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Can We Stop Trying To Prounounce His Name?

Thursday, November 22, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

In the category of "Hmmm, very interesting."

The Islamic Republic daily, close to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has said Mr Ahmadinejad's behaviour is dangerous for Iran.

The publication is seen as a newspaper with impeccable Islamic credentials.

The attack would be difficult to imagine without at least tacit support from Ayatollah Khamenei.
. . .
It called on Iran's judiciary to perform its duty and punish people who make baseless allegations and cause public anxiety. (My bold.)
As Captain Ed observes:

The newspaper's demand for judicial action could not have come without Khameini's approval, at least tacitly. The nuclear program cannot be the reason for this issue, but Ahmadinejad's clumsy diplomacy might. The increased sanctions, fueled in part by Ahmadinejad's careless rhetoric about America and Israel, have bit deeply into the economy. Popular discontent has increased sharply, to the point where some might actually welcome an American decapitation attempt.
If this is just a warning shot it was close enough that Ahmadinejad must have felt the breeze off this bullet.

No cause for celebration, unfortunately. Stupid enemies are much better than smart ones. Ahmadinejad was in that first category. Khamenei has a bit more going on upstairs than his short-bus flunky does.

But setting that aside, it's still kind of fun when bad things happen to assholes, isn't it?

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'Splain It To Me, Markos.

by Michael Reynolds

We're getting closer to a genuinely interesting election. Why are these three hardcore liberal blogs losing readership? (Caveat: I'm not a statistician. Or even competent to handle Fifth grade math.)

Shouldn't these bar graphs be trending upward? Is this a sign? A portent? A coincidence? A random fluctuation in the blogospheric ether? Don't know. Interesting though, huh? We need a pollster.com for blogs, someone who can analyze the rise and fall and distill it into a meaningful picture.

Suggestions for interpreting above data are welcome.

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In No Particular Order.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

It's that season, and God knows there's no avoiding it. So, what the hell. 15 things for which I am grateful. In no particular order:

1) I'm no longer looking at size 44's like I was ten years go. Or 42's. I'm mostly out of 40's and into 38's. I could conceivably hit 36's some day, but to reach 34's I'd have to have a hipbone removed.

2) I actually like my editor at Harper. I mean, really, not that phony bullshit you have to say in order to keep the wheels greased. He makes my writing better. If you understand my surprise, you're probably a writer.

3) My kids. Yes, they are irritating. (Sweet lord, you have no idea.) But they're kind of interesting, too. My son, the difficult but rather witty uber-geek. My daughter, the first person in our family to actually possess that elusive thing called, "Cool." During the occasional breaks in the shouting and threatening and forbidding and punishing and sibling-on-sibling violence, they're actually okay.

4) Jet Blue. Rage-free air travel. In coach! Imagine.

5) My job. I work for three or four hours a day. Sitting on my porch. With no boss, no one telling me what to do. I get paid to sit there, drink coffee, smoke Macanudos, and make up stories to scare children. How is that not a great job?

6) It's an election year! Yay!

7) Pharmaceuticals. Ambien. Zocor. Advil. And all the rest. Aren't they great? Come on, give it up for Big Pharma. Come on. No? Okay, fine. Be that way.

8) TV. No, I don't mean just PBS. Or just HBO. I mean actual TV. I love TV. And I don't care who knows it. House. South Park. Jon Stewart. Scrubs. 30 Rock. Grey's Anatomy. MSNBC. Kitchen Nightmares. Brotherhood. The Simpsons. Las Vegas. That's right, I realize it's crap, but I like Las Vegas, and I don't care who knows it!

9) Showers. God almighty, is there anything better than a pounding, steaming hot, 20 minute shower? Or even its more ecologically responsible version, the dribbling ten minute shower? (Thanks, Al Gore. Thanks a lot.)

10) RealClearPolitics. First I check my blogbuds, then I go to RCP. I read the various links. I obsess over the poll numbers. Hmmm, Giuliani fading in Iowa . . . Clinton strong in Florida . . . Obama . . . Huckabee . . . this state, that poll, this trend, that outlier. Kind of sad, really, isn't it?

11) Coffee, in virtually any form. But not flavored. Flavored coffee is heresy. Flavored coffee is a stench in the nostrils of the Lord.

12) Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. They've made this country safe for my ilk. No more sneaking around to attend secret meetings of the worldwide atheist conspiracy, there to plot our unrelenting attacks on Christmas, Motherhood and Country Music. Now we can be arrogant and condescending right out in the open.

13) Tolerable family restaurants: P.F. Chang's, Firebirds, California Pizza Kitchen. Not exactly haute cuisine, but when certain members of the family are likely to stab each other with chopsticks, you're not really worrying about fresh, local ingredients, you're hoping for enough background noise to camouflage the screams.

14) Single malt Scotch. Also small batch Bourbon.

15) My lovely, ridiculously talented, funny and tough-minded wife. (Even though she occasionally drives me to #14, above.) Twenty-eight years together, more than half my life. Way too much of her life, poor woman. (Just got a starred review for her picture book from Booklist.)

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If I Was Joe Biden.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

You know what I'd do if I was Joe Biden?

I'd realize Hillary will never pick me as Veep. She won't go to another northeastern Senator. I'd realize State is probably promised to Richard Holbrooke. And I'd think to myself, "Hmmmm."

Then, I'd wait until the day before the next Democratic debate. I'd leak a rumor that I was dropping out. Enough of a leak that the debate moderator would have to ask me about it. Then, I'd smile shyly, admit that there was some truth to the rumor although, gosh, I wish it hadn't come out this way.

Then, in response to the inevitable follow-up question, I'd say, "I have the greatest respect for Hillary Clinton, and I haven't even had a chance to discuss this with either Hillary or Barack, but I feel the future of our party and our nation should be entrusted to Barack Obama."

Right there on live TV. The story would dominate coverage for three days.

It would put a knife in Hillary. It would give Obama a push. It might give Obama enough of a push that he'd take Iowa with a big enough number to roll into New Hampshire.

Why would I do that? Because you know who would be the perfect Veep for Obama? Joe Biden.

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