Friday, July 29, 2011

Pet goats are calm

A Reuters story excitedly previews a George W. Bush interview with the National Geographic channel that will air in August --

In a rare interview with the National Geographic Channel, Bush reflects on what was going through his mind at the most dramatic moment of his presidency when he was informed that a second passenger jet had hit New York's World Trade Center ... Bush said he could see the news media at the back of the classroom getting the news on their own cellphones "and it was like watching a silent movie." 

Bush said he quickly realized that a lot of people beyond the classroom would be watching for his reaction. "So I made the decision not to jump up immediately and leave the classroom. I didn't want to rattle the kids. I wanted to project a sense of calm," he said of his decision to remain seated and silent.
"I had been in enough crises to know that the first thing a leader has to do is to project calm," he added.

Page 38 of the 9/11 Commission Report of 2004 --

The President told us his instinct was to project calm, not to have the country see an excited reaction at a moment of crisis.  The press was standing behind the children; he saw their phones and pagers starting to ring.   The President felt he should project strength and calm until he could better understand what was happening.

What we learn therefore is that Bush has memorized the explanation that he and his handlers came up with for how the Decider-in-Chief froze on 9/11, not some new insights into his thinking on that disastrous day.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Karl Rove condemns rising income inequality in America

Well, not exactly.  But he seems to be noticing its consequences, if not the link.  In his regular Thursday perch at the Wall Street Journal, he laments the closing of Furin's restaurant in Georgetown--

The family diner, a D.C. landmark, featured wafer-thin pancakes, great sandwiches, homemade soups and the capital's best cakes and cupcakes. It drew generations of students, social types, power brokers and travelers wealthy enough to stay at the Four Seasons across the street but savvy enough to know where to get a wonderful breakfast.

Note: the expensive Four Seasons across the street isn't closing.  Business better for the places getting more money from the wealthy customers.  Weird, that.  The post mortem --

No small business ends for just one reason. But with fewer conventions coming to Washington, a slow economy and people dining out less, it got gradually tougher to keep Furin's doors open

If things are this bad for a small Washington DC business with the existing level of public spending cuts, how much worse would they be if Rove got the cuts that he wanted?

Finally, note the man who was as good as the "real Americans versus Washington" rhetoric as anybody wander all of 14 blocks from his old White House job to find an anecdote for a tough economy. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Photo of the day

Via the Wall Street Journal, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (front left), Greek leader of the opposition Antonis Samaras (top right) and two friends at Amherst College, Mass., 1973.  Apparently Samaras was the one doing road trips to Emily Dickinson College.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Black July

While there is plenty of time to argue about determinants and analogies of the Oslo-Utoya atrocities, one quick point: the well-intentioned but apparently inept police response recalls strongly the events of the Munich Olympics massacre in 1972: a police force -- and a country -- completely unprepared for the nature of the threat they were dealing with as it unfolded, and misled by assumptions about the character of their countries into underestimating the depravity of their opponents.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Original IHOP

Interesting New York Times article about the International House of Prayer --

The well-populated prayer room and the devout community growing up around it are at the epicenter of a little known but expanding national network: dozens of groups that are stressing perpetual prayer in a way seldom seen in modern America, said Marcus Yoars, the editor of Charisma, an evangelical magazine. Many of them were inspired by the operation here, though none have maintained such an elaborate 24-hour system of worship, seen around the world on a live webcast. 

They've been doing that perpetual prayer thing for a long, long time in ... Mecca!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Win the Superbowl and drive off in a Hyundai

New York Times account of the hottest party at the Cannes film festival --

[Kanye] West played for more than an hour, bringing Jamie Foxx onstage to perform the hit “Gold Digger,” and sweating through his white suit as he implored the sound guys to go louder. “Impeccable!” a Frenchman pronounced toward the end of the show, then went back to dancing and smoking. 

No word if the unnamed Frenchman was DSK.  He might like the song.

Video somewhat NSFW and lyrics definitely so.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Freudian Sip

The wine that DSK quaffed last night in his first dinner as a minimally bailed man was a Brunello Di Montalcino.   The word Brunello loosely translates as "nice dark one."

Friday, July 01, 2011

Fascist party in "anti-Semitism" shock

This is the kind of thing that usually only pops up on a slow news day but it being the Friday of a holiday weekend in the USA, the above is apparently doing the rounds of the right-wing "OUTRAGE!" machine.  It's an online flyer for an event called by the Swiss far-right group Geneva Doesn't Comply (Geneve non conforme) declaring August 1 a day against Israel.

Suitably outraged, Jonah Goldberg posts the picture with the title "When Anti-Israel Becomes Anti-Jew part 28,901,011" and text "A Swiss political party's new poster."  You have to do a lot of digging even after the link to see that the group is both unapologetically neofascist and deeply marginal in Switzerland.  Or if, say, you had written a book on Fascism, you might guess at this possibility with the trident symbol displayed in the lower left hand corner of the poster. 

The message of course is that anyone in Europe who complains about the policies of Israel is the same as a bunch of Swiss loons who successfully worked up a provocative poster.

It's anger management Friday

All those anxiety-causing time-consuming rules at American airports concerning your need to be able to prove that you are who all your documents say you are don't apply if you are Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi getting through security with clearly invalid boarding pass and apparently just a college ID card.

But all that airport securocrat apparatus does come in handy when a knuckle-dragging flight attendant takes a personal dislike to a passenger.

All those UK speech-based visa bans don't apply if you are Raed Salah, just showing up at Heathrow arrivals and carrying on to do your thing.

And all those rules about complying your UK visa purpose when in the UK don't apply if you show up for graduate study at a Scottish university but actually pretend to be a lesbian blogger in Damascus with a book to sell.

And last but not least, being in the country with a pending asylum claim is apparently no obstacle to trying to hit the legal jackpot with a trumped-up rape accusation that has cost DSK at least one career and perhaps two.

Have a good weekend.

That's another ratchet down in trust

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, meet Ray Donovan --

'The question is, should this indictment have ever been brought? Which office do I go to to get my reputation back? Who will reimburse my company for the economic jail it has been in for two and a half years?'' 

It's unclear if Ray ever got an answer.

This case is among other things a tradeoff between the common arguments "so crazy it must be true" and "it still doesn't add up".  We needed more weight on the latter.