Thursday, September 24, 2009

Still Utterly Clueless

There must be a certain calmness in it.

Walking around, in the new bubble, out of office, almost universally heralded as the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.

Earlier this week, the former Court-Appointed President gave an interview with the Dallas Star-Telegram, and added to his roster of The Commander Guy, The Decider Guy, Ek-A-Lec-Tic Reading Guy, a new one;

Former President Bush says his new title is 'retired guy'

And this portion of the interview stuck out like a like a neocon at a peace rally;

Time in office: "Some days were good, some days weren’t so good," Bush said. "Every day was a glorious experience of serving our country. . . . When we lost a soldier, it was a dark moment." But even then, "I could always see light."


Nervous moment: Standing on the mound in Yankee Stadium, getting ready to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of a game in October 2001. He said Yankees infielder Derek Jeter asked whether he’d be throwing from the mound or from in front of it. Bush said he told Jeter that he’d throw from the mound. "He said: 'Don’t bounce it. They’ll boo you,’ " Bush said, adding that he was nervous. "I got it across the plate and it was a fantastic moment, a moment of relief, then a moment of high energy."
He could "see the light?"

His most nervous moment was throwing a baseball?

It wasn't about lying, and orchestrating the lying, and fabricating the evidence, to invade and occupy Iraq?

It wasn't that his Vice President, and staff, purposefully, and blatantly, exposed the identity of an undercover CIA agent?

Or, that he illegally spied, and wiretapped, innocent American citizens?

That his policies of war, and giving tax cuts to the wealthy, and doing all he could to end oversight and regulation, his warped vision of an "Ownership Society" all but plunged this country (well, nearly the entire planet) into a second Great Depression?

No, his biggest worry, the thing that made him most nervous, was throwing a baseball.

Only the WORST PRESIDENT EVER could maintain that level of clueless consistency.

Ignorant Racist Dolt Follow-Up

You may recall, back in early July, there was a jarring news report of a suburban Philadelphia, all-white, private club that made a deal with a local camp (which the camp paid some big moola), to allow their day campers to use the private clubs' swimming pool.

We had it here with "Instant Racist Ignorant Dolts - The Valley Swim Club"

Pool Boots Kids Who Might "Change the Complexion" ... Campers sent packing after first visit to swim club

The Creative Steps Day Camp paid more than $1900 to The Valley Swim Club. The Valley Swim Club is a private club that advertises open membership. But the campers' first visit to the pool suggested otherwise.

"When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool," Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. "The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

The next day the club told the camp director that the camp's membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.
But, wait, it gets worse ...
The explanation they got was either dishearteningly honest or poorly worded.

"There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club," John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.

There has been some action in this case;

State rules Montco pool discriminated by banning campers
A state investigation found that a Montgomery County swim club racially discriminated against 56 African-American and Hispanic children in June when it revoked an agreement to allow a Northeast Philadelphia day camp to use its pool after the children' first visit.

"The racial animus . . . and the racially-coded comments" by club members at the Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley were the reasons the club revoked Creative Steps Inc.'s contract, according to a 33-page report by the Human Relations Commission and released tonight by an attorney who represents four of the campers.

The Human Relations Commission report examined Valley Club leaders' actions, including members' e-mails, both before and after the Creative Steps trip to the pool.
Of course, the club says everything has been blown out-of-proportion, and will appeal the finding, and $50,000 fine.

But wait, there's more!
Additionally, the report noted that when Valley Club tried in 2009 to expand its membership by recruiting in areas outside its township - Lower Moreland, which has a 0.8 percent black population - mailouts were "mainly directed at areas with overwhelmingly Caucasian populations" including Rhawnhurst, Fox Chase and Churchville.

The more-diverse townships of Cheltenham and Abington, like other nearby areas with "significant African-American populations," the report says, were passed over.
And, there's this gem in the report
When the children were at the pool, one child recognized member Michelle Flynn, who is a teacher at Laura H. Carnell Elementary School, and reported that she said, "What are all of these black kids doing here?"

After the campers left, the report said that one club member threatened to rethink his membership and that e-mails circulated about the matter.

We'll have to update the plaque in our Ignorant Dolt's wing, to include the teacher.

Editor's Note ... Homefront, Again

Good Morning Garlic Fans

A note as to the lack of posting yesterday.

Another homefront situation pulled us away from the computer.

So, were putting up two posts written early yesterday morning (more were planned), and it is undetermined if we can get anything else up today.

So, check back and, as always, mucho thanks for visiting and reading The Garlic.

Herbie Hancock - Jazz Fusion Cantelope Island

This Date ... On The Garlic

24 September 2008... On The Garlic

Top Ten Cloves: Things John McCain Will Do Friday Evening, Instead of Debating Barack Obama

"I'll Try To Find You Some, and Bring'em To Ya ..."

Palin PBS Poll Being Stacked

Wall Street Chieftains ... Watch Your Back!

24 September 2007... On The Garlic

Breaking News! Confusion, As Ahmadinejad Claims He's Enrolling In Columbia, Wants "Campus Life Experience"; State Department Says No Defection Or Asylum Requested; Levi's and Girls Gone Wild Videos Factor In Iranian President Decision

24 September 2006... On The Garlic

Weekend Special - Sautéed Cloves

Mr. Powell? ... Ms. Coulter is here to see you ... The Results - The Garlic's Weekly Poll

24 September 2005... On The Garlic

Weekend Special - Sautéed Cloves

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Autumn Leaves

Happy Autumn!

We didn't need the calendar to know the season is changing, based on the cooler weather sweeping in (especially, at night), and having to slosh through fallen leaves, and crunch the squirrels discarded acorn shells, as we walk down the street.

Wikipedia tell us that;

Autumn (also known as Fall in North American English) is one of the four temperate seasons. Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter, usually in late March (southern hemisphere) or late September (northern hemisphere) when the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier.

n theory, astronomically, the equinoxes ought to be the middle of the respective seasons, but temperature lag (caused by the thermal latency of the ground and sea) means that seasons appear later than dates calculated from a purely astronomical perspective. The actual lag varies with region, so some cultures regard the autumnal equinox as "mid-autumn" whilst others treat it as the start of autumn (as shown in the above table).

Autumn starts on or around 15 September and ends on about 20 December in solar term.

And of course, darkness comes much earlier (not quite as bad as Monty Python had it - ""I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed")

You can also check thing out with Equinox

Or Joan Morris, at Mercury News, and her "Autumn bliss: 10 things we love about the fall"

So, as you tool around on this First Day of Autumn, here's a soundtrack to rustle some leaves with;

Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley - Autumn Leaves

For a little international flair;

Edith Piaf - Autumn Leaves (Les Feuilles Mortes)

And two favorite artists we could listen to all day;

Eva Cassidy - Autumn Leaves

Barney Kessel - Autumn Leaves (1979)

This Date ... On The Garlic

22 September 2008... On The Garlic

A Night At The Wall Street Meltdown

Happy Autumn!

22 September 2007... On The Garlic

Bill O'Reilly Exclusive! Black People Go To Restaurants ... And They Eat!

22 September 2006... On The Garlic

Garlictorial: Cut ... Print ... That’s A Wrap...With Compromise Scene In The Can, Midterms On The Horizon, It’s On To The Next Fabricated Crisis

22 September 2005... On The Garlic

Talk Host Hannity Starts Blame Game On Jet Blue Incident; Lambastes Nagin and Blanco; Cites Stranded Passengers; "Where Are The Buses!"

Top Ten Cloves: Signs That It Is The First Day of Autumn In The White House

Monday, September 21, 2009

Irving Kristol, Godfather of Nepotism

I suppose that Irving Kristol cashing out during the Obama Presidency was just bad timing.

Had he passed during The Bush Grindhouse days, where they adopted the Neonitwism Papa Kristol drew up (expanded and bastardized by his son, Little Billy Kristol), they likely would have given him a State Funeral, complete with a 21-Country Invasion-and-Occupation salute.

Papa Kristol died last Friday, and you could have found numerous posts heralding him as a "thinker", and "intellectual".

Perhaps, or just he created the space, with a few tablets from the mountains, that spawned the Right Wing Freak Show, giving birth to the Flying Monkeys of today.

Then, again, reading Steve Clemons' "Irving Kristol Dies: How Will the Neocon Church Now Divide?" has me thinking that, forget neoconservatism, Papa Kristol was the Mother Monster of ''Alien', as he writes about Neoconservative scholar and author Francis Fukuyama, who he says learned "at the knee of Irving Kristol" but was embroiled in a food fight with the newer, younger neonitwits, like Charles Krauthammer.

Fukuyama said, as I recall, that he didn't need lessons from Krauthammer on what neoconservatism was all about. In fact, Fukuyama felt that what Krauthammer and some others were writing and speaking about Iraq contradicted neoconservative perspectives. He said that he and other neocons used to criticize government's hubris for thinking it could change school test scores in Anacostia -- and now some of these same people were arguing that America could easily generate social outcomes in Baghdad.

In other words, Fukuyama was intimating that the Iraq escapade was a violation of everything Irving Kristol taught him and stood for.

This vignette is important because I think that a number of leading neoconservatives -- including Fukuyama and David Frum as well as others like Kenneth Adelman -- never really left neoconservatism as much as the modern variant left them.

This leads me to suspect that in the wake of Irving Kristol's passing, there may be an effort to redefine an alternative version of neoconservative thinking and perspective than that which Bill Kristol and his close ally, Robert Kagan, have fashioned.

The church split with Fukuyama, but the neoconservative church may split yet again, and again.
What, Kristol's death is just going to give us a parade of bigger, louder, more dangerous, neonitwits?

And, leave it to The Washington Post to offer in its' tribute, Turd Blossom as the first voice they quote;
Karl Rove, a Republican strategist who advised President George W. Bush, called Mr. Kristol an "intellectual entrepreneur who helped energize several generations of public policy thinkers."

Through editing, writing and speaking, Mr. Kristol "made it a moral imperative to rouse conservatism from mainstream Chamber of Commerce boosterism to a deep immersion in ideas," Rove said. He also said that Mr. Kristol helped create a synthesis of Cold War Democrats and Ronald Reagan White House anticommunist hawks that influenced foreign and military policy in the 1980s.

"Influenced foreign and military policy?"

How's about hijacking it, stealing an election and installing The Commander Guy and his Shadow President to bring to life all the neonitwit wet dreams of invasion and occupation, illegal spying and wiretapping, and, of course, boner-inducing torture.

Neocirclejerks, is what they should be labeled.

The gem of remembrances, though, comes from TBogg, over on Firedoglake, tagging a piece by Paul Campos, of the Rocky Mountain News, back in January;
I once heard a recording of a BBC broadcast announcing the birth of Queen Elizabeth II of England's son. The announcer intoned, "Her Majesty has given birth to . . . a prince."

This struck me as a particularly stark illustration of how one's place in the world can be determined by the accident of birth. At least, I thought, I live in a country where it's never announced that someone has given birth to an electrical engineer or a pastry chef or an under secretary for East Asian affairs.


On the other hand, you have the career of William Kristol. Kristol, the son of neo-conservative doyen Irving Kristol, was just fired by The New York Times, for which he had been cranking out an opinion column since last January (technically, his contract wasn't renewed).

A few months ago, my blogging colleague Robert Farley pointed out that "in the modern configuration of the conservative media machine, Kristol occupies an unparalleled central position of power . . . Right-wing journalism and punditry is absurdly nepotistic; everything depends on relationships, (and) Kristol always seems to be" at the center of these relationships.


Which brings me to this charming vignette, courtesy of blog commenter Harry Hopkins:

"I remember back in the late 1990s, when Ira Katznelson, an eminent political scientist at Columbia, came to deliver a guest lecture. Prof. Katznelson described a lunch he had with Irving Kristol during the first Bush administration.

"The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle's chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon's domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at the White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC [Republican National Committee] and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at Penn and the Kennedy School of Government.

"With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. 'I oppose it,' Irving replied. 'It subverts meritocracy.' "

Who knew he was a Guinness commercial in-waiting!

"Neoconservatism" was just a new label for nepotism?


Bonus Papa Kristol Dirt Nap Riffs

Wonkette: Irving Kristol Dies

PBS: From Memoirs of a Trotskyist by Irving Kristol

Bruce Bartlett: Remembering Irving Kristol

Michael J.W. Stickings: Irving Kristol (1920-2009)

Ignorant Dolt of The Day: Ross Douthat

I was surprised, to some extent, that there wasn't a big roll out.

You know, trumpets blaring, long, ego-pumping press release.

But, no, nothing.

Only his column announced that NYT columnist Russ Douthat had jumped aboard the Bush Legacy Team, earning him a spot on the ever-growing roster of The Garlic's, Ignorant Dolts.

It was a doozy today, going well beyond the "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade" kind-of-thing.

Douthat actually praises The Commander Guy for the disasters he created, in short, for the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, Bush aces it because he escalated the war, and as to the Nightmare On Wall Street, The Ek-A-Lec-Tic Reading Guy decided to let Heistin' Hank Paulson turn over the U.S. Treasury to his old cronies, bailing them out from their own greed.

Here's some gems from Douthat's "The Self-Correcting Presidency";

But if Bush is destined to go down as a failed president, come what may, he looks increasingly like an unusual sort of failure.

America has had its share of disastrous chief executives. But few have gone as far as Bush did in trying to repair their worst mistakes. Those mistakes were the Iraq war — both the decision to invade and the conduct of the occupation — and the irrational exuberance that stoked the housing bubble. The repairs were the surge, undertaken at a time when the political class was ready to abandon Iraq to the furies, and last fall’s unprecedented economic bailout.

Both fixes remain controversial. But for the moment, both look like the sort of disaster-averting interventions for which presidents get canonized. It’s just that in Bush’s case, the disasters he averted were created on his watch.


It’s true that Bush didn’t personally formulate the surge, or craft the bailout. But he was, well, the decider, and if he takes the blame — rightly — for what Donald Rumsfeld wrought, then he should get credit for Gen. David Petraeus’s successes in Iraq, and for blessing the sweeping decisions that Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke made in last September’s desperate weeks.

And if we give Bush credit on these fronts, it’s worth reassessing one of the major critiques of his presidency — that it was fatally insulated, by ideology and personality, from both the wisdom of the Washington elite and the desires of the broader public.


And perhaps his best decisions, on the surge and the bailout, were made from the bunker of a seemingly-ruined presidency — when his approval ratings had bottomed out, his credibility was exhausted and his allies had abandoned him.

This is not a blueprint that future presidents will want to follow. But the next time an Oval Office occupant sees his popularity dissolve and his ambitions turn to dust, he can take comfort from Bush’s example. It suggests that it’s possible to become a good president even — or especially — when you can no longer hope to be a great one.

You would have thought some editor at the NYT would have walked the copy back to Douthat, reminding him, that "Hey, no way, Worst-President-Ever!", and give him the choice of rewriting it, or having some advertisement run in his column space.

And, if you think The Garlic is being tough on him, that Douthat isn't deserving of the IDOTD ...

From Blue Texan, over on Firedoglake;
I never thought I'd write this, but I'm starting to miss Bill Kristol.

Put another way, if I get totally wasted on smack, pass out on the couch with a lit cigarette and set the house on fire, but am shaken out of my drug-induced stupor by the billowing smoke in time for me to pull one of my children out of the conflagration -- that makes me a "good" parent not a "great" one.

Some sliding scale! And I thought conservatives opposed affirmative action.
Brad, at Sadly No;
Yeah, OK, so Bush fucked up everything he touched, but at least he had the good sense to scramble around at the very last minute while spending lots of lives and money to avert a complete zombies-roaming-the-streets type of disaster. In conclusion, Bush was a good president.
Even Glenn Greenwald, on his Twitter, weighed in;
Ross Douthat, every week: I'll explicitly renounce right-wing myths to prove I'm reasonable, then spend the whole column justifying them

Yeah, Douthat, we know that the NYT brought you in to replace Little Billy Kristol, that you are one of the young tigers of the Right Wing Freak Show (the non-screaming division), but Jesus, were you in a coma for the past 8+ years?

One thing if you playing around with this idea, over cocktails (you could always blow it off that you were drunk).

But, to run this Bush Legacy Package as your column?

Only an Ignorant Dolt would do such, and you, Ross Douthat, are today's Ignorant Dolt.

This Date ... On The Garlic

21 September 2008... On The Garlic

Handstands, Falling, and Frozen Strawberries ... A Respite

21 September 2006... On The Garlic

Good Post Alert: How George Bush became the new Saddam

Okay Decider Guy, Play or Pass?

21 September 2005... On The Garlic

NYC Braces For Moss Storm; Due To Hit Within 48 Hrs.; Bloomberg Calls For Voluntary Evacuation; FEMA Notified, Will "Do What We Can"

Top Ten Cloves; What Kim Jong il Really Wants For North Korea To Dismantle Nuclear Program