Archives for February, 2006


Has anyone come up with a moniker for this silly Cheney non-scandal yet? If not, I propose Metaphorgate. Because that’s about all it’s good for. Via Jim, here’s the WaPo’s Stephen Hunter and his hunting (near)-mishap story:

But my friends and the guide knew exactly what had happened: hubris, arrogance, self-love, narcissism, all the truly destructive male pathologies. The point of hunting is to control them: I had not. The silence was louder than any expressions of anger, though the guide had a good reason to call me a stupid SOB. He didn’t, but still I was.

Run with that. In any event, I can’t believe there’s supposed to be another week of coverage on this. Sucker us into war twice, that’s one thing. But wing your hunting buddy and forget to call David Gregory, now that’s a scandal.

Posted on Feb 20, 2006 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Happy Presidents’ Day. Sort of.

In his book The American Presidency, conservative historian Forrest McDonald writes that “The presidency has been responsible for less harm and more good, in the nation and the world, than perhaps any other secular institution in the world.” That’s one opinion. Another (mine) is that the office is far too powerful, and the system for selecting these odd creatures, and the environment they enter on ascending to office only exacerbates the problems of power.

To go back a few decades, in the space of one 10-year period, the United States gave the power to destroy the world to a sexually rapacious speed freak who shared a girlfriend with Chicago crime boss Sam Giancana; the paranoid, unbalanced and mendacious Lyndon Johnson, and, uh, Richard Nixon. Perhaps God really does watch over fools and the United States of America. And maybe this should be a national day of prayer.

Posted on Feb 20, 2006 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

In the Mail

D.C. Noir (thanks, Dad!), a new collection of pulpy crime stories set in D.C. It’s always fun to read stories set where you live. The fact that places like the Raven and Stan’s show up in George Pelecanos books are practically the only reason I read them. The first couple of stories I read in this one weren’t so great. The Mount Pleasant one, set during the riots, was weak, and same for the one set on K Street. But it went uphill from there. The Georgetown story, “Solomon’s Alley,” was solid, the Pelecanos piece, set in Park View, likewise.

Best of all so far is a story set in Chevy Chase, about the least noir-y burg I can think of. It’s called “A.R.M. and the Woman” by Laura Lippman (That’s for “Adjustable Rate Mortgage.”). It’s a Double Indemnity for the upper-Northwest soccer-mom set, and it’s just as creepy as the original. Good stuff.

Posted on Feb 17, 2006 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Land of Opportunity

Now here’s a Starbucks coffee-cup quote I like, for once, both for the sentiment, and the uh, original sort of character who uttered it:

If you’re worried about getting a job–or keeping one–start a company of your own. By doing so, you’ll reap the rewards of your hard work and you’ll only get fired if you fail. This is the land of opportunity. Live in it.

–Bruce Campbell, actor best known for B-movies such as The Evil Dead and author of Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way.

Alas, as someone once put it, like most libertarians, I’ve always been better at advocating capitalism than actually practicing it. Sort of like conservatives and virtue.

Which reminds me, I’ve been remiss not to have given a blog shout-out to Matt Klokel, formerly of Cato, now the proud owner of Fantom Comics, located directly above the Red Line’s Tenleytown AU metro stop, in the same building as Best Buy and The Container Store.

It’s odd that people contrast bourgeois virtues with martial ones, as if entrepreneurship doesn’t take tremendous stones, given the risk of failure. A nation of shopkeepers is a pretty brave nation. Plus, Matt’s store allows me to buy “Graphic Novels” without shame. Support your local entrepreneur. Stop by and check it out.

Posted on Feb 16, 2006 in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Oh, But I Won’t.

Last night, in a teaser for the local news, the anchorman says deadpan (though with a slightly arched left eyebrow) “Vice President Dick Cheney shoots a man. Story at 11.” Without more. I can only imagine what Mr. and Mrs. America were thinking when they heard that. Not that Mr. and Mrs. America live anywhere near Washington D.C.

On a totally unrelated note, you know what really bugs me about Dick Cheney? I mean besides his attempt to fasten us with the evils of elective monarchy? It’s this tic he has of throwing in the phrase “if you will” into every statement he makes, like a precocious junior-high-school honors student who just learned that it’s fun to hear yourself talk. Check this out.

trying to deal with this continuing campaign of terror, if you will,

we’re close to the end, if you will, of the diplomatic efforts

now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.

I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.” ‘

“Everybody’s concerned that if Iran were equipped with nuclear weapons, that would become a major source of instability, if you will, in that part of the world,” said Cheney.

And on and on and on. It’s pathological.

Posted on Feb 13, 2006 in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Unitary Executive Jokes

Seems to me that this exchange gives new meaning to Hamilton’s assertion that “the direction of war most peculiarly demands those qualities which distinguish the exercise of power by a single hand.”

Heh. Ha. Thank you, I’m here all week.

Yes, I am a dork, and yes, these people are disturbing.

Posted on Feb 9, 2006 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Not Enough AUMF

People get nervous when the president says a la Richard Nixon, “when the president does it, that means that it’s not illegal.” And that is the theory behind many of the legal innovations we’ve been arguing about since 9/11. What the Bush White House has offered is essentially the Nixonian view of the Constitution, albeit with less sweating and twitching. But recognizing that people get a little queasy about this argument, they’ve moved “Congress authorized it” front and center. The argument is that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed before the war in Afghanistan, “all necessary and appropriate force” etc against Al Qaeda, voids (as they’ve said at one time or another) FISA, the Non-Detention Act, the Posse Comitatus Act, you name it. All of which is news to the people who voted for it.

But what a red herring when you consider their view that the president needs no authorization whatever to launch a war whenever he feels its necessary. They’re not really saying Congress added to his power with the AUMF. Congress couldn’t have added to his power. The AUMF has all the legal effect of a hortatory resolution from Congress declaring it international nurse’s week. In their theory, the president already had the power to go to war with whomever he wanted. The president’s leading theorist of the war power writes unabashedly of “the president’s right to start wars.” So these powers are incident to wartime. And the president gets to say when it’s wartime.

Posted on Feb 7, 2006 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Joyless Neoconservative

There’s a rather nasty piece in the Weekly Standard in which Rudy Giuliani’s hagiographer attacks H.L. Mencken. Near as I can figure it, the author appears to be arguing that Mencken was a Nazi sympathizer during World War One, which would have been a hell of a trick. Not everything Mencken wrote wears well to modern sensibilities. But the grounds he’s criticized on here–warmongering (!), ethnic insensitivity, and an adolescent streak–are pretty rich, given that this is a magazine that holds up Teddy Roosevelt as the American ideal.

Posted on Feb 1, 2006 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments