, Decency, Honesty, Morality no longer apply to them. The right-wing relativists have faced their own ultimate test and they have failed it in every possible way.


I oppose impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney not as a matter of principle but of practicality. Both have more than made the case that they should be thrown out of office, but it is my belief that such proceedings would be enormously distracting and time consuming. History's judgment will be harsh enough.

I opposed approving Michael Mukasey for attorney general not as a matter of practicality but of principle. Mukasey seems to be capable of beginning to repair the damage that Alberto Gonzalez wrought, but I believed that the Senate should have taken a stand against the Bush administration's embrace of torture and rejected the nomination because of Mukasey's own equivocating.

-- ME

I think from now on the most important signs at any demonstration will be the ones saying, "No more stupid people in the Senate." I just can't believe how dumb these idiots are.

According to a national "pro-life" organization, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, who has pushed a series of anti-choice laws, has made his state "the safest place in America for an unborn child."

Too bad the same can’t be said for born children, as Mississippi now has the highest infant mortality rate in the country.

Why does God allow natural or manmade disasters to kill innocents? For Hindus, that's a multiple-choice question.

Over the last seven years, the racial situation has deteriorated even more. No child left behind, has left enough children behind that they could start a new country. The dumbing down of America is having serious consequences, not the least of which is an increase in racism. The elephant in the room is now breaking things in an effort to make itself known.

-- DEB

How has the New York Times managed to pick Bob Herbert out of the 75 million liberal adults in America? It is a mystery.


There is no "pace of progress" with regards to political reconciliation in Iraq. There is, quite simply, no progress at all. And it might be an arguable point that Iraq is, in any sense of the word, a democracy – not when 15% of the population is frozen out of power sharing and hunted down like animals to be slaughtered.

The Rapture is not a viable exit strategy.

This bullshit about making Strom Thurmond happy has to end somewhere. If the point of Lott's remarks was to make an old man feel good on his birthday, banana pudding and a sponge bath would have done the trick. Lott was, and remains, an egregious racist. He'd made identical remarks numerous times over his career, including at a campaign appearance for Ronald Reagan in 1980. Lott argued over the years that racial discrimination was not necessarily unconstitutional, and he actively supported neo-Confederate organizations like the Council of Conservative Citizens -- a group that descends directly from the segregationist White Citizens' Councils of the 1950s. There was nothing innocent or naive about Lott's remarks. He clearly meant them.

-- D

Rudy: I voted for McGovern but I actually preferred Nixon.

I've written before that in both politics and romance, desperation does not act as an aphrodisiac. The Hillary Clinton campaign has gone past the stench of desperation to the reek of flop sweat as they see their inevitability collapse into incoherence. Hillary's New Hampshire co-chair warns that surging Barack Obama will get peppered with questions about his admitted high-school drug use.


It was not enough to elect him president. Now they’ve gone and crowned him king.

The bed-wetters aren't people who criticize the Iranian government. The bed-wetters are the hysterics who seem to think that the basic acts of diplomacy are a clear and present danger to the United States.

I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist.


No wonder the Democratic Congress is saddled with a microscopic approval rating (11 percent, in the latest poll). Consider this week's misadventure:

At a time when the public is hungry for real solutions to a slew of contemporary crises - for starters, the war in Iraq - the House Democrats have been dithering for days about whether they should stand tall and make a courageous statement...about some atrocities that were perpetrated by a country that no longer exists, in an era long dead and gone.

The Ottoman Empire. In 1915.

Somebody screwed up, terribly, and someone should pay.


Could George W. Bush be the Iranian Candidate? Like Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, who spouted anti-communist rhetoric while secretly working for their agenda in the U.S., could Dubya really be an Iranian plant? Can you imagine anyone else who has done as much for Iran than he has?


Anyone have any idea why both the third world countries I just visited offered excellent airport baggage service, while JFK took over an hour to offload my bag?


Megan McArdle’s dog, Finnegan, contracted an infection and had to be put to sleep. She posted about it. I thought: soon, some gobshite will show up in the comments, deriding the way she felt at four in the morning the night her dog died. And sure enough. Gotta love the intertubes. Meanwhile, Jerry Falwell has died, too. In terms of net good brought into the world during their respective lives, Megan’s dog is probably ahead of Falwell.

History will judge Rove a colossal failure, a man who never understood how to govern and, for all his immense knowledge of polls and politics, never really understood the times he lived in. It was 9/11 that both made and broke the Bush presidency, not some kind of mystical McKinley-esque realignment. Rove was blind to that, and blind to the way Bush should have governed after 9/11. His one-track mind, in which every problem is solved by wielding the biggest, nastiest partisan club you can lift, just couldn't adapt.

Forget the friggin unemployment rate.

-- MAX

Whenever I find myself drifting into the kind of dreamy reverie that comes from reading too many poetic phrases on the backs of airplane seats, I remind myself that beauty and meaning are found at every scale of creation -- at the scale of centimeters (bees and flowers and tongues), yes, but also at the scales of microns and light-years. The beauty and meaning of the very small and the very large can only be perceived through the methods of science.

It's not one or the other, it seems to me, but both. Poetry and science. There are more kisses in this universe than merely those that remind the poet of bees sucking honey on a drowsy day.


It's not just that she's a private person. There are plenty of public servants who are zealous about guarding their personal lives and equally zealous about keeping their public lives - and public policies - transparent. But, like Bush and Cheney, [Hillary] Clinton seems devoted to secrecy for its own sake.

If convicted, Barry Bonds will serve more time than Scooter Libby.

It's great to be an old white man in A-merry-ca isn't it Mr. Imus? Here we are just eight months after your little, ahem, slip of the tongue, and you are back on the air with a new five year deal. And this after settling for millions with your former employer under the terms of your previous contract. So back to WABC radio you go. And you will even have a simulcast TV deal with RFD-TV, who is owned by the Rural Group. How fitting.

I would say something like I hope you learned your lesson, but why should you have? Hell, you made out better now than you were before Nappyheadedhogate. We should all be so lucky after being fired from our jobs.

If you remained unmoved by scientists' excitement at the discovery of a "second Earth" 20 light years away from us then consider this: bookies have now slashed the odds of little green men appearing from 1,000/1 to 100/1.
We always find it funny that you can use sex to sell jewelry and cars, but you can't use sex to sell condoms.


The profoundly depressing fact is how little has changed in the Village over the past several years. I'm not simply referring to rather disappointing results of Democratic control of Congress, though that too is of course an issue, but rather the sentiments and conventional wisdom of the political media industrial complex. It shouldn't be a surprise, I suppose, that this static mob would be slow to change and slower still to acknowledge any failures of their own.


When Osama bin Laden resurfaced Friday in a 26-minute videotaped speech, his most important message was one left unsaid: We have survived.

The Washington Post has a simply lovely article on Jeri Thompson that paints her as a former cheerleader who lived in sin with a guy for years, didn't pay her bills (and I would be lying if I didn't admit that I wonder about the medical bills that went unpaid...cough*boobjob*cough) , and managed to move up the Republican food chain based upon her looks and who she was sleeping with at the time.

There is an axiom about movie plots: If a gun is seen in an early scene, it will be fired before the final credits.

So it is now in the international movie of our lives after the unreeling of more than half a century with weapons that could bring total devastation.


It's become pretty clear that the purpose of the American military presence in Iraq is having an American military presence in Iraq. There doesn't seem to be any consistent goal other than that any more. Which is why these days there's so much talk about staying and less talk about what staying is supposed to accomplish. Staying is the accomplishment; it's the end, not the means.

For all that some Christian Republicans claim Christ as one of their own, it's far more likely that he would vote Libertarian. Treat people with fairness and love; otherwise leave them alone.

It's not surprising that Joe "War is Always the Answer" Lieberman wants to start another war.

The Internet has not, as some predicted, brought about the demise of such great newspapers as the one you are holding in your hands. But it has gotten the hookers off the street.

We're not about to be pushed around by just anybody. Oh sure, we'll let the Chinese get away with economic, environmental and human rights violations (after all, what's shoddy merchandise, massive pollution and slave labor in exchange for ... I forget, what do we get out of this) without doing much more than chiding them from afar or meeting with the Dalai Lama. But when it comes to the dreaded presence of a Communist state that is smaller than China's pinky toe, and which has the international reach of a Tic-Tac, we stand firm!

So it's with relief I heard that Bush has reaffirmed our embargo against Cuba.

Knowing when to kiss a girl is kind of like surfing and being able to tell if a wave is going to close out and spear you into sand or keep barreling along nicely; you have to spend some time in the water to know the signs.

Image © Carlton Cards

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