Slacker Friday


I've got a new Think Again column here called "The Blackwater Scandal or The More Things Don't Change... " and a new Nation column, "The Liberal Hawks' Lament," here.

I don't read Victor Davis Hanson, and I'm not going to start just because LTC Bob is using the real estate to teach him a few things about how to write history, here, but I did read two paragraphs of his response here, and I note that in those paragraphs he twice refers to George Soros -- who has nothing whatever to do with Media Matters or this site or me, actually, much less Bob -- and twice to me, who has nothing whatever to do with what Bob wrote about his work. Again, I don't read Hanson -- life's a little short -- but if Joe McCarthy were alive today and writing history and it stunk and someone called him on it, well, you can bet that this is just how he would respond. (And he'd do so on NRO too, which would be proud to carry him, and where he also responds.)

Harold M. on Paul Wellstone.

From TomDispatch:

Recently, the New York Times reported that the now-notorious private security firm Blackwater had redesigned its logo, previously the crosshairs of a sniper scope over a bear's paw, to deemphasize the big-game hunting aspect of its business. Nick Turse, who covers all things military for, has discovered that the U.S. military is moving in the other direction.

He writes: "At a recent conference on urban warfare in Washington, D.C., James Lasswell, a retired Marine Corps colonel who now heads the Office of Science and Technology at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory ... noted that, as part of an instruction course named 'Combat Hunter,' the Marines have brought in 'big game hunters' to school their snipers in the better use of 'optics.' According to an article ... in National Defense Magazine, '[T]he lab conducted a war game with Marines, African game hunters and inner city police officers to search for ways to improve training.' The program included a 15-minute CD titled 'Every Marine a Hunter.' "

Combining this with recent news that U.S. snipers in Iraq were "baiting" traps for insurgents, the way you might on a hunt (though in this case with scavengeable materials like spools of wire and ammo), Turse then explores the way that "hunting" image has permeated the world of the Global War on Terror, from the President on down -- and what it means to reimagine your enemy as an animal, a big-game trophy to bag.

Slacker Friday

Name: Charles Pierce
Hometown: Newton, MA

Hey Doc --

"I'm goin' down to Austin, Texas. I'm goin' down to save my soul/Get some barbecue and chili. Eat my fill, come back home..."

Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: "All Over Again" (Sharon Jones) -- Once again, I have failed to set up a worldwide string of telegraph stations to get out the word about how much I love New Orleans.

I'd say on the International Scale Of Not F**king Around This Time -- Lt. Colonel Bob is about at 11. I believe VDH is going to find out very soon that his spleen has been removed and his carcass thrown to the hounds.

Hey, here's the first counterattack. Not promising at all. "Soros! Evil palindrome! Beware! Danger! Boogedy-boogedy!" It's a pretty long drop, Acropolis-wise, from Aristotle's Rhetoric to this guy. And good old VDH, launching half-witticisms from deep in the snack-food-reeking groves of Pajamas Media, accusing someone else of "dramatics" and "self-importance," one freaking paragraph after a long exegesis of the mean things done to him by a Nancy Pelosi staffer and someone in a "Russian Online magazine"? Wowser.

And, as long as we're on the topic, where the hell's mine, George?

OK, you cheap bunch of cowardly omadhauns, that's just about enough of this crap. I realize that former Governor Williamette Romney would read Anne of Green Gables off the stump if his handlers put it in his hands, but this two-bit McCarthyite foolishness should disqualify anyone from even entertaining the notion of being president. I guess we're parsing the difference between Moroni and a moron these days.

In fact, it's long past time for simple ridicule to become the default position on the entire Republican presidential field. Romney is deeply, profoundly, relentlessly silly; he appears to be enrolled in a course in Human Being as a Second Language. Rudy Giuliani gets crazier almost by the hour and, at any meeting of his foreign-policy advisory team, he's the sanest lunatic in the room. Fred Thompson seems to have been unearthed a week ago in the Valley of the Kings. The second tier is populated by people like Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo, neither of whom you would hire to park your car. Ron Paul -- an authentic libertarian crackpot -- is treated as a serious phenomenon even by people who don't believe that the U.N. is speaking through the fillings in Katie Couric's teeth. This past week, we had a general all-hands-on-deck attempt to inflict Huckamania! on the general populace as good ol' Mike announced his disapproval of Charles Darwin. And then there's John McCain, who's spent this entire campaign doing things he'd vowed he'd never do in the last one. I swear to God, they all ought to climb into one little black car and drive into the next debate behind jugglers, high-wire acts, and a parade of circus bears. I cannot remember a presidential field in my lifetime -- not even the one that coughed up Mike Dukakis in 1988 -- that is as publicly hilarious as this one is. How dare a major political party hand this collection of shills, fakes, loons, and mountebanks on the American people? And one of them is going to win. Jesus wept.

OK, this is what I do in Colorado, when we lose that blessing from the gods that we call the DH: I play Youkilis at third, Lowell at shortstop, sit Lugo, and play Ortiz at first base. Have I mentioned that I do not manage a professional baseball team for a living? Come to think of it, neither does Joe Torre. (Hi, Siv!)

And as for this swill, it's more proof that some people shouldn't be allowed to write about serious topics like global warming and the NFL. One of the nice things about Peyton Manning is the fact that he resists every attempt by jackasses to turn him into something he wasn't raised to be by Archie and Olivia. And Tom Brady is Dick Cheney? As something of an authority on both men, I'd like to say that Gregg should go back to writing about Jews in the movie industry.

And, as my industry dies a slow death by euphemism, I think this may be the all-time classic. A "position-elimination program." My fondest wish is that this clown and his beancounting toadies find themselves intimately involved with a "testicle-relocation program" run by their soon-to-be-former employees.

Name: George Klos
Hometown: Austin


A brief heads up for you and your readers regarding the new Jimmy Reed tribute CD: it is the subject of this weekend's episode of "Austin City Limits." Jimmie Vaughan and Omar Dykes will be joined by James Cotton, Lou Ann Barton, Delbert McClinton, and Kim Wilson playing selections from the CD.

Oh, and thanks for the Schlesinger quotes regarding the more odious neocons. I couldn't agree more with his assessment of Krauthammer. Any thoughts as to just why is he taken seriously as an intellectual? Schlesinger described him when he was starting out and he's been writing the same belligerent foreign policy essays ever since.

Name: Brian Donohue

Congrats to Media Matters for landing #1 in this list of "most dangerous organizations."

Keep up the good work!

Name: Larry Howe
Hometown: Oak Park, IL

Eric --

Siva decries Rudy Giuliani's support of the Sox without stopping to reflect on what it means for him to share loyalty to the Yankees with the contemptible pol. He's not suggesting that Rudy isn't really a Yankees fan, just that he's switched sides for political expediency. So while Siva may be signing off his posts for the next few days with "Go Rockies!" he ought to acknowledge that he and Rudy are seasonally embraced in a fraternity of Evil.

Second, I can't believe that I'm going to defend Rudy Giuliani, but he was asked who he was rooting for, and he gave a reasonable answer. He's an American League fan, so he's supporting the Red Sox. I have to admit that I have in the past--the distant past, like '78 -- rooted for the Yankees in the Series for precisely the same reason. They beat my team, and it hurt, but I had to metaphorically tip my cap and wish them well. A political parallel occurs when your primary candidate is beaten. You recalibrate your disappointment and then support the candidate who eliminated your favorite.

For this baseball season, though, I'm happy to be able to continue supporting my favorite for another few games (the fewer the better). Go Sox!

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