Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Go, Hot Dog, Go!

Gordon Cooper, Astronaut, Is Dead at 77

Yahoo! News - Rumsfeld Says He Was Misunderstood on Iraq-Al Qaeda

It's a Yahoo! News link, which means that it will go away shortly, but here's the story:
Rumsfeld Says He Was Misunderstood on Iraq-Al Qaeda

2 hours, 9 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday he was misunderstood when he stated hours earlier that he knew of no "strong, hard evidence" linking Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda.

"I have acknowledged since September 2002 that there were ties between al Qaeda and Iraq," Rumsfeld said in a Web site statement issued following remarks he made to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Monday.

"Today at the Council, I even noted that 'when I'm in Washington, I pull out a piece of paper and say "I don't know, because I'm not in that business, but I'll tell you what the CIA thinks" and I read it'."

In the new statement, issued on the Pentagon Web site, Rumsfeld listed what he said were arguments for suggesting links between al Qaeda and Iraq under Saddam, including what the CIA regarded as "credible evidence" that al Qaeda leaders had sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Rumsfeld, during a question-and-answer session before the Council on Foreign Relations, had been asked to explain the connection between Saddam and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network -- one of the U.S. arguments for launching a war on Iraq.

He replied: "To my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two."

Why, what ever could have prompted such a swift "correction"? Oh yeah, this:

Edwards, Cheney Set to Meet in Only Debate

Dick's never been shy about flogging that horse, has he? And I'm sure he'll do it again tonight. And Rummy had to be taken to the shed and reminded that he's not supposed to steal Big Dick's thunder.

What I'd really like John Edwards to do is to sit back and say, "I'd really like to hear the vice-president explain -- in detail -- the information he has that links Saddam Hussein and Osma bin Laden. I'll gladly hand over some of my alotted time for him to do it." And then, every time Cheney says, "We know [such and such]," for Edward to interrupt with, "Who is 'we' and how do they know it? You're not answering the question, Mr. Vice-President. Do you know the answer?"

Yes, it's a risk. No, it won't happen, even though it could. For whatever reason, people feel protective towards Bush. They don't feel the same way about Cheney. Edwards can get away with pushing him a lot harder. The only problem is that Cheney leans in over the table and starts talking to the host/moderator/reporter as though he's sharing deep information, and only when you pay attention and listen to the words do you realize that he's lying through his teeth. Not hedging his bets or putting a pretty spin on things, flat out lying, old-school Ari Fleischer style.

It could be an intersting confrontation tonight, but the thing to remember is that Cheney is going in knowing that he's got to restore the lustre of the administration after Bush's disastrous performance at last week's debate. The press, too, want to restore some gleam, and they'll favorably spin Big Dick's bullshit as "straight shooting". Bush was prickly because he's come to expect deference. Cheney's a thug who's not afraid to draw blood. In fact, he's probably hoping for it.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Richard Avedon 1923 - 2004

Photographer Richard Avedon has died. In Texas, of all places, while on assignment for the New Yorker.

Herb Ritts and Helmut Newton passed recently, as well. Oh, and Henri-Cartier Bresson. Not that any of these have anything to do with the others. Just interesting.


Some thoughts this morning following the debates last night:

1.) This one would be a lot easier if Peggy Noonan hadn't jumped onto the campaign in an official capacity and instead could sell herself out as an "independent analyst," but whatever. Despite the utter lack of any evidence to support it, everyone goes out and spins that Bush is actually a wonderful orator, one of the best in American history, second only to Ronald Reagan (at which point Peggy would make the sign of the cross -- inappropriately); that even the best can have an off night; and that for the best, an off night is still pretty good. The president, in his steadfastness and resolve(?), actually did a phenomenal job.

2.) Bush sucked, but he was supposed to. He'll be marginally better in debate number two and profoundly better in debate number three. Kerry will be uniformly good in all of them. This, the spinmeisters will put forth, proves that while Kerry just plods on and on, unable to revise his strategy (um, because it's working?), Bush constantly learns and adjusts and improves, honing his rhetoric to a razor sharp edge. He's like Ralph Macchio in "The Karate Kid" -- the only reason his victory is sweet is because he got beat down in the first place. Now GWB's the underdog.

3.) A variation on number 2: Bush sucked, because he was supposed to IN THIS FORMAT. When they get to the "Town Hall" version, when "real" people get to ask "real" questions (pre-conceived, pre-submitted, pre-approved, and pre-answered by Andy Card, Karl Rove, and Karen Hughes on behalf of the "very busy" President), he'll shine. This, the spinmeisters will opine, is because Kerry is an elitist who can only interact with other elites, like Jim Lehrer. Bush is a man of the people (as long as they keep their distance and don't approach on horseback) and "likes them more than John Kerry does, who went to Yale." (Um, what was that weird little thing about where Bush said that he could even forgive Kerry for having gone to Yale? Bush went to Yale. Does he not remember this? Or is this supposed to be a dig, forgiving him for sullying his alma mater? Is he aware that Bill Clinton, Howard Dean, and Garry Trudeau also went to Yale?)

It's nice that things went well for Kerry last night. NOW FORGET IT! Next debate next week: Hit him even harder with more of the same. Bush's worst moments were when he froze, when he sputtered, when he couldn't get his thoughts (if he had any) out of his mouth, and when Kerry just stood patiently by and waited for an answer.

Oh, and I saw Rudolph Giuliani on "The Daily Show" last night. I don't know what he's been promised in the next administration -- a cabinet post, an ambasadorship, a juicy government contract, backing in his run for the Senate -- but judging by the reaction he got from the audience, he's coming across much less the maverick mayor and more the blubbering sycophant. Tool.