Every 60 Seconds

by matttbastard

Fern Hill @ Birth Pangs puts teh funny on hold and offers a stark, sobering account of the deadly consequences for women in developing nations as a result of restricting their access to safe, legal abortions:

Pregnancy kills one woman per minute. Unsafe abortion kills one woman every eight minutes.

Sorry, I don’t have a punchline; please, just take the time to read the rest, and, afterwards, think about how long it took you to do so.

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Quote(s) of the Day: “General David Petraeus was the trick pony. George W. Bush was the wonder dog. What a show.”

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Have been uber-busy this past week and haven’t done nearly as much reading as I usually would, so I initially missed this spot-on post by Marc Cooper re: this past week’s Congressional Kabuki. Worth reading in its entirety, but for me this is the money quote:

The Democrats harrumph and posture and vow to impose deadlines that will be fillibustered or vetoed. But again, why should they care? They have little to lose, knowing that the longer the war stretches into the campaign cycle, the better it is for them. They have just as few of their own kids fighting and dying in Iraq as do their Republican colleagues. They throw their hands into the air and shrug. “Whaddaya want us to do anyway, bud? We ain’t got the 60 votes,” they say in explaining their impotence.

True enough. But all they need is 50 to stop funding the war. Fifty votes and two balls.

It seems to me, after this past dismal week (a four day long insult to the collective national intellect), the debate on the war Iraq is actually over. The administration has made it abundantly clear that it’s not going to budge. The vast majority of congressional Republicans have signed on for the ride. The Democrats’ yammering about non-binding resolutions and imaginary benchmarks and fungible dates has become part of the white noise.

Not much more to talk about. The only question left is who will actually move now to stop the war?

Related: Runner-up goes to Tom Engelhardt, who also gets it (and was cruelly ignored as well by yours truly until today):

The Congressional Democrats are too weak (and divided) to change policy — and let’s be honest, even if they did, this administration would undoubtedly pay no attention whatsoever to anything they mandated. The Republican candidates for President (minus the maverick Ron Paul, who isn’t really a Republican at all) have bowed down low before presidential Iraq policy, as if before a pagan idol in the desert, in search of the “base vote.” Democratic candidates for President (Bill Richardson and Denis Kucinich excepted) are running “tough” (which means running scared and cautious) on Iraq. If, in 2008, the war actually proves good for business at the polls for Democrats, then, to their consternation, they’ll find they’ve just inherited a disastrous war, that they’re likely to be blamed for losing it, and that they’re in charge of Hell, not the Oval Office or Congress.

[…]

Given this line-up of forces, how could it have been anything but “words, words, words” in Washington, even while it was death, death, death in Iraq?

What those words do, however, is fill all available space, reinforcing a powerful sense that Washington’s importance in the scheme of things is the one unquestionable reality on our planet. The rest of the world hardly registers, except in the mode of frustration.

Is there a single ounce of humility anywhere in Washington? Can we even imagine that, somewhere on Earth, someone doesn’t think about us?

[…]

To grasp the Petraeus moment, you really have to re-imagine official Washington as a set of drunks behind the wheels of so many SUVs tearing down a well-populated city avenue — and all of them are on their cell phones. They hardly notice the bodies bouncing off the fenders. For them, the world is Washington-centered; all interests that matter are American ones. Nothing else exists, not really. Think of this as a form of imperial autism and the Petraeus moment as the way in which the White House and official Washington have, for a brief time, blotted out the world.

There are weeks like this when I regret the fact that I no longer imbibe.

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Late Night Logic: Black Metal Nation

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

In honour of Mark Ames classic 2004 NY Press book review comparing Neoconservative poster children Richard Perle and David Frum with homicidal Norwegian Black Metal fanatics (Obsession with ‘evil’? Check. Portentous nicknames? Check. Hubris-laden, irony-deficient boasting born of perceived past grievance? Motherfucking check!), a selection of primo (but not necessarily Norwegian) Black Metal vids (h/t Paul Kerr for the Ames article):

Mayhem – My Death (Live @ Wacken ’04)

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Developing: Sadr Group Leaves Ruling Shiite Block

by matttbastard

x-posted @ Comments From Left Field

Is this an ‘oh shit’ moment for Maliki, or business-as-usual in the haphazard Iraqi parliament?

BBC News:

The decision, announced at a news conference in the holy city of Najaf, comes five months after Mr Sadr pulled out his ministers from the cabinet.

The group has complained that Mr Maliki has not consulted them over decisions.

Other grievances voiced in the past by the Sadr bloc include their call – ignored by the prime minister – for a timetable for the withdrawal of US-led forces from Iraq.

In August, the main Sunni alliance also withdrew from the Iraqi cabinet, which currently has 17 ministers – with 23 other portfolios left unfilled.

[…]

While there has been no official explanation of the timing of the announcement, our correspondent says Mr Sadr may be worried about continuing to support a government that is so close to the Americans.

Mr Sadr supporters have also been unhappy with Mr Maliki’s moves to allow former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime back into the administration, our correspondent says.

In a statement made in Najaf, the Sadr group said: “The political committee has declared the withdrawal of the Sadr bloc from the alliance because there was no visible indication that the demands of Sadr’s bloc were being met.”

[…]

Many observers will be keen to see whether the suspension of the activities of the Mehdi Army militia that Moqtada Sadr ordered at the end of August will hold.

Analysts see the move as an attempt by Mr Sadr to regain control over his increasingly divided militia.

This could, as indicated by the Beeb, simply be a hardball negotiating tactic to address longstanding political grievances, or part of an attempt on the part of Sadr to rein in his increasingly divided Mahdi partisans. One also wonders what relationship if any the move has with recent reports on US efforts to expand the ‘Anbar Model’ to Sadr loyalists.

As the title says, developing…

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I Am Man(aging To Raise My Cholesterol)

by Isabel

I’ve been asked to contribute to Ad Turn-Offs, a new blog that highlights the particularly ridiculous and distasteful advertisements that flood our airwaves and public space. Feel free to pop over and have a look.

A quick preview of my first contribution:

Where to begin? This advertisement is ostensibly directed towards men who are sick and tired of their girlfriends trying to encourage them to eat healthy food, AKA Chick Food (which, in the case of this ad, apparently consists of garnish). Casting off the shackles of female oppression, the men set out to hunt down and consume a Texas Double Whopper, which contains 1050 calories and 69 grams of fat. Along the way, they appropriate a feminist anthem, triumphantly flip a minivan over a bridge (a not-so-subtle message that family life is emasculating?) and somehow manage to attract a group of cheerleaders who gleefully applaud the manly antics of the men who are humble enough to admit that, once, they were forced to eat quiche … but, never again.

Check it out!

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by matttbastard

Am using today to catch up on some much needed reading, rest and time away from the comp. Expect blogging to be light. A Late Night Logic video round-up is forthcoming sometime this evening (and will be crossposted @ Comments From Left Field).

Until then, I’ll simply note that, even though I’m no longer a registered NDP partisan, this bit of news still made me smile and say ‘woo-hoo’! Hell, I’m shameless enough to admit I even did a fist pump, followed by a pelvic thrust. For shits and giggles, Uncorrected Proofs points to one Liberal’s amusing spin on the numbers.

Truly, the theme of the week appears to have been ‘lipstick on a pig’.

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