Frank Rich (sub.req.) today examines the depths, so to speak, of the President's (779 days, 4 hours) absention from reality:
The bottom line: America has a commander in chief who can't even identify some 97 percent to 98 percent of the combatants in a war that has gone on longer than our involvement in World War II.
Very sad, very true.
Paul Krugman's column (sub.req.) today offers a bleak assessment of 2007:
Right now, statistical models based on the historical correlation between interest rates and recessions give roughly even odds that we're about to experience a formal recession. And since even a slowdown that doesn’t formally qualify as a recession can lead to a sharp rise in unemployment, the odds are very good—maybe 2 to 1—that 2007 will be a very tough year.
Luckily, we’ve got good leadership for the coming economic storm: the White House is occupied by a man who’s ideologically flexible, listens to a wide variety of views, and understands that policy has to be based on careful analysis, not gut instincts. Oh, wait.
I feel better; how about you?
From Australia, via Poynter:
The annual Walkley Awards for journalism were rocked by an attack on stage on Thursday night at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.
Controversial crikey.com.au writer Stephen Mayne was attacked by Sunday Telegraph columnist Glenn Milne.
Mayne had just finished awarding the best business news report to the Australian Financial Review's Morgan Mellish when Milne rushed up onto the stage and accosted Mayne, pushing him off the platform and onto the floor.
Why doesn't anything this exciting happen at American awards shows?
The latest from the best president we have:
"There is one thing I'm not going to do. I am not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete," Bush said in a keynote speech at the University of Latvia just before a summit of the NATO defence alliance.
(Emphasis mine.) What about this, though? It's all so confusing.
(Via Talking Points Memo.)
Some memes obscure deeper truths. "Liberal" and "college town," for example, often go together, as in the lede from a story in Tuesday's New York Times:
BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 14 — Voters in this liberal college town have approved what environmentalists say may be the nation's first "carbon tax," intended to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases.
This lede bothered me for several reasons. First, I don't believe that wanting to reduce catastrophic climate change is so much a "liberal" idea as it is a "sensible" idea. Second, if Boulder is "liberal," that makes my home town (Evanston, Ill.) "socialist" and puts Cambridge, Mass., on the loony fringe. And I'm not sure Greenville, S.C. really wants the label "liberal" any more than Evanston wants the label "reactionary right-wing religious nuts."
We get this via Talking Points Memo: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) explains what's really causing global warming.
We'll be watching him lose his chairmanship as the new Congress takes office in 46 days and 20 hours.
From one of today's posts at Talking Points Memo:
Was anyone besides me delighted to note that the last two Republican senators to concede were Burns and Allen?
We won the House. We'll probably win the Senate. And we've clearly won the governors' races.
I wish I had time to write more this morning. I will say this to the President, however: MENE MENE TEKEL PARSIN.. Get ready for the subpoenas.
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) is out. Now he's only a punchline. Rick: we'll miss you like, well, santorum.
The Baghdad court trying Saddam Hussein handed down its sentence overnight, just three days before the U.S. elections. Who could have predicted it? I mean, other than anyone paying attention?
Some Iraqis are dancing in the streets; other Iraqis are shooting at them:
Celebratory gunfire rang out over Baghdad as jubilant Iraqis expressed their happiness with the outcome by racing to rooftops, front yards and windows to fire into the air. National television showed smiling Iraqis dancing in the streets of cities around the country, including in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad, which technically was under an all-day curfew.
In the Tikrit, Saddam's home town, thousands of people reportedly took to the street in defiance of the curfew, many crying and screaming and firing guns into the air in anger. "With the soul and blood we sacrifice for you Saddam!" some protestors screamed. Protestors in Tikrit attacked the local Iraqi army base with light weapons. No casualties were reported.
We've heard many reports of Hussein's antics during the trial; but there were American antics as well:
Today's session began with the eviction of former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark for insulting the tribunal as "a mockery of justice" in a memo he sent to Chief Judge Abdel-Rahman, a no-nonsense jurist with a perpetual scowl who ran a tight courtroom. "This statement presented by the American lawyer Ramsey Clarke -- how would I describe it? I don't know. He presented a statement ridiculing himself, not the country. He's a laughing stock. Get him out of the court."
I can't wait to hear what the Sabbath Gasbags have to say.