Carl Hiaasen speaks for us all.
As Iraq ruptures into fragments, none other than Dick Cheney has shambled forth to blame Barack Obama.Seriously, there is no man in recent history who has earned the scorn of the world like Dick Cheney.
“Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong so much at the expense of so many,” the former vice president huffed in a Wall Street Journal column, blind to the irony of his own toxic self-righteousness.
No American political figure in recent history has been dead wrong as consistently as Cheney, or as loathe to admit it.
It was he and George W. Bush who set in the motion the catastrophe now unspooling in Iraq. The decision to invade was peddled to Congress and the American people with a campaign of myth-making that Cheney still refuses to disown.
Long after Bush was forced to concede that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, and long after U.S. intelligence agencies affirmed that Saddam Hussein had no connection to al Qaida, Cheney continued to promote these discredited scenarios to justify his own hyperbolic cheerleading for the war.
Remember, this is the same arrogant boob who predicted that U.S. troops would be welcomed as “liberators.”
Now Cheney is pathetically trying to elevate his lowly place in history by attacking Obama for letting Iraq go to pieces.For some reason people seem surprised that a nation we attacked expressly to weaken and destabilize, is weak and unstable. That we later invented a "spreading democracy" propaganda initiative after openly moving against Iraq with the declared intent of destroying its ability to defend and govern itself, did not unscramble Humpty Dumpty.
In truth, the collapse began March 19, 2003, the day we started the “shock and awe” bombing.
Maureen Dowd and Frank Bruni are snoozing this Sunday, but come in in. I think we can find something else to read.
The New York Times notes something in the Middle East that's actually gone as planned.
Less than a year ago, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his forces were sporadically using chemical weapons on rebels and civilians in the civil war. Today, the stockpile that he grudgingly admitted to under international pressure is gone.Hmm, I believe there might have been a few negative reactions to this deal. I'm sure John McCain will be on our screens this morning to tell us how eliminating chemical weapons without bombing someone is a bad thing.
There are still questions about whether Syria retains hidden weapons and related technologies, but the deal brokered by the United States and Russia that eliminated the known arsenal — a 1,300-ton cache of chemical agents — has achieved an important result.
On Monday, Syria delivered the last of its known stocks to the Syrian port of Latakia where they were loaded aboard a Danish ship. Some of the arsenal is being destroyed in Finland, while other materials for weapons will be destroyed at sea on an American ship and at facilities in the United States, Britain and Germany.
Ross Douthat joins the proud tradition of conservatives opining on campus rape... and acquits himself just as well as the rest.
In the debate over sexual violence on college campuses, two things are reasonably clear. First, campus rape is a grave, persistent problem, shadowing rowdy state schools and cozy liberal-arts campuses alike.This is riding perilously close to George Will territory, though I suppose shrugging your shoulders over sexual assault is better than giving a tacit endorsement. Douthat has three moves he thinks would help. Surprisingly, I agree with the first one.
Second, nobody — neither anti-rape activists, nor their critics, nor the administrators caught in between — seems to have a clear and compelling idea of what to do about it.
The deeper problem, which applies for courts of law as well, is that even with a near-perfect justice system, sexual assault on campus often happens in a context that by its nature defies easy adjudication. Most campus assaults involve incapacitation, usually involving alcohol, rather than brute force; most involve friends and acquaintances and partners and exes; and most women assaulted while under the influence do not themselves use the word “rape” to describe what happened. As long as these patterns persist, it is difficult to see any disciplinary or legal change that would inspire substantially more formal accusations, let alone clear and airtight verdicts.
... our lawmakers could reduce the legal drinking age to 18 from 21. ... Undoing the federal government’s Reagan-era imposition of a higher drinking age is probably too counterintuitive for lawmakers to contemplate. And obviously it wouldn’t eliminate the lure of the keg stand or tame the recklessness of youth. But it would create an opportunity for a healthier approach to alcohol consumption — more social and relaxed, less frantic and performative — to take root in collegiate culture once again.But, naturally, giving Douthat a few hundred words to talk about college is going to go... where it goes every time, and naturally he has suggestions about how to put more requirements for stopping rape on everyone except the rapists. He ends up proposing a poorly-defined chaperon system that might pass muster in the UAE.
By the way, George Will hasn't let the entirely justified outrage over his pro-rape column stop him from being a complete asshat again this week, but I'm not violating my Will-Free-Zone to link it.
Dana Milbank calls out McConnell.
When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went to the Senate floor Thursday afternoon to announce the death of Howard Baker, his words recalled not just his revered predecessor but an earlier, worthier cohort of American politicians.Can no one write a column about a Republican being a dead obvious jerkwad without feeling compelled to insert a "of course, both sides do it" line?
“Senator Baker truly earned his nickname, the Great Conciliator,” McConnell said. “I know he will be remembered with fondness by members of both political parties.”
McConnell was right on both counts: Baker, the former Senate majority leader who died Thursday at age 88, was a master of compromise. ...
But eulogizing Baker as the Great Conciliator — an echo of Henry Clay’s sobriquet, the Great Compromiser — was a curious choice by McConnell, whose recent actions have given no indication that he views conciliation as a virtue. McConnell’s partisan screeds delivered on the Senate floor and his reluctance to negotiate — traits mirrored by his Democratic counterpart, Harry Reid — and his record quantity of filibusters have set the tone for the current era of dysfunction in U.S. politics.
Reid Wilson awards California a "best state" award.
The Affordable Care Act’s size and scope led to some incredible flops in states such as Maryland , Nevada, Hawaii and Oregon , where Web sites intended to help people gain health insurance coverage failed miserably. But other states fared better: Love or hate the ACA, California implemented the complex new law better than every other state. The software worked, red tape was cut, and sign-ups, for the most part, went smoothly.Leonard Pitts recounts the tough journey of the Civil Rights Act.
In the Golden State, more than 2.5 million people signed up for coverage during the first six months of open enrollment. More than 42 percent of those eligible to sign up for care in California did so, a rate second only to Vermont’s. Medicaid enrollment in California jumped almost 16 percent, putting it in the top quartile of states. California was one of only six states to grow their private insurance rolls more than their Medicaid numbers, even after accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid.
Sen. Richard Russell called it a work of “manifold evils.”Pitts does an admirable job of showing both how far we've come, and why that's not enough. Read it.
Sen. Barry Goldwater called it a “threat to the very essence” of America.
Rep. Howard Smith called it a “monstrous instrument of oppression.”
It was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and its “oppression,” “threat” and “evil,” at least in the eyes of those conservative men, were that it outlawed racial discrimination in public places. The Act was signed into law 50 years ago Wednesday by President Lyndon Johnson and if it is not the single most consequential piece of legislation ever passed by Congress, it is certainly in the top tier. With the stroke of a pen — actually, the stroke of 72 ceremonial pens — Johnson exploded the old America and laid the cornerstone of the new.
Without the Act, Barack Obama is no president, Neil deGrasse Tyson is no celebrity astrophysicist, Shonda Rhimes is no hit TV producer, Juan Williams is no Fox pundit and, not to put too fine a point on it, yours truly is no Miami Herald columnist. More to the point, in a nation without the Act, somebody is legally required to enter McDonald’s through the back door today, somebody else must detour around a public park he is not allowed to walk through, somebody else has to decide if seeing 22 Jump Street is worth the indignity of having to watch it from the back row of the theater.
We have come a long way in the last half century. That is our triumph. And also our challenge.
Juan Cole says it's way too soon to give up on the Arab Spring.
Three and a half years ago, the world was riveted by massive crowds of youths mobilizing in Cairo's Tahrir Square to demand an end to Egypt's dreary police state. We watched transfixed as a movement first ignited in Tunisia spread from one part of Egypt to another, and then from country to country across the region. Before it was over, four presidents-for-life had been toppled and the region's remaining dictators were unsettled.As Cole points out, past democratic revolutions -- including our own -- took much longer and had at least as many setbacks.
Some 42 months later, in most of the Middle East and North Africa, the bright hopes for more personal liberties and an end to political and economic stagnation championed by those young people have been dashed. Instead, some Arab countries have seen counterrevolutions, while others are engulfed in internecine conflicts and civil wars, creating Mad Max-like scenes of postapocalyptic horror.
But keep one thing in mind: The rebellions of the last three years were led by Arab millennials, by young people who have decades left to come into their own. Don't count them out yet.
There are, of course, plenty of reasons for pessimism in the short- and perhaps even medium-term in the Middle East. But when it comes to youth revolutions, it's a pretty good bet that most of their truest accomplishments will come decades later.Want to gain a new internet obsession and just possibly save the world, or find outer space gold, in the process? Try Asteroid Zoo at citizen science site, Zooniverse, where you can scan photos to help locate near Earth asteroids.