Friday, February 03, 2006

Cross Posted at my Daily Kos diary

some excerpts from the The Onion, sorry I mean the NY Times select op-ed page. The comedy comes when you juxtapose Friedman's column, where he warns himself not to drink the kool-aid, gets thirsty, looks around for something to drink, and says "hey kool-aid, oh yeah". a long gulp later, he reminds himself, "don't drink the kool aid!"

in and of itself, hilarity! but even better is when you move your eyes mere inches to the right side of the page, where you see krugman smash friedman's column with a sledgehammer of truth, or to continue the metaphor, some tonic for the truth troops. excerpts from each below. put all liquids down before reading.

Friedman (the italic portions are his internal narrative--they are very funny in an unintentional on the page but didn't make the on-line version, and Friedman's non-internal narrative will be in bold, to stir or save confusion.)

"Well, it wasn't exactly Nixon to China. But it wasn't bean bag either. I'd say the president's State of the Union speech, when it came to calling for an end to our oil addiction and a real push to improve our educational competitiveness, was more like Nixon goes to New Mexico. It was an important change in direction and tone -- but still a long way from China, a long way from a definitive change in policy and implementation.

Oh, come on, Friedman, get real! The president throws a few paragraphs your way and you go all weak in the knees. Show some spine, man! You need to trash this thing. You know these guys are not serious. This is a president who once called for putting a man on Mars and then just dropped it. You assumed they were going to do the Iraq war right -- remember? Look where that got you, you moron. You should have listened to your wife!"

I'm going to go ahead and guess that he wrote this before he heard the US Energy Secretary saying "When bush said 75%, he didn't mean it." or that he didn't see the Saudi Ambassador's quote about "really, you guys are giving us the shaft? let me get a quick word with my bitch friend Georgie." Or perhaps he missed the fact that the administration is laying off scientists who study alternative fuels even as we speak. hey, it could have happened. maybe he doesn't get a news feed at the office. he certainly wasn't reading kos yesterday, i can tell you that.

more TF

So here's my bottom line: I'm glad the president is changing his rhetoric on energy and says he is changing his funding priorities. It makes for a great headline. But he has to go much further if he wants to make a great difference. There's no pain-free solution. Remember how President Kennedy ended his May 25, 1961, State of the Union speech calling for a moon shot? He said: "I have not asked for a single program which did not cause one or all Americans some inconvenience, or some hardship, or some sacrifice."

Pigs will fly before Bush says that.

You may be right. And if he fails to carry through with this energy initiative, I'll be the first to rip him for it. In the meantime, I prefer to give him a new reputation to live up to. You never know. ..."

I want to make a bet right now. Thomas Friedman will not "be the first to rip him for it." i don't think he'll be the 1075th. If he rips Bush, he will be stumbling into a party where only the host and two alcoholics are left, mumbling over the last shots of Jaeger.
Again, to be clear--this initiative--and there aren't html tags that could make the word initiative be ironic enough--this initiative lasted exactly as long as it took bush to speak it. then it ended.

now on to the shrill one. he doesn't write with the same...panache as TF, so no need for italics. just bold. And shrill. so very shrill.

"So President Bush's plan to reduce imports of Middle East oil turns out to be no more substantial than his plan -- floated two years ago, then flushed down the memory hole -- to send humans to Mars.
But what did you expect? After five years in power, the Bush administration is still -- perhaps more than ever -- run by Mayberry Machiavellis, who don't take the business of governing seriously.
Here's the story on oil: In the State of the Union address, Mr. Bush suggested that "cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol" and other technologies would allow us "to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East."
But the next day, officials explained that he didn't really mean what he said. "This was purely an example," said Samuel Bodman, the energy secretary. And the administration has actually been scaling back the very research that Mr. Bush hyped on Tuesday night: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is about to lay off staff because of cuts to its budget.
"A veteran researcher," reports The New York Times, "said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol."
Why announce impressive sounding goals when you have no plan to achieve them? The best guess is that the energy "plan" was hastily thrown together to give Mr. Bush something positive to say."

huh. look at that. very same page as friedman's ruminations come krugman's refutations. what we at my college called a harsh biscuit. tierney and friedman must hate krugman. he just crushes them every damn time.
i don't really have anything clever to add to PK. he is the master and i am a mere acolyte. The other op-edders must beg Gail Collins every time not to let Krugman destroy them on their very own page. yet he does. it does, however, make one wonder about the standards the times has for its op-ed writers. then one remembers A.M. Rosenthal and Safire-on-Atta-meeting, and one realizes there aren't any.

(One last point--the alert reader will note that i have edited Friedman to make him look worse than the actual op-ed. this is true. but tom friedman, for his many crimes against coherent thought, logical analysis, and good writing, deserves no break, not from me, not from anyone. it's his megaphone and he is the one yelling in all our damn ears with his nonsense. so tough titty, Tom.)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Some chit-chat at firedoglake (and elsewhere) about paid plants in the blogosphere. most people seem to be focused on comment plants--either churning them out for marketing reasons (if you keep posting comments then later when you post something relevant you will seem like a trustworthy person) or political--stirring the pot with (usually) republican talking points.

it's all true, and soon we will find proof. i'm hunting for it right now, talking to my marketing and promotion contacts, and will have something concrete within days. but the real question, one that relates nicely to the armstrong williams/maggie gallagher/the list is fucking endless with right wing hacks payola non-scandal is this: who amongst us in the blogosphere is a paid shill who is not announcing same? given the current state of world affairs you would have to be a fool not to think that one of the top ten right wing bloggers is getting paid sub rosa by somebody scaife-y. or CIA-y. not to be paranoid or anything.

to think anything else is to be a fool. they (the right wing noise machine, also, oddly enough, the name of my new band) are playing hard, playing to win. i hope those on the side of decency and light and puppies will do the same.

this post sponsored by "The Death and Resurrection Show", Killing Joke, from the last (and quite great) album from them.

Sunday, January 29, 2006