the talking dog
FEBRUARY 2003 ARCHIVES

TD Extra I, 2-28-03.

The February that made me shiver is coming to a close...it now appears that this here blog is solidly on the map; no. 75 on Blogstreet in "BIQ" ("blog importance quotient") no. 73 on the Myelin Blog Ecosystem, and, thanks to those out there (you know who you are), suddenly off the chart hit totals, including an Instapundit generated 3,000-plus hit day.

Further, many people are kind enough to suggest blogs to link to (frequently their own!) in the hope that maybe I'll say something nice about them in the dog run blog breeds and comments section.  Heady times.  If only this blogging thing could be turned into cash, or something else valuable!  Oh well, this IS, after all, about vanity, and mine seems to be getting well-served.  We took a brief break from writing up our new entries, so itís back to the doggy grind on that:

With Karate I'll Kick your Ass is the ramblings of Philadelphia Lawyer-in-training L'il Bucner, who seems to give us few biographical details beyond that, other than a seeming verbal infatuation with synonyms for excrement and other matters like that.  The blogroll is beyond eclectic: itís downright random (I made it, though I think largely out of reciprocity, and of course, professional courtesy, the same reason I freely swim in shark-infested waters without worry).  LB's other interests seem to include the law, Phish, computers, someone named Judi, and pop culture.  Too many blogs on my list are so damned serious: this isn't one of those.
TD Designation:  Japanese Spitz

Stoutdem is the work of Dallas area blogger B.J. Howell, and makes no pretensions of being anything but a proud member of no organized political party (i.e., a Democrat).  The blogroll includes the great lefties (even me) and lotsa political stuff.  The commentary lets it rip, bash Bush?  You betcha!  Politics from everywhere, discussed the right (meaning left!) way.
TD Designation:  Strellufstover

Myelin: Blogging Ecosystem is simply two lists (500 each) of blogs, based on a computer sweep of inbound and outbound links.  Right now, as noted above,  your TD is in the top 100 in outbound links, and given the popularity of this blog descriptive directory thing, looks like we're movin' on up...
TD Designation:  Dog Show

Lileks is the work of Minnesota-based writer James Lileks, who I understand, actually IS a professional writer.  The "blog" part of his ambitious site (which also includes interesting miscellaneous chazzurai like old comics and urban planning stuff re: Minneapolis, New York and other places, pictures of "Gnat" and his dog Jasper, who appears to be a yellow lab, though I'm not good at guessing breeds from pictures ) is called the Bleat.  Lileks pulls no punches: he is a hard-ass, pro-war, pro-Israel, patriotic American rightie, and makes no bones about it (so nya!)  Often, the commentary is outrageously funny, though as frequently, strident.  But OF COURSE itís well-written, people: Lileks is a professional writer!
TD Designation:  Labrador Retriever

Innocents Abroad is the combined work of bloggers Jacob Golbitz, Collin May, John Coumarianos, who I understand are based in both Europe and North America, and comes to us along with Lileks (with thanks to Zach Barbera of Voice from the Commonwealth) as a "highly recommended conservative blog" (hence the "red" designation on the dog run on the home page, as well as here.)  The blogroll leans heavy to starboard, as does the commentary.  There are some interesting discussions of goings on Europe and financial, and of course, we have political discussion (not surprisingly, pro-Bush).  It is an interesting perspective, though again, worthy of attention.
TD Designation:  Icelandic Sheepdog (Iceland is halfway between Europe and North America!)

Chip Tijuana comes at you from NORTH of the border.  Chip is an Ottawa-based artist now working for the Ontario government, who tells us he is "left o'center" and anti-war, God bless him.  Chip takes us on a random walk through politics and culture, and has a "link of the day" section which is, well, that.
TD Designation (I've been waiting to use this one):  Chihuahua

Thinking It Through is the blog of Professor Thomas Spencer, a historian at Northwest Missouri State University who, interestingly, uses a blog host on the History News Network (if that comes up, click on blogs!) at George Mason University.  The blog is full of mainstream lefty goodies, Bush bashing on fronts including war and peace and economics, as if there were a direction besides distance running (and possibly personal hygiene) in which the President were NOT VULNERABLE to open ideological and personal attack.  But itís cool this time: itís a history professor doing the bashing!
TD Designation:  Stabyhoun

Notes of a Shopaholic is the work of blogger Steven, and lemme tell you: THIS is your one-stop shop for all things shopping!  There are links to fashion magazines, and of course, places to shop!  The commentary is wall to wall discussions of shopping.  What can I say?  Log on and shop till you drop!
TD Designation:  Schipperke

BTW, I won't pollute Innocents Abroad's entry above with this visceral reaction, but to be honest, I kind of have a problem with people who talk about George W. Bush as President from the standpoint that Dubya is some sort of master strategist, or frankly, that he even knows what he's doing.  Let's be real, Dubya's policies may or may not make sense on their own, but Dubya himself is a disinterested frat-boy jock who was handed the job (along with everything else in his life) by Daddy's handlers, and as we have all learned at our peril, the man is dangerously out of his league.

You can tell me about Ronald Reagan's accomplishments, and I respect them, and I like the man, though I despised his policies and never voted for him.  You MIGHT tell me about George H.W. Bush's accomplishments, if he had any.  You can CERTAINLY tell me about Bill Clinton's accomplishments, though I still don't like the man and believe he has single-handedly destroyed his party.  But DO NOT tell me how "brilliant" Dubya's "master plans" are.  We'll give the man his due: as a President of the United States, he's a hell of a distance runner.

 

February 28, 2003, New York, NY.

More small servings of free ice cream today, as, alas, I continue to have to earn a living.

Officially, not a shot has been fired, but already, free speech seems to have taken one in the gut: teachers in Maine are warned to "watch that they say and do" re: what they talk about in class vis a vis their feelings re: the Iraq war, lest they offend children of servicemen and women.  What else can I say?  If a teacher is insensitive to an individual student, deliberately calling Charlie's daddy in the Air Force a baby-killer, that seems inappropriate under any circumstances, and said teacher should be disciplined (if not bitch-slapped).  If said teacher, instead, says that there are pros AND CONS of a military action, and the entire affair should be subject to discussion based on the morality, practicality and political implications of such action, hey, itís EXACTLY the same thing as calling Charlie's Dad a baby-killer, right?  WRONG!  Such an "equation" is *&^%ing fascist madness.  We're WAY further down the slippery slope than anyone cares to admit, and I've yet to see that outcry I'm screaming for...

People, I am a 40-year-old guy in a "conservative" profession who has never IN HIS LIFE gotten off the couch to protest something.  I got off the couch to protest this one.  WHY?  Because this is no longer about the pros and cons of some particular military adventure our policy makers rightly or wrongly wish to pursue [that is, for all practical purposes, a done deal, barring something unforeseen]. This is bigger, FAR bigger.  Recall that in Gulf War I, the Bush people, for the first time in modern American history, kept an absolute rap on information, substantially limiting journalists' access to the campaign to a degree unprecedented.  Obviously, we can expect THAT again.  What we are seeing now, however, is the quite literally un-American conjoining, by the party in power, of "dissent" with "sedition", or possibly, "treason", and no one is batting an eyelash about it!  This is not about bullying IN a national debate -- this is about bullying about HAVING a national debate.  These are the guys who hired thugs to stand outside the Dade County Elections Commission to intimidate vote counters.  These guys think that intimidation is a legitimate political tactic in our country.  And again, no one seems to be batting an eyelash.

Just as...Bush's poll numbers show Americans "favoring his reelection" slipped below 50% for the first time since 9-11 (most Americans are worried about "the economy"), although his approval rate remains above 50% -- just above -- nowhere near the 90% or so in the 9-11 aftermath.

But no need for the President to worry: we have almost two years to go.  What could happen in that time?

 

TD Extra I, 2-27-03.

In a surprise to no one (who reads me, that is!) Saddam Hussein announced that he has "agreed in principle" to destroy the Al-Samoud missiles that Hans Blix asked him to destroy. Coming as this does now, it appears to be "substantive" cooperation. The UN Security Council members, of course, continue to see what gifts Uncle Santa will bring them for an early Christmas this year if they're EXTRA NICE about that Saddam Scrooge-sein guy.

Meanwhile, for those of you who forgot about the oil thing (I keep telling you people, if the actual purpose of this Bush family vendetta WAS to wrest control of oil hegemony from a Saudi-led cabal, I would SUPPORT it) -- well, oil came damn close to $40 per bbl, its highest price since...Gulf War I. Short term Saudi benefit: enormous. Intermediate and long term economic effect: duly calamitous, but what did you EXPECT? Like father...like son...

And finally, let's hear it for Ariel's new hard-right (plus Shinui). As "security" seems to be on temporary hold as the number one issue (suicide bombings are way down, as we all wait for that Iraq thing), "finance" becomes important -- and just MAYBE -- we have finally found the right job (Finance Minister) for Bibi Netanyahu, who believes Israel should abandon its crazy-quilt social welfare arrangement that, along with its hefty military spending, keep it one of the First World's basket cases.

Interesting times. Can't things be boring?

 

February 27, 2003, New York, NY.

Well, again, thank you for all your support out there; I especially appreciate the blog recommendations, which keep coming, and I will get to describing and breeding here in my cyber-dog show.  Duty calls, so free ice cream in smaller servings today -- an expression attributable to James Lileks, who some of you have noticed is now on the blogroll (in red, my new designation for...well, I'll figure out what for later...and will be reviewed and breeded in due course...)

First, I sadly note the passing of TVís Mr. Rogers.  Then, I note that we are no longer "orange", we are back to "yellow". Itís kind of like when the bridge of the Enterprise bounces back and forth...

Kirk:  Condition, Mr. Spock?

Spock:  Frankly, Captain, I'm exhausted.

As we are about to ENTER a GROUND WAR in the MIDDLE EAST (Or are we?  The UNSC is meeting behind closed doors, lest the American public find out what the bribes and cajoling will actually COST; note that the US reports that the "elite" Republican Guard (itís GOT to be part of their name!!!) is on the move in Northern Iraq.

Jeez...you think when a vastly superior military force has a leadership that keeps TELLING you itís going to blow the crap out of you AND is mobilizing troops on your border, you might not move YOUR OWN troops into some sort of defensive alignment (which, in Saddam's case, might literally mean outside of Iraq)?  While we should obviously not mis-underestimate our own leadership's capabilities (as if we could), let's give that Saddam mother^%$#$er some respect: he has survived major onslaughts before, and, if we don't watch it, may somehow walk out of this one too.

As I've said about Dubya in other contexts: he's his father's son.  [Jeez, TD, are you becoming a warmongering prick now?  Hardly: itís just that I too concede that war is becoming inevitable, just like it was in...1914...when the sheer impetus of troop movements and mobilizations made it so.  That said, if we do go this route, anything short of absolute removal of Hussein AND THE BAATHIST REGIME from power would be a political DISASTER.  That's all.  I still HOPE that some mutually face-saving way out of this fiasco can be found.  Against hope.]

 

TD Extra II, 2-26-03.

Today marks ten years since WTC I (with thanks to Instapundit for the reminder).

 

TD Extra I, 2-26-03.

Well, kiddies, let's see who we need to shout out to...dog run style:

Catallaxy Files is the multi-party work (spearheaded and principally contributed to) by Sydney, Australia economist Jason Soon, with "guest bloggers" Heath Gibson, Jack Strocchi, Andrew Norton, Teresa Fels, and Charles, all of down unda'.  The posts are quite interesting, with some "blog-world" references, and a lot of Australia-related matters, and of course, general politics.  Jason tells us that the orientation of the site is from left-liberal to moderate libertarian, and the word 'catallaxy' is a Greek coinage-term revived by the classical liberal meaning roughly 'to turn an enemy into a friend by trade' .  I note that a couple of posters on the site took the "How Republican are you?" test and came up as moderate liberals.  [BTW, on that test, I came up as "0%" Republican -- a saint -- and Mother Teresa's picture popped up].  Well, G'day to Catallaxy Files, a welcome and interesting addition.
TD Designation:  Australian Bandog

The Agnostic is a brand new puppy of a blog (which knew enough who to link to, even in infancy!)  While we already have a Raving Atheist and an Agonist, we can now add an agnostic.  Itís often been asked, where are the fun-loving hard-ass righties on the blogosphere?  Why must people with relatively conservative views be so SERIOUS and MEAN-SPIRITED?  Well, folks, if the Agnostic can keep it up (BTW, I like HIS talking dog joke), we got ou'selves the answer to that question.
TD Designation:  Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever (if THAT'S not a fun-loving dog, I don't know what is!!!)

Seeing the Forest comes to us from California blogger Dave Johnson, who tells us he is now associated with a think tank called the Commonweal Institute, designed to advance moderate, progressive views, after a career in the high tech sector.  I'm going to call this a "meta-site" in the sense that I haven't seen what Dave does done quite this way.  Other bloggers (some already on our list) are associated with think tanks; Dave actually DISCUSSES think tanks (itís a coffee table book about coffee tables...)  While Dave's moderate progressive politics make their way in there, his unique perspective makes this a most compelling discussion that I'm glad we have an opportunity to read.  Although Dave kindly provided me with links to pictures of his dogs Buddy and Espresso, I can't ascertain their breeds from the pictures.
TD Designation:  Border Collie

Painpill, Paul Goyotte's blog, is referenced under Counterfactual.  Look there for full description, please.

Thousand Yard Glare is the work of Arizona blogger and computer maven Jo Brooks.  Jo describes the blog as an outlet for anger at the shrillness of many political discussions (and hence the tile).  I'd describe Jo's politics as "moderate left" and interesting; there is a link resource section for writers (check out "erotica"), an aspiration Jo and I share.  A soft warm breeze coming at you from the Southwest.
TD Designation:  Native American Indian Dog

Up-side down hippopotamus is the hilarious ramblings of New York blogger David Buscher.  David spends much time writing about Goblin, his Boston Terrier (a guarantee for you know what later in this post...); indeed, he describes Goblin as looking like an upside down hippo, hence the site name.  Dave's politics are, well, I told you he's a New Yorker, didn't I?
TD Designation:  Boston Terrier

I believe that's everyone I owed a description to.  For those of you wondering when I'm going to do blogs that are NOT on the dog run, the usual way it "works" is either the blogger (or next friend) e-mails, suggesting a blog.  I then vet the blog for Nazi memorabilia sales and/or human sacrifice references, and if the blog passes those strict criteria, I add it to the dog run.  (An alternative way is to simply permanently link to the talking dog; I will eventually find out about it, and then add your blog to the dog run, as a courtesy.  The real world is dog eat dog, talking or otherwise.  Notwithstanding the attitudes of CERTAIN stuck-up bloggers, most of whom are on the "other team" by the way, bloggers tend to be nice to each other, when given the opportunity.)

Some great sites have already been suggested that I haven't gotten round to.  I will at some point.  I hope.

 

February 26, 2003, New York, NY.

As things get interesting in the "war and peace front" (more in a moment), let's now go to an area of REAL interest: Sarah Michelle Gellar has confirmed that she will not be returning for yet another season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I guess she finally got them all.

Well, she seems to have missed Saddam Hussein, but he, alas, is very much of this world.  Just to make things interesting (not that at ANY POINT has the Bush Administration proposed anything like my "amnesty for resignation: Club Med for DictatorsTM" type resolution; just, "leave Iraq so we can try you as a war criminal!") , Saddam tells Dan Rather that he would rather die than leave Iraq; he also vowed to go out honorably, and not destroy Iraq's immense oil wealth.  Shall we all take him at this word?  He DOES, after all, also insist he has no weapons of mass destruction...

Saddam has watched, apparently calmly, as, in the name of attacking him, the American government has undermined the continued viability of NATO, of the United Nations, of American moral strength, and in due course, the American economy and quite possibly the American Constitution.  The American government has also thrown the continued viability of the Blair government in the UK into a bit of disasrray, as PM Blair will quite literally require the support of the opposition Tories to pass a parliamentary resolution declaring Iraq in default of its UN obligations (and implicitly authorizing force), as numerous Labour MPs are vowing to defy Blair on this.  Saddam seems unfazed, if anything, reveling in the likelihood that all this resistance may once again allow him to add yet another escapade to the "Perils of Hussein" cliffhanger series.

I get the feeling that Saddam has run all of the likely scenarios, and HE has thought of an exit strategy that does not involve destroying the world (or of Saddam dying, or quite possibly, even of Saddam losing power).  This may be the case even as WE have apparently not thought of such an exit strategy.

Interesting times we have; I see no sign of them getting less interesting any time soon.

 

TD Extra V, 2-25-03.

No, you all can't just leave me alone!  You HAVE to send me the names and URLs of MORE great blogs...and more...and more...  (Itís OK, I'm flattered that people seem to WANT me to do this.)

Occam's Toothbrush is the opus of blogger Moe Freedman.  The hard-right blogroll (hey Moe, got room for a slightly mangy, left-leaning dog there, buddy?) tells you what you'll be seeing in the text: hawkish on current war and peace matters, hawkish on the Israel-Palestinian context, hard right on most things.  But in a disciplined, reasoned way -- not merely towing the line of his favorite anti-idiotarians (damn!  that's not a word, and now I'M using it!) -- this is something else: well-reasoned positions.  Occam's Toothbrush is also a great name (particularly if, like me, you believe that the SIMPLEST answer for everything is conservatism, though not necessarily the CORRECT answer.)  But, those of you paying attention know that I enjoy a good battle of wits with the worthy, and baby, Occam's Toothbrush is worthy.
TD Designation:  Moscow Watchdog

Kiwi Pundit comes to us live from blogger Nigel Kearney of...Wellington, New Zealand.  The repartee is witty; there is a New Zealand links section, and some major league bloggers (somehow, Nigel has put me there); the discussion is pithy, often involving New Zealand, often of general interest to the blogosphere as well.  There are philosophical-related links as well.  This is a relatively new blog, and I think itís cool to welcome this particular perspective to the links...Nigel reports that dog control is now a big issue in his town (NZ's capital), and that he has a favorite dog (Nigel is a wise man).
TD Designation:  Border Collie

This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow is the blog (plus slightly pre-owned cartoons from Salon) of that REAL WORLD superstar cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, a guy who I actually heard of BEFORE I started with the blog stuff.  The cartoons are as good as you think they are, and the political commentary in the blog is of course, brilliant (i.e., TD agreement rate: 100%).  Tom is, if I'm not mistaken, a fellow BROOKLYNITE, adding to the roles of the Vast Left Wing Brooklyn Blogger Conspiracy (if I guess wrong on any of this, I'm sure Tom will tell his half a million monthly visitors!).  The compact blogroll is all lefties all the time (also, extensive cartoon links).  Though Tom may be modest in his choice of dog breeds for himself...
TD Designation:  Top Dog

Well, how do you top a top dog?  You leave 'em wanting moreÖ

 

TD Extra IV, 2-25-03.

Sorry, everyone, but now, its time for some more inside blogball, starting with a baseball blog:

Baseball Musings is the work of serious fan (head of research for ESPN's baseball program for ten years and host of ESPN's on-line baseball service) David Pinto.  Well, that's a little MORE serious than a serious fan, actually.  David appears to come to us from Massachusetts, and is a Red Sox fan.  The site is your one-stop shop for major league baseball (including an on-line swap shop for goodies; maybe I can find that Brooklyn Dodgers jacket I've been coveting!)  I can't tell if David is swinging from the right side, or the left side of the plate, but who cares!  Do you or don't you like the designated hitter rule, David?  Out with it!!!  Anyway, welcome to our first pure sports blog...a good thing.
TD Designation:  St. Louis Wolves (David will get it, even if the rest of you don't!)

Ipse Dixit is the work of blogger C.D. Harris, who, I am advised, is from Louisville.  He appears to be an attorney (from his use of obscure Latin legalisms, like...ipse dixit!) and links to a group of attorney-bloggers, as well as the leading lights of righty-blogs.  The posts are, well, hard-hitting (there is an Oakland Raiders logo on the homepage!). C.D. is no lap dog, he criticizes the errors of our current government as he sees them too, so, there you go!!!
TD Designation:  American Bulldog

Blog of the Moderate Left is the work of blogger Jeff Fecke, a web designer from Minnesota who describes himself as a radical moderate.  No, no, no, Jeff, you are a moderate lefty, the single smartest political leaning you can have (because itís the one I currently hold).  He muses on matters musical, Minnesota and otherwise major in an amusing (though moderate) manner.  This blog goes down smoooooothhhhh...
TD Designation:  Dutch Shepherd Dog

Gail Davis writes in to set the record straight; she has her own business, after working as a systems analyst and banking executive, she is NOT, repeat, NOT, an attorney.  My apologies, Gail.  We'll adjust the notations!  Also, her TD Designation is spelled Sage Ashayeri

The more I think I'm done adding blogs to the list... the more I keep getting dragged back in!!!  More great blogs and summaries and breedings coming up...whenever!

 

TD Extra III, 2-25-03.

Well, itís time we got started on adding some more descriptions to the dog run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM).  So, in no particular order, we give you:

Useful Fools, the work of Arizona blogger John Moore. John tells us he's conservative, ex-miilitary, and that sort of stuff; John is a software engineer (and confesses to being a former hacker...I hope that's just a joke, John...and his hobby is meteorology (which sometimes creeps into the blog).  John's commentary, despite my frequent disagreement with it, is intelligent and interesting.  I actually rather enjoy reading about the stupidities of political correctness, and John doesn't hold back (although "idiotarian" isn't a word, at least when John uses it, he's usually talking about idiots!) John sent me a nice picture of Gizmo, his doggy.
TD Designation:  Yorkshire Terrier

Smell the Blog is the work of Atlanta-area blogger (and CPA!) Paul Fontaine.  Paul's posts are mostly humorous (I particularly enjoyed the story on the deployment of Shields -- and Yarnell -- in Iraq).  There's nice, biting commentary when moving to the "serious".  Paul does lapse into "anti-idiotarian" (not a word), but he uses it playfully.  In fact, playful is kind of the word I'd use for this blog, which is "conservative-leaning"  (say Paul, why do you want to be on MY pinko link list...no matter)...
TD Designation:  Labrador Retriever

Asparagirl is the work of lovely New York area blogger Brooke, who happens to be the fiancťe of dog run member Scott Ganz of Captain Scott's Electric Love Bunker.  Asparagirl is herself a blog world superstar.  Her compact blogroll features (other than the Captain), wall to wall hard-ass righties.  This Penn Quaker don't be believing in no silent meetings -- she be kicking some ass, be it on war and peace matters, or on taking tough positions on Israel.  This is a very well written blog, even if taking stridently tough positions that I don't necessarily agree with.
TD Designation:  Braque Saint Germain

[Asparagirl actually wrote in to set the record straight on Captain Scott - contrary to my slander of him as somehow on the "right", he is actually a pro-war liberal Democrat.  Scott calls himself the "luckiest man in the blogosphere" as a reference to his relationship with Brooke (they BOTH sound lucky to me, if they dote on each other thusly!)  Scott is following some of his kin in the screenwriting business in LA (we'll correct his "permanent record").  In telling me this, if course, Asparagirl ended up on the dog run herself.  Go figure.]

Seth D. Michaels Presents the Seth Bulletin reminds me (in so many ways) of a TV show hypothesized by me in college called "The Seth Farber Comedy Hour Starring Seth Farber as Himself".  Seth Michaels is a hilarious Bostonian writing a political blog.  The blogroll is compact hard lefty, with some local area resources.  Seth seems he likes to make humorous light of the idiocies of our national leadership and its intellectual allies...hmmmm....I wonder where I've seen that before?  I'm glad I came across this site.  You will be too.
TD Designation:  Border Collie/Labrador Mix

The Blog of Xanadu is the work of blogger J. Fielek, and features what appears to be a white bichon/yorkie on its masthead (you better like that breed, big guy, even if you insist that Beamer there is a "mutt").  This is an "amusing rightie"; B of X goes for shorter posts with lots of links, and amusing shtick such as "Why do Dictators Get all the Dates?" (a reference to a German beauty queen's desire to "go out" with Saddam, "for peace").  A blog as playful as the cute doggie on the masthead... but it might bite.
TD Designation:  Maltese with a touch of Rottweiler

Predictions:  Eleanor, is that enough?  Fred Barnes, must I do this 24-7?  Morton Kondracke, will you never be satisfied?  Next week (or sooner) -- more great blogs to be described and "breeded" when I damn well get around to it.  Bye Bye!!!

 

TD Extra II, 2-25-03.

In response to Saddam Hussein's challenge to a mano a mano debate with the

President, the White House announced that it was rejecting that idea as another one of Saddam Hussein's tricks, deceptions, and methods of avoiding the issue at hand (i.e., regime change via his death).  Spokesman Ari Fleischer brushed aside rumors that the President was challenging Saddam Hussein to a chili cook-off, but did note that the White House would be releasing its own initiative for another option for Iraq, the so-called "Toys for Toxins" plan.

Under "T for T", in order to provide the Iraqi leadership with an incentive to divest itself of chemical, biological and radiological weapons, the MattelTM Corporation, Toys R UsTM and others (who will be able to take advantage of a "humanitarian toy program" tax credit for their participation) will distribute potentially millions of new, unwrapped toys to the children of Iraq, in exchange for Iraq turning over its weapons of mass destruction.

Fleischer noted that the plan was modeled after some cities' "guns for toys" programs, and said the only issue it expected was "where to find room for all the WMDs we were expecting Iraq to turn over"; Air Force C-130 Jets would be expected to operate continuously for several weeks airlifting the toys to Iraq.

 

February 25, 2003, New York, NY.

Welcome new readers.  I remain stunned by the amount of interest my little "truth in advertising on the blogroll" exercise has generated (I even seem to have again made a top spot on a Memeufacture list, as most popular blog ).  I'll try not to let it all go to my head. 

Hey get this: consumer confidence is apparently falling -- as measured by the surveys used for this -- to its lowest level in almost ten years.  It seems that fears over likely higher oil prices, and uncertainties associated with war against Iraq and possible terrorism in the United States and fears about the job market are all contributing to the gloomy news.  Some might also toss in the likely economic ripple effects of the war (such as devastation to the travel and tourism sector, a key part of the economy here in our own fair city), and immense federal budget deficits (which, to be fair, were coming anyway because of the decline in the business cycle, though they have been greatly exacerbated by the President's tax policies).  So I'll just say this about George W. Bush's effect on the American economy: like father, like son.

Meanwhile, the leadership over in Turkey is having some "buyer's remorse" about the bribe, er deal to allow American troops to use Turkish bases in the coming Iraq campaign, so the Turkish parliament will hold off on its final approval until "more support" can be drummed up. You get the feeling our own leadership might be doing the same thing here, though, we're all pretty confident that we're going to attack Iraq in the coming fortnight come hell or high water.  Still, the idea of a George W. Bush-Saddam Hussein debate...

 

TD "Please let all this be fiction" Early Morning Extra, 2-25-03.

North Korea has decided to test fire some "anti-ship" missiles into the Sea of Japan, just in time for the inauguration of South Korea's new President Roh Moo-hyun. Secretary Powell is arriving in Seoul on behalf of the United States, and will also take part in talks to ameliorate the non-crisis of the starving militarized hostile potentially nuclear armed Stalinist enclave led by apparent lunatics located some 60 kilometers from South Korea's capital.

And just when you think Kim Jong Il, what with his gulags, and Danish hookers and cognac and Daffy Duck etchings, is the craziest of them all, Saddam Hussein steps up to remind you why HE remains at the forefront of ANY discussion of wildman brutal tyrants, by telling Dan Rather in an exclusive and lengthy interview that he will resist UN calls to destroy his al-Samoud 2 missiles, as called for by Chief Inspector Clouseau...er, Blix (why do I keep doing that?) and, get this, challenging George W. Bush to a DEBATE over the (coming) war. [We'll get Jim Lehrer to moderate, and get Saddam all pumped up on power bars and Arabic coffee, Bush will just stand there, stutter, and win...just like he did before...]

Saddam's sense of theatre is beyond anything we can think of. I commend you all to take a read of his biography on Saddam's personal his website here, you will read of his interspersing of completing law school and overthrowing the prior Iraqi government, and realize that this mother*&^%er has faced down oversized threats before, and he's GOT to think that he's somehow going to pull it off again.

On the other hand, there is a school of thought that by portraying our national leadership as consisting of idiots, we will allow our enemies to overestimate our weaknesses, and grow overconfident and make concomitant mistakes. Unless, of course, our national leadership actually DOES consist of idiots.

 

TD Extra I, 2-24-03.

Well, as I ponder how the *&^^ I'm going to get anything done (outside of the blog-world, of course, where I am up to my *&^ in alligators), I remain astounded by the response to date.  Some of my non blog-writing readers have complained that the column, at the moment, has become too "inside blogball".

I leave it to Colby Cosh to say it like it is.  As I said, just great stuff all the time:

Dog eat dog

Many of you have probably already seen the value-added version of the Talking Dog's blogroll. It's a good, if slightly ass-kissy, first draft for a future Encyclopedia Blogospherica. Full disclosure: mine is one of the asses.

Colby Cosh of Edmonton brings us the "Golden Treasury of Colby Coshery"--wit, Canadian and international politics, Canadian football, goings on in the life of Colby Cosh... just... great... stuff... all... the... time... damnit!
Talking Dog Designation: Eskimo Dog (or Husky)

Husky? Who told him my pants size? The Dog Run is a terrific starting point for finding good new weblogs, although I have an uneasy sense that most of us already have bookmarks pointing to as many as we can handle. Maybe it's just the way the wind is blowing, but this weblog thing is starting to feel like a zero-sum game...

 

February 24, 2003, New York, NY.

Well, with thanks to Instapundit and a hearty welcome to first time readers making their way here thanks to Professor Reynolds' kind mention, I say, welcome to the talking dog.  Itís one of those strange things that, having started this blog on or about 15 September 2001, this is one of the older blogs out there (blogs of Sullivan, Kaus and Instapundit are a little older of course, as is Marshall, but, other than a tiny handful, that's ABOUT it.)

So itís nice to be "discovered" (although Glenn Reynolds was kind enough to link to me last year, as well, the response was not in this sort of insanely big way).  Oy, the head is swelling!  I have gotten numerous requests from bloggers out there for links and mentions, and, assuming I don't die trying, I will accommodate everyone, as well as bloggers who have written in to point out "factual errors" in my descriptions, which I will also endeavor to correct.  I'm over 150 links now, but as I have noted, there are an estimated 500,000 blogs out there, over 80,000 in the Blogstreet database as having regular links.  It'll take awhile, but we'll get there!!!  Obviously, I seem to have struck a nerve -- bloggers like to be recognized for their work (and apparently, they like being assigned dog breeds).

And so, those of you still reading must now be subjected to a taste of my politics!  The USA and UK are introducing a new UN resolution today that will use the words "material breach" and "serious consequences" vis a vis Iraq.  No vote would be expected until on or after 7 March, when Chief Inspector Clouseau...,er, Blix...reports to the UN Security Council on inspection efforts.  At this point, France has said it won't have to use its veto -- the votes right now look like 4 for (USA, UK, Spain, Bulgaria), 11 against (everyone else).  Honestly, unless the resolution SAYS, ďIraq do this or we will bomb the *&^% out of you,Ē it doesn't seem to me that the proposed resolution will provide any more "legal authority" (read political cover) than the current resolution.

So I say again, which is it?  Is the United States' leadership SERIOUSLY going to be swayed one way of another by an adverse UN vote (BTW, what will happen is, if the votes aren't there, as a matter of saving face, no vote will be held, unless our leaders really ARE that clueless), or is it going to make whatever deals are required to get a favorable vote (such as the rather expensive deal with Turkey)?  Or is this all simply a time wasting dodge to allow another several thousand troops to arrive?  If any of you know, the answer is probably classified, so DON'T TELL ME!

As I cited from a Pravda article a couple of days ago, Bush's bellicose "good vs. evil" rhetoric now has a very unfortunate consequence as perceived elsewhere in the world.  Even if Saddam Hussein suddenly hands Drs. Blix and ElBaradei maps and keys to Iraq's entire banned WMD arsenal, if Saddam so much as SURVIVES, Bush loses.  And the United States loses serious credibility.  And worse, with certified WMD compliance, not only does Saddam survive, but sanctions get lifted.  On the other hand, Bush has now defined "international support" in terms of the UN.  If the UN opposes (or at least does not SUPPORT) a military action, and the USA-UK led coalition goes ahead ANYWAY, then the United States will appear to a great deal of the world as an aggressor nation (in what is billed as a "defensive" action) because we will have acted without "international support" as WE have defined it.  Thus, Bush has added a needless price to the already immense blood and treasure costs of a military action: our (heretofore well-deserved) moral authority.

We can all hope this is part of some master plan.  Others have certainly been burned mis-underestimating the President.  Let's hope that's what it is...because what it LOOKS LIKE is not good...

 

TD Extra I, 2-23-03.

And so, even as more great blogs get added to the Dog Run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM), more great blogs still show up. Let's just say, I'm working like a (talking) dog on this.

Joining the proud ranks are De Spectaculis, The Inland Anti-Empire and The Rittenhouse Review.

De Spectaculis is the work of Boston area blogger Martial, who tag-names his spanking brand new blog (sporting a Roman theme) "throwing myself to the lions".  Martial appears to join the ranks of us moderate, pragmatic liberal types, who want to dig deeper into what the &^%$ is going on out there. (I especially enjoyed Martial's take on France: for whatever reason, France was the ORIGINAL and longest standing ally of this country, and yet, somehow, Americans insist that everything is about CURRENT quid pro quos and paybacks, thus, since France has never properly paid us obeisance for Normandy, its current stance vis a vis Iraq makes it somehow a moral welcher on a debt.) It will be a joy to watch this puppy site as it grows up.
TD Designation:  Neopolitan Mastiff

The Inland Anti-Empire comes to us from California blogger Kynn, who tells it like it is from Southwest Riverside County. All politics is local, and Kynn does a brilliant job interweaving the local goings on in his particular slice of inland California, with the major national and international trends of the day. Kynn provides extensive local net resources, and a compact blogroll of fellow travelers. I'm told Kynn will soon be adding a companion site, and we'll watch out for it.
TD Designation:  Komondor

The Rittenhouse Review is the work of Philadelphia blogging superstar James Capozzola. James offers both the main text and the "lighter side" of Rittenhouse, and a blogroll that features, famously, no one who links to a particular right wing site (which I dare not mention, lest I inadvertently link to it!!!). Why? Because James is more than a well-spoken, intense, thoughtful partisan (God bless him), he takes this &^%$ SERIOUSLY, to the point where the hatemongering excesses of the right that seem to be stoked up by the likes of...you know who...and the little he can do to restore civility, even if only in the blogosphere, is worth the trouble. Man, I admire that. Otherwise, the blog is thoughtful and wide-ranging, and of course, well-written.
TD Designation:  Border Collie

Welcome one, welcome all. Keep the faith. Fight the power.

 

February 23, 2003, New York, NY.

Jessica Santillan finally succumbed to massive brain failure after her botched heart-lung transplant at Duke Medical Center and died, even after a second heart-lung transplant was performed. As you recall, this wasn't simply because "the surgery went bad", it was because the transplant doctor didn't bother doing a routine blood type match (assuming someone else did). A doctor friend of mine (himself an internist) always said of surgeons "they're not always right; but they're ALWAYS SURE". The solution to the excesses of this particular arrogance: as Andy Sullivan might say, "Bush is right again! Liability caps on med mal awards are not merely an INTELLIGENT answer, they are a moral imperative..."

The President, meeting with PM Aznar of Spain, expressed confidence that a second UNSC resolution (as you recall, a resolution the President INSISTED HE DID NOT NEED for the authority to invade Iraq) would be approved. Over a year ago, this site asked the rhetorical question: are Condi, and Colin, and Rummy giving the President his security briefings with comic books? Then it was the endless verbiage of "evil one", "evil doer", "axis of evil", etc. The phrase "disarm Iraq" seems to have been programmed in as well. Yes, France, Germany and Russia (all on the UNSC) have extensive commercial relationships with the Saddam Hussein regime. But "diplomacy" might involve the grown-up activities of discussing those concerns with those nations, and then moving on to their OTHER problems. The fact is, if three countries WITH VETOS (France, Russia, China) don't want us getting UNSC approval, all three will not be abstaining. So, either the Bushies are doing their OWN version of a filibuster speech (while sufficient troop strength, essentially the United States' entire combat capacity, BTW) makes its way to the Gulf theatre or (to be honest, at least THAT makes sense and involves having thought about it, and would make me more comfortable than...) the alternative, these guys are STILL clueless, and though they acknowledge just how unpopular what they are about to do is they won't be deterred by that, so they still desperately want UNSC cover. I don't know. The phony war goes on. Just remember what these three things have in common: Saddam. Arafat. The cockroach.

Secretary Powell, who is traveling to Japan and China ostensibly to deal with the non-crisis in North Korea, announced that the UNSC would act shortly after the next major weapons inspections report. That's March 7th. Iraq, of course, gets preposterously hot for guys in chemical suits by the end of March, which is why wars there are scheduled for the winter months. That, and cloud cover for bomber jets. What's amazing, of course, is that our insistence in avoiding casualties among our jet fighter pilots has led to a return to the sort of weather-limited fighting that goes all the way back to the Napoleonic era and before. Amazing. (Just a small slice of what's amazing about this paragraph, BTW).

And over in you know where, it looks like coalition talks MAY be over; by formally signing on with the National Religious Party (6 seats) and Likud (40 seats) (and freezing out Shas), it looks like PM Sharon can have a majority coalition involving Shinui (15 seats); that means the tripartite coalition would have a bare majority of 61; Mitzna and Labor have noted that the presence of an extremist party like NRP means that they will stay in opposition. Negotiations continue, but I think this is the deal. NRP is mercurial, of course, but it (like many in Israel, especially Shinui leader Yosef "Tommy" Lapid), hates the Shas Party (which seems to thrive on extorting generous government subsidies and other goodies for its ultra-religious constituents). Sharon insists that a Palestinian state is "inevitable"; we'll see how far he gets with this particular coalition. Sharon called Labor sitting this out as the loss of an historic opportunity. Maybe he's right. Then again, maybe he'll have to call a new election by the end of the year.

All of this, of course, is subject to revision, based on what happens with Iraq. As are many things.

 

TD Extra I, 2-22-03.

Things are different here at the talking dog, now that I have committed to actually INSISTING on having the dog run BE "the best damned links section on the InternetTM", what with the capsule summaries and all. Coupled with my policy of (trying at least) to link to just about any blog that permanently links to me, that means...a new capsule summary (and dog breed, of course) for each new entrant to the dog run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM).

Today, that means summaries of our new entries, The Green[e]house Effect, PhillipCoons.Com, Planet Swank and The Road to Smurfdom... er, Surfdom.

It doesn't mean I have to do them in any particular order, of course, so I'll go reverse alphabetical:

The Road to Surfdom is the work of Australian blogger Tim Dunlop, who tells us his is an intermittent weblog walking the thin line between idiot and savant. Tim has an extensive blogroll featuring numerous Australian bloggers, as well as "international" bloggers (such as myself), and a number of other media sources. The leanings are a bit to the left, as are Tim's posts, which are also amusing and clever; of late, Tim had the "doggerels of war" series, and Tim seems to break into verse periodically. Still, good solid right-thinking (that is to say, LEFT thinking) from Down Unda'.
TD Designation:  Australian Kelpie

Planet Swank is the work of Indianapolis blogger and computer maven Gregory Harris. Gregory represents what (to me) is the best of the blog world, a liberal with a sense of humor! His blogroll features the big lefties (and others), and other valuable resources; Greg will drift from the political into the technical or pop-cultural every now and again, but we're looking at some good, solid, often pleasantly sarcastic commentary, we got ou'selves a live one! With "bad movie links" and other "links of periodic intervals" -- like I said -- we got ou'selves a live one.
TD Designation:  American Staghound

Phillip Coons.Com is the work that eponymous blogger (Phillip Coons!) The site reads kind of like a newspaper, news of the day, sort of interwoven to advance the blogger's political agenda, which seems to be hard-ass lefty (YES!) (Haven't seen anyone try THAT approach before...) The blogroll members are the lefty goodies (with the big guys being "daily reads"), and there are other resources, including government and military. This is a heretofore buried treasure of a blog that I'm glad found its way here.
TD Designation:  American Black and Tan Coonhound

The Green[e]house Effect is the work of Georgia based blogger Greg Greene. Greg appears to be a high-powered lawyer and lobbyist working the Georgia state government beat. His commentary is 99 mile an hour lefty fastballs. The blogroll, well, the same. Greg also gives us compelling details of his personal life, making this not just interesting and entertaining reading, but clearly, the work of a courageous man (who I'm amazed finds the time and energy to do this).
TD Designation:  Border Collie

Welcome one, welcome all. I scour the blogworld for the best blogs, so you don't have to!

 

February 22, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.

Happy Birthday to President George Washington, who would be something like 270 today, if he were, well, still alive.

This piece by Unqualified Offerings tells us that we can add many GOP lawmakers to the list of hawks who might balk that includes the UK and Turkey, as they have come to the conclusion that, like father like son, Gulf War II will prove -- get this -- "politically disastrous". Bush, like the good, focused automaton he is, says, Invade Iraq... (the question was "what would you like for breakfast, Sir", but you get the idea). To put a positive spin on this, the Lebanese Daily Star suggests that what we see and hear from the White House is simply a never-ending psy-op, in this case, directed at all Arabs; the Lebanese are, of course, used to this sort of thing!

China's People's Daily tells us that we can expect the Iraq war by mid-March, according to American military planners speaking to the Rev. Moon owned Washington Times. Damn, I had March 1st in the pool.

Of course, Pravda (God bless them!) tells it LIKE IT IS: Bush and Blair have ALREADY LOST. WHAT? Nothing has happened yet! Wrong, says Pravda. A unilateral attack (i.e., without UN imprimatur, and right now, there is NO UN imprimatur) would be seen as raw aggression, possibly killing millions in the process. A "compromise" will be seen as a massive repudiation of the "yo' with us, o' agin' us" cowboy tripe that spewed from our President's mouth, and Saddam walking away alive would be seen as...yet another time he faced a show down with the West AND WON. The problem is the blatant-ness of the lies that Bush and Blair have foisted on the world to try to "justify" this action.

It all comes down to political cover. If , as I have suggested over and over in this column, George Walker Bush seriously believed that the September 11th events justified a "preemptive" attack on Iraq, the time to do so was right after 9-11, when such an attack could appear to be "retaliatory". The rest of the world could not have justified precluding the United States from "defending itself", without risking isolation (and the DESERVED permanent ire of the United States). Instead, the calculations were all about domestic politics, polls and swing states. Result: see above. (Man, for those of you who don't read Pravda, I can't recommend it enough. For whatever reason, it seems to have no American political correctness filter that even other foreign sources have).

Expect Iraq to wait the full week it has been given by Messrs. Blix and El-Baraidei to destroy its al-Samoud missiles and related apparatus. Let's just say it "wouldn't be prudent" for Saddam to be seen as not cooperating on THIS point. And in other Axis of EvilTM news involving the UN, guess what? UN inspectors are looking at nuclear facilities in...Iran.

American policy with respect to Iran (and North Korea) remains steadfast: cut taxes for the rich, invade Iraq.

 

TD Extra II, 2-21-03.

In the "too close to home" department, we have a massive fire in Staten Island, as a result of a refueling accident at an oil storage facility on the Arthur Kill (the facing New Jersey side of Staten Island).  More horrible still, one worker is in critical condition, and two are missing.  Officials are quick to point out that this has every indication of an accident, and not some act of sabotage or terrorism.

Everybody is so damned jumpy these days.  I wonder why?

 

TD Extra I, 2-21-03.

Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post tells us why the price demanded by Mitzna and Labour to join a Sharon-led national unity coalition is too high.  Specifically, she notes the demand of a 1 year period of negotiations WITH ARAFAT, failing which, Israel unilaterally withdraws from all of Gaza and most of the West Bank, behind a security fence, and the immediate reduction in aid to the settlements.  With the exception of the Arafat part (which, is, of course, the part that renders the rest of the plan defective, though I think Mitzna would have figured that out had he been elected), I think itís not only a good plan, but a NECESSARY plan.  Israel HAS to get out of the Palestinians' way, literally, for any even intermediate term political resolution.

The problem is that Arafat is an 800 lb. criminal gorilla.  He has to go, as he PERSONALLY benefits from the status quo to a degree that dwarfs anything on the Israeli side.  If a deal can be worked out with Israel's sponsors in Washington that, because of Arafat's longstanding simpatico relationship with SADDAM HUSSEIN, Israel has full cover to remove him and Fatah, and then implement the rest of Mitzna's agenda, we will see a political resolution of the "Israeli-Palestinian crisis" within one year, IF THAT LONG.  (Notice, I never say "peace" as in "peace process".  I personally don't believe Israel will have warm and fuzzy relations with its Arab neighbors during my own lifetime.  But at least it needn't expect a WAR with either Egypt or Jordan.  Adding "Palestine" to that cold peace list would be...helpful (understatement of the day).

Amram, you got all that?  Arafat is NOT the solution, he is the problem.  OK?

 

February 21, 2003, New York, NY.

OK, do inconceivable mass horrors associated with people just trying to get to work or have a good time come in threes?  Please God it STOPS at three...first being the horrific Korean subway atrocity, the Chicago nightclub stampede, and now, the Rhode Island nightclub fire, in which at least 54 people were killed [nearly 100 by this evening, ed.] and many others horribly injured when an indoor pyrotechnic display at a Great White concert went quite literally to hell.  Unlike the Chicago disaster, the nightclub seemed to be to code (exits open and all), though the pyrotechnic display was "not licensed".

I know what you're thinking Ė TD Ė how can we blame THIS on Bush?  (Man, don't you doctrinaire lefties think of ANYTHING ELSE?)  Let me just say that the human mind is a wondrous instrument: stressing it repeatedly for long periods of time at even a low to mid-range angst level will simply throw off people's games.

Take my own case.  I've been jogging for decades.  Run four marathons, and countless thousands of miles over the years.  And yet, a month ago, I tripped and fell down (I've fallen down occasionally before), but this time, I fell so hard that I dislocated my shoulder.  Split second, reflex actions to be sure, but the game was off.  I'm just one guy.  Just a little, but off.  We feel the tension, week after week, month after month.  And let me make this clear: Al Gore was prescient (WHY can't he be President now?) when in his famous San Francisco statement, he said that the world (including any people in the United States paying attention) is FAR MORE afraid of the actions of Bush and his minions, than the actions of "the terrorists".  I know I am.  And as a 9-11-01 live witness (and at least a victim of economic displacement) I get a special voice in this.  (So, nyah to all you chicken*&^%^ war bloggers who think YOU'RE stressed out from having to watch 9-11-01 on TV)

Just the day in, day out verbiage is more stressful:  ME, MY DECISION, I WILL NOT TIRE...  Excuse me, Sir, but you are the elected chief executive of a democratic nation.  In practice, we all understand the magnitude of life and death presidential decisions, such as when Jack Kennedy or Harry Truman had to override their cabinet on something critically important (as I recall, one of them said "yes, its 10-1, but I have the only vote that counts").  Instead, and this is sadly AS PROMISED DURING THE CAMPAIGN, we hear language more appropriate for a kindergartener than for a man holding degrees from our two most prestigious universities and the leader of the most powerful nation ever to have existed. This is what the country wanted when it "elected" a "regular guy", I suppose.  Well, Vive Le Dauphin (and God help the rest of us).

(Man, TD, lighten up...itís Friday!)

 

TD Extra IV, 2-20-03.

Thank you, Attorney General Ashcroft.  With the arrest of Sami Al-Arian in Florida, the Attorney General has now forced me to come to the defense of a man I find despicable, a man who may well be a supporter and/or sympathizer and/or orchestrator of Islamic Jihad terrorists, a man who would probably smile at the thought of myself and my family lying dead at the hands of an Islamic Jihad killer.

But, sadly, in the current political climate, I can only perceive that the far greater threat to my life and liberty is not the likes of the hateful Al-Arian (and 8 others arrested today), but is the heavy-handed state.  Thus, in THIS case, I am forced to err (for rhetorical purposes, anyway) on the side of the likelihood that this is INDEED a politically motivated prosecution of someone for their distasteful and odious, but STILL Constitutionally protected, political views.

Thankfully, the defendants arrested today, as I understand it, will actually have the opportunity to answer the charges against them in a real live American courtroom, where due process of law will still apply.  If they're found guilty, then, as far as I'm concerned, they can all rot as guests of the Federal government for the lengths of their sentences, and then hopefully in hell thereafter (if there is such a place).

Until then, as far as I'm concerned, they get an extra presumption of innocence.  The Bush Administration, in two short years, has perverted American justice that far, in the name of "protecting us".  So thank you again, Attorney General Ashcroft.

 

TD Extra III, 2-20-03.

What the *&^% TD?  You seemed to have missed one.  Well, I guess I kinda did.

Unqualified Offerings is the work of Silver Spring, Maryland's own blog-world superstar Jim Henley, and is the only blog I read more religiously than my own.  Jim is an isolationist libertarian Ė whatever the &^%$ that is Ė with this fabulously well written blog jumping around the worlds of politics, libertarianism, pop culture and high culture (music and poetry specialties, Jim being a published poet and all), food, fish, more politics, Jim's life and that of Mrs. Offering, Offering Boy and Girl and Unqualified Dog, the Matron of the Offerings, et al., and still more politics.  During a rare technical glitch period (the Unseen Editor took a vacation), UO hosted this here blog in exile; I'm proud to say that some of my own best musings (far better stuff than the dreck you read HERE) have made their way to UO, for Jim's inimitable treatment against that ugly green background.  Jim also has a way of finding the best of everybody else in the blog world, too (while still putting up the best blog in the blog biz.  But enough &^%$ superlatives already.
TD Designation:  Best In Show

And there you have it.  The most ambitious blogging project I have ever undertaken, and as far as I know, the only time anyone has ever tried to fully catalog a blogroll of nearly 140 entries.  But, I said it: the dog run, the best damned links section on the InternetTM, and I *&%^ing mean it.

 

TD Extra II, 2-20-03.

And so it continues...

Them Durn Lib'Ruls is NOW known as "Soapbox Canyon", and is the work of mysterious Arizona blogger R.L.G. This is one funny blogger (ha, that way I avoid guessing gender!), with a playful spirited look at the blog world (the right, as in correct, i.e. left part of it) , and the worlds of politics world, national and Arizona.  Different name, same great stuff (we'll be listing it as both in our blog breed index).
TD Designation:  Field Spaniel

To the Barricades! is the work of Stephen Charest, a liberal firebrand from that hotbed of leftism, Nebraska.  Stephen takes on matters Nebraska, national and international from his landlocked perch, and thankfully, won't let up on the plutocracy (nice word Steve, but we got ou'selves a KLEPtocracy running ou' country) that has seized control of our nation.  When the street to street fighting breaks out, be glad we got another one on the good guys' side.
TD Designation:  Chien de l'Atlas

Two Tears in a Bucket is the work of Orange County California lawyer Ann Salisbury.  This should come as a shock to everyone, but I have incredible admiration for a private practice lawyer that still manages to hold onto their soul, AND have time to blog.  In Ann's case, to blog brilliantly and pointedly on the major political issues of the day as well.  Ann recently came off a blogging hiatus (or vacation), and we're glad to have her back -- the good guys -- friends of liberty who reside on the left of the political spectrum, need articulate, reasoned voices.  Like TTIAB.
TD Designation:  Legal Beagle/Border Collie Mix

And so that takes care of the T's.  Of course, as I keep telling you, more blogs get added before I can even figure out they HAVE been added (more work for me).

Dissecting Leftism is the work of Aussie blogger John Ray.  He don't mess around: he takes on leftism, which does not NECESSARILY mean the likes of me and my kind, but (at least according to periodic e-mails from John) may include Communist China and the sorta nutsy leftists that believe Bolshevism is the answer to everything.  Or it MIGHT include me and my kind.  John is a hawk, of course, in favor of the coming war, and writes in an energetic and well-spirited tone.
TD Designation  (I've been waiting to use this one)Dingo

Winds of Change is a multi-party blog, referred to above as Armed Liberal was moving most of his new blogging activity to W of C.  Besides A.L., the site features the work of Joe Katzman, Adil "Muslimpundit" Farooq, Celeste Bilby and Trent Telenko.  Itís an interesting mťlange of opinion, and Armed Liberal seems to be the house lefty.  The discussion moves seamlessly from economics to politics to history to politics to culture to politics...  Engaging.  A blogroll remains to be "voted on".  Remember who loves you, W of C!
TD Designation:  Saluki

Well that's it.  Or is it?  Have I forgotten anybody?  I'll have to look again...

 

TD Extra I, 2-20-03.

TalkLeft: the Politics of Crime is the opus of Denver area criminal defense lawyer, blogger and freedom fighter Jeralyn Merritt.  If the networks dispatched field correspondents to the "war on crime" (which, as we know, impacts greatly on the other wars on -- these days, the War on TerrorTM, the War on DrugsTM and the War on PovertyTM), they could not do a more thoughtful or thorough job than TalkLeft.  Jeralyn does not screw around with feigned "objectivity" -- she tells you what's happening, and what it means, and in the wacky world of American injustice, there's an awful lot of it (injustice) to go around.  Thank God Jeralyn is there to make sure SOMEONE is gonna tell us about it.
TD Designation:  Top Dog/Legal Beagle Mix

Testify!  Itís time to kick some right wing ass! is blogger Les Dabney's site.  Honestly, just the name is sufficient grounds to link to this site.  But then, Les is an over the top partisan, fighting the power on all fronts!  The posts are pithy, mean-spirited (you da' man, Les!) and intended to drive home the point that we live in freaking dangerous times, our current leaders are idiots (or worse) and, you know the rest of the spiel!  Fellow travelers can lap it up, and members of the other team can know they face a formidable partisan (you go, Les).
TD Designation:  Drentse Patrijshond

More to come...really...you know I mean it...

 

February 20, 2003, New York, NY.

Happy birthday to TD Mom.

Remember when the Bush Administration told us that the "War with Iraq" decision, like ALL decisions made by four year olds, was SOLELY that of the President, ENTIRELY in HIS discretion, and HE hadn't mad up HIS mind yet?  And because it was HIS decision SOLELY and EXCLUSIVELY, he had no need to go to Congress for authority, or to the UN Security Council for Authority?  Naturally, with some reverse psychology (OK, DON'T go to Congress, see if I care!) the polity seems to have induced the President to go to both Congress AND the UNSC.  Now, we come to the part of our game where we determine if UNSC 1441 provides the President with sufficient authority to launch a unilateral invasion of Iraq without further authority.  Oops, apparently, we DO need another UNSC resolution to authorize force as itís quite literally "back to the drawing board" for USA and UK diplomats, preparing yet another resolution, which may not even directly authorize force (so as to keep France, Russia, China -- hell, everybody else!  on board).  My understanding is that a new resolution won't be ready for UN action until at least March (of course, we're within 8 days of March now!)

While many wonder if Kim Jong Il will do something rash while the world's attention is focused on the Tigris and Euphrates, the Israelis and Palestinians need no cover of distraction, as IDF forces divided the Gaza strip into three "security zones" following rocket attacks by Palestinian militants following the IDF attacks on Hamas positions.  This is quietly turning into one hell of a military confrontation.  Retaliatory suicide bombings have, in general, been thwarted in recent days, for a number of reasons: IDF anti-terrorist actions (and hence, daily life restrictions) in the territories are heightened (amidst international focus on OTHER parts of the Middle East), the security fence keeps expanding, and, significantly, the Palestinian thugocracy may have finally realized that the tactic was backfiring -- while the hard-ass Sharon government was reelected, Sharon is DESPERATE to bring in moderating elements against his own party from Shinui and Labour, and there may ultimately be a peace deal shoved down the Palestinians' throats.

Well, without TOO MUCH comment, I give you this editorial from Haaretz, that many in Israel, especially Likudniks, are looking forward to an American war against Iraq as an opportunity to help clean up the Middle East.  Let's just say I don't share the giddiness.  Honestly, I tend to think that, like cockroaches, and with no disrespect meant -- to cockroaches -- Yasir Arafat and Saddam Hussein always seem to find a way to survive (and, indeed, thrive) through just about anything.  And that's my opinion as to what's GOING to happen again...

Likud officials will present PM Sharon with his  coalition options; Mitzna has presented Sharon with his demands for peace concessions he wants, but Sharon seems to be balking.  Labour Party leaders (I like that spelling, I'll be using it for awhile, if I don't just drift right into "Avodah") are urging Mitzna not to do anything rash, like NOT ultimately enter a coalition deal.  Amram, I think you're a good man.  I will respect your decision either way.  But this might be one of those times where your party and your nation need you to suck it up and take one for the team.

More interesting times.  Oy gevalt.

 

TD Extra IV, 2-19-03.

I just feel like posting a link to Saddam Hussein's home page.

And now, on to more great blogs, as catalogued in the dog run, truly, THE best damned links section on the InternetTM.

The Truth About Israel is Brooklyn born Israeli blogger Joel Orr's tour de force to de-bunk various myths surrounding, well, Israel. Joel has commentary from both himself and from numerous others, and it is compelling reading. I WANT THE TRUTH -- get it here.
TD Designation:  Ori Pei

The View From Here is the work of Israeli blogger Harry R. Harry dishes on Israeli life and politics -- from corruption (Harry notes that the new [16th Knesset] has the highest number of members under criminal investigation in the history of the body), to the seamier side of other political life, to details about his own life that are refreshing reading. Like many Israeli bloggers, Harry has a compact blogroll (which I'm proud to be on).
TD Designation:  Harrier (sorry)

Tales from the bathroom scale is the work of Lori the Diet Chick from Wilmington, North Carolina, where she lives near her mother and with 2 cats (because 3 or more would make her the crazy cat lady). Diet Chick is near her goal weight of 130 lbs., but each week, treats us to the treats she is missing to get there, and muses about other details of her life. This is a unique method of personal statement, and is amusing, often compelling reading.
TD Designation:  Lowchen

Talking Points Memo is another "must link to" site; this is the work of liberal media blog superstar Joshua Micah Marshall, a (naturally) Princeton grad getting his history Ph.D. from Brown, working in Washington as a free lance journalist, and blogger extraordinaire. Josh is a major league guy, and is a REAL journalist (he will actually call people and "report" in his blog, as well as provide his kick-ass mainstream liberal commentary and (happy days!) Bush bashing.
TD Designation:  Maremma Sheepdog

And so... remember how I've been quietly adding to the blogroll without anyone noticing... Such as...

A Brooklyn Bridge -- a brand new blog by Brooklyn writer Glen England. The vast conspiracy of Brooklyn lefty bloggers is delighted to proudly welcome a new member, and Glen is pithy and subtle in his nastiness as he fights the power. Welcome to the revolution, Glen baby! And welcome to the hood!
TD Designation:  Pug

Marstonalia is the work of, if I'm not mistaken, State University of NY at Oswego political science professor Brett Marston. Brett seems to be the genuine article -- he has a lot of links to journalistic sources IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES -- so we know he's serious. The political discussion is amusing, as well as informative. Looks like we got ourselves another crazy left wing intellectual. Dig it.
TD Designation:  Briquet

Counterfactual seems to be the work of blogger Paul Goyotte, who seems to be based at the University of Chicago. Thought-provoking discussions of the issues of the day, an extensive media list and a blogroll that includes, well, me (and the main lefties).
TD Designation:  Perdigueiro Portugueso

Apologies to Jeralyn and others awaiting further entries...they will be forthcoming shortly...

 

TD Extra III, 2-19-03.

And finally...onto the T's (though, as I noted, more blogs have been added while you all were looking to see what breed I was going to call you or your favorite blog!)

Tal G. in Jerusalem is the work of Israeli blogger Tal G. Tal is a bit unusual for an Israeli blogger (by my estimation): he might have voted Likud. Tal gives a "mainstream" and pragmatic perspective on Israeli life and politics, and is an important voice in Israeli blogging.
TD Designation:  Glen of Imaal Terrier

This Normal Life is the work of American-in-Israel Brian Blum, who runs this column in various outlets, including his blog and The Jerusalem Post. Brian is a telecom exec living in Israel, telling his personal tale in veritable poetic and elegiac terms (don't miss the story of his cousin, the late Marla Bennett, killed in the Hebrew University explosion). Brian also gives us his heartfelt views of Israeli politics, with a compact Israel-related blogroll (that I am somehow on).
TD Designation:  Basset Hound

More later...

 

TD Extra II, 2-19-03.

And so, without further adieu, we give you...

skippy the bush kangaroo, the work of the coiner of the neologism "blogtopia", skippy is a diabolically clever and funny part of the vast left wing conspiracy (and skip refuses to use capital letters in text). skippy is funny, punchy, just what you'd expect from a kangaroo. but i don't buy the bush part -- no way skippy voted for bush. the blogroll contains some capital letters, but has some social activism sections, as well as many great blogs (such as...mine!)
td designation:  non-canine (kangaroo) and honorary top dog

Steve Silver joins other nice Jewish boys from Minnesota to come to New York and make good like Al Franken and Bob Dylan; Steve settled for coolaceous Hoboken (hey, I used to live in Weehawken), where Steve tells us he is a professional journalist. He is slightly to my right (whatever that means), as reflected in his blogroll (which I am somehow in). But Steve's commentaries are pithy, and, like a good journalist, well documented. Further, Steve treats us to popular culture, and especially, sports, to a degree that MAKES ME WANT MORE.
TD Designation:  Stephens Stock

Andrew Sullivan is one of those "mandatory" links that all bloggers "have to have". Which, to be honest, is why I still do. Because since 9-11-01, the brilliant writer (youngest editor at The New Republic, writer for The New York and London Times, all around genius) and thinker has become little more than a lap dog for the Bush Administration and its abuses. You'd think Sully would be a bit more careful, what with his self-contradictory insistences on being openly gay, Catholic and Conservative. Nope. Lap dog.
TD Designation:  Toy poodle

Well, the suspense builds...

Of course, more links have been added while you weren't paying attention... more work for me!

 

February 19, 2003, New York, NY.

Your free ice cream will come in smaller servings today, as the sled is being hitched up, and I have to earn my (talking) dog food today.

Infinite thanks to those who volunteer for the time-consuming work of hosting "Carnival of the Vanities", this week, hosted by our buddies at the People's Republic of Seabrook here.

And so itís...at least 11 killed in an Israeli operation against Hamas "infrastructure" in Gaza City, in retaliation for an attack that killed 4 Israelis last weekend in Gaza.  And so it continues...

A German court in Hamburg has sentenced Moroccan national Mounir el Motassadeq to 15 years in prison for his services in aiding a number of the 9-11 perpetrators.  This can now be reported here in the United States, apparently, because (1) he was convicted and (2) Germany has been slammed aboard the "invade Iraq" express (at least in the NATO context), and we can all concentrate on our REAL enemy.  France.

 

TD Early Morning Extra, 2-19-03.

And onward...onward...onward...

Simone Koo is a student at Georgetown. She purports to hail from South Korea, to be studying math and economics, to have an inconceivably wide array of interests, and she posts an inconceivably fabulous photo gallery (including fabulous pictures of herself, and in some cases, of others). She also posts extensively, with a fair amount of detailed knowledge, particularly on East Asian related matters, but on many others. The politics appear to be "intelligent liberal", with a dash of bleeding heart. The links section is quite extensive, and interesting in its own right. This is an example of the blogging revolution: in theory, any undergrad can publish something as extensive and ambitious as this. (In practice, we leave it to the likes of Simone).
TD Designation:  "Hoya" Bulldog
(note: the Georgetown fight theme, hoya saxa, is Greek for "what a rock", in reference to a football squad of bygone years; somehow, it stuck, and got attached to a bulldog).

Sketch is the work of Toronto blogger Andrew Edwards.  Andrew was a pro-war liberal (who felt the Bush Administration was &^%%ing up a war he otherwise supported, a position remarkably similar to mine -- i.e., I might have cottoned to BILL CLINTON blowing the crap out of Saddam -- I could trust him with the ship of state -- just not the car keys or the babysitter, but BUSH?). He has a compact blogroll, and insightful (and inciteful) commentary. Sadly, Andrew has taken a hiatus since mid-January. I am confident he will be back: his voice is needed.
TD Designation: Scotch Collie

Sorry Skip, Steve and Sully -- tomorrow (or another time) for you guys...

 

TD "Bush to New York and Everyone In It: Drop Dead --- No, Really, Die Horribly -- I Mean It" Extra, 2-18-03.

Well, it wasn't quite THAT awful a statement from the White House, but as expected, the President said American policy would not be dictated by the will of protestors, or frankly, of anyone ELSE in the United States -- except I suppose, the Supreme Court and its hand-picked leader, i.e., him. This, as UN debates continue, Tony Blair is pulling back a bit, and Saddam remains "cutesy" with the inspectors.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Il continues to sound a lot like the demon on tranquilizers at the end of Star Trek Episode 36 Wolf in the Fold (die, I nuke your stupid country Ė ha, ha Ė I rebuild my reactorsóhee, hee -- I repudiate armistice Ė ho, ho...)

Sadly, poor Bush can concentrate on only three things at a time, I'm afraid, and his mind is already occupied with yesterday's 5K time, more tax cuts for the rich, and Iraq. Thank God the Estrada filibuster is keeping him from worrying about OTHER legislation. Kim Jong Il is just one thing too many -- why can't Kim understand that?

 Anyway:

Silflay Hraka is the work of Big Wig, Kehar and Woundwort, who are respectively, an academic administrator, a journalist and an academic (I know Big Wig as Sid from North Carolina; Sid was the original progenitor of the now fabulously successful "Carnival of the Vanities" series.) The interesting name is a code from the rabbit language of Richard Adams' Watership Down (meaning, I believe, go ^%$$ in the woods). This is "the" good-natured right-wing warmonger blog you have been looking for! The blogroll is extensive (hell, itís immense); the bigwig 3 give us personal details (such as of the child "Ngnat"), their favorite beers, and news of the world not often found elsewhere. Entertaining and informative...
TD Designation:  Carolina Dog

Silt is the work of American-in-Brussels Peter Vaara (and amazingly, after my recent Pythonesque outburst re: Belgium, Peter still links to me!) This is because Peter has a hell of a sense of humor. Peter is also a wonderfully doctrinaire lefty. I am proud to be on his tiny (nascent?) blogroll, organized by national flags. Peter often accomplishes what I strive for: effective sarcasm, that's entertaining to boot.
TD Designation:  Border Collie/Belgian Shepherd Tervuren Mix

Well, we're closing in on the rest of the dog run...  Maybe I'll be able to knock this off in February...who'd have thunk it!

 

TD Extra II, 2-18-03.

John Hawkins of Right Wing News reports that he is not British at all, but is, in fact, American.  No, he seems too well educated, too informed, too well-mannered for someone holding those particular political views.  OK:  John has not only shattered my illusions toward proponents of the right, he has shattered many illusions I hold toward my countrymen.   Thanks John, thanks a lot.

Although TD Designations are not appealable, they can be changed at my whim; Right Wing News' designation of English Bulldog will now be adjusted to ...American Bulldog.

Shots Across the Bow is the get tough manifesto of East Tennessee's own Rich Hailey.  Rich's masthead has a battleship firing away -- and Rich's blog comes out shootin' as well.  Rich is a tough pro-war, patriotic American kind of guy, with the bad ass right wing blogroll (which I have managed to sneak on) to prove it.  Actually, I believe Rich has some military experience, and Rich has some pretty damned intelligent things to say about our military policy and other matters political, national, international, and local.
TD Designation:  Telomian

Well, that's all for now...

 

TD Extra I, 2-18-03.

And so... its time for...

Samizdata is a UK-based multiple participant blog.  The blog's name is a Soviet era code word for a system of clandestine publication.  Samizdata points out assaults on freedom on both sides of the Atlantic, with a special emphasis on the abuses of the Blair government (though our government also falls under Samizdata's gaze).  I'd describe it as almost pure libertarian, fascinating subjects not often explored elsewhere.  Though I would describe Samizdata as to my right politically, when the *&^% hits the fan, I want these guys to have my back.
TD Designation:  Siberian Husky

Sasha Castel, or La Blogatrice, is the work of formerly New York-based blogger (and opera nut) Sasha Castel, who has gone off to the UK to marry Andrew Ian Dodge (formerly of Dodgeblog).  Andrew, I understand, works for the Tory Party as an activist.  Surprise, surprise, the blog has a distinctly conservative poltical bent, with a fair amount of opera discussion.  The blogroll is organized by popular song titles.
Verily saith the TD for his Designation:  Silky Terrier

Scrappleface is the work of parodist blogger Scott Ott (unless THAT is a parody too).  Day in, day out, Scott puts out stories that are alarmingly close to real looking, yet are hilarious parodies.  (Occasionally in the comments, you can read people who DO think his stories are REAL!)  I once described him as a one-man Onion, but he is so much funnier than The Onion.  Scott is a tad conservative (he's well to the right of many of the dog run), and though I seemed to be once on his original blogroll, I seem to have dropped off somewhere around the time Scott became a superstar.  Remember who loved you back when you were nobody, Scott, baby...
TD Designation:  Top Dog

More later...

 

February 18, 2003, New York, NY.

A tough day getting around here in the big city, what with our 4th highest snowfall ever.

Well, well.  As thanks to you, we are coming off of some of our best traffic days ever, we have just been informed that our Blogstreet blog importance quotient (b.i.q.) rating (based on inbound links) is now at 109, entitling us to proudly display the Blogstreet Top Blogs logo.  My vanity...itís running over...there'll be...no living...with me...(like there is now!)

There seems to be plenty of tragedies to go around -- well over 120 dead in an inferno started by some maniac in a South Korean subway who seemed to be playing with an inflammable device; over 20 dead in Chicago in a nightclub stampede.  Really horrible.

Oh, and did I mention that a teenage girl in North Carolina was given organs with incompatible blood types during a heart-lung transplant, so she is near death and not expected to live.  Honestly, itís said that one's chances of dying when stepping onto a commercial airliner are hundreds of thousands or more to one against.  One's chances of dying as a result of an error while a patient in a U.S. hospital:  a staggering 1 in 750.  Obviously, the solution to this troublesome situation is to cap malpractice awards, because our juries can only be trusted with life and death decisions; money is too important.

And let's keep those resentments coming: an Israeli court refused to order Israel's army to distribute gas masks to Palestinians in the event of an Iraq war.  Hey, Saddam doesn't care about these people (other than the $10,000 he sends to ďmartyrísĒ families); why should Sharon care?  We'll just file this whole thing under "bad ideas"...

And finally, the Bush Administration is working with the British toward a "new and improved" UN resolution "maybe" authorizing force.  Remember when Bush kept insisting he didn't need Congressional approval, or UN approval, or a second resolution, or...  Well, apparently, he keeps thinking better of it.  We'll see...

 

TD Extra IV, 2-17-03.

And so, just to keep you on your toes...and the last shall be first...we go to the...V's:
Voice from the Commonwealth is the work of Commonwealth (of Massachusetts) based blogger Zachary Barbera, who tells us he is a small ďlĒ libertarian. His blogroll is relatively small, and indeed, leans toward the libertarian (somehow I'm on it...oh, yes!) The other links are a virtual encyclopedia: news around the world, science, archaeology -- this section alone is worth a visit to V from C. And stay for Zach's well-reasoned commentary on issues of the day.
TD Designation:  Boston Terrier

The Volokh Conspiracy is principally the work of UCLA Law Professor and wunderkind Eugene Volokh, and Harvard Law student Sasha (brother of Eugene Volokh), and now apparently at least 9 others, usually legal academics or stellar legal minds. The subject of this super-blog is, of course, legal developments, from an interesting conservative/libertarian perspective (Eugene is a major advocate of Second Amendment rights, for example). I sometimes link to this site for either in-depth, or down and dirty (the site is so versatile, it can provide both) treatment of legal issues, and the site has occasionally linked to me for a bon mot or two I sent in. Though by this point the conspiracy may have grown too big, for those interested in legal and constitutional implications...itís the conspiracy!
TD Designation:  Legal Eagle/Pointer Mix

Vanity Site, the work of blogger Superbe Zizka, is more than an in-depth, brilliant exposition of the liberal position from the standpoint of the left as presently the best means of protecting what's left of our precious liberties (haven't seen that before...oh wait!!!), that, and Zizka outdoes me by calling his blog a vanity site IN THE URL!!! Pictures, recommendations to other blogs (hey, how about this one, Z?)...moving graphics...just...a damn good...blog.
TD Designation:  Hungarian Puli

So...some other letter... some other time!

 

TD Extra III, 2-17-03.

Just to finish out the R's:

Ruminate This is the manifesto of blogger Lisa English. You know where Lisa is coming from when you see her "lefty blogroll" at apparently over 100 entries (yours truly pleased to be included), the libertarian list at...3, the right wing list at...2 (and she correctly places Instapundit there!). Lisa is not merely a lefty bomb thrower, she digs deep, she digs around, she makes YOU DIG THIS SITE!
TD Designation:  Lhasa Apso

Fooled you...that's it for the R's...next letter...later!

 

TD Extra II, 2-17-03.

Jonathan "Head Heeb" Edelstein says he is merely "interested" in Israel, and not "obsessed" with same. If you say so, Jonathan...

I just feel like watching more snow fall...

 

TD Extra I, 2-17-03.

Nothing like a snowy afternoon (when I ain't gonna get nothin' else done!) to continue with our romp through the dog run...we left off somewhere in the R's:

Ribbity Frog is a pseudonymous Israeli blogger. RF has a small blogroll consisting of a few other Israeli bloggers. And RF doesn't post all that often. But each post is a gem. For example, RF concludes simply, but brilliantly, that the current problem of the Labour Party is like general's fighting the last war, it is fighting for the last peace, and events have changed (as most Israelis agree that Arafat is not, and never will be, a reliable peace partner in the realm of a Sadat or King Hussein). I wish Ribbity Frog would croak more often, as this is one amphibian with something to say.
TD Designation:  Non-Canine (Ribbity Frog)

Right Wing News is a magnum opus of web-master John Hawkins, who, if I'm not mistaken, is UK-based. Anyway, surprise, surprise, John's perspective is...right wing! Though not the insane "anti-idiotarian" crap you see on SOME sites (that not even I will link to): thoughtful, well reasoned positions, that often make me question my own perspectives. The blogroll is extensive. I credit John with my own strategy to expand and improve this site -- John has published a list of "how to expand your traffic" on his site -- and his one strategy (write to sites you like and JUST ASK THEM TO EXCHANGE LINKS WITH YOU) has generated the humongous list I am slogging through now! John must be English, if the "other side" in this country were as polite and well-reasoned, I would not be such a doctrinaire lefty!
TD Designation:  English Bulldog

Roger Ailes Over and Out tells us Roger is NOT the one who hangs out with Peggy Noonan. Roger does, however, frequently WRITE to the other Roger Ailes (the one now in charge of Fox News) to lambaste him, of late, for paying a fortune to Iraq for the privilege of covering the story there (without telling the public it is doing so; we don't report, you don't decide, I guess!) Roger is a bomb thrower. He gets to some of the dirtiest crap our government is doing in your name, and tells it like it is, in a nasty, punchy style. The blogroll contains many of the lefty standards, and other resources.
TD Designation:  Top Dog

More later...

 

February 17, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.

Happy Presidents Day! For those few of you who don't get the day off, if you're in the Northeast, God wants you to take the day off, as well over a foot of snow has already fallen (forcing me to clear my walk, arrrrggghhh!!). Itís still falling. And falling...

Paul Frankenstein writes in to note that he DOES have political commentary, at this location. Well, there you go. As you may have guessed, the cataloguing of a blogroll of something like 140 blogs requires some measure of "impressionistic" work on my part; while similar efforts have been done on other sites, I'm not aware to this degree with this many blogs, and certainly, not with dog breeds! To the extent I miss something, I am counting on you all out there to let me know. Dog breed designations remain non-appealable.

Well, the world remains a muddle, as the EU schedules emergency talks (at the behest of...Belgium) to consider an alternate UN resolution urging peaceful resolution of the Iraq, and for the EU to oppose force. This comes not 24 hours after a NATO face-saving deal (which involved the procedurally clever move of selecting the NATO forum that excludes France, if I'm not mistaken, an arrangement that goes back to DeGaulle -- involving shipping of military equipment to Turkey). Meanwhile, Turkey is holding up a decision to allow USA troops to use Turkish bases for the Iraq invasion. And in further diplomatic muddle, it looks like Egypt's efforts to convene an emergency Arab League summit have fallen apart. Arab leaders, unable to agree on something? Shocking!

Just to keep things stirred up you know where, Jerusalem will soon get its first Ultra-Orthodox Mayor, Uri Lupolianski, who will replace current mayor Ehud Olmert when the latter takes a cabinet post in the to-be-formed Likud led government. A special election will occur later this year, but Lupolianskil will serve as acting mayor until then. And as the 16th Knesset is sworn in, Sharon and company announce they are joining talks in London with the Palestinian Authority over PA reform...another olive branch to you, Amram?

I'm torn: Mitzna strikes me as a genuinely good man -- not crass and jaded (and possibly not even corrupt) like many an Israeli (or American!) politician. Mitzna affirmatively WANTS to do the right thing -- and I think he has said what it is. And MOST ISRAELIS AGREE WITH HIM! Itís just that they fear too much conciliation will be a re-run of Barak -- more terror rather than less, and no real movement toward resolution. And most Israelis probably want Labor as part of a unity government, helping to keep Likud in line. I don't know. To hold to principle, and destroy the Labor Party in the process, seems imprudent.

Who knows? If only our current American President were to listen to his own father on some things (you know what) and just say "Wouldn't be prudent?" If only.

 

TD Extra IV, 2-16-03.

And now...on with the P's.

First, Haggai writes in to note that he's mostly a lefty; I called him a slight righty, I believe. Well, so noted! We'll adjust your permanent record accordingly!

And now... on with the P's:

The People's Republic of Seabrook (Texas, itís around greater Houston) , is the work of the mysterious Northstar (though from the bizarre copyright notice, it might be someone named Jack K., Esq.) This is one funny site; I guess the PRS is a lefty free zone, though it never appears that Northstar's tongue ever leaves his cheek.  The blogroll includes an extensive sports sectoin. Posts are generally bite size and biting.
TD Designation:  Sealyham Terrier

Punning Pundit is the work of California blogger Andrew Cory; he wrote in and asked "how does one get on the best damned links section on the InternetTM?" Some questions answer themselves! Punning Pundit is, of course, a great name. But aside from that, Andrew is intriguing; he has a short blogroll, that (present company excepted) leans to the Dark, er, right side of the political spectrum. And his posts seem to follow that...except, Andrew digs deep into issues, and extracts nuggets of truth...  Stuff that upsets my doctrinaire instincts! A reasonable man.
TD Designation:  Curly-Coated Retriever

The Randomness of Ravenwolf is the product of New York area blogger Ravenwolf, and is the stylish predecessor to her either site, Anomaly (and Ravenwolf refers to yet other websites in her mysterious empire!). This is a stylish blog, impossible to explain, so I won't. Randomness is a really good description.
TD Designation:  Raven Wolf

The Raving Atheist is well known to long time readers of this site (both of them) as the former "Rabid Dog" (when I was the "Left Leaning Dog"). As my surgically separated Siamese blog brother, he has gone on to blogging greatness, over his pet intellectual hobby horse, the philosophical justifications of atheism, and mocking small, meaningless people who believe in God and can't really articulate why, while ignoring big players and bigger church-state issues that might be more appropriate for a wit as well-honed as his. Raving has been getting better lately, and has kicked some IMPORTANT ass like Andrew Sullivan and William F. Buckley (Catholicism, as the world's most developed theology, makes the best target for him, though he takes on ALL COMERS in the world of believers and the God-fearing). Some of the parody posts he does are as good as anything I've ever read in any media; itís worth reading every day just to see what he's going to do next.
TD Designation:  Top Dog

More letters later...tomorrow...tonight...who knows?...whenever I feel like it!

 

TD Extra III, 2-16-03.

Well, many in blogtopia (mandatory credit to skippy the bush kangaroo for the term) seem to have noticed what your TD is up to, which, to be honest, is nothing more than "keeping honest". I had often used the term "best damned links section on the InternetTM" -- but what did it mean? Now, you know. It means I give some curt capsule summary and then call your site by some dog breed (that for the most part, is of little or no relevance whatsoever to anything).

On with the P's:

The Poor Man is the brilliant work of one Andrew Northrup, who we believe to be an Austin, Texas based engineering student (I'm sure I'll hear about it if I've misstated this) who is my vote for the funniest man in blogging. Among his gems are the Al Pacino theorem (virtually no movie cannot be improved by placing Al Pacino in a key roll, including on occasion, movies which Al Pacino is ALREADY IN), the Pepsi Blue theorem, and The Poor Man hypotheses themselves (Christian Slater being the poor man's Jack Nicholson as the easiest, and then quickly spinning out of control). There are pictures (such as the Jon Pertwee cycle -- he of Dr. Who fame), and whatever else Andrew feels like. The commentary is bitingly lefty, just vicious, and delicious.
TD Designation:  Top Dog

Virginia Postrel is not so much a blogger as an intellectual whirlwind operating on the cutting edge of the blog world. Ms. Postrel has moved from a "wind-swept" picture to a cheesecake babe-shot on the front of her site. A now Dallas-area based Princeton grad, at some point in her 20's, she was editor-in-chief of Reason magazine. A major writer and thinker in her own right, she lets us in on her often lengthy (and at times, quite irregular) musings, often of a libertarian bent, or another "slight-ly right-ly", on political, cultural, and sometimes educational issues sometimes NOT otherwise extensively discussed in blog-dom. A compact blog roll features important sites of both the left and the right.
TD Designation:  Porcelaine

Procrastination is the work of Atlanta (Georgia Tech, specifically) based blogger Zakaria Ajmal and on occasion, his wife Amber. Zack is originally from Pakistan, and gives us the appropriate perspective, with focus from that part of the world. I would classify Zack as a moderate liberal, but the interesting focus here is on South Asian and Middle Eastern issues, where his is a fresh and welcome perspective. Posts are thorough, and well reasoned (as you would expect from an electrical engineer.)
TD Designation:  
Pashmi Hound

More later!

 

TD Extra II, 2-16-03.

And now...I guess we go to the "P's" (they would seem to be as logical a next stop as anywhere else)...

Pandagon is the work of blogger Jesse; he advises us that the Dining Room is open (his sign "functional nirvana for free" seems to be down; perhaps it was a result of Jesse's recent "experiences"). Jesse has a "newsie" and extensive links collection, which matches his direct, to the point commentary which is, well, appropriate left-leaning and anti-war. A throwback to a groovier era, perhaps, what I expect in my lefties!
TD Designation:  I'm torn between saying "Non-Canine: Panda" and "Thai Ridgeback". But then, in Nirvana, you can be all or none, or both or neither, or...

Paul Frankenstein (with a sporty new URL to go with his site), a New York-area blogger, assures us that Paul Frankenstein is indeed his real name. Paul's site is punchy, visual, artistic, that's the word I'm looking for! Paul is a prime mover among blog bashers (that's parties), often being the first to post photos of same. I'm not really aware of Paul getting into "political" commentary, so much as an ongoing commentary on existential angst and realism. Cool stuff from a cool dude. [Editor:  Paul Frankenstein writes in to note that he DOES have political commentary, at this location.]
TD Designation:  Beauceron

P.L.A., Dwight Meredith's Journal of Politics, Law and Autism is an off-the-chart-brilliant treatment of all three subjects. Yes, Dwight is a fellow lefty, but unlike many (me?), Dwight takes the time to carefully dissect opposing positions and to carefully explore positions advocated. An extensive blogroll and resource section just adds to the credibility and appeal of this site.
TD Designation:  Border Collie

Well, Paul, I hope you're happy, I think its a cool breed! (TD Designations are, alas, not appealable).

 

TD Extra I, 2-16-03.

Happy birthday, Mr. Naughty -- you know who you are.

Nick Marsala posts on his blog Arrogant Rants (you COULD have sent me a polite e-mail, you know, Nick) that he is NOT from New Jersey at all-- but is from Long Island. I am duly chastened; Brooklyn, of course, rests on a land mass called Long Island, so that makes Nick my neighbor, I guess. I will change the "I think he's from Joizy" to ďNick says he's from ĎThe IslandíĒ, in the Dog Run comments and breeds section. NIck seems to have no complaints with his TD designation of bloodhound; I think dog breed calls are non-appealable, anyway! But Nick, you want action, you get action!

And so itís...on to the rest of the "L's":

Liberal Oasis where "The Left is Right, and the Right is Wrong" (Stop right there! How can you NOT LOVE THIS SITE?) is a group effort to restore the good name of liberalism in the post-Dukakis era! The site is a cornucopia of resource links, with selected blog comments of the week, and a floating multifarious (LEFTY!) links section, and articles of relevance. Liberals, wander in the desert no more!
TD Designation:  American Water Spaniel

Lincoln Plawg is the work of UK-based blogger John Smith (that might really be his name, you know), and the name is derived from ďPolitics LAW blogĒ. John MIGHT BE a lefty, anti-war fellow traveler, God bless him (OR...is he...could he be...a libertarian?...or...does he just THINK about things based on their own merits?) The Lincoln Plawg triggers thought, it does. The blogroll is concise (I'm proud to be on it), and includes standard-bearers of various perspectives.
TD Designation:  English Shepherd

Link Crusader is simply a list of (now over 250) lefty and Bush-bashing blogs, a list on which many of the blogs in MY blogroll reside, and on which the TD himself romps and roams.
TD Designation:  Dog Show

Well, that's it for the "L's"...as for the next letter, well, it'll come to me soon!

 

February 16, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.

Hi there, everybody! Yesterday was one of those rare days, when you feel that somehow you can make a difference (even if you know better!) Still, I hate to be a killjoy as many of us are commending ourselves for our attendance at various anti-war rallies (I personally still feel...cold), while we await how OUR government will react to it (though Haaretz reports that Secretary Powell indicates the US of A will allow inspections to continue "for a few more weeks", the effort has gotten absolutely rave reviews in...Iraq.

While our own President is (not so) slowly, but surely, eroding America's (hard-earned) moral and diplomatic hegemony (not to mention quickly destroying NATO, which meets today WITHOUT FRANCE to try to resolve the Turkey defense fiasco), threatening domestic civil liberties and risking the lives of millions (including millions at home from retaliatory terror attacks) in what appears to be an ill-conceived adventure designed to shore up support in swing states and avenge his Daddy, Saddam Hussein remains a murderer, a brutal dictator, a megalomaniac, possibly a hoarder of WMD's, and an all around monster. Sorry, everybody, but Dubya is just BETTER than Saddam, in every way. Opposition to our own government's heavy handedness is NOT, repeat, NOT to be equated with, in any way, favoring Saddam. This is a question of means, not ends. Itís simply that many (most?) of us believe that an invasive inspection regime backed by a credible threat of massive force if Saddam gets out of line -- which he won't because of said threat -- with general international support, will ultimately be cheaper and less risky (BY A LOT) than a massive military action. Yes, our President has "better intelligence" (as in data!) than the rest of us, but this is not an Administration that has shown it or its judgment can be trusted on anything, so it loses THAT particular benefit of the doubt. We'll see. Despite my original feelings that a last-second all around face-saving deal could be worked out, I am troubled that war becomes more inevitable with each new reserve call up. I hope I'm wrong.

Itís a tough, tough time when I find myself in general agreement with the Arab League, but as Egypt's President Mubarak convenes an emergency summit of the Arab League (set for Cairo next week), the rationale is that the United States is...get this...largely relying on misinformation to justify its planned military operation against Iraq! Well, much as the only thing the AL can agree on is hatred of Israel and Jews, I'm rooting for them on this one. Maybe THEY can convince Saddam to (1) resign and leave the country for the Chateau Amin subdivision in Jeddah, (2) come clean on his WMD's, or (3) shoot himself for the good of the world.

 

Somehow, I doubt it, but hope springs eternal.

 

TD Extra III, 2-15-03.

So, where shall we go next...

R.I.P. for Dolly the cloned sheep, BTW, who had to be put down recently at 6, because of various health problems. Last I looked, the health problems likely to arise from cloning get worse the higher up the chain we go...

Quite literally apropos of nothing, (other than Lean Left has a story on it) itís on to the L's (some of them, anyway):

Lean Left is the work of blogger Kevin. This tells it like it is: 98 mile-an-hour fastballs, coming at you from the left! The blogroll is extensive and left leaning. The commentary is concise, and left leaning.
TD Designation:  Landseer

Letter from Gotham is the work of pseudonymous blogger Diane, or Diana Moon. This is a tour de force of matters New York (and Diane's life), and matters Israel and the Middle East (a key part of Diane's blogroll). The politics are well to the right of the Upper West Side, though still not necessarily that far out for the East Side. Still, an often unique and sensible angle to most issues (often of the "I know, but I don't really WANT to know" variety).
TD Designation:  Bichon/Yorkie

Liberal Desert is the work of Arizonan Sam Coppersmith (get a blogroll, Sam, it will help!). Sam fights the good fight from conservative Arizona, and gives us positions of local and universal import, from the right (as in correct, i.e. left) side of the spectrum, and does so with wit and charm.
TD Designation:  Samoyed

Well, that's all folks...some more later...stay tuned!

 

TD Extra II, 2-15-03.

Even though I'm cold and tired from a protest bound to fall on the tone deaf ears of our national leadership (or ARE they?), itís time for...the K's!

Kausfiles is the seminal work of now Beverly Hills-based blogging superstar Mickey Kaus. Now writing for MSN's Slate (making Mickey an employee of Bill Gates', I suppose), Mickey rails against moderate lefties, while cutting slack to the extreme right, while hypothesizing that Atrios is none other than Sidney Blumenthal (a man I can hate no matter WHICH pseudonymous website he haunts, BTW). Mickey is a great writer, with usually dead-on opinions and observations rarely made elsewhere; his famous shtick is welfare reform, and how "well" it has worked out (before Dubya, Mick baby!) Anyway, not AN important blog, THE important blog (and Mickey's single column run on, the model for the TD's format).
TD Designation:  Mi-ki

Kieran Healy's Weblog is the work of one Kieran Healy, a sociology professor at the University of Arizona.  Kieran is, I believe, an Irish national, and has the wit and the gab and the poetry and the empirical details and evidence and all the other laudatory things I can say apropos of same. The site is partisan lefty (and the blogroll reflects that), and Kieran will drift into cute barbs, and waxes poetic...good stuff, and well said.
TD Designation:  Irish Red and White Setter

The Kolkata Libertarian is the opus of Suman Palit, whose tag line is: from the banks of the Ganges, to a treestand in Illinois...defending freedom with a pen and a .357 Magnum. Suman is what Glenn Reynolds only SAYS he is: a genuine, patriotic American (via India) lover of liberty. The posts are to the right of, well, me, but I don't care! This is sincere libertarianism and conservatism in the best sense of the word. The blogroll is extensive, with many South Asian sources as well as blogosphere standbys.
TD Designation:  Halden Hound

More later...

 

TD Extra I, 2-15-03.

Your TD is back from his small corner of the big protest here in NYC (anecdotally, it seems like it was attended by hundreds of thousands, maybe a million). TD was pleased to march in the blogger brigade, in this case a brigade of 3, consisting of blogger Goblin Queen (aka Katie), her friend Aaron, and yours truly. Our protest banners were none other than unadorned old glory, and some hand-drawn sentiments ("the New York Sun calls this treason, we call this democracy" and "if this be treason, make the most of it"). There is no more patriotic city than this (I lost count of flags during the legendary 2001 NYC Marathon somewhere in the tens of thousands), though, today, Old Glory was present only occasionally amidst usual leftist "NO blood for oil" signs and similar sentiments. The crowd was classic Green Party, reminiscent of a Clapton concert: Whiter, older and richer than me!

Atrios provides the New York Times guess of 400,000 at the "main rally" on 1st Avenue; we didn't get near it. Ironically, by DENYING a march permit, this turned into SEVERAL marches, effectively shutting down the East Side. (Bloomberg thus proves truly a worthy successor to Rudy.)

Reminiscent of the report of Jim Henley from a DC anti-war march of a fortnight ago, wherein Jim observed signs saying "Justice for the Plastinians", moments after recounting that to Aaron and Katie, I observed a sign that said "No War for Isreal" (forcing me to yell: "If you hate the Jewish state so much, learn to spell it!"; other low lights of this nature were a chant of "Bush and Sharon must go", causing me to yell "Sharon WON HIS election", which silenced those particular anti-Semitic ninnies. This sort of event is all too likely to attract idiots like that, I'm afraid. If you oppose Sharon, move to Israel and vote against him.

Others were selling communist memorabilia like Workers World Party literature (forcing me to mutter the phrase "dustbin of history" progressively louder. I enjoyed the chants of some African American groups (Y-O-U-U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi, BUSH, You Ugly; Y-O-D-A-D-D-Y, how you get you damn job, Yo' Daddy!)

Favorite signs and chants are as good as I can do, as, thanks to the NYPD's closing off of East-West movement in Midtown, I didn't get anywhere near the "rally", and, based on the little Angela Davis type CRAP that I heard on the few radios of people who dutifully tuned in to WBAI, its just as well.

The railing against Israel and "racism", and frankly, saying that somehow the murderer Saddam Hussein is more worthy of our support in any way than George W. Bush is just wrong. Saddam remains a monster; Dubya, at worst, misguided.

Saddam should still be removed (preferably in a box) Ė itís just that the manner the Bush Administration is going about this will get far more Iraqis, and Americans, killed than if this were done in a more reasonable way (or of course, if it were ALREADY DONE, say, by 41, or certainly before the smoke cleared at Ground Zero). Further, Bush is jeopardizing the continued existence of NATO and the UN over matters of personal pique. Ultimately, having (famously, sorry about this) observed the events of 9-11 from a city block away, lost my job over it, yada yada yada, let me just say that I get the feeling that the actions of the 43rd President of the United States will prove irritatingly reminiscent of the 41st President of the United States, and will lead to the direct anti-American resentment and mobilization and empowerment of our enemies that will make future terrorist strikes against our nation of the worst kind MORE, rather than less likely. THAT is why I dragged my sorry ass to the freezing cold streets of Midtown today. Because New York gets a special place in this discussion: we're the likeliest terror target. If we think your misguided actions are likelier to get more of us killed, we'll darned well tell you, Mr. President.

And the better part of a million of us just did.

 

February 15, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.

Just as protests are being staged around the world against the seemingly inexorable march to war against Iraq (and I will shortly be heading to New York's version of the protest), Tony Blair announces that UN weapons inspectors will have some more time.

Fascinating.

 

TD Extra III, 2-14-03.

The "quartet" is hard at work, suggesting gently that Yasir Arafat appoint a Palestinian Authority "prime minister" i.e., who ISN'T Yasir Arafat, as one way of getting the dilution of Arafat's authority going. (Query: maybe someone ELSE should name a premier, if this is the purpose?)

So, since we're on Palestinians, let's pick up some Palestinian bloggers:

Electronic Intifada is the work of a consortium of Palestinian bloggers, and is your one-stop shop for resistance to the brutal occupation of the Zionist entity.  Reports from actual Palestinians living in the territories, from Palestinians and others living abroad, media resources-- its quite the endeavor (its a 501(c)(3) based in Chicago, evidently).
TD Designation:  Canaan Dog Show

Farid Lancheros and his blog "Somewhere Over the Brooklyn Bridge" is, I believe other than Electrolite, the only other Brooklyn blog (I know of) on the entire dog run. Farid purports to be of multiple heritage, including Colombian and Palestinian (I believe he's a practicing Muslim). Farid's is a walk through life in the City, through his life, and occasional forays into the very mildly political.
TD Designation:  Eurasier

Fontenelles - Palestinian Archive is the work of blogger David Dugan, with numerous links to those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause (a healthy Robert Fisk section comes to mind) and other sources and endless discussions of the excesses of Israeli occupation. David Dugan doesn't SOUND like a Palestinian name, but who knows.
TD Designation:  Pharaoh Hound

Well, more blog blurbs blater.

 

TD Extra II, 2-14-03.

In the "Hoist on its own petard?" department, The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel has a very similar law to Belgium's vis a vis "universal jurisdiction", though it has not yet been used in quite the high profile way Belgium's has.  Still...it COULD be...

So, since we're in Israel, let's pick up some Israeli-related bloggers we might have missed...

Balagan is the work of the lovely Retatinha, an immigrant to Israel from Brazil.  Retatinha blogs in English, though her native tongue is Portuguese and she is learning Hebrew.  Quite engaging, as we learn significant details of life in Israel, and her own life.
TD Designation:  Silky Terrier

Ex-Pat Egghead is the work of Britisher-living-in-Israel Adrian.  Another personal perspective on life in that nation, this time from a sorta lefty sorta academic's perspective (I believe Adrian works in the technical sciences).  Anyway, engaging reading.
TD Designation:
  English Springer Spaniel

Grasshoppa is the work of Geoff Meltzner, a (student?) blogger based at some technical school in Cambridge, Mass.  Geoff is, at times, all Israel all the time (you go, bubbelah), and at other times, is a "euro-skeptic, moderate kinda rightie".  A decently eclectic blogroll is consistent with the blogging, which is that combination of reasonable, yet bad-ass, that I find so appealing.
TD Designation:  Non-Canine (Grasshoppa)

The Head Heeb is the work of an Israel-obsessed New York lawyer (haven't seen one of those!) named Jonathan Edelstein; he derived his blog's name from service in New York's Army National Guard, where he was only one of two Jews (the other being a Hasidic rabbi and the Jewish chaplain; the rabbi dubbed Jonathan the "Head Heeb").  Jonathan gives us seemingly "insider details" of Israeli politics (he calls the Labor Party "Avodah" -- its Hebrew name -- pretty inside stuff to me!); he also bounces around subjects Africa and other interesting parts of the world, again, from a detailed, almost "insider" perspective.  Details, details, Jonathan gives 'em!
TD Designation:  Canaan Dog/Legal Beagle Mix

Israeli Guy is the work of Israeli blogger Gil Shterzer, who recently came off a blogging hiatus (Gil was missed).  There's the requisite poltiical stuff, of a "moderate" bent.  But call it gallows humor, or call it something else, Gil is just a funny man.  There are pics, there are jokes, there's political commentary...the Israeli guy, ladies and gentlemen, he'll be here all week.
TD Designation:  Giant Schnauzer

Israpundit is a tour de force group effort on all things Israel.  The articles are hard hitting, and it is hard to imagine a better "one stop shop" for matters Israeli.
TD Designation:  Dog Show

 

TD Extra I, 2-14-03.

And now, on with the... "I's":

Insolvent Republic of Blogistan is the work of (New Jersey?) blogger Justin Slotman.  This is a melange of a potpourri of a mixed bag -- sports, comics, food, politics (I guess Justin is a sorta "rightie", though this does not seem to be his primary agenda)... You name it, if it interests Justin, he blogs about it -- and in an engaging (and entertaining) manner, at that.
TD Designation:  Sloughi

Instapundit is the "for the love of blogging" blog of UT Law Professor Glenn Reynolds (already profiled in Glenn Reynolds.com, above).  This is it: the Grand Central Station of bloggerville -- how Glenn manages to keep on top of thousands of blogs (he even once mentioned the TD!), and still spit out dozens of posts A DAY, and STILL do his "for pay blog", his Tech Central Station columns, AND books, I understand, AND still manage to have a professorship and a wife and child...Huh!
TD Designation:  It should be "Greyhound", but itís "Legal Beagle/Great Dane Mix"

The Invisible Hand is the work of New York blogger Philip Murphy, who tells us that his blog will give us "Vital Information About Euro-snobbery, Islamofascism, and Lousy Modern Architecture".  Philip describes his politics as "neo-con", though he spends a fair amount of time blogging political issues and plain old straight Euro-bashing (everyone on the American political spectrum can agree at least on THAT!)
TD Designation:  Irish Wolfhound

Isntapundit (sounds like the work of that peripatetic law professor, no? we made that mistake once!) is the work of Oregon blogger "Dipnut".  I guess Dipnut can be classified as a "rightie".  I'm not really sure he can be classified as much of anything, except an over the top, in your face blogger.  You da' nut!
TD Designation:  American Pit Bull Terrier

Inner Balance is the work of Israeli blogger Ilana, and it has an almost poetic feel to it, as Ilana describes life (in Israel), the universe and everything.  Pictures abound (such as "root for our favorite IDF troops" -- with pictures of, well, female IDF troops), and charming personal details.
TD Designation:  Shiba Inu

Well, more letters later...if I feel like it!

 

February 14, 2003, New York, NY.

Happy Valentineís Day, everyone.  We apparently (other than us in New York, who allegedly have never LEFT orange alert) can go back to our complacency, and put away our duct tape: the heightened threat status was in large part based on a captured Al Qaeda informant who out and out made up a dirty bomb threat story; he underwent a polygraph only AFTER the alert status had been upgraded to orange!  (Thanks to Unqualified Offerings for the link).  Of course, itís a "red and white" alert kind of day -- get those flowers, candies and jewelries mobilized!

And just as Iraq does some dramatic things (like pass laws banning WMDs!) and "procedurally" cooperate with inspectors, the report of Messrs. Blix and ElBaradei to the Security Council today will be used by both the UNSC war-proponents US and UK and war-opponents just about everyone else with a veto to justify their next moves.  While I see the basis for a last second deal, I also see a huge portion of America's military capability in one place, poised for one thing.  I fear the government's prevailing wisdom is "Be kinda shame not to use 'em, now that we got 'em lined up and all!"

And while we're at it, kudos to Secretary Powell.  This is the guy who out-pussied his boss, George H.W. Bush, a/k/a the Wimp, in counseling caution in NOT removing Saddam Hussein back in Gulf War I, then he helped to constantly undermine Bill Clinton's foreign policy with similar pussy positions, and THEN, he even talked Dubya out of  swift action in Iraq shortly after 9-11-01.  And NOW, this guy is number one shill for belligerent "let's put Saddam's head on a stake" action NOW, on some of the weakest evidence ever assembled.  You know, I can forgive Dubya for this-- he's not a moron, much as I love to play him for that, but let's face it: he's a lightweight, and probably thinks this Iraq *&^% is somehow the right thing to do.

Colin Powell knows better.  That makes him a far worse man.

 

TD Extra III, 2-13-03.

Well, what could possibly follow the "H's" -- the I's?  Here are some...

Ignatz is the work of DC lawyer Sam Heldman (via Alabama). Sam is, well, a bomb throwing liberal, who, in my favorite rhetorical style, pulls no punches. He blogs on topics political and legal and Alabama -- including Alabama law, in a punchy, hard hitting way.
TD Designation:  Legal Beagle/Pug Mix

The Illuminated Donkey (or "the Donk") is the work of Jersey CIty's own Ken Goldstein (actually, Kenny's lived in many places in New Jersey).  This is, somewhat unusually for the dog run, not so much a political blog, as an eclectic cultural and blogging pastiche; the Donk has games with prizes (blog poker; rewards for milestone hits, etc.) and discusses music, culture, pizza-- you name it.  Ken is a computer programmer and copywriter by trade, and he inserts many interesting visual effects on the blog.
TD Designation:  Non-Canine (Donkey)

IMAO is the work of blogger Frank J. Frank is one of them righties, but he is a laugh riot. No political topic is too sacred for the "dumb smart guy", and while I don't necessary agree with much of what Frank says, I think I can agree that this is one entertaining blogger.
TD Designation:  Pit Bull Terrier

Inappropriate Response comes to us from Oregon blogger Moira Breen; I can't tell if Moira Breen is a groovy granola liberal, or just an extremely practical and sensible moderate, or what. Moira gets into many topics, including those of both regional and universal relevance, as well as mixing in details of her own existence (a classic weblog!). She has an interestingly categorized blogroll -- by names of BLOGGERS, rather than by names of blogs. Moira was an early linker to the TD, and I'm glad to see her back in more or less regular blogging, as she is entertaining and informative.
TD Designation:  Briard

In Context is the work of blogger Lynn B.; she spends a great deal of time on matters Israel, and has a links section devoted to Israel and Jewish subjects. Lynn is devoted to the Jewish state, and let's say, more likely to be deemed a Likudnik than I, though I agree with most of her assessments of the world. Her other political stances appear to be moderate to slightly righty, but there you go. Interesting reading on one of my favorite subjects, of course.
TD Designation:  Leonberger

More later! Stop me before I blog again!!!

 

TD Extra II, 2-13-03.

And so... on to the "H"'s  (sorry Steve, we'll get to you soon enough!):

Haggai's Place is the work of blogger Haggai, ďa graduate student in mathematics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; born in Israel, raised in Kentucky, movie fanatic and sports nut,Ē is an entertaining blogging tour de force discussing, not surprisingly, Israeli politics, American politics (slightly rightie, though Haggai tells us he is a lefty), Kentucky Wildcats basketball and math.
TD Designation:  Kemmer Feist

Hawspipe is the work of blogger Lawrence Haws, who I believe is a Chicago-area ex-navy man.  His is an appropriately patriotic perspective, supportive of our government, and highly critical of the more idiotic realms of lefty thought.  Itís good to see that Lawrence has taken to more regular posting of late, as regularly seeing others confident of our government and its actions is comforting.
TD Designation:  American Staffordshire Terrier

The Hillbilly Sophisticate is the work of the mysterious "S.", (I can't even tell if "S." is a man or a woman [though in response to my original post, S. revealed that she is a woman, and that the origin of the site's name is her resentment of a local clothier called "the petite sophisticate]).  The tagline of the blog is "A dose of sarcasm and venom from the tranquil hills of West Virginia".  We get details of West Virginia life and politics, and a view on the world I would describe as amusingly snarky -- from a fresh perspective that's, well, homey, yet sophisiticated!
TD Designation:  West Highland White Terrier

How Appealing is the work of Philadelphia lawyer Howard Bashman.  Howard covers just about every appellate case in the United States, and numerous other subjects of relevance to law and politics and culture.  His net is a wide one, the posts are often long, the blogroll is huge.  Howard is THOROUGH.  Again, Howard makes me jealous because, unlike me, there are people who are well-suited to my profession -- and he's one of them.  This is a serious blog for students of law and politics, as well as legal professionals.
TD Designation:  Legal Beagle

Hullabaloo is the work of mysterious blogger Digby.  Digby is another one of them bad ass liberals I seem to like so much.  Digby is a blogger I often dueled with on Matt Yglesias' comments board (to the extent one can duel with a fellow traveler!)  Digby's blogroll is a who's who of progressive bloggers -- his commentary is witty, nasty -- what can I say?
TD Designation:  Border Collie

For those of you who are wondering -- border collie -- traditionally a sheep herding dog, is invariably THE smartest dog when tested; poodle is invariably second (of course, these days, "poodle" means "Tony Blair" to me.  Ironically, he is an extremely courageous politician, albeit in an insane cause).  The fact is, if you're on the dog run AT ALL, itís because the TD picked your blog out from the maelstrom of the thousands out there as a blog worth reading.  The "breeds" are simply an impressionistic assessment, mostly made at whim, and unless I SAY SO, nothing not absolute complimentary (or at least utterly meaningless!) is meant.  In fact, some bloggers HAVE dogs, and I try to match them to the breed of the dog they have.  Others just strike me one way or another as suggesting a breed.  Still others make no sense at all.  There's no point in TRYING to make sense of it!  

Soon, some other letter of the alphabet!!!

 

TD Extra I, 2-13-03.

And now, on with the... "G's".

Glenn Reynolds.com is the blogging-labor-for-money version of the musings of peripatetic super-blogger Glenn Reynolds, who by profession is a law professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, but we all know is "Instapundit", and how could he POSSIBLY have time for anything else, what with his 20-30 times DAILY updates to his blog, and his uncanny knowledge of virtually everything said on thousands, upon thousands of blogs.  GR.Com, on the MSNBC family of blogs, is less "formidable" than Instapundit, and has a lot more "reader feedback", than Instapundit.  It also has a much smaller set of links (Instapundit has over 200, I believe).  Glenn purports to be a libertarian (and he loves to post things like "Store clerk John X. of Somewhere shot and killed a would be robber today, using his .357 magnum that he keeps under the cash register, way to go John!).  But Glenn is NOT a libertarian.  He is a conservative.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  He is also regarded as the king of blogdom.
TD Designation:  Great Dane/Legal Beagle Mix

Groupthink Central is the work of blogger Yuval Rubinstein.  This is a thoughtful blog bouncing around (as does a certain blog with which you're probably familiar) between matters involving Israel and politics and other issues here.  The commentary is crisp, skeptical-left-leaning (Yuval is one of them "free-thinkin' types"), and the blogroll compact, featuring some "quality" lefties and others.
TD Designation:  Krasky Ovcar

Gunters Geblogger is (or was) the personal weblog and musings and ramblings of some guy in Germany named Gunter.  The trick here is that Gunter blogs in German, and I don't speak or read German.  No one wrote in to complain that Gunter was writing anything untoward, and the German words I knew (coupled with the context I could make up, based on recollections of my grandparentsí Yiddish) showed me that Gunter was just some guy, commenting on his life!  Still... Sadly, Gunter appears to have gone dormant, which, as you know, is pretty much the only reason I "de-list" blogs, so we will be retiring Gunter's link.

Some other letter later...I see that Steve Silver has observed our project, and wonders when we will arrive at the "S's".  Well, let's just sayóitís just a matter of time.

 

February 13, 2003, New York, NY.

There is a hilarious Monty Python bit called "Prejudice", where among the groups taken on and lampooned are Belgians; suggested names for Belgians include "sprouts", "phlegms", one viewer calls in and says "what could be more offensive then "Belgians", before they settle on "Fat Miserable Belgian Bastards".  Why do I bring this up now?

Here's why:  as I reported earlier, Belgium decided to go ahead with the outrage known as its universal jurisdiction, and has announced Amos Yaron, now Israel's defense ministry director general and then commander of IDF forces in Beirut ("then" being at the time of the storied Sabra and Shatila massacres, NOT committed by Israelis, of course, but legendary among lore-starved Palestinians and Euro-lefty-weenies, such as the Belgian government), and of course, PM Ariel Sharon -- though only AFTER  Sharon leaves office and his diplomatic immunity expires -- are subject to trial for war crimes they allegedly committed in LEBANON (not Belgium, not even against Belgian nationals).  Just anyone can come in the door (in this case, some Palestinian activists) and make a "war crimes" complaint against ANYONE, ANYWHERE.  I say we indict the entire Belgian government for their role in the Rwandan massacre!  And let's throw in everything bad that happened in Congo too!  And we can hold the trial in ISRAEL.  FM Netanyahu has summoned Belgium's ambassador to protest this, but to no avail.

I hate to break this to Bibi, but Belgium has more important things to do -- like helping to destroy NATO (which it hosts, along with the feckless EU).  And frankly, Israel has more important things to do, like mobilize for the Iraq war, to make bloody well sure that Saddam knows that a lash-out at Israel will be responded to a little differently this time than it was in '91.

And so...we see the usual split of opinion on the significance of the discovery of an Iraqi missile that exceeds (apparently, not by all that much) its 150 kilometer range.  The fact that Iraq "came clean" about the missile to UN inspectors is being used by Iraq's champions on the Security Council (France, Russia, China, Germany, etc.) as proof that "the inspections are working".  The USA and UK, of course, demur.  The rhetoric is all sort of a kabuki thing, the real action is unspoken, such as the presence of over 150,000 U.S. troops (that's NOT "coalition" troops -- that's the UNITED STATES military -- with more troops coming).  That doesn't include "War on TerrorTM" troops in the Afghan theatre -- that's JUST the Gulf.

THAT, boys and girls, is why, barring Saddam's accidental drowning during a morning lap swim, or choking to death on bad hummus, or accepting an amnesty deal to live next door to Idi Amin in Jeddah, war is pretty much a foregone conclusion, no matter HOW compliant or cooperative Iraq suddenly becomes at the last minute.  And wars that start simply because everybody mobilized for a war (World War I comes to mind) rarely have good outcomes (not that many wars have all that good outcomes).  Secretary Rumsfeld assures us that U.S. troops will be in Iraq "as long as necessary".  Let's just think of it as job security for our men and women in uniform.

 

TD Extra IV, 2-12-03.

And now, more "M's"!  Why?  I don't know.

Mfinley.com is the work of Minneapolis-St. Paul area blogger Michael Finley.  Like you would expect from a Minnesotan, Michael is a reasonable, moderate guy (goes to church, hangs out with his kids) with reasonable moderate politics (he is occasionally outraged by things our government does!).  Middle of the road from the middle of the country -- and often dead on target.  He is also a dog lover, and has written extensively regarding same.
TD Designation:  Standard Poodle

Mind Over What Matters is the work of New York area blogger (I think) Jay Zilber, and is a wonderfully eclectic collection of things political and personal, and other chazurai.  A great blog roll features (presciently) blogs with PET NAMES (of which this is one).
TD Designation:  Schnoodle

MyDD.com is the work of blogger Jerome Armstrong, and is your one stop shop for matters political from the right (as in correct, meaning left!) side of the political spectrum.  His links section gives all the major Democratic candidates, many state political sites and numerous others.  J.B. Armstrong does not pull punches, or take prisoners:  this is bad-ass main stream lefty politics coming at you.
TD Designation:  Top Dog

And with the "M's" complete, we move on to the...Q's! 

Quasipundit,  or Shouting Across the Potomac as it is otherwise known, is the work of D.C. area bloggers Tony Adragna and Will Vehrs.  They provide what amounts to a private McLaughlin Group type cornucopia of matters political arising out of our nation's capital, in a fast paced setting (they often keep scores, and have "Sunday talk show wrap ups" and similar analyses).  Itís hard to give a left or right classification here, so much as "well-reasoned"  (naturally, I assume they're lefties!).  Hard hitting, compelling...
TD Designation:  American Bulldog

Quit That is the product of blogger Marc, who tells us that he is a computer programmer, and blogging for Marc is as much to test out computer programs for blogging ("Simcat") as anything else!  His is a rambling of personal statements, occasionally political (probably "slightly to the right", but more often a pot pourri, and  technical stuff .  The blogroll is extensive (Marc notes its 164 links strong-- almost as insanely large as MY blogroll!).
TD Designation:  Simaku

Well, I have NO IDEA where the hell in the alphabet that puts me, but then, neither do you!!!

 

TD Extra III, 2-12-02.

The bad news:  North Korea has a nuclear weapons program which may have created one or two nuclear bombs, and it has ballistic missiles capable of hitting the West Coast -- Washington, Oregon, maybe even California.  The good news, Mr. President:  none of those states voted for you.  A depressing scenario is laid out by blogger Kevin Batcho of Beyond the Wasteland.  Specifically, Kevin believes that Dubya's rhetorical posturing for American domestic consumption, i.e., the famous "Axis of EvilTM speech", well, let Kevin tell you:

With that statement, George W. Bush set in motion an Axis of Evil Effect, whereby, with domino-like predictability, rogue (and rogue clair) states around the globe will begin to scramble to acquire nuclear weapons. The resulting nuclear proliferation will in turn lead to a drastic increase in the political price of going to war, in effect neutralizing the United Stateís huge conventional military advantage, which in ten to fifteen years will relegate it to regional power status. In other words, with a nuclear-armed Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen; our aircraft carriers will no longer be welcome in the Persian Gulf. The type of no-good-options stand off we are currently seeing with North Korea will become the norm in international relations.

Jeez, it looks like I sure picked a bad week to give up drinkin'...

And now, onto the...well, some of the "M's":

Media Whores Online is sort of a blog, and sort of a moving rant and rail against hypocritical journalists (so it says).  I added MWO at a time when the great Mickey Kaus of Kausfiles had a urinating contest over his decision to link to Lucianne Goldberg; I simultaneously linked to both MWO and Lucianne (though, Lucianne ceased amusing me and I dropped her from the dog run when we changed formats recently, though MWO is still on!).  Though less "bomb throwers" than they once were (and thankfully, less blatantly openly Clintonista), the site is still provocative, nasty and unashamedly biased.
TD Designation:  Pit Bull Terrier

Memeufacture is a "meta-blog"; it has some text, but for the most part, it rates various blog categories (such as rightie and lefty politics, various technical details, and of course, law) supposedly in an automated way.  It has categories of "most popular" and "most influential", and the players change all the time (though Instapundit seems to always be in there!).  Interestingly, this site (the talking dog) was, if I'm not mistaken, the very first site to be rated number one most influential in the law category.  For whatever reason, like the original all-Jewish starting line-up of the New York Knicks, I have gone on to be replaced, but there was that shining moment!
TD Designation:  Dog Show

That's all, we'll do some other letter later.

 

TD Extra II, 2-12-03.

You know, some huge stuff has come on that I haven't commented on -- the deficits forever in the Bush budget, and the leak of USA Patriot Act II.  At some point I will discuss them (I guess), but even I get tired of bashing the President after a while.  Can't the man give me some respite from excuses for doing so?

And now, back where some of you may have thought I would go: the "G's":

But first, we'll start with a "D" Ė a new blog:

Doxagora is the work of the mysterious "Watchful Babbler" -- and this is one erudite babbler!  The Tolstoy quote at the beginning is just a hint of the well-reasoned commentary in this blog (which I guess is "vaguely to the left").  The blogroll is well-organized into categories such as law and philosophy.
TD Designation:  Dachshund

Gail On Line is the handiwork of Arizona based blogger and lawyer (I'm pretty sure she's a lawyer) Gail Davis.  Gail has a unique daily layout to her blog (with a desert adobe colored background!) with interesting citations and links (just like a lawyer!) and a "two dimensional" blogroll at the end.  The commentary is "thoughtful liberal", and Gail goes for many interesting juxtapositions.
TD Designation:  Sage Ashiyeri (not all lawyers have be legal beagles!)

Gedankenpundit is the work of Seattle area blogger Solly Ezekiel.  Solly is what I would call a pro-Israel moderate, with some slightly rightist urges (he's pretty hawkish on Iraq, for example).  Interesting politics mixed with culture and personal detail ( and a big mazel tov on Solly's new baby boy Eli!)
TD Designation:  Husky

Genoan Sailor is the work of Kevin, Steve and Anthony from seafaring Columbus, Ohio.  More amusing generally left-leaning takes on life, the universe and everything.  These guys cover some interesting topics, and have an excellent "bipartisan" blogroll.
TD Designation:  Seadog

Ha-- you thought I would do more!  I fool you!  Maybe later...

 

TD Extra I, 2-12-03.

I just got a CNN news flash that CIA Director Tenet (Tenet to Mitchell to Oslo, he shoots...) has announced that North Korea has an "untested" ballistic missile capable of hitting the American West Coast.  Makes me glad I live on the EAST Coast.  All WE have are Islamist maniacs to contend with.

But enough lighthearted fare... on with the blogroll blurbs...  We'll go to the...W's!!!

Where is Raed? is the work of (presumably) pseudonymous blogger Salam Pax.  This is one brave dude (if he is to believed, and there seems no reason not to believe him) because his point of origin is freaking Baghdad.  Salam is not only witty, but he provides valuable insight on the lives of all the ordinary Iraqi people that are President's current policies will get killed  (hint: they're not very different from you and I).
TD Designation:  Papillon

War Liberal is the product of Mac Thomasen of Alabama.  Its title conveys a somewhat hawkish though generally moderate lefty, and the posts confirm this view, of what is also a very amusing blogger, with one hell of an extensive blogroll.
TD Designation:  American Blue Gascon Hound
 

Welcome to the Sideshow is the work of American ex-pat (she lives in the UK) writer Avedon Carol.  Avedon's writing has been described as "delightfully catty".  Avedon is a super-lefty, and her posts are bitter, pointed, often hilarious, and dead on.  Come for the Bush-bashing...
TD Designation:  English Springer Spaniel

Welcome to Spleenville is the work of Andrea Harris, one of the wittiest people in the universe.  The posts are punchy, and itís hard to politically classify Andrea, so I will say "polite libertarian reasonable".  With the rapier wit.  Great stuff.
TD Designation:  King Charles Spaniel

Some more letters later.  If I feel like it.

 

February 12, 2003, New York, NY.

A happy birthday to President Lincoln, who would be 194 years old today if he hadn't gotten assassinated.  We say hi to (I'm pretty sure this is true)  Australian blogger John Ray's Dissecting Leftism, and thank John Ray for hosting this week's Carnival of the Vanities XX!; your TD's entry is that bit about give me liberty, or...just give me liberty, damn it!

Here's something interesting: the first suspect anywhere in the world to actually go through a trial for participating in the 9-11-01 events, Moroccan national Mounir el Motassadeq, is undergoing the completion of his trial in Hamburg, Germany. His lawyers argued that the case against him (which includes handling the financial affairs of 6 of the 9-11 hijackers) was circumstantial and based on supposition.  We'll see: what is amazing is the complete dearth of publicity this trial has received in the United States (this is the first I'm seeing of this, and, by American standards, I'm EXTREMELY well informed).

Of course, any mention that Germany was cooperating in the War on TerrorTM might somehow alter American public opinion, which is supposed to resent Germany for its resistance to American positions in the War to Avenge Papa BushTM.

PM Sharon continues coalition talks, this time with the National Religious Party, though he apparently has ruled out giving NRP the Education ministry, which NRP had in the last Likud led government, and usually has.  NRP (the antithesis to NPR -- National Palestine Radio) wants no mention of a Palestinian state in any coalition agreements.  Meretz, farther to the left than Labor, sits in on coalition talks, just to mock Amram Mitzna and Labor.  (Kind of reminds one of Ralph Nader and the Green Party, whose principal contribution here in America is the election of Republicans, most significantly, our current President).

Things are never dull for very long in Israel, as IDF tanks roll in to Bethlehem, after an IDF officer was gunned down in Manger Square.

It was inevitable:  the Bush Administration is calling the latest Osama tape proof of a link between Osama and Iraq.  Query why nothing is made, then, of Osama's "link" with Palestinian terrorists, for whom he seems to have spent a lot longer discussing on his tapes?  Perhaps because, like the "links to Iraq" (which Iraq promptly denied), there IS no link -- bin Laden is an extremist nut whose statements of this nature should be taken with a grain of salt?  (Unless your mindset is that the answer to all questions is "invade Iraq...and cut MORE taxes for the rich".)

This will be interesting; our government is doing its best to scare the crap out of us vis a vis another terror strike here.  If the Prez goes ahead and invades Iraq, (now that the Hajj is over, and the usual dozen or so people were crushed to death during the "stoning of the devil" ritual)  AND there is another significant terror strike on U.S. soil (meaning Manhattan or Washington, of course), it is unclear what the political ramifications would be.

By some counts, as I said, if an enemy is willing to kill themselves, they become very hard to stop at some point -- no matter what counter measures are taken (and no matter what we come up with, the Israelis are ahead of us, and they STILL get attacked all the time).  It might support the theory of, "You see!  Saddam IS in league with the terrorists!  We have (had) to finish him off!"

Or it might support MY theory: *&^%ing around for a year and a half post 9-11 (FOR DOMESTIC POLITICAL PURPOSES) only gave Saddam more of an opportunity to prepare countermeasures against us, be they weapons, human shields, or, if he DOES have anything in the nature of sleeper terrorist cells, an opportunity to get them in play, and, much as removing Saddam may itself be desirable (and I won't say it is NOT), our Dufus-in-Chief (son of the Wimp) has acted in such a way to maximize the costs of doing so, and then maniacally raised the stakes by going to the UN and setting up an inspection regime (which he so desperately wants to discount!) so that itís not just blood and treasure but America's standing in the world as its principal moral force that will be put in jeopardy by an attack on Iraq.

Interesting times...

 

TD Extra III, 2-11-03.

Well, we have a new URL for the Baghdad blogger Salam Pax and his blog Where is Raed? Salaam Alechim, Salam. May Allah protect you and yours in the coming insanity.

Some highlights of Salaam's current blogging:

Remember the time just before the Gulf War when everybody was rushing around and people were doing their perfunctory ďwell, we tried butÖÖ.blah blah blahĒ speeches. This is what it looks like now. This is ďthe re-run of a bad movieĒ bush was talking about in one of his speeches; believe me I donít want to sit thru it either, watching the world get in line after yet another bush and his magical flute.

AND

I have so little control over my life these days let alone understanding where the world is heading to. I hope we all be spared any unnecessary grief.

Saddam has a new photo taken with his sons on the 4th of this month. Notice the friendly looking pistol in Uday's belt. a perfect family photo.

 

TD Extra II, 2-11-03.

And now, because it makes as much sense as anything else I do, the "M's" (some of them, anyway).

MadKane is the work of lawyer and funny woman Madeleine Begun Kane, who has, among other features "Bush's dayly diary", with appropriate misspellings of words like misunderestimate, and collections of legal humor, as well as polite left leaning political commentary. There are no funny lawyers -- only funny people who made career mistakes.
TD Designation:  Legal Beagle/Jack Russell Terrier Mix

Mark Byron is an eponymous blogger who describes himself as an assistant business professor at an evangelical college in Florida. His blog waxes and wanes between moderate political positions (well-reasoned, of course), and theology; his blog roll is organized on theological lines....remember Mark -- Talking spelled frontwards and God spelled backwards...
TD Designation:  Markiesje

Matthew Yglesias...Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist...Greenwich Village's own Matt Yglesias is a senior philosophy major at some college in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a moderate lefty, and is, with limited exception, correct on just about every political, philosophical or other observation he makes on his blog, which also features some of the best comments and commentators in the blog universe (and was the origin of TD's presidential campaign). We understand that Matt is looking for a job after graduation...anybody hiring? You won't be sorry...
TD Designation:  Top Dog

MaxSpeaks is the product of D.C. area blogger Max Sawicky. Max is another partisan liberal, and puts out what we fellow travelers are hungry to read (to reinforce our own absolute infallibility!) with panache and humor. Max divides his comprehensive blogroll by lefty, righty and libertarian. Come for the Bush bashing, stay for more Bush bashing!
TD Designation:  Manchester Terrier

More "M's", or whatever other letter I feel like -- later!

 

TD Extra I, 2-11-03.

We'll continue with the "O's", just to keep you all on your toes.

Objectionable Content is the work of mysterious New York area blogger Jim (he's not THAT mysterious, as he regularly appears at blogger bashes, where once I met him).  The blog may be objectionable to SOME, as it questions some conventional notions (like...everything Israel does is good... the "no-fly zones" over Iraq are in any way "legal"...blogs have to updated with any degree of regularity).  Jim is an original.
TD Designation:  Border Terrier

Off the Kuff is the product of Houston's own Charles Kuffner.  Charles is a bad-ass liberal, and out and out partisan, no punches pulled here.  The blog roll is broad, with the big lefties all there.  Posts are detailed, and again, pack a punch.
TD Designation:  Boxer

Oxblog is a tripartite effort:  the political rantings of Josh Chafetz, a 2001 Rhodes Scholar and graduate student in political theory at Oxford, Dan Urman, a 2001 Marshall Scholar and graduate student in international relations at Oxford, and David Adesnik, a 2000 Rhodes Scholar and graduate student in international relations at Oxford.  Not surprisingly, this group is often critical of our government; more surprisingly, they often attack it from the right.  Mr. Chafetz has had his work published in the Weekly Standard, among other places, and these guys are tough, thoughtful, (oh, theyíre &^%%ing brilliant), and cover a wide array of interesting topics.
TD Designation:  Olde English Bulldogge

More later!

 

February 11, 2003, New York, NY.

CIA Director Tenet (as in "Tenet to Mitchell to Oslo, he shoots, he scores!") announces that the terrorist "chatter" has revealed the most specific threats to date, of planned terrorist activity against targets in the United States and on the Arabian peninsula.  As is the custom of the Bush government, now that the bejeezus is scared out of us, revealing no meaningful other details (although Secretary of State Powell referred to a message from Osama bin Laden telling us that he is now aligned with Iraq).  It doesn't appear that anything TOO horrible has happened in the world yet today...we'll keep hoping.  Obviously, a report I heard on the radio urging residents to stock up on plastic sheeting, duct tape and bottled water seemed troublesome...

In the "could OUR government be a greater threat to our liberty than Osama and Saddam?" department, we note (again) that Judge Barbara Jones of the United States District Court in Manhattan upheld the restrictions on Saturday's demonstration sponsored by United for Peace.  A rally can go forward, just at a stationary location (i.e., no march), and not in front of UN headquarters (though within sight of it).  Arguably, this is a "time, place and manner" restriction on public speech, which has traditionally been upheld by the courts.  Itís Tuesday; I suppose some "emergency appeal" might be heard by rally day, though I wouldn't be optimistic on a reversal.  Although phrased as "content neutral", and related to the City's heightened security condition, I tend to be troubled by the whole thing.  Not only is it more of the same type of Rudy Giuliani style "disagreements with me will not be tolerated", this is becoming a national trend.  Obviously, there would be significant propaganda value to somebody (and...it isn't...George W. Bush) if New York -- the City that bore the principal brunt of 9-11 -- demonstrates that it overwhelmingly opposes a war ostensibly intended to protect, well, IT from further attacks.  For more thoughts on this, consider the thoughts of Unqualified Offerings here and here.  I remain troubled by how easily we are willing to err on the side of "security" over liberty.

Fact:  the United States proper has not suffered a terrorist attack (that anyone besides me is willing to classify as such) since 9-11-01 (and we had not suffered one before since 1995 at Oklahoma City and 1993 at, well, the World Trade Center). Bad stuff happens; we can't protect everyone against everything.  All the social trends are bad:  everyone wants protection from everything (and will sue anyone in sight, even for things that are one's own fault; not to be outdone, those BEING sued are pressing for liability caps and restrictions...responsibility is in effect no longer in our lexicon.)  So: we demand that our government "protect us" from "terrorists".  To do so, it says, it must restrict our (centuries' old) liberties.  There seems to be no outcry of: THE HELL YOU DO!  Well, folks, itís time to put up or shut up, because we're well along the slippery slope.  If this be treason, make the most of it.

 

TD Extra IV, 2-10-03.

And now on with the "N's":

Nobody Knows Anything is the work of California blogger Diane. Diane has an extensive "lefty" blogroll, and her blog is a tour de force of the personal statement.
TD Designation:  Dandie Dinmont Terrier

North Georgia Dogma is the manifesto of Ricky West, one of the "house conservatives" on the comment boards of Matt Ygelsias' blog, where I have often done battle and found common ground as well.  Kryptonite for lefty supermen!
TD Designation:  Cocker Spaniel


NYC Bloggers organizes over 1870 (and counting) New York City based bloggers (including yours truly) by subway line and stop.  The denizens of NYC bloggers are instrumental in blogger social events and organization as well.  Take a ride...
TD Designation:  Dog Show

"The News, Uncensored" is Israeli blogger Shoshannah's effort. Israeli style, Shoshannah tries to pull no punches, telling like it is, from the unique perspective available to an Israeli blogger. She also has an excellent link resource section.
TD Designation:  Saluki

Not a Fish is the work of Israeli blogger Imshin, who gives us her heartfelt perspective as an Israeli mother of two, during the endless existential struggle that is life in that nation these days. She also gives us unique inside details of Israeli politics, and events there.
TD Designation:  Top Dog

Well, I think that's the "N's".  Some other letter later.  Maybe.

 

TD Extra III, 2-10-03.

Here is the website for those interested in the United For Peace rally in New York on Saturday, 2-15-03; as is apparent from the web site, United States District Judge Barbara Jones declined to order the City of New York to permit a march and rally, authorizing only a rally north of 49th Street on 1st Avenue (near your TD's old haunts in the East 50's, where he twice lived.)

Those interested in forming a blogger contingent (or otherwise being part of my posse?) can e-mail me. I suggest American flags and signs with patriotic slogans ("Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"; "No Conflagration Without Representation", "Down With George the ThirdĒ (our current President is the third one named George...) and of course, "If this be Treason, Make the Most of It"; I will try to get some tri-cornered hats somewhere. This could (quite literally) be the protest rally to end all protest rallies. Bombs could be falling by Sunday. Who the hell knows?

And now, just to confuse the hell out of you, some blogs in the "N's":

Natalie Solent's Eponymous Blog is mildly libertarian/rightie in orientation, from this British woman (I think) with quite the wit; I also understand that Natalie Solent is a made up name. Good show! Natalie is on blogging hiatus for the next few weeks, but when she's back, is quite entertaining on subjects British and beyond.
TD Designation:  English Toy Spaniel

Nathan Newman is a big-time lefty; a labor lawyer, and vice president of a national lefty lawyer organization. His writing is provocative, and often controversial. One reader even wrote in to question my decision to link to Nathan based on his discussion of the tragedy surrounding the death of Gavin Cato which led to the Crown Heights riots. Getting people pissed off about an issue of the day: that's what I call exciting blogging!
TD Designation:  Legal Beagle Harrier

New Left Blogs, or the Lefty Directory, is simply a list (with some brief interviews and related posts by Brian Linse, of Ainít No Bad Dude). The TD is proud to be a part of this list of the blogosphere's leading lefties, some of whom deny that they even ARE lefties (but we KNOW who you are...and Attorney General Ashcroft does too!!!).
TD Designation:  Dog Show

More later!!!

 

TD Extra II, 2-10-03.

Saddam's sense of theatre is boundless, as Iraq appears to have "unconditionally" permitted U-2 spy plane over-flights of Iraq...with conditions.  The conditions involve American and British attacks on Southern and Northern Iraqi no fly zones.  Tough call...

Iraq is now the last (and only) member of the Axis of EvilTM to deny that it is developing nuclear weapons...sort of.  Iran announces plans to develop uranium mines to generate "electricity" -- one of the most oil rich countries in the world needs nuclear plants to generate "electricity".  Fortunately, Iran has plenty of sand for the Bush Administration to put its head in to avoid looking at, while it continues its "laser-like focus" on Iraq.  We won't talk about North Korea.  No one in the Bush government will either.

 

TD Extra I, 2-10-03.

And now on to the "E's":

The Edge of England's Sword is the work of British-ex-pat-living-in-DC (I think!) Iain Murray, a poltical policy analyst now in between jobs, as he joins the ranks of those "fired for blogging".  Iain's positions are well-thought out "Euro-skepticalĒ, a bit to the right if you ask me, though never unreasonable.  Iain often contributes to other blogs; I remember distinctly a guest spot he did on the Volokh Conspiracy at one time.  The commentary is smart and crisp.
TD Designation:  Springer Spaniel

Electrolite is the work of Park Slope, Brooklyn's own Patrick Nielsen Hayden, a science fiction writer and publisher.  Patrick's wife Theresa Nielsen Hayden is also an important blogger in her own right.  Electrolite is in the best of the New York liberal tradition: smart and witty, covering politics, culture, the sci fi biz, and whatever Patrick wants to talk about.
TD Designation:  Top Dog

Ernie the Attorney is the work of New Orleans attorney Ernie Svenson.  Ernie discusses legal and technical issues.  Ernie has a fabulously extensive collection of "blawgs", or legal related blogs (of which this is one, in the sense that it is written by a lawyer).  Indeed, Ernie's blog makes such a good impression, I have recommended him to a colleague who needed to hire a lawyer in Louisiana.
TD Designation:  Legal Eagle (what else?)

Eve Tushnet's Eponymous Blog is the work of that Washington, DC based freelance writer and Yale graduate whose "contests" were pretty much the first time your TD managed to be linked by a major blog (and Eve's is a major blog).  Eve is what you might call "conservative", or perhaps "objectivist"; she has a number of her occasionally updated blogs listed.  She is a relatively recent convert to Catholicism, and it is a favorite discussion of hers.  Do not expect to hop in and out: Eve often posts very long missives, as well as extensive "fan mail".
TD Designation:  Top Dog

And someday, the F's and beyond!

 

February 10, 2003, New York, NY.

Welcome back to the work week.  Your TD had a pleasant weekend, having sled rides and snowball battles with Baby TD (and other neighborhood toddlers), in the friendly confines of our neighborhood park in Brooklyn.  Alas, itís Monday, and the real world didn't go away.

There seems to be an ominousness out there.  9-11-01 was preceded by the assassination of a key Afghan opposition leader, and lots of "chatter".  We are now at "Code Orange" indicating chatter showing heightened likelihood of another terrorist strike and a senior Kurdish official, Shawkat Hajji Mushir, is assassinated by what is believed to be an Islamist group close to al-Qaeda (if not al-Qaeda itself).  Coupled with "heightened security" at New York area transportation points...ominous.

Meanwhile, to add to the ominosity, there appears to be NATO infighting, as Belgium, France and Germany have vetoed a call by Turkey to invoke NATO's mutual defense pact, in anticipation of the coming campaign against Iraq (and Turkey's quite logical supposition that it will be the subject of retaliation).  Turkey promptly (for the first time in history) called for mutual defense consultations.  Former NATO Supreme Commander General Wesley Clark had previously suggested that the United States invoke the NATO charter after 9-11-01, forcing the "allies" to engage in a mutual defense posture (i.e., 9-11 not being merely an attack on the United States, but on a NATO member, requiring a NATO response).  George W. Bush demurred, putting together an ad hoc coalition of international "yes-men" (the international version of what George W. Bush wants America to be) instead, as he has done in the case of Iraq.  We could be seeing the beginning (or the middle) of the end of NATO.  The "France is not our ally" thing...more troubling than less, if you ask me.

I will just say there is a very real possibility that our President and his team are absolutely on top of this, have run all the scenarios and have the basic contingencies covered, and as a result, the nation is basically secure.  Many people believe that; I'd like to be one of them.  I hope itís true (please God).

Anyway, is the above not ominous enough for you?  How about the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv evacuating non-essential staff, in anticipation of, well, you know.  In that part of the world, another day, another IDF arrest of would be suicide bombers in the West Bank.  And Ariel Sharon "officially" begins his coalition talks to form a new government.

I will now say that I wish I knew what Amram Mitzna and Labor should do; maybe the answer IS to get whatever concessions are possible, and form a Likud-Shinui-Labor center government.  Sharon has up to six weeks to form a government.  I find it hard to conceive of what the next 4-6 weeks are going to be here in New York, let alone in Israel.

I'm reminded of a line from the movie Airplane!:  I picked a bad day to give up sniffing glue.

 

TD Extra V, 2-9-03.

And now, the "D's".

Defense and the National Interest is not exactly a blog (and I am not even sure who else in the blogosphere, if anyone, links to it). Itís the work of military analyst Chuck Spinney, largely drawing on the work of the late Col. John R. Boyd on the development (and need to consider) "Fourth Generation Warfare", or, in other words, to drop the idea of warfare from either the Napoleonic era or even the Cold War, and move to a literal new generation of warfare, involving more mobile, flexible weapons, tactics and soldiers. The site is loaded with military technical details, and it is extremely critical of our current government, from the perspective of career fighting personnel.
TD Designation:  American Bulldog

Dodgeblog is the former product of an American ex-pat living in the UK and working as a Tory Party activist, Andrew Ian Dodge. The site has been dormant since November, and Mr. Dodge's blogging activities have been merged into (fellow dog run member) Sasha Castel, who Mr. Dodge recently married. Accordingly, much as it pains us to do so, but for the only reason we tend to do so (extinction), we will be retiring the link to Dodgeblog.

 

TD Extra IV, 2-9-03.

And now, some "technical alphabetical corrections" (i.e., the Israeli and Palestinian bloggers from A to C; here are the "A's" anyway).

Alisa in Wonderland is the work of an Israeli ex-pat woman who, I believe, now lives in Missouri (and has lived well, all over the place). She brings her own personal views, particularly on Israel and the Middle East situation, and is, well, very interesting (and dare I say it...important) reading.
TD Designation:  Kerry Blue Terrier

Arjan El Fassed is something we here in the United States need to see:  the unedited views of a real live Palestinian (in this case, based in the Netherlands, because you didn't think ISRAEL, or even ARAFAT, would let him put out THIS stuff from the territories!) Hey, we of the Zionist conspiracy will not be well served not to know the Palestinians (usually) legitimate grievances, and their feelings thereon.
TD Designation:  Canaan Dog

 

TD Extra III, 2-9-03.

And now... on to the C's:

Calpundit is the handiwork of Orange County LIBERAL (there's more than one) Kevin Drum. Calpundit is one of the most cited bloggers on the left side of the line, and his posts are well reasoned, well documented, and well, damned good.
TD Designation:  Irish Setter

Capital Influx is the work of New York area blogger Elizabeth Spiers. This is an eclectic and hip blog from a contributor to several blogs, including New York's "Gawker" and Gene Expression. Elizabeth is a proud graduate of Duke where she studied political science, and the political commentary is always well-reasoned; there is much discussion of matters of the current scene.
TD Designation:  Fox Terrier

Captain Scott's Electric Love Bunker is the work of LA blogger Scott Ganz. Scott is, I guess, a rightie politically, although the blog, for the most part, is about culture, particularly the entertainment biz, which one gets the feeling Captain Scott is a part of. Scott calls himself "the most envied man in the blogosphere". Intriguing, and worth your attention.
TD Designation:  American Foxhound

Steven Chapman formerly known as Daddy War Blogs is a UK based blogger, with a distinctly "Blair-skeptical", libertarian, anti-gun control, pro- Israel, Euro-skeptical...mad freaking genius. The blog features periodic caption contests, a lively discussion board often polluted by (among others, me) and awesome sarcasm and wit I usually wish I thought of first.
TD Designation:  Top Dog

Charles Murtaugh's eponymous blog is classic lefty tour de force. Charles is, if I'm not mistaken, a faculty member of the Kremlin ON the Charles, and gives us the best of its lefty traditions, without the idiocy of leftist academics.
TD Designation:  Irish Setter

Colby Cosh of Edmonton brings us the " Golden Treasury of Colby Coshery" -- wit, Canadian and international politics, Canadian football, goings on in the life of Colby Cosh...just...great...stuff...all...the...time...damnit!
TD Designation:  Eskimo Dog (or Husky)

Cold Fury is the work of angry blogger Mike Hendrix (who is also a web designer instrumental in the work of several other bloggers). I might describe this blog's views as rightist, or libertarian, but I'll just say "angry".
TD Designation:  Rottweiler

Jeff Cooper's Cooped Up is an interesting "bouquet" of subjects. Jeff is a law professor at Indiana University, and his subjects range from law, to politics (sorta lefty-moderate, I suppose), to wine and wine tasting, to matters personal. A blog that's smooth on the palate.
TD Designation:  Legal Beagle

CounterRevolutionary is an eponymous, pseudonymous, well, a classic pinko-hating, red-blooded American original. I haven't encountered the offensive term "anti-idiotarian"; when you want a decent justification for the actions of the party in power (of the kind THEY are too busy lying to give you), check out the CounterRevolutionary.
TD Designation:  American White Shepherd

Only 23 letters to go!!!

 

TD Extra II, 2-9-03.

Over in you know where, PM Sharon continues his efforts toward forming a broad-based unity government. The Unseen Editor chides me for my support of Labor leader Amram Mitzna's current decision NOT to join a national unity coalition (interestingly, Labor alone and its 19 seats, with Likud's 40, would just about control the government with or without anyone else). Ostensibly, most Israelis (1) want a national unity government, (2) will punish Labor even more severely in the next election if they do NOT join in some measure of same, (3) like Mitzna himself and his general peace ideas, but (4) do not trust Arafat one bit, and do not think Mitzna's unconditional willingness to deal with him makes any sense. Did I miss anything? There is a New Republic article, which I understand is not yet online, to the same effect (I will post a link if it becomes available).

Well, this may be the case. I do agree that Arafat is an obstacle to peace; my personal hope was that the "good will" of a unilateral pullout from certain areas might be sufficient cover to justify removing the hopelessly corrupt Arafat and Fatah, My hope may not be realistic, of course. I don't know. Loyal readers know that unlike, oh, most of the blog world, I occasionally confess error. There is certainly a belief among many in Labor (maybe most) that a unity deal should be worked out. On the other hand, I also know that Sharon, just as he ran roughshod over the last Labor unity government, will do so with respect to a much weakened Labor party now. But, if not participating means even more evisceration of Labor, then the last reasonable possibility for moderation and conciliation in Israel may be lost.

Why can't I be like George W. Bush, who has an easy answer for everything, even if itís wrong? Or insane.

 

TD Extra I, 2-9-03.

A hearty dog run welcome to Katie's Goblin Queen, who, by the tenor of her site, has an interesting approach to the world. Right or left seems far less relevant than, shall we say, other directional adjectives. The Goblin Queen's blogroll features many of the leading lefties, though reasoned discussions from righties are also present, in what I would call a "balanced" approach. Katie appears to be a fellow New Yorker, and is an exciting new addition to the dog run.
TD Designation:  Doberman

Goblin Queen e-mails the following "talking dog" joke (I am, of course, a sucker for a talking dog joke, and therefore, Katie already has me in her grasp...):

A man walks into a talent agency with his dog. He says to the agent, "You won't believe this, have I got an act for you. This dog can talk." The agent says, "Look buddy, I've heard it before, so beat it."

The guy says, "Just give me a chance, I'll prove it to you." So the agent shrugs and says, "All right, you've got five minutes."

The man turns to his dog and says, "How does sandpaper feel?"

"Ruff!" answers the dog.

The agent rolls his eyes. "Wait'll you see this," says the man. "What's on top of a house?" he asks.

"Roof!" says the dog.

"Look, fella, you've got one more chance or I'm kicking you out."

"All right, all right," the man says. He asks the dog, "Who was the greatest baseball player of all time?" "Ruth!" says the dog.

"That's it, wiseass," says the agent, "You're outta here. Go take your act to some other sucker."

After they leave the man is walking down the street despondently. The dog turns to him and says, "Maybe I should have said Mickey Mantle."

It really doesn't matter how many times you hear it...

 

February 9, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.

A hearty dog run welcome to The Agonist, Sean Paul Kelley's free-thinking treatment of just about everything. I would loosely call this unique, intellectually challenging blog "libertarian" (that being the category I chose to classify myself on The Agonist's interestingly organized blog roll).
TD Designation: Greek Sheepdog

We also welcome The Art of Peace, another thoughtful blog, by the mysterious blogger "David". David says his perspective is slightly to the left of center, but he covers a wide array of topics, such as international regions not oft covered in the blog world, from a careful, well-supported perspective.
TD Designation:  Schnauzer

We get letters: Gary Farber (of Amygdala) writes in to note that the snippet of his blog should reflect that Gary does not WRITE science fiction, though he has been involved in editing and publishing works of science fiction. Gary concurs with my use of the adjective "eclectic". Thanks, Gary.

With thanks to fellow Brooklyn-ite Electrolite, I offer this petition protesting New York City's decision to try to interfere with next week's peace protest; I've already signed.

Never let anyone underestimate Saddam Hussein's sense of the dramatic, as UN inspectors report that Iraq has released numerous heretofore undisclosed documents regarding the disposition of Iraq's prior WMDs. Blix and Elbaradei are calling the Iraqi new disclosures "helpful". This isn't the "official" program (war no matter what); this is MY program (last second Kofi deal). In short, this can't be right.

 

TD Extra III, 2-8-03.

In the "My God" department, with thanks to Unqualified Offerings we give you this horrifying editorial from the New York Sun, a paper who we have linked to from time to time in the past (and indeed, we once perma-linked its ideological predecessor, "Smarter Times").

I'll just reprint the chilling last two paragraphs of the editorial, which support the decision of Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly to try to restrict the permits of the anti-war protests scheduled for a week from today in New York:

So the New York City police could do worse, in the end, than to allow the protest and send two witnesses along for each participant, with an eye toward preserving at least the possibility of an eventual treason prosecution. Thus fully respecting not just some, but all of the constitutional principles at stake.

To those concerned about civil liberties, weíd cite the pragmatic argument made last night by, of all people, the New York Timesís three-time Pulitzer-Prize winning foreign affairs columnist, Thos. Friedman. ďI believe we are one more 9/11 away from the end of the open society,Ē Mr. Friedman told an American Jewish Committee dinner honoring the chief executive of the New York Times Company, Russell Lewis. His point was that if terrorists strike again at America and kill large numbers of Americans, the pressure to curb civil liberties and civil rights will be ďenormous and unstoppable.Ē What we took from that was that the more successful the protesters are in making their case in New York, the less chance theyíll have the precious constitutional freedom to protest here the next time around.

I had no plans to attend said protest, until now. As Patrick Henry said, "If this be treason, make the most of it."

 

TD Extra II, 2-8-03.

As we go through that traffic abbatoir known as the weekend, we continue our quest to close out the "B's" on the new "descriptive" section of the dog run:

Brad De Long's Blog is the work of an economics professor (I'm pretty sure at Berkeley). Brad is a fellow traveler liberal, and is an extreme Bush-skeptic (seeing as there are lies, damn lies, statistics, and the crap put out by the Bush Administration). His opinions are well-reasoned (i.e., I agree with them), and he is an extremely influential blogger (whatever that means).
TD Designation:  Dachshund

William Burton is an ex-military man now living with his family in Nashville. William is a doctrinaire liberal (MY kind o' lib'ral), to the left of even me, with a great, lively comments board that William frequently guests on. His posts are bold, daring, well thought out, and he has an uncanny sense of foreign policy. I wish William blogged as regularly as he once did, but his stuff is good enough to wait for.
TD Designation:  Border Collie

Finally, as we continue to mourn the explosion of the Columbia, note this: at least 26 dead in a nightclub explosion caused by a car bomb in...Colombia. There seems to be plenty of misery to go around in this world. Dammit.

 

TD Extra I, 2-8-03.

A mixed bag day; your TD enjoyed a snowball fight and urban sled-down-10-foot-long-hills in our local vest pocket part with Baby TD and other residents.

First, a brief continuation of the dog run descriptions (no reason, just policy).

Blogcritics is the principal work of California record producer Eric Olsen; it is a "meta-blog of over 100 "blog critics" including yours truly, who are supposed to submit reviews of records, books, videos and "etc." It is a huge amount of collected wisdom in one convenient place-- and is on many people's "best blogs".
TD Designation:  Dog Show

Blue Goldfish Cafe is the work of Gene Van Der Bosch, and the attempt is to make a blog discussion comparable to discussions over coffee at a cafe. Gene seems to be a bit "pro war", but we won't hold that against him, at this interesting site we would put as somewhere on the "right" side of the aisle.
TD Designation:  Non-Canine (Goldfish)

Bo Cowgill is a student at Stanford; his blog is eclectic, with a sorta politically conservative bend, with discussions of the goings on at Stanford, as well as the rest of the universe.  Bo has an extensive and interesting blog roll, that flows on both sides of his blog.
TD Designation:  Bo-hemian Terrier

At this rate, I'll have the blogroll descriptions done by...Spring.

Anyway, as Kofi tries to defuse the war talk, Hans Blix gives us some false hope by announcing that the first day of talks in Baghdad (remember, those were scheduled for today) is going well.  Again: if Blix issues an unequivocal "Iraq is fully cooperating" report, Bush will not be able to press for a use of force resolution. So, Blix will not be issuing such a report!

(While there is always hope for the last minute Kofi deal as I once predicted, I get less optimistic by the hour.  Code Orange, which here in New York means more security at bridges and tunnels, as surprise, surprise, we are the primary target, is disconcerting; bomb sniffing dogs in the subways...my.)  We forget that people feared terrorist responses here a dozen years ago at Gulf War I. The economic impact to tourism-dependent New York from THAT fiasco were enormous; coupled with the state post 9-11 New York is already in, we can only imagine the impact of THIS Gulf War fiasco.  I don't know, I HOPE my original conspiracy theory was right.  I doubt it is.

Meanwhile, on the Nixonian theme, Ariel Sharon seems to be holding "secret peace talks" with the speaker of the Palestinian parliament, over ceasefires and other issues. If Sharon can negotiate peace from the barrel of a gun, in this case, an Israeli gun, more power to him. I don't see it happening. But that's just me.

(BTW, not a complete secret, as Sharon told Mitzna as part of his efforts to court Mitzna into a unity government. I hope you don't fall for it, Amram!)

 

February 8, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.

A little less free ice cream, as someone's shoulder seems to be hurting today. The Jerusalem Post reports that President Bush is "considering" the need for a second UNSC resolution authorizing force, because even though HE insists the first resolution 1441 gives him all the authority he needs, irritants such as France and most of the American electorate disagree.

More later...

 

TD Whoís Who on the Dog Run Blog Roll Extra II, 2-7-03.

A few o' the B's!

Bag and Baggage is the serious legal blog of California lawyer Denise Howell. Serious discussions of the legal business, some cases, legal bloggers, and related matters are undertaken. Personally, I could never put up a blog as serious as this, but my vocational profile (Marxist guerrilla) was deemed "not practical" (especially since I never liked Marxism, and was too attached to shaving) so I went to law school. Denise, who thanks in part to her blog, and I suppose to her intellectual property practice, pulls it off with panache.
TD Designation:  Legal Beagle

Edward "Ted" Barlow's Blog, another Houston, TX blogger, is, well, a rare delight -- a blog that is much more popular than mine, and (though it kills me to say so), I see why. Ted is another "reasonable liberal"  (ďidiotarianĒ to the right, of course), with a sense of humor (he did an entire week of light bulb jokes -- the Andrew Sullivan one still kills.)
TD Designation:  Collie

Beautiful Horizons is the project of blogger Randy Paul, another one of them "reasonable lib'ruls" that seem to be crawling all over the dog run. Randy has a focus on things Latin America, particular Brazil, as I think there is a special someone in his life from that part of the world.
TD Designation:  Brazilian Terrier

The Belligerent Bunny Blog of the mysterious Anna (namesake of Baby TD) and the mysterious Annanova, invites you to "come for the bunnies; stay for the warmongery".  And that's it: posts entitled "arsenal of democracy" detail American military weapons and tactics; alternating with pictures of bunnies (and bunny adoption details). Mrs. TD and I once received a rabbit as a wedding present (we said MONEY, not bunny!). This is a unique site, and its popularity is well-deserved.
TD Designation:  Non-Canine (Bunny)

 

TD "Who's Who on the Dog Run" Blogroll Extra, 2-7-03.

The Unseen Editor has chided me recently for my assertion that the dog run is "the best damned links section on the InternetTM".  But its so BIG these days!  Can't I classify everyone as 101 plus or minus Dalmatians, and leave it at that?  Well, some OTHER blogger might do that...but not me.  In fact, this post (and others to follow) will be placed into the Dog Pound as some sort of a resource to those looking for an explanation of the blog world; no reason, just policy).  The TD designation dog breeds make no sense to ME, so please don't try to second guess!  So, I will try to give snap shots of my own (arbitrary and biased) perspectives on each blog... 

And so, we give you the dog run, from A to... well, the end of A!

 A Dog's Life is the product of Greg Hlatky of Ohio; Greg notes that he and his wife raise borzois (Russian wolfhounds); a good deal of his blog discusses various aspects of the show dog and dog show world, and Greg gives some solid political discussions, from a perspective somewhat to the right of your talking dog.
TD Designation:  Borzoi

A Level Gaze is David Yaseen's well-reasoned (i.e., I agree with him for the most part) blog.  A Level Gaze is tag-lined "Liberal Elitism", with a healthy smattering of fellow travelers in the blogroll (not yet including your TD, which we hope David will soon correct).  Anyway, in my view, you just can't bash Bush enough -- and A Level Gaze rarely looks away from the President for more than a moment!
TD Designation:  Yorkshire Terrier

The Agora is the Salon-based blog of Douglas Anders (of Ohio).  Doug is one of those "reasonable liberals", that the right wing blogosphere dismisses as "idiotarians" (because he dares to criticize our prevailing power structure) and the hard-ass left probably has no use for him, because he probably doesn't regularly recite the words to the "Internacionale" in his blog.  Doug's opinions are, nonetheless, intelligent and thoughtful.
TD Designation:  Collie

Ain't No Bad Dude is the blog of Brian Linse, recently back from a long blogging hiatus.  Brian is another fellow traveler, and if I am not mistaken, has some responsibility for "meta-blog" the Lefty Directory.
TD Designation:
 Corgie

Air Strip One is the British-based work of Phillip Caston and Emmanuel Goldstein, and, with its shades of Orwell (nee Eric Blair)'s 1984, is tagged "British foreign policy as if the national interest mattered".  Air Strip One has a sorta libertarian bent, with a healthy dose of a "Blair-skeptic" viewpoint, and treatment of a great many international issues that might not be covered by many American blogs.  Air Strip One's unique linking policy ("you link to me and I'll link to you"; which by the way, happens to be MY linking policy, except I don't SAY that next to my blog roll, as Air Strip One does!) leads to a very eclectic and interesting group of links.
TD Designation:  Bulldog

Amish Tech Support is the product of Houston, Texas blogger Laurence Simon, and is a wild, irreverent treatment of, well, everything.  ATS has an immense blogroll, and the "approach" features many personal details (such as the activities of Laurence's wife and their cat), and hard-ass rightie, pro- war outlooks.  There are times I have to avoid drinking soda while reading ATS, lest it come flying through my nose.
TD Designation:  Pit Bull Terrier

Amygdala is the thoughtful blog of Boulder, Colorado's Gary Farber (no relation).  I'm not so sure I'd call Gary a "moderate" as I would an "eclectic".  Gary, I believe, writes science fiction as well as his blog, and covers a wide variety of subjects in a manner where I am unable to knee jerk classify him as "lefty or rightie".  Because of this inscrutibility,
TD Designation:  Pekingese

Andrew Olmstead's Blog is a thoughtful perspective from the right side of the aisle; Andrew appears to have some military experience, and phrases his views in terms of being a strong patriot.  Like me, he notes that his is a vanity site (God bless you, Andrew.).
TD Designation:  Basset Hound

Anomaly is the stylish product of mysterious New York blogger Ravenwolf, and is an eclectic collection of just about everything (wait a minute, that's the DEFINITION of eclectic); well, she DID describe her blog previously as the "Randomness of Ravenwolf" -- so there you are.
TD Designation:  Raven Wolf (what else?)

Arch Pundit is a pseudonymous blogger from the St. Louis area, with a leftward tilt.  Arch writes some well thought out, often lengthy missives, giving an intelligent, thoughtful (i.e., left-leaning!) approach to many issues.
TD Designation:  Dalmatian

Armed Liberal claims itís one of those "moving sites" --i.e., his stuff can now be viewed at Winds of Change, a sorta left group blog.
TD Designation:  Whippet

Arrogant Rants is the amusing work of New York area (Nick says he's from "The Island" -- Long Island, to those of you not from the tri-state area) blogger Nick Marsala (who, I think, was kinda tight with Raven Wolf, if I remember correctly).  Nick purports to be mean and blood hungry, from a hard-ass "blue collar" rightie perspective, designating me as one of two sites that are "the statists and trial lawyers we love to rail against".  As long as it gets me traffic, Nick.
TD Designation:  Bloodhound

Asymmetrical Information is the work of pseudonymous bloggers Jane Galt and Mindles (that's ONE S) Dreck.  The lovely Jane Galt (a pseudonym derived from Ayn Rand's principal character John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, though Jane denies she is an Objectivist, or Randian) used to call her blog "Live from the World Trade Center" (she spent time as an office assistant at the clean-up site) but has adopted this moniker based on her interest in economics and business.  Mindles, another New York area blogger, has joined forces with Jane.  Jane is a major blogger, occasionally featured in the "mainstream media".  The postings are well-written (VERY well written, actually), and from a distinctly right-side of the aisle perspective, arguably libertarian, but I would just say "rightie".  Jane accepted a position with the State Department, which is why she limits the scope of the blog to economics issues.
TD Designation:  Mastiff

Eschaton is another blog world A-lister superstar.  The pseudonymous, Atrios and his blog have been called the left-wing Instapundit; he posts frequently, and unlike Professor Reynolds, has a lively comments section.
TD Designation:  Golden Retriever

Some other day, the B's and beyond!

 

February 7, 2003, New York, NY.

Itís snowing here in the big city, among other things, making your TD's [dislocated] shoulder hurt more than usual.  Speaking of pain, it pains me to concede that my number one pet conspiracy theory -- that when all was said and done, there was SOME rationality in the Bush Administration and the whole Iraq thing was a big Sun Tzu inspired charade to achieve desired results WITHOUT having to kill thousands, maybe millions of people -- appears to be unraveling before my eyes.  I would rather be right, not merely out of ego, but because I don't want to see a massively unnecessary human tragedy, the groundwork for years (if not decades) of future terrorism against the United States, and economic meltdown that will all be unleashed if and when the Bush Administration's seemingly inexorable war plans go forward.

Even as Hans Blix and Mohammed El Baredi note SOME progress toward Iraqi cooperation (an "unmonitored" interview with an Iraqi scientist, though of course, a scientist selected by Iraq), it appears that American war plans will just not be abated.  The poodle appears well-trained, as Britain defends allegations that its Iraq dossier is valid, despite allegations that it is both plagiarized and plagiarized from a 1991 source.

If there is SOMEONE outside the Bush Administration appears happy with all this, it would be Ariel Sharon, although the head of Israel's army warns of an "earthquake" that will fundamentally change the Middle East , and will be a disaster if there is a perceived failure by the United States (think...1991).  Itís unclear HOW happy Sharon is given that Labor Party leaders are blaming each other for the party's recent electoral meltdown, with one official insisting "the public hates us".  Anyway...

Go to Code Orange, Mr. Sulu, er, Ridge. (Not a joke, the "national alert" system has been elevated from grade 3 (yellow) to grade 2 (orange), according to a CNN "breaking news" alert.

Let me take a moment away from Iraq -- the most serious crisis affecting the United States today, no, the most serious crisis facing any nation in the history of the universe -- to take a brief aside to mention North Korea, (don't worry, we're "ready" for North Korea).  North Korea has reactivated its nuclear reactors lately, and Kim Jong Il is spouting rhetoric more worthy of some James Bond movie villain than the head of a real country.  Sorry, Dear Leader, but we are up to our necks here with Iraqi sand -- the same sand we are burying our head in to avoid looking at, or talking to, you.  (And WILL those damned South Koreans get with the program, don't they know that if we get them all killed, it will be because we acted in THEIR interests).

Interesting times.  As we are led by a man with seemingly no interest in them.

 

TD Hippocratic Oath -- We Don't Need No Stinkin' Hippocratic Oath -- Extra, 2-6-03.

Your TD is advised that New Jersey's doctor's strike continues on, and on, and on...  Since itís not dramatic, itís apparently not reported.  But if you are sick and live in New Jersey, and must now spend days on end in emergency rooms waiting for basic medical treatment, you know it...

CNN reports that Florida doctors have gotten into the fun, along with doctors from Mississippi and West Virginia.  Why?  The doctors' imaginations have been captured by one of the President's suggestions for the betterment of mankind.  Are the doctors lining up to treat AIDS patients in sub-Saharan Africa? No, not THAT suggestion!  The doctors are emboldened by the President's suggestion that pain and suffering damages be capped at $250,000 in ALL medical malpractice cases NATIONWIDE (take THAT states' rights advocates!)

Forget the nationwide rates of malpractice committed; forget the fact that statistics show that the median malpractice payout is around $100,000 (and 96% of cases are SETTLED); forget that plaintiff's lawyers are probably unwilling to invest their time and money in "frivolous" cases because they will probably be dead losers:  forget ALL of that.  We FINALLY have a President who understands and sympathizes with the plight of medical professionals from THEIR perspective: their gripes as told over cocktails at country clubs.  (BTW, I recall at least one blogger among our featured links noting that in a lengthy discussion on a talk show over numerous issues, the one item that Senate Minority Leader Bill Frist (famously, a transplant surgeon) discussed in terms of a MORAL issue was the taxation of dividends; I'd be ever so grateful if someone could e-mail me a link to that!)

This seems to be another high water mark of the President's view of "compassionate conservatism".  It also reminds me of the national health plan from Bush's 2000 platform: I'm paraphrasing of course, but it said "GOP health plan: don't get sick."

 

February 6, 2003, New York, NY.

Happy birthday today, to former President Ronald Reagan (he's 92; I hope, despite his medical condition, he is able to celebrate and enjoy it).  Zsa Zsa Gabor is 86 today.  The dog run is pleased to welcome Madeleine Begun Kane's MadKane weblog  (Madeline is a hilarious fellow member of the bar; remember, there are NO funny lawyers; only funny people who made career mistakes); and from seafaring Columbus, Ohio, we welcome the Genoan Sailor to our burgeoning ranks.  Clearly, in our soon to be new categories, Madkane will go to "legal beagles", and Genoan Sailor to "sea dogs".

This war thing is moving right along; France , China and Russia on board?  Who cares:  a country whose cooperation actually MATTERS, Turkey, has had a parliamentary vote to support American action vis a vis base and facilities expansion.  A further "use of force" resolution can be expected in about ten days time.  Those intrepid UN weapons inspectors (I'm not being sarcastic on this; they may not be able to find anything placed in front of them, but they ARE intrepid) have given Iraq ONE WEEK to improve its cooperation...or else.  Well, we all know what "or else..." means.  Even "not our ally" France seems to be treading lighter on this.  (Israeli officials, for their part, believe an American attack on Iraq will take place before the end of February.)

One country urging "caution" lest there be a "clash of civilizations" (itís the BBC I'm quoting, you know) is Iran.  They kind of have an interest in the &^%$ that gets released next door to them.  Let's think about this a minute (no one in the Bush Administration has).  Assuming that American troops occupy Iraq, this will leave US troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and a couple of the former Soviet "Stans" -- in short, surrounding Iran, a country with whose people we are very popular and with whose government we are not speaking.  Oh, Iran is the world's principal sponsor of terrorism (well, the official leader, the actual leader is Saudi Arabia, of course; but its leadership plays golf with the elder President Bush, so, never mind.)  Has anybody played out the implications on terrorist activity directed at American interests (such as, e.g., Manhattan and the District of Columbia) if a long term US presence in Iraq helps mobilizes Islamic resentment further?  If they DID assess the implications, the Administration is keeping it a big secret...

At least the Israelis and Palestinians can go about their OWN business of extreme violence, notwithstanding the threat of action against Iraq; six (four Palestinians and two Israelis) were killed in separate incidents in Gaza and the West Bank.  A 65-year old Palestinian woman was killed while the IDF was demolishing her home (and the home of her stepson, previously involved in a terrorist act blamed for the deaths of two Israeli soldiers).  Way to keep 'em stirred up, Ariel.

Ariel Sharon moved two seats closer to the 61 he needs with an outright merger of his Likud Party (38 seats) and Natan Sharansky's Yisrael B'aliyah Party (2 seats), and Sharansky will be guaranteed an important ministry.  This is not that major a development, as Yisrael B'aliyah would have probably joined in any Likud-led coalition, and, of course, because itís only 2 seats.  Still 40 seats in the hands of one party is a huge bloc in the usually fractured Knesset, where even 30 seats is formidable.  Shinui and its 15 seats are still in play (they will eventually join a Likud-led coalition); Labor may be fragmenting, as its council leaders are calling on its members not to rule out a "unity coalition" with Likud.  Mitzna remains adamantly opposed to it, unless Sharon is willing to take him up on his peace proposals.  Mitzna is right: the continuation of Sharon's policies offer no hope of breakthrough, and an enlightened Labor party should have no interest in being part of such policies.  You go, Amram!

 

TD Welcome, Etc., Extra, 2-5-03.

Let's give a warm dog run welcome to ArchPundit.

And let me welcome Secretary of State Powell to Midtown Manhattan, where I understand he has played tapes of Iraqis talking about "forbidden ammo" and photos of purported chemical weapons facilities. The Iraqi ambassador will speak later, though all 15 security council members will, in turn, be permitted to address the body.

Your TD remains convinced that no one not convinced that casus belli ALREADY EXISTS as to Iraq will be convinced by the "compelling new evidence".  If anything, inspections (DESPITE Iraqi non-cooperation) have not revealed any WMD's because (1) Iraq has no WMDs, but the weapons inspections are (as Iraq would allege) little more than an American plot to justify military action no matter what the inspections find; (2) the inspections are a crock because Blix and company are idiots and couldn't find anything even if it was staring them in the fact; or (3) the inspections have actually demonstrated tacit Iraqi compliance, at least with the part about not having WMDs (there is no evidence so far to the contrary on this).  Most of the world, and most Americans, BTW, favor continued weapons inspections -- the inspectors' presence keeps Saddam on the defensive, and effectively contained.  After all, even if Iraq HAS WMDs, Saddam would be loath to unearth them with his country crawling with weapons inspectors and surrounded by troops.

Surely this is cheaper (in blood and treasure terms) than a war.  That's how most people think.  But most people didn't vote for the Bush Administration.

 

February 5, 2003, New York, NY.

This week's Carnival of the Vanities is up at House of Plum.  Your TD's entry is the "Columbia Tragedy Extra", wherein I suggest (among other things) that if we are not willing to expend the necessary funds to ensure we make manned space travel as safe as we can, we not do it at all.  I note the outrageous lies with statistics I have heard: we had 2 crashes out of 117 launches -- that's a 98% success rate!  Well, no, actually, we had 2 crashes out of 5 shuttles -- that's a 40% FAILURE rate.  I doubt we will have trouble getting volunteers to be astronauts, but I daresay I won't be lining up.

I will take a break from extensive discussions of Israeli politics to briefly note that Shas is all pissed off at Shinui for being willing to join a coalition with ultra-religious UTJ (Ashkenazit) but not it (Sephardic).  As I predicted, look for a Likud-Shinui coalition, without Shas.  Sharon doesn't like Shas anyway, and he can govern around it.  Because...

Today's the day for Secretary of State Powell to address the United Nations Security Council on the "secret new evidence" the USA has acquired regarding Iraq.  He will assert links to al-Qaeda (which British intelligence reports disprove); he will assert advance notice to Iraq of proposed search sites (which Hans Blix denies); he will show 8X10 glossies with arrows showing all sorts of things that he will allege to be Cuban missile silos... er, Iraqi caches of WMD's; he will play surveillance tapes of Iraqis laughing (presumably about hoodwinking inspections).

How insane is all this?  Richard Perle of the Pentagon's advisory Board tells UPI that "France is no longer our ally" because of its stance on Iraq.  Obviously, France holds a veto at the UN, though it is believed that if the USA gets nine affirmative votes on the UNSC, France would not be the sole holdout veto, but France (and Germany) by their heads of government, have come out very strongly against the coming military action as to Iraq.

I don't have to remind everyone that France has been a more or less continuous ally of this country since before this country was a country (in my home town of Suffern, New York, there was, over 200 years ago, an encampment of French and American troops, now at the corner of "Washington and Lafayette" -- on which for many years, ironically stood an Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips stand; Lafayette Park sits across from the White House; Washington itself was designed by Pierre L'Enfant; the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, I could go on...)  Yes, de Gaulle pulled France in and out of the military component of NATO, but notwithstanding him, France (despite the jokes, many of which are told by me) has been a steadfast, reliable ally of this country.  Allies, like free citizens, are allowed to have disagreements over policy -- ESPECIALLY over matters as serious as potentially triggering a world war.

But in George Bush's world, dissent is just not permitted.  L'Etat est BUSH, and if Americans wish to challenge the President's military policy, they are somehow treasonous (just ask Andrew Sullivan), or worse.  The Constitution is just another irritant; how suspending habeas corpus (not permitted during the Civil War, or any other time in American history) became necessary to "fight terrorism" and still got pulled off anyway, remains a mystery to me.  The White House spokesman was not speaking idly when he said "we all have to watch what we do and say".  A feckless (and worthless) Democratic Congress not only stood by and let this happen, for fear of their own seats, they became enablers of it all.

But just as dissent will not be tolerated at home, now it seems, just as our troublesome Constitution can be ignored when it interferes with our short-term policy imperatives, so it would seem, can longstanding alliances be trifled with, if we are not in lockstep agreement on the President's pet policies.  Let me say that I assume that Perle is a trial balloon -- the Bushies want to see how it plays if we "cut off France" -- or better yet, have them exercise their veto, and STILL go forward with military action.  I assume this view is NOT yet official policy.

Well, I'm horrified.  Much as I think Bush went too far a long time ago, to jeopardize the collective security regime that has been in place for almost SIX DECADES so that whatever kaka-peepee nonsense reasons Bush has for doing this (that DO NOT, repeat DO NOT concern the security of the United States, because if they did, military action against Iraq would have been undertaken in calendar 2001, when we had absolute political cover), then the man has no limits, does not care what damage he wreaks on this country, and efforts should be made to remove him from office NOW.

I have accused the President of gross negligence before, but this level is inconceivable; if NATO were to collapse because it were no longer useful, or because of fundamental policy problems, fine.  But because Bush is pissed off like a 4-year-old that "they don't like my invasion plan".  I'm sorry.  He is putting his stupid, personal hatred of Saddam Hussein over the collective safety and security of the United States.  Such a man should not be its President.

 

February 4, 2003, New York, NY.

Another banner day here at the talking dog, as we welcome three more fabulous blogs to the ranks of the dog run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM, which I am told will soon be undergoing some structural renovation -- some arbitrary classification of the blogs therein, anyway, just to make life easier!).  First, a welcome to Roger Ailes (who tells us he is not the one who hangs out with Petty Noonan), and his blog, Over and Out.  Roger said some very nice things about this blog today, and we thank him for that.  We also welcome Jesse's blog Pandagon, "functional nirvana for free".  (Jesse advises all that the dining room is open.)  And we welcome Justin Slotman's Insolvent Republic of Blogistan; Justin took one of the blogosphere's famous hiatuses a little while back, but thankfully has returned to regular blogging.

Say it ain't so, Phil.  Famed record producer Phil Spector is under arrest for homicide, for the death by shooting in his home of Lana Clarkson.  As I have no knowledge of the facts, your TD reserves judgment on the odds of a celebrity record producer convicted of a homicide in Los Angeles County.

The President takes a much needed day off from warmongering and deficit spending for some star-studded grieving in his home state of Texas, at a memorial service for the Columbia astronauts in Houston.  I guess for exercise, itís the treadmill on Air Force One.

Meanwhile, in "blood for oil" news, OPEC announces that it expects to CUT production output at its meeting next month (because of general world OVERSUPPLY).  Take that, those of you who think that the coming war is about opening the spigots on Iraqi oil.  Don't be surprised if large portions of Iraqi production capacity are "accidentally" blown up during operation Sturm and Drang -- or Shock and Awe (I STILL vote for "Infinite Justice" -- the coolest name we have come up with for a military operation in memory.)  Look, who does George W. Bush care about? You?  Me?  (LOL).  He cares about two sets of rich people: American rich people, and Saudi rich people (both of whom comprised his business partners).  With respect to the latter, the LAST thing they want is a free, democratic, oil pumping Iraq. They are delighted now that the world's number two oil holdings in Iraq are tied up in sanctions, and hope Saddam holds out this way for decades.  A military operation against Iraq that frees up the oil will be counter to Saudi interests.  It appears that itís coming anyway based on the massive troop deployments, I'm afraid (though this Administration remains unpredictable).  (Deep sigh).

Messrs. Sharon and Mitzna seem content to blame each other for the failure of national unity coalition talks.  But why blame anyone?  Mitzna is a legitimate fresh voice in the Israeli discourse.  His proposals really are incompatible with Sharon's ongoing "get tough", anti-conciliation policies; further, Arab parties might even serve in a Mitzna-led government -- a necessary voice for an ultimate resolution, if you ask me.  The Arab parties will not be sitting in a Likud led government.  Sharon wants cover for his bad-ass actions -- he benefits from Labor in his coalition.  Labor needs not to be a part of this: it will add to their ultimate credibility with Arabs when it (as it will, eventually) returns to power, and tries to implement Mitzna's vision for a political resolution.  You go, Amram!

 

 

February 3, 2003, New York, NY.

We are pleased to welcome more great blogs to the dog run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM):  A Level Gaze, Punning Pundit, and Talk Left: the Politics of Crime.  I scour the blog world for the best blogs, so you don't have to!

Fellow Brooklynite Electrolite joins in my sentiments that Palestinian conveyances of condolences are an act of kindness for which we should be grateful.  I felt similarly about Arafat's condolences to Israel after Rabin's assassination.  If it is ultimately some tragedy, such as the loss of Israel's national hero and lone bright spot Colonel Ramon, that leads to a breakthrough, then perhaps some good can emerge from this tragedy after all.  I wish I were more hopeful.

Amram Mitzna has rejected Sharon's entreaties to join a national unity coalition, though party whip Ophir Pines-Paz refused to rule it out (party loyalty!!!).  You go Amram!  Mitzna did say that in the event of national crisis, such as a war (the USA-Iraq war would qualify), Labor would act as a "safety net", albeit from opposition.  Mitzna, like Al Gore, is someone I respected and rooted for before, but seems to be growing as  a statesman in defeat.  I hope Mitzna can hold together his Laborite brethren; their time is coming.  Mitzna's current demands for joining a unity government -- i.e., that Sharon adopt his peace plan of unilateral pullbacks and stepped up negotiations -- seems an unlikely condition for Sharon to accept!  Amram: just remind your party brethren that in the LAST national unity government, where Labor controlled 25 seats to Likud's 19, AND Labor controlled the foreign and defense ministries, Sharon STILL ran roughshod, and implemented his Likudnik hard-ass policies (results currently measured in ongoing casualty count).  So, you hold firm, Amram.  You go, guy!

In a non-surprise surprise, Shinui leader Tommy Lapid appears ready to join a coalition that includes the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism Party (at least itís not Shas).  Labor has been in power for the vast majority of Israel's existence; it is at a low point (in large part, because it represents Israel's elite, a huge number of whom have fled the country during the latest intifada).  Labor (long term) has no particular need to sit as part of Sharon's government, and I think Mitzna is being wise to stay out of it.  Shinui is a formerly tiny party that is now a huge player.  Sure, Lapid made a promise to the voters, but this is Shinui's big moment.  Labor will do better if an immediate election is called; Shinui will do worse.  Tommy COULD throw his lot in with Mitzna, and force Sharon to call an election, but as I said, I think Shinui would do worse.

Lebanon's Daily Star reports that an Arab foreign minister meeting will soon be held in Cairo, and the Arab League 23 March summit scheduled for Bahrain may be moved up.  Obviously, the key item on the agenda is try to stave off war against Iraq.  Since the American political implications are all personal (President Rove has calculated that swing state male voters 18-49 believe that itís about Saddam Hussein himself; so even if a Baathist dictatorship remains in place WITHOUT Hussein, victory may be declared), perhaps the Arab foreign ministers can get this exile thing up and running.  As previously observed by Unqualified Offerings, shock and awe seem to be the order of the day, as the BBC reports a massive strike is planned against Baghdad.  Of course, this could be just part of the psy-ops game.  Then again, who knows with Rummy and Dicky?  Query: who will be able to surrender to us if we have already killed everyone in Baghdad?

 

TD Welcome Extra II, 2-2-03.

I would like to extend a hearty dog run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM) welcome to P. Vaara's blog Silt. (Your TD is particularly proud to be among the few, the proud, the Silt blogroll!)

 

TD Welcome Extra, 2-2-03.

A welcome to the dog run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM) to Frank's hilarious website IMAO. In this horrible period of national tragedy, we can all use a good laugh... Check out IMAO.

 

February 2, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.

Happy Groundhog Day. Punxatawney Phil via his website tells us we can expect six more weeks of winter. Itís been a cold one so far, so I can't say this is a big surprise. In Russia, celebrations of the 60th anniversary (today) of victory at Stalingrad.

While most of the news world and perhaps the blog world will continue discussing the Columbia tragedy, (note that the grievers include the Palestinian Authority who called Ilan Ramon a man of courage; Iraq, of course, is NOT among the mourners.

I will continue to address other potential tragedies that we may yet be able to confront. (I still say that just as after 9-11 the nation NEEDS a national day of mourning; we won't get it, because it might interfere with the President's exercise schedule.) On a "space-faring" theme, Pravda gives us this report of a 30,000 plus year old star map.

Bruce Moomaw, the talking dog's running mate (in my presidential campaign, first suggested in a comment string on Matthew Yglesias' blog has sent in not one, but two pieces today, on key evidence available to the Bush Administration. The first addresses North Korea and notes that a great deal was known about the North Korean nuclear program in late 2001, but the obsession then was with 9-11, and nothing was done about this knowledge of North Korea's evasion of its agreement not to develop nukes.

Bruce also sends us this, a report of the electronic surveillance tapes showing wacky Iraqis joking and bragging about having hidden things from the UN inspectors. Query whether they did so in perfect, unnuanced English, of course, and note that it is unclear WHAT they are hiding. Further, even Administration officials are hesitant to call this the famed "smoking gun" casus belli.

As I told Bruce, the management of this nation's foreign policy has got to be placed into the "dire" category. It was interesting to hypothesize that somewhere, somehow, just as Bill Clinton kicked himself for not having a 9-11 type defining moment (and probably did so AGAIN because no national tragedy comparable to the Columbia disaster happened on HIS watch), all you could say about Clinton's handling of world affairs was that it was a bit unimaginative, and a bit politically driven (Kosovo), but was fundamentally competent. We just can't say that about the current crew. They better get their act together. They had just better.

 

TD The Rest of the World Will Go On Extra, 2-1-03.

As your TD continues to wallow in the grief that he suspects is enveloping most Americans (and Israelis), he notes that the world goes on nonetheless. I missed the live version of the President's statement taking Baby TD for a walk. Life went on after September 11th; life went on after the Challenger tragedy; life will go on after the Columbia tragedy.

Despondent, but insistent and persistent, your TD is pleased to welcome To the Barricades! to the dog run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM). Another great blog worthy of your attention. I am also delighted to welcome Liberal Oasis (where left is right and right is wrong!)

I also welcome the news that the chief UN weapons inspectors have accepted an invitation for further talks in Iraq, starting February 8th. It hints that perhaps there will be some sort of dramatic flourish from Saddam Hussein that can be termed "cooperation" with the weapons inspection regime that can serve to alleviate this ill-thought out war. Maybe.

 

TD Columbia Tragedy Extra, 2-1-03.

I might say that such a tragedy as today's loss of the Columbia (actually named after your TD's alma mater), with all seven aboard lost, defy words. I will, however, offer the words of others. First, a link to the (tepid and uninspiring) message to the nation from our (tepid and uninspiring) President.

And now, words of REAL inspiration after an all too-comparable tragedy (President Reagan's statement when the Challenger exploded in 1986):

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight; we've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

 

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

 

We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

 

And I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.

 

I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.

 

I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."

 

There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.

 

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

This article from the Guardian notes the absurd technical jerry-rigging (using computer chips and equipment quite literally from another era) necessary to keep the American manned space program going. This piece from Space.Com, notes that space shuttle safety upgrades were deemed "discretionary", because of budgetary pressure on NASA (and we can draw our own conclusions).

In short, the space shuttle program was a disaster waiting to happen. Except that it happened before, and keeps happening. This is the second fatal crash of a shuttle out of five shuttles ever built, and 107 manned shuttle missions overall. I heard someone say "its been decades" since the last tragedy. I don't see it that way: I see it as 2 out of 5.

I will say this about manned space flight: it is the luxury of a rich and powerful nation. We have a simple choice: either spend what is necessary to do this with the greatest available margin of safety we can (nothing is perfect, but as noted above, we could clearly do better; I doubt we will), OR DON'T SEND HUMAN BEINGS INTO SPACE AT ALL. Like any age of exploration, we must recognize that space exploration is extremely dangerous, as were clipper ships and stage coaches and modern aviation. That's no excuse, however, to make the endeavor or enterprise MORE dangerous than necessary.

As tragic as this event is for us (and I think the nation will be devastated for days) -- Israel may be devastated far longer. Here are thoughts from Israeli blogger Imshin ; from Israeli blogger Inner Balance ; from Israeli blogger Balagan. As Israelis grieved with us on and after 9-11, our two nations are joined in grief again.

May God help all of us.

 

February 1, 2003, Brooklyn, NY.

The space shuttle Columbia appears to have exploded on reentry over the Dallas-Fort Worth area at 200,000 feet. Missing and presumed lost are Mission Commander Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson. Kalpana Chawra, David Brown, Laurel Clark, and Ilan Ramon.

Americans, as they learn of this, will be shocked and horrified. A period of national mourning would seem to be in order. Israelis will soon emerge from the Sabbath to learn that Colonel Ramon, Israel's national hero, perhaps the only good news for that country for some time, is probably lost.

There is nothing else to say.

 

TD Welcome Extra, 2-1-03

Welcome to February, 2003. And welcome to the dog run (the best damned links section on the InternetTM) to Suman Palit's blog the Kolkata Libertarian and to Digby's blog Hullabaloo. Your talking dog continues to scour the blog world for the best blogs out there -- so you don't have to!

 

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