She had put her hand into his pocket where his hand was

Needlenose has a good round-up of the rock and the other rock that the neocons have placed America between. The promise that invading Iraq would usher in a stable middle-east is past its expiration date. Like many who have had their fantasies snuffed out by reality I’m sure we have years of shrill denial to look forward to from the neocon cheerleaders.
Doubling down on the sweets and flowers

Not long after the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in 2003, a top aide to L. Paul Bremer III, then the head of the American occupation authority there, excitedly explained that Iraq had just become the front line in Washington’s effort to neutralize Iran as a regional force.

If America could promote a moderate, democratic, American-friendly alternate center of Shiite Islam in Iraq, the official said, it could defang one of its most implacable foes in the Middle East.

. . . So far, though, Iran’s mullahs aren’t feeling much pain from the Americans next door. In fact, officials at all levels of government here say they see the American presence as a source of strength for themselves as they face the Bush administration.

. . . Iranians know that American forces, now stretched thin, are unlikely to invade Iran. And if the United States or Europe were to try a small-scale, targeted attack, the proximity of American forces makes them potential targets for retaliation. Iranians also know the fighting in Iraq has helped raise oil prices, and any attempt to impose sanctions could push prices higher.

In addition, the Iranians have longstanding ties to influential Shiite religious leaders in Iraq, and at least one recently promised that his militia would make real trouble for the Americans if they moved militarily against Iran.

All of those calculations have reduced Iranian fears of going ahead with their nuclear program — a prospect that frightens not just the United States, Europe and Israel, but many of the Sunni Muslim-dominated nations in the region, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

There’s more at the link. I wouldn’t be pissimistic about future moves on the mid-east chess board if we had competent leaders who have proven themselves capable of calculating all the challenges, but we don’t.

Its not really hard to imagine making right-wing hate speech mainstream. Actually since I see, hear, and read it everyday I thought it was officially mainstream. Apparently some corporations who are trying to sell stuff to the upper-middle class are a little nervous about backing fascism-lite with their advertising dollars.
Pajama Party Springs a Leak

Smith hones in on the primary dilemma facing PeePee Media: how to attract affluent, upscale advertisers who tend to shy away from rabid controversy to a blog mall where there are always ugly brawls breaking out near the coin fountain. Smith quotes Roger L. Simon claiming that racism, sexism, and other “stuff universally disliked” will not be verboten in their camp.

Smith: “He must have forgotten about Charles Johnson, whose Little Green Footballs believes all Muslims are terrorists until proven innocent. Slangy, clever, the site is a dysfunctional mix of beautiful photos Johnson takes on coastal bike rides and constitutionally protected hate speech.”

Smith excerpts a choice batch from a LGF hate rally in the comments section, adding drolly, “The screech you hear is the sound of a Lexus backing over a Nikon camera. Is there any corporation in the would that would pay to have its log slapped alongside such calls for slaughter?”

Good question. Too bad he can’t obtain an answer from PeePee’s transparent founders.

“Doesn’t the presence of Footballs make it harder to attract ads to the site? When asked that question, the otherwise loquacious Simon pulls up short. ‘I have no comment on that. You should ask Charles,’ he said.”

As Godwin’s Law (also Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) prevents me from using the “N” word to describe LGF or a place commonly referred to as freeperville, maybe its encouraging that corporate America knows some bounds and will not overtly pander to you the dirty underbelly of political discourse. If some of these denizens of blogland supposedly do their blogging in bunny slippers it doesn’t make their unamerican values any more palatable.

I think its way past time that we put the threats by terrorism into perspective. The problem with perspective is that its subtle. The current crop of ear binding pundits, righty blog weasels, and vote-for-us or you’ll die political bosses don’t do subtle. Glenn Greenwald picks up on that op-ed I posted about yesterday,
Putting the terrorist threat into perspective

Most people this side of Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter recognize that those reactions were excessive and nowhere near justified by the actual threat which was posed. And yet we don’t seem to be able to apply those lessons to the threat of terrorism, which is causing us to engage in all sorts of extreme measures based on the warped notion that the terrorism threat is — to use George Bush’s formulation — an “unprecedented danger.”

The cause of this irrationality, this inability to view the terrorism threat with any perspective, is not a mystery. Terrorists like Al Qaeda deliberately stage attacks which are designed to instill fear in the population far beyond what is warranted by the actual threat-level posed by the terrorists. That’s the defining tactic and objective of terrorists. Fortunately for the terrorists, in the United States, Al Qaeda has a powerful ally in this goal: the Bush Administration, which for four years has, along with Al Qeada, worked ceaselessly to instill in Americans an overarching and excessive fear of terrorism.

“I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our people impel. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

Orwellian doublespeak update: I just learned from Josh Marshall that in his SOTU speech Bush will claim that one of the big problems facing Americans is that we’re over insured. We’re over insured ?

Guys talking about girls or young women if you prefer. Young men talk about young women the way explorers talk about far off lands, the way physicists talk about distant planets. Only that in the case of men trying to discover women, the subject is not only within reach, but they are like fun house mirrors of each other.
Obviously it is not the similarities that drives the intrique that one has with the other. Those small differences, in between fears of death, have been the driving force for most of literature. In their own ways, Neal Cassady and James Joyce ask the question, how do I solve this mystery.
On reading Neal Cassady’s “The Great Sex Letter” to Jack Kerouac it reminded me of the stream of consciousness style in James Joyce’s “A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man”:


I am sitting in a bar on Market St. I’m drunk, well, not quite, but I soon will be. I am here for 2 reasons; I must wait 5 hours for the bus to Denver & lastly but, most importantly, I’m here (drinking) because, of course, because of a woman & what a woman! To be chronological about it : I was sitting on the bus when it took on more passengers at Indianapolis, Indiana — a perfectly proportioned (beautiful, drunk) gargled & stammered NO! (Paradox of expression, after all, how can one stammer No!!?) She sat — I sweated — She started to speak, I knew it would be generalities, so to tempt her I remained silent. She (her name Patricia) got on the bus at 8 PM (Dark!) I didn’t speak until 10 PM — in the intervening 2 hours I not only of course, determined to make her, but, how to DO IT.


Eileen had long thin cool white hands too because she was a girl. They were like ivory; only soft. That was the meaning of Tower of Ivory but protestants could not understand it and made fun of it. One day he had stood beside her looking into the hotel grounds. A waiter was running up a trail of bunting on the flagstaff and a fox terrier was scampering to and fro on the sunny lawn. She had put her hand into his pocket where his hand was and he had felt how cool and thin and soft her hand was. She had said that pockets were funny things to have: and then all of a sudden she had broken away and had run laughing down the sloping curve of the path. Her fair hair had streamed out behind her like gold in the sun. Tower of Ivory. House of Gold. By thinking of things you could understand them.

To me it seems like Cassady, the modern cad with a plan, internalizes much of the outer world, while Joyce takes his infactuation and places it in the context of a larger world that is he trying to take in. Cassady’s Patricia is more sensual fleshy creature placed at the center, while Joyce’s Eileen is in Joyce’s mind descending from the canvas, slowly becoming flesh and blood. James is surprised by how cool and thin and soft her hand was. While Cassady already knows and proceeds to say the things that will allow him to obtain what he desires.