May 29, 2008

Scott Pops Up


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So..... what happened about "What Happened", former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new Bushbuster confirming everything all of us here at Dakota have known for years? What's really interesting is the flap it's caused, and the the creepy fingers of the corporatocracy that have been exposed.

Ariana Huffington hit all the high points.

Keith Olbermann interviewed Scott for an hour, but we thought he was surprisingly obsequious.

Glenn Greenwald of Salon wrote a beautiful summary of how the corporate media interests controlled misinformation.

The noble McClatchey reporters responded to Scott's accusation that the press failed to report the truth, since they were doing just that all along, and Dan Froomkin took a break from his vacation to post a wonderful defense of the conscientious conscious press.

And from the right, the nationally telecast Turd Blossom and the rest of the turds chimed in. Our personal favorite, da lovely, distainful Dana Perino described Bush as "surprised" by the book but said the president wouldn't have anything to say about it. "He has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers," she said.

Someone over at 23/7 drew Scott McClellan's thought process flow chart.

TPM treated us to some vintage Scott in videos made prior to his awakening

Our congressional heroes, Robert Wexler and John Conyers plan to ask McClellan to testify before Congress, and Bush will, as always claim executive privilege.

And best of all, it sounds like Scott is has eyes for Obama

So the book didn't turn out to be so boring after all.

Photo note: A metaphorophoto of sorts -- note the flag rolled into a flaccid "cigar" shape, with a tiny American flag popping up from inside the container.

Addendum: The mainstream media responds

Posted by Dakota at 08:34 PM

May 27, 2008

On Saying You're Sorry, Or Not


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The academic linguists at Mark Liberman's Language Log have been examining the ritual apology for sometime. In an excellent article entitled A Non Apology of the First Kind, LIberman uses Geoff Pullum's elucidation of the three different ways of saying you're sorry and applies the model specifically to Hillary's apology for her leaky unconscious wish that something untoward happen to Obama.

Well, all of us here at dakota think it behoves everyone to bear these principles in mind when listening to apologies of any kind, or in creating one's own, and thus have provided this handy excerpt for your perusal:

The word sorry is used in three ways.

First, sorry can be used with a complement having the form of what The Cambridge Grammar calls a content clause:

(1) I'm sorry that the the political situation in the Holy Land is still mired in violence, because I wanted to go to Bethlehem at Christmas.

If I utter (1), I am not apologizing; I have never caused or defended any of the violence in the Middle East. It's not my fault. I just regret that the situation persists. This use can constitute an apology (as Jonathan Wright reminded me when he read the first version of this post), but only when the content clause subject is first person as well: I'm sorry I hit you is an apology, but I'm sorry you were hit is not, so watch for that subject.

Second, sorry can be used with a preposition phrase headed by for with a complement noun phrase denoting a sentient creature:

(2) I'm sorry for that poor little kitten, which seems to have figured out how to climb up a tree without having any idea how to get down.

If I utter (2), I am not apologizing; I never suggested to the stupid kitten that it should climb fifty feet up into a beech tree. I'm just expressing sympathy, as a fellow mammal, for its present plight.

And third, sorry can be used with a preposition phrase headed by for where the preposition has as its complement a subjectless gerund-participial clause or a noun phrase denoting an act:

(3) a. I'm sorry for doing what I did; I behaved like an utter pig, and you have a right to be angry.
(3) b. I'm sorry for my actions last night; I should never have acted that way and I want you to forgive me.

Only this third kind of use can constitute an apology, as opposed to a statement of regret about the truth of a proposition or a statement of sympathy for a fellow creature.

Obama does a nice job stepping up to the plate when he's wrong.

George Bush has solved the problem by never doing anything for which he feels sorry.

Photo note: Flowers again (sorry.... truly, we have subjected our readers to far too many this season) Perhaps a Colorado columbine, looking quite remorseful, don't you think?

Posted by Dakota at 06:50 PM

May 23, 2008


this year
the wisteria


drip as lavishly
from the trellis
as Hillary's
from her lips

pale purple
fill the air
with scent
so luscious
Maui comes
to mind

we think
we will die
the beauty
of it all

or simply
our allergies

Photo note: The trellis as a whole The blossoms bigger

Addendum: scroll down for Keith Olbermann's response to Hillary

Posted by Dakota at 09:02 PM | TrackBack

May 20, 2008

Obama Bling


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As most of our friends of the flesh would tell you, were they to be asked, all of us here at Dakota are not much for jewelry (though we do love a good pastel). Recently our old (sorry dear) college roommate, while on a politically incorrect (sorry again dear) off-Manhattan expedition to Walmart, recognized a copy of a $700,000 Tiffany diamond ring on sale for $10.87. She phoned to ask if she could pick up one for us. We were otherwise occupied, and missed the call, but placed a standing for her next excursion. By the time she hit Walmart again, this particular item was sold out. She now has permission to pick up any dazzling Tiffany diamonds she comes across for under $50, since we have a few fancy occasions coming up. No one will ever dream that women our age would wear faux jewels, right?

As synchronicity would have it, the next day we saw this fabulous bling affixed to a right minded chest. Who could resist, even though it's a a little pricey.

Photo note: Lapel pin from Ann Hand available in other candidates

Addendum: Speaking of Obama, from Jenna's Wedding in the New York Times

On Saturday afternoon, the Hager family hosted wedding guests at a barbecue in Salado. The wedding, which began at 7:30 p.m., took place on the Bush ranch, before a white limestone altar erected next to a man-made lake. The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston officiated at the ceremony. Mr. Caldwell, a longtime religious adviser to Mr. Bush, has endorsed Senator Barack Obama.

Pictures from the Portland rally

Posted by Dakota at 06:42 PM

Daring Journalism


view larger image, but why would you want to?

by puncturing
the perpetrator

a good
raised some hackles

thank you
Richard Engel

Photo note: Elmo hoisted on his own petard by the guys at the dump

Posted by Dakota at 06:48 AM

May 16, 2008



in habitat

Thursday, on the occasion of Israel's sixtieth George W. Bush compared Obama to Nazi appeasers. Well, he really didn't mention Obama by name, but the implication was clear. White House press secretary DaLovely, Distainful Dana Perino, always a favorite here at Dakota, reportedly denied that Bush's statements were a reference to Obama. "I understand when you're running for office you sometimes think the world revolves around you. That is not always true. And it is not true in this case," she said.

Of course no one believed her as usual, and there were outcries. Senator Joseph Biden said it best

Obama responded with great dignity, and used the incident as a teaching moment, as is his wont.

And then McCain called Obama's response a "hysterical diatribe".

It even made TV news when Chris Matthews publicaly humiliated the arrogant Kevin James for the holes in his education (and his head).

It seems worth noting that, according to The Guardian, the Bush family in fact benefited greatly from Nazi appeasement:

His [Senator Prescott Bush, W.'s grandfather] business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.

The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.....

....But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.

One could say that Bush's remarks were a case of the pot calling the kettle black, were it not tasteless under the circumstances.

Photo note: Bullfrog in the pond at Mt. Auburn Cemetery -- only bull in the archives

Posted by Dakota at 07:33 PM

May 15, 2008

Forget Me Nots


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All us here at Dakota are finding it hard to relax, even though it looks like a sensible man with a moral center might have a crack at the presidency. Let us not forget that the propaganda machine is in place continually generating enthusiasm.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo once again called upon his group of diligent volunteers to sift through the enormous pile that resulted when "the Department of Defense did a document dump on their program to use retired military analysts as surrogates on network and cable news to pimp the administration line on the Iraq War - something we now know they did on at least 4,500 occasions". In it they found this ominous musing from a Donald Rumsfeld (remember him?) speech given in December 2006:

RUMSFELD: That's what I was just going to say. This President's pretty much a victim of success. We haven't had an attack in five years. The perception of the threat is so low in this society that it's not surprising that the behavior pattern reflects a low threat assessment. The same thing's in Europe, there's a low threat perception. The correction for that, I suppose, is an attack. And when that happens, then everyone gets energized for another [inaudible] and it's a shame we don't have the maturity to recognize the seriousness of the threats...the lethality, the carnage, that can be imposed on our society is so real and so present and so serious that you'd think we'd be able to understand it, but as a society, the longer you get away from 9/11, the less...the less...

And we can always depend on certain Bush abortions and members of the press to do their patriotic duty once again.

Glenn Greenwald reviewed this New York Times op ed for Salon:

Today's a very exciting day in America. Our nation's most Serious foreign policy expert, the brilliant Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, has today declared our latest new war:

The next American president will inherit many foreign policy challenges, but surely one of the biggest will be the cold war. Yes, the next president is going to be a cold-war president -- but this cold war is with Iran.

So congratulations to us. After years of desperately searching, we've finally found our New Soviet Union. Nay-saying opponents of the New War (those who Tom Friedman, in March of 2003, dismissed as "knee-jerk liberals and pacifists") may try to point out that it's a country whose defense spending is less than 1% of our own, has never invaded another country, and could not possibly threaten us, but those are just small details. Iran is our new implacable foe in Tom Friedman's glorious, transcendent struggle

So 9/11 was caused by our backing of dictatorial Arab regimes, our unconditional support for Israel, our general interference in the Middle East, and the fact that Muslims aren't free. So what does Friedman want to do now? Have the U.S. wage a "cold war" (at least) for dominance in the Middle East alongside our best friends: the dictators and monarchs of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf States (plus, incidentally, Israel). In other words, Friedman now wants to do everything that he himself said is what caused 9/11 in the first place.

There's a reason that Friedman occupies the place he does in America's foreign policy establishment. He's perfectly representative of it. It's an establishment in perpetual search of an Enemy and the next war. And finding it (or creating it) is the one thing they do well.

This time around Henry Conyers Chairman of House Judiciary Committee is making an effort to preempt the bloody bastards by putting Bush on notice that if he touches Iran, he will be impeached. You can help by co-signing his letter, which can be found under the clickie.

Photo note: Turns out that there are forget-me-nots flourishing right outside the office door. We were looking for them on Mother's Day, when all we could find were Siberian Squill. Just as well, the forget me nots served a higher purpose

Addendum: From Dan Froomkin's piece "Bush Cries Alone' "Bush seemed to indicate, yet again, that he doesn't intend to leave office with Iran still a potential nuclear threat: "Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapons would be an unforgivable betrayal for future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," he said. Bush also likened Iran to al-Qaeda, saying both "reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis. . . ."That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that 'the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties.' And that is why the president of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map."

Posted by Dakota at 06:30 AM

May 12, 2008

A Mother on Mother's Day


up close to count

off her
in spring

in time

from the


the pond

Photo note: as above

Posted by Dakota at 10:35 PM

May 11, 2008

Siberian Squill Me Not On Mother's Day


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Last year we embedded Anita Renfroe's now famous William Tell Overture to Motherhood in our Mother's Day entry. Subsequently, by popular demand, the hilarious preacher's wife has produced yet another version, which mothers will appreciate almost as much.

Oh dear! You forgot it was Mother's Day? Well it's never too late right here in cyberspace, someecards has a variety of droll greetings that defy obnoxious Hallmark sentimentality and save trees, so get busy.

Photo note: Mother's Day is always a perfect excuse for a flower picture. We were hoping that these little fellows were forget me nots but they aren't, they're Siberian Squill, a less than romantic name.

Posted by Dakota at 08:47 AM

May 06, 2008

Oh Goody, Field Manual 3-24 Has Arrived


You may have heard the term counterinsurgency doctrine tossed around , partly because General Petraeus is such a big fan. To elucidate : "The counterinsurgency doctrine emphasizes the use of minimal force, with the intent of winning the hearts and minds of a civilian population." Yesterday NPR interviewed Col. John Nagl one of the authors of the newly released Field Manual 3-24, the army's spanking new counterinsurgency handbook

Although there is much disagreement within the army over whether troops should be trained in more conventional methods as well, there is another issue that all of us here at Dakota found pretty chilling:

Retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, whose research helped transform the Army's organizational structure in the 1990s, doesn't necessarily dispute that point [Nagl's that people will wage war from among their tribes and family units], but he says he disputes the idea that the Army's adoption of counterinsurgency has made it a better force.

He argues that this viewpoint encourages a more interventionist posture within the Army — a position that will make it easier for the Army to wage war in the future.

"I think it's downright dangerous because it suggests that we can repeat the folly of Iraq," Macgregor says. "That somehow or another, next time we can get it right without understanding that if the population is living within a social structure that doesn't want to change, if the population doesn't want you in the country, if there is no legitimate government to begin with, your intervention is doomed to inevitable failure."

But Macgregor and Gentile are swimming against a powerful current. Counterinsurgency doctrine is intimately tied to a new role the Army has formally carved out for itself.

Earlier this year, it added "stability operations" to its growing portfolio of jobs. So a mission once derided as "nation-building" and "peacekeeping" by powerful figures in the Bush administration is now a key part of how the Army sees its role around the world.

Oh. Oy.

Photo note: Bumper sticker on the back window of a Prius -- Obstructing an already obstructed view -- thus a metaphorophoto

Posted by Dakota at 07:21 AM

May 05, 2008

A Pretty Picture, Or Is It?


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all of us
here at Dakota
are having
a bit of trouble
getting it up
so to speak


Photo note: Having trouble posting so just decided to put up a pretty picture and see what happened.

Addendum: she can throw back the shots with the boys

Posted by Dakota at 07:21 AM